Haircuts

Bill had been needing a haircut for some days.  Two boys had been needing haircuts for some weeks.  One boy had been needing a haircut since his last haircut.  I had hoped haircuts could be accomplished in a joint session, one that did not involve me, at Bill’s favorite local barber.  Instead, I found myself driving my shaggy husband to the airport for a trip with my shaggy boys riding along behind.

The dog decided to come along too.

And I happened to realize on the way that I had left my cell phone behind.

After dropping my husband off amidst so many tears you might have thought he was heading off to war, I returned to our little town and went to the barber shop.  Mary and Peter had fallen asleep, so I left Katie and Jenny in the car, parked right out front, to monitor them.  I got the boys in line.  Jenny kept going from the car to the shop and in no time at all, Peter was awake and playing in the corner with the toys.  A few minutes later, Katie comes in with Mary on her hip.

Fortunately, it’s a pretty big shop.

After Katie deposits Mary on my lap, she says she’s going back to the car for the keys.  It was a warm day, and I had left the car running with the air on.  A second later, she returns to tearfully tell me she had hit the automatic lock on the way out.  So, the keys are in the car, which is running and keeping the dog cool.

And my cell phone is at home.

I have several friends who would happily respond to my need for help, but I don’t know their phone numbers.  That’s what the cell phone is for, right?

Right.

The barber shop had a phone book, but a quick flip through it did not reveal the names I sought.  That’s the problem with having transient military friends.

While Fritz had his head shaved and Billy had his hair trimmed, I sat and thought.  I estimated I was 3 miles from home, and the road, which I have biked and run, is not a good one to walk with children.  I have AAA, but that would have taken up to another hour of my day which was rapidly approaching dinnertime.  Fortunately, I do live in a small town, and my dentist is also my neighbor’s dentist and was located about 200 yards down the street.  After Fritz was done, I sent him to the dentist’s office to ask them to call our friend who was able to get spare keys from our house and drive them over with very little waiting on our part. 

I really hope my husband can take the boys to get their haircuts from now on. 

*******

Meanwhile, my husband, visiting Texas, has some free time.  He finds a barber shop which bills itself as a man’s barber shop.  When he tells me this, I immediately think of pinups on the wall, but he describes the pool table in the corner and the strong smell of aftershave.  As he takes a seat, someone asks him if he’d like a beer while he waited.  And not just any beer, no, a bottled local brew.

“And it was free!” he tells me.

“How much was the haircut?” I ask.

“Twenty-six dollars,” he responds somewhat sheepishly.  That’s about double our local barber.

“Then it wasn’t free,” I tell him.

Fortunately, we’re not moving there any time soon, so it won’t be a habit.

*******

Back to Fritz: when he got his ** “high and tight, skin on the sides” ** the barber finished him up with a good dousing of aftershave.  He smelled so good and reminded me of his dad every time he passed near me that afternoon and evening. 

Of course, he hated it, and happily took a shower at his first opportunity just to rid himself of the stench.

** For those of you unfamiliar with the terminology of a military haircut, a high and tight is when the sides and back are very short and most of the hair is on top.  Skin on the sides means that you shave it all the way down.  Fritz got this cut nearly a week ago, so you can see it’s growing back already.

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4 thoughts on “Haircuts

  1. Love Shiner! I'm trying to figure out where in Texas this barber shop exists. 🙂

  2. KC – It's called Roosters in downtown San Antonio. It's equidistant to the Cathedral and St. Mary's; about a block and a half.

    Bill (DH)

  3. Hello Michelle,
    This post dates back from a while ago apparently, but it struck me almost with nostalgia, it’s so reminiscent of my youth and adolescence: my mum telling me I looked shaggy and needed a haircut whenever her eyes spotted me running around the house, and then then the Wednesday afternoons or Saturdays when she took me to the hairdresser and, upon het strict instructions I received the high and tight treatment. Fritz’ picture is like seeing myself in the mirror when I stepped out of the chair on those occasions. Cutting hair was an all female thing, it was an unisex village salon but all barbers and hairdressers were ladies, one of them was a friend of my mum’s who on Monday afternoons (the salon’s closing day) sometimes came over to our house to have coffee with my mum. It meant that even if I had succeeded to avoid the danger of a Wednesday afternoon or Saturday haircut in the village center, I wasn’t even safe when I came home from school at around 4.30 PM on Mondays. Sometimes I would find Vivian the hairdresser (that was her name) there, nicely chatting and having coffee with my mum, but… by 6 PM, just before she left there might all of a sudden be the “surprise” of Vivian having her cape, scissors and clippers in her bag (obviously upon my mum’s request) and before leaving she would “make me into a boy again” (that was one of my mum’s standard phrases when I took place in the hairdresser’s chair, “I want you to make him into a boy again”) and I knew it meant she wanted it to be cut not even very short, but very very short. I remember that when the hairdresser took off the cape (often echoing my mum’s words ‘it’s a boy again now’) my first reaction was to move my hand to the back of my head, to ‘measure the damage’, to ‘feel’ how short it was, if it had the raspy feel of at least one or two millimeters left, or if it was really all skin on sides and back. Definitely on special occasions like Communion of Confirmation or my older sister’s wedding, it was extra short, really skin on sides and back, on top clipper over comb to a few millimeters, bangs cut to the hairline). Recently I found three old pictures from around the time I must have been 16, taken in the salon, they must have been taken by my little sister. It’s me sitting in the chair with my fresh very short haircut, the cape is already taken off me, which means that the cut had already been approved by my mum (the back and sides were short enough apparently), but my mum still talking to the hairdresser about the haircut (it is not the Vivian referred to above but one of the others), on one of the pictures it is like my mum is making a scissor cutting movement just above my head, on another one, I slightly turn my head, it looks like preparing to get out of the chair, so that you can see the back of my head very well and see how skin tight it is really buzzed. (I actually thought some pictures also exist taken the morning of my sister’s wedding mass while I’m in the chair being buzzed very high and tight skin on sides and back but I didn’t find these, maybe they are somewhere in a box at my sister’s). Back then, I didn’t like it all that much, I would have preferred to be allowed to have my hair longer (I was a bit jealous of my sisters because girls were allowed to have long hair), and as a teenager, going back to school on mornings after my hair had just been cut so very short, I always felt uncomfortable, would have preferred to hide somewhere nobody could see me, fearing to be gazed at for my skin on the sides and back high and tight. Strange enough, years having passed, I feel nostalgic about it and now enjoy it myself a lot being cut so short and feel the clippers run up my neck and sides. It’s as if my mum’s words still resonate whenever I step out of a barber’s chair and let my hand run up my neck to feel how short it really is: I really feel I’m a man. So, that is the memory your post and son’s picture awoke, hope not having bored you with it.
    All the best,
    Jonathan.

  4. Thanks, Jonathan! I loved hearing your memories.

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