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Haircut Night by Ted

Last year was my freshman year here at the University. My folks brought me and all my stuff, even though it is about a 300 mile drive. Freshmen and sophomores can't have cars on campus so I wouldn't be getting home except for major vacations. Room-mates are assigned for freshmen. I would be sharing a double with Brad. We Emailed each other a couple of times during the summer, but hadn't met. I got on campus before he did, since my folks wanted to see me settled in and then start for home. Brad lived a good bit closer. He showed up in the late afternoon. A good looking guy, tall, blue eyes, light brown hair in a not very recent crewcut. His dad and younger brother had brought him. His brother was a crewcut kid, probably 14 or 15. All nice and friendly. Looked like we wouuld get along just fine. The Freshman week was full of meetings, scheduling, and the like. I was going to be an art major, that was pretty well decided, but Brad hadn't made up his mind.

On Sunday night we finally had some time to ourselves after the big football game on Saturday and all the other stuff. Brad had brought along a stool for some reason that had got pretty well covered with stuff. He cleared it off and plopped it down in the middle of the room and went to his closet and came back with a cardboard box. He announced, "Ok, roomie, it's haircut night!", as he pulled a piece of sheet and a pair of clippers out of the box. I was a little startled. My own hair was really pretty long. I don't think I had had a haircut since graduation, so I was pretty shaggy. "Haircut for who?" I asked. "Both of us. I need one and you ought to do something about that bush you're wearing." He plugged in the clippers and handed them to me and sat down on the stool. "Hey, I'm not a barber! What do you expect me to do with these things?" "You're an art major, aren't you? Put on the half inch plastic thingie and run it all over. Then yu use the quarter inch one up the back and sides." "So what's being an art major got to do with it?" "You should have good hand-eye co-ordination, so tapering between the two lengths and around the edges should be a cinch."

Reluctantly I did as instructed. I had never even thought about cutting someone's hair, and here I was, running the clippers over Brad's head. Actually, it turned out to be pretty simple. I sweated doing the tapers with no attachment on the blades, just the clippers and a comb, but even that worked ok. I was kind of pleased with myself as Brad climbed off the stool with an ok looking crewcut. He looked in the mirror. "Not bad at all! Your turn!" "Hey, I don't want a brushcut! I never had my hair that short and I don't want to start now. I'm not sure I even want a haircut at all!"

Brad kind of pushed me to the stool. "I won't scalp you! But you are kind of a mess. Just trust me! I'll trim you up a bit." He wasn't giving me much choice. Mentally I bid my hair goodbye as I heard the clippers come to life. He did the whole cut with the clippers and comb, no attachments buzzing over my head. A lot of hair landed on the sheet, and he finished up using the clippers right around the edges. When I surveyed myself I had to admit that it was a pretty good haircut. A good bit shorter, but an ok job. "Where did you learn to cut hair?" I asked. "A friend of mine and I started a few years back to save money. Then I started doing my brother and lately even my Dad. Brush cuts or buzzcuts are the easiest, but long styles like yours are ok, too."

A couple of Sundays later when I came back to the room, Brad had the stuff out and announced that it was haircut night again. I gave Brad the same cut, with a lot more confidence this time. I didn't think I need mine cut, just two weeks after the last time. Two months was more my usual routine. But I got talked into it. Another nice cut, a little shorter, probably. That became the routine, every other Sunday night.

I guess it was a late October, early November haircut night. Brad had gradually talked me into shorter and shorter styles. The sides and back were pretty well buzzed, not down to the skin or anything, but maybe a half inch or so and tapered down to zero at the edges. The top still had enough to comb, but not by much. A couple of inches or so and still just enough to part. At the start of the cut he asked me if I wanted to go a little shorter, but I declined the offer. At the end I asked him "Brad, if it was entirely up to you, how short would you cut my hair? What kind of haircut would I end up with?" He looked at me for a moment and then sort of blurted out, "I'd shave your head!"

