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Like a lot of guys back in the ‘70’s I was always trying to see what I could get away with my parents. When I was in my early teens the main bone of contention between us seemed to be the length of my hair. I wanted to grow it and they were always after me to go to the barber. I would postpone it and delay it and stall for as long as I could. My parents’ nagging would escalate to yelling and would always end with the threat that if I didn’t get a haircut that they would cut it themselves. When it got to this point I usually caved and went to the barber but one time I decided to call their bluff. It turned out to be a mistake.

This time when I reached the end of their patience my hair was brushing the tops of my shoulders in back and was just about the same length on the sides. The hair in front covered my eyes and reached to just about my chin. I was feeling good about my decision to stall because my father was away on business and wouldn’t be back for another week & a half. I thought that I could hold out until then. When my mother suddenly stopped nagging me about my hair I should have been suspicious but I figured that she was also just waiting until my father got home.

On Saturday, the week before my father was due back, my mother told me that she needed me to help move some things into my aunt’s attic. When we got there I found out that my mother and aunt’s cousin, Jeanne, from upstate was visiting. I had met her several times in the past and she had always been sweet but also seemed a little straight laced and strict. After we moved the boxes into my aunt’s attic we were sitting in her kitchen eating a little snack when my aunt mentioned that my hair was longer than she ever remembered it being before. My mom immediately chimed in with the fact she had been trying to get me to get it cut for weeks but that I just kept stalling and putting it off. They both started in on how bad it looked and how much I needed to go to the barber. Their cousin just watched the exchange and said nothing. It was at that point that things started to move fast. My aunt said that her cousin cut her husband and children’s hair and that if I didn’t want to go to the barber that maybe she would cut it for me. My mother thought that was a great idea and so Jeanne. In fact she had even brought her haircutting kit with her. Sensing that I had been set up I started to argue and complain. I told them that I didn’t want an amateur cutting my hair and that I would promise to go to the barber soon. My mother & aunt listened but said that since Jeanne was already here that it wouldn’t hurt for her to take a look at it. They went off to get her kit along with a towel and chair. While they were gone their cousin took me by the shoulders and shook me. She told me that I was going to sit down when they got back and accept anything that was done to me. I started to protest and received a stinging slap across my face for my trouble. She told me that I looked like a girl and that she would make me look like a proper young man. My mother and aunt were on their way back cousin Jeanne raised her hand again and told me that our conversation was to stay between us. I was so shocked that I just nodded. My mom & aunt got back with a wooden kitchen stool, a large white towel and their cousin’s haircut supplies. I got very nervous when they opened the case and I saw that in addition to scissors and a comb it held a huge set of clippers, a razor and shaving cream. They put the chair in the middle of the room and told me to take a seat. I hesitated for a second and got a very stern look from Jeanne. I sat down nervously and had the towel wrapped tightly around my neck, they had to pull my long hair out from underneath. Jeanne took her comb and none too gently combed my hair out to its full length. When she was done all three women stood around me clucking and shaking their heads. Ignoring me completely, cousin Jeanne asked my mom what she wanted done. I looked at my mom hoping that she would just ask Jeanne to trim it a little. I thought that this might get my hair off their minds and allow me to get to a salon where I had some control over what was going to happen. No such luck. My mother said that she thought it was time for a change and that she wanted to put off the next haircut argument for as long as possible. This was too much for me and I started to get up. Jeanne’s hand came up cat-like quick and again smacked me hard. I waited a second for my mother to protest but she said nothing. She and my aunt took me by the shoulders and sat me back down. Their hands stayed on my shoulders preventing me from getting back up.

Cousin Jeanne picked up her scissors and comb and stood square in front of me. She combed out my bangs again and held them out straight. She opened the scissors around them, thought for second and them moved up another two inches. Without hesitating she closed the blades and quickly sliced them away. They were now midway between my hairline and my eyebrows. She started to move around the stool lifting up long locks of my hair and mercilessly chopping them down to a few inches. When she got to the back she gathered my hair into a short, thick ponytail. She pulled it taut and opened her shears around it as close to my scalp as she could. She closed the scissors around it and hacked and hacked until it came away in her hand. She dropped the handful of hair into my lap and gave me a triumphant look. She continued moving around me picking up long pieces of hair almost randomly and cutting them short. By the time she stopped my head was feeling quite light and the sheet and floor were covered with piles of my brown hair. Jeanne put down her scissors and picked up her clippers. She snapped a too small guard at the end and plugged the clippers in. She moved behind the stool, placed her hand on my head, pushed it forward until my chin rested on my chest and turned the clippers on. She put the humming clippers at my nape and just before pushing them up into my hair turned them off. With her other hand still holding my head down she gave the clippers to my mother. My mom stepped up behind me, placed the clippers against my skin and turned them on. The snap and the loud buzzing made me jump but my aunt and cousin Jeanne kept me in my seat. My mother waited just a second and then pushed the clippers up into what was left of my thick, brown locks. Immediately soft brown hair started raining down on me, piling in my lap and spilling onto the floor. Mom seemed nervous at first but soon got the hang of it and ran the clippers from back to front over my head several times. She took over holding my head from Jeanne and pushed it firmly to the left to expose my right side to her clippers. She ran up them and around my ear and then over the top again. My left side got the same treatment and soon my once long hair was reduced to a uniform half inch. My mother turned off the clippers and put them down. She and my aunt used a small whiskbroom and brushed all of the cut hair from my neck. Cousin Jeanne filled her hand with shaving cream and spread it around my neck and ears. She used her razor to carefully scrape away the stubble there.

I wasn’t allowed to look at my new haircut until we got home. I knew it was brutally short by the amount of hair that was on the floor and could feel cool air blowing on my neck & ears. When we got home my mom told me that Jeanne was moving down to the city and that from then on I report to her twice a month for a touch up. When I looked like I was going to protest she told me that my was short now but could definitely be shorter still. I decided to keep quiet and at least a little of hair.

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