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Trevor's Tresses and a Trio of Haircuts by Manny
Chapter 1 - Trevor receives an invitation
I had seen them in the store several times, the young father being very solicitous with his young son. As he wheeled the grocery cart through the aisles, the father would lean over and even stoop down periodically to be on eye level as he delivered a message with a very earnest, kind, almost pleading face. However, the boy's sad countenance would not change. Then, grocery shopping would continue with several additional items added to the cart before the father would try again.
What really caught my attention, to be honest, was the father's thick mane of gleaming brown hair. As he leaned over to address the boy, the glossy locks would tumble in lovely sheaves and dance about. Several times I had wheeled my own cart up close to the duo and surveyed the well cut coif the man sported. It was stylized with very precise lines that struck a wonderful balance between long and carefree with groomed and tidy.
As the duo moved to the check-out line, I jockeyed to get right behind them. And, as the check-out lines were all very long, I considered myself lucky to be treated to a prolonged, close-up look at the lovely locks that hung well below the base of the handsome man's collar. I was also able to hear their on-going conversation.
"Listen, son, we're already in line and you chose the chocolate chip. If we go back and change it, we'll be here forever," the father explained patiently.
"But you promised. You said I could have whatever I wanted.... And I want peanut clusters now," the lad pouted.
I seized on the opportunity to connect to the man beneath the magnificent mane, "I can watch your cart for you if you want to run back and exchange the ice cream. Seems like we're stuck for a while -- problem with the cash register."
The man looked at me and smiled grateful, "Oh, thanks! Come on Teddy, let's go get the peanut cluster ice cream!"
They were back before the line budged a single inch. The cash register continued having a problem and two managers were buzzing around.
"I hope you didn't think I was rude, listening in," I said apologetically. "I feel a bit embarrassed for having listened in."
"Not at all," the fellow replied. Then he lowered his voice and continued, "I'm the one who's embarrassed. People must think I'm spoiling him rotten. But, I did promise him he could have whatever he wanted. It's the first time he's come to spend a few nights with me since the divorce. I want it to be a good time for both of us, but he won't say much except that he wants my ex- and me to get back together. I'll say, 'what do you want for supper?' and he'll reply, 'for you and mommy to live together again.' Ditto for 'what do you want to do tonight?'...it's like a broken record. It's going to be a long, hard three days if things don't change. The peanut cluster ice cream was the first realistic thing Teddy's suggested, so I'm really glad you were able to let us make the exchange."
"Mind if I try to get his mind focused on something other than your relationship with your ex?" I asked.
The fellow ran his fingers through his glossy locks and sighed, "Be my guest!"
"Hey, Teddy, have you ever been to Gymboree?" I asked.
The lad's eyes lit up. "Sure, just once! I love that place. Jimmy's birthday party was there. Those huge slides into the vat of plastic balls is my favorite!"
"And would you like all the pizza and hot dogs you want for supper?" I asked.
"That would be awesome," the lad replied.
"Well, I'm the manager of Gymboree, and I'm inviting you and your Pa there today to come to play. There are always lots of kids on Friday afternoons," I said.
"Can we, Dad?" the boy begged.
"Don't worry," I said to the father, "I have a little man cave where we can hang out and knock down a few beers while Teddy expends energy in the bouncy toys and the vast array of indoor equipment." The father gratefully accepted my offer and I handed him my business card with the address.
He glanced at it momentarily and asked, "How can I ever than you, Jay? I'm Trevor, by the way," he said as he extended his hand to deliver a firm greeting.
Chapter 2 - An Alliance Forms Against Trevor's Tresses
Once we got Teddy connected to some other kids running around wild inside Gymboree, Trevor and I retired to my hang-out where we could relax, talk and keep an eye on the lad from a distance. Trevor launched back into his story about being a newly single father and how hard it was to build a relationship back with Teddy. As he talked and I listened, I surveyed his lovely hair and wondered what it would be like to lead him to the local barbershop and watch a cape being fastened about his nervous neck. Clip, buzz, the sheaves of hair falling..... His discourse was in one place and my mind was another!
"Thanks for listening to me. I know I'm babbling on," Trevor apologized. "I'd be happy for you to change the subject!"
"I hope this doesn't come across wrong," I stammered, "but you have fantastic hair. Where do you have it styled?"
Trevor ran his fingers through his locks, "Bruno's Salon. In fact, I just got it cut this morning before picking up Teddy. I didn't want to look too sloppy when his mother dropped him off. Glad you like it. But, actually, I had a new stylist and she cut it differently with these layers. Then there was this prolonged session with the blow dryer that I don't intend to do each day. It's hard enough getting out the door to work -- I want to wash it, comb it, and walk away. I am afraid this haircut looks a little too, uh, prissy. You don't think?"