This kind of set me back on my haunches, so to speak, "You mean bald?" He got a little red and turned away, and then really opened up. "Yeah, bald. I guess it's obvious that I like giving haircuts, the shorter the better. I've done lots of crewcuts and buzzcuts, but I've always wanted to really shave somebody's head: clippers, lather, razor, the whole works. I had my kid brother talked into it last summer, but he blabbed and Mom vetoed it. I think it's a totally cool look and I'd really love to do it sometime to somebody." I kind of blinked and must have rubbed my head. He laughed, "Don't worry, roomie. You're safe. But you asked me and I told you."

Shave me bald? Yikes! I looked at his crewcut head that I had just mowed down to it's usual half inch. "If you think it's so cool, how come you don't shave your own head?" "Yeah, I know. I want to try it. I've come close lots of times, but I always chicken out. It's crazy, I know, but I can't help it. I guess I'm just a little nuts. Anyway, just forget I said it."

'Forget it', yeah, right! Your roommate has just told you he wants to shave your head and then tells you to forget it. It's like that old game where you tell someone 'Don't think about elephants' and that's all they can do. When I went to shower, I looked in the mirror and tried to picture myself bald. There were always a few guys around campus with shaved heads but now I started to really notice them. I told myself, repeatedly, to 'cut it out', but it didn't seem to work. Next haircut night, of course, I realized Brad was probably thinking about it, but I noticed that he didn't try to talk me into going shorter. I guess he was a little embarassed, so it didn't get mentioned.

What with finals and such, we didn't do haircuts right before the Christmas break. While I was home, I debated going to the local barber shop , but it didn't happen. It was weird, though, how many guys with shaved heads I seemed to run into. I guess they were always around, but I just never noticed. A couple of teenagers at the mall, the clerk at the convenience store on the corner, the guy at the next booth at the pizza parlor, a guy and a customer at Home Depot. Forget it! Damn it, forget it!

It was actually great to get back to college. Home was home, of course, but life got a little dull after the first few days. Brad and I both got back on Sunday afternoon. After supper he announced, as I expected he might, that it was haircut night. He was kind of shaggy, too. He had had the edges trimmed sometime, but the top was pretty long for him. It was kind of fun, having the clippers mow him down to his usual half inch with a lot more hair coming off than usual.

Right before I left for Christmas, I had applied for a job at the art gallery at the college. I would be interviewing for it on the Friday after classes started. I didn't know any of the gallery staff, but I figured that maybe a long-hair look would go over better. My hair wasn't long, by any means, but I told Brad to just trim it. I could tell that he was disappointed, but he did it without complaining after I explained why. It occurred to me that ever since he had told me he wanted to shave my head that I had been growing my hair longer. Just a coincidence, of course, what with Christmas break and the interview and all. But still. . .

Monday, in my math class, Tom, a guy I knew casually around campus, came in and sat directly in front of me. He had on one of those baseball hats with the slot in the back, and all you could see was bare skin. He had always worn a kind of shaggy spike but that was gone, at least around the edges. And then he took off the hat! His head was shaved smooth and bald. Just a bit of a distraction! And on Wednesday he sat there again. No stubble, still smooth and shiny. Actually he looked pretty good without hair. Forget it! After class, I chatted with Tom and asked him why he had shaved his head. "Just for something different, I guess. I got tired of having hair. I've shaved it a few times before, and I kind of like it this way." Just for something different! Right! And he continued, "You ought to try it some time." I heard myself answer, "I've been thinking about it." And I realized I had. A lot. But actually doing it???

Friday after lunch I showed up at the gallery for my interview. I had pictured the director as being some elderly, long-haired, arty sort. But when the secretary showed me in, I did a kind of double take. He was young, in his 30's probably. And not exactly a long hair. I guess he was getting pretty thin on top, and his head was buzzed to the skin. Not shaved, but clippers all over. The interview went well and at the end he told me I had the job. So much for the elderly, long-haired gallery staff! And the job meant that I would be staying on campus during Spring Break and not going home until June. After supper, I went back to the room with Brad to pick up some stuff. I told him that I got the art gallery job and that I was going over to the studio for a while. I remember I stopped by the sink for a moment and looked at my reflection. What the hell! My pulse rate was up, but I got it out as casually as I could, "Oh yeah, next haircut night you can shave my head." And went out the door. I got back kind of late, but Brad was waiting for me. "Did you really say what I think you said?" "Yeah, I said it." "Sunday night?" I laughed, "You're a week too early. We just did haircuts last weekend." He grinned, "I don't want you to change your mind. But seriously, can I ask you why?" I shrugged, "I don't honestly know. I haven't been able to get the idea out of my head since you told me you wanted to do it. It seems like I keep seeing shaved heads everywhere I go. So I just decided to let you do it and maybe get it out of my system. I've got 6 months to grow it back before I have to go home."

