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James Transitions to Middle Age by Manny
James picked up his step as he approached the Maple Street Barber Shop. He was determined. This time he would grasp the handle of the door and enter. The events inside would unfold as he had rehearsed many times in his mind. He would leave looking and feeling like a different man!
As he neared the door, his eyes locked onto the sign in the window that had first caught his eye and captured his imagination: "We specialize in flattops!"
Seeing it again as his hand reached out for the door handle, sent a shiver down his spine.
Most of his thick mane of lush chestnut-colored hair with fiery auburn highlights would fall to the black-and-white checked linoleum floor. He would leave with bare sides, a bare back and a very neatly clipped pile on top. That was James' plan.
As James' hand touched the cold metal knob, he froze momentarily, staring at this reflection in the glass. What would he look like without his floppy, grown-out business cut? Out of instinct, he pushed back his bulky forelock. Oh, how soft his hair felt!
The reason James had spent a couple decades working up the courage to actually "go for it" was that he had really nice hair that frequently garnered praise. It made him look young for his age. No one believed he was in his early 40s! To have an old geezer barber clip most of it off took guts...
The door swung open. At last! James was finally inside the Maple Street Barber Shop.
Instantly, he hesitated on the mat right inside. A quick thought to bolt from the shop immediately crossed his mind. To stifle it, James took off his coat.
"You can hang that in the back," one of the barbers said, eyeing the unfamiliar client.
"Thanks," James replied. He watched himself in the mirror -- the dark business suit and tie...how would it look with a flattop, he wondered? The fiery auburn highlights absolutely blazed in the harsh neon light.
The chairs in the waiting area seemed particularly hard. James couldn't help but squirm, trying to get comfortable. His other nervous habit, a sort of manipulator to relieve his stress, was running his fingers back through his bulky forelock. It must have been a good five inches in length and could form a mighty pompadour with the aid of some styling gel.
James picked up an old fishing magazine to distract himself. The two barbers were both in the middle of giving haircuts and there were a two other men waiting. It would be a bit of a wait.
While James mindlessly stared at pictures of boats and fish, his mind was filled with visions of flattops -- deep piled with beveled sides, military length with generous landing strips, high 'n tights, SHOES! What would he end up with?
Another question was what propelled him with such excitement and angst to a drastic makeover?
James had no easy answer. Did he want to be a different person? Or perhaps he liked the agony of feeling very insecure and vulnerable? Maybe it was just a matter of wanting some change -- perhaps part of a mid-life crisis. Then his thoughts turned to his first exposure to an immaculate flattop, the one sported by his high school chemistry teacher, Mr. Majewski. When he'd be lecturing from the front and lean down to check something in his book, the site of his landing strip excited James.
James recalled vividly the excitement over an exchange of some brief banter when he commented to his teacher after class one day, "Your flattop is getting a little long, Mr. M. You need to visit your barber this weekend."
His teacher quipped back, "And I need to take you with me. Put a quick end to that girly-boy look of yours! One quick clipper-over-comb move by my barber will have that forelock of yours on the cape, Jim."
James had scurried away quickly, that afternoon so many years ago, pawing at his precious shoulder-length locks.....dreaming for the first time of getting a flattop himself one day.
"You're next, sir," the barber called out.
James broke from his daze and trip down memory lane to see the geezer clad in a royal blue tunic looking right at him.
James stood and paused momentarily. It was his big moment to take the next step.
The flattop still wasn't a done deal. "Just a trim" was his easy escape route. That knowledge helped James approach the huge metal foot rest that served as a step up to the comfortable red leather upholstery.
Despite the comfort of the cushioned throne, James' body was riddled with tension.
The barber engaged in a bit of chit-chat as he reached for the cape. "Cold enough for you today? We didn't have much of an Indian Summer this year."
"I don't mind the cold," James replied. "I'm in the 'let it snow' crowd."
