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Sean and Grandads barber by Tony

Sean and Grandads barber
It was about a week to go to the end of the holidays and I was due back for my final year in college, I was almost nineteen now, as it happened, I was pretty much the same as all the other guys there and most of us had grown our hair long since the start of college. Mum had kept moaning about the length of my hair which had reached my shoulder blades now, but I just ignored her occasional remarks about a haircut, my Dad had died in an accident at work when I was twelve, so only had Mum to keep me in order.
I woke up and went down for breakfast, she said after you have showered this morning, we are driving up to Grandads for the day, we have not seen him for a while and your Nan wants me to take her into town to get some new clothes for her holiday. I always dreaded going up there, he was always so grumpy and very judgemental about me and what I was doing with my life, he had been in the army for a good many years of his life and he thought I should have done the same, but it wasn't my idea of a good career, so I went to engineering college.
We arrived there and had a drink before Mum and Nan got in the car to go shopping, I got the usual lecture from Grandad about wasting my life and what I should have done, I listened to him not daring to argue with him, he was a big man and very strict, he stood at least six inches taller than me and was very broad across the shoulders, his hair was cut as you would expect being an ex army man, shaved very short at the back and sides and the top slicked back with some sort of hair cream. He always expected you to talk to him in a polite way, which I always did. After about half an hour, he said we are just going to walk down to the village, there is something we need to do, that's all he said, so off we went, it was like being on a route march, he was striding out ahead of me and I had a job keeping up with him and his long legs.
We eventually arrived in the village as he called it, although it was more like a small town, everyone seemed to know everyone else. He came to an abrupt stop just outside the barber shop, I looked at him and said, are you getting a haircut Grandad? His reply to that was, no, you are lad, my stomach churned over as I thought , how do I get out of this without being rude, my brain went totally dead and I couldn't think what to say, but in the meantime he was standing behind me pushing me through the door.
There was no way I wanted to be taken to a barber shop at nearly nineteen, and yet here we were, he took me by the arm and guided me to the waiting chairs opposite the barber who was cutting the hair of an elderly gentleman, there were another two waiting as well. It was a very old fashioned shop, unlike anything I had seen in our city, I had always gone to a young barber for the occasional trim and it was nothing like this, all I could hear were the sound of the scissors clicking and nobody talking at all. The barber was a slim man about mid sixties, with a white overal on and wearing a shirt and tie under, his hair was similar to my Grandads and equally as short but immaculately combed in place.

My Grandad got up and said, I won't be a minute, I am just going to get a newspaper, sit there and wait your turn, with that, he strode out and across the road. I sat there thinking, what if I follow him out the shop and walk back, but then came to my senses, he would be so mad and that would make things even worse. I dreaded the thought of having shorter hair, what the hell am I going to say to all my mates at college, this was an awful situation to be in, but then thought maybe it won't be so bad, maybe the barber won't go too short if I ask nicely to just trim it down a bit, I was hoping the barber would start before Grandad got back with his newspaper. The barber finished the second gentleman off and looked at me, your turn young man, he said, I stepped up to the chair and glanced out the window, Grandad was nowhere to be seen, the barber put the cape around me and said, well young man, it's obviously been a long while since this was cut, but don't worry, I will soon have you looking like a young gentleman, it was then I said, not too short sir, just a good trim please, but just as I said that, my Grandad came back in, he promptly stood behind the barber and said, don't listen to that sir, a good short back and sides is what the lad needs.

My stomach notted up and I knew this was the end of my gorgeous long hair that had taken me years to grow, by now the barbers comb was running through the long hair and out came the scissors, pushing my head forward, the sound of the comb and scissors was enough to make me feel sick, then the inevitable, huge lengths of hair flying everywhere some landing in my lap, others falling to the floor, I could feel my head getting lighter and lighter as my long hair was being decimated by his scissors. I knew that after about ten minutes of scissor work, my hair was already short, then I saw the barber place his scissors back in his breast pocket. Then he picked up a pair of hand clippers, I had never seen these before, but saw him use them on his previous customer, I quickly said to him, it's not necessary to use clippers, but he just said, it certainly is necessary, I can't do a proper short back and sides without them and that's what your Grandfather has requested I do. I now felt even more sick, I could not believe this was happening, he pushed my head forward, my chin touching my chest, placing the cold blades of the hand clipper at the base of my neck, I could feel them clipping up the back of my neck, going higher and higher, he kept starting again and again until my neck was bare, he then started at the side ,I could see the hand clippers starting at the bottom of my ear, shaving my sideburns off close to my face, then close right up to my temples, he folded my ear down and clipped close above it, then the same the other side, all I could see was white skin where it had been covered by my long hair. I was just absolutely devastated this was happening to me, then it was the long fringe that came under fire now, he combed it forward over my forehead and with his scissors chopped it off just above my eyes, then he spread shaving foam all around the sides and back and shaved to the skin with a straight razor, including the part of my face where my sideburns were originally. He then dipped his fingers in a pot of cream, massaging this into my hair, he combed a perfectly straight parting to the left side and combed the rest across including my fringe, the he slicked the fringe back, my nightmare haircut was finished and he took the cape off, I stepped down off the chair and faced my Grandfather who was smiling, he said, that's better lad, you look like a proper young man now, with that he complimented the barber and paid him.

I walked home in silence behind him. After a couple of hours my Mum and Nan arrived back, my Nan said, that's nice, then my Mum went mad when she saw how awful I looked, she shouted at her Father and told him this was not the 1930s and he wasn't still in the bloody army, I was so surprised, I had never heard my Mum swear before. She said ,Sean, go and get in the car we are going home, I did what she said, I could hear more shouting from the car, then she came out and slammed the door.
On the way home she was so quiet, I said, Mum, I am sorry, but I could not argue with him, she said, it's not your fault, he should not have taken it upon himself to do that, you are my responsibility, not him, and I am fuming with him. When we arrived home, Mum said, go and get a shower and I will order a take away. I went up to get a shower and wash the horrible cream out of the little bit of hair I had left, I kept running my fingers up the back of my neck, it really felt so strange, but not in a bad way, it's just never been shaved so short, even as a young boy I never had very short hair, this was my first time. After I dried my hair, I tried to do something with it, looking in the mirror, it looked so horrible, I went back downstairs and Mum said, I don't know what to do to improve the look, but we can go to your usual barber shop tomorrow and see if he can suggest anything, we ate dinner and I watched some television, then went online for a while, I was actually quite surprised how much I enjoyed running my fingers up the back of my neck, it felt so nice although the look was really bad.
The following morning I woke up and felt my head, it was still a shock not having my long hair to run my fingers through, I had breakfast and went off to the barber, when I explained what had happened, he suggested that he run the clippers over the top with a grade two guard and take it down short on top too, I agreed to that and a few minutes later I had been buzzed down, it looked so much better and the feel was incredible, at least I could walk along the road without feeling embarrassed about an old fashioned haircut, in 2021 it was quite normal to have buzzed hair. I knew it was going to be awkward at college next week, but I had already thought I did not have enough courage to say my Grandad made me get it cut, I was just going to say I needed a change. I must admit, I did enjoy the feel of running my fingers over the top, and found myself feeling turned on by it although I do hate short hair, can't wait to grow it long again.

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