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New house new barber by Tony
New house and new barber
We had moved house to a new area, it was going to be different for me, at just fifteen years old to make a whole lot of new friends was quite daunting. Mum had taken me to get a new school uniform and new shoes for the start of the new term. She also said before next week you need to find a barber shop and get a haircut, it's far too long and at a new school you need to make a good impression, I said, ok I will start looking around the area and see what's about here, the last thing I wanted at fifteen was being taken to the barber shop by my Mum.
That afternoon I decided to take a walk and see where the local kids hang out, I walked down the road we had moved to and a few houses along on the opposite side of the road to our house, I saw a boy about my age just coming out of his house, he looked a little strange, his hair was really quite short, but not in a modern way, it was cut in a style that I would imagine was from the previous couple of decades, it was shaved up the back and sides and had a really sharp parting to one side with the front combed back with something shiny on it. I crossed the road to speak to him and find out about the area, I called out to him as he walked along in front of me, hey mate, I am Gary, I just moved in along the road here, can you tell me where all the kids our age hang out? He stopped and said hello, I am Brian, I have lived here all my life, what do you want to know?
I said I don't know anyone here at all, we moved up here from just outside London, so no mates to hang out with, he said I am going in to town, if you want you can tag along with me.
I said that's great thanks, what school are you at? I am starting at Shore Comprehensive next week, he said thats awesome, I am there too, how old are you? Fifteen, I replied, he said, same as me, maybe we will be in the same group there. We carried on walking into town and he showed me around a bit, it was quite a small place, then we crossed the road and nipped through an alley to the next street, he said sorry about that, but I wanted to avoid those shops in that last row! I looked a bit confused by this, he said, my Dad is a barber and owns the barber shop there. I said oh, not being rude, but I wondered why your hair was so short, he said, yeah, Dad always insists on " a good short back and sides" I keep telling him it's not cool to have that haircut anymore, but he is quite forceful, also it's the only barber shop in town. I thought to myself, oh no, I might have to go there before next week, but no way can I have such a short cut as Brian's.
We made our way to the park' it had a skate ramp there and was being used by several kids with skate boards, none of which Brian knew, he said they come from the opposite side of town and go to Deans Comprehensive, before we got any further one of them called out to Brian laughing at his haircut and in general being quite offensive, then he approached us still being mouthy, he was obviously looking for a fight, Brian said to me, just walk by, which we did, then the kid with all the attitude fronted up to me, he looked like he was about to push me, my de fence automatically kicked in and I put him on his arse in seconds. I had done Judo since the age of five and although we were taught not to use it unless absolutely necessary, the kid got up and took a swing at me again, this time he was on his arse again, the others all laughed at him, I said go back to your skating and keep your trap shut, or you will be on the floor again, he sloped off and left us alone.
We walked back to the main part of the town and got ourselves a coke! We sat there chatting and I found Brian to be a nice guy, we seemed to get on well which was good, at least I had one friend in the new school, we sauntered back up the main road and without thinking Brian so engrossed with talking to me suddenly realised he was outside his Dad's barber shop, the next minute his Dad opened the door and said, Brian, I am glad your here, it's been very quiet here today and you need to have your haircut before you go back to school, come in and introduce me to your friend, I thought to myself, oh no, surely he can't have his hair any shorter than it is now. Brian said to his Dad, this is Gary, he has just moved into our road where the Richardsons used to live, Brian's Dad shook me by the hand and said, nice to meet you Gary, are you going to the same school as Brian, I looked up at him and said, yes sir, he was a tall man and I thought I had better be polite to him . He said, do you mind if I just give Brian a haircut now, it won't take too long, I guess you will be needing a haircut too before you start at school next week, but before thinking, I said, yes sir, my Mum said I need to find a barber shop before I start school next week, he looked quite pleased with himself, thinking he had a new customer, then before I could say anything else, he said, then you can have your haircut now with Brian, my stomach did a somersault and I suddenly found my mouth dry and could hardly speak, I managed to stammer a little before saying, oh, don't worry today sir, Mum hasn't given me any money for a haircut today sir. Brian's Dad said to me, Gary, don't you worry about that, I am sure your Mum and Dad will be pleased for me to do your haircut for you, and this one will be on the house as a gesture of goodwill for my new neighbors, I got a cold shiver down my spine, I thought, how can I get out of this without seeming rude? I explained to Brian's Dad that it was just my Mum and me, my Dad had left us years ago, he said to me, sorry to hear that Gary, but I am sure your Mum will welcome the idea of me being your new barber and each time I cut Brian's hair, I can do yours at the same time.
He then told Brian to jump in the chair, he sat in the chair very quietly and submissively while his Dad started by putting the cape over him tucking it in tightly at the neck, without any further delay he said to me, take a seat over there Gary. He picked up a pair of electric clippers off the hook and switched them on, firmly pushing Brian's head right forward so his chin was touching his chest, he swiftly placed the clippers at the base of Brian's neck and pushed them up the back of his neck, I realised at this point there was no guard and the clippers left a strip up Brian's neck of completely bare and white skin, several more passes up his neck right up to his crown was bare and white, I could only sit and watch in sheer horror trying to think of a good excuse to get out of having my hair shaved in the same awful way, sadly nothing really came to mind. Next Brian was subjected to the same treatment at both sides, shaved at least two inches above the top of his ears to the skin also, his Dad now replaced the clippers and used scissors to cut the top, finishing off by snipping a straight fringe above the eyes, he took his brush and dusted all the loose hair before putting a little lather around his ears and on his neck, before shaving with a straight razor, his skin seemed to become even whiter now, then he took some cream from a pot on the counter and rubbed it through Brian's hair, combing the top forward, he sculpted a perfect straight side parting and slicked the fringe back. He removed the cape and Brian stepped down off the chair, he now was facing me with his newly shorn head, he said to his Dad, thank you sir.
