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Russell's Haircut Adventures: Part VII by Just_Me
This is the last of the "Russell’s Haircut Adventures" series. Just so you know, this story revolves around two gay men.
Russell’s Haircut Adventures: Part VII
I met my partner (Jay) online. When I tell people how we met, some folks leer and say something like, "Did you meet him on a dating site, Craigslist or some porn site?"
It was none of those. We met when a friend posted a picture on his Facebook page of me sitting in a barber’s chair, getting my head shaved while smoking a cigar. Jay commented on it. He wrote, "Aside from the shaved head and cigar, this picture is one of the sexiest things I’ve ever seen. His moustache is truly awesome! I mean it’s epic!" Personally, I thought that was a stupid thing to say. The whole point of the picture was about me shaving my head.
I was not impressed.
(I have to explain something. I had grown a handlebar moustache and Jay has a HUGE moustache fetish. The picture Jay commented on was taken the day I had my head shaved because I didn't like the look of the handlebars with the horseshoe flattop I wore at the time.)
Here’s the story of how I came to shave my head. After many years with the same look I got bored with it and grew a regular moustache. I wasn’t thrilled with the look, so I started growing a handlebar moustache--and I discovered I really liked it. As the handlebars got longer, I decided I didn't like my handlebars being wider than the horseshoe flattop. The proportions seemed off--at least on my head. I didn’t want to cut the moustache, so I started trying to think of something else I could do with my hair.
I went round and round while I was trying to figure out what hairstyle I wanted to wear with the handlebars. I had a lot of conversations with myself about it. "Think! You really want something that’ll look good with the handlebars." "Russell, trim the moustache back a bit, and let your hair grow some. It’d look more balanced if you did." I answered myself. "Screw that, I ain’t got the patience for it. I like the handlebars, and I wanna keep ‘em." More conversation. "Well, you sure as heck don’t like it with your horseshoe. If you don’t wanna let your hair grow, shaving your head is about the only choice you’ve got." "Do you really think you’ll like a moustache and bald head on yourself? It’s an extreme look, even for you." "Why not try shaving your head? After all, hair grows back. Like you’ve already said, if you don’t like it, you can always trim the moustache back while waiting for your hair to fill in. If you do like it, you’ll be months ahead of the game."
I finally went to the barber and had my head shaved. I surprised myself by really liking the contrast of the shaved head with a big moustache--even though I sometimes wondered if it was a bit too much. I thought, "Do people see me, or do they just see a big moustache walking toward them?"
Anyway, back to how I met Jay. One thing led to another and soon Jay and I were chatting with each other on Facebook. We exchanged phone numbers and started talking on the phone for hours a day. Before long, I found myself on a plane to Los Angeles.
It didn't take me long to fall in love. He’s everything I've ever wanted in a man--almost. We just clicked. We’re very similar in personality, and can talk for hours. Not only are our personalities alike, we have many of the same tastes and lots of things in common--including a facial hair fetish.
Despite our similarities, we have a lot of differences and a very different outlook on life. We clashed on many things, and it led to some big fights, followed by some great make-up sessions.
It really frustrated me that he didn't understand my haircut and cigar fetish. I figured a man with a fetish would understand someone else’s fetishes...but not Jay. He had to be different. Anyway, he hated the fact I shaved my head, and although he never told me I couldn’t shave my head (I would’ve blown up like a balloon) he didn’t mind telling me he didn’t like it. He was even more opposed to the occasional cigar I smoked than he was to my shaved head--despite the fact I never smoked around him (by that time in my life I had gone from a full-time pipe and/or cigar smoker, to a very casual smoker).
I understood why he was so vehemently opposed to my smoking when I found out both of his parents had died from smoking-related diseases.
As I fell more and more in love with Jay, I decided he was worth a little sacrifice and quit shaving my head. I gave up my cigars, and didn't regret it--too much. What he gave me far outweighed what I was giving up (that's not to say I didn't sneak a cigar every once in a while. I figured what he didn't know wouldn't hurt him).
After months of flying back and forth almost every weekend, I moved to Los Angeles, and set up housekeeping with Jay.
My hair grew, and soon I had a regular business man's haircut. I kept my hair fairly short and neat. I don’t remember making the conscious decision, but after a while my trips to the barbershop grew further and further apart, and ultimately stopped. Jay seemed ok with it, so I let it grow some more.
I don’t think it’s immodest for me to say I was blessed with good hair. I’ve imagined Goldilocks coming in, feeling my hair and saying, "His hair is not too coarse, not too fine, not too straight and not too curly. It’s just right." I loved my hair (short or long) and never feared going bald like a lot of men do. It just wasn’t in the cards for me--or should I say it wasn’t in my genes? Grey hair was completely different. My hair started greying at the temples before I left the army. Like a bad virus, the grey kept spreading across my head and into my beard. I thought, "Better it turn grey than turn loose."
