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Who Wants The Special ? by Jonathan
I was in my early thirties and my hairline was starting to show some loss. It was those two side corner areas of the front hair line that were receding in. It wasn't real bad, but noticeable. I wasn't really concerned too much and knew it happened to all men eventually. I worked at a bank in new accounts and always dressed very professional. My hair had been a number three buzz since high school and that was how I figured it would stay.
I'd gone to the same barbershop not far from my work for about 3 years. About once a month it was time to head over for the "usual."
I'd go in and my barber Nick, around my age, would buzz it number three across the top and blend it up nicely on the sides.
One day in the staff lounge a few work buddies and I were eating lunch at the bank. We were done eating and chatting away for the remainder of our all too short 35 minute break.
"Hey Tim your hairline is starting to recede, did you know?" asked David.
David was a bank teller around the age of 25 and had a beautiful thick head of wavy black hair. He was young and cocky, but a decent guy overall. I was not shocked by his comment about my hairline. I'd noticed it myself. It was my other buddy Randy that spoke up.
"Bro you're not supposed to tell someone they're starting to go bald, it's rude," Randy said.
"Yeah well I just thought Tim should know," replied David.
"You can really see it?" I asked.
"Yeah it's going away at the front edges Tim you should shave your head," David said.
"Hey yeah that would be cool, you need to shave it," said Randy.
Just a minute ago I thought Randy was on my side. Did my hair look that noticeably balding I wondered? It had happened so gradual over the last couple years I didn't think it had got much worse.
"Hate to tell you Tim, but you need to shave it. Just take it all off. You know, Bic it," said Randy.
"It's only gonna get worse bro," said David.
Just then the bank manager half jokingly stepped in and reminded us we'd gone well over our normal 35 minute lunch break and it was time to head out into the bank.
All that afternoon all I could think about were the comments at lunch about shaving my head. I kind of thought that was what my buzz cut was, a "shaved head." It dawned on me that the buzz cut was not helping my receding hairline as much as I thought.
That afternoon I must have gone in the staff restroom at the bank three times to check my hairline in the mirror. I started to wonder if the buzz cut made it look worse. Gee, shave my head, bald? Take it all off with a Bic. Oh no I wasn't ready for that!
All that night I kept checking my hairline out in the bathroom mirror of my small one bedroom apartment. I tried to imagine me being bald, totally bald. I just couldn't do that. Would the manager at the bank get mad if I walked in with my business suit and was totally bald?
I tried to block it out of my mind and get some sleep. Tomorrow was going to be a busy Friday at the bank. That day at lunch the topic about my hairline came up again. We'd talked about sports and shot the breeze as we ate. Then it came.
"Hey Tim, you gonna shave your head soon?" asked David.
"Well I don't know. I don't know if I could do it myself anyway," I replied.
"Don't you have clippers at home?" Randy asked.
"No I don't have any, no," I said.
"Well you could just about buzz it bald with clippers if you got some. That's easy you can't mess that up," said David.
"I'll think about, maybe not yet though," I said.
"I'd Bic it right off if I were you. It's not that much harder than shaving your face, I guees," said Randy.
Once again lunch was over and we headed back to work. Of course now all I could think about was shaving my head. My two best work buddies really thought my hair line was that bad. That next Saturday I toyed with the idea of going in and telling my barber Nick I wanted my head shaved and not the usual. Would he laugh and say I'm crazy.
I put it off and Saturday flew by. Sunday and Monday the barbers were closed so I was off the hook. I couldn't have shaved it even if I'd somehow decided to do it.
It was that very next Tuesday on the way home an idea hit me. There was another small barber shop I'd pass by on my way home from work. I'd gone there once years ago before I found Nick. The barbershop was called Alberto's Barbershop. The barber had some other guy working there too. Alberto made me uncomfortable and kinda nervous. He was one of those loud guys that always kinda hustled you. Stop in that shop and say I want my head shaved. Maybe it wasn't such a bad idea. I was a total stranger to him.
I was nervous like never before. My heart raced as I decided to at least pull into the parking lot and think it over. I stared for five minutes at the red and white barber pole fixed to the stucco wall next to the plate glass window. The door to the shop was open. It was impossible to see who exactly was in the shop right then. Would they be too busy, how was this going to all work I wondered.
Finally I got the idea to walk by the barbershop and look like I was going to the auto parts store next door. I got out of my car and quickly walked by Alberto's barbershop to get a look inside. Alberto and another barber were in there with three teens around 15 or do. Two were getting haircuts, the other sitting waiting.
