Reluctant Jay by Ted
I ran into Jay on the Internet - one of the haircut chat sites. Talking about buzz buddies. Turned out he lived in the middle sized city about 30 miles from my small college town in upstate. He was one of those short-hair wannabes. You know, fascinated with buzzcuts and clipper shaves and high and tights. On other guys. Never had a short haircut in his life. He had always wanted one, but never was allowed as a kid. Still wanted to, but always chickened out at the last minute. I tried to encourage him, but it never happened. Finally I agreed to meet him in person, something he had pushed for for a while. I am pretty cautious about that, so I suggested we meet in the pizza place here in town, late enough so the lunch crowd would be gone and we could talk all we wanted to. I wasn’t sure if he would show up or not. He sounded like the sort of guy that might chicken out. But he did. Seemed to match the info he had given out on the chat site. Early 20’s, fairly short, light build. Lots of light brown hair. Not down to his shoulders or anything, but probably 6 inches on top and covering hie ears and collar. For somebody who always had wanted a buzzcut, it seemed pretty long. Me, I guess I don’t have any serious hangups about hair. Through the college year I generally wear a crewcut, maybe 3/4 inch long, and in the summers, clip it right down to the scalp. I’ve always had a thing about short hair, too, but I have indulged it ever since I was 12 or so, with buzzcuts, clipper shaves and a few razor jobs thrown in. I could understand Jay’s hangup, sort of. But only sort of.
We talked about a lot of stuff, haircuts mostly. I asked him if there were any reasons why he shouldn’t get a buzzcut, like family, job, church, girl (boy?) friend. No, there weren’t. No family in the area, no significant anybody, job didn’t require meeting the public or his boss, much, even. So, I asked him, what are you waiting for? Do you really want your hair cut, or are you just making it all up? Yes, he did. He had these fantasies about getting it all cut off; he got turned on by guys with super short cuts. But he had never been able to bring himself to do it. Well, that was about it for that first meeting. We paid our bill, got in our cars and left. We chatted a few more times. This didn’t seem like it was going anywhere, but I agreed to meet him for pizza again in early summer. I usually would have got my own summer buzz, but I held off on the outside chance that something would come of it. Well, Jay’s hair was, if anything, a bit shaggier than the first time. I asked him point blank, are we going to do haircuts today? “I guess, probably, I dunno. I mean, I really want to , but I’m just chicken.” “Hell, man, it’s only hair. The stuff grows back. Half an inch a month. It ain’t permanent.” He thought a minute, “I know. I wish I was like you and could just do it. You really think I should?” I had pretty much had it about then, so I laid it on the line.I wasn’t about to spend my summer eating pizza with a guy who couldn’t make up his mind. “Jay it’s time to get real! I’m going to go out and get in my truck and go home. You can follow me, if you want. It’s only 3 miles and not out of your way. When we get there you have your choice: You can drive on by and go home, and that’s the end of it. No more meetings, no more Email, no more pizza. We’re done. Or...you can pull in the driveway. If you come in, you’re getting a haircut. No backing out, no waffling, no changing your mind. You get out of the car, you come in the house and we go to work. The clippers and stuff are sitting out on the kitchen counter. Got it? Where’s our check?” I got up and paid the bill and walked away without looking back at Jay.
As I got into my truck I saw him trot out of the Pizza place and get in his car. I could see his car following me out of town and onto the state highway. As I got to my driveway I signaled the left turn and pulled in. I could see his car slow down and then go on by the drive. Oh well! Kind of what I expected. I got out of the truck and was walking up the steps when I heard a car on the driveway. It was Jay! I stood there at the door as he got out slowly. He started to say something about changing his mind, but I cut him off, “I don’t want to hear it! Come on in!” He came in. I had got out the clippers and an old half sheet for a apron on the off chance that he would decide to come, He came into the kitchen. “Take off your shirt and have a seat”, as I motioned to the stool by the counter.He did. I tossed the apron over his shoulders and dumped the plastic attachments out on the counter and lined them up in order, “Here are the buzzcut combs. Long one here, 3/4 inch. Not really a buzzcut, more of a crewcut. And 5/8” and the number 4--that’s 1/2”. Number 3 goes to about 3/8”. that’s getting to be a pretty good buzzcut. Number 2 will do you 1/4” and the shortest one, the Number 1 takes it down to 1/8” with lots of skin showing.” I walked over to the microwave and punched into the timer. “Ok, Jay, pick one out and hand it to me. You’ve got 20 seconds to make up your mind, Go!”
