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Haircut Fetish God (HFG) by Just_Me

I’m not sure whether to call this a satirical, dramatized or stylized account of a series of haircuts I got on April 25, 2013. Either way, all the haircuts are real. I still have the pictures I took that day.
I was getting ready for bed when I looked at myself in the mirror. I was pleased with what I saw. I was proud of how good my hair was looking, and proud of myself for not giving in to my fetishes. I hadn’t been to a barbershop in sixteen months--not even once. That was a record for me.

I gloated. "I’ve done it! I’ve finally kicked Haircut Fetish God’s ass! He’s no longer in control of me. Way to go, Chris!" (In my head, I shortened Haircut Fetish God to HFG.)

The year before I had decided to break the bonds my haircut fetish had on me. I had gotten tired of the constant obsession. I was fed up with spending money on haircuts I didn’t need. I was sick of coming up with excuses for why I had radically changed my hairstyle. I was really frustrated with Haircut Fetish God ruling my life. I wanted "him" to go away.

After trying to find a way to deal with HFG, I thought, "Even if it’s not as harmful as alcoholism or drug addiction, my fetish is an addiction like alcoholism or drugs. If I practice enough, discipline, determination and dedication I can overcome it." I set about conquering the inner demon I called HFG. I let my hair (and beard) grow, and stopped going to the barbershop. As my hair grew, I went to a female stylist, to help keep HFG at bay.

It looked, and felt, like I’d been successful. I sometimes went months without even wanting to go to the barber shop.

However, I knew my victory over Haircut Fetish God wasn’t complete. His ugly little head popped up from time to time, and I still fought with him sometimes. In fact, he had been stepping up his attempts to get me into a barbershop the last few days, but I had fought him--hard.

My hair was about eight inches long on the top, and growing every day. That day I’d thought, "Chris, you’re really getting bored with your look. You need to find something to do with it, or HFG is gonna take control again, and you’ll be running from barbershop to barbershop again."

I did a quick Google search of "men’s long hair styles." Most of the pictures didn’t help me, because they showed men with hair much longer than mine. I did see a picture that really caught my attention though. I fell in love with it. "I think I can pull that look off! I’ll try it, just to see what I look like." I had gel, but thought Vaseline would give me a more authentic look. I worked some into my hair, grabbed a comb and soon had a classic Fifties look. I was fascinated with the way it looked and thought it was a style I might want to keep. I wasn’t sure about the full beard with the greaser look, and thought about shaving. I decided it didn’t looked awful and thought I’d leave my beard alone until I knew I was going to keep the hairstyle.

Another look in the mirror. "Ah, it’s so nice to see hair on my head, and I love this retro, Fifties look. I really might have to keep it." I picked up my comb, and ran it through my hair again, enjoying the marks the comb left in my shiny hair. The pomp stood up nicely, the sides were slicked back, and the DA to I had fashioned was close enough to right to make me feel good. I liked it. I thought, "This new look should help keep Haircut Fetish God from talking me into doing something I don’t want to do. I like this too much to ruin it."

I looked at myself some more, and then went to the closet. I put on some jeans, a white t-shirt, a black leather jacket and my black pointy boots. After seeing myself dressed up, I said, "Screw going to bed. I look awesome, and I’m gonna go have a few drinks, and see if I can find some action."

I went to my favorite bar, and was the hit of the night. A lady came up and said, "Mmm, you look mighty handsome tonight. I want to rub my hands through your hair. Can I buy you a drink?"

Another said, "I love a man in leather. Will you take me for a ride on your bike. It might earn you another type of ride." She bought me a drink too.

An obviously intoxicated man said, "Dude! You’re looking all tough, and it makes you mighty sexy. It’s a pleasure just looking at you. What are you drinking? It’s on me."

I didn’t have to buy any drinks that night. People were ordering them for me faster than I could get them down. I was buzzing pretty good by the time I left.