"Well, long hair on men can be tricky," I said. "I used to wear mine long. Quite long, actually."
"Really?!" Trevor exclaimed, examining my overgrown crewcut. "And now you've got an almost military look. Did you go shorter over time?"
"Nope. It came off in one fell swoop! It had been getting on my nerves for a while -- especially with the warmer, windy weather. One day I felt really frustrated with my computer and then my printer ran out of toner. So, I ran over to this office supply store than had just opened around the corner in this little arcade on the main drag. The wind was whipping, and when I got there, I looked and felt like a mess. Directly across from the office supply store inside the arcade was a traditional barbershop. While I was in line to pay for the printer cartridge, I had a direct view of the barber; he was just finishing up his client, shaking the cape. On the spur of the moment I decided to take matters into my own hands and put an end to the long hair. Right then, right there. Just head straight from one shop to the other and get the big chop!"
"Wow! Bet you startled the barber, walking in there with hair past your shoulders!" Trevor exclaimed.
"Actually, he looked quite excited. Motioned for me to take a seat right away and caped me up. Struggled to get a comb through my hair. Laughed that I obviously was not a regular customer. When he asked me how I wanted it cut, I told him -- the shorter the better, something very low maintenance and practical. He suggested the sides and back clipped tight and the top cut down to under an inch. And then the hair started to fall! Actually, I was surprised at how quickly he took me down."
"You must have been scared sh*tless," Trevor said, as his son Bobby pushed the door to our man cave retreat open and came.
"Actually, from the first moment I felt the clippers going up the back of my head and saw the long hair hitting the cape, I felt a huge relief. Even though he was aggressively cutting my hair very short, the barber had such a gentle, soft touch. It was exciting, and I felt great about my decision to visit the barber," I explained, as I acknowledged Bobby with a wave. "Having fun out there with the other kids?" I asked.
"Yes! You're so lucky to work here!" he replied. "Did you used to have long hair like my father?" Teddy suddenly asked.
"Longer! Until I told a barber to cut it all off!" I replied.
"I wish my dad didn't have long hair. My friends used to tease me and say it looked like I had two moms," he pouted.
"Teddy, when people say mean things, you need to learn to ignore them," his father chided.
"Now they're saying I don't have any father," he retorted.
"Honey," Trevor said, as he soothed his son, "Of course, you still have a father. We just don't live together anymore." Trevor shot me a look, like -- 'here we go again'. Are you ready to go home now? I'm afraid the ice cream is melting in the car."
"Can't we eat it in here?" he asked. "I still want to play."
"Trevor - run out and get it. We can have some now," I suggested.
When Trevor was away, I decided to push my agenda forward. "Isn't it fun having your dad all to yourself and him doing whatever you ask?" The boy nodded. "If you like my short hair better than your father's long hair, maybe we should walk over to my barber after we have our ice cream. My barber could cut his hair nice and short like mine."
"Then he'd look like a real dad!" chirped Teddy.
Chapter 3 - Trevor Changes His Tune
Trevor came in with ice cream, and I quickly excused myself to go get some bowls and spoons and also pick up some slices of pizza.
A few minutes later, when I approached the door, I heard Trevor talking in a strained 'patient' voice to his son, "Teddy, Daddy doesn't need a haircut. He just got one this morning. And remember, I am the father and you are the child. It's up to me to decide my own hair length."
I nudged the door open and saw the two sitting there silently, looking at each other. "Is everything all right?" I asked innocently.
Trevor gave me a cryptic look and mumbled, "Teddy and I were just having a little father-son talk."
"Can I go out and play? I'm not hungry," the boy said and then bolted from the room.
"Jay, I don't know what to do!" Trevor said in an exasperated tone. "Now he's ragging me about my long hair."
"And you don't want it cut...." I said, trying to draw out his thinking.
"Well, if I were to cut it, I would want it to be my decision. Not the result of some guilt trip by my whining child!" he exclaimed. "Like when you decided to go for the big chop. It was your decision, and you acted on it."
"If you want a haircut that amounts to 'wash it, comb it and walk away' I'd be happy to recommend something that would work well for you!" I laughed.
"You may have seen the light and had a dramatic barbershop conversion, but I'm not there. And really, is that right to give into whining?" he asked earnestly.
