Charlie by Alan.
Charlie had been working hard all morning, there had been quite a few customers in since opening time at 9 o’clock that morning. Most of the customers had just wanted trims but one or two had had full-blown crops or flat-tops and there was one headshave. That was quite a pleasant surprise – the customer had been coming in for quite some time but it was the first time they’d gotten up the courage to go for it. When finished it looked fantastic, it really suited them. Anyway, just as Charlie was about to go for lunch, Max walked in followed by a stranger.
“Hi Max,” said Charlie.
“Hi,” said Max. “Let me introduce you to Chris.”
“Hi Chris,” said Charlie. “Have you started at the mill?”
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“Yep,” said Chris. “Been there about two weeks now.”
“Nice job except for the dirt and dust.”
“Which is why I’m here for a haircut. Max recommends you highly.”
“Fine,” said Charlie. “I do most of the staff up at the mill and one more is welcome. Take a seat and I’ll do you after I’ve seen to Max.” Max took a seat in the big old-fashioned barber’s chair. “What’ll it be this time round Max?”
“Well,” said Max. “I reckon I looked good last time in that high & tight flat-top you gave me so I’ll have the same again only take it higher and tighter.”
“Sure thing Max.”
Charlie proceeded to wrap the cape around Max’s neck and tucked a strip of tissue in with it. Picking up the clippers Charlie started up the back of Max’s neck with the blades set to 0000. The clippers made quick work of the hair that was sticking up above the blades. Pass after pass Charlie went up the back of Max’s head with the clippers up and over the occipital bone right up to the crown of the head before peeling away and throwing the hair stuck on the blades to the floor with the rest of the cuttings. Moving around to the left side, the blades soon peeled away the hair up and over the ear to where the curve of the head started before pulling away leaving the hair above ready to be squared off for the flat-top. Once the left was finished Charlie moved round to start cutting the right-hand side of Maxi’s head. Once finished with the back and sides, Charlie took out the flat-top comb and, pushing the comb into the hair from the front, took time to make sure that it was level before starting to cut. Adjusting the comb so that the front was inclined slightly upwards Charlie started mowing the hair standing erect above the comb. In sure steady strokes the clippers were moved slowly through the hair. When the top was flat and level to Charlie’s expert eye the comb was removed. Charlie then fitted a no. 2 guide to the clippers and began to finish of the top and sides freehand, moving front to back, cutting off any stray hairs sticking up. Nearer the back of Maxi’s head Charlie reduced the setting of the clipper blade inside the guide until at the crown of Maxi’s head the hair was barely 1/4 inch in length. Charlie then used the clippers to square up both sides of the cut, then giving the whole of the top of Maxi’s head a squirt of hairspray, Charlie took up a brush and hairdryer and brushed the hair so that it was stiff and erect. Then after clipping any more stray hairs Charlie took a squirt of shaving cream and gently rubbed it in around the neckline and up the sides of Maxi’s head. Then with a straight razor Charlie cleaned up all round taking the pronounced line where the hair had been cut away so that from bare skin the hair slowly faded in. Charlie wiped away the remains of the foam.
“How’s that Max?”
“Great,” said Max. “Better than the last time.”
“I always try to do a good job,” said Charlie. Max got up out of the chair and sat down on the bench seat against the wall. “Right,” said Charlie. “Next?”
Chris got up and sat down in the barber’s chair.
“What’ll it be then?”
“I’m not sure,” said Chris. “It’s kind of long right now, I haven’t had it cut for some time but it does get hot and dusty up at the mill. Have you any suggestions? Although I do like the way you’ve cut Maxi’s hair.”
“Well,” Charlie said, “You’ve got the right shape head for a flat-top or a high & tight, or even a standard crewcut.”
“OK then,” said Chris. “Let’s go with the crewcut and see how it looks from there.”
Charlie snapped the cape around Chris’s neck, tucked in a strip of tissue and began to run a comb through Chris’s hair to see which way it lay. The hair was about 2 inches long all over and pretty even. Taking the clippers Charlie snapped on a no. 4 guide and began to clip up the back of Chris’s head, working round the back and then up the sides. Soon the hair was reduced to a uniform 1/2 inch all over. Charlie then trimmed the edges up with bare clipper blades and asked Chris, “How’s that?”
“Great,” said Chris. “Well, I think you can go a lot shorter now I’ve seen this.”
“How much shorter?” said Charlie.
“Give me a flat-top like Maxi’s,” Chris said.
“One flat-top coming up then,” Charlie replied.
Removing the guide from the clippers Charlie ran them up the back of Chris’s head with the 0000 setting then, moving round to the side, took all the hair off up to the curve of Chris’s head. After cutting the other side the same, Charlie took the flat-top comb and inserted it through Chris’s hair, levelling it until Charlie was satisfied, then with the clippers cutting all the hair tight to the comb. When finished Charlie again took a can of hairspray, gave a quick spray and with the hairdryer and brush dried the hair until it was all level. Using the clippers Charlie then squared off the top and sides until what was left was a perfect flat-top. Then after taking a can of shaving foam Charlie smeared foam around Chris’s hairline and with a straight razor shaved the hairline until it faded into bare skin. Charlie wiped away the remains of the foam and asked, “How’s that?”
“I love it but I think I’ll have it shaved down more on the back and sides and can you cut it shorter on the top from about halfway back on top so that it fades into the shaved part of the back of my head?”
“Right then,” said Charlie taking out the shaving foam again. Charlie then covered the back and sides of Chris’s head with a layer of foam and with the razor shaved all the hair away from 3 inches above Chris’s ears, carrying on around the back and finishing up on the other side. When it was perfectly smooth Charlie took the clippers and with a no. 1 guide ran then up the back of Chris’s head over the shaved skin into the hair that remained on top to about halfway to the front of Chris’s head. Then with scissors Charlie blended the cut hair into the longer hair at the front making sure the square sides where still OK. When satisfied, Charlie used the bare blades to fade the shaved skin into what hair remained on top, a squirt of hairspray and a quick brush then a final snip here and there and Charlie was finished.
“Right then,” said Charlie. “Happy now?”
“Sure am,” said Chris, rubbing the finished cut. “It feels great! Now no matter how hot and dirty I get, a quick shower and no more worries about how my hair looks.”
“Glad you like it,” said Charlie. “Now you’ll blend in with the rest of the gang at the mill.”
“You’re right there,” said Max. “Me, Toni, Steve, and Mart and the rest of the girls up at the mill all prefer our hair this way and now that Christine has joined us we’re all one happy gang of female workers.”
As Maxine and Christine walked out of Charlene’s barbershop Charlene mused on the rest of the girls that worked at the mill. She thought happily of Toni, Stephanie and Martine. All those girls sported one of Charlene’s haircuts: flat-tops ,high-and-tights and one shaved head amongst them, and now the latest addition, Christine. Yes, thought Charlene, nice looking girls all of them. She then rubbed her hand over her own head and thought that it was about time she had her own flat-top freshened up!
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