I grew a beard for the first time in my life, and I think I grew the beard because of Jay’s facial hair fetish--even though he'd never asked me to. I had great beard genes too (thank you Dad). It grew thick, and it grew fast. I’d often look at my beard and think, "The beard’s OK, but I ain’t thrilled with it because it diminishes the drama of my handlebars." I eventually grew to love the beard (most likely because of Jay's reaction) and kept letting it grow. Jay loved it. The longer the beard got, the more passionate he got about it.
He pampered me, and got up every morning to fix my beard. He'd blow dry it, style my moustache, carefully trim any split ends, put the beard in a braid that he pinned under my chin so it would look like a "normal" beard at work (my boss wasn’t thrilled with the beard). Taking the beard down at night became a ritual....and foreplay.
A few years later, my hair was really long, and (at times) it was a real pain. I got up every morning and washed it. I'd spend a long time blow drying it, and if it was too wayward, I'd tame it with a flat iron. I combed it multiple times a day, to make certain I was presentable. I normally let it hang free, so everyone could admire it, but would put it in a ponytail if it was getting in the way. (II enjoyed the way people were surprised when I turned around and they saw my ponytail. It wasn't a mullet, but it had the same concept: business in the front, party in the back.)
My friends, neighbors and acquaintances were sharply divided. They either loved my hair, or hated it with a passion. There was no middle ground. On the same day I could hear, "Oh my god, I love your hair. I wish mine was that gorgeous. Can I touch it?" followed by "My god, Russell, when are you going to do something with that ridiculous hair of yours? You're too old to be looking like that. It's time to grow up!"
I thought my comeback was pretty good. "I'll cut my hair when you stop judging me or when hell freezes over--whichever one comes first."
I have to admit I wasn't sure if my long hair was appropriate for a man pushing fifty, but I loved the look of it and kept it growing. I sometimes wondered if a stallion running through a meadow enjoyed the wind in its mane as much as I enjoyed the breeze blowing through my hair.
I fell in love with the easy-going-anything-is-ok atmosphere of LA, but even in Los Angeles, not everyone is easy going. My boss’s hounding me about my hair led me to switch jobs. I started working in "the industry" and didn't have to worry about my hair there. I actually had one of my bosses say, "I'd rather look at your long hair than some of these tattooed freaks running around." No one gave a crap what I looked like as long as I did my job. We wore shorts and t-shirts to work.
Speaking of shorts, when we first got together Jay teased me about my old-fashioned clothes, but was careful to never cross the line into making fun of me. He never asked me to change how I dressed, but he casually changed the way I dressed. I came home from work one day, and he said, "How about a day at the beach tomorrow? I bought you a pair of shorts and a t-shirt to wear." Going out in public dressed so casually felt weird at first, but soon I was comfortable running to the store in them, rather than putting on some decent clothes. He bought me some nicer "dress" shorts and a button up shirt, and one night I wore that outfit to dinner--and Jay stroked my ego by saying, "You know, you’ve really got great legs, and you look so handsome tonight. I’ll bet every woman in this restaurant is jealous of me...and I’m proud to be seen with you." I bought more shorts and it wasn’t long until I looked like thousands of other men in Los Angeles with long hair and baggy shorts. I guess you could say we sported an aging surfer dude look. I still stood out somewhat, and was proud that none of them had a massive beard like mine.
People started calling me Grizzly Adams. As my hair grew, my nickname changed. I liked it, and every painting I did after I got my new nickname had a big, bold "SAMSON" painted on the lower right corner.
I kept letting my hair and beard grow. Sure, I had it trimmed a few times a year to keep it neat looking, but never more than half an inch--and I complained if that much was taken off.
A few years later, my coworkers gave me another name. They started calling me Cousin Itt (after the character in the Addams Family TV series and movie), and I guess it was a well-deserved name. My beard was as long as my hair--which was waist level. One year for Halloween I combed my bangs straight down, put on a pair of sunglasses and went to a party as Cousin Itt.
Although I gave up weekly haircuts and cigars, my fetishes didn't go away. I just kept them under wraps. I had the typical folder on my computer that was filled with pictures of short-haired men (preferably smoking a pipe or cigar) to appease my fetishes. The file kept the fetishes placated. (Don't most men in our day and age have a jack-off file on their computers?)
From time to time I’d find myself fighting the compulsion to get an extreme haircut, and there were a few close calls. However, even when I was driven to visit a barbershop, I still enjoyed my long hair and thought it was cool.
The closest I ever came to cutting off my long hair was on a hot summer day. I had an appointment on the other side of LA and the air conditioner in my car went out while I was driving. I had to skip the mechanic so I could make my appointment. It didn’t take long for the heat to start getting to me, and for the sweat to start running down my back. The sweat made my shirt stick to my chest. My beard felt damp. As gross as this may sound, I even felt sweat running into the crack of my butt. I thought, "Holy crap. If it's this hot at 9:00 AM, what's it going to be like this afternoon?"
