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Matt's Salon Inspiration by Manny
Matt felt very ambivalent about the unexpected turn of events as he was led back into the salon from the waiting area. Why had he ever agreed to the perky receptionist's suggestion that the new stylist cover for his regular guy who'd called in sick?! Matt was very particular about his hair, which was his pride and joy. Thick auburn tresses -- copious, full and stylized just so. What he hated most were pushy stylists that tried to talk him into highlights. Oh no, his hair had a wonderful sheen with natural copperish streaks that no chemical would touch! The other thing he couldn't stand were stylists that decided his hair needed to be thinned! He didn't mind the heavy, full locks that hung past the bottom of his collar. If he'd see a stylist reaching for straight edged razor or the thinning shears, he'd put an end to it with a curt -- "I don't want my hair thinned, thank you very much" -- instruction.
It had taken Matt completely off guard when the very tall and muscular man dressed all in black had walked up to him, introduced himself as Paul and invited Matt to follow him. The guy looked more like a body builder than a stylist! Uncharacteristically for most men that worked in salons, he looked ultra-manly with his six-pack abs and hair shorn down virtually to the scalp! From the stubble on his head, there was no doubt that Paul had a very heavy dense, dark hair.....but it seemed odd for him to be styling other people's hair when he'd clipped his own mane down so brutally short. In Matt's experience, male stylists usually had very metro-sexual type hairdo's....layers, floppy locks and streaks -- not severe clip jobs! With his cold stare and intimidating look, Paul could even pass for a thug.
Matt studied the shorn head from behind as he trailed the hulking hunk. Total knob head -- and so brawny! He'd give one hell of a scalp massage in the washing booth, no doubt, with those muscular arms and huge hands! The tight black tee shirt accentuated every one of his rippling muscles.
Paul indicated the chair that Matt was to occupy for his haircut. It would be a perfunctory stop before heading onto the washing booth. Having his dense locks lathered up and rinsed was Matt's favorite part of his trip to the salon. He loved being layed gently back in the special station and then feeling the tepid water running through his hair, followed by a soothing scalp massage....
Paul picked up a comb and blankly started to yank it through the dense head of hair. "It's been a while since you've had this cut?" he said with a flat tone -- half asking, half telling. Matt resented his use of "this" in reference to his pampered mane. His stomach churned a bit. Matt much prefered the sugary ass kissers who would praise his locks -- "such sheen! such body! such dense tresses!" -- and gently fondle the silken locks as if fingering a real treasure. But, Paul seemed put off by Matt's hair.
Matt responded, somewhat apologetically, "No, I'm right on schedule for my monthly trim. And that's all I want, mind you. A trim!"
"Instead of you money's worth?" Paul asked with a bit of sarcasm.
"My money's worth is getting exactly what I want, I should think!" retorted Matt, fairly taken aback with a defiant pout. He briefly considered calling off the whole haircut.
"No problem," the tough-guy stylist replied, lightening up his tone. "Next step, get this washed." He grasped at Matt's locks that dangled in thick clumps from his napes -- half menacingly, half playfully. The dominating move set Matt even further on edge.
Despite his unease, Matt followed Paul to the shampooing station, again taking the opportunity to examine the closely cropped head. What if Paul should unleash the clippers on him? The thought sent a chill down Matt's spine. He'd never had a clippers taken to his head. As he stared at Paul's head, Matt thought that it was very nicely shaped. Quite perfectly oval and well chiseled ears. A very crisp and clean look.....for Paul, of course!
Paul motioned for Matt to sit and then laid him back so that his locks dangled into the washing basin. The strong arms bulged as they guided the client into a reclining position. Matt felt a tingling sensation as Paul hovered over him and carefully arranged the thick locks of auburn hair near the nape to ensure they would get wet along with the rest of the dense mane. Still hovering just inches from Matt's face, Paul commented, "You must enjoy having someone else wash your hair -- you have so much of it! Very pretty hair too," he said fondling it gently as he smoothed it down, waiting for the warm water to flow through the sprayer.
Matt felt embarrassed and excited all at once. He wanted to say something, but felt tongue-tied. In the end he just nodded, affirming that what Paul had said was true.
Paul applied a huge dollop of shampoo to Matt's sopping scalp and began working his magic. Oh, it felt like heaven! The strong hands plying the lather through the abundant shock of hair. Instead of a two-minute session, Paul lingered very long with Matt reclining at the washing booth. "You don't mind me taking a little extra time here?"
Matt still could not speak. He indicated he didn't mind. In fact, he was loving it! Paul was turning into his dream-come-true stylist!