The barber chuckled as he cast the royal blue cape that matched his tunic through the air. He pulled it tight around the tissue liner and fastened it snuggly in place with a huge metal clip.
James was one step closer to his transformation.
The barber brushed his plush mane and smoothed it down with his hands. "So, what'll it be for you today?"
James froze in fear! Time was up! It was put up or wimp out for the umpteenth time.
Per his memorized script, James delayed the decision a bit more.
"I saw that sign on your front window as I was passing by. 'We specialize in flattops.' That's what made me enter -- I've always wondered if a flattop would work for me."
James saw the barber smile slightly. It was clear the old man liked the direction the conversation was going!! But he played his hand very cautiously.
"It would be quite a change, but.... Uh, yes. You have....uh, I would say....um, perfect hair for a flattop. Nice and thick, full of body. It would stand up quite perfectly. But, like I said, a flattop would be a rather big change for you. Is that what you were thinking about getting today, a flattop?" the barber asked. He eyed James' lustrous mane, with a look of certainty that most of it would soon be at this feet.
James' heart beat rapidly. "Well, uh, it's definitely a possibility. I'm a bit nervous about the change, though, like you said. I mean, if it doesn't suit my face shape or, uh....you know.... Or maybe not quite the thing for my workplace."
The barber reached for the clippers. James' heart skipped a beat. He could tell that the barber was going to allay his fears and propel him towards that elusive goal.
He snapped on the machine and raised his comb. "If that's your only worry....I can't think of one place a flattop would look out of place. A rock band, maybe!" The barber chuckled. "Then, it's for sure a go! You will look fantastic. Satisfaction guaranteed...or the haircut is free."
He snagged the floppy forelock with his comb. The shattering teeth were inches from their target. All that lacked was James' final decision.
"Go for it," the caped businessman croaked. "Give me your best flattop!"
Instantly, the forelock was sent to the cape. It was a massive lock of hair! James felt his cock stir under the cape. This was it! Finally! He would leave with a flattop. There was no turning back.
James looked up to see the barber snagging another doomed lock. The metal teeth of the clipper clattered over the plastic teeth of the comb. The second swipe caused a dramatic change in the businesscut. James was already looking very different.
"So, have you thought about what length flattop you want?" the barber inquired, already thinking about his next task -- pairing down the full sides that caused the tops of James' ears to disappear under the chestnut blanket punctuated with natural fiery highlights.
James squirmed under the cape. What would he end up with? James decided to play it safe, "You're the expert. What would be best for me?"
The barber continued his banter, "My guess is that you don't want one of those girly flattops -- very tall on top. Quite prissy that takes a lot of goop and drying to make decent. No, a man your age looks best with one cut very close. Like zero on the sides and very little on top."
The words cut like a knife. The barber dismissed exactly the length James' had always desired most, to show off some of the beauty of his nice hair. To make matters worse, the geezer was pushing a military look!
James gripped the arms of the chair. Then he steadied himself for his explosive response, one that shocked himself, "I agree. The shorter the better. A generous landing strip is a must for me!"
The barber smiled widely. "Ah, yes! No playing around now that you've decided to ditch the floppy businesscut. I quite agree."
The geezer stopped his machine and swapped out the blade. "Balding length is what's needed for your new look." The barber yanked his comb through his client's plush mane of beautiful hair one last time. Then he cocked James' head to the side and came up through his nicely shaped sideburn, completely decimating it. The balding clippers hugged James' scalp closely and went up, up, up through the temple and virtually skinned the side.
James' cock sprang fully to life. It was so good the hair-covered cape concealed his private activity.
The barber worked quickly and methodically on the sides, taking off all James' glossy hair.
Then the barber turned his attention to the back. He pushed James' head a bit.
James felt the clippers coming up through the nape. Then the teeth cleared the occipital bone. Finally, they hit the cowlick and didn't stop!!
Alarm bells rang out as the clippers came tightly down the center of his head toward the truncated, wispy bangs. James realized he was being SHOE-ed!
