The Ultimate by Stillcropped
This is a true account which happened in 2002.
My haircut fetish had gone through many phases and cuts, but never had I the nerve for ' the ultimate' a complete shave. The thought and anticipation of asking a barber to remove all my hair had gnawed away at me for some time and I had, on one occasion made up my mind to ' go for it' only to chicken out at the last minute and got a no 1 close crop , which still didn't satisfy my urge to feel only skin on my scalp.
There had been a few changes in my life both work and personal, and, weighing everything up I decided to once and for all scratch this itch which had irritated me for so long. I had not had a haircut for six weeks - a record for me - when , on a Thursday afternoon I made my way to the ' hot shave barbershop' . it was with a nervous anticipation I approached the shop deliberately going the long way round towards it so I had no excuse to look in and decide that it was too busy or quiet to alter my plan. I took a deep breath and entered the shop , it was neither modern or traditional but could do with a lick of paint, a radio playing, one barber with a customer in his chair two others waiting , the barber nodded a welcome to me as I took a seat and lifted a newspaper from the table , it was three days old. From the mirror opposite I managed to weigh up the waiting customers the first a youth late teens , sides clippered short with dark waves on top , the second about my age his growing out crew cut greying at the temples and me, an inch on top just over a no4 back and sides.
As the barber finished off his customer's conservative business cut he motioned for the youth to take the chair and as he caped him he turned to the other waiting man addressing him as ' Jim' and confirming he was here for his 'usual' he then turned to the youth briefly discussed that he wanted the back and sides ' tightened up' but nothing off the top ' he set to work with his clippers. Not a lot of hair was removed but it was obvious the barber was skilled as he blended the skinned back and sides into the longer top section and then cleaned up the neckline and around the ears with an open razor.
As he took the money from the youth he took me by surprise by asking me " what I wanted ?"
I felt myself blushing and my heart thumped as I swallowed hard and mumbled ' ehm short, I mean, ehm , ehm Shaved really"
As the barber flicked any hairs from his chair with the cape he turned to me smiling "you want your head shaved , yes?"
I nodded my agreement staring at him aware that 'Jim' had turned to look at me , I tried to stop myself but my hand automatically reached to my scalp and I ran my fingers through my hair "you want just the clippers or razor shave?" Asked the barber.
My moment of truth had arrived , the blood pumped in my eardrums , I fixed my gaze on the barber and swallowed , my mind raced " ehm , ehm the ehm a ehm full , the razor shave please " I said it but it wasn't like my voice, I' m a decisive person , straight down the line and yet here I was mumbling and barely able to get the words out . It was then that I realised the barber had tilted the chair towards me and from the distance I heard his voice
" OK , Hey Jim you don't mind waiting only a few minutes while I get started on this guy do you ? "
I felt Jim touch my arm and his voice " no problem " I felt myself rise from my seat and take the three strides to the barbers chair , as I sat in the soft leather chair the barber simultaneously pumped the seat up as he draped the white nylon cape around me snugly clipping it around my neck
" First time?" He asked
"Yes" , I replied "I've ehm passed your shop ehm a few times but ehm this is my ehm first visit"
I watched as he reached into the drawer and pulled out a set of small dark red clippers as he plugged them in he gave a little laugh " I mean your first head shave , I know you not been here before as I never forget a head or face. "
I felt myself blushing again and the butterflies flutter in my stomach as again I stammered " S..sorry of course .Yes this is ehm my first time" and I swallowed hard.I
Thoughts of telling him now STOP! now raced through my head , it looked like slow motion as he raised the clippers over my right shoulder and aimed them at the center of my forehead, I heard the CLICK and high pitched BUZZ but they seemed muffled by the thumping of my heart , the clippers a fraction of an inch from my scalp his voice asking me questions " Any reason ? You lose a bet or something?".
The vibration on my skull the dark red machine inching across the top of my head , the cable draping over my shoulder , the hairy forearm of the barber now against my forehead , the clippers being lifted from my head ,my mouth dropping open as I saw an inch and a half wide furrow of white scalp running from my forehead to the crown of my scalp and a roll of my dark locks tumbling down from my head , and in the mirror the barber with a huge grin on his face.
" No second thoughts now ! " he laughed " I sense you were thinking of chickening out , so I use these " and he showed me the writing on the machine " Wahl balding clippers" he continued " now relax, enjoy, let me finish you off with these and if that's enough for you , we leave razor till next time . OK?"