I woke up early the next morning with a headache, and a feeling that I was in trouble. Then it hit me. I knew what the feeling was. "Oh, Jesus! He’s back. I guess I opened the door to the Haircut Fetish God last night, and he’s in full control today. What the hell am I going to do?"

I was almost in tears. I had known from reading about addictions that HFG was always going to be with me, but had thought I was strong enough that he’d never control me again. There was no doubt he was the stronger of the two of us that morning.

"I wonder what happened? How did he get in the driver’s seat without me realizing it?" I contemplated a bit. "Maybe the drinks lowered my threshold. Maybe it was the way I greased my hair up. Whatever the cause, I lost the fight. He’s going to make me get my hair cut--today."

HFG said, "You’re damned right I am. I’m back in charge! Off with the hair."

I argued with HFG, and tried to get him to let me put the haircut off until the next day. Haircut Fetish God wasn't having it.

I got in the shower and got dressed. I added some more Vaseline to my hair, and started combing it in. While combing my hair, I thought, "Chris, get rid of the beard. You’re tired of it and it doesn’t look good with your new look. On top of it not looking good, maybe doing something with your beard will appease the Great Fetish. It’s worked a few times in the past."

I wondered if it might work. The thought went through my head, "It’s a long shot, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Go for it!" I pulled the clippers out (the clippers I’d sworn to never use again) and trimmed my beard into some Seventies-style sideburns and a longish goatee with a handlebar moustache. It wasn’t from the Fifties, but when I looked at myself I said, "I like it."

Cutting the beard seemed to lessen the urge to cut my hair. I listened to my inner voice. The fetishes were mumbling, but it was nothing too boisterous. I thought, "Oh good! They’re going to leave me alone. It must’ve been enough." Then I thought, "You'd better jack off just to make sure they keep quiet."

After making certain the fetishes were satisfied with my sacrifice, I started getting ready for work. A passing glance in the mirror made me stop. I looked again. "Damn! My sideburns are too bushy and look unkempt. Maybe I should cut them off." I shook my head. "I really like the look and don’t want to lose the sideburns. I'll just blend them in a little." I put a guard on my clippers and tried. My attempt at blending was a dismal failure. The sideburns looked freshly shorn and didn’t look like they belonged to the rest of my hair. I was disgusted with myself. "Dear god! That looks like crap. What am I going to do? There’s no way in hell I can get in to see my stylist on such short notice."

Again, I thought about cutting the sideburns off, but I’m nothing if I’m not stubborn. I didn’t want to.

HFG was quick with an answer. "You’ll have to go to a barbershop if you want to keep the sideburns. There’s no other option."

I cursed. "Damn it, he’s right." I looked at my watch. "Whew. There’s still time to get to the barbershop before I have to be at work. I’ll see if a barber can get the sideburns blended. If not, I'll go just a little shorter on the sides, but I will not lose my sideburns, and I most definitely will NOT get a short haircut." I shook my head. "It’s not going to happen!" The Haircut Fetish God smiled benevolently upon me.

I mentally went through all the local barbershops, trying to decide which one to visit. After weighing the pros and cons of the many barbershops I knew about (I had regularly visited them in my previous, fetish-controlled life) I opted for Three Brothers Barbershop. It had always been one of my favorites. Three Brothers appealed to the Haircut Fetish God and my other fetish, God of the Cigar. The barbers liked peeling hair off a person’s head, and I could smoke while getting a short haircut.

I shook my finger in my face. "Chris, you shouldn’t say ‘short haircut. You have no plans of getting a short haircut."

I privately thought of Three Brothers as the Goldilocks Barbershop. I could imagine Goldilocks going in and saying, "This brother is really good," "This brother is just OK," and "This brother is downright pathetic." For some reason, the idea of Goldilocks in a barbershop appealed to my strange sense of humor.

There was definitely an element of danger in visiting Three Brothers. The brothers were old, and with only one of them being any good, every visit was fraught with risk. You could come out with anything from a great haircut, to a big mess. In fact, my first headshave had been the results of brother #3 messing my hair up so badly that I had no other option.

