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Reformed Control Freak by Derkx

Reformed Control Freak
by Derkx

I used to be a control freak named Steve. There are a lot of "used-to-be’s" in my life. I used to live up North where I used to work in a casino’s spa. I used to have a boyfriend whose life I tried to control.
I did love Ryan but I couldn’t keep myself from bossing him around. We lived together and worked together at the spa, so he never got any relief from me. I decided when we got up in the morning, what we ate for breakfast and what we did in the evenings. I selected restaurants and movies and clubs. I even chose his clothes and how he should wear his hair. I liked his hair long, covering his brow and forehead and collar. That was the way I wore mine. He didn’t like it.
"Its too much hair for work," he’d complain. "It drips sweat and keeps getting in my eyes."
"You know I like it that way," I’d whine.
Ryan always gave in to what I wanted. Until the day he didn’t.
"What have you done?" I shouted at him when I saw him at the end of the day. His hair was buzzed short on the sides, showing white scalp. The top too was short, only a couple of inches long, and was gelled up off his face. I always liked our hair worn down, sweeping across our brows. Now we didn’t match at all.
"I got my hair cut . . . I mean trimmed. At lunchtime. It was just getting too annoying!"
"Like me, I suppose?" I didn’t appreciate his rebellion one bit.
He didn’t respond. Neither of us said anything more until we were home and behind closed doors.
"You know how I like your hair," I said. "How could you do this to me?"
He was starting to get fed up with me. "I haven’t done anything to you. This is my hair and I’ll cut it however I like. You could use a shorter haircut too, you know."
"Never!" I spat back at him.
But the worm had turned.
"Look, Steve. This is my hair. If I want it shorter, I’ll have it short." When I gave him my coldest glare, he went on. "In fact, I think I’ll get a crewcut. Or maybe a flattop."
I spoke through gritted teeth. "Not if you’re living in my house."
That was it, the worst thing I could say. It was a version of what my father said when he found out I was gay and threw me out of the house.
Ryan walked out and didn’t return. He hadn’t come back by breakfast and I didn’t see him at work. When I got home that night, all his clothes were gone.
I waited for him to come begging for forgiveness and for me to take him back. But he didn’t come back. A week or so later I heard that he’d left town.
I stayed on at the casino spa. I’d been there a number of years and my job was secure. That is, it was secure until the casino closed. One morning I arrived to find the doors closed and locked. The "out of business" notice gave no details. And no severance pay was forthcoming.
I’d been bad about saving money, so I knew I had to find a new job immediately. Except there were no openings I was qualified for locally. Panicked, I went after every lead I heard of.
One day I heard that a company was holding interviews in my area. It was for a resort in the South that recruited from all over the country. Apparently they had a hard time finding candidates who were "just right" for the job.
The South? I didn’t want to relocate. But there were no other prospects and I was desperate. Well, it wouldn’t hurt to check it out.
The interview went better than I expected. I was told that the employer, Harbor Grane Resort, was located in Florida. The opening was for someone who could handle multiple duties, including masseur, life guard, fitness mentor, bartender and waiter, and other similar tasks. There were a dozen or so such employees and they were expected to perform just about any job at any time. The job title was "attendant."
"You’re more than adequately qualified," I was told at the interview. That was true. In my years at the casino spa I handled just about every position except those of a cosmetological nature. "We’d like to have you come on board. But we want you to be aware that this is a serious job offer and you’ll have to agree to the conditions of our contract."
"I understand."
I was given some papers in an envelope. "This is our standard employment contract for attendants. We want you to look it over very carefully. Come back tomorrow morning. 10:00 o’clock? If you’re sure it’s what you want, you can sign the contract then and we’ll get the enrollment started. If you decide it’s not for you, that’s okay too. No harm, no foul. We’ll even give you a modest compensation for taking up your time. Sound fair?"
"More than fair," I had to agree.
