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For Sharon by Tim (recovered)
Just pulling into the parking space I could tell I was really afraid of this, questioning my judgement. I hadn't even set foot in the Barbershop yet and I was seriously chickening out. It is amazing what a beautiful woman can motivate you to do.
Sharon wasn't even my girlfriend. She was a friend who I was hoping charm into something more. She was bright, very sociable, gorgeous, and a joy to be around. Plus the fact she liked me, and could appreciate my quirky sense of humor and acceptive of my odd work hours. And finally, she was available, and always hinted that she turned down dates to spend time with me.
Since Sharon sold hair-care products to salons for a living, somehow the subject of hair came up frequently. Of course it was usually about her own hair, which was thick and fell just below her shoulders (though it used to be quite a bit longer, which both of us miss). But anytime I was fresh from a barbershop she always complimented my hair, even though it always seemed far to short to me.
Except for when I was a little boy and got my hair buzzed pretty short, I've always had hair on the longish side. That was popular in the seventies during my teen years and I've basically kept it ever since. I had no desire to have short hair, but was always willing to grow it out a bit if my girlfriend at the time so wished. Part of me wanted long hippy hair trailing far down my back in a pony tail, just to know what it felt like. Especially because I always liked the feel of running my hair through a woman’s long hair. However my own hair was kind of wavy/curly and looked pretty bad once it got longer than my ears, so that was usually as long as I would go. One girlfriend had me grow the back out while keeping the sides and top in check. That was fun as the back got long enough to put in a braid or ponytail, and she really enjoyed playing with it as we made love. But once we broke up I realized how bad a person nearing 40 looked with such hair and cut it back up to collar length.
For the past 5 years I've been working in a corporate office where image is a lot, so I've had to cut my hair a bit shorter than I like. Now it reaches just to my collar, and gelling it back on top and the sides helps disguise the fact it actually still can cover my ears and eyes.
Anyway, back to Sharon.
One day we were talking on the phone and somehow we started in on haircuts again. It seemed one stylist wanted to cut her hair real short, which she declined politely. "Short hair looks good on men, not on women" she proclaimed.
"So do you prefer short hair on men?"
"Sure!" she said very enthusiastically. This took me by surprise, so I figured I'd inquire more.
"You say that with a bit of passion in your voice."
She laughed a bit. "I just like men with short hair. It makes them look more....manly."
"So do you like it when men get their head buzzed short?"
"Really? What about real short, like a flattop?"
"Actually a flattop is my absolute favorite. I love a man in one, though it takes a certain personality to pull one off. Unfortunately most men I meet with one are jerks."
It was time for me to get my bi-monthly haircut, so I threw a question out there.
"I'm getting my hair cut this week. Would you prefer I had a flattop?"
There was a moment of silence that seemed to go on forever. "I don't know. But I do like it when you get yours cut."
A politically correct answer.
"You've told me that before. What I'm asking is how you'd like me to get mine cut."
Another pause. "The way you get it is fine." Still another pause. "Maybe just a bit shorter."
"So you would like to see me with shorter hair."
"Yeah, I guess."
"And if a flattop is your favorite, would you want me to get one?"
You could hear her grin over the phone. "Let's just say I wouldn't complain. Why? Would you really do that?"
"I wouldn't hold your breath on it, but it's just fun knowing a little more about you."
As the phone conversation continued I started thinking about my coming haircut, and actually planned on getting it just a bit, a teensy bit, shorter than usual. After all, she and I weren't even officially dating. It would be stupid to do anything drastic for nothing. I stared at my hair hanging down over my ears. I immediately dismissed the notion of a major haircut. First off I didn't want too. Secondly, such a major change might negatively affect me at work. And third, radical changes scared the crap out of me.
But over the next couple of days the though of Sharon being even more enamoured with me was consuming all my thoughts. Each day I found myself willing to go shorter and shorter, and by Tuesday morning as I headed to the Barber I was dead set on getting a flattop. That is if I didn't chicken out.
So then there I was, parked in front of the shop. I could see in the open door that there were no new customers waiting except the man currently on the chair. I lovingly played with my hair once more and then climbed reluctantly out of the car. I was pretty sure I would back down and just get my usual trim. But Sharon and I were going to the movies together later that evening, and I really wanted to surprise her sporting a perfect flattop.