He was obviously flustered. He picked up the longest one and then the number 1 and put them down. And then the half inch. And put it down. His hand hovered over the combs. “Time’s about up!” He reached towards the short end and stopped. He turned to me, “This is no fair! I can’t decide what I want to do. It’s ......” And the buzzer went off. I had picked up the clippers and I snapped them on. You couldn’t hear their hum over the timer buzzer. “You did decide, Jay! You gave me no attachment and that’s what you’re getting!” I moved the clippers quickly to his forehead and pushed them back up the center of his head. I dumped the pile of hair that the clippers had peeled away into Jay’s lap. “What are you doing??” , he spluttered. I laughed, “Like I said, I told you to give me the attachment you wanted and you gave me none, so that’s what I’m using. You said you had fantasies about having it all cut off, so today you get to live your fantasy!” He reached up and felt of the stubbly stripe up the middle of his head, “Oh, my God! You really did! It’s all gone.” “Well, not all of it yet, but pretty soon. Get your hand out of there.” I pushed his hand away and put the clippers back on his forehead and shoved them back again, this time all the way to the crown. It was neat watching the locks of long hair just peel away down to the tiny brown stubble that the blades left. Jay was breathing hard and had his eyes closed as I ran the clippers again and again, baring the top of his scalp. The MPB look on Jay was not attractive, with the sides and back being so long. So back to work.I took my time, paring away the long hair and making Jay balder and balder. I pushed his head down so the clippers had free access to he back of his head, from the nape up to the stubble at the crown. That’s a long way, and there’s a lot of hair on the back of your head, but the clippers peeled it away slickly with the long locks tumbling away from the blades. It only took a couple of minutes, I guess, and Jay’s head was bare except for the tiny brown dusting of stubble. I cleaned up a few missed spots and ran the blades again over the top of his head for good measure. I snapped off the clippers and pulled the apron off from around his neck. Jay looked pretty good bald. Badly needed some tan. I looked at him for a moment as he sat there. I reached over and rubbed his head feeling the sandpapery roughness of the stubble. “There you go, Jay! There’s the short haircut you’ve always been wanting. What do you think?”
He opened his eyes and reached up and rubbed his skull, “My God!, I’m bald! You shaved it all off. I can’t believe it really happened! It feels so different. I’m bald!” I looked at him and decided. “Not quite bald, Jay. Not yet! Sit still a minute. I trotted down the hall and grapped the can of shaving gel and a new razor from the package and came back to the kitchen. Jay was still on the stool, rubbing his head with his hands. “You’re not quite bald, Jay, but I’ll fix you right up!” He looked at me and saw the can and the razor. “You’re going to shave it? Really shave it?” I nodded, “Yeah! Then you’ll really be bald.. You can get up or sit there--your choice again.” I thought he might object, but he took his hands away and just sat there. I rubbed a handful of the gel all over his stubbly scalp, rinsed my hands off, and picked up the razor. Started right in the front again, watching the razor scrape off foam and hair, leaving bare, smooth scalp behind. It took a bit of rinsing to keep the blades from clogging, but the new razor wiped away the last traces of Jay’s former mop of hair. I shaved up the sides and back, against the growth of the hairs. When I had done, I lathered him up again and reshaved his whole head, using long sweeping strokes of the razor. And then, “There you go, Jay. Now you really are bald! Smooth and shiny bald! Not a hair anywhere. What do you think? There’s a mirror in the bathroom.” Jay looked darn good bald. No lumps or bumps or ridges; ears didn’t stick out.. Just smooth, bare scalp, shining under the overhead light.He stayed a while in the bathroom. When he came back, he had a grin on his face, “I can’t believe this all happened. I came sooo close to driving on by. And I’m glad I turned around and came in. I really did plan on letting you cut my hair today, but I didn’t think it would wind up like this. I would never have told you to shave my head, but you did it.” I looked at him, “Are you mad at me? I figured you needed a bit of a push, but going all the way wasn’t planned. It just happened.” As I spoke I pulled off my shirt and sat down on the stool. “Ok, Jay. Get your revenge, or show your gratitude, or whatever. I’ll join you with a bald head.” Jay looked at me for a minute and then grinned as he picked up the clippers. I remembered back to the first time the barber had used the bare clippers on me back in high school. It had been a long time since someone else had used them on me, so I enjoyed the experience almost as much as Jay did. I hadn’t planned to go the smooth bald route, but, what the hell! It was cool to glance up at Jay’s shiny dome as he ran the razor over mine. We sat on the patio with a couple of beers and chatted a bit before Jay headed for home. I wondered what he would think after it began to sink in, but the next weekend he came back out and got the treatment again. We Email from time to time. I gather he has been staying bald right along, but is going to grow some hair now that cold weather is setting in. Maybe this summer. . . . .