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"Good" Friends by BaldSurfer


When I was in high school and college, I was really into sports, so I always kept my hair fairly short - usually a #4 buzz on top with the sides and back it little shorter. It was easy to keep, cool in the heat, and girls never complained. So once a month or so, I'd get a maintenance buzz and not have to give my hair any thought. As college ended and I had to start interviewing for jobs, I let it grow out a bit, into what I thought was a more acceptable look while applying at major corporations. It was long enough to comb the top to the side, with a longer buz on sides and back.

I got a job in New York City, as did a couple of my college buds, and we were taking full advantage of the NYC nightlife. When we were out at clubs, we were always amused and amazed when we would see guys not much older than us who were obviously losing their hair, but seemed in complete denial. Some guys did the sad combover, growing their sides long and trying to sweep it over their bald heads and it seemed like they didn't think anyone would notice. Other guys went for cheap toupees of Hair Club for Men, none of them looking the least bit realistic. Our running joke was that these guys must have really bad friends, because we'd never let each other suffer that kind of humiliation. If one of us was visibly balding, we always promised to be "good friends" and tell the guy it was time to "man up" and shave it all off. We all agreed that BALD was better than balding.

By around 26, I started noticing that the corners of my hairline were receding. I didn't think it was too bad yet, and as I let the top grow out, I parted it in the middle, letting a few strands fall forward to hide the corners, with the rest combed straight back. I thought everybody's hairline receded a little as we aged and never gave it a thought.

The next summer, we had a weekend getaway in Vegas for the gang. After a day of golf, me and my buddies were in the pool. At one point, I came up from underwater and they all started laughing and pointing. For the first time, with my hair wet, they saw how far the front had receded. Even worst, they saw that the longer top had started to hide a pretty big bare spot in the back. I'd been in complete denial about the back, since I rarely even saw it.

The guys made their thoughts painfully clear:
"Dude, you're going bald! A straight-back combover is still a combover!"
"How long you been hiding this? You know the rules!"
"You're the guy who always said combover guys had bad friends. We're GOOD friends. Time to give it up!"

I protested. I said it wasn't that bad yet. I still had time. But we went back up to one of the rooms, and the guys positioned me between all the full length mirrors and made me look at my hair from all sides, unstyled. I couldn't deny the circle in the back, nearly 4 inches wide, with barely any hair. Ad the widow's peak up front was looking more like a patch of hair at the very front that was about to completely disconnect itself from the rest of my hair. It was like looking at myself for the first time and I hated what I saw and knew what I had to do. We'd been drinking all day, so I didn't put up any resistance.

With my total acceptance, we stumbled along the Las Vegas strip to a small barber shop in a strip mall. It was 6 pm and the shop was empty except for one elderly barber. I sat down and the barber draped the cape around me and asked "What's it gonna be today?"

Before I could say anything, one of my buddies said "Shave this balding motherf***er! He can't be a little bald. He has to be completely bald!" The other guys cheered. The barber asked me if that was really what I wanted. I was drunk. My boys had called me out. I didn't hesitate. "Shave my head smoother than a baby's butt!" I yelled.

The barber didn't say another word. He took a big mean-looking black clipper and fired it up. And, as if he wanted to make sure I didn't chicken out, he placed them at the center of my forehead and pushed backward, carving a bald stripe down the middle of my head. The guys howled and hooted. They couldn't believe I was letting this happen, but seemed happy that I was. I'd been so embarrassed by their taunts and too drunk to care about consequences, so I said nothing, and just watched as every swipe of those big black clippers sent the last of my hair tumbling onto the striped cape.

When the barber was finally done and turned off the clippers, I looked at my pale head with just the tiniest bit of stubble and, maybe it was the alcohol, but I was already starting to like it. The barber told me to sit still and disappeared into the back room. The uys hooped and hollered and ran over to rub my bare head. But then the barber came back with a steaming wet towel and wrapped it around my head. My drunk buddies joked and laughed, but it felt awesome. Then he took it off and covered my head with hot lather.

I'd felt hot lather before, over the top of my ears and the base of my back hair line, but I can't explain the thrill of hot lather over my entire head. Using a straight razor, the barber started at m right side burn, shaving upwards. Scratch, scratch. scratch echoed in my head as he shaved away the stubble that had been my hair. When the last of it was done, I stared, still a little drunk but completely amazed, at he shining bald version of myself that I saw in the mirror. Again, the barber disappeared for a moment and the boys took turns rubbing my head and laughing. This time, without warning, the barber wrapped an ice cold towel around my completely bald head. I shivered but couldn't believe the vivid sensation of extreme cold on skin that had never seen the light of day.

A moment later, finally done, we paid the barber and walked out. My head, chilled from the towel, hit the 100 degree air and I shuddered. But I loved how strongly I was feeling the world through this new bald dome. We hit the club at the hotel that night and I was the only guy who hooked up and took a girl back to the room. Geez! I was loving being bald.

The next morning, after I sent the girl on her way, I jumped in the shower. As I soaped up, my smooth head already felt like sandpaper. I jumped out of the shower, grabbed my razor and shaving cream, got back in the shower and shaved myself again, as slick as I could.

I met back up with my buddies and thanked them for being good friends.




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