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Reality Bites by Deke Cutter

Harry considered himself to be a fairly average guy. He had an average job, average looks, and generally had average interests. He enjoyed baseball and basketball, just in a regular sort of way. The one thing thathe had was a nice looking head of hair. It was sort of wavy, and full. It was a bit on the fine side but not super thick. He wore it brushed back from his face. The sides were not cut with clippers, nor did they cover his ears. The back was full, but off his collar. He always admired buzzed haircuts, but knew he was not the kind of guy who would give up his uptown barber to go to a place like that. His monthly trims were the one extravagance he allowed himself. He wore off the rack clothes, waited for online sales of dress shirts and ties, but he liked his hair to look nice. He visited the haircut sites and read the stories. Sometimes he even contributed to the Buzzlife Board and the Haircut Story Site comments. He really enjoyed the Youtube videos and Barbercams. But, a short haircut, not for him.

Then, it happened. As was often the case, his haircut interest seemed to grow when he was under pressure. Breaking up with his long term girlfriend and hitting 50 took him hard. He started getting more and more obsessed with the idea of giving in and getting the short haircut he had fantasized about. He finished a big project and was given a bonus week off which he added to a two week planned vacation down in Florida. Now is my chance, Harry thought. I can tell people I asked for something shorter than normal for my vacation and in three weeks, it will have grown in some.

So, to give himself the maximum grow back time, he headed to a local barbershop he had never used before. It was a typical neighborhood spot four chais, three barbers. He felt uncomfotable walking in. His regular guy took appointments, had a nice waiting area and offered hot and cold drinks. Thee was always an attentaive shampoo girl on hand and a cute manicurist. This place looked pretty much like an old style barber. He sat in one of waiting chairs until the middle barber, a genial guy of about his own age called him up to the chair. The barber introduced himself and made some small talk as he put the cape and pape strip in place. Harry immediately, felt worried. This cape seemed to carry with it the a staleness and the smell of many previous patrons. He was not used to this. Then came the moment. The barber asked him "what are we doing today?" Harry explained that he wss off on a three week beach vacation and was thinking of getting a shorter haircut. The barber suggest "two on the sides and three on top, graduated to four in the front. Harry thought this meant inches and thought that did not seem like a very big change, but, figured he could ask to go shorter if he was unhappy. So, he agreed to the barber's suggestion. The barber then turned him away from the mirror and Harry found himself staring at the guy in the next chair. Rather quickly, the barber went to work with a number two blade pushing up the side of Harry's head very high. Harry was unfamiliar with this feeling but could tell alot of hair was coming off. After the third pass, he remarked to the barber that he couldn't believe there were two inches left with all that hair falling on the cape. The barber just chuckled and continued around Harry's head. When he stopped to switch to the Numbe 3 blade, Harry got his first look at himself. He was shocked to see the sides of his head shorn tightly. He realized that it was too late to change his mind, his stomach was getting queezy from the scent of the cape and now he was starting to freak out a bit about hiz haircut. At the same time, he was confused because, "little Harry" was enjoying this a whole lot. He was brought back to reality by the barber's pushing the clippers back from the middle of his head to the back. This time the hair fell off the back and he could not see the damage. Next, the barber switched to the 4 and took down what was left in the front. The barber then turned Harry around to face the back wall, as he heard a whirring sound behind him. The barber then placed shaving cream along his neck and around his ears. The barber said, I'll just clean up the edges and then we'll have you ready for your vacation. After the shaving. The barber applied a waxy product to the front of his hair and combed the slightly longer hair in front up and over.

The barber asked if Harry was ready to see his new look. Harry, anxious for this oreal to be over tried to sound as enthusiastic when he said yes. The barber swung him around. Harry saw a stranger staring at him. He had gone from looking like a mid-level executive to looking like a one of the guys he saw on construction crews. The haircut did not suit him. He felt he had gone from average looking to scalped and a bit silly. The barber could tell that he was disappointed and assured him that it would pass. Harry tipped the barber and even agreed to buy the wax the barber suggested.

When Harry got home and looked in the mirror, he was devastated. He admitted to himself that he liked the feel of the buzzed hair, as long as he didn't have to see it. He managed to avoid anybody he knew before leaving town. He felt very self-conscious and found himself shying away from people during the first week of his trip. He started to accept his haircut after a week or so and relaxed into his vacation, but found that the kind of people who were attracted to him or made contact with him were very different from before. As the third week ended, Harry noted that his haid, while definitely grown in a bit, was still shockingly short.

When Harry returned to work on Monday, it was worse than he anticipated. Everybody seemed to comment on his "scalping." His boss, always way ahead on the emotional intelligence scale, called him in ostensibly to see how his vacation went. But, gently probing him, the story of his vacation haircut came out (albeit edited into a spur of the moment decision and a miscommunication with the barber). His boss said all the right things and assured Harry that everything would be back to normal soon enough. He did suggest that Harry "keep it light" and even go in for a bit of a clean up of his neck in a few weeks to keep up his normally neat appearance. Harry thanked him and left.

Harry's hair grew back slowly over months and months. He had learned his lesson well. Fantasy was fine, but reality bites, as the old movie title said.

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