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Jealousy's Reward by Greg Crew
Alex and I worked together in software support. I knew Alex was with somebody so I never pushed things beyond the "work-friend" level. I'm really into hair. Not too many of my friends know about this as anything more than my weird obsession with going from long to short and always commenting on their haircuts. One thing that attracted me to Alex was the most incredible head of shiny brown shoulder-blade length hair. It was the kind of hair that looked like a lot of time was spent taking care of. Imagine my shock one Monday when I walked into work and saw Alex sitting there with a short old style crew cut. It looked like about a number two on the sides with the top a little bit longer ending up with about a 3/4 inch bumper in front. "Oh man, Alex, what did you do to your hair?" It popped out of my mouth before I could stop myself. When Alex looked up with reddened eyes, I quickly threw in. "It looks great, but what a change."
Alex smiled wanly and said, "its ok Greg, I know I look pretty weird with my ears sticking out and my little bumper all waxed up, but, this is the new me. With that, Alex stood up and I realized that the instead of the usually smart outfit that always made the rest of us feel a bit under dressed, Alex was in khakis and flannel shirt and what looked like a pair of work boots. "My boyfriend Butch and I were at a party on Friday night and he thought I was flirting with a couple of Marines. I tried to explain to Butch that I was just complimenting them on their haircuts. I love a man in a high and tight, just like Butch wears. Those two Marines were married, to each other, for gosh sake. As the evening went on Butch kept accusing me of eyeing every guy there with short hair. The next morning, Butch was up early and out. When I got up, I came downstairs to find him standing in the kitchen waiting for me. He had two bags in front of him. And a kitchen chair pulled away from the table with newspaper underneath it."
"Al" (as Butch calls me), "we have a problem. You obviously really like short hair and you can't seem to get enough of it. So, I have a solution. If we are to stay together, you will sit down in this chair and accept the haircut I am going to give you. You will also dress in a more appropriate fashion to suit this haircut. I will be in charge of your hair and your wardrobe. You have ten minutes to decide. If you decide no, I will help you pack your things and you will be on the street. Good luck finding lodging on your salary."
"I was dumbstruck, Butch set a kitchen timer and left the room. As I told him I loved short hair, but not on me. My mother used to make me have very short haircuts when I was a kid and I hated them. Maybe that's why I am attracted to them now, who knows. But, I also knew that Butch was right, I would be out in the street and besides, he was otherwise a good partner, perhaps we could get past this. The timer sounded. Butch came back into the room, and I sat down on the chair," Alex stated.
"Now Al, once I start cutting, there is no going back, you understand. This is your decision." I nodded my head. "And I want no dramatics" I took a deep breath and nodded again. With that, he plugged in the clippers and went to work.
"Oh Lord, Greg, so much hair fell. Onto the cape he put over me, onto the floor, everywhere. Butch had a grim determined look on his face, as he switched guards, stopped and studied, cut and buzzed until he was satisfied. It took all of my composure not to fall apart when he held up a mirror and showed me my little bumper waxed up in front and said 'and this is how it stays.' Then he made me put on an outfit like this one and said, plain and simple, that's the new you."
As Alex finished this sad story, I have to admit, I was getting really turned on. My hair was at a fairly long phase right now and all I wanted to do was run my hands over Alex's head and then head to the closest barbershop and get the same haircut for myself. Our cubicles were next to each other so I said to Alex, "you know, the haircut does look good on you. How are things going with Butch now?"
Alex said, "its too soon. I feel like something broke on Saturday, but I need to be realistic and make a plan to get out, if things don't get better." I leaned over and gently ran my hand up the prickly side of Alex's head. It was like bolts of electricity going through my fingers.
"Don't worry my friend," I said quietly, "I'll help you through this." At the end of the work day my first stop was the Corner Barbers, the best barbershop in our town. Tommy, my barber was surprised to see me. He was used to my long and short phases and hadn't expected me in for a shape up for another month or so.
"Hey Greg, what's up." I smiled and told him that, on a whim, I felt the need to get a nice old fashioned crewcut and described Alex's cut to him. Tommy didn't need to be asked twice and a little while later, I was a very happy customer! Oh yes, I also had one fantastic crew cut. I had to stop myself from looking in the mirror or thinking about Alex on the drive home for fear I'd run off the road. When I did get home, I spent a lot of pleasurable time admiring my new short haircut and wondering what it would be like if Alex and I were rubbing each other's heads and....
The next morning, as I got out of my car, I started to worry that Alex might think I was somehow out of line or mocking what happened, but I needn't have worried. When Alex saw me, our eyes met our hands went up to touch each other's heads and...the phones started ringing. To be continued.