Not Expected by Stillcropped
It was the third year running that I had decided that a good close crop signalled the start of summer. In year one my longish businessman's cut had been reduced to a no4 back and sides with a little more length on top eventually becoming a no4 all over by the time the weather had started to cool down and it had been grown out over the winter.
Year two had seen me a bit braver and although I had had my longish locks scissored to 1 1/2 inches all over three weeks before I was still feeling quite excited as I confidently requested ' clipper all over no4 please' to the older barber who had wasted little time in running his clippers over and over again across my head dumping more than an inch long clumps of hair into my lap. The haircut was very fast and if I was honest not as short as I wanted , again I kept it like this for about 4 months before letting it grow over the winter, and that's when I hatched my plan.
Surfing the net, and reading stories I realised that what I craved was an extremely short crop and one where I really wasn't fully in charge of the proceedings. Army, prison and judicial forced haircuts were beyond my control however if I could find a barber who could be left to their own devices about the final outcome then this may sarisfy my curiosity. I remembered a conversation I had some years before with an attractive hairdresser I met at a wedding who told me 'for a client to say 'I'll leave it up to you' is to a hairdresser the same as saying to a taxi driver 'follow that cab!" And I began to hatch my plan.
I let my hair grow longer than it had been in years, half way over my ears and over my collar in the back the top swept back with a little gel, I approached a barber shop I had never been to but had passed a few times and was pleased to see it empty and a youngish girl sitting reading a magazine. As I entered her greeting was a dazzling smile and a "hello, please come in" as I hesitated slightly and made no attempt to either approach the barber's chair or take my jacket off I cleared my throat 'ehm I'm not really here for a haircut, but I need some advise' her eyebrows furrowed and her body language took a defensive stance her next statement brought out her foreign status 'what you want?' I held up my hand in a gesture of peace 'sorry, I am an actor and need a special haircut' she relaxed slightly and pointed at the chair, 'Yes , I give you special haircut what you want?' I cleared my throat ' ehm a skinhead?' Again she looked at me, wondering why I was making no move to the chair , her inquisitive look made me continue , my well rehearsed plan for my haircut blown out of my head due to language difficulties but I pressed on , rubbing my finger against the back of my hand while saying 'Skin' and then pointing at my scalp to the 'head' . Her eyes and mouth opened wide and she exclaimed " Schkinn head! For you?" I nodded my head sheepishly running my hand through my locks and gave a little smile and saying slowly to help her understand while pointing to myself 'actor, theatre' then to my head, and for some strange reason pointing to my head and saying in Russian 'niette' and I shrugged my shoulders. The penny dropped and she laughed while turning the chair towards me ' you actor? All hair off, s k i n head, yes? Please sit" Still making no move I replied "yes, but on Friday ' again the questioning look then 'Ah Friday! Sorry not possible. I not work , holiday. I do now, very good. My boyfriend I do him how you say skin-head many times. Please ' and she gestured towards the chair. I hesitated for a fraction of a second then almost translike I was hanging my jacket up and moving towards the chair involuntary sweeping my hands through my locks.
She laughed as she fastened the cape tightly round me and then ran her fingers through my thick locks 'soon no more! And no.. Gel! I make you good' I now realised this was happening for real and I had very little time to stop proceedings, she had her back to me as she unhooked the clippers and I saw her select a no1 guard , she was at my side with a comb and as she lifted my hair and revealed my sideburn deliberately left to grow thick to mid ear , her comb touching my sideburn 'I this with razor later ok?' 'Ok'as I nodded my consent. Then click , bzzzz, hair lifted by the comb , clippers pressed to my scalp , pushed straight up the side of my head, a flick of her wrist and rolling down my shoulders and arms thick clumps of dark hair, my dark hair. She was super fast in no time my my right side was sheared to 1/4 inch stubble my scalp clearly showing through and looking white against the still long dark hair on top. Knowing there was no going back I started to relax and I was convinced that this young barberette was also enjoying shearing my locks so short such was the look of concentration on her face, with both sides now shorn I felt her push my chin to my chest the lifting of the hair from my neckline to be replaced by vibrating clippers which did not linger but sheared everything in their path as they raced up the back of my head.
