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Brandon Stowe takes the forelock by Manny
When Danny said goodbye to his high school friends at graduation, he noticed he was one of the last mullet-heads, hopelessly out of style. That long, thick tail of shiny brown hair flowed from his graduation cap while most of his friends had closely cut backs or even tapered napes!
He lay in bed the next morning thinking he needed to make a change. He needed to prove to himself that he was not a sissy boy, so afraid to cut his hair short.
He jumped into the shower, his pecker swelling at the thought of what he intended to do.
It would be good-bye to his sweet, mild, caring, listening, careful barber, Ollie, Jr. -- and, hello to Brandon!
Brandon Stowe was the most aggressive barber at Haysland. A young man, the latest in a long line of barbers and one of a pair of barber brothers. He wore his hair cropped short and spiked in front. He was a fiend with the clippers.
Point, NEXT!, chair, cape, clip, shear, scrape, dust....and off you go, leaving a pile of hair at Brandon's feet.
And, this all took place facing away from the mirror. Real men don't watch their haircut and opine whether it's progressing well or not. They take what Brandon gives them. And, he wants them shorn short, like he himself!
The thought of waiting for Brandon made Danny explode with anticipation. It was a good thing he was in the shower, so the clean-up was quick and easy.
He toweled off his thick brown locks and looked at himself in the mirror. A pang of remorse already started to form. Screw short hair! Why wasn't the shaggy look still in?
Danny knew he needed to move on with the times. He might have his hair cut short....but he would NEVER get a flattop like his most daring buddy had at the beginning of their senior year.
Combing out his wet locks and styling them with the dryer was bittersweet. His forelock extended to his upper lip -- thick and bulky. Brandon would whack it off!
The excitement of finally "manning up" was palpable. But, leaving his trophy hair behind at Brandon's feet....could possibly make him feel emasculated once again, like he'd caved into peer pressure.
He felt so conflicted!!
On his drive to Haysland, he gave himself an out. When he walked into the shop, he decided that if Ollie's chair was empty, he would take it. If Ollie was busy, then that was it.....he would wait for Brandon.
It seemed like a fun little game....in fact, it was the beginning of a new form of entertainment....turning his trip to the barber into an adventure, into a game. Oh, how exciting! Who would it be, Ollie or Brandon? Trimmed or shorn?! Dreamy forelock or short spikes?!
The reflections in the glass as he approached the door made seeing inside difficult.
As the door swung open, he almost lost it! Ollie was snipping away an elderly gent and Brandon was standing idly beside an empty barber chair -- the very chair he would soon be easing into, facing away from the mirror.
"Hey, Danny," Brandon said with a nod.
"It's your lucky day, Brandon," Danny replied with nervous excitement. "I'm in a bit of a hurry, so I can't wait for Ollie. It'll be you today."
Brandon smiled broadly, grabbed the cape and patted the seat. "Hop on up here and let me take the clippers to you! That flow hanging down the back is going to stay here with me, I hope you know!" He pointed to the piles of hair on the floor around his chair.
"Yep, I'm into transitions. Just graduated from high school yesterday. I'm ready for the big chop! Need to get a decent job and all that. Except for...." Danny eyed his forelock in the mirror.
No, there would be no exceptions! He needed to feel like a man and not a sissy. His forelock would be on the chopping block.
Danny mounted the steel foot rest, pivoted, and plopped in the chair. His hair was all in Brandon's hands.
The white cotton cape with thin pinstripes flew through the air. Brandon secured it very tight! Danny's breathing was labored -- both because of the snug fit of the cape and because he was now in Brandon's grip.
"So, a clipper cut for you today. Any particular instructions?" Brandon asked as he combed down the forelock in front and examined the mighty mullet behind. Danny heard him tsk-tsk as he surveyed the overgrowth.
"Nope, just short," Danny said. "I hear we're in for another hot, humid summer." OMG - that was a blank check if there ever was one!
He reached for a large set of Osters and snapped it on. That faint smell of burning oil made Danny swoon.
"Let's start with this," Brandon said, snagging the forelock, lifting it up, and then taking it right off near the hairline with the Osters!
The forelock fell dramatically into his lap!
Danny's stomach churned.