I stopped to get a Coke, and decided to braid my beard. I put a rubber band on it, and threw it over my shoulder with a sigh of relief. I got back on the freeway and loved the feel of the breeze, thinking, "Ah, that's a relief!" I enjoyed the wind in my hair--until I got stuck in a traffic jam. I sat there for an hour, cussing the heat and feeling like a chicken being roasted. As I’m prone to doing, I started talking to myself. I cussed my hair and beard because it was so HOT. "This blasted hair makes it feel like I have a layer of insulation wrapped around me. God, I hate it, and I hate myself for having it." I did something I’d never done before: I put my hair up in a man bun. (I’ve always hated the look, and thought, "What's the point in having long hair if you're going to hide it like it's something to be ashamed of?")
I passed a sign saying, "Freedom Barber Shop" with an arrow pointing to the left. It seemed my car did a u-turn and headed in that direction of its own free will. The car stopped in front of the barbershop without me seeming to guide it. I hadn’t consciously decided to go there. I got out of the car thinking, "What the hell are you doing here, Russell?" No sooner had I thought that than the answer popped in my head. "Russell, you're getting rid of all this crap on your head!" I shook my head. "Don’t be stupid, Russell. That’s too big a decision to make on the spur of the moment. Are you going to ruin all those years of work on a whim? Think about it."
Fear clenched my stomach, and I couldn’t decide whether to go in or not. I turned around when the barber started walking toward the door. I literally ran back to the car, and burned rubber as I was leaving. All I could think was, "That was a close call! This heat must’ve made me almost lose my mind."
There were other close calls with barbershops, but that was the closest one.
One day Jay called. "Throw some clothes in a bag. I’ll be home in a few, and we’re gonna go have some fun."
We got on the freeway, and I kept asking where we were going, and he’d just give a smug smile. "It's a secret."
An hour later he still wouldn’t tell me anything about where we were going.
I started acting like a kid. "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"
He shook his finger at me. "You’re a bad boy! I said, it’s a secret! Now be a good boy, and be quiet."
I tried a fake pout--something that normally made him laugh and tell me whatever I wanted to know. The pout didn't work any better than "Are we there yet?" had.
Even though he ignored all my questions, hints and attempts to get information from him, we had fun on the drive. Eventually we pulled into a tiny town about two-hundred miles from Los Angeles.
He stopped in front of an old-fashioned barbershop and my heart stopped beating for a few seconds. "What the...?"
He said, "Remember when you called a few weeks ago and asked me to get that phone number on the Post-It by your desk? Well, I accidentally bumped the mouse, and I saw you had been writing. For some reason I sat down and read it. I didn't think there was any harm in me reading what you’d wrote. I was deep into it before I realized it was your journal." He looked at me. "Please believe me. I never would’ve read it if I’d known it was your journal. I’ve always thought of your journal as sacred. I’m really sorry I invaded your privacy."
I was thinking, "How dare he?" and was ready to tie into him. He cut me off before I could get wound up.
"I'm sorry. I was wrong... But I don't regret it. I thought I knew you, but I learned a lot about you. You gave up things that meant a lot to you, and I never realized it--and I didn't appreciate it. I'm going to try to redeem myself." He pointed at the barbershop. "We're going in there and get you one of your fantasy haircuts--if you want to. I don’t wanna make you do something you’re not interested in."
My dick sprang up. It understood what Jay was saying before my mind did.
I almost screamed. "Not interested? If I want to? Of course I want to!" Tears filled my eyes. "Oh, babe! Are you sure? I really am happy with the way I look."
Uncertainty filled me. "Thank you, babe, but I don’t want you to regret this. Are you really sure?"
"I'm absolutely certain! I'm not saying I won't cry a little, but we're doing this! Honestly, I'm a little turned on by the idea. We're going to stay in a bed and breakfast down the street, and I'll show you later how turned on I get."
I gave him a lecherous grin, and said, "Wanna go there first?"
"Nope! Get your ass out of this car and get in that barbershop."
On my way in, I stopped. "Wait a minute. What kind of haircut am I supposed to tell the barber I want?"
"Oh, I've already decided, but you’re not going to know what’s gonna happen to your hippy hair until I tell the barber. Now get your ass in there!"
A huge smile spread across my face. I gave him a salute. "Sir, yes sir!" My mind was whirling with possibilities, but I thought, "Don’t get your hopes too high. He might not have the barber cut it really short."
We were almost in the shop when he said, "Wait a minute. I forgot something. Go look in the glove box."
I was impatient. "Can it wait? I wanna get a haircut."
He shook his head, and then pointed to the car. "Nope. To the car. Now."
I've never been as shocked as I was when I opened the glove box. It was empty...except for a lighter, a cigar cutter and a cigar.
