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Dad's old photo. by Tm
I just had gotten some old photos of my father and mother from my sister. Both of my parents had died some years ago, but my sister was slow at cleaning and moving into their house. As I went quickly throught the pics I remembered most and could see the progression of the years on both. just as i reached the end I stopped short and stared. It was my father at my 15th birthday partybackyard BBQ. I remembered it and him but did not remember him looking this way, My father always had longish hair which was combed straight back and with a dry look. This picture was so different. His hair was still long on top. As a matter of fact longer and higher than I evere remembered. Not really a traditional pompadore, but more like the high and dry continental look of the early 60's. Combed straight back but loosely to show lenght which if long could be quite high in a bit of an arch or dome over the top of the head. This indeed was the way my dad had it combed. Quite smooth with no straight up strands or spikes but curved up and back in a smooth curve. Soft and smoothe with a bit of shine, it was beautiful! Then to my amazement, I saw the sides and back cut short. Not short as was common for the time, but sever, not more than long stubble above the ears and at the temple. Ther were no sideburns and while you could see the shading of hair on the sides, it was barely visible. The final shock was his beer belly. I knew he had one but iot was only slightly visible in his work clothes. Here he had a tight polo shirt and summer lightweight chino pants. His gut strained and protruded out the front of the shirt forming stress lines on the side. Even more the dark belt disappeared under the heavy mass to reappear on the far side many inches later. Still he was handsome with a smile and muscles popping out from rolled up short sleeves
I was taken with the look of him. I was his son. Perhaps I would look so good. I was lighter and smaller but I liked the idea of being a chip off the old block. I descided to let my hair grow out all summer . I wanted enough length to get the amazing hight dad had. I was less sure about loosing my stache and sideburns. I ate more that summer and drank a bit more too. I liked a belly on some guys and was going for the total look. I bought tight T shirts and painter pants to watch my figure assume the right proportions. Soon I was sporting a decent size belly to go with a back side that was ballooning to balance the front protrusion. I was content. Now my hair was floppy and I was proud of it and reluctant to have it cut. Still, I wanted to follow dad's lead.
I had his picture blown up to a head shot and was determined to go to a vintage barbershop and get someone who knew this haircut and would reproduce it on me. I scouted out barbershops in several towns. With little luch I ventured into center city not far away, I saw seveeral shops, but they seemed more modern than I wanted. Then I saw a shop with the look of a faded rose which had seen better days. I parked to see what the customers looked like. It seemed a mixed bag, but promising in its diversity. Surely all these varied heads must have very experienced barbers tending them.
I got out and walked up to the door as a black guy in an awesome flattop came out. I walked in and saw three chairs full and two customers waiting. My lucky day, it seemed when I saw a black, a white and a hispanic form the triad of barbers. Surely they knew my dad's haircut. My wait was short as the barbers were fast and seemingly efficient. My turn came and I got the Hispanic guy. He asked and I showed him my computer copy of my dad. He said sure no problem and turned me to the wall. Immediately he shoved my head into my chest holding it so I could hear my breathing. I heard the click and buzz and felt the warm metal on my neck immediately. In long swift strokes he went up the back of my head over and over. That done, he combed the top hai foward blinding me and then started on the left side. I felt the steel going hight abovev my ears and pulling out, then it happened. A full hard stroke upward over my sideburn to the top of my ear. I felt naked. Then the repeat on the right side and my face reddened in embarasement. I must look like a little boy now, I thought.
The buzzing stopped and in the silence I felt the comb and heard the crunch of scissors on the back of my head. He said he was blending. This did not last long as he went to the sides and re examined the sides and back. Then more buzzing. This time only lower down. He was pressing harded now and going over and over the same places. Then I heard the hot lather machine purr and felt the hot foam on my neck and around my ears and on my temples. I felt a straight line being scrapped out straight across between my ears. He also created full arches over my ears which came behind them to a 45 degree angle to hit the straight back line between my ears. Finally he cut a straight line in my temples a full inch above my ears . The arches were still fully visible, so they were at least twice as high. Then a straight line making the top of my temple hair into a point finished the job.
Now he combed my hair straight back. His hands had a product of some sort in them but not much. My father's arch of hair appeared over my head. I was suprised when he shaved my front hairline straighter giving my forehead more prominence. My hair was even shorter on the sides and back and longer on top than my father's . I was my father 40 years later.