I went home and, over a delivery from the Chinese restaurant, I planned to read through the employment agreement. But it was awfully long and detailed and legalistic. I didn’t get far beyond the first page. The most important thing I noticed was the salary that was filled it. It was very, very generous.
I wavered. I hadn’t ever considered living in Florida and wasn’t sure whether I’d like it. I really needed to investigate this place before deciding.
I decided to shortcut the process by setting aside the contract and going to the internet instead. I mistyped the resort then retyped: "Harbor Grane Resort." What the hell was a "grane" anyway? (I’d never find out.)
The website came up. It looked very professional. Where was this place? Harbor Grane, Florida, wherever that was. I switched to a separate screen and brought up a satellite map of the location. Wow! It looked like this resort was quite extensive. There were at least three outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts and sports fields, a main building with an elaborate entrance, separate cabins, hotel-like buildings, special-function buildings, utility buildings. Quite an impressive spread.
I went back to the resort’s website. There was tantalizing come-on language for prospective guests, which could be exaggerated or could be honest. There were photos of the buildings and pools and terraces and dining rooms and bedrooms and suites. There were photos of the owners and senior management, all well-presented and smiling. I only noticed one employee among the photos. It was a smiling young man carrying a tray of drinks; he was bald, fit and wore only high-cut black shorts. A pool boy? I speculated.
My decision was made. The offer was too good to turn down, especially as it was the only offer I had. I hated the idea of moving away. And I’d have to get rid of all the furniture and household and kitchen supplies, and whatever excesses I had acquired over the year.
I supposed I could get used to living in the South for a while. With the salary I was being offered (plus free room and board), I could probably save up enough to move out again in a few months.
I returned to my interviewers the next morning. I told them I was ready, willing and eager to take on the job.
"You understand all the terms?" one of them asked. "You read the entire contract?"
"Yes, of course. It looks fine to me." Mainly because I hadn’t read much of it at all. But the most important part was on page one. The salary.

Not even two weeks later I was on my way. I’d given away all my furniture and most everything else. I left with little more than my car, my clothes and my toiletries. (Hair care products were expensive!)
As I drove south, the heat increased and, along with it, the humidity. I had to pull my hair back into the short ponytail. (I didn’t have it trimmed during my period of unemployment.) As my neck and forehead grew more uncomfortable, I pulled the hair off them and switched to a "man bun," a top-knot near the back of my head. I was still uncomfortable and I hated the look, but what else could I do?
Eventually I arrived at my destination. Florida was hot! (I mean steaming-temperature hot.) The town of Harbor Grane was hot! I was drenched in sweat and my hair was a damp, straggly mess when I released it from the knot. I anticipated letting it air-dry after a long shower.
Inside Harbor Grane Resort’s main building (well air-conditioned) I was introduced to my new boss.
"Hello, Stephen."
"I’m afraid you’ll have to be ‘Stephen’ for the guests. We already have two other ‘Steves’." He offered a handshake. "I’m Mark Myers. Director of Attendants." He spoke very precisely, emphasizing the distinction of "attendants," not "attendance."
I took the handshake and decided to leave the name issue until later. "My pleasure. I’m looking forward to working with you."
"I see you’re not quite ready for work," he said, noticing my sweat-stained clothes and my sweat-dripping hair. "Waiting until the last minute?"
"I guess I’ll look better once I’m cleaned up."
"That won’t be a problem. . . . You can get your bags later. I’ll take you to your room now and you can meet your roommate."
Roommate? I supposed I could put up with a roommate. I reminded myself of the salary, with room and board thrown in. I’d be out of there in a few months anyway.
Myers snickered. "Among ourselves, we call the roommates ‘groommates.’ It’s an inside joke." Indeed it was. I didn’t get it.
"How many ‘attendants’ are there on staff?" I asked. "The interviewer had said ‘a dozen or so.’ Are there really that many?"