Going to Three Brothers reminded me of when I went in the army and we got our induction cuts. A barber shouted, "Next" and the first person in line hustled to the chair. Two minutes later, another barber sent a recruit out the door with some fuzz on his head and shouted, "Next." Three Brothers was like that. When you went in, you didn't get to pick which barber you wanted. It was a case of which brother was available next. When one of the brothers finished a haircut he said, "Next in line." You stood up and took your chances.

Despite the inherent dangers of going there, I liked the shop. It normally had some great characters sitting around (I privately thought many of the characters were fetishers like me), and there was often some great haircut action going on, since the brothers specialized in short haircuts. (There was a big sign behind their work stations. It said, "We specialize in military cuts, flattops and burrs.")

I paused when I got there, thinking, "Chris, you’re playing with fire. This shop has a lot of potential danger for you. You know Haircut Fetish God’s powers are increased in a place like this. You’ve worked too hard to conquer this mad demon. Don’t do it. Don’t let ‘him’ win. Don’t go in there!"

HFG laughed. Then he whispered, "You’re not going to get by with just a trim. I won’t let it happen."

I said, "Wrong answer, Haircut Fetish God. I’m going to do this, and I’m going to do it my way. I’ll show you who’s boss."

HFG laughed at me again.

I guess I sat in the truck too long, and HFG got nervous. He bellowed, "Get your ass out of this truck and get in there!"

I said, "Damn it! I’m going." I got out, and went in.

God of the Cigar approved when I lit a cigar as I walked in.

I crossed my fingers, hoping I’d get the good barber. I was the first one there that morning, and all three barbers were sitting in their chairs. I gave a sigh of relief and thought, "Oh boy, the good barber’s available!" I walked toward his chair, only to be stopped by the OK barber. "We take turns doing the first haircut of the day, and you're stuck with me. What'll it be?"

HFG said, "Go short or go home."

I was tempted by what HFG said. I stood firm though, and answered him. "Nice try, HFG, but it’s not going to work. I don’t want to break my winning streak against you. In addition, even if I wanted to listen to you, I don’t trust this barber. He could potentially mess up my hair and start me on a downward spiral that would end up with me having no hair. I don't want that, so you’re a loser--again." I glared at HFG and said, "Don’t say anything else! I won’t listen."

I answered the barber. "Just trim it up. I cut my beard back this morning and really just want to blend the sideburns into the top."

HFG put a thought in my head. "Are you sure that’s all you want?"

That thought was enough to get me to open my mouth. "Maybe trim the sides and back a little, to make my ‘do a little more authentic."

The OK barber clipped and snipped and finally finished up with the haircut. I was pleasantly pleased when he got done. He’d shaped the sideburns a little, and they looked great. The haircut was better than I’d expected. The DA was awesome. The entire haircut was just what I wanted, and I thought the goatee was a perfect compliment. I was happy.

I got in the truck and headed to work. I still had a good portion of the cigar left so God of the Cigar was happy. The Haircut Fetish God was satisfied because he’d got me into a barbershop. I thought, "Life is good. I’m happy and the gods are happy."

Haircut Fetish God didn't stay happy.

Less than three miles from Three Brothers the Haircut Fetish God started talking. "Feel the back of your head."

I didn't want to. I knew HFG was stirring up unrest. I tried to ignore HFG, but he wouldn't be ignored. Louder this time. "Feel the back of your head!"

I slowly reached for my beautiful DA. Haircut Fetish God boomed. "Do you call that a haircut? You don't even feel any stubble. How can you call that a haircut?"

I grumbled. "Go back to sleep HFG. I've already fed you today."

He roared, "It wasn't enough of a sacrifice! I need more!"

I tried being rational with him. "I've already paid for a haircut and I don't want to waste any money right now. Things are tight financially. This haircut will do. If you wanted me to go shorter, you should’ve spoken up while I was there. Leave me alone, you’re bugging me."