My mind refused to accept it. I sat there looking at it.
I finally looked up. Jay was standing there with a huge smile on his face, motioning for me to come on.
I left the cigar in the car, and walked up to him. "Babe, I can't!"
"Yes you can, and yes you will. Go get the damned cigar, light it and get over here. It took me forever to find a barbershop in California that met your criteria, and didn’t have a ‘No Smoking" sign in it. I'm not wasting all that effort."
I enjoyed the ritual of clipping and lighting the cigar, but was very self-conscious (maybe even scared) when I walked up to Jay for the first time with a cigar in my mouth.
I looked at him, and he looked happy. I'm not normally very demonstrative in public, but I gave him a kiss and pulled him into an embrace. I was so choked with emotions I could barely whisper, "Thank you."
We hugged for a long time, both of us emotional. He whispered in my ear, "This knight in shining white armour might surrender without a struggle to the dragon with plumes of smoke shooting out of his nose!" (I sometimes called him my knight in shining white armor.)
Then he stepped back and said, "Eww! I smell like a cigar now!"
He looked me up and down. "I can't say I'm enamored with the smell, but you look HOT with that cigar. You’re all manhood and testosterone. I can't wait to see you with your new haircut."
With another wicked grin, he said, "Don't you wish you knew what it's going to be?"
"You're damned right I do. Let's go find out." I was so excited, but for some reason I was scared out of my mind--maybe because I had thought I’d never give in and get a "real" haircut again. I got over my fear as we walked toward the shop.
I've always enjoyed my time in a barbershop, but I've never been as thrilled to go in one as I was that day.
I panicked again after we walked in. "What are you doing, Russell? You love your long hair!"
Almost instantly my fetish kicked in and said, "Are you that stupid? You've wanted to do this for years. Sit your butt down and shut up."
I sat my butt down and shut up.
As soon as I sat down, the old familiar feelings came flooding back. This shop was similar to the shop I'd went to most of my life. The smell was the same: Lucky Tiger, Clubman, stale smoke...the look was the same too. Three barber chairs, black and white tile floors, deer heads on the wall, pictures of before and after haircuts...I was at home--at last.
My excitement began to build.
The barber had to be pushing eighty and he had a small fringe of closely cropped hair around the sides. There wasn’t even any fuzz on top. A pencil-thin moustache decorated his upper lip. The barber's tunic with a comb, scissors and a pipe sticking out of the pocket was classic.
He didn't look like my old barber, Sarge, but I could tell his attitude was what I was used to in a barber; no-nonsense, stern and authoritative.
He snarled. "Have a seat. I’ll be with you in a few minutes." He looked at me like I was a mangy dog, and then looked again. He was fairly vibrating with excitement to get at my long hair. I could almost hear his thoughts. I knew he was thinking something like, "Dear God, I hope that hippy is here to get a haircut! I’d love to get my clippers in that mess."
He finished up with the man in the chair, and looked at me. "Am I gonna get a chance to cut that mop off your head? Is it that time?"
I said, "Yes, sir. You’re gonna get a chance to take it down, but what did you mean when you said, ‘Is it that time?’"
"Well, you ain’t the first man I’ve met who let his hair grow out because he was rebelling against the discipline of the army or some strict parents. Normally they'll come in and say, 'It's time to cut this mess off'."
I smiled and pointed at Jay. "Well, he says it’s that time."
He barked. "Well, get over here, before I die of old age."
I pointed at a man who was sitting there. "He was here first."
The barber said, "That stupid-looking hair on your head tells me you ain’t got much sense, but at least you've got some manners. Bill will wait. Get your butt in this chair!"
I thought, "Yep. You're right, Russell. This man is a kindred spirit to Sarge."
I looked at Bill and said, "Do you mind?"
The barber said, "Hell no, he don't mind, and if he did mind I wouldn't care. It's my shop."
That sounded so much like Sarge I had to smile. I thought, "You're a crusty old buzzard...and you’re my type of barber."
It didn't take him long to put the strip of paper around my neck and try to choke me with the cape. He was already combing my hair when said, "What'll it be?"
I pointed at Jay. "Ask him. This is his idea, and it's all up to him."
I got fidgety because Jay didn't answer for a few seconds. I thought, "Oh crap, he’s gonna back out!"
Finally I heard what my haircut was going to be. "He wants some serious white walls, even if he doesn't know it. His military father used to make him wear it like that, and I think it’s time for him to go back in history. I have pictures of his hair cut like that when he was a kid and it was cute on him. Let’s see if you can make him that cute again. Peel those sides off, but leave some hair on the top to comb."
I nodded my approval.
"I'll gladly do that, but what am I supposed to do with this crap?" he asked while pointing at my beard. "He's gonna look mighty stupid with that monstrosity of a beard and white walls."
