Posted by: haircutsrevisited | June 10, 2009

A Short Story

A Short Story 
By Tammy

Foreword: This story is proof I was a Barbershop Watcher when I was young. I used to live in this neighbourhood, this barbershop is real. this barber did used to hang out in front of the shop, and he did on occasion invite me for a haircut….but I never did

I grew up in a small suburb north of Toronto called Richmond Hill. When I was in High School, I used to walk to and from school everyday following the same route. I lived just north of the High School in the main part of our town. I used to walk north on Yonge Street after school and cut through the local shopping plaza as a short cut to get home just behind it. There was a walkway on the north end of the Plaza where there was a Barbershop and a Beauty Salon in an enclosed area. I used to walk through there to and from school as my apartment building was directly across the street on the other side.

On the way home the Barber would sometimes be sitting out front on a bench. As I would walk past him he would say ‘Hello’ to me and I always would say hello back. On the odd occasion he would politely ask, “How about a haircut today?”  I would always smile and say ‘No Thank-you’. I thought it a strange invitation, as I never knew a girl to get her haircut in a barbershop before. He was a very sweet man though, always courteous.

On the days he was with a customer I would peek into his shop as I walked past. I found the shop very interesting. He took notice to this over time. In the winter months he would always be in the shop sheltered from the cold so our regular interactions were limited to the odd wave or nod as I walked past.

In my second year of high school in the spring I was walking home and he was back outside again as the weather was improving for the season.

“Hello,” he said with a smile.

“Hello,” I answered back.

“How about a haircut today?” he asked me.

“No thank-you.” I told him as I usually did.

“It would be on the house.” He offered.

I stopped and looked into the empty shop and said “Sure,” as to not to turn the offer down. “Why not.”

“Well come on in then,” he said as he invited me into his shop.

I followed him in and he spun the barber chair to face me, “Take a seat,” he said.

I put my schoolbag down on the floor beside the barber chair and took a seat sliding up into it. He spun me around to face the mirror.

“So what can I do for you then?” he asked me.

“I don’t know,” I said thinking about it. “Usually I just trim my hair to just past my shoulders at the mall. It’s been a while since I last cut it though.”

“Might I suggest a new style for you, something like this?” he said to me pointing over to a poster on the wall.

It was a poster that looked like it was from the 80’s. It had a guy and a girl posing together in the picture, their hair was neatly cut. Her hair was short around the ears and short in the back but longer on top and parted to the side. There were three smaller photos of her haircut down the side of the poster showing the sides and back a little better.

“Do you think that would look good on me?” I asked him. It was shorter than anything I was used to.

“Oh yes, of course it would. You would suit a short haircut very much. It would show off your features much better.” He said as he was trying to sell the haircut on me.

I sat there for a moment looking at my reflection in the mirror. I always wondered what I would look like with short hair. I was nervous but also intrigued. I walked past here everyday and must admit, I’ve thought about it before.

“OK” I said with a smile. “I trust you.” I told him. “You can do whatever you want.” I said confidently. “Whatever you think will look best.”

I knew my mother was going to kill me for this but I didn’t care.

“Great.” He said as he went to work. “We’ll do something nice and short for you then.”

“OK.” I said with a level of excitement. I couldn’t believe I was doing this.

He took a towel and a cape from his shelf and placed the towel over my head, He snapped the cape up in the air over me and let it settle over my shoulders, fastening it behind me with the towel tucked into it. He slid the towel off my head and it hung back down over the chair behind me and he pulled my long hair out from being tucked under the cape so it fell over the cape and towel behind me.

He spun me around and tilted the chair right back and my neck settled comfortably into the sink. He turned the water on and ran it adjusting the temperature as I could feel the over-spray on my ears and neck tingling a little bit. When he had the temperature just right he ran the water through my hair thoroughly and the warm water felt very relaxing.

The water turned off and he pumped a few pumps of shampoo in his hand and applied it to my hair working up a lather. The shampoo smelled sweet like scented strawberries. I closed my eyes and relaxed as he lathered the shampoo and he gave a slow and thorough scalp massage. I felt very relaxed in his hands.