"I did speak up. I told you to go short or go home, but you wouldn’t listen. You know you should’ve got a decent haircut while you were there. You’re never satisfied with the first cut, and always want it shorter after the fact." He pouted, and then said, "If you want to look like a F-ing hippy, I guess it's your decision. Don't blame me though. I told you."

He was quiet for a few minutes. Out of the blue, I heard a very pleasant conversational voice. "Why don't you stop at another shop and go shorter?"

"Damn it! Shut the hell up, HFG!"

HFG wisely shut up. He knew his comment had made me start thinking. I thought, "He’s right. I'd be much happier if I got a shorter cut."

Haircut Fetish God kept out of it while I argued with myself. Rational Me said, "You got a haircut less than ten minutes ago. What the hell are you thinking about? You like the haircut you just got. In fact, you’re in love with it."

I stopped for a moment. Emotional Me replied. "Yeah, I’m in love with it, but I’m also in love with shorter hair. Which do I want right now?"

Rational Me responded. "Be logical. You want what you’ve got now. You’ve fought so hard to control HFG. Why should you give in to him? You were also right when you said you didn’t need to spend the money. Do you think you’re made out of money?"

HFG smirked, and interrupted the Emotional Me/Rational Me conversation. HFG said, "You're not that broke. You can afford another haircut, and you'll be so much happier with it. There's another barbershop just a few miles down the road and you've never tried it. There's probably an old-fashioned barber in there who knows how to do an authentic short back and sides. Why not try it?"

My resolve broke. I tried to bolster the resolve, and I failed. "You're right, HFG. Since I'm already almost there I might as well try it, but I’m NOT getting an extreme cut--no short back and sides. I’ll just have him taper it a bit." I wasn’t happy with myself. I didn’t like the idea of conceding anything to HFG. I didn’t like the thought of getting a taper and losing my DA. Most of all, I was pissed that I was listening to HFG at all.

I pulled up in front of a log cabin--not one of those prefab things, a real log cabin. There was a hitching rail all the way across the front. The sign wasn’t fancy: It just said, "Barber Shop". I sat there for a while, completely enchanted with its quaint charm. I finally got out of the truck, and looked in the window as I walked up. I had to stop and take it all in. The decor was different from anything I’d ever seen in a barbershop. A rustic fireplace was on one wall Literally every square inch of the remaining walls was covered with some kind of cowboy memorabilia: spurs, guitars, pictures of famous cowboys, rodeo posters, cow horns, branding irons, horse’s reins, cowboy hats, chaps. Beautiful saddles sat on stands throughout the shop. Mixed in with all the cowboy stuff were a bunch of old posters showing different styles of classic haircuts. Right in the middle stood a beautiful antique-looking barber chair covered in red leather. The whole shop was awesome. The old man in the barber's tunic completed the picture. He looked like a barber should look.

HFG was enthusiastic in his approval. He damn near started clapping.

I was enthralled, and my resolve to not get a drastic cut completely dissolved. I knew I wanted to experience this shop correctly--which meant I was going to get a short haircut. I thought, "You can get it short, but don’t get carried away and get it too short. Maybe you should ask for a short taper." I looked at the barber again. He looked like he knew how to butcher hair, and I knew I wasn’t getting a short taper. This barber was going to butcher my hair--at my request.

I opened the door and heard a friendly-sounding, "Come on in."

I went in, and commented, "Great place. What a brilliant idea." I was looking around when I said, "Oh crap! Let me go put this cigar in the truck. I forgot all about it when I came in." (I hadn't forgotten. I just wanted to see if I could get another haircut while smoking.)

"Don’t worry about it. This is one of the few places in town you can still smoke. Hell, I'm probably gonna die from lung cancer whether it's from your smoke or my own."

The God of the Cigar was pleased.

He looked at my hair. "It doesn't look like you're in need of a haircut. What can I do for you?"

"Your right. I just got a haircut, but the stylist wouldn’t do what I asked. I kept telling her to go shorter, and she kept telling me my hair looked great like this. I couldn’t get her to go shorter. It really pissed me off, so I went looking to see if I could find a real, old-fashioned barber. You look like a man who might know how to handle a pair of clippers. Will you help me out by giving me a real haircut? A short haircut?"