The forelock amputation had transpired quickly and with his consent (not a mean-spirited humiliation). Danny felt ecstatic. He did it! The forelock was gone! He basked in the moment of exhilaration.
Since bulking up and developing a trim, fit body as a teen, he had always looked manly. Now, he felt manly.
Then Brandon decided to amputate the mullet with the same quick, dramatic action. He lifted the flow and took the mullet off at the nape with a quick drive of the clippers. "No more Billy Ray Cyrus look back here, Danny! From now on, it's serious in front AND serious in back."
The mullet removal was followed by a surprise assault up the back. Danny's head was forced forward very low. He found himself pinned, staring at his beloved forelock lying lifeless in his lap. Brandon's grip was of steel. The barber's steely hold left no doubt as to who was in charge.
The quick clipper action up the back of his head made Danny begin to feel nauseous. It was like boot camp -- an induction haircut. He would come out BALD, or, at a minimum, shorn!
Brandon clipped with gusto and chatted about sports and other mundane topic. It was just another haircut for him. But, for Danny, it was a dramatic, life-changing experience. The mowing sent cascades of his dark brown hair to the cape. Helplessly, he watched the pile in his lap grow and grow.
Finally, he was allowed to sit up straight. Brandon began a quick clipper-over-comb action on top. Over and over and over. Shorter and shorter and shorter! Would he ever stop cutting?
"Is anything left up there?" Danny asked nervously.
"Not much," Brandon replied. "You asked for the big chop."
"So, I did. I just hope I like what I see when you're done," Danny croaked.
"So, let's not keep you in suspense." Brandon spun the chair around, and announced, "And that's what you got!"
Danny gripped the arms of the chair under the cape. He was stunned by the image in the mirror. SO short! The top was just a tad longer than a brush cut. And, the forelock -- just a memory. In truth, two or three more swipes of the clippers on top, and he'd have a flattop!
Brandon held up a mirror to show off the back. Scalped! No mullet and almost no hair. The neck, which had long been shielded from the sun by the mullet was a creamy white.
"A #1 up the back. Nice and short, Danny. You can stop dreading the hot, humid summer. That nasty mullet, clinging to your sweaty neck is a thing of the past," Brandon remarked with an air of triumph in his voice.
"Wow, it's...uh, short! Like I asked for, I guess," Danny stammered. His hand came out from under the cape and the felt his truncated forelock. Half an inch? No more than 3/4 of an inch!
"I can snip that fringe shorter, if you like," Brandon said, brandishing a shears. "It was so ghastly long. Ollie should go work at a Beauty Salon!"
From the sidelines, Ollie defended himself, "He always insisted, 'just a trim' -- especially the bangs."
Brandon took the duster to him. All over, whisking away stray snippets.
Then, the barber started to lather up the neck and around the ears. He carved out a set of arches to showcase the exposed ears.
"Some fellows like arches, some don't. I think they give a good, finished look," Brandon said.
He might have asked.....Danny thought to himself.
As if reading his mind, Brandon dabbed on a bit more lather and carved them even larger!
The rest of his time at Haysland was a hazy daze. Stumbling out of the chair, paying....a big blur. The memory that stuck with him was the pile of his hair adding to the layers that were already on the floor. His hair! His beloved forelock!
Danny could not stop feeling his shorter hair the whole way home. At every stop light, he'd check out his short hair in the rearview mirror. Spikes, just like Brandon's -- with goop in them to aid their permanent erection.
He felt good about finally overcoming his fear of a very short haircut. But, the reality was that he did not like the way he look with his head shorn. Something about the smallish size of his head and the very tall forehead. Only his ears were not displeasing.
And, he missed his forelock. Playing with it, arranging it, fussing with it. Like a friend had passed away....and his friend's death was a result of his very cruel betrayal.
When his mother gasped and asked whether he'd gone back to the PX barber on base, Danny knew that he could not sit in Brandon's chair again. Yes, his submission to Brandon was a one-off event. He would return to Ollie's kind and tender touch. Those soft hands smoothing down his glossy locks.
Or....he'd heard of another barber shop nearby, Taylor's. Perhaps he'd try that one out.
In either case, the flow would return. He was certain of it!