"I'm no family counselor, but I do feel sorry for Teddy. You're sending him mixed messages. Maybe the mistake was promising him whatever he wanted -- obviously something you couldn't and probably shouldn't deliver on. You should've said something like 'Dad is going to do what he can to make sure we have a fun time on your visits'. Trevor, you need to think about what you can do for Teddy, and not just be negative about his requests. For example, if at the grocery store, when he wanted to change ice cream flavors, would it have been so horrible to get out of line and have to wait a few extra minutes? Were you in a huge rush? No, you could have done it easily, but you chose not to."
Trevor flashed a huge grin. "Yes, it would have been horrible....because then, I wouldn't have met you! Jay, I feel like I've know you for ever. You seem so kind and caring. And I'm such a whiner and negative. OK. Tell me what to do, and I'll do it!" Trevor said flatly and firmly.
"Really?" I said with a twinge of warning in my voice.
"Really! Whatever you say goes," Trevor said as he nervously ran his fingers through his long, silken locks of mahogany.
"You go out there and find Teddy. Tell him the pizza is getting cold. Come eat and afterwards the three of us are going to the barbershop. You'll be killing two birds with one stone -- a short haircut would be more practical and you'll score points with Teddy."
Trevor gulped, gripped the chair handles, forced himself to stand and slowly left the room. I watched him through the window, nervously fondling his long hair as he looked for his son.
Minutes later the boy came bursting through the door all excited. "Where's my pizza?!" he exclaimed.
Trevor looked like his stomach was in knots as he sat there watching his son. I felt sorry for the nervous longhair and motioned him over to the corner. "Listen, I think I gave you bum advice. You look miserable. Obviously you're much more attached to your long hair than I ever was."
Trevor laughed nervously, "I'm not even thinking about the barbershop. I'm thinking about what a wretched father I was, and I still am. How selfishly I behaved. It's what my wife and I argued most about. 'Spend more time with Teddy' she'd tell me. 'Why have a son if you don't want anything to do with him?' I'm going to turn a new leaf. And it's starting with the haircut. Yes, I have been very fussy about my hair. Everyone tells me how great it looks and how sexy it is. The compliments stoke my vanity and I end up spending tons of time and money on hair care. I was more interested in playing the male model hunk than the dedicated husband and father. But now, I'm putting an end to it. And I want it cut punishingly short so that each morning when I look at myself in the mirror I'll remember to put others first -- especially Teddy. My marriage is over, but I'll be the best father I can be."
"Oh, Trevor, I'm so proud of you!" I gushed, sincerely.
"I'm done with my pizza!" Teddy announced.
"Great! Now if Jay is ready to show us where, it's time for me to get a genuine, barbershop haircut!" Trevor announced. He could not conceal the joyful feeling.
As the three of us walked to the arcade, I suggested, "Why not let Teddy tell the barber how you should get your hair cut? There's a big vintage chart on the wall of 'official barbershop haircuts'. He can pick one for you and tell the barber what number it is!"
"Would you like that, Teddy?" his father asked.
"What I want is for my dad to get his hair cut just like mine!" the boy said cheerful. That meant that Trevor was heading for a traditional 'short back and sides' haircut, tapered short around the ears and angled bangs.
"Won't you look swell with matching schoolboy haircuts," I snickered.
"Maybe this isn't such a good idea after all," Trevor whispered to me as he slowed his pace. Then he laughed and suggested, "Hey, Teddy, why don't we both get new haircuts? Surprise your mom when she picks you up with matching baldy cuts? Well have the barber clip us down to nice tight butch cuts!"
"I'd love that, Dad!" the boy shouted as he clapped a hug around his father.
Chapter 4 - Trevor's Transformation
Trevor's joyful mood only lagged slightly as we entered the arcade and he saw the twirling barber post. Teddy ran towards the shop, giving Trevor a chance to tell me, "You've been a godsend, Jay. Even though I'm nervous about shedding all my precious hair, I know it's the right thing to do."
"Steady on, chap!" I replied. "I didn't want to tell you this earlier, but that girly-boy look the new stylist inflicted on you is super faggy. The butch will be much more becoming for a young father. Now, chose a number between 0-4," I instructed.
"Two," he replied.
"Okay, tell the barber to use a #2 guard -- clip it to a uniform length all over," I said as I held the door open to the empty shop.
"Hello, Jay," my barber called out. "Brought us some new clients today?" he said as he eyed Trevor's stylized mane.
"Sure did! Which of you has the most powerful set of fastfeed, heavy duty clippers?" I asked with a wink.
"That would be me," said the owner of the shop, "which I take it means Dad will sit here and junior there with Brian, my partner."
Trevor mounted the steel foot rest of the huge barber chair, sank into the welcoming overstuffed leather cushion and began to twitched nervously.
"First time to a real barbershop?" the old man asked.