The water turned back on and he washed away the shampoo as I could feel the warm water run through my hair again. He pumped a few pumps of conditioner and ran it through the ends of my hair quickly and turned the water back on to wash the conditioner away.

He tilted me back up and wrapped the towel around my head and towel dried my hair rubbing my scalp vigorously. I felt very relaxed from the pampering so far. He spun me around to face the mirror again and I looked at myself excited with anticipation. I felt knots in my stomach grow with every passing moment.

He took a cotton strip and wrapped it around my neck and tightened the cape snug, fastening it at the back. He started to part my hair directly down the middle from front to the back combing it out into sections and my wet locks hung over my shoulders forwards towards my lap. He tilted my head straight down into my chest and I felt as he was sectioning off my hair in the back over the back of the chair combing it straight out. He came around beside me and reached for a pair of scissors off the shelf. I tensed as he came back behind me now, as I knew this was the moment of truth.

I felt him comb out a section at my nape and heard the scissors close for the first time. Snip  Snip Snip Snip Snip, they worked very fast opening and closing rapidly cutting away at my hair in the back. I looked up in the mirror with fascination but couldn’t see what was happening back there yet as he was cutting away at my nape. He forced my head forward again back into my chest. I felt the scissors work up the back of my head slowly and vigorously snipping in fast motions. My nerves grew as he worked. I knew now there was no turning back.

He changed his posture behind me and I felt as he combed a section close to my crown and held it out between his fingers just above my scalp. The scissors dove in loping off over 16” of my hair. It fell on my right shoulder in perfect view in the mirror. I shook my shoulder a bit sending the lock sliding down the cape and into my lap. I took my arms from under the cape and grabbed onto it. I held it tight as he began cutting away at more locks of my hair. I didn’t dare let go of it and started fidgeting with it as I sat there.

I felt as he took more sections over my right side snipping away at all of my locks over my right ear reducing that to about 1” in length. I felt this haircut was going to be much shorter than I thought it was now looking at his work. It sent shivers down my spine.

He finished cutting off my hair at my right temple and the right side was now reduced to its new length. He came around my left side and I watch as he combed out more sections and held it between his fingers and SNIP…as another 16” lock of hair was released to my shoulder and slid down into my lap. He continued on my left side from back to front as well finishing at my temple.

He stopped the cutting for a moment and started combing the top straight back now, as that was the last area left that had not been cut. He combed a section out on top holding it between his fingers a couple of inches above my scalp and SNIP……Another massive lock of hair fell in front of me landing directly into my lap. He combed out section after section on top swiftly snipping them off reducing the last of my hair to a short length, only 2” long on top. A massive pile of my locks had rained down my shoulders and came to rest on my lap in front of me.

He tilted my head straight down again and ran the comb into the back of my hair in an upward motion. I heard the sound of the scissors as they rapidly opened and closed over top of the comb as they moved all the way up the back of my head. The sensation of this made me very nervous and I tensed up as I felt my hair being cut even shorter now.

He came slowly around my right side as he combed upwards and snipped away rapidly, all the way from the back to the right side of my head finishing up at my temple. My hair was taken even shorter now with a taper starting above my ear to the longer length on top. He came back around me and did the same coming around my left side creating a similar taper.

He combed the top out again section after section snipping away at the top taking that even shorter too. My hair was now being reduced to about 1” long on top with this next pass. This was definitely going to be a lot shorter than I thought it was going to be however I was far to dumbstruck to do anything about it now. It was definitely much shorter than the picture of the girl in the poster now I could tell. He finished up on the top and rubbed my head with his hand vigorously to loosen away the short clippings. I shook my head in reaction to this.

He put the scissors down and grabbed a large pair of clippers off the hook. They snapped on and I shook in the chair from the sound of them. He tilted my head straightforward again and I felt them touch my neck and move upwards into my hairline. The sound of them changed as they clipped away at my hair and I was trembling from the feel of it. He rapidly ran them up the back of my head with pass after pass and used a comb under them as he moved higher up the back of my head creating a tighter taper in the back and a fade towards the bottom. He came around my right side with them and used them just over my ear neatening up the hairline and creating a tighter taper then before with the comb as he went upwards. He came around my left side and finished it up the same way. He turned them off now and returned them to their hook. I was very relieved now that part was over.

