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While the wife was away.

It was about time.  I thought she’d never leave.  I had been waiting for six months for this day.

In the past I had buzzcut my hair from time to time much to my wife’s (Kathy) disgust.  She didn’t like it so since September I had been letting my hair grow in anticipation of this March day when she was leaving to visit our youngest son, his wife and kids at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.  

Kathy and I are different about how we take trips.  I prefer a slower, quiet trip, visiting places to and from some destination.  She prefers to get to the destination and then visit places in the form of day trips.  This March trip was her kind of trip, in the planning for months, with her taking trips to Nashville and other places during her 10-day visit.

I stayed home, in part to tend to my business which was just entering a busy time but before anything else I was getting rid of this hair.  Six or seven months of it.  Three to four inches long all the same length since I had not cut it at all since that last buzzcut.

I had been planning my trip to the barbershop for as long as she had been planning hers.  In the past I had always buzzed or clipper shaved my own hair or when I could convince her, Kathy would grudgingly buzz it down for me.  I had even tried to shave my head but it never turned out right.  I had decided that I was getting the next cut from a barber preferably a female.

I had picked the shop in Weaver where we had lived a few years earlier and was about 50 miles away.  I had saved money to give the barber a handsome tip since I knew I would be asking for something she probably never expected and would call extra effort and skill on her part.  I had seen the barberette when we lived in Weaver before when I would walk by the shop on my way to the post office and had always thought of what it would be like to have her cut my hair.  I had women cut my hair before but it was always a salon, a Cost Cutters or something like that but never a real barber.

So the wife was off today, a Friday morning, so I had plenty of time but I wasn’t going to waste time either.  I gassed up the car and drove off.  I had thought it through.  I was going to just ask for clipper shave and see where things went from there.

I arrived in about an hour and was I in luck.  No customers so I would have the shop all to myself.  I ran my fingers through my hair one last time and walked in.

“Good morning.” she said cheerfully.  “If you’re needing a haircut have a seat.”

“Thank you.” I responded weakly as I took in the aromas and climbed up into the massive red chair.  Doing so both took me back to when I was a little kid getting crewcuts and flattops while startling me as I had become so used to the smaller, less imposing salon chairs.  She placed the cape on me with the tissue around the neck which led to new flood of memories of haircuts gone by.

“What can we do for you today?” she asked while running a comb through my hair.

“I would like you to buzz it ALL down to as short as your clippers can take it.” I had been practicing this answer in my head for days and after having composed myself it seemed to come out as I wanted though at the same time I was surprised to actually hear the words come out of my mouth.

“I can certainly do that but do you know how short that will be?” she said with questioning look.

“Yes” I told her as I took my glasses off.  “I have had it buzzed with the clippers before with no guard but I have never had a professional barber do it.”

Without my glasses I could not read her face.  Was she thinking “why me?” Or was she sort of proud that when someone would take such a step they would choose her.  However she may have felt she said cheerfully “Okay, let’s get to it then.”

I could hear her replace the blades on the clippers, turn it on then off, oil it then she began.  She combed my hair from my forehead a couple times perhaps to give me a chance to back out at the last moment.  Then combing so the hair would not fall back on the forehead she turned the clippers on and plunged them in, right down the middle, starting from the front and working her way back to the crown.  Again and again she took the same path making it wider until she had shaved the top to stubble.  I supposed I looked like men who are naturally bald on top but with little time to think of that she started on the right side.  She worked her way to the back as she flipped as much hair as possible on the cape so I could see what I was losing.  I think she knew I wanted to see the hair as it got shaved off and she clearly aimed to please.

Finally she finished at the left temple.  While she then went over the entire head again she asked “Would you like it if I were to shave the sides and back smooth with the razor?”

“Not unless you plan to shave it on top too.” I came back with my next practiced response surprised and pleased that what I had hoped for was coming true.

Soon the room was filled with the whine of the shaving cream machine to be followed by the feeling of her dabbing the cream on my head.  First the sides then the top then came the strapping of the razor.

This is the payoff I thought.  I had never been able to perfect this but she was approaching the task with confidence and ease as she scraped the stubble first from the left side then the back followed by the right.  Finally the top was gone too.

Inspection of her work followed as she rubbed my head to see if there were any places she had missed.  The whining of the machine again with some dabs of cream in about a half dozen spots, strapping the razor and the final touch up and she was done.  Spun around to face myself in the mirror I put my glasses on as was astounded by what I saw.  My head was smooth and shiny without a bit of hair.  I LOVED IT!!  

“If that smile means anything I think you like it.” she said breaking the silence.

“Yes, it is great.  It is just what I am looking for.” I said as she removed the tissue and the cape and began to reach for my wallet.  Handing her all the money I had saved I saw her open her eyes wide as she said “You must like it a lot!”

“I do.  See you next time my wife goes on vacation.” I said as I headed for the door.

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