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I Felt Like a Freak! by Jonathan
It was the summer of 1992 and really, really hot. I was living with two other roommates and was 20 at the time. I'm Jonathan by the way. I had a part time job at a dry cleaning store and was taking college courses in the summer session.
My hair had gotten long enough to cover my ears and get in my eyes. I didn't have any regular barber I went to, but needed a haircut bad. The small three bedroom apartment I shared with my two roommates Doug and Chris was sweltering this particular morning despite it being so early in the day. The old dirty box fan was pumping away in the living room window giving a slight relief from the heat. Both roommates had gone to the college early that morning and I was alone in the apartment.
I had an 11 o'clock class that morning followed by two more that afternoon and evening. I planned to stop off at some random barber shop and get a trim on the way to the campus. It was now around 9 a.m.
I went in the one and only bathroom we shared to comb my hair and brush my teeth. It was an old Spanish style building and had an antique tile bathroom. There was no counter, just a sink with a medicine cabinet with a mirror. Between the antique pedastel sink and the toilet was a built in set of four drawers for storage. Mine was the third drawer down and my roomate's the top two drawers. The very bottom drawer we shared for extra soap, toilet paper, shampoo, etc. By some mistake I happened to open the second drawer down which was Doug's drawer. This would prove to be a big mistake.
As I opened this second drawer from the top my eyes spotted a lone set of old hair clippers. I just about closed the drawer but something forced me to open it again. I reached in and took out the hair clipper. They were a dull pink color and had a faded light gray cord wraped around them. There was a lever to adjust the blades up and down. I read Raycine written on them. I felt like I was violating Doug's space and wanted to put them back quickly. However something would lead me to look closer at this hair cutting device. I also realized neither roommate would be home until that evening.
I unwrapped the gray cord and examined the red switch on the clippers. I plugged them in the only one in that bathroom. Nothing, not a sound. Then a flicked the switch and they popped on giving me a slight surprise. I sat for a minute watching the little blades quickly go back and forth. Doug had his hair on the longer side and I doubt he'd used these much. I looked again in the drawer for some attachments to go with these clippers but found none. What I did find was a pair of scissors.
At that moment it crossed my mind I could give myself a quick haircut right here in the bathroom and skip the trip to that barbershop. I had never cut my own hair or any one else's before!
It was a crazy idea I'd regret immediately. I took the clippers and pushed the adjustable blade up as high as it would go. I had no idea that without a guard it would be not much longer than 1/8 of an inch at the most. I looked in the mirror at my slightly wavy brown hair. It had some slight natural highlights at the top from a summer in the sun. I didn't want to loose those highlights. My heart was racing and my hands shaking. I was surprised at how nervous I was right then.
Next I mistakenly lifted the hair up near my right temple. I took the clippers and recklessly pressed them into my skalp and ran them all the way to my right ear. I was horrified at that moment. It was a huge spot down to the skin! Why had I gone so far to the ear? It was too late! My mind raced with ideas to fix this.
"Stop and just go now to a barber!" I told myself.
I picked up the scissors and tried in vain to blend it in. Now my right ear was completely exposed and the hair looked choppy. I cut the left side to attempt to balance it. Now the bangs and the top looked too long!
I cut two inches or so from my bangs. This only made things look worse. They were too high and too straight.
"Oh Jonathan you're such a fool to try this!" I said to myself.
I hacked away with the scissors some more in vain. I knew I was too late to head for a barber now. I looked at the clippers still sitting on the bathroom sink. They were off, but still plugged in. I picked them up and flipped on that little red switch. I didn't want to shave my head, but hated what I saw right then in the mirror worse. My palms were sweaty and I was shaking with shock and disbelief. I ran the clippers right across the top of my head as if to say that's it you have no other choice now. I ran the old set of clippers over the top of my head. I looked like an old man. Then off came the hair on the right side. I was shocked to see that my ear was so exposed and protruding slightly. Next came the left side. I didn't even recognize myself at that moment. I appeared nearly bald! All I could focus on was my forehead, ears and that I had no hair.
Panic hit me when I realized I still had to take care of the back. I couldn't see the hair back there. I quickly devised a way to cut and feel, cut and feel with the clippers. Soon I was almost done, or so I thought.
After the agony of shaving my head I felt it with my hands for any spots I'd missed. To my horror the whole thing felt patchy and uneven. I ran the clippers over my entire head once again and it was not any better. The blades where too dull to cut well and my head had uneven patches of hair.
"Damm it!" I yelled.
I hit the sink with my fist. I knew I'd have to shave it with a Bic now. I reached into my drawer and grabbed a fresh orange and white plastic Bic razor. I lathered my head with cheap shaving cream and wet it. I carefully took a couple swipes and realized I had to be so careful not to cut myself. After a minute the blade was clogged with hair. I rinsed it in the sink and continued. As I shaved the top of the back I fell a quick pain and realized I'd cut myself. I rinsed it and continued on.
Soon it was done. I hated to touch it. Where soft hair had been it was now cold clamy skin. I knew I had to hurry for class.I looked for a cap, but found none.I took my backpack and walked out to my car. As I drove to school I couldn't help but stare at my hairless head in the rear view mirror. That shinny dome and those ears!
Soon I got to school and walked to my class. I felt as though every eye was on me and it was.
"Oh wow, look at that shaved head," a stranger said.
When I got to class I heard murmuring. "Look he shaved his head," kids where saying. I felt like a freak.
"It looks like we're seeing a little less of Jonathan!" the teacher said.
It was a nightmare. The entire class laughed. I'd underestimated how people would react. Then we had to work with a partner and write attributes about ourselves. One was hair color.
"Does your hair ever grow, does it have a color?" asked my partner.
"It's brown," I said.
"Well let's just write bald for now," he said.
After class a group of students stopped me in the hall on the way to lunch.
"Can I touch that?" a guy asked.
"What," I said.
"Your bald head," he said.
Then he reached and felt it even though I'd said nothing about yes or no. I went in the restroom and looked at myself. I wanted to cry but resisted. All that day the stares and murmures continued. I still felt like some kind of freak. Two more people touched my head that night. I even got a few Yul Brenner and Kojak jokes thrown my way. What was I thinking when I thought I could trim my hair. Even in bed that night my bald head felt weird on the pillow.