THE FOUND CLIPPERS
When my wife and I moved in to our second house together, we found a few items left by the previous owner. In the bathroom closet an old Andis barber clippers was left, as if unwanted wherever the previous owner was going.
It was plain aluminium, a little scratched, and looked as if it was from an earlier era, from before the long hair of the 60’s. It had no attachments or instructions…just a lone clipper.
At the time neither my wife nor I thought much of finding them. I liked very short hair, but at the moment we both wearing moderate length hair and so had no immediate use for them. But something told me we’d get around to them in due time. We were occupied with moving and other stuff. After a few months we had settled in and on one of our visits to our friend Rene’s hairstyling salon I decided to let Rene cut my hair shorter. She wanted to try out her new clipper set, and I let her use them on the back and sides of my hair. The clippers hummed in a familiar if long forgotten way as she buzzed away, leaving about a half inch of black hair. It felt like my childhood in the barber chair, but better in some way I couldn’t put my finger on. Rene put the clippers down and cut the top with her scissors. Anyway I left with a brush cut and a new interest in our old clipper.
I went to a beauty supply and looked for a while, through more products for hair than I thought existed, and found a set of clipper guards that fit my relic. I was very pleased…but oddly enough I did nothing about it, just threw the attachments into the same cabinet as the clippers.
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Soon my wife and I went to a family wedding; uneventful except for us being told how “nice” we looked in our (for us) rather tame looking period. We often were more radical than the rest of our conservative families in appearance, but lately had been blending in more…not by design but accident.
The day after the wedding I got the desire to use the clippers on myself. I don’t know if it was the comments about my appearance….but I just wanted to strip away more of my hair, as if baring myself to the world in some symbolic way. I spread a sheet over the sink in front of the bathroom mirror, put on the 1/2 inch attachment on the clippers and plugged them in. I turned them on and was startled by how much this one jumped into life, snapping and clicking, then settling in to an ominous low hum. I started by buzzing the back of my head. I could feel little hairs fall on my shoulders, and a clump collected on the blade. As I worked over my ear the clump fell on the sheet, leaving a little pattern of black bristles on the faded print cotton.
I did the same to the other side, and if I’d have stopped there I would have had much the same cut as Rene had done…but I was possesed by an urge to clip more, and carefully placed the blade at my forehead and slowly pushed the now warm clippers over my head, leaving a swath of cropped black hair and hinting at the outline of my skull- I had not had hair cut this short since childhood. I finished up, and continued to trim up the odd stray for a few more moments.
Meanwhile my wife was watching with growing fascination. She said nothing the whole time. not while I was buzzing my head and not when I was cleaning up. I jumped in the shower and was surprised how good the water felt on my newly shorn head. More direct, more warmth, and my fingers felt great as they massaged away. I also liked the feelings of the towel drying off my stubbly hair. It was cool and refreshing…perfect for the coming New Orleans summer heat and humidity. And my reflection in the mirror- it was me as an adult, but I reminded myself of pictures from my childhood, tanned olive skin with a shiny black crewcut. I really liked how it looked, more than the long hair styles I’d worn most of my adult life. And it felt especially good that night with my wife’s fingers running through my cropped hair…..
Next day, she surprised me by asking if I would cut her hair like mine. By this time I realized my liking for short hair, very short hair, on women, and was excited at the prospect of cutting off her chin length bob. I happily agreed and asked when she wanted it done.
“Now” she exclaimed, and I began to set up the bathroom for another barbering session.
I sat her down and put a sheet around her slim shoulders, and asked if she was sure. She said yes, and I inquired as to how she wanted it cut. “Just like yours” was the reply, and I flicked the switch on the clippers. Snapping alive, they started their humming and I lifted them to her nape, and ever so slowly pushed them upward, through her thick bob. I watched as big pieces fell on the floor, and her neck was soon bared, exposing the places I loved to nibble and nuzzle and caress. I kept clipping, and going higher I pushed the shears over her double cowlick and on top of her head. Hair was now everywhere, on her and on me, but it didn’t matter. Her head was now taking shape, no fluffy hair hiding it, and she had as nicely formed a head as I could want, and her ears were small and neat and close to her head. Her hair was so soft at 1/2″, much softer than at her previous lengths, and by now there wasn’t any of the old cut left. I could make out every pattern of hair growth, sort of like abstract art, and it looked delightfully gamine on her oval face.
She drew a bath and I washed her hair. She loves having her head massaged and I enjoyed touching her soft crewcut, so it was a long shampoo and a long rinse, but I was in no hurry. After she dried off, we started kissing, deeply and sweet and passionate, and soon were off to the bedroom.
We got to like the cropped cuts very much. My wife doesn’t like to fool with hair and makeup, so it was perfect- no styling needed. Plus our friends though it “cool” so we had plenty of support…except our families, who thought we were crazy for cutting off our hair. Evidently, really long hair was too much for them…so was really short hair. Like I thought their mall hair/salon do’s were better….
To my surprise, we kept up these hairstyles until we moved to north CA where the weather is much cooler than NO. Now we get clipped for spring, but for the winter my wife lefts it grow out a bit, to a boyish bob. The old clippers gave its last years ago, but I’ll always remember the fun we got from it before it stopped running.