"Thirty-three, actually. Thirty-four with you. You even out the numbers. Which is good, because your groommate, roommate, has been on his own for a while. . . . Ah, here we are! As you can see, it’s a four-bedroom suite. Community kitchen and dining. Common living room " or family room, if you like."
I stood back as he knocked on one of the bedroom doors. The door opened and whoever was on the other side also stepped back to let us enter.
"I finally found you a roommate . . ." Myers started to say.
Then the man inside saw me. "Steve! What the hell!"
The man inside was no other than Ryan, my ex-boyfriend. He was dressed only in small black shorts like the staffer I’d seen in the website photo. And he was totally bald!
Seeing the mixture of surprise and anger and confusion and resentment and feeling the laser rays of discontent exchanged between Ryan and me, Myers took his departure.
"So then. I’ll leave the two of you to get acquainted. Or re-acquainted. And to . . . whatever. Everything you have to do, you know."
He left, closing the door behind him.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Steve yelled at me.
"What are you doing here" I challenged in return. "And what’s with . . ." I pointed to his bald head. "Is this some sort of revenge? Are you trying to get back at me?"
"Are you crazy?" he responded. Then he paused and looked into my confused eyes. He started to laugh. "You don’t know, do you? You really don’t know. . . . Did you sign a contract?"
"Yes. I start work here tomorrow. As an attendant."
"You never read the contract, did you? You poor, stupid fool."
"Why? What’s in it?"
Ryan’s anger was starting to subside. Unfortunately, it was replaced by pity.
"First, you’ve committed yourself for at least a year. There are several ways of breaking the contract, but you wouldn’t like the consequences. . . . Then there’s the uniform."
"What’s that look like?" I asked. I couldn’t ask any big questions, so I tried to take in the little ones.
"I’m wearing it." The tiny black shorts were all he was wearing besides footwear. I noticed that "Ryan" was machine-embroidered in gold above the high leg opening. The silly thought popped into my head that at least the name placement was tasteful.
"You shaved your legs!" I suddenly noticed. "And your chest!"
"And my arms and all the bits you can’t see right now. It’s all in the contract. It’s part of the complete uniform, you might say. All hair shaved, waxed or depilated from head to toe. Only eyebrows and lashes are excepted."
There was a quick rap at the door then.
"Uniformity. Make all the attendants look alike." Ryan went to the door and opened it. "The idea is that guests should be able to rely on the same service from any of the attendants without distinguishing them. Also, I think, the management wants to prevent guests from forming attachments to any particular attendants. No romance between guests and staff. It’s forbidden."
"And between attendants?"
Ryan had picked up a neatly wrapped parcel from the floor outside then closed the door.
"Not addressed in the contract. In truth, many of the attendants come here as couples already. . . . Here." He handed the package to me. "Your uniform."
The package wasn’t very large. I opened it and found athletic shoes and a few articles of clothing. I held up one small black item."
"Briefs? Regulation underwear?"
Ryan shrugged. "The management wants to make sure your dangly bits don’t dangle past the hem of your shorts. And the waistband mustn’t show. Let’s see the major item in your uniform."
He reached into the package and took out a pair of shorts. When he held them up, I saw that they weren’t very big. They’d covered the briefs but not much more.
Ryan laughed when he saw the name embroidered in gold. "‘Stephen.’ You’re ‘Stephen’ now, are you?"
I grumbled. "Too many ‘Steves’ already. But don’t you start calling . . ."
"You sound like you plan on staying," he said, surprised.
"I don’t have much of a choice, do I, from what you’ve said? If you’re telling me the truth about the contract, that is."
"Would I bother with all this shaving and the silly outfit if that weren’t part of the terms of employment? . . . No, you don’t have much choice."
"So, now what?" I knew what had to come next. I didn’t know how to deal with it. I wasn’t in control of this situation and I didn’t know how to get back control. Maybe I couldn’t.
"Well," he said with hesitation. "I’m your groommate, so I’m the one who has to clean you up and make you into a respectable attendant. We’re expected to groom each other."