The week seemed to both drag and to fly by. Every time I looked in the mirror, or combed my hair or scratched my head the thought of being shaved bald came up on my mental screen. I briefly considered changing my mind, but realized that wouldn't work for me and wouldn't be fair for Brad, either. I had said it and it would happen. I Googled the net looking for 'shaved head', and found a huge number of responses. All these guys out there shaving their heads for charity, or swim teams or just for the hell of it. Well, there would be one more, come Sunday. No big deal! Remember that Sunday night! No big deal!

Well, Sunday got there, as it always does. After my morning shower, as I was combing my hair, I realized that I wouldn't be doing that for a while. Stop thinking about it! Hah! I went to the studio all afternoon and didn't get back to the dorm until right before dinner. As I walked in, I saw the stool, and the clippers all set up. And something added - a can of shaving foam and a pack of disposable 3-blade razors. Yikes!

Well, the condemned man ate a good supper, and then I walked back to the room with Brad. I went into my bedroom and stripped off my good shirt. I took a long look in the mirror and went out and climbed onto the stool. Brad had his camera and asked if he could take a few pictures. I didn't care, so he did a front, back and sides. He put down the camera and tossed the sheet over me. He asked, "Do you want a mirror so you can watch?" "Nope. I'll have plenty of chances to look at it." He picked up the comb and ran it through my hair, and then I heard the clippers come to life. I wondered how he would do it. I had thought of all the possibilities: around the edges, straight up the middle, shorter and shorter, and so on.

I felt the blades against my cheek below my right sideburn and then they started up. And up. And up! All the way to the top. It was actually happening, and somehow the realization made me relax. The clippers did it again, a bit farther back and again. He wasn't mowing off big hunks, but taking his time, and, I assumed, enjoying the experience. Above my ear, and behind my ear. And all the hair was landing on the sheet in my lap, lots of it. The clippers felt normal as they started, but the feel of them going higher and higher was kind of wild.

By now the whole side of my head must be stubble. I expected him to work his way around the back. But instead I felt the clippers run from front to back along the top of the side. And another trip, a little higher. And again. It felt like they must be about up to the part, not on the side any more, but on the top. The clippers went quiet and I saw Brad pick up his camera for a couple of 'during' shots. And then the clippers again, farther across the top this time. It was weird, feeling the blades pressing down on my scalp and whirring right up the middle of my head, and seeing more and more hunks of my hair landing in my lap.

The pile was getting big, so I bumped it off onto the floor. And the clippers were mowing all the way across the top of my head. I felt his hand rub across the top of my head, and I could feel the warmth of his fingers against my scalp. And then, at last, I felt the blades sliding up the back of my head, working their way across, running up all the way to the crown. And the left side.

I felt the clippers here and there, back and forth, getting missed bits I guessed. And then they were quiet. The temptation to feel of my stubbly head was strong, but I didn't do it. More pictures. Brad with a big grin. And then he picked up the can of shaving foam and squirted himself a big handful. I felt him rub it around, over the top, and sides, everywhere. And then the razor.

I don't know if you feel or hear the razor, or maybe both. There is a scraping sensation on the first pass, but silence the next time. Just a rubbing feeling. So scrape and rub, scrape and rub. Starting right in the front and working back across the top, and upwards on the sides and back. Lots of stops to rinse the foam. At the end, I felt his fingers rubbing gently all over my head and a few stray strokes with the razor. A wipe with a washcloth, and it was done. I looked up at him, "Well, was it as good as you thought it would be?" "Yeah, That was great! Thanks for letting me do it!"