Paul continued chatting, "I didn't think you would mind me giving your hair extra attention. Maybe we got off to a bit of a rough start back there. You seemed quite protective of your pretty hair. But now, you've relaxed somewhat and seem to be enjoying this....like you might not mind me washing your mane all day long!"
Matt murmured his agreement. "Yes, this is very relaxing...."
Paul paused a bit before changing gears, "Of course, if your hair were as short as mine, we wouldn't even need this step. I'd just cape you up, snap on the clippers, and buzz you down to the wood." Paul let out a chuckle as he tugged playfully on Matt's sopping locks. "Give you a baldy look just like mine....how 'bout it? Shed all this for stubble?"
"If that were the case, I wouldn't need to pay $50 at a high priced salon!" remarked Matt, suddenly finding his tongue.
"My hunch is that you'd never let a clippers near your pampered tresses," said Paul with a bit of a mocking tone. "You don't approve of my minimalist look, do you?"
Matt felt intimidated with the muscular hunk towering over him as he lay vulnerable in the washing station. He stammered, flustered....not knowing what to respond. He'd been enjoying the washing session so much. Then Paul started turning the knife talking about clipping his head down to the wood and obviously enjoyed the sight of him squirming.
Suddenly, Paul cut the hot water and an instant jet of pure cold sent a shockwave through Matt's reclined body. "Hey!" he gasped.
"Cold water closes the pores, my friend. It'll give you nice, shiny, healthy-looking hair," the stylist explained. After letting the chilly cascade rinse Matt's hair for a few minutes, Paul draped the auburn locks in a soft white towel and helped his client sit up straight. Then he instructed Matt to follow him and marched his client back to the chair where his hair would be cut.
Again, Matt felt on edge and ambivalent. What Matt never said -- but what he felt certain about -- was that he did indeed approve of Paul's minimalist look. It was brutal, but so manly...that is, on him.....
Once he'd been caped up and the tangles combed out, Matt felt more uneasy than ever. Paul combed the long forelockstraight down so that it dangled past Matt's nose. Then, Paul picked up a set of shears. "Your money's worth?" he asked.
"That's right -- just a trim, and I'll get my money's worth!" stated Matt, striking out like a cornered beast.
The stylist snapped the scissors open and shut a few time, staring at the mop of wet hair. Large drops of water dangled precariously from the tips of the massive wet clumps. "I wish you'd let me talk you into something shorter. Considerably shorter...." the stylist purred unfazed by Matt's bravado.
Matt felt an instant surge under the cape. The fellow was aggressive....and his blunt manner....was....Matt gulped....chipping away at his resistance....actually beginning to persuade him. "How much shorter?" Matt asked, nibbling at the bait.
"Shall I show you?" asked the stylist, advancing, shears in hand itching to deliver the big chop. He grabbed the dangling forelock....
"No! Just tell me what you have in mind....." replied Matt nervously. His leg jiggled.
"Oh, I didn't mean to frighten you, Matt," purred the aggressive stylist. "Today we'll settle for 'just a trim'. How about it? Let you think over my suggestion -- perhaps for next time?" He combed up the massive forelock and snipped the tips off very gingerly. A brief shower and pitter-patter of small wedges hitting the dark nylon cape ensued. Matt's breathing was still heavy and labored.
Ironically, Matt found himself yearning for a much shorter cut now that Paul had suddenly altered courses and began administering a trim. Oh that the shears would lop off a good three inches worth -- the damp lifeless locks sliding into his lap! He could ask for a "good cropping" and watch the hair fall..... The long forelock whacked off to the length of just an awkward tuft! He would instigate a final session with the thinning shears and have the life thrashed out of his full bodied locks.... Leave the shop with a very short, choppy-type haircut....the kind he always dreaded, but which now suddenly appealed strongly to him.
Nonetheless, Paul had already moved on from anything other than the slightest of trims. The conversation was over! Matt would receive a trim. Nothing more. It was like the aggressive stylist enjoyed imposing his will on the client. Matt felt subdued and submissive under the cape.....made to receive the trim he'd originally requested but now no longer wanted.
Finally, the caped client decided to speak up. Surely, his will should prevail since he was paying $50 for the haircut. "I think you could cut off a bit more, maybe a few inches?" Matt offered as a hesitant suggestion.
"Oh, no! Pretty hair like this should not be cut short!" Paul responded, mockingly. Then after a long pause he added, "....unless one means scalped brutally short....with a huge set of electric, fast-feed hair clippers. The kind my barber uses on me." He stared in Matt's startled eyes and then very slowly rubbed his hand across the top of his shorn head. "One day, not today mind you, I'm going to take you down to the wood all over. Just like this, Matt. You'll be shorn to the scalp....relieved of all this. I promise," he murmured as he grasped Matt's thick locks.