"Yep, Jay there talked me into it. I mean, he said that a barber would be able to give me a more manly haircut," he chattered absentmindedly.
The barber started combing through the long, soft hair. "This is very long!" he exclaimed. "You definitely have been hanging out at the salon. So, how do you want it cut today?"
"Baldies!" Teddy exclaimed from neath the cape of the neighboring chair. "Matching ones."
"That's right," added Trevor, "Give us #2 butch cuts."
"That'll be a big change," the barber stated matter-of-fact. Then, he brought the clippers up to the heavy forelock and was about to strike, when Trevor interjected, "Aren't I going to be able to watch the transformation?"
"Well, I usually face my clients away from the mirror. Especially in situations like this....don't want any teary protests once the haircut starts. Had a pretty boy in here once that needed to get cleaned up and he was very weepy about shedding his prized locks." The barber paused and stared at me with a sort of knowing look. Fortunately, he quickly returned his attention to his client. "However, I guess if you really want to watch, I can make that happen." The barber slowly swiveled the chair to face the mirror. "Here goes....."
Trevor caught a fleeting glance of his long, stylized hair resting gracefully on the barber's cape before his view was obliterated by the barber's hand and huge set of clippers. Instantly, the clippers were plowed straight down the top of his head and mounds of shiny brown hair cascaded in ample sheaves to the white cape with blue pin stripes.
"Agh!" Trevor gasped. "That's brutally short!"
"Now you know why they keep the clients faced away from the mirror," I said dryly.
"Oh, sorry, I'll be good and quiet," Trevor added sheepishly.
The front row seat to Trevor's transformation was a real treat. He sat compliantly while the old barber clipped his cultivated tresses off to a uniform stubble. The man was firm in wrenching Trevor's head forward and to the sides as he clipped away the copious overgrowth of shimmering brown hair. Piles of the shorn locks collected at the barber's feet.
"So what's the occasion?" the barber asked after he'd cleared away the overgrowth and started a second mow-down to tidy up stray, unclipped strands.
"Superior father-son bonding," Trevor replied without missing a beat. "Teddy there thought I would look better with short hair, and so we made a pact: twin baldy cuts."
The rest of the haircut was administered in silence with the barber carefully clipping the shorn pate over and over until it was all completely uniform to a very short pelt of hair. Then the barber took a huge duster and whisked away at Trevor's face and ears and neck and head. Teddy giggled with delight as his barber gave him the duster treatment concurrently with his father's.
At the end of the haircut, Trevor reached his hand out from under the cape and grasped a handful of the long, shorn tresses that lay in his laps. "Can you believe I just paid the stylist $60 this morning and now her work is going to be swept up and tossed into the trash?"
"We'll, if you become a regular here, you'll never shell out more than $16, and that includes a generous tip," I remarked.
The barbers removed the capes, and Trevor examined himself closely in the mirror. Then, he asked his son, "What do you think?"
The boy answered diplomatically, "No one will ever think I have two mothers again!"
I stood and congratulated Trevor on his new look. "It took a real man and caring father to do that," I whispered in his ear.
Chapter 5 - Trevor Turns the Tables
I asked Teddy if he was ready for another round at Gymboree, when Trevor cut me off brusquely, "Oh, we're not leaving yet. It's Uncle Jay's turn to get his baldy cut -- right, Teddy?"
I was taken aback. "What?? I didn't...."
"No need to thank us, friend! It's the least we can do to pay you back for the free time at Gymboree. Now, which is your usual barber?" Trevor demanded in an authoritative tone.
"Right here, Jay!" the owner of the shop announced as he patted the chair. "I've been nudging Jay to go shorter for a while now, but he's been hesitant."
Then Teddy piped up. "Hey, that's the chart over there that Uncle Jay told me about. I want to pick out a special haircut for you -- can I, Uncle Jay?"
I looked at Trevor as Teddy put his hand in mine and led me over to the chart. "Sure, why not?" I said, with resignation.
"Look at #4 up there. I think that's neat!" chirped Teddy.
"A flattop!" I gasped. "Oh, I really think I, uh...."
"Jay!" Trevor snapped. "The barber is waiting for you! Over here now!"
I shuffled submissively across the floor and took a seat. Trevor looked very handsome and manly with his shorn head as he towered over me. He lightly fondled my plush silken top. "Yes, take this down very short and very flat. Landing strip up here with the sides and back lather shaved!"
The barber placed the cape around my neck and then began to tell Trevor a story that made my face turn near crimson. "The first time I caped this fellow up, he had thick, long hair that hung past his shoulders."
"You don't have to tell him this story," I protested.
