SNELLVILLE — Never has a single haircut caused such a fuss. Some call it the “Benjamin Button Special;” others the “old man” cut. In either case, it’s supposed to be the cure for a misbehaving boy. A little bit of shame to get him back on track.
“So you wana act grown…well now you can look grown too,” Russell Fredrick posted on the Facebook page for his A-1 Kutz barbershop in Snellville, Georgia, near Atlanta.
The mother of a 10-year-old took Fredrick up on his offer. The ‘after’ photos show a boy who looks like a little old man with a pronounced bald spot.
Fredrick’s post has gone viral on Facebook and Instagram, generating worldwide media coverage — both cheers and jeers.
“If my kid’s grades fell, I’d do this to him, too,” said a Facebook post by Marla-Eyvette Massie.
But Samuel Thomas Duncan was not amused. “I’d rather punish a child at home and keep it a private matter than let someone else humiliate that child publicly,” he said.
Fredrick said he’s not surprised by all the attention the new coif is getting.
“Because a lot of people are at a loss of how to discipline kids, you can’t whup ’em anymore, like we used to, as children,” the barber said. “It works.”
Childhood as source
The inspiration came from Fredrick’s own life, when he was having trouble last year with his 12-year-old son, CNN affiliate WXIA reports.
The frustrated dad told him to quit acting up in school “like an old foolish man.”
Fredrick shaved his son’s head bald and then showed him a picture of an old bald man, like the character in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”
“I showed him and I told him, this is your next one if you keep it up,” Fredrick told him. “He didn’t want it, so he got his act together.”
Learning a lesson?
Not familiar with the plot of “Benjamin Button?” Benjamin begins life as an old man and ages in reverse.
A-1 Kutz offers the “Benjamin Button Special” for free, but usually it doesn’t come to that. One look at the picture of the first recipient of the “old man” cut is enough to do the trick.
As for the young man who got “the special,” he says he’s learned his lesson, according to Fredrick, and has a nice new cut to go with his new attitude.