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A Boy's First Bob by haircoward


In my first story, I shared the time my mother gave me an unwanted haircut for what felt like the amusement of her friends. That would actually be the last time she would personally cut my hair. In fact, I’m pretty sure she regretted the entire thing. I remember she bought me a new video game that weekend for "no reason". From that point on (for the next few years anyway), I would be sent down the road to a neighbor’s house for the one "big" haircut I’d get a year. Our neighbor, "R", had a salon set-up in her front room, and she was good friends with my mom. This is a true story.

***

Every August before school started, I would get my annual "big" cut. I’d only get one "big" cut a year. I’d usually be taken from around shoulder length to a regular short boys haircut. Having already received that first pivotal long-to-short cut from my mother, my feeling about heading down to our stylist-neighbor "R’s" home salon for my summer cuts were very conflicting. I loved having long hair, mostly because I could imagine having fun things done with it. But I also found that I enjoyed the experience of having it all taken from me. For the next three or four summers, I knew that I’d be taken from longish to short right before school started… and, I found it became one of the things I most looked forward to all year. It made me nauseous, it made me excited, I would DREAM about that walk down the road to R’s house, knowing that I’d be leaving all of my length on her floor.

R didn’t have a whole lot of nuance when it came to cutting hair, not that I needed her to. The first couple of times were very procedural. She would spray my hair down, then separate a top "section" into a bun. This in and of itself was incredibly exciting for me. Having a "bun" in my hair, even for just a fleeting minute or two felt incredible.

She would then cut all the hair under the top section short. I can’t remember whether or not she used clippers, I don’t think she did though.

The top would be un-bunned, and cut straight all across at the middle of my ear… leaving me with what I can only describe as a nearly perfect "micro bob". Even though this wasn’t flattering in the slightest, I still loved how it looked and felt. It was the first time I had seen myself in a femme-style.

The short bob was also short lived, as her next move would be more or less attacking my head with texturing shears, which left me with just a regular, dull boy’s short haircut. It was the same cut for the first few times I went to her.

The last time I went to her was the summer right before junior year. I was so looking forward to it, that I had kind of ritualized my hair that summer. I tended to it every night, softly brushing it for several minutes at a time, even sneaking some of mom’s conditioner into my washing routine. I loved it. In the buildup to my visit to R’s, I couldn’t control my anticipation. I snuck a few snips "underneath" my hair, where it couldn’t be noticed. That would be the first time I’d ever cut my own hair. I felt like I could get into so much trouble, even though I barely cut more than a few hairs at a time. I also snuck one of my sister’s hair ties so I could tie up my first few crooked ponytails, but only when I was all alone in the bathroom.

The big day would finally came. I walked down the road and got in R’s chair. She went right into our normal "shearing routine". This time, as she was sectioning it off, she commented about how nice it looked. I immediately felt self-conscious. Like she somehow "knew" I’d been tending to it.

She finished tying up my annual "bun" and kind of paused. At this point, I was almost certain she noticed some of the damage my little self-snips left. She told me she’d be right back, and that she was going to call my mother. At this point, I was freaking out. She KNEW what I’d been up to, and now she was going to tell my mom.

When she returned, she told me we were going to do something "different" this time. She said she’d asked my mom if we could keep it a little bit longer this time, and my mother agreed. I’m sure the happiness and relief on my face was visible.

I assumed I’d just be getting a trim, and so I completely relaxed.

Then, it happened.

She ran the clippers up the back of my head. I was NOT expecting this, and the great big clumps and waves of hair rolling into my lap felt like it was happening in slow motion. They felt like they weighed a ton. I don’t know if I audibly gasped, but I’m sure it was obvious that I was more than a bit shocked.

Once she was done with the clippers, she undid my bun, and my hair fell to a bit below my chin. This time, she cut it straight around to the bottom of my ear. And, that’s where it stayed. No texturizing, no layering, just a blunt "bob".

She finished up by blow-drying it with a round brush. The ends curled in a bit, like a "real" bob. It looked a lot like Teri Hatcher’s haircut at the time.

She showed me that I could actually tie it up into a ponytail as well. Guys with undercuts and ponytails were coming into style back then. I left her house that day in a ponytail… which, I was so embarrassed that I reluctantly made sure to take out before I got home. My mother approved of the "bob" length cut… or at least didn’t tell me she didn’t.

R moved away a few months later, so that would be the last time I went to her. But, these cuts, especially that last one, have remained with me ever since.



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