Shaved Head and No Shirt - A Brit Abroad by Mark
I’d always wanted a really short haircut but the reactions I imagined I’d get from friends and family plus the dress code requirements in a fairly conservative office in the UK meant that I always chickened out every time I sat in the barber’s chair. I would say ‘short but not too short on the back and sides and just a little off the top please’ and being a good guy that he is, my barber Moz, always obliged.
Then, all of a sudden, a contract at work was delayed and I was asked if it would be possible for me to take the three weeks leave that I was owed whilst things got back on track. Incredibly, my wife was also able to get time off work and we booked a short notice (and hence ridiculously cheap) two week holiday to Spain. For once, I had no dress code to comply with and no worries about others’ reactions. In short, I had no reason not to get the haircut I wanted.
On my last day at work before the holiday, I tidied up the few remaining tasks and left the office in the early afternoon. The weather was warm and, to get into the holiday mood, I went into the mens’ room and changed out of my work clothes into a t-shirt, shorts and sandals. Moz’s little shop was located away from the centre of town and the quickest way to get there was to walk across the park. Immediately in the holiday mood, and in common with some of the other guys there, I took my shirt off and enjoyed the sunshine. When I got to Moz’s I saw him sitting behind his desk without any customers. He smiled to see me, stood up, greeted me with a hand shake and motioned for me to sit in his large, black chair.
‘So,’ he said, ‘is it the usual for you today my friend.’ I took a breath, ‘Well, actually, no.’ I replied and told him the story of the delayed contract and bargain holiday. ‘So, you see,’ I concluded, ‘I’d like as short a haircut as possible please.’
Moz looked at me through the mirror and grinned. ‘I think we should make you look like the classic ‘Brit Abroad’, yes?’ he said. ‘I’m sorry,’ I said. Moz reached for his tablet and typed in the words. Numerous pictures appeared on the screen of shirtless guys with shaved heads. ‘Nice shaved head, no shirt, a pair of shorts and flip flops – a good look for the pool, the beach and the bar, yes?’ he asked. I grinned back, ‘That’s exactly what I want.’ I said.
Moz smiled again – ‘Then let’s get started’ he said. ‘I’ll shave your head all over with the clippers then razor the back and sides so that you just have the faintest shadow on top. We can decide what else we’re going to do then,’ he added cryptically. And with that he picked up his clippers, took off the guard, switched them on and drew them back across the middle of my head. There was certainly no going back now. Over and over my head Moz drew the clippers as more and more of my hair fell on the cape and more and more of my scalp began to show. After several minutes, the first job was done. Next he made some lather and rubbed it onto my scalp. His razor came out and made short work of the stubble on the sides and back of my head. He also shaved my face before applying a hot towel and aftershave. A final wipe of the towel and a guy with a totally bald head save for the tiniest shadow of a mohawk down the middle looked back at me through the mirror. I thought I looked fantastic but didn’t realise that Moz had more in mind.
The cut and shave had felt so good I had forgotten that I was still shirtless. Moz brushed away a few hairs that had fallen on my shoulders then stood back and looked critically. ‘There are a few long hairs here my friend,’ he said ‘which will look bad with your shirt off. Let’s get rid of them, yes?’ ‘Why not.’ I said slowly and being thankful that he was having a very quiet afternoon – there had been no other customers since I had arrived. I sat forward and Moz started with the clippers on the back of my neck, then my shoulders and, in time, the whole of my back. Although I felt quite self-conscious, there was no doubt that Moz was intent on doing a good job. When he had finished he had me stand up and turn around. The image in front of the mirror looked so different from the person I was before. Moz was pleased – ‘A little hair on the chest and stomach but smooth everywhere else,’ he said, ‘a good look, yes?’ I had to agree.
I was ready to go but Moz motioned for me to sit once again. He had one final suggestion to complete the new look that I would find impossible to resist. He pointed to the gold chain given to me by my wife that I always wore around my neck. ‘You will wear that on holiday – yes?’ he asked. I nodded, ‘All the time,’ I replied. ‘Then we give you an earring to finish,’ he grinned. ‘You’re kidding?’ I asked. Earrings had always fallen into the same category as shaved heads up until now. ‘Why not?’ he challenged. I looked in the mirror and saw a guy I hardly recognised looking back. ‘Why not indeed,’ I grinned. Moz opened a drawer I had not seen him go into before and took out his ear piercing equipment. Not quite sure what to expect, I purposely looked away whilst he pierced my ear feeling a sharp scratch then a little pressure but pain. ‘You should look now,’ he said after a couple of minutes. So I looked in the mirror and there was a shirtless guy with a shaved head, hairy chest but smooth shoulders and back with a gold chain around his neck and an earring in his ear. ‘Brit abroad,’ said Moz, ‘you’re going to have a great time.’
And we did. The holiday was everything we wanted and more – the weather and the accommodation were great as was the pool and the beach. We found a bar and a restaurant where it was no problem to get service shirtless. So I never wore a shirt from getting there until we arrived back at the airport for the journey home and my head, shoulders and back went a great shade of brown in the sun.
On my return to the UK I returned to work still shaved headed and with the earring in my ear and everyone said how good I looked – so I still keep the look to this day.