As I walked by Alberto and one teen noticed me and probably thought I was heading in. I stood in front of the auto parts store for a minute thinking quick. Go back to the car? Walk in that barbershop and sit down? Which one? I definitely accured to me once I went in I'd be too embarrassed to leave. I'd be stuck, no turning back!
I walked slowly toward the shop. I knew it would look silly if I walked by once again. This was it or go home. I made a quick left and was now in the shop. I immediately sat down on a worn black vinyl couch close to the front window. All eyes focused on me right then.
"Hey buddy, you here for a haircut?" asked Alberto.
"Yeah," I said.
"Ok, 15 minutes or so he's next," said Alberto.
Across from me on another black vinyl sofa sat an extremely good looking hispanic kid. It seemed all three teens were friends. They all three were good looking, kinda perfect in a way. Once you get into your thirties kids this age seem so lucky to still be young and in their prime. I still never really grasped that I wasn't quite a young guy any longer. I felt young and the same as I did at 22 ten years ago.
I didn't want to stare and look too nervous. I buried my head in a magazine. Suddenly Alberto was saying something.
"What are we going to do for you today buddy?" he asked me.
My mind raced! He means my haircut! I had to get the words out, but could I?
"I'm thinking I'm shaving my head," I said.
"Oh yeah, that's cool! All off or a just buzz it?" he asked.
"All off," I replied.
The three teens gave a slight chuckle that made this whole thing worse. Soon the other barber had finished the boy's haircut. Their third friend hopped in the chair. This ment I'd get Alberto. All five of them talked about high school sports. I of course knew none off the players. Then it accured to me their high school was just down the street. I read the magazine trying to take my mind off what was coming next.
"Your up buddy," Alberto suddenly said.
I headed over to his barber chair. In a way it was a slight relief I'd already told him how I wanted my hair. I sat down and quickly he flapped the kid's leftover bits of hair off the barber cape and placed on it me. He tissued and clipped it on me.
"Bald, no hair left that's what you want, right?" he asked.
"Well yeah I guess," I said.
He grabbed a pair of large clippers off a hook near a bunch of dangling cords and 5 or six other various hair clippers.
Just at that moment in walked two more teens and what seemed to be their dad.
"Hey guys have a seat these two are just starting you're after them," Alberto said.
Now the little shop felt crowded and full. I sat realizing this was it, he said bald. I'd be going home tonight with no hair! Just how bald I'd wind up would soon come as a surprise.
In no time my hair was coming off. I could feel those powerful clippers taking off my hair fast. It came off in about one inch clumps round me on the floor. Some was on the cape too. I stared at it wondering if I'd ever grow it longer again.
It wasn't long before Alberto put the clippers back on their hook. He grabbed another set of clippers and pushed them down hard as he ran them over the stubble that had remained. I was surprised at the sensation and feeling I now felt on my shorn head. I could feel the warm skin of Alberto's fingers on my head. I felt cool air from the vent on the ceiling tingle across my hairless head. Just when I thought the whole thing was done. I heard a whirrr of a little motor and then warm shaving cream on my head. Oh man he's really shaving my head! I kinda thought he was just going to clipper it. He smoothed that warm shaving cream over my entire head and added a bit of water to it from the sink.
Then it bit in. The razor blade. It was an orange and white plastic Bic razor!
"Hey, anyone else want today's special?" he shouted.
All eyes were on me. I heard someone say, "he's gonna be bald!"
Alberto sliced that Bic over my head again and again. He'd shave then wipe black dots of hair mixed with with shaving cream off on a white towel.
"Last call for the special, shaved shiny bald like this guy," he shouted.
This sparked some conversation in the shop. Soon my bald head was the main attraction. I sat imbarrassed and wishing I was done.
"Whoa, that's like a bowling ball!" said the teen's dad.
"That's bald!" said one of the teens.
Suddenly Alberto was cutting across the grain pushing the blade hard against my head. He started at the bottom and shaved upward. It made a strange sound on my bald scalp. Part on me wanted to cry, the other part immensely curious about my new bald dome.
"Now that's bald!" shouted Alberto.
Everyone laughed and looked my head over once more. Soon I felt a warm wet towel wiping away any left shaving cream or those black specks of what once was my hair. He buzzed my neck clean. I was handed a mirror. I couldn't believe what I saw. Absolutely no hair, none. I was shiny like a bowling ball. A white bowling ball with two ears on it!
"That's what you wanted, right buddy?" asked Alberto.
All I could do was nod my head and say yes. I rubbed my head a few times. It felt so strange and smooth to me. I paid and tipped Alberto and headed to my car.