Jay looked surprised about that, but went with it. "Shave the beard, but keep the handlebars."
The barber said, "Good choice. He might look a little strange with that huge moustache and peeled sides, but his moustache is too nice to get rid of."
He said, "Put your cigar there," and pointed to the counter. As he was turning the chair away from the mirror he said, "By the way, I’m Walt." Without waiting for me to introduce myself, he plunged the clippers into the beard with no ceremony. In seconds there was a twenty-inch long clump of beard on the cape.
I heard Jay say, "Holy Mary, Mother of God!"
I gave Jay a "this was your idea" look.
He looked kinda sick. I wondered if he was gonna make it through my haircut. I thought, "Too bad, Jay. If you can’t handle watching it, go outside. It’s still gonna happen. You asked for it, and you’re getting it."
Another clump of beard followed the first... And then another, and another, and another...
Jay squealed, "Oh my god. I forgot you had that cute dimple in your chin."
Once most of the beard was gone, Walt handed my cigar back and started on my hair. There was no finessing, just chopping and hacking with a pair of scissors. I was seriously afraid he was going to cut me during his enthusiastic attack on my hair.
I don't know what made him decide he'd done enough scissorwork, but he stopped suddenly. I thought, "My hair has to look like a kid has been playing barber."
I was anxious. I didn't know what he was going to do next. I didn't know if he had the skill to give me a decent haircut.
Walt roughly shoved my head forward and held it in a tight grip. The clippers roared to life. The familiar, welcomed sound sent shivers down my spine. He said, "Get ready,"
I felt the clippers at the base of my neck, and they started chewing their way through my hair. I knew they were shaving a path up the back of my skull. I thought, "Oh my god. That part of me hasn’t seen the sun in years. I don’t wanna know how white my head is now. I’m gonna look like I have an egg on my shoulders."
Walt took the clippers back to the base of my neck and made another swathe in what had once been my long, glorious hair.
My mind was running a mile a minute. "Russell, you might as well throw your comb and brush away. You won't need them for a long time. "
He threw the next wad of hair he cut in my lap. From my experience with Sarge, I knew it was deliberate. Walt wanted to shock me with how much he was cutting off.
I gave an inward laugh. "Buddy, you're not shocking me. You're feeding my fetish. I love it."
I gave Walt a big grin, just to throw him off his game. I think he took it as a challenge and went higher when he plowed up my neckline the next time.
"I thought, "Go for it buddy. I love it!" my cock was about to burst through my pants.
Jay looked at me, and pointedly looked at my crotch. The cape was tented. I grinned at him before I rearranged the cape.
Looking at Jay let me know he wasn’t regretting his decision. His smile told me he was enjoying what he was seeing.
I sat there, enjoying my cigar and revelling in the vibration of the clippers on my head. The sound of the clippers cutting my hair was music to my ears. I could feel when the back of my head was completely denuded of hair.
Walt stepped to my left side. "I hope you weren't planning on any sideburns. They're going next."
I really threw him off when I said, "Buddy, if you go as short as I want it, you won't have to worry about sideburns. There won't be any hair for about two inches above where a sideburn would be."
He looked shocked. After about ten seconds he said, "Oh, you want it like that, do you? I'd better do the back again." He shoved my head as far forward as it would go, picked up another pair of clippers and started on the back again. I could tell the difference--and it felt good.
When he finished up the back and moved to the side, I felt the stubble on the back of my head. I gave a low whistle, "Damn! That's short."
Jay and Walt laughed. I rubbed my head again, and thought, "It might be short, but it's right. Welcome back, Russell!" I took another draw on my cigar and relaxed. I wondered which I was enjoying the most--the haircut or the cigar.
Once the back and sides were cut to his satisfaction, Walt picked up the scissors again and attacked the top of my head. Seriously, I think he thought of himself as Edward Scissorhands.
After the scissors, he picked up the thinning shears and soon had the top of my head whipped into shape.
Hot towels appeared from nowhere and he wrapped them around the whole bottom portion on my head.
While we were waiting for the steam of the towels to soften my beard he filled his shaving mug with hot water and used the brush to create some suds. "You said you wanted the hair two inches above your sideburns. Want me to shave the sides too?"
"Absolutely! It wouldn't be whitewalls if you didn't."
He sighed. "Why can't more of my customers think like that?"
He pulled the towels off and a few quick strokes with the brush had shaving cream where he wanted it. The sound of the straight razor on the strop made me nostalgic. It had been a long time since I’d heard that sound. I felt the razor being dragged across my face. "I can't remember the last time someone touched my face. It feels weird!"
He talked the whole time he was shaving me...which was a little disconcerting. A man with a straight razor in his hand should be paying attention. He said a lot, but because my thoughts were jumping around so, I only remember three things he said. "In my day I’ve gave many a young boy this same haircut, but it’s been a long time since I’ve done one."