Brian's Dad looked across at me and said, jump in the chair Gary, let's get you looking presentable too, my heart was pounding in my chest now as I sat in the barber chair, as he placed the cape over me and tucked it into my neck, he had a job with my long hair that was over my collar by about three inches at least, eventually managing to get the cape tight, he picked up his clippers and switched them on, I said to him, not as short as Brian's please sir, he looked over the top of his glasses and said, Gary, I am sure your Mum will appreciate you having a nice haircut like Brian's, I quickly replied, she does not usually expect me to have it that short sir, he said, nonsense Gary, she will appreciate a good short haircut and with that pushed my head forward taking the first swipe up the back of my neck, the clippers felt really strange, I had never had clippers to cut my hair before, it was always just scissors, I could feel them plowing up my neck to my crown the same as Brian's, then the next wave until my neck was bare, I was beginning to wonder what my Mum would think of it, would she agree with Brian's Dad or would she be totally surprised at my really short haircut? Then there were a the boys at school, are they all going to have this type of extreme haircut if Brian's Dad is the only barber shop here? I was just really getting so anxious now wondering what I am going to look like ? No offence to Brian, but he does look really awful, it's like a haircut from fifty years ago. I felt his Dad push my head to the side this time, my hair covered my ears by about two inches or more about level with my jaw, I felt him lift the long hair with his comb before placing the clippers at my jaw level, I could see this in the mirror as he pushed his clippers up past the top of my ear by my temple, I could not believe the amount of hair falling onto the cape and sliding down onto my lap, there was a huge white patch of skin where my hair was, it looked atrocious, he folded my ear down and continued shaving above this time and now working towards the already shaved back, once the other side was done the same, the clippers were replaced by scissors, he worked so quickly with them taking loads of long hair from the top, I think it was about six inches long on top and the fringe used to reach past my lips if I combed it forward, which he was actually doing now, then before I knew it, the fringe was snipped off just above the eyes the same as Brian's
The feel of the warm lather was also alien to me, the razor scraped away any evidence of stubble left by his clippers and like Brian's exaggerated the whiteness of the skin, I could see he was shaving right down the side of my face too, then the back got the same treatment, my neck feeling totally naked now. He massaged the same hair cream into the little remaining hair on top before creating a perfectly straight side parting and slicked back fringe. He actually showed me the back with the hand mirror, I think my eyes nearly popped out of my head as I got a glimpse of a totally white shaven neck, it probably looked worse than Brian's as my hair was very dark brown and his was a type of blond, How's that for you Gary, a good short back and sides, come back with Brian in four weeks to keep it neat and tidy. I was very polite and said, thank you sir, it's very short, in fact the shortest haircut I have ever experienced.
Brian and I walked home talking about our haircuts, Brian said he had got used to it now, he asked me what I thought of mine, I said it's really awful to be honest Brian, I have never had short hair like this before, I don't know if I can do this again in four weeks, I feel naked and I feel I am going to endure some real comments when start at this school. Brian said, don't worry, most of the kids go to my Dad as its too far to travel to the next town to another barber shop. I said when we reached our home, catch you soon Brian, I walked in to our new house and Mum was totally stunned when she saw my new haircut, she asked what had happened to the usual trim I was used to, then I told her the whole story, she said well Gary, to be honest, I do prefer it short and Brian's Dad has done an amazing job, it's just I have never seen you with hair cut this short before, she stood there turning me around and running her fingers up my neck.
Mum suggested that I go and try my uniform on to make sure it fits, she said I think you will look just right , I went upstairs and put my uniform on with my new school tie and blazer, my shoes felt a little tight at first then eased off as I walked down the stairs and along the hall in them, as I walked into the lounge, Mum got up from her armchair and looked at me, she actually had a tear in her eye as she said, Gary, you look amazing, so smart and very well turned out, I think in four weeks time another trip to Brian's Dad will be good, with that she took some photos , I said I am not sure about keeping my hair this short Mum, she just said, you look so nice , I hope you do, I must make a point of thanking Brian's Dad.
The following morning there was a knock at the door and it was Brian and his Dad, hello Gary, said his Dad, I brought you a tub of hair cream as I thought you would need it, I said oh, thank you sir, my Mum wanted to thank you, just as I said that, Mum appeared at the door, come in please, Gary should have asked you in, Brian's Dad and my Mum chatted for ages while we went up to my room, we played a few games on the computer before Mum called us down, she said to me, Brians Dad has kindly agreed to let you know what day your next haircut will be and you can go along to his barber shop together, I felt that awful shiver down my spine and felt sick, how will I ever get out of this awful situation, thank you sir, I said, being polite, he smiled at me and said, I knew your Mum would like your short haircut, so we have arranged for it to be a regular thing now Gary, thank you sir, it's very kind of you, not at all Gary, I knew you needed a good short back and sides when I saw you, and now when the weather gets warmer in the summer we can go shorter still to keep you comfortable, yes sir, that's too kind, I will see you on Monday morning Brian, just knock for me on the way to school.