Dr. McDaniel Follows Orders by Manny
I stepped up my pace as I approached the office of Dr. Joseph McDaniel, my favorite English Literature professor. I never missed an opportunity for a one-on-one session with him during the Monday afternoon hours he reserved for student questions. He was brilliant, with a quick, acerbic wit, and a wide range of interests. Ostensibly I went to discuss something related to the class, but our chats frequently veered into many unrelated topics. Once he'd even invited me to continue our lively discussion in a nearby pub! As we'd converse, his deep green eyes would blaze out from behind a thick veil of chestnut colored hair that was always overgrown in a thick shag, suitable for a college professor. From time to time, Dr. McDaniel would pull his luxuriant mane back into a small, makeshift pony tail and then release it, to flow carefree towards his shoulders. Invariably he wore a tweed jacket with matching cords or jeans whose form-fitting cut displayed a very handsome anatomy. Despite his 40something years, he was buff and agile.
I wondered if Dr. McDaniel noticed how regularly I stopped by during his open office hours. Sometimes, it was clear he couldn't remember my name, so I felt sure that he didn't realize I had a big crush on him. Just as well. I preferred to admire him and fantasize a bit about him at a distance. As someone who had gone back for an advance degree later in life, we weren't really too far apart in age.
I knocked softly on the professor's door, waiting for his usual, "Enter!" before swinging it open.
Nothing could have prepared me for the utter shock that engulfed me on this particular Monday afternoon. Sitting at his desk with his usual tweed jacket on was a virtually unrecognizable Dr. Joseph McDaniel!
I stood paralyzed with my mouth agape.
He flashed a familiar grin. "Yes, it's really me!" he laughed as he gingerly touch the back of his head.
Instead of abundant glossy mane, Dr. McDaniel's hair had been shorn down into a very tight flattop!! He looked like a cop or a someone else in uniform. Glaring atop his head was a wide, landing strip!!
I stammered like an idiot. "I just, never, uh, expected, uh....."
"Me neither! It's rather shocking, isn't it? Have a seat. I suppose it's something every man should go through at least once....a flattop!" He continued feeling his lather shaved back -- nothing but glowing white smooth scalp on the sides of his head.
"It's just such a dramatic change," I finally said, semi-coherently. "This was something you planned?"
"Hardly!" laughed the professor. "It all happened spontaneously, almost....I don't know how I went along with it, actually. Perhaps some secret longing? We had house guests over the weekend. My brother-in-law and his family from out of town. He's a marine colonel. A commanding-type fellow. He was helping me with a home-repair project in the basement. I was having a hard time fitting these small screws into some very small holes. He was getting exasperated. Finally, Todd snatched the tools from me and quickly finished the job. You know how my hair is always in my face. Well, he had a problem with that and simply announced he was taking me for a much needed haircut after our work had concluded!"
"Like you were his kid?" I sputtered.
"Precisely! It was like, 'I don't want to hear any objections, I'm taking you to the nearest barbershop!' At first I thought he was joking, but when he announced he'd be waiting for me in the car, I realized he meant it. I thought to myself that I really was rather in need of a haircut....but had no idea whatsoever that this is what I'd end up with!" Again, Dr. McDaniel touched his head, this time fondling the bristles on top. Then he explored the exaggerated landing strip. "The first time the clippers grazed the top of my head, I jolted in the chair!"
Then Dr. McDaniel fixed his gazed on me! "Tell me....uh, it's Cedric, right?" I nodded yes. "Have you ever had a flattop?"
My hand instinctively pawed at my moptop thatch of wavy blond hair that I was quite proud of. "Never!" I gasped. I was a free spirit -- not the military flattop type!
"You'd look quite handsome with one, I think," he said, flashing a grin. "And, if I ready your interest in my haircut correctly, you want to touch my bristles. Don't you? Go ahead," he said, bowing his head slightly so that I could reach up and touch his landing strip.
I reached over, trying to conceal my eagerness. "Oh, that's amazing," I murmured. My hand lingered on the sensitive skin and I gently caressed the scalp. "So, did he tell you what kind of haircut you were going to get on the way to the barber?" extremely curious about the transformational event.
"No, and that was probably the most amazing part of my whole experience. I went along, almost eagerly, following his orders. I felt like a vulnerable kid, afraid to make a peep....slinking along with a very domineering dad who was going to ensure I got a 'proper' haircut. I felt myself wanting to be very submissive. Oh, and the scene he made when we first entered the shop! The two geezer barbers were quite happy to accommodate him. Cutting to the front of the line because I was so in need of having my 'girlish' hair dealt with. All the men in the shop laughed and said, yes, put me in the first available chair. And then Todd announced I was getting a flattop! A very, very short flattop! A flattop the marines on his base would admire! My stomach churned, but I kept my face totally neutral and obediently complied with what I was told. I felt very anxious as the chair swiveled away from the mirror and I saw my old look one last time, slowly disappearing from sight. My hair looked so long, hanging down towards the starchy, white cape. The naked teeth of the balding clippers moving straight up the back of my head all the way to the crown was a phenomenal experience. That first drive of the clippers up through the mane felt amazing! The blast of cold air on the denuded scalp assured me that it had all come off in back. Then, as the barber worked toward the sides did I saw the first huge clump of hair fall onto the cape. My eyes bulged at the amount that came off with just a single swipe of the clippers. Todd hovered closely, overseeing my brutal transformation; he did not conceal his delight in ordering my long hair cut off."
"Did the haircut go on in silence?" I asked, enjoying the story of Dr. McDaniel's transformation at the hands of his brother-in-law.
"Oh, no! Todd ensured that I was thoroughly humiliated. He mocked my 'pansy-friendly hair style' mercilessly! He prattled away throughout the whole ordeal and urged the geezer to take it down tighter. It's amazing anything at all was left! The most amazing part of the whole thing was when the barber was finished and finally turned the chair back toward the mirror. The person I saw reflected was totally unrecognizable. Never in a hundred years would I have thought that near-bald man in the mirror was me! Todd boomed, 'Well, how do you like it?' And I found myself meekly saying it was a very good haircut for me. What was a submissive lad to say once the deed had been done and his long hair was on the cape and floor of the barber shpo?"
"And is that what you really think, Dr. McDaniel, that it's a good haircut for you?" I asked.
He paused for a moment. "I don't know. What do you think, Cedric?" he asked.
His unveiled green eyes and handsome face were fully visible. He looked manly and authoritative. "Yes. I mean, I think you're incredibly handsome with long hair as well as with this military-length flattop!" I blurted out.
Instantly my face blushed horridly. I was embarrassed by my admission.
Dr. McDaniel leaned back in his chair and smiled widely. He ran the hand up the skinned back of his head.
Then he stood abruptly. "Come, I'm taking you for a much needed haircut!"
I was frozen in my seat.
He reached down and fondled my thick, wavy locks tenderly...before giving my hair a yank that hurt. "Such a pansy-friendly hair style," he murmured as he strode out his office door.
My heart raced. I quickly fell in line behind him, slinking along like a vulnerable kid, afraid of making a peep.
"There's a barbershop on the edge of campus that has a sign in the window saying they specialize in flattops...."
My heart pounded hard and beat fast as I surveyed the snowy white scalp on the back of Dr. McDaniel's head with the bit of clipped bristles on top. I found myself wanting to be submissive and compliant. We would be twins in class on Tuesday.... What would the others say?