Straight to the Floor by BaldSurfer
Billy always hated his curly hair. If he kept it 2 inches long or so, the big loose curls would be manageable, but Billy always envied guys with long hair. His best friend Drew had straight blond hair that grew past his shoulders. Billy tried to grow his hair out too. For over a year, he put up with a messy mop of curls that seemed to get bigger, not longer - a white guy afro that still barely touched the base of his neck. When he'd get out of the shower, his hair soaking wet and hanging straight, he saw what he'd really wanted to look like. But as it dried and curled up, it became a giant poof of light brown curls. Blow drying didn't help because his hair would re-curl the minute he stepped out into the Florida humidity.
Billy's friend Linda had recently started beauty school, and one night, as he again complained about his hair, Linda told him that they had just learned how to do hair straightening, and that she could help him. The next evening, Billy sat in a chair in Linda's kitchen as she combed a horrible smelling cream through his hair. As if the smell wasn't bad enough, his scalp felt a burning tingle as the product sat in his hair for the prescribed 20 minutes. Finally, Linda led him to the sink, washed out the chemicals, shampooed and conditioned his hair. He couldn't wait to see the results. Linda towel dried his hair and he ran to look in the mirror.
It was perfect! This was the hair he'd always wanted. Completely straight, his hair now brushed the top of his shoulders. He shook his head and loved the feeling of his flowing hair as it moved freely. For the next few weeks, Billy was elated, feeling more confident about his appearance than he ever had. Suddenly, he was less timid about approaching girls in bars. He smiled every time he caught a sight of his own reflection in a mirror or store window.
But less than a month later, his hair went from straight to wavy back to its old curly self over the course of a few days.He called Linda and asked what he should do. She said it was time to re-do the straightening process, so he soon found himself back in her kitchen chair, the familiar terrible odor coming off the cream in his hair.
"It's supposed to last a lot longer than a month," Linda told him. "But I guess your hair is tougher than the treatment, so I'm going to leave it on for 30 minutes instead of 20." Billy knew nothing about these chemicals, but trusted that Linda had learned the proper procedures, so he just nodded, and endured the longer time, even as the burning on his scalp intensified. But it seemed worth it when Linda washed and dried his hair. It was perfectly straight again, so he gave Linda a big kiss and thanked her.
The next morning, Billy got up for work at the lumber yard, showered, toweled off his hair and started to brush it straight. But with each brush stroke, he saw bits of hair falling into the sink. The fallen hairs were all different lengths, some less than an inch while others seemed to be the full length of hi 8+ inch long hair. He thought it was curious, but didn't give it a second thought. It was a hot day out in the yard, so Billy pulled a hair tie out of his pocket and tied his hair back. When work was done, he pulled out the hair tie and clumps of hair were stuck in the tie. Now he panicked and called Linda. She was on her way to beauty school class and told him to meet her there, Perhaps her teacher could help.
The teacher gently ran a brush through Billy's hair as Linda explained to her about the straightening processes. The teacher was furious. Students were not supposed to perform these procedures yet and this was why! She explained to Billy that the chemicals had completely burned his hair and it would continue to break off. Billy asked if it could be fixed, maybe conditioner? Maybe some other chemicals? But the teacher said there was no fix.
She said it would continue to break off - all at different lengths, and that if he left it alone, he would soon look a mess, with clumps of hair at all different lengths. The best solution was to just cut it all off and start fresh. "It's a good thing you're a guy," said the teacher. "Buzzes are in for guys now. Imagine if this had happened to a woman!". But that was little comfort to Billy, who never liked or wanted short hair. But the teacher was right, he had no choice. He asked how short they'd have to go, and she said they'd have to take almost all of it off. She said the best she could offer was a #1 buzz, which would at least leave him a thin layer of fuzz. Billy glared at Linda. This was her fault that he was about to become almost bald. Tears of guilt started to form in Linda's eyes.
To make it worse, the teacher wanted Linda to learn a lesson from this and insisted that Linda would have to be the one to shave off her friend's hair - while the whole class watched. The teacher took out a big, mean looking Oster clipper and placed the metal #1 blade on it. Linda had already learned how to use clippers but had never buzzed a whole head before. Billy sat on a stool in the middle of the classroom, surrounded by students, no mirror in sight. Linda tied a cape around his neck and tearfully said she was sorry.
She turned on the clippers and Billy thought he'd vomit. He'd loved his long straight hair. And even though he never liked his curly hair, he had NEVER even considered shaving it all off. What would he look like? How long would it take to grow back? As all this ran through his mind he didn't notice Linda shakily approach him and drive he clippers up from his side burn all the way up the side of his head, but his hair started to rain down the cape. With each pass, he could feel the air conditioned coolness hit bare scalp as more and hair fell on the cape and floor. Linda kept crying and apologizing as she worked her way around, until she sheared off the other side burn. Now only the top remained. Billy started to calm down, accepting that his hair was gone and there was nothing he could do. But as Linda put the clippers at his hairline and pushed backwards, his anxiety rose again. This wasn't just a haircut this was a no-hair cut! When Linda was finally done, her teacher stepped in to spread hot lather around Billy's ears and nape of his neck and used a straight razor to clean up the edges. Linda continued to cry. The rest of the class stared in shock at the massive cut they'd watched. Billy asked for a mirror.
He held the large hand mirror and couldn't believe that thee image he saw was himself. His hair was thick and course, so even at a #1, little scalp was visible. They'd left his side burns down to the bottom of his ears. He reached up and for the first time, ran his hand over the freshly buzzed fuzz. It felt like velvet to his hand, and he love the tingle he felt on his scalp as his hand brushed over it. It looked good. It felt good. And the curls were no longer a problem. A big smile crossed his face and he even began to laugh. Linda's mood seemed to lighten.
"You like it? So you forgive me?"
"Yeah - I'll forgive you - on one condition. You have to shave it down like this again every 2 weeks!"