True Story: I grew up in the 1960`s, so I`d certainly had my share of short haircuts. Crew-cuts as a toddler and then the basic tapered-back with short bangs in front style from first to third grades. Then my hair got longer--as did everyone else`s as it was the 70`s by now. The only person it really seemed to bother was my Aunt Pearl. She still lived on the farm and believed in the traditional farmer haircuts that she gave her sons before they married and moved off the farm. The `farmer haircut` was a `Butch` in summer (completely buzzed down to 1/8 inch all over) and a `Hynie` the rest of the year, which was basically a Butch with just enough length on top to comb down into bangs (which Aunt Pearl clipped very short and straight). Aunt Pearl still gave this `farmer haircut` to the boys in the small town near her farm. It was still the tradition there and I noticed on my two or three visits to the farm for Christmas or Thanksgiving that my long hair stopped the locals in their tracks--with horrified expressions on their faces. Aunt Pearl would constantly give me grief about my long hair, saying `you look like a girl` or `my daughter left some dresses in the closet--why don`t you put one on?` or `If I was your parents, I`d buzz that hair off so fast...` June 1978: My dad finds out he has to spend the next six months in Germany. Mom needed to go along, too, so what would become of me? You guessed it. I was too young at 16 to stay alone and the only alternative--as my parents saw it--was for me to stay with Aunt Pearl. As we drove to Aunt Pearl`s, I was comforted by the thought that I was not her child and she was simply looking after me the six months my parents would be overseas. Surely, she would have no thought of cutting my hair.
My stepfather [was] a hateful, cruel little man. He enjoyed making me feel small and humiliated. That fateful summer he cooked up a scheme that not only would embarrass and humiliate me but would unwittingly transform me into a lifelong haircut fetishist. I had the misfortune of being born with several cowlicks. These cowlicks coupled with my extra thick hair made for an unruly mop when not kept short. However, I was always allowed to go way too long between haircuts which meant that hair would be growing over my ears, down into my eyes, and sticking up in several different places at the same time. Don`t misunderstand. My stepfather didn`t like long hair but he was too lazy to take me in for haircuts on a regular basis. Usually he would wake up one day and realize what a mess we both looked and off we would go to the local barbershop. It was during one of those in between times when we chose to visit our relatives. I heard my stepfather calling me from the front porch of the house. I went around to see what he wanted. I had no idea what the adults had been talking about so I felt no apprehension at all as I stepped into the doorway. My stepfather looked at me with a familiar smirk on his face, the one which always let me know trouble was coming and said, `see what I mean`. All the other adults in the room just looked at me for a moment without saying anything until my uncle finally said, `I don`t know. It might work.` My aunt then chimed in, `I`ve heard before it works.` I had no idea what they were talking about. My mother was strangley silent on the topic. Everyone seemed to be looking at my hair. I didn`t know but they had been discussing whether or not a headshave would rid a person of cowlicks. My stepfather didn`t believe it I`m sure. He just wanted a reason to shave my head.