"I can’t remember how long it’s been since I’ve cut this much hair off a man. It makes me think of some of the father/son fights I had to referee in the Seventies."
"Fortunately, there aren’t many men left who are stupid enough to let their hair get as long as you did. I’m glad you finally came to your damned senses."
After the last comment, I looked at Jay. "How in the world did you find another barber just like Sarge? I thought he was a one of a kind, but Walt here is an exact replica."
Walt said, "I’ll take that as a compliment, you young whippersnapper."
When the shaving was done (face and around the sides and back), he spent a lot of time blending the sides into the top. Finally, he put some tonic on my hair and carefully combed it into place.
He turned the chair around so I could inspect his work. Jay whistled. Even though I had known what to expect, it was still a surprise. There was a serious side part, and the top was a little longer than I expected. The sides blended into the top beautifully. It looked amazing--except for the Dennis the Menace rooster tail sticking straight up in the back. I could see every tooth mark from the comb in my gleaming hair and the sides were shining. I just couldn’t get over how small my face looked without the twenty-inch beard. I thought, "Russell, being brave enough to cut off a beard that long took some balls...but make it longer when you’re bragging about it. Tell ‘em you cut ‘almost two feet’ off. After all, you round up when you’re averaging things."
I kept looking at myself, and finally Walt said, "Well?"
I pried my eyes off the mirror and looked at him. "Walt, you did an excellent job--a helluva a job. You sir, are a true craftsman and artisan. You might not recognize this as the high praise I intend it to be, but you’re skills are as good as Sarge’s. I never thought I’d say that to another barber."
I turned my gaze back to the mirror and sat there a while. After I’d admired myself some more (and Jay had shown his approval by rubbing his hands all over my head) I stood up, shook Walt’s hand and said, ""Thanks! It’s been a pleasure and I’m very grateful."
Jay paid him, and we were almost out the door when Walt said, "Hey, Jay. Is this good enough, or are we doing phase two?"
Jay made another big show of thinking about it. "What do you think, Walt?"
"Well, you did drive an awful long ways. Might as well make it worth your while."
"Well, I’m not sure. Maybe…Nah...you’ve got another client waiting for you. We’ve taken enough of your time."
"Bill don’t mind waiting, do you, Bill?"
I interrupted their private conversation. "What the hell are you two talking about?"
Jay ignored me, and carried on his conversation with Walt. "You know, you might be right. We did drive a long ways. Why not? I guess we can go to phase two, if you’re sure you don’t mind."
"I don’t mind. Do you want to tell him, or do you want me to?"
I said, "Would somebody please tell me what’s going on?"
"Hold your horses there. Walt and I are talking serious business here." Then he pulled out his phone and showed Walt a picture. "Can you do one of these?"
"Well, I’ll be! I used to wear my hair just like that, until Mother Nature took all my hair away. Let me tell you, I had so many barbers screw up that haircut that I finally learned to do it on myself, just so I could get a decent haircut. I’ve got lots of practice with it, and if I do say so, I do a mighty fine job of it. People used to come from miles around to let me give them that cut."
I thought their conversation was beginning to sound like a Laurel and Hardy comedy skit.
Jay showed me the picture. "Is this the look you really want?"
The picture was one Dad and I had taken the day I got my first horseshoe. The look of love on Dad’s face moved me, as it always does when I look at that picture.
At first, I didn’t understand. "What?"
Very slowly Jay said (like he was talking to someone who wasn’t very bright), "Well, do you want to keep the haircut you’ve got, or do you want to move on to phase two?"
Understanding hit me. A longing hit my gut, and within nanoseconds it was a great yearning. YES! Of course it’s what I wanted. I didn’t know whether to say it or not though. I wanted to know what Jay thought. "Umm...I don’t know...Are you sure?..Maybe...What the…?"
"That tells me what I want to know."
Walt grinned and said, "Enough dilly-dallying. Sit your ass down here, and let’s do it."
I was rattled by the whole process of the day, but not so rattled that I couldn’t think, "I wonder if Walt and Sarge are really twins? They sound just alike."
Walt looked at me. "Ready?"
"Yes, sir! Shoe me!"
He grabbed the clippers and started my haircut all over. The sides were shaved even higher. Then there was another attack on the top. (The way he cut the top was different from what I was used to. Sarge had always started with the comb over the clippers, going progressively shorter, and ended up by shaving the landing strip. Walt shaved the strip first, and then began the familiar process of clippers over a comb, as tiny bits of hair fell on my face and the cape.) I felt it when my hair began to take on a flat shape. It felt good. I thought, "It's still a thrill to experience this, even if I've had it done a thousand or more times."
After he got done with my hair, he looked at Jay. "Bring me that picture back." He looked at the picture again, and said, "You want him to look just like this picture? The moustache too?"