I realised that my mouth was still open as I began to take in the reality of what had just happened , but as I regained my senses I nodded my agreement and then cleared my throat
" Wow , I mean ,Sorry, it's just a bit of a shock!" Again he laughed as he approached me again " Yeah, they do as they say .These are nearest thing to razor on the market " And he aimed them at the next strip of hair , this time I took a deep breath as he moved them neither fast or slow but in one continuous stroke front to back and I watched fascinated as he used just enough pressure to let the clippers follow the contours of my scalp ensuring their teeth met and sheared every hair in their path , flicking the harvested follicles onto my shoulder and I watched them roll down the cape to the floor and the bald strip on my head was doubled.
I was now settling down and beginning to enjoy the experience , another two passes across the top and I was now sporting an MPB cut , bald on top with a longer curtain back and sides " leave you like that? What you reckon Jim ? Does that suit him? " and the barber turned the chair slightly towards his waiting customer.
We all laughed as Jim retorted " Yeah, looks good, maybe take the sides and back down to a no 2 ! Be like ' back to the future' in reverse , let you see what you' ll look like in a few years"
With my confidence growing I now spoke up " Much as I' m glad you guys are enjoying yourselves I think evening it up will be better, keep going eh sorry I don' t know your name! "
" I' m mufstasa " answered the barber " but most folks call me Jim ! Also" and for the first time I noticed the very slight foreign accent to his voice . Next he tilted my head to the left and the clippers roared in my right ear as they removed the hair from the side of my head quickly leaving me as a half baldy. My chin down on my chest the clippers buzzed up the back of my head then were up behind my left ear and shearing off my sideburn , then they fell silent and I looked at a virtually bald me looking back at me in the mirror . I checked the clock it was less than three minutes since I had mumbled my head shave request.
Jim the barber rubbed my sandpaper like scalp "enough , or you want smooth head? "
I couldn't work out why I was hesitating ! to all intents I was now bald but here I was still being apprehensive about having no more than a five o clock shadow removed from my scalp, it was as though Jim was reading my mind and he helped make my decision " why don' t I cut Jim's hair while you make up your mind? "
"Ehm yes if that's OK" I stammered "
sure " replied barber Jim " move over to the other chair" as I moved seats I noticed the steam rising from the sink and as I sat in the new seat the barber produced a hot wet towel and wrapped it around my head pressing it firmly against my scalp.
As the other Jim settled into the chair he looked at me and asked the barber ' you giving him one of your specials?'
"No, no special for him he's a first timer , if comes back then he can have a special" replied barber Jim and he fired up his clippers and applied them to his clients hair quickly reducing it to a no2 stubble, he was done in a couple of minutes and was brushing down Jim , he turned towards me " OK, you going Kojak?"
I took a deep breath " I think so, can you let me see how much I'm going to lose? " He started to give a little laugh " You're going to lose all of it ! , I've used the balding clippers on you which for most people is about three days growth from shaved smooth, so you going for it? "
My moment of truth had arrived very slowly i nodded my head ' let's go for it!'
Jim , who had been massaging the now warm towel into my scalp quickly whipped it off revealing again to me the dark shadow of my scalp. The warm foam seemed to penetrate deep into my skin as Jim ladelled brushfulls of the white semi liquid onto my head then with a swirling motion worked it into my scalp with his brush , he then placed a folder square of tissue on my shoulder.
I was a rabbit in the headlights as the red handled open razor in his right hand touched my scalp Jim now spoke for the first time as he reached over my head from behind me ' now for the fun part' . The razor blade gently kissed my scalp right in the centre of My forehead I felt a gentle tug against my scalp as the blade connected and then a soft rasping noise and sensation as he expertly pulled the blade back towards my crown leaving only skin behind. As he wiped the white foam from the blade onto the tissue i saw it speckled with dark spots , it took me a moment to connect that these little spots had been attached to my scalp which now showed a slightly darker strip of skin amongst the pure white foam and I let out a sigh , I had done it i was being shaved.
After the initial stroke Jim worked much quicker and in a methodical manner , three to four short downward strokes, wipe the blade and move to the next section each time revealing more of My bare scalp. I was mesmerized but now enjoying the experience and in a relatively short time he had de-nuded the top leaving me with a blanket of white snow on the sides and back. As Jim manouvered my head around to get the best angle for his razor i started to consider what I had done with mixed emotions exilerated that I had at last plucked up the courage to do this and a little fear of what reaction i would get. Jim wiped the excess foam from my scalp then ran his fingers all over checking for any missed areas , applying a little more foam and then shaving it bare. He then rubbed a sweet smelling aftershave into my scalp which stung a little and I was done.
As I looked at my waxy scalp in the mirror it showed a slightly darker shadow where my hairline had been but felt completely smooth and was considerably lighter than my face, as I paid Jim and thanked him i asked about his 'Special' head shave. He told me that if I really wanted a bald look then phone ahead next time and book a special and handed me a card with a telephone number and a simple message .'Cue-Ball Headshave'
Part 2 to follow.