Mike the barber smiled at me as I walked in. He had cut my hair for so many years I never even had to say "the usual" any more. He just knew. He was hard at work on the man in the chair, seemingly shaving him bald. From the large clumps of hair on the robe and floor it seemed this cut was pretty ambitious. Much to my surprise it soon became a flattop, and as I watched I became even more fearful. It was so short, with only long stubble left any on the sides and back. The top was so short that a small bare patch of scalp was clearly visible. My palms were thick with sweat. A haircut like that was definitely out of the question. It was way too short.
When the gentleman was handed a mirror to see the finished cut he seemed a big grin. "Thanks Mike. That looks much better." I don't know what he looked like before, but to me he looked bald.
He was soon on his way and I was quickly in the chair, with the robe maybe a bit too tight around my neck. Mike went back and cleaned his clippers, preparing for my normal trim. I think he could sense my nervousness.
"The usual today?"
"Yeah. NO! Maybe."
Mike stopped in his tracks and just looked at me. "So what's up?"
"There's this woman I know who thinks I should cut my hair shorter."
"And you like her and want to impress her."
"Yeah. Something like that."
"So what's the big deal? I'll just take it down a bit shorter. It will grow out in a couple of weeks if you don't like it."
"Actually she wants me to get a flattop."
"A flattop?! Well, that would be a change! So are you going to get one?"
"I thought I was until I saw that guy. Is it possible to have one longer than his?"
This talking was relaxing me a bit. My trembling was starting to fade.
"Like, a lot longer?"
"Well, I'd still have to cut off a good deal for you to have a flattop. There's no way around that."
I grimaced and my nerves were returning again. "Do I have to be bald though?
"No. I can make it so your scalp doesn't show anywhere if you want."
"Really?! So how much would you have to take off the top?"
Mike turned the big chair so it faced the mirror and lifted my bangs straight up. They looked much longer now that I was considering cutting them so drastically. He gripped them with his fingers indicating where he would have to cut. Over half the length would be gone, but it wasn't as bad as I had expected. Somehow my courage was returning.
"And you say the sides and back will still be kind of full?"
He chuckled a bit. "I wouldn't say they're going to be full, but I can leave enough that you can still brush it."
My heart was racing. It was decision time. I looked at him.
"So can my hair really go in a flattop? It's kind of curly."
"No problem. A little bit of strong gel and you'll be fine. Eventually your hair will be trained to go that way naturally."
I sat still, trying to summon up the nerve.
"Well, are you going to let me cut it or not?" He said it in a friendly, not pushy, way.
"OK. But leave it absolutely as long as you can." As the words were layed out there I started gripping the chair arms tight.
"You got it." With that the chair was whirled around and I sat facing the blank wall and line of chairs. I noticed a poster on the wall of different haircuts. I really never noticed it before, but this time instantly looked at the flattop picture. While it wasn't as short as the previous customer it was still very severe, especially on the back and sides. "Is mine going to be longer than that poster?"
"Like, a lot longer, right?"
"Yes! Just relax." I could hear Mike chuckling to himself. I was obviously acting very juvenile for a middle-aged man. I was glad there weren't any other customers in the shop at the time.
Since I couldn't watch in a mirror, all my other senses were on high alert. I could hear him fiddling with the clippers, and nearly jumped out of the chair when they were clicked to life.
Mike combed my hair straight down on the sides, fully covering my ears. Then the clippers quickly moved in to my left temple and a big chunk of hair fell on my lap. My eyes grew wide as I bit my lip. I could feel the clippers running along the outline of my ear and heard huge masses of hair fall to the ground. My ear felt bare. In fact the whole side of my head felt bare. I wondered if he had kept his word because I was sure the side had nothing left. Then he walked over to the right side and duplicated the damage. I was too far gone now and tried to relax. But every time I thought I got a hold of myself I felt another big chunk of hair lopped off.
When my head was tilted down so he could work on the back my heart rate quickened more. On my lap was more hair that I even knew I had on my head, and I could feel tremendous amounts being quickly discarded on the back. I was now sure Mike had lied and I was ending up exactly like the last customer.
Suddenly the clipper was shut off and my head returned to normal. I could feel my bangs lifted up and quickly cut with scissors. More hair rained down as he worked his way back. Then a good sized dollup of gel was dispensed in my hair and Mike expertly wielded his blow-dryer. I could feel him tugging at my remaining hair forcing it straight. I hoped it would work. The blow-dryer was soon shut off, and I began to even eagerly anticipate the unveiling. But then the clipper roared to life again and my worrying started again as Mike returned to the top. He made pass after pass and I was expecting to feel the clippers carving a bald spot like the last guy, but it never happened. The clippers were turned off. To finish the cut, Mike removed a thin line of shaving cream around the hairline, and then put down all his tools.