I waited in some trepidation for Jay's reply. My heart skipped a few beats. I sighed with relief when I heard, "Just like that."
I hadn't realized how badly I wanted to go back to "my" look until I heard those words come out of Jay's mouth.
Walt grabbed my head, turned my face up and gave me a close scrutiny. Then he looked at the picture again. "I almost hate to ruin this beauty of a moustache he’s got on his face, but he does look pretty good in that picture you’ve got there."
I was grinning so hard my mouth was hurting.
Walt walked up to me and he reminded me of Sarge when he said, "I can’t cut your moustache with that blasted cigar sticking out of your mouth. Give it to me." He laid it on the counter, picked up the scissors and whacked off the curls of my handlebars. Seeing those awesome dark curls against the white of the cape made a tear formed in one eye. I thought, "I loved that handlebar moustache, and all the attention it got me. I almost wish--but not quite--that Jay had let me keep it."
When he got done, Jay started to pay Walt for the second haircut. I said, "I’ve got this." and pulled a $100 bill out of my wallet. He said, "What do you think I am? I ain’t a rich man. I don’t have change for that."
"Walt, it’s all yours. You’ve worked your butt of today, and did a helluva a job. What you did today is worth this much and more."
Walt’s final words as we were shaking hand goodbye (for the second time) were, "Thanks for the pleasure of letting me make you look like a real man again."
As I walked out, I turn to Bill and said, "Thanks for waiting. I hope the show Walt put on today was worth the wait."
When we were outside, Jay laughed out loud. I looked at him curiously. Jay laughed again. "I was just thinking about what kind of tales Bill’s going to tell around town about your transformation."
Jay and I got in the car. Out of habit, I reached for my beard to pull it out of the way so I could put my seatbelt on...and there was no beard. It felt so strange! On the short drive to the bed and breakfast, I once again discovered the joy of rubbing a flattop. It was so natural, and yet foreign feeling. I knew I’d get used to it quickly.
Jay was all smiles as he rubbed my head. "That was fun. Maybe we can do it again in two or three years."
"Babe, I may let my hair grow out again, but I doubt it will ever get that long again. I think I’m done with long hair. I don’t want to put up with it again."
A devilish thought hit me, and I had to say it out loud. "Dang it, I missed the whole mullet fad because I was wearing a flat top. If I had known you were planning this, I would’ve made you go with a mullet first."
He let me know what he thought about that idea. "Oh HELL no!!!" rang out in the car. He looked horrified by the mere thought of it.
Once we were checked in, we explored my haircut (and each other) for a while. We finally settled in to watch a movie. I guess I should say we tried to watch a movie. I was trying to wrap my head around what had happened, and was very distracted by the way Jay was running his hands over my head--and turned on by it. I gave him a kiss, and then said, "Thanks again, Babe. I wish I had the poet’s gift, so I could tell you what this means to me."
We talked a while, and then I said, "Tell me more about what led you to make this incredible decision."
"If it makes you feel any better, I only read the one entry in your journal, and I cried when I read what you’d wrote. I don't think I'll ever forget the feeling I got when I read it. You wrote, 'Memories of the sound of clippers running through my hair haunt me. God how I miss that sound. Will I ever hear it again?'"
He stopped talking a second, and I wondered what he was thinking. He kept going. "Reading that tore at my heartstrings. By the way, darling, you really have a way with words."
"Thanks, but don’t get sidetracked. I want to hear more about what you were thinking."
"Honestly, I didn't realize I was reading your journal at first. I thought it was just a story you were writing and I always enjoy it when you share your writing--even though you rarely do. Sometimes when I'm reading anonymous stuff online, I wonder if you wrote it."
"I didn't know you enjoyed my writing! Normally I think my writing’s pretty boring, and I just delete it... Or put it in a file called 'work on later'....which I rarely do."
I laughed--hard. "My journal is going to be password protected from now on!"
Jay laughed too. "No more snooping for me! I got my tail feathers singed when I read your entry. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as bad as I did when I realized I’d been the cause of you being miserable for so long. I felt horrible when I read how much you'd given up for me, and how much you missed it. I started trying to figure out a way to make it up to you.... and... well...it took me a few weeks to plan, but today is what I devised."
"It’s been a helluva day. Thank you again--but back to what you were saying. You're right that I missed my haircuts, but I wasn’t miserable. You’ve made me very happy. You just happened to read what I wrote on a day my fetishes were acting up."
I laughed, "You might've been premature in having my hair whacked off. If you'd read what I wrote a few days before that, you'd have seen where I waxed lyrical about how flattered I was by a compliment someone gave me on my hair, and how I loved my hair and how I loved how it made me different. Not long before that I was bragging on how good my beard is--or should I saw was? Anyway, I wrote about how proud I was of it and wondered if I should enter a beard competition."
"What? I've wanted you to do competitions for years, and figured you'd never do it!"