"You did say you wanted a shoe, didn't you?" the barber asked innocently, knowing full well the deed was already done.
"Horseshoes are the manliest of flattops," James eked out.
"Oh, I quite agree. Once a man's been shoed, I rarely see him growing the thatch out again. It takes a certain amount of confidence to get rid of all that," he said, pointing to the shorn hair on the cape, "and sport a shoe. But the shoe empowers a man. A man with a shoe exudes authority, respect and command. That's why they are quite popular with police and military officers. What's your line of work, sir?"
"James is the name. Since it seems I'll be a regular here, now that I've been shoed, you might as well know my name," he replied with a wink. "Bank manager, by the way."
"No one will dare try to sneak his hand into the til with you and your shoe patrolling!" the barber laughed.
"Hell! Bank robbers will just drive right on by when they catch sight of my shoe!" James laughed. It occurred to him, he was taking quite readily to the shoe!
The rest of the haircut continued in silence with the barber taking twice as much time to get everything 'just right' than he had to remove 98% of the bulk.
Finally, the barber held up a mirror to show off his handiwork. "What do you think? Quite a change, eh?"
"I'll say!" exclaimed James. "And the scalp is so white....."
"Oh, that's nothing," laughed the barber. "Just wait until you've been shaved," he added slapping on a dollop of warm, white lather on James' head.
"Shaved?" James gasped.
"Yep, peeled like a grape. All over," the barber replied, spreading the lather and massaging it into James' scalp. "Your head is going to shine in the sun when you step out of here. Every bit of smooth scalp -- except for this thin shoe of hair around the rim here," he noted, tracing the shoe with his index finger.
The feel of the razor scraping off his stubble and the warm lather almost made James explode. It felt divine. "I'll be wanting this treatment every time I come here!" he chortled.
"Funny, but when I first saw you enter the shop I never imagined this is what was on your mind. I fully expected you to ask for a trim," the barber said. Then he added with an effeminate scold, "Especially, the bangs. Just the tips! Do you understand me?"
The barber continued, "Yep, you sure had a nice head of hair -- quite a youthful look it gave you. Almost boyish. Now you look more appropriate for a man our age."
Our age?!?! James could not believe what the barber was suggesting....that he too was like....a geezer!
"You'll be looking to retire soon, I'll bet," the barber added. "Lots of retirees make the barber shop their place to hang out....when they want to get away from their wives or if they're single -- widowers -- and need company. How much longer for you at the bank?"
"Oh, I have a lot of time left -- at least 20 years," James stammered, still reeling from the fact that barber thought he was nearing retirement.
The barber blushed with embarrassment, "Oh...." was all he could manage about his gaffe.
The whole final bit of conversation made James feel so uneasy.....and vulnerable. As the barber withdrew the cape, James felt full of regret! His legs wobbled as he descended from the footrest. His stomach churned as he glanced at his beautiful hair littering the floor. The shimmering auburn highlights were muted. The barber stepped right on the prime forelock that had graced the top of the biggest pile of cut hair.
"Keep the change," James muttered as he handed the geezer a $20 bill.
"See you in a week or so?" the barber asked as the door swung open. "You'll be surprised how quickly that smooth scalp turns to sand paper!"
James ambled out without answering. The frigid winter air shocked his virgin scalp as it was exposed to the stinging cold breeze for the first time. He'd been shoed! He could feel proof of his transformation even without a mirror.
Then James remembered his briefcase.
James quickly returned to the barber shop. He popped in and grabbed it. "Can't leave this. Good-bye, again. See you soon," James told the barber, glancing in the mirror again. He stepped up to it and examined the very slight remnants of hair. Wow, he was a new man! "I want to make sure my shoe is shined to perfection...."
The second time he left the shop, James felt much more confident. He even looked forward to entering the bank for the first time with his new, mean look! There was one particular teller named Gus with princess hair....nice ginger waves all the way to his waist. How would Gus react to his boss' new shoe?!