My shoulders and lap now covered in hair, the back finished and my head upright she caught my eye in the mirror smiling 'OK?' I shrugged an 'OK' back and then she pointed the clippers at the centre of my head and said 'now zziip' emphasising the double 'zzz' and then they entered exactly in the middle of my forehead and were pushed firmly back into the gelled locks , I tipped my head back and looked up to be met my a lock of gelled hair hitting me in the eye then rolling down my cheek and plopping onto my chest. I got a momentary glance at the path they had left, I truly was been shorn ultra short , no choice and it was not over , front to back then side to side she stripped the hair from my scalp finally the buzzing stopped and I looked in the mirror at a 1970's skin-head looking back at me ,my ears sticking out above the still thick sideburns whiners now the longest hair on my scalp or face. I wanted to feel it but she swivelled the chair round and pointed to a sink at the back of the shop 'please , she said, wash for gel' I looked and could see some tiny globules glistening on my scalp and for the first time I ran my fingers across my bristly scalp, and realised how seriously short I had sheared thinking this would take some explaining to friends and colleagues let alone my mother.
As I took the few steps towards the sink I kept rubbing my newly shorn head, things had worked out nearly perfect for me.She already had the water running as I sat and rested my neck on the back wash sink , the water was lukewarm as she not very gently rubbed in some shampoo then quickly rinsed it off the washing took less than minute as she reduced the water pressure to gentle spray but increased the temperature and I felt it hot against my scalp jerking my head on it's initial contact 'sorry ' she said and reduced the temperature a little 'OK now?' 'Fine' I replied . She hung the spray on an adjacent sink then dabbed a towel over my scalp. I felt her fingers on the side of my head pulling the skin tight and then the order 'keep still please' and then I felt a razor being applied and pulled down removing my sideburn. I had expected this to be done back at the chair but trusted her as she did the same to the other side. She removed the towel then sprayed the hot water all over my head and dabbed the excess off with the towel then I felt her finger and thumb across my temple and looked up to see her hand pull my skin tight then immediately I again felt the razor being scrapped across the top of my head. Panicking but frightened to move I raised my hand 'stop please! What are you doing.' She released her grip and I sat up my hand shooting to my head as my fingers explored my scalp I felt the tiny wet bristles then a patch of smooth skin. ' please , mister ' she said ' you want like my boyfriend.skin. Yes? It what you ask for!'
Beads of sweat were on my brow as I turned round and saw tiny bristles of hair swirling in the sink and more attached to the straight razor she held in her hand. 'You..you've shaved me!' I exclaimed . Tears were in her eyes and she reached into her pocket for her mobile phone . My fingers were constantly rubbing between the bristles and skin. I thought she was calling for help when she thrust the phone into my face revealing a photo of her and a completely shaven man , she said 'look. My boyfriend! It what you ask for' her fingers scrolled through a few photos and stopped at another image which was the same man but with a full head of wavy blond hair. She exclaimed 'Before.Paulo he like you, now skin-head. Please I say to you like my boyfriend? You say yes'.
I made a calm down gesture with my hands and stood up to look in the mirror. Before me was the 1970's skinhead but with a smooth band of skin shaved straight across the side of his head a full 2 inches above each ear and another 3 inch wide by 2 inch long shave of skin running front to back from the centre top of his head to the crown. I touched the skinned areas saying nothing. My dream/ fantasy had taken a twist I never intended or thought possible but truly I had lost control of my haircut. I looked towards her as she bit her lip and started ' I am so sorry but when....' I raised a hand to silence her and laughed ' you better finish making me skin head but I sit in the chair and watch' and I made my way to the chair watching my ridiculas reelection staring back at me. 'Yes please' she said and stood behind me razor in hand. 'Continue ' I said . And she did. I watched as she removed every morsel of hair from my head and 10 minutes later I was bald. She smiled at me 'feel' I did and running my fingers from back to front was ultra smooth, but in the reverse direction my scalp felt like fine sandpaper, she spoke ' for Paulo I do twice. Then and she touched my scalp like what you say egg' I nodded an enthusiastic yes and she rubbed oil onto my skin and shaved me as smooth as an egg.
I had at last got an unexpected and far shorter than I wanted haircut.