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The Hot Smell of Manliness (Part 3) by BuzzmeHT

Randy had gotten up close and personal. His hand was stretching my face, making my skin taut so that the edges could make a cleaner shave. He hadn't even waited for any short of confirmation. By now, it was clear for me than Randy has his own plan for me.

He had already given me the shortest businessman I had seen, basically a tight crew cut, and now he was going to town peeling my long hipster beard. By the time he was done with me, I'd be looking ten years younger at the very least. I could even fake it and share it as a #TBT pic, my followers would probably go nuts over that. How the f*** would I explain this? For a second there, I wondered about the social media repercussions on my drastic change. This had all been a huge mistake.

SLAP! I looked at Randy confused, as he slapped my cheek again. What the...?

- Sorry, son. Your beard isn't cooperating that much, I'm slapping it a little to bring some blood flow to the cheeks. It helps making those little rascals stand to attention. We don't want any ingrown hair, do we? I pride myself on giving the closest, smoother shave of the state. -- Randy stretched the skin tighter, pushing the edges hard up my sideburn. I sensed the sharp blades lining them up almost to the top of my ear.

He continued shearing off my moustache, energetically rubbing the newly manufactured sandpaper with his hands. I got the sense he was enjoying this too much.

- Now there's a good-looking chap under all that! Why would ya hide that nice dimple, uh? I'm giving you a magazine cover look, boy. You're welcome. -- I blushed a little, not really knowing whether I should feel angry with this pretentious brawny bastard, or flattered. Randy changed sides, brushing for a split second against my right shoulder, then against the right. It made me wonder if a Texan belt buckle could bulge like that out of the white barber tunic.

A heard him flick something on at the counter and a timer being set. Then he returned and finished buzzing my neck down. I heard some beeping and soon I was covered in hot towels.

- That feels good, doesn't it? I nuke them in the microwave so they are always super hot. -- I also got a refreshing minty tingle, I worried about how my sensitive skin would endure a thorough straight razor shave from Randy.

After a short while, Randy uncovered my stubbly face and brushed me with some hot lather. I felt the razor gliding across my face, stopping at the dimple for a while longer, making sure it got every bit of hair. I knew Randy was giving me the closest shave of my life. I snaked a peek at him, he was laser focused, taking care of every detail. It dawned on me that I had been the most important thing in that man's life for the last 45 minutes. I also had to adjust my belt buckle under the cape.

I could tell he was completely devoted to his masterpiece. I could only hear his breathing, strong and faster than before, like a bull right before charging. He returned me to an upright position, facing the mirror.

He was right in front of me, leveling my side burns. He picked something from the counter, letting me see myself without a beard for the first time in ten years. I looked like I was just out of college, a much younger version of the trendy businessman in his thirties that had walked in with an overgrown fade less than an hour ago. I horrified at how short he had cut my sideburns. If I was supposed to be in any cover, it would be in a cheap "American wants ya" local pamphlet.

Again, I heard the big powerful Osters coming to life. Randy forcefully pushed my head down without a warning and proceeded to mow my nape yet again, moving the clippers almost to the middle of my back.

- You were so right, pal. " I heard Randy state behind me.

- Why’s that, Randy?

- This thick hair looks really great shorter. -- What?! Shorter? I guess he couldn't make much more damage after clipping me down to a number one. And he did say he was going to taper the sides and back a little.

- How much shorter can it be?

- I'm tapering you to an aught. You said you liked it shorter and I'm not about to disappoint a stylish guy like you. The client's always right. A nice and tight, low taper coming right up. -- My mouth dried. He was skinning me, and whatever Randy and I understood as a low taper wasn't the same. He was already on my right side and I could feel the clippers mowing past the top of my ear. F*** me.

I stared at the mirror in shock as he continued literally shaving the back and sides of my hair, making even more apparent the contrasting gradient from the tanned nape and the white sides. He made quick work of it, whistling a happy tune as he changed blades and clipped my head tightly here and there. I wish I wasn't facing the mirror, I was watching a train going out of the rails, screaming, and I knew there was nothing I could do at this point to stop it.

- Almost done, son. I'm telling ya, this is one of my best. You're going straight to the top five. -- I didn't know how to answer that. I was mortified. He put more warm lather on the contours and proceeded to shave a defined outline. I felt him going higher on the back, angling the razor sharply. I imagined how it looked, I wouldn't wonder for long.

He moved right in front of me, blocking the mirror and checked my sideburns and my edges one last time. I felt him scrapping away a little more off each side, I was terrified. He picked the comb and the scissors front his front pocket and attacked my eyebrows, trimming here and there. He nodded at me, satisfied, stepping away.

I looked at my new self on the mirror, turning my head to see the full effect of the shearing. I had practically no sideburns, and they were perfectly square. He moved to my back, holding a mirror.

- Here, I'll show you the back, like a proper barber always does.