Then without another word, Paul continued with the trim. Nothing else was said. He snipped and snipped, dragging the whole ordeal out. Then he tackled the plush mane with the hair dryer, adding so much volume to the floppy locks that Matt looked like a Texan woman with huge hair. "There, don't you look like a real sweetie now, Miss!" he announced with a flourish to declare the "trim" at an end.
Matt was eager to get out of the chair. As he got up, Paul hissed in his ear, "The next time you're in my chair, you'll be clipped down to stubble! Do you hear me? It's going to be brutal....and you'll end up making Kojak look like a hippy!"
"I understand," was all Matt was able to eek out as he quickly left the styling area.
Memories of his strange encounter with Paul persecuted him all evening and through the night. His long hair was incredibly bothersome and he found himself aching to be on the receiving end of a tight butch cut. Feeling the clippers on his scalp and watching all his beloved hair tumble lifelessly to the floor. But, the thought of interacting with Paul again frightened him. He was not used to being the submissive type.
After tossing and turning all night long it was a relief to get out of bed. The site of his 'bed head' in the mirror was absolutely frightening. His hair looked more goofy than that of Ronald McDonald! And it was so long....he had needed a good cut. He wanted an authoritative man to give him the "big chop". Paul's threat reverberated in his ears....'you'll be clipped down to stubble'.... Again, he found himself longing to feel the clippers on his scalp for the first time. To emerge brave and bold.....shorn and strong like Paul!
Matt stepped into the shower and as the warm water began to sop his hair, his mind wandered back to the salon station where Paul had given his mane a vigorous washing. Oh, to feel those strong hands again plying lather through his locks..... He yearned to see Paul and closely examine his shorn, naked head. He fantasized about Paul's strong hands griping his head like a vice and immobilizing him while he stripped off all the shimmering hair with a clippers. A stubbled baldy look just like his.....could he? He would schedule an appointment with Paul....as soon as he got out of the shower! How Paul would make his squirm and ridicule him once he'd crawled back pleading for the clippers to strip his head naked...
Washing his hair in the shower seemed like hard labor, and combing it out afterwards completely tedious. The wet shaggy mess had to go! It would be cut. Short! Very short!! And he would feel the clippers for the first time in his life..... A chill went down his spine. He wanted to return to Paul, but was absolutely petrified by the idea. To be submissive and on the receiving end....no, that was not his nature. He wanted to give the instructions....direct the haircut. Oh, it would be fun. To find an old school barber to administer a makeover! Yes, tell the geezer take the clippers to him. He'd make up a story.....and emerge shorn, but with his self respect and dignity intact.
As he arranged his floppy locks in the mirror, dreaming of a visit to a stern barber where he could command the situation, a competing idea began to occupy his thoughts again. Call Paul! Submit! Suffer a severe shearing and emerge humiliated...... Ham it up -- act afraid of the clippers and beg for "just a trim" while hearing him laugh as he stripped away the girly hair.....witness Paul's gloating at the way he'd forced Matt to crawl back to him and beg for the clippers to be mercilessly applied to his pampered mane.
He rushed for the phone and dialed the salon. "I'd like to schedule an appointment with Paul. For today. This morning if, possible."
The perky receptionist doused the idea. "Paul's not working today. Can I schedule you with Riley?" His normal guy...no thanks!
Flustered, Matt hung up the phone without responding. No, he would find a barber! Matt returned to the mirror and look at his beautiful, styliized hair. It would be cut and he would feel the clippers today. There was a very traditional barbershop at a plaza not far from his house where two old men dressed in matching white tunics plied their trade, bathed in neon. Like they were two angels.....
He fled from his apartment before he could change his mind. He would be caped and clipped! Matt's heart was racing as he parked his car right in front of the shop. The two angels were at work and the place seemed a beehive of activity. The clients were of all ages, but the shared something in common. All sported very short haircuts. The man walking out of the door look like he'd been severely barbered with the aggressive taper on the sides and back and a slicked top.
Matt dawdled, feeling a bit frightened. Everyone would look at him when he walked in. Then he noticed that the old barber near the window was staring at him, as if beckoning him in. Yes, he would enter and face the clippers!
Walking into the shop, Matt called a lot of attention to himself. He tripped awkwardly over the mat and blushed when eyes riveted on his girlish locks. The old barber who had spotted him dawdling in the car greeted him. "Just a few ahead of you. Should be about 20 minutes." Matt indicated he would wait and took a seat; he felt very uncomfortable in the waiting area. Both barbers sneaked a peak at him from time to time, undoubtedly eager to take their shears to his flouncy hair.
