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The year was 1960, I was all of 13 and I wore my hair like most guys who followed after the Elvis look. The hair was combed back on the sides and long on the top. To maintain the hairstyle, you had to use a cream or Gel to control the hair and keep it in place. I was 11 when I first started to follow the Elvis look and had let my hair get a little longer each year till it was about 6″ on top and 4″ on the sides

Dad was noticing that more and more guys that played sports were opting for getting a flat top and some were even going shorter with a 1/2″ crew cut. Dad made the suggestion that I do the same. I replied “No way Dad, I like it long and stylish.” I was an athlete who played Soccer, Basketball and Baseball. The girls loved my hair long and always commented about it being in vogue. It was right that I keep it long and not to change with the times. Slowly though the hands of time were making changes, one by one all my friends were being forced to cut their hair by their parents from the Elvis look to the crew cut, a butch cut, or a flat top. Time was running out for me as everyday went by another friend had cut their hair short. I had lasted for about 3 months, avoiding the inevitable short crew cut. Finally that day came, Mom and Dad both said we want to talk to you son, we sat down at the dinning room table, they laid down the law. I was told very much to the point, that I was by Saturday, to get a crew cut, no excuses would be tolerated, there was to be no further discussion.

I was dumbfounded, betrayal by my parents, no out this time, this was Monday and by Saturday I needed to join the ranks of my friends who were all getting crew cuts. Dad then gave me the money to get the crew cut and said “By Saturday you will have a crew cut, do you understand me and your mother’s wishes.” “I nodded and picked up the money.” Saturday why that was just 5 days away. I was devastated, I had thoughts of me sitting in the barber chair and being asked how I wanted it cut and saying a crew cut please. I could not even bring myself to say those words let alone think about the clippers cutting off all my hair to a crew cut. I dwelled upon this thought and shivered at the though of the crew cut. I did a morning news paper route where I daily walked by Dave’s Barber Shop about 4 am. Each day I would go by Dave’s and would look into the shop. I would try to picture myself sitting in the barbers chair, being caped up and then telling Dave to cut it all off into a crew cut. The thought of having my long hair cut short was working on me I was looking forward to cutting it but not really each day I wanted to walk into Dave’s and get it over with but I could not do it, not just yet. I lacked the will to get it cut till the last day I held out. Saturday morning I did the paper route and stopped at Dave’s, I looked at the barber chair and pulled down my hood covering my head and said crew cut, and ran my fingers through my long hair, not long now I said to myself not much longer now.

I had avoided getting my crew cut till Saturday and I went back to bed at 5AM and slept for a while. Dad came downstairs and said “Breakfast is ready, come on now, today is the big day for your hair cut.” I got dressed about as slowly as one could. I was not looking forward to this event, but deep down I had practiced all week thinking about the clippers and my hair being cut. At the table Mom and Dad said they were going shopping and would be gone all day. I thought well I might get out of this yet. Dad had cooked eggs and sausage for breakfast. Dad made the comment about how nice it would be to see me in short hair when they got back this evening from shopping. Mom said it would be a change not having to wash the pillow cases that were always greasy from the gel I used.

It was 10:00 am and Dad said ” get in the car and I will drive you down to Dave’s as we go to town and do the shopping.” ” No ” I said “I’ll just walk to Dave’s.” Mom and Dad both kissed me and said how nice it would be to come home to a son with short hair like all the other guys. I watched T.V. for a couple of hours, I was avoiding the inevitable for as long as I could. I went to the bathroom and combed my hair for the last time. I then got up the courage to do this hair cut at about 3:00 PM.. I walked into the shop. The shop was full. I sat down in a chair to await my demise. I looked around the shop and saw all my friends from the neighborhood there. We were all here for the same reason I found out. All of our parents had conspired that we were all going to conform by getting our hair cut by Saturday.

We all wore our hair long just like Elvis. I sat and watched as Dean, Jerry, Tommy, Bruce, Paul, William, Mike, Larry, James and Matt were all called forward to get their crew cut. I watched as each one sat in the chair, was caped up, then had their long hair cut into a crew cut. I waited, I watched, I pretending to read a magazine, while I secretly looked as each friend succumbed to the clippers. I watched in awe as each head was reduced to a short cut. I watched as hair was flying off heads with each pass the barber made. We were looking at each other as anothers turn came to be the next victim. Each was summoned to the chair, with the flap of the cape and that familiar phrase “NEXT.”