"You mean . . .?"
"Time to strip and shave you down."
I gulped. There was no way out of this predicament I’d gotten myself into. I set the package down on what Ryan pointed to as my bed and took off my clothes. I was self-conscious even though Ryan had frequently seen my naked body. But now that he was hairless and in "uniform," he was in a superior position to me. I became intensively aware of and embarrassed about all the body hair I was uncovering.
I turned to him.
"All right. I’m in your hands now."
"It’ll be okay, Steve. . . . No, wait. I should get used to calling you ‘Stephen’ so I don’t slip up in front of guests or the bosses. . . . Let’s get into the bathroom. Stephen."
The bathroom was accommodatingly large, with a double sink and plenty of work space. Ryan sat me on a stool, facing a mirror.
I heard the loud hum when Ryan turned on some electric clippers.
"Say goodbye to Steve. You’re going to be shedding him like so much unwanted hair."
He brought the clippers to my forehead and slowly pushed the blades back to the crown. After a few more passages, there was no hair left to fall over my brow. He moved on then to one side of my head. When he reached the back, circling round my head, I started to relax. I was numb to the vision in the mirror. I wasn’t thinking so much now about losing my precious hair. I was almost enjoying the vibrations and the lose of weight on my head.
"Who shaved you when you first came here?" I asked. "Did you have a roommate then? A groommate?"
"No. You’re my first assigned roommate. A couple of guys next door offering to work on me. I said no, it was something I needed to do on my own." He paused and clicked off the clippers for a moment, leaving ridiculously long strands of hair dangling down one side of my head. "It was. It was the first time in a long time that I was entirely under my own control. It was my decision to go into this business. I didn’t especially want to go bald and I may not keep it up for the rest of my life but I was one who committed myself to this job. It was my decision alone. And I would be the one to make myself bald."
He turned the clippers back on then and worked on the remaining side, exposing the rest of my scalp.
"How did it go?" I asked.
He laughed.
"I was shaking at first, dreading what I was about to do. My hair wasn’t much longer than when you last saw me. Still, it was a big step. I buzzed the top first, then distracted myself by making my hair look like male pattern baldness. It didn’t take long, though, until it was all gone."
"And the shakes were gone too?"
He shook his head. "Worse. I could barely control my hand when I lathered up and took the razor to my head. But it wasn’t dread then. It was excitement. I was enjoying the experience! The body shaving wasn’t as dramatic. It just seemed the logical way to complete the process."
Matt lathered up my head then. We didn’t talk much until he was finished with the close razor work. He didn’t want to draw blood. When he was finished he wiped my head clean.
"How do I look?" I asked. I didn’t recognize the man I saw now in the mirror so it was hard to form an opinion about myself. Whoever that man was, he was kind of good-looking, in a viral, butch way.
"Beautiful. You have a perfect head. Stephen."
I frowned at him yet I said nothing about his calling me ‘Stephen’."
"Do you start on the rest now?" I asked, looking down at my naked, hairy body.
"No. You do," he answered. "I’ll watch while you use the clippers on yourself. I’ll get a kick of that."
"What? You mean you won’t . . .?"
"It’s my choice. . . . Don’t worry. I’ll help with any hard-to-reach parts. And with the razor finish, of course. . . . Don’t start yet. I want to get a beer. I’ll bring you one too."
I waited until he returned and we started on our beers.
"Gentlemen, start your clippers," he said, and I did. Then, "Wait for the signal." He looked at an imaginary stopwatch. "Three, two, one. Go!"
I began by stripping a swatch of hair down my chest. Then another. It was less traumatic than expected because of Ryan’s joking. I never saw his sense of humor before.
Shaving my arms was amusing when I compared the one hairy one with the one I’d just shaved. The same with my legs. I was very careful around my crotch and for some reason I blushed when I passed the clippers down there.