In the chair a lad seemed content to be getting his buzzcut tightened up. He babbled on about the good seats he got at the baseball game the night before. In the other chair, a man was getting his ivy league tidied up. The barbershop was such a different scene than the salon. Just ordinary guys....no one prancing about, feeling cute. The chatter was about stuff like sports and the cost of whatever.
All of this seemed surreal to Matt, who underneath his calm exterior was a cauldron of nerves. Suddenly he was jolted into reality. The old barber was pointing at him, "You're next!" In a haze Matt ambled to the chair and took a seat. His eyes were glued to the huge array of clippers within reach. One of those would put an end to his long hair. As nervous as he was, though, he was glad that he was going through with the radical makeover. Which of those many clippers would do the honors and scalp him he wondered?
The barber was with him before he knew it, fastening the cape snugly around his neck. There would be no prolonged trip to the washing station. Oh, no! The barber was ready to tackle the thatch of hair without any delay. "First time here?" the old man asked, almost rhetorically.
"Yes, sir," croaked Matt, his throat dry to the point of being almost unable to speak. The cape about his neck felt suffocatingly tight.
"Well, then, let's make this a memorable visit!" The old man seemed absolutely itching to grab a set of clippers and plow them up through the copious locks of auburn colored hair. "Something special that brings you here, out of your normal routine?"
Matt unleashed his well-rehearsed story. "I'm meeting my father later today -- seeing him again for the first time in fifteen years. We've been estranged ever since my parents' divorce."
The barber took a comb to Matt's locks, and fumbled a bit with the dense mane. "And he wouldn't approve of this long hair....."
"No, sir," replied Matt. "He was a very strict, authoritarian father who wanted boys to look like boys."
"Not like sissies. And so you rebeled and let your hair grow long when you were out from under his control," the barber said, reaching for the clippers. "A bit like my own son, back in the 1970's with those awful hairstyles on the boys. And how did the barber cut your hair when you were under your father's roof?"
"Very short. Tapered close the skin almost the whole way up the back and the top so short it had to be combed down with a sort of awful smelling pomade. It was terrible looking like a geek in the early 80s when all the other guys had feathered hairstyles, parted in the middle, looking like David Cassidy!"
"So we're talking about shedding most of this here," he continued, as he reached for the largest set of clippers and held it up before snapping it to life. The barber cocked Matt's head firmly to the side and advanced with the clippers towards the dangling tresses.
Matt panicked, "Oh, no sir! I don't mean to get the same 'little boy' haircut I had as a child!"
The barber paused in the nick of time. He seemed very disappointed, "Oh? Why not?"
Matt stammered, desperately thinking for a reason, other than he was afraid to get such a short haircut. "Why, a little boy haircut wouldn't be appropriate on a man my age!"
"But you want to mend your relations with your father, right? That's why your here, after all," the barber stated, chipping away at Matt's resistance. Matt sat there unable to respond. Finally, the barber broke the awkward pause. "How about you select one of those haircuts off the chart of 'official barbershop haircuts' on the wall there?" he suggested, pointing at a poster-sized display of sketches that was probably published circa 1952.
Matt's heart beat wildly. His eyes riveted on the sketch labeled "flattop". It was insanity to think of such a thing....
As if reading his mind, the barber pronounced, "You have perfect hair for a flattop. How about it? A nice, traditional cut your father will approve of -- and sported today by men working from construction sites to banker offices. With your head of hair, a flattop will look just fine!" Even though the man was old and starting to look a bit frail, Matt felt the authority in his suggestion. In fact, it was more than a suggestion....it was a statement of the barber's intention.....! The old barber would impose a flattop on his caped client!
Matt croaked out in disbelief, "Yes, sir. A flattop would be...."
Instantly, the old man snagged his heavy forelock, lifted it with a comb and sliced the whole thing off near his scalp. The large shorn lock fell to the white cape and Matt's stomach churned in fear and dread. He felt like he was on a fast-paced roller coaster that left thoughts and feelings all in a muddled haze. Mounds of his thick hair succumbed to the unforgiving metal teeth of the Osters that hugged his scalp tightly. Very quickly the white cape piled up with thick locks of shorn auburn colored hair. The frail old barber still possessed a grip of iron as he clipped away at the once proud mane of girlish hair.
Though he was in a semi-stunned state with his head pressed low, facing the pile of shorn hair in his lap, Matt could hear the chatter in the barbershop about the dramatic makeover that was being inflicted on him.