"Jay's already told me how he had it all cut off in one fell swoop and felt great about it -- kind of like I feel today," Trevor purred as he examined his clipped head in the mirror again and rubbed his son's baldy cut.
"Oh, my," the barber murmured. "Your reactions could not have been more different! You see, Jay here was that pretty boy I told you about when you asked why you needed to face away from the mirror. His lush locks were all nicely brushed and groomed when they walked him in here. Silken and shiny like he'd just had a nice creme rinse at the salon."
"They who?!" stammered Trevor. "I want to hear this whole story!"
"The owners of Gymboree and longtime clients of mine. They're brothers -- no nonsense types, former military. Jay was all dressed up for a job interview and his locks absolutely gleamed. But the brothers wouldn't have a longhair -- they were firm on their grooming policy for male employees. I thought Jay was either going to bolt for the door or break down into tears. 'He told us he'd get his hair cut for the job, but we decided to bring him here ourselves to make sure it was cut to specs,' the older brother said. How they hooted and laughed as I gave poor Jay his very first barbershop haircut -- military regulation cut. Tears fell along with the first locks when I sent them to the cape. He ended up with a high 'n tight just like he's going to get once again, at your instruction."
"Just do it," I muttered under my breath and dropped my eyes in shame. The barber had revealed the truth about my sudden makeover from long to short. I had been desperate for a job and was forced to agree to shed my prized honey-brown locks by the bully owners of Gymboree. And to this day, they make me keep it military-short.
"Well, if Jay here's already had a high 'n tight, then I think we need to go a bit shorter, this time," pronounced Trevor gleefully. "Shoe him!"
Without another word, the barber took the balding clippers to me and began peeling away 90% of my hair.
"Come on, Teddy. It's time we went home. Wouldn't want to let you see Uncle Jay tear up if he doesn't like his new haircut!" Trevor said.
"Dad, you're the best ever! I couldn't want a better friend," said Teddy sweetly. "Bye, Uncle Jay. Thanks for inviting us to play at Gymboree. Maybe my Dad will bring me again to visit you."
Epilogue: Two weeks later, I was surprised to see Trevor walking through the door of my man cave by himself. He wore an ear-to-ear smile. He grabbed me and gave me a big hug and squeezed me so tight I thought I'd collapse. "You are the best friend ever! Are you ready for the bro-mance of a lifetime?"
"What are you talking about?" I stammered.
"Kathy and I are patching things up -- all because of this haircut you engineered for me! I'm like a different person -- looks, for sure...but more importantly, outlooks. When she came to pick up Teddy -- after getting over the shock of seeing us both with baldy cuts! -- my son launched into this glowing report of our three days together. What a great father I was and how I even cut my long hair so that the kids would stop teasing him."
I gently fondled Trevor's plush pelt. "It's getting a little long, Trevvy," I joked.
"Don't worry, I'm getting to that. But, let me finish my story first. A few days later, Kathy called me back and said Teddy kept saying what a great father I was and she was amazed at my transformation. I told her all about you and how instrumental you were at putting my character flaws into focus. She wondered if the haircut would help me be a more sensitive and responsive husband too, and I invited her to try out the new me -- sheared of my selfish tendencies and self-absorption. We've finished our first week back together as a family of three again. I wanted to make sure this was for real before I came back here to tell you, Jay! You have been so important to our family."
"Oh, Trevor, I'm trilled for you!" I said as I clapped another hug around my new bro. "And here's a tidbit of good news from my part. When I got back to Gymboree after getting the horseshoe you made the barber give me, I ran into the owners. They were absolutely delighted that I'd been shoed! On Monday, I got my first raise, and it was substantial!"
"Let's celebrate -- back at the barbershop, side by side, under the cape," urged Trevor.
"Let's! But I do need to tell you something. I felt so ashamed that I lied to you about the circumstances that led to my shearing several years ago when I got the job here. I tried to project this in-control person who opted for the shorn look. Instead, it was imposed on me," I said with my head hanging down.
"Buddy!" Trevor exclaimed, grasping me again and hugging me. "Who cares about that? You're such a sweet, tender sensitive person....if I weren't already hitched..." His voice trailed as he caressed the thin rim of hair that comprised my shoe.
We both laughed and I gave Trevor's pelt a vigorous Dutch rub. "I was amazed by your beautiful hair when I first saw it in the grocery store, and even at this length you can still see how healthy and silken it is! But, now....it's time for us to head back to the arcade. You getting your butch clipped down tight -- to sandpaper! And, I'm getting my shoe scraped clean! This time, I'll pay the barbers," I declared.
"And, I'll thrown in the tips," replied Trevor as he led me to the door of my hangout and back to the Arcade Barber Shop.