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Head Count by BaldSurfer

Pete was a good looking guy. Too good looking - if you asked his buddies. Since the start of high school, Pete got any girl he set his sights on. So when his hairline started to recede in his mid-twenties, his buddies thought there was justice in the universe.

It started with an increasingly more noticeable widow's peak. Pete was working at an investment firm, and his slicked back style did little to hide the change. As it got worse, Pete had to take more time (and hair gel) to style his hair to hide the deepening recession. Pete wasn't insecure about it. His looks had given him a confidence that wasn't easily shaken. But he always put in the effort to look his best. But one day, he finally had to admit that hiding his receding hairline was no longer working. Tony, the barber he'd used for years, finally suggested that it was time to "go short". Tony assured Pete that a shorter style would look better with his remaining hair. Pete's only concern was to maintain a professional look, so they settled on a #4 buzz - short, but not radical. Still, Pete cringed a bit as Tony took the clippers to the top of his head, 4 inches of hair raining down, leaving his receding hairline exposed to all the world. When it was done, Pete's hair in the front was almost rectangular, a few inches wide, with deep wide swaths of skin on each side that reached back a third way back on his head. But Tony was right. It didn't look bad. It was a tougher, less fussy look. And Pete was still a handsome guy and quickly got comfortable with the new look.

His buddies gave him some guff, but he still got more tail than the 3 others combined, so he let them have their fun. But the progression continues, and the bare patches worked their way toward the center of Pete's head, until finally, as Tony buzzed him back down to his #4, it was apparent that the hair in the front had finally become an "island" a patch of hair now fully disconnected from the rest. He was a little shocked and mentioned it to Tony. Tony laughed and said "We held it together as long as we could. Maybe it's time to think about just shaving it all off."

"Shaving it off"? Isn't that what Tony had been doing for the last few years? But Tony explained that he meant completely shaving his head. Razor and shaving cream. All the way. "For a guy your age, it's better to be bald than balding," Tony said. That's what most guys like you do.

Oddly enough, Pete had never thought about the concept of shaving his head. He never really thought about the fact that other guys who looked completely bald actually took a razor to their head. It seemed like such a strange idea. Tony couldn't believe that Pete was so unaware. "Think about it," Tony told him. "And look around. See how many guys shave their heads. And look at guys your age with that stupid ring of hair around the sides. And decide which one you want to be."

Feeling self-conscious for the first time, Pete walked out with his #4 buzz, acutely aware of the fact that this was no longer the right look for him. Back at the office, as he walked through the accounting department, he noticed that Joe, a guy he played with on the company softball team, was completely bald and for the first time realized that Joe shaved his head. At a client meeting later that day, the president of a local bank was also completely bald, and Pete could see the barest trace of stubble in a ring around the sides of the man's head. How many shaved heads were really out there?

Saturday morning, Pete went to the gym. Suddenly it was like a light went off in his head. 4 guys he'd seen there for years had completely shaved heads. Another guy had his remaining hair buzzed to close stubble. And they all looked good like that. Completely natural. And then Pete noticed a guy he'd barely known in high school, a ring of black hair on an otherwise bald scalp. And that guy looked 10 years older than Pete, even though they were the same age. The shaved guys looked practically ageless.

His next stop was Home Depot. And as he scanned the aisles, he saw half a dozen shining shaven skulls. A couple of younger guys appeared to have shaved off full heads of hair. When did this revolution take place? How had Pete not noticed?

Back home, when the evening news came on, Pete noticed that in a story about a case of arson, half the firemen and cops were shaved bald. When the story of the president's travels was on, most of the Secret Service guys were shaved too. Apparently, Pete wouldn't be alone if he chose to go all the way. While Pete wasn't looking, dudes all over the world were shaving their heads and making it look good. Certainly better than walking around while nature slowly ate away more and more of his hairline.

Pete stood in the bathroom and stared at his reflection. That "island" of hair angered him. He looked ridiculous. Other than a transplant or toupee (NO WAY!), what other choice did he have? He held his hand over the patch ho hair, trying to envision what he'd look like completely bald. His strong handsome features still seemed strong and handsome. He'd had a few beers while watching TV, so anxieties were down, and without another thought, Pete took out his beard trimmer, took off the guides and quickly shaved off the island of hair. Feeling better already, he quickly sheared away the 1/2 inch of remaining hair on his head. The stubble was uneven, but the bald look was starting to take shape in Pete's mind and he liked it. He washed his head with warm water and covered his head with shaving gel. That looked ridiculous, so Pete was laughing as he began to drag the razor across his head. When the first stroke left a clean smooth bald stripe, Pete knew he was doing the right thing.

The scratching of the razor echoed in Pete's head as pass after pass cleared away the foam and left gleaming pale scalp in it wake. Finally, it was done. Pete's thick brown eyebrows seemed more pronounced and expressive against is hairless head. His strong dimpled chin seemed even more square. He smiled and liked the look of the bald handsome man that smiled back at him in the mirror. He looked a little more intimidating, but was still the handsome face that had gotten him so far in life.

His buddies didn't even recognize him when he walked into the bar. He walked up to the table and said "What's up, you hairy losers?" They laughed and made their cheap jokes, but Pete just laughed along with them. Then he spotted the tall, hot blonde near the bar and walked up to her. They chatted for nearly 30 minutes before they walked out of the bar, arm in arm. Pete's buddies looked on, stunned. Each one at some point, ran his hand through his hair and thought "I wonder what I'd look like if I shaved my head..."

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