"Right," Ryan said, getting up when I was done. Now we clean up in here then I’ll handle you for the rest of the job. He’d "handle" me? Ryan would "handle" me? That was a definite role-switch.
The "rest of the job" was getting into the bathtub together. It was the first time I could see that he was indeed hairless under the black shorts as well.
"You’re entirely in my control now," he said as he lathered my body with soap and shaved off all the remaining hairs everywhere. I was now as head-to-toe bald as he was.
We took a short walk around the grounds, gathered the rest of my gear from my car, then returned to our room. "Our" room. Funny how fate had thrown us back together.
Ryan picked up a small pizza from one of the restaurants so we could eat in our room. I didn’t want to meet anyone else until the next day when I was in training and on the payroll. ("‘Training?’ Ryan scoffed. That’s nothing. You just came through the worst part. The rest is all about hospitality and accommodating the paying guests. You know all that already.") For tonight I had all I could deal with meeting up with Ryan again, seeing both of us shaved to the bone and by our own hands, and reckoning with the conditions of our employment. Meeting with other people could wait.
We went to bed, in our separate beds, early that night. It would take time if our relationship was to restart.
"I don’t think I’ll sleep tonight," I said.
"Of course you will. You’ve had a very long day with lots of nasty surprises. Stephen."
"No, no. I don’t think so. Do you have anything to read?"
"I could read to you. A bedtime story that’s sure to put you sleep."
"Sounds good. What is it?"
"I’ll read you the conditions of employment in your contract."
"Ha, ha."
We lay a while in the dark in our beds. He was right. I was starting to become drowsy, emotionally drained from the day’s events.
"What will tomorrow be like when I wake up all shaved and strange-looking and locked into this ‘attendant’ job? What was it like for you? Were you depressed? Didn’t you resent that you’d gone from living with an opinionated jerk like me into a situation where your entire identity is suppressed? From the frying pan into the fire?"
Ryan sighed before answering.
"You need to open your mind, Stephen. This situation has a lot to offer. . . . When I came here, it was an informed decision. My decision. I knew what I was doing."
"But what you gave up . . ." I protested.
"My personality wasn’t subjugated," he tried to explain. "I agreed to the job conditions for what I’d get from the deal. It’s a release for me. With all the physical conformity, I don’t have struggle to show everyone who I am. To the guests I’m one of many, identical to the other attendants. I don’t have to put on a show or try to prove myself. I just have to look the part and play it. It’s an acting job. When I’m not on duty, I’m free to be me. I don’t have to worry about meals or my clothes or scraping up money for rent. I’m actually saving money without having to spend it on sustenance. In my own time I can do what I want to do, by myself or with others. I can make friends with other attendants, none of whom are trying to pretend they’re superior to the others. I can plan a few days away, I can go into town. There’s a museum and a great library there. We can take university courses. Horse-riding nearby. But mostly I can use the facilities that are right here, including the sports equipment and unlimited internet access. It’s possible to get away from it all without leaving the grounds. The point is, I’m the one in charge of me. I’m the decision-maker, no one else."
In the pause I had to ask. "Is that a dig at me?"
"Yes. That is a dig at you. . . . But it’s not meant to be as mean-spirited as it might sound."
He let that sink in before he continued.
"You asked what the first morning here was like for me? It was not in any way depressing. I woke up, showered, dressed in my little shorts, and took a good hard look at myself. I was exhilarated. I didn’t have to waste effort trying to look better than anyone else or even just different. My identity was with me, inside me, not in my clothes or hair style. My bald, uniformed body brought me camaraderie with my colleagues. We share a unity in our appearance and yet we’re a complex mixture of unique personalities ready to be explored. So, no. I didn’t feel resentment or depression or regret. I felt, and I still feel, liberated!"
His last words drifted to me across the room in the darkness. With my greatest concerns eased, I felt sleep coming on soon. Maybe I’d feel liberated myself in the morning. For now I could simply relax with Ryan as my virtual mentor.

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