"Let's see if this will do the trick for your lady friend." The chair was turned around slowly and I was greeted by my very different reflection. Much to my appreciation my hair was even longer than I had expected, though it was clearly much shorter than I had worn since I was old enough to go the bathroom by myself.
What first struck me was how different my face looked. There was now no hair close to my ears and nothing falling across my forehead. The result was almost an entirely different shape. He gave me a hand mirror and showed me the back. After the initial jolt of seeing myself in short hair and the fact my neck looked very long and pale, it still looked like I had a descent amount of hair left. I nodded my approval. He turned the chair around once more.
"So what do you think?"
After the shock wore off what first hit me is it didn't really look like a flattop, at least none that I had ever seen. I expected this extremely obvious tabletop of short hair that was visible from a mile away. I guess all the remaining length basically disguised it. Checking my profile in the mirror showed it was definitely flat across the top, but it just didn't stand up super straight like I pictured. When I patted the top with my hand it didn't really feel like a level table either. Here I was wearing exactly the cut I asked for, and now I wasn't sure it was what I wanted.
"It definitely is different. This sounds funny but it almost looks too long. I kind of expected it to be much....flatter. Does that make sense?"
"Sure. But that won't happen with it this long. If you want I can make it a bit shorter?"
I couldn't believe I was actually considering it. But what was the point of making the sacrifice to get a flattop if Sharon couldn't tell it was a flattop?
"Could you make it a little more definite without my scalp showing?"
"A bit. Let me take it down as far as I can still keeping your scalp hidden. That's only about another half inch. Then you tell me what you think."
A half inch didn't sound too bad now, especially considering how much he already took off. Besides, that much would grow back in a month if I didn't like it. I nodded for him to proceed.
The chair was soon turned around and the clippers came to life once more. I wasn't shaking too much now, though my heart was pounding as I felt him retracing his path over the sides and back. I thought he was only going to take the top down. Soon he was on top again, and the shower of hair rained down in front of my eyes. When finished, he again blended in the sides with the top. In fairness, the individual hairs falling to the floor were not very long at all. Then he brushed me off and rotated the chair.
The difference was very noticeable. Now I could clearly see I had a flattop, though happily I didn't see any scalp anywhere including on top. Still I was quite alarmed by how short the hair was on my crown. It wasn't even long enough to grab with my fingers. When I patted the top it now had a very different texture to it, but still wasn't as firm as I had mentally pictured. The sides and back really didn't look too much different. While I should have got up and left right then, part of me wanted to see if it could be even 'crisper'.
"That made a big difference. Now it definitely looks like a flattop. For the record, if it was even shorter would it really make any difference?"
"Oh sure. The shorter I go the cleaner the look."
"Would it feel any different to the touch?"
"Definitely. The shorter hairs holds their shape much better?"
I started remembering how very sharp and strong the line of the haircut was on his last customer. I wanted that precision, but wasn't sure I wanted to start revealing bare scalp, and the thought of the bald spot on top made me shudder. I had my flattop now for Sharon. She should be surprised and happy. But would shorter make her even happier? Part of me now said just to go for it and do it to the 'max'.
"How short would my hair be if I wanted the absolute sharpest flattop?"
Mike look surprised. "You'd lose another 3/4 inch all over. The back and sides would be totally gone though, and with your head shape you'd have a very big landing strip on top."
A landing strip. So that was what the bald patch was called. I couldn't believe that thought didn't phase me now, or the thought of having no hair on the sides or back.
"That sounds even shorter than the last guy."
"Yeah, actually it would be much shorter."
For some reason I couldn't begin to explain I wanted to see myself in the cut, and more than that wanted to see Sharon’s reaction when she saw the new me. And 3/4 of an inch would grow out in less than 2 months.
"Why don't you just live with this for a couple of days since it's already such a big change. Then if you still want it shorter come back in and I'll do it for no charge."
That made sense, and I probably should have taken him up on it. But I didn't want Sharon to see this cut in two stages. If I was going to go ultimate short, it was now or never.
"Let's just do it now!"
"The real short version?"
I nodded my head none too convincingly. My fear was multiplying every second, and it was obvious to Mike.
"Are your sure? You realize you'll have almost no hair left when I'm done."
I shut my eyes tight at what I was about to do. "Yeah, I'm sure."
"Well, OK. But once I start there is no turning back." With that he turned the chair once more to the blank wall. I caught the last fleeting glimpses of my head covered with hair. My heart was trying to jump out of my chest.