The other barber quipped, "Another longhair look bites the dust....doing our community duty again."
He was working on a geezer with fine white hair who added, "Hopefully, it'll be a keeper. Men ought to look like men."
"Boy, the fellow's really getting his money's worth today," laughed one of the clients in the waiting area.
Faintly, Matt heard the bell that was chained to the glass door tinkle as another client entered the shop.
"Hello, Paul," his barber called out. "Already time to get that stubble of yours clipped down again?"
Matt's heart began to pound. It couldn't be!! What sort of a wretched coincidence....? Please, God! He could not bear to face the thuggish stylist.
But the voice that responded shattered any chance fate had spared him from a cruel unwanted chance encounter. He recognized the voice immediately from the salon. "Looks like you've been putting your clippers there to the supreme challenge on that ex-longhair in your chair."
"These?" he asked, brandishing a huge set of Oster's. "They've been shearing heads effortlessly for me since I cut my teeth at the Paris Island bootcamp barbershop," chirped the barber.
"That's an awful lot of hair on the cape there. What's the occasion?" Paul asked, addressing Matt.
The barber interrupted his work so that Matt could sit up straight and answer the question. It was also the first opportunity to see himself sans 90% of his once mighty mane and in its place the rudimentary outline of a flattop. He looked so different! Yet he hardly had time to concentrate on his makeover with the hulking, menacing Paul towering near him.
Matt steadied his nerves. Getting a haircut was no crime. He shouldn't feel intimidated. He looked at Paul and mustered up his courage. "I was tired of the long hair.....that's all."
The barber interjected. "Hey, what about that meeting with your father? His old man used to have this fellow scalped as a lad in the 80s and now they're meeting for the first time in years," he explained to Paul.
"And he was afraid to see the father looking like a prettyboy sissy?" asked Paul.
"Uh, huh," gulped Matt.
"Then be a man -- go for stubble!" he said, glaring at the caped cowering Matt.
"Like your cut, Paul?" asked the barber.
"Even shorter -- take the balding clippers to him. Strip it all off! I can see from the look on his face that's what he wants!" exclaimed Paul.
Matt watched as the barber switched clippers. Didn't he have a say in the matter?!
"Well?" asked the barber. "I think it would be a nice change. And your father would certainly be pleased to see you stripped clean."
Matt swallowed hard, "Yes, I suppose he would."
"Tell you what," interjected Paul. "Let me give you a hand with this fellow, while you take a break, Ralph. I told you I got my professional license just last week. Let me show you what I learned at Barber College!"
"Sure, show us just how close you can take him down!" replied the barber, handing over the machine.
"Oh, when I've got a lad under my cape whose neglected the barbershop, I let 'em know who's the boss!" Instantly, Paul was ontop of his caped prey, applying the most forceful drive with the clippers imaginable, stripping away every hint of hair. Matt was subdued and submissive as he endured the humiliation.
Finally he'd been clipped bald, and Paul pulled off the hair ladened cape. Matt touch the stubble on his head and smiled weakly. He was virtually unrecognizable without his plush mane. But losing all his hair to the clippers was not the end of the story.
In a flash the cape was cast and back in place. "Now, let me show you my technique with the lather and razor, young man!" Paul said as he swiveled the chair away from the mirror and leaned it back so that the head reclined into the sink. Paul allowed a warm stream to gently condition up the denuded scalp for the next phase. "Relax, this should be fun." He began a vigorous finger massage as Matt surpressed a groan of delight. Then Paul applied the warm lather and continued invigorating the scalp with his strong hands, getting it ready to be shaved slick!
"You're going to have to show me how to do that, Paul," called out the barber. "I've had more than half dozen customers asking for total head shaves. Back in my days that was never taught in barber school. Besides, no one was crazy enough to want the cueball look! Only convicts had their pates scraped clean en route to the electric chair!"
"Oh, yes, the cueball is a very trendy look. Funny enough, the queers really like it. That's why I think Matt here will take to his new hairless look!" said Paul. The barbershop errupted in laughter.
Matt's face turned a bright red as Paul began scraping Matt's immobilized pate. "And some of them don't stop with the head, you know...."
The men hooted and hollered.
"End up like cucumbers, from head to toe!" the hulking hunk with the straight edge in hand declared to the attentive audience. Then Paul leaned over and whispered in Matt's ear, "You thought you'd slip away from me didn't you....well, by the time I'm finished with you, you'll have learned a lesson or two! You can run, but you can't hide."
Matt shuddered and shivered and then realized he was eager for Paul to leave him smooth and vulnerable.