I watched the haircutting unfold, it reminded me of sheering sheep. It was odd to sit and watch all that hair coming off each friend’s head and yet it was rather exciting to watch as the transformation from long too short hair was taking place. I watched and was now anticipating getting my hair cut. As each friend stepped down and rubbed his shorn head, I could not help but say wow, that looks good guy. The hair I did have too admit looked so cool short., I thought about no maintenance, no gels to buy. I was really looking forward to this hair cut now, but something inside of me was dreading to get it cut just yet. I was the leader of the group I was always a rebel and was looked to as a rebel. I was going to hold out till the last one was clipped, then and only then would I join the group. I even let some other kids with their parents go before me, just to be last that day.

“Next ” Dave called, I looked around, I was the only one left from my neighborhood of ten who had gone before me. I was the last hold out. I had not got my crew cut yet. Everyone was staying around to watch and see if I was going to rebel or comply. I got up, went to the chair and sat down. Dave caped me up, put the tissue around my neck, then fastened the cape with a clip. Dave then said “Well, you have held out till 5:00 PM, but it is now your time to get a crew cut.” My heart was pounding, I knew I was looking at myself with long Elvis styled hair for the last time. This was it, the last time I was going to have hair that was long and combed back on the side with a ducktail in the back at the nape I looked into the mirror in front that mirror reflected to the mirror behind the counter, there I could see the haircutting clippers in Dave’s hand. I noticed that there was no clipper guard attachment on the clippers? This meant my hair was going to be cut to a 1/16″ crew cut, not a ½” like the others had gotten? I asked Dave ” Are you going to put the ½” attachment on the clippers.” Dave shook his head and said. “Your Mom, Dadand all the parents voted for your cut to be extra short. We all know you are the leader, so if your hair is shorter it will take longer for yours to grow out long again.”.

The long hair I had grown out and kept long for the past two years, was going to be reduced from 5 in to a sixteenth of an inch. As I looked into the mirror in front of me I watched, eyes wide as saucers, as Dave, with a loud pop brought the clippers to life. I could hear the whirling of the clippers, funny they never sounded like this before? Dave said “Ready to join the crew cut gang.” I nodded and I looked out at my friend who all had ½” crew cuts, now watching me about to get my hair cut. I was a little terrified to say the least as Dave started with the cli
ppers at right side of my head, up the clippers came and plowed through the side burns reducing them to nothing but brown short stubbly hairs. I watched as the long hair was being plowed through at the ears next, then the right side of the nape. With each pass being made, there became a fresh 2″ white swath of head, with a brown stubble.

Each stroke sent hair flying to the floor with a plopping sound, the floor was piling up with my long hair now. Dave took two more trips up the nape to crown and I saw nothing in the mirrors but a white walled whole left side, while the right side still was full and thick of hair. I watched in total shock as Dave then ran the clippers from the nape of my head, to the right side of my head, over the ears, I counted cut number eight, nine. I was completely white walled now on both sides.

Dave brought the clippers, roaring like a monster wanting to cut throught the only hair left on my head. The clippers were positioned as though looking at me and all the long hair left that had to go. Dave put the clippers about an inch away from the front of my head, then with precise accuracy ran the clippers like a race car from the front of my head to the crown. The hair was peeled off and fell onto the cape across my lap, each pass gave rise to a great plopping noise onto the cape like it did when it hit the floor. I counted ten, eleven, then twelve, before I was totally shorn. The cut took place while I sat watching it transpire through the mirrors. As fast as the clippers could go, I was shorn and reduced to an all white head with brown stubble. The whole event was exhilarating. I was shorn like the rest of my neighborhood now. It had all taken place in a matter of about 45 seconds, twelve clipper passes, that took me from a super long, to a super short crew cut. Dave undid the cape and I felt the short hair for the first time, it was like rubbing your hand across fine grained sand paper, but yet it was really feeling cool, not hot like the long hair was.

Looking back at this haircut, I think about how odd it was to have long hair one minute and watch it reduced to stubble in twelve passes in less then a minute. For the next four years we all kept the crew cut look. Then in 1965 we all graduated High School and had grown our hair out like the Beattles, which was to cause another revolution in hair culture and another story to be told..

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