Time to look. I got up and went over to the mirror. What a difference!! My head looked totally bald, especially with the overhead light. No lumps or bumps. It didn't look like me, but it didn't look that bad, either. I guess because it was winter, and my face had practically no tan, there was no real color difference , and being blond, no hairline showed. The real difference was the feeling - no hair, no stubble, just soft, smooth scalp. I wasn't convinced about the look, but I loved the feel. The sensation of that totally smooth head really blew me away! Well, it was done.

I turned away from the mirror. Brad was just sitting down on the stool. Oh, right! We both get haircuts. I looked at him for a moment and absently rubbed my own baldness. I tossed the sheet around his shoulders and picked up the clippers, "Your turn, Brad!" I switched them on. There was no attachment on them, of course. "What do you mean, 'my turn'?" I laughed, "You don't want to fulfil only half of your headshaving fantasy. This time you aren't going to chicken out, so sit still and enjoy the ride."

I put my free hand on the back of his head and brought the clippers down on his forehead and pushed them back. I thought Brad might struggle a little, but he never flinched. He reached up and felt of the stubbly patch and got a big grin. I pushed the clippers up the middle of his head again, all the way back, this time. Three quarters of an inch of his light brown fuzz piled up in front of the blades, leaving a practically bare streak behind. Clipping his head with the plastic attachment on was one thing, but using the bare blades was something else. Using the clippers was like using an eraser on a chalkboard, the way it rubbed off his brushcut, leaving bare scalp behind. I had fun leaving little streaks of hair and then erasing them on the next pass. Well, a head isn't very big and it only took a couple of minutes, even taking my time, to clip him down.

Brad looked different, too. A little meaner, maybe. He looked weird with a layer of white shaving foam, though. I went to work and wiped his head smooth with a fresh razor. Rubbing my fingers over his freshly shaved scalp, checking for rough spots, was an interesting sensation. His head was smooth and shiny, but there was a trace of a shadow from the dark hairs below the surface. He didn't look totally bald, like I did, but it was a great look. I wiped his head off and turned him loose. He looked in the mirror and rubbed his head and got a big grin, "Thanks, roomie! This was one crazy haircut night! Here, take some pictures." I snapped a few of him. "The other guys in the dorm are going to wonder about us." "Let them wonder!", Brad replied.

"Well, man, you got to shave a head and you got your own shaved in the bargain. What do you think?" "When you told me I could shave you, I pretty well decided to do it too, but you beat me to it. I should have done it a long time ago. How about you?" I rubbed my baldness, "It's going to take some getting used to. But it'll grow back pretty fast."

My head felt strange, cool and slippery on the pillow that night. And it was a jolt to wake up and feel my smooth scalp when I rubbed my eyes. And the shower, of course, was an experience. I briefly debated wearing a hat to class, but decided to be brave and go bare-headed.

Interesting reactions, or lack of them. A couple of double takes, a couple of 'Hey, what happened to you?' Tom, in math class, saw me, "So you tried the head shave! Looks good on you." By dinner time the smooth feel was giving way to fine sandpaper and in the mirror you could see the tiny stubble. I went to the studio and when I came back to the room I had decided. "Hey Brad, it's headshave night!" He looked startled, "You're kidding!!" "Nope, I've had hair for 18 years and I've only been bald for 24 hours. That's not a fair test. Gotta give it a longer try. Do you want to do it, or shall I?" Brad looked at me and rubbed his own head. "Let's go!"

After a week, I realized that I was pretty well hooked on the shaved head. It still looked strange to me, but I totally loved the feel of it. A guy in the art department signed me up as a model in the portrait class, figuring that the smooth scalp would be an interesting challenge. And that would be every Tuesday for 3 weeks, so I would have to stay bald at least that long. Brad kept his smooth, too. Sometimes we shaved ourselves, with an occasional 'headshave night'. Brad chickened out on going home for spring break with no hair, so he let it grow for 10 days or so beforehand. The night he came back I cornered him with the clippers and razor again.

I was going to have to go home in June, and there would be a big family wedding that I had to be part of, so the first of May was our last headshave night. I have let my hair grow all summer, so it's a couple of inches long on top now that I am back to college. I just got here this afternoon and Brad came in a bit later. His brushcut is pretty long and getting shaggy around the edges. I asked him "Is tonight haircut night?" He looked at me for a moment, "How about 'headshave night'?" I rubbed my head, "You're on!"

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