He grabbed a towel and placed it over my shoulder. He pressed a button on a machine on the shelf  beside the sink in front of me and white foam came out of it. I felt as he applied the warm foam to my neck and over my ears and the sensation was amazing. He grabbed a straight razor off the shelf and came around behind me.

He tilted my head straightforward again and moved in with the blade. I felt as they slid down the back of my neck. He wiped the blade clean on the towel on my shoulder with each few passes.  He carved straight across the back of my neck and up my hairline over my right ear with them finishing up at the side. I was mesmerized be the sensation of it. He came around my left side and finished up over my left ear as well. He took the towel and wiped off my hairline with it and over my ears, and through it into a bin.

I reached my hand up to feel my hair in the back. I was shocked at how short it had been cut. It felt like a fuzzy peach in the back and it faded to nothing at the bottom.

He picked up a hairdryer and came around my right side standing over me and blow-dried my hair off ruffling the top with his fingers.

“This haircut is called a brush cut.” He said out loud over the hairdryer. “I left it a little longer on top for you so you can style it.”

When it was dried he put the hairdryer down and grabbed his scissors and comb and went over everything one last time perfecting the haircut on me. He put the scissors and comb down and got some gel and ran it through the top of my head ruffling the hair so it sat slightly messy.

”There we go,” He said as he ruffled the top. “This is how you style the top, just mess it up with some gel. This is a lot easier than what you had before with all that hair and all.”

He graded a duster and dusted me off as he unfastened the cape and loosened it over my shoulders. He reached for a hand mirror and showed me the back of my new haircut. I was shocked at how short it was. You could see my pale skin at the back at the bottom were the taper was. I reached up to feel it again and it was very short. Much shorter than I was ever expecting.

“This is really short.” I told him.

“This is a true barbershop haircut my dear.” He said to me. “This is my gift to you.”

He put the mirror back and slipped the cape off of my shoulders carefully to let my locks of hair fall to the floor in front of me. I reached up to feel it again and I was shocked at how short it was. It looked so different on me.

I got up and reached for my schoolbag on the floor beside the chair and my hair was covering the floor everywhere. I was amazed by how much hair was on the floor. I put my lock of hair I was holding on to into my school bag to keep it as a reminder of this day.

I took one last look in the mirror to try to take in my new haircut and what had just happened. I felt it again and began to relax a bit more looking at it and getting a feel for it. I ran my fingers all over it and loved the way it felt, especially at the back. “Excellent.” I finally said as I rubbed the back with my fingers upwards over the fade, I loved the sensation of it.

“Thank-you so much for this.” I told him. “I really do like it.”

“No problem, the pleasure was all mine.” He said. “and I’ll see you tomorrow?”

“Yep,” I said. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” I told him and left the shop and went home.

I got home and my mom freaked. I told her the story and she threatened to go down to the barbershop and ring his neck. I tried to calm her down but she was furious. My dad came home and, to my surprise, he loved it. He enjoyed the story I told him and as it was the same barber he went to for his haircuts, he thought I was very brave to do what I did. He calmed my mother down and told her not to worry as it would grow back – Only, I wasn’t sure I wanted it to grow back…

Everyone at school the next day was quite shocked at first but as the day went on, people got used to it. I got quite a few compliments later in the afternoon as people got wind of it. I loved it though and didn’t care what people thought as I couldn’t stop playing with it all day.

I walked home again on my usual route, and on the way I saw the barber sitting outside of his shop as usual. “Hey,” he said to me. “Looking good.”

“Thank-you.” I responded as I walked past. “It was a big hit today at school.”

“Very-Good.” He said with a big grin.

Time went by and my haircut grew in. It wasn’t long before I was walking home one day and the barber asked me. “How about a haircut today?” This was an offer that I couldn’t refuse. Only this time I was thinking something shorter, like with the clippers…

Thanks for reading,

Tammy

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