The clippers came to life and I knew I had only seconds to change my mind. My head was tilted down so he could start in on the back. I held back every urge to say stop, and soon felt the clippers running up tight against my head and felt the remaining hairs being quickly sliced off. The back was mowed again and again until finally I didn't hear anything being cut. My scalp was tingling. Then he moved in on the sides and those too were quickly buzzed down to nothing.
"This must be some special woman. I never expected to be giving anything like this cut to you."
"That makes two of us!"
I closed my eyes as he moved in on top, knowing I too would have a bald spot. Excuse me. A 'landing strip'. If my hair was going to be shorter than the last guy, I wondered how big my 'strip' would end up.
I could feel the comb lying directly against my scalp as the clippers ran over it. I knew it was getting very short. I felt a tugging at my pants and was amazed to find myself quickly aroused. Why?
Then it happened. I felt the clippers running against the top of my head with no comb as a guard. It was a very strange sensation and it never seemed to stop, as Mike kept going over and over it. Would I have any hair left? Then he picked up the comb and blended it in to the sides. Again I could feel the comb tight against the skin and the clipper running directly over it. My arousal was so strong it was all I could do to keep it contained. A few minutes later the clipper was mercifully turned off and I expected the chair to turn, but instead was greeted with more shaving cream being applied to my lower hairline. But this time it was spread all over the sides and back. In the back it reached all the way up to my crown! He even put some on the top! It seemed like almost my entire head was to be shaved smooth. My hands were visibly trembling as the razor scraped away the tiny remaining hairs. Again Mike's handiwork was flawless with no trace of nick or cut. Finally he put his razor down, toweled off any traces of shaving foam, and then picked up his clipper one last time to make sure the transition from the shaved area to the remaining hair was smooth. He used a little shot of hairspray on the top. I didn't think I had any hair left for him to spray.
"OK my friend. You now have the absolute definitive flattop. It doesn't get any sharper than this." The chair was turned around and I took in my new look.
I didn't remotely recognize myself. First off the flattop was EXTREMELY rigid. Even my fantasies couldn't produce a harder image than this. My head looked totally different. I looked totally different. The sides were absolutely shiny smooth and when I tilted my head down I was stunned to find the entire crown, except for a small horseshoe of front hair, had been transformed into a perfectly smooth landing strip. As I looked at the cut from the back I looked totally bald. I was momentarily speechless. It was what I had asked for. I couldn't believe I had asked for it. As I reached up and touched my smooth scalp all I could think was that Sharon had better love it, because it was going to take a long time to grow back and I was going to get harassed by a lot of people until then, especially at work. I hoped this radical look wouldn't affect my job performance.
When I walked out of the shop I was almost overwhelmed by the strange sensations of the cool breeze mixed with the warmth of the sunshine hitting my now nearly bare head. My hands shot up to touch it, still confused by the foreign feel of the new style. As I drove home I was constantly feeling or staring at the reflection of my new look. I still was in a state of disbelief that I had actually done this, and expected my alarm clock to snap me back to reality at any moment. But that wasn't going to happen. This was real.
When I got home I called Sharon and confirmed what time I would be picking her up that evening. She knew I was getting my haircut that afternoon.
"So did you get your hair cut any shorter for me?"
"Actually I did get it cut a bit shorter than usual. You might like it." I really wanted to tell her all about my flattop but saved the surprise. I couldn't wait for her to see me.
The moment Sharon opened her door and saw me was priceless. Her eyes opened so wide it looked almost painful, and then a huge and perfect smile formed.
"Oh my God you actually did it!" She quickly surveyed how short it was on side and on top. "You really did it! Did you do this for me?"
"Do you like it?"
"Oh heavens yes! Can I touch it?"
I nodded, and immediately felt her tender touch as she caressed by head. My scalp was alive and I closed my eyes relishing the moment. This feeling had already made the sacrifice worth it.
As we drove to the theatre I could tell she rarely took her eyes off me, and she couldn't help from touching my hair several times. I was loving this. In the theatre I can't say if she spent more time looking at the screen or at me. She was very physical, constantly holding my hand or snuggling up next to me.
As we were driving back to her house she spoke up. "You never did tell me if you got this haircut for me or for you."
I stared straight ahead wondering how to say how I felt. "Yes, this was for you."
She smiled an inquisitive and polite smile.
"Because I want you to like me."
"I do like you. You know that!" She tenderly held my arm with both hands. "But thank you anyway. I really do love it."
From that day on we've been together, and every two weeks I go in to get my flattop redone. I've grown used to the style and can't imagine growing it out again, and Sharon absolutely adores it, and adores me too.