He grinned. "You've got that right. I'm not afraid to use a pair of clippers, and I’d love to give you a short haircut. However, my definition of short may not be the same as yours. How short are you wanting it?"

I thought, "HFG, listen to this. It should make you happy." Then I spoke. "Well, you're probably not going to get it too short for my taste, but I was thinking about one of the old-fashioned cuts my father used to inflict on me. Take the sideburns off and peel the sides up some. I want to see some skin."

He dusted the chair off with the cape. "Have a seat."

He put his finger on the side of my head. "I’m talking about everything from about here down being shaved, and then it tapers up. Is that what you’re talking about?"

HFG nodded his approval.

"Yes, sir! That's exactly what I'm talking about." The barber looked happy.

"I’ve done many of those cuts. Ready?"

"Let's do it! Just don't cut the top real short. I like the look of a longer top."

He opened a drawer, pulled out a cigar and lit it. Next a cape settled on my neck. Without preamble, he shoved my head forward and the clippers started climbing up my neck. My DA was destroyed in seconds. Haircut Fetish God was thrilled, and kept saying, "I hope he goes higher!" HFG was even more thrilled when he saw the amount of hair piling up on the cape.

The barber hadn’t cut a lot of hair, when I egged him on. "Dad’s a retired sergeant major, and he always kept my hair clipped short. I’m going to see him, and I don’t wanna hear any crap from him. Make him happy."

He grinned. "I know the type. He’s a crusty old bastard, ain’t he? I’ll make sure he has nothing to complain about when it comes to your haircut."

The clippers went a little higher. I smiled smugly. I had known the retired army father would work. I’d used that line before with great results.

I got a little emotional when I saw a sideburn fall on the cape. It was those damned sideburns that had started this whole debacle.

After he finished my hair cut, and shaved the bottom third of my head, he said, "Do you mind me saying something?"

"No, sir. What's on your mind?"

"With all due modestly, I just gave you a damned near perfect haircut, and your long goatee is ruining the look of it--not to mention your father will probably give you hell about it. Will you let me do something with it?"

HFG nodded. "Ah, he's a wise man. You should listen to him."

I tried to ignore HFG, but couldn't. "What did you have in mind?"

"I think you'd look better without it, but if you insist on keeping it, let me cut it back, and trim the handlebars off."

I said, "Well, Dad won’t be happy if I keep it, but he won’t be happy no matter what I do. Like you said, he’s a crusty old bastard. Cut it back, but leave me some beard. I might as well give him a little something to fuss about."

He wound up cutting most of the goatee off. He left a chin strip that was maybe two inches wide, but was long enough that it hung below my chin a bit. He completely disconnected the moustache from the beard, trimmed the moustache well above my lip.

I liked it.

I was elated with what he’d done. The cut looked great, and it was exactly what I’d wanted. The Vaseline I’d put in my hair gleamed brightly in the lights and the sides were peeled perfectly. I struggled a minute, then I gave in. I thought, "Chris, you've just found a new barber, and you’ll be seeing a lot of him. He does a great job, and you're not playing Russian roulette like you do at the Goldilocks, I mean Three Brothers Shop."

HFG took off in a victory lap, but I was disappointed in myself. I knew "he" was completely in charge now. I thought, "Damn it, Chris, you’ll probably never subdue him again."

I sealed the deal by saying, "Damn, sir! You're a true artist. This is exactly what I was wanting. Remember it the next time I'm in." I paused. "On second thought, don't bother trying to remember. Summer is coming and I'll probably do something shorter then."

He said, "Hell, summer is right around the corner. Why not do it now?"

HFG nodded in vigorous agreement, but I stopped him in his tracks. "I'm happy with what you’ve done for now. I'll see you in a couple of weeks and then we’ll talk about something shorter."

"Well, when you do decide to go shorter, I’d highly recommend you go with a flattop. You’ve got a perfectly shaped head, and your hair is more than thick enough to make any length flattop look great."