It would have been better if he hadn't. I was scalped. There was only a faint shadow of hair on three quarters of my back and sides. It looked better than with just the one, though. It gave it a trendy edge, for a sixties cut. Somehow he had managed to keep the sharp blocked nape, which was shaved two fingers over the cape, with sharp defined corners that met some massive clean arches on each side.

I paused for a second to take all that in. I looked clean-cut all right. It was too perfect, like I was about to go up on one of those classic barbershop posters. I raised my hand from under the cape and touched my face. God, it was so damn smooth. It was also quite a bit paler where the beard used to be.

- Do ya like it better now? -- Randy asked, looking right into my eyes, exceedingly proud with his work.

- It's a big change, Randy. -- I decided to be honest, I wasn't sure I liked it yet. -- It wasn't what I was expecting. I don't hate it, but I think I’ll have to get used to it.

In fact, the clean-cut no nonsense full look was growing on me. My excitement under the cape was growing too, I wriggle a little to adjust. As if he suspected something, Randy quickly unfastened the cape and pulled it away. I tried to stand up straighter to make it less obvious.

He got right in front of me, dusting a couple stragglers out of my head, then wiping my head and neck with a fresh minty towel. He grabbed my tie and fixed it, tightly. That surprised me.

- OK, son. I told ya you'd be stepping of my shop looking perfect. Didn't I?

- Yes, sir, you did.

- A good old clean-looking business man cut. Texas style.

I stared at my zero taper and my short brush cut. They did look nice with the tailored suit, and the shaven face was a great improvement. I still hated how short it was, but the manliness of the whole look was simply magnetic. I touched it for the first time. I almost exploded, and it sent me reeling. I think Randy noticed it.

I paid him and started to the door, taking one last look at the huge clumps of hair on the floor.

- Hey, where do ya think you are going, son? -- Randy startled me a little with his commanding, deep voice. -- I'm not done with you yet.

I looked at him inquisitively. Excited and fearful at the same time. What know?

He crossed towards me, putting his rough hands on my head, I felt how moist they were. He carefully slapped my cheeks and went down my neck. Then he gave me a good final rubdown over my big arches and my shaven nape. He just stared, inspecting the cut. Or me. Or both. Suddenly a familiar smell hit me.

- There's no way I'm letting you walk out of here without some aftershave. " He took a step back, looking at me with a big naughty smile.

- Thanks, Randy.

- You're welcome, son. I don't get that many chances to do big town guys like you. It was my pleasure. Anyway, if you're here next week, remember to get that trim on the house.

- Sure, thank you, sir.

We shook hands, and I felt like we were sharing a look. Maybe it was just the Southern charm.

- See ya around, Nate.

I turned to go and a heard the shop's bell ringing. A tall man in denim and a cowboy hat stepped inside.

- Hi. How are you doin' gentlemen?

- Hiya, Jim! We were just talking about ya. Come on, take that hideous thing off your head, you know my rule about hats on this shop.

Jim complied and left the cowboy had on a hanger on the wall. I admired the plush, wavy locks of sandy hair that curled over his denim collar. I would have never imagined a cowboy sporting a long shaggy preppy cut like that. But he managed to look put together with his tight denim shirt and his clean shaved face.

- Howdy, young man, looking good! -- Jim greeted me, offering a firm handshake. -- I see Randy is still on top of his game. Are you new in town?

- Oh, don't ya know each other yet? -- Randy seemed to be enjoying this. -- This is Jim Anderson, son. Jimmy, I believe young Nate is here on business to see you.

- You must be the New York lawyer then! I was talking with that pushy boss of yours on the phone just now. You'd be happy to know we've come to a deal.

- Oh, that's good to hear Mr. Anderson. I'm Nate Connor, it's really nice to meet you sir. If you don't mind getting me up to speed with the details... -- Jim interrupted me, crossing towards the barber chair.

- Well, Nathan, why don't you take a seat? I still have ten minutes before our appointment and I intend to put them to good use. I'm not negotiating with such a clean looking guy being this shaggy myself.

- Sure, Mr. Anderson.

- Plus, I don't think Randy will take all that time to do a summer special. -- Jim continued.

- I don't know, Jim, you know I'm a perfectionist. -- Randy chuckled, preparing his tools at the counter.

I looked at them, wondering what a summer special would look like. I tried to check my phone, but my phone was dead. Randy caught me.

- Son, put that thing away. It's rude to be texting when you're talking to people.

- Yes, sir. I'm sorry.

- Good. Now, why don't you wind down and enjoy the show? -- Randy sneaked a peek at me before returning to work.

I glanced at Jim, already capped and taking one last look at his long, swept-back bangs on the mirror. The Osters roared again as Randy sprayed them with some disinfectant. I observed as he put some blade lube on them, this was going to be a heavy-duty cut.

I eyed myself on the mirror, actually liking what I was seeing. I got a whiff of the aftershave on my face and felt a drop of sweat running unobstructed down my shaved back. I rubbed my head, enjoying the stubbly feeling a little too much, admiring my perfect cut. I wasn't winding down anytime soon.

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