"Let that be a lesson to you. You never know what's lurking in the deep recesses of my crazy mind."
I looked at him. "Listen to me. Stop feeling bad about my hair! It's not your fault. You told me you didn't like my head shaved, but you never told me how to wear it. I chose to let it grow. I could've stopped letting it grow anywhere along the way, and you would've probably been happy. Hell, you probably would’ve accepted my shaved head if I’d waited long enough. I made the decision to let my hair grow without your help."
I stopped to gather my thoughts. "I wouldn't be much of a partner if I continually and deliberately did something that I knew pissed you off, would I?"
My heart almost broke when he said, "Russell, I want you to be you, not who you think I want you to be. Don’t be such a blasted hero. Let me know what’s going on with you."
"I wasn’t being a hero. You have to look at me all the time. I don’t."
"I know what you’re going to say, and don’t say it. I am humbled by the fact you love me that much, but dang it, don’t be a hero again!"
Once the conversation had dwindled down, Jay excused himself. He came out, got a bag, and went back to the bathroom. I heard him rattling and rustling and thought, "What in the world is he doing in there?"
In a few minutes he called out, "Hey, Russell, come in here."
I walked in and saw an old picture of me taped to the mirror. Underneath it was a pair of clippers, some razors and a can of shaving cream. Beside it was another cigar.
The picture was one of me getting my head shaved--the one Jay had first commented on. The one that had started our whole incredible journey together.
Jay looked at me and he had tears in his eyes. He said, "I'm going to be the barber this time...if you wanna take the next step."
I hugged him hard. Love for the man welled up in me like never before. I knew what a sacrifice this was for him. He truly hated a shaved head. I was humbled that he cared enough for my feelings to do this.
"Good sir, I should go ahead and let you shave my head, just to teach you not to play with fire. However, we're not going to shave my head, although you'd be the sexiest barber that's ever been near my hair."
He looked surprised. "We’re not? Why?"
"Honestly Jay, I liked the shaved head, but it wasn't important to me. It was just a..." I searched for the right word. "A thing? a fad? A passing fancy? I'm not sure what to call it, but being bald wasn't important to me." I pointed at my head. "This is important. This is the real me. This is who Russell is. I can't thank you enough for bringing him back."
He had tears in his eyes. "I’m so glad you said that. I was dreading this, but I wanted to do it for you. I don’t know if I could’ve shaved your head without crying, but I was going to do it, either way."
"Oh my god, Babe." was all I could say. I hugged him for a long time.
Once we broke apart, I looked at what he’d set up for me. I just couldn’t get over him loving me enough to overcome his aversion to my shaved head and smoking.
I looked at the cigar again. I was almost bashful when I said, "Although we're not going to shave my head, that cigar is too good to waste. For never having smoked one, you sure know how to pick ‘em. Would you hate me if I said let's get in the jacuzzi while I enjoy it?" I grinned, "I figure it'll be my last one until you plan another great day to satisfy my fetishes."
He grabbed my hand. "Come on, I want to see if the fire-breathing dragon can conquer me again."
The next morning Jay brought out a suit of vintage clothing, including white boxers, a white t-shirt, tie, cufflinks, tie bar, belt, socks and shoes. He also had a hat with a "stupid red feather".
I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even say, "Thank you." I started ripping my clothes off, and yelled, "Give me the shirt! I can’t wait!"
After I was dressed, I did a pose and said, "What do you think?"
His eyes told me what I needed to know. He wrapped his arms around me and whispered, "You look amazing!" After necking a while, the suit started coming off.
We eventually packed up, and I loaded up the car. I yelled, "Hey, Jay! Move your butt. I wanna beat the traffic."
I didn’t understand it when he said, "Well, I guess we can get on the road...if you want to miss phase four of our trip. I guess you won’t mind since you skipped phase three."
"What in bloody hell are you talking about? What more could you possibly do for me?"
"Who said anything about you? Walt is waiting to give me a partner’s choice haircut. Do you want to skip that?"
I was almost speechless. All I managed to say was, "Holy cow!"
"What’s it going to be? Partner’s choice haircut or a drive to LA?"
An evil grin came over my face. "Well, we really do need to get home."
Jay’s face fell. I had to laugh. "Do you think I’m a complete dumb-butt? Of course you’re going to see Walt...and who knows, we might wind up staying here another night."
He looked me up and down. "I wouldn’t mind spending another night out with a man as handsome as you are. Now, back to the business at hand. What’s it gonna be? What haircut are you going to inflict on me?"
"Hmm...I don’t know. Let me think." I gave him another evil look. "Maybe I’ll have him shave you. How’d you like to be a cueball?"
His mouth flew open and he stopped in the middle of the street. "You wouldn’t dare...would you?"
"I don’t know. Would I? I guess you’ll have to wait and see, won’t you?" I grabbed his hand. "Come on. Let’s go find out."