HFG urged me to go forward with the flattop. I really wanted to give in, but I was strong. I was mad at myself for giving in to HFG and determined that I would get control of my life back.

I got in the truck and started toward work. I gave myself a mental high-five. "Chris, you should be proud of yourself. You resisted going shorter, and you survived a serious attack from HFG. He might’ve made you go short, but you still have some hair on your head and on your face. That’s a victory in the battle against him. Way to put HFG in his place!"

I decided to give HFG his dues. "HFG, you fought hard, and got a few good licks in. However, I won this round, but you should still be happy. This is an awesome cut, and it should shut you up for a while."

HFG sat in a sated stupor for a few minutes. He was happy. He had broken my sixteen-month streak of no extreme haircuts. He had got me into two barbershops, and made me go shorter than I’d thought I’d ever go again in my life. He gloated, "You thought you were stronger than me, but I finally wore you down. I beat you!"

Like a dumbass, I answered HFG. I knew better. I'd never won an argument with him. I said, "Yeah, you might've got me into a shorter cut than I wanted, but I still the winner. I have some hair left and I'm going to work now, where you can't make me get it shorter. I have a pile of stuff to do on my desk, and I'll be too busy to deal with you."

My inner ear heard the voice again. "That's what you think. I'm not done with you yet."

I thought, "Well, I'm done with you!" I turned the radio up to drown out HFG's voice.

I absently stroked the back of my hair, relishing the short, bristly feel. I blurted out, "God, I've missed that feeling."

Haircut Fetish God's ears perked up. He urged me to feel my head again. I rubbed the sides and delighted in the feel. I felt the top of my hair, and I liked the way it felt. There was something cool about knowing I looked like a silver screen actor, and it brought back great memories of going to the barbershop with Dad, to get the exact same cut.

HFG spoke up. "Why did you have him leave the top long? Wouldn't it feel much better if you had a plush flat up there? Think about how much you love rubbing your hair when it's cut in a flattop. Hell, even the barber thought you should go flat."

I stuck my tongue out at HFG. "Oh, shut up! I'm sick of you! I really like this haircut, and I want to enjoy it for a while. I told the barber we’d talk about something shorter next time, so you’ll just have to wait and see what I decide on. Anyway, even if I wanted to get a flat today--which I don't--I couldn't. I have to get to work!"

"Your boss would understand if you were a little late."

I shook my head. "I can't do that to him. Jim's been really good to me, and he needs me."

"He’s a good man and he won’t begrudge you a few hours after all you've done for him!"

I snarled. "Did you listen at all when I told you I was happy with both of the haircuts I got today--the haircuts I didn't want in the first place, but the ones you insisted on. I'm not getting another haircut today! Final answer!"

"I guess it’s your call. If you really want to miss out on the pleasure of a flattop, go ahead. It's your loss."

That comment struck a nerve, and I stopped arguing for a minute. He was right. I really did like the feel of a flattop.

I was frustrated. "If I listen to you, will you shut up? I'll get a flat if you'll leave me the hell alone."

Sensing victory, HFG said, "Scout's honor! Not another word from me." Then I heard, in the softest voice possible, "Not another word from me...today."

I had an idea. Hope sprang up. Maybe I’d found a way around HFG. "Look, there's not another barbershop within miles of here, and I'm not going back to either of the shops I've been to today. I’d probably get the bad barber at Goldilocks. Plus, I wouldn’t want to explain why I went somewhere else and got it cut shorter. It would probably offend them. I’ve already told the other barber I didn’t want to go shorter today. Forget it!"

As usual, HFG overcame my objection. He started playing a pitiful victim. He sounded sad when he said, "You wanted to try that little barbershop out in the country before you tried to kill me off." His voice became cheerful. "It's only a thirty minute drive. You wouldn't be much more than an hour or so late. Jim wouldn't mind."

"I don't care if he'd mind. I'd mind. I hate being late, and I’m not going to be late."

He asked, "How many times have you been late in the seven years you've worked for him? What? Once, maybe twice? For that matter, how many times have you called out sick? Again, once, maybe twice? Just tell him you're sick. That'd give you time to think, and see if you really want to miss out on the joy of a flattop."

"Ok. I'll call him, but I'm not going to get a flattop. I'm going to call Jim, go home, grab a beer and sit on the patio with my pipe in my hand and rub my hands over this fantastic short back and sides. Why can’t you understand that I want to enjoy the haircut I just got before taking it lower?"

All I heard from Haircut Fetish God was an evil cackle.

I pulled my phone out, called Jim and headed home. Just like I’d said I was going to do, I sat on the patio and drank a beer. The whole time HFG was whispering in my ear.

I thought, "I'm sick of listening to him. I'm going to take a nap, so I don’t have to listen to him."

I laid down, but couldn't get to sleep. A certain part of my body was demanding attention. It had been stimulated by two haircuts and needed some relief. I thought, "Maybe if I relieve the stress down there I can relax and go to sleep."

I did my second handjob of the day, and managed to fall into a troubled sleep. Haircut Fetish God and God of the Cigar invaded my dreams. I had one dream after the other where these two super powers combined their energy to get me up and to a barbershop.

After many dreams, I sat up and yelled. "Screw you both! Ok, I'm going out one more time, but you'd better enjoy it. This is the last time I'm going to appease you. No more, do you hear me? No more after this. I'm done with the both of you."

The two gods promised to leave me alone if I'd do this one last thing for them.

I got dressed and went to my truck. Then I thought, "I’d better get something for God of the Cigar so he doesn’t get jealous because FHG is getting a haircut." I went back in the house and filled my shirt pocket with cigars. For good measure, I grabbed a couple of my pipes. I mentally glared at both gods and said, "Your actions are probably gonna drive me into therapy, if not put me in a mental institution. I hope you're both happy. I've broken a lot of promises I made to myself because of you."

They both smiled humbly and said, "Thank you, sir."

I grumbled as I got in the truck and said, "Ok. I'm sick of you, HFG. I'm no longer calling you 'Haircut Fetish God '. Your new name is ‘God-d**ned Fetish God’. Now, where the hell do you want to go?"

HFG (or, as I now wanted to call him, GDFG) was offended, and he growled at me. "Who do you think you are talking to me like that? You should be addressing me as the Great, All-Powerful Haircut Fetish God. I've been a benevolent presence in your life for many years, and I've given you many hours of pleasure. Don't you ever speak to me like that again!"

"Screw you! You've never been benevolent. You're a tyrant, and nothing more than a source of torment. I wish you'd go away!"

FHG (GDFG) said in his best parental voice, "We'll have this conversation later. For now, we have more important things to do. Put your ass in the truck and get to a barbershop."

"I've already asked you. Where do you want to go?"

He yelled. "Turn your hearing aids up! I told you hours ago to head to that country barbershop! If you’d listened to me then, we’d already be back home, and you could be in the pool feeling the water on your new flattop."

I slammed the truck into gear and burned rubber as I pulled out of the driveway. I was fed up with HFG/GDFG.

God of the Cigar raised his pointy little head. "If you're going to be on the road for thirty minutes you might as well enjoy a cigar. Go ahead. Light one up."

I grimaced. "I'm sick of you too. Shut up!"

I knew from experience that arguing with him was useless...but just to spite him, I pulled one of my pipes out instead of the cigar he’d asked for.

God of the Cigar giggled. "You think that bothers me? I'm just as happy with a pipe."

I fumed all the way to the barbershop. My blood was to the boiling point by the time I got there. I was really pissed off at Haircut Fetish God. I was irate with God of the Cigar. I was infuriated with the Universe for making me like I was. I was mad at the barber who was about to cut my hair--even though he didn’t know he was going to. Most of all, I was furious with myself because I was too weak to fight HFG.

I finally got there. I came to a screeching halt, put the truck in park and turned the ignition off. I grabbed the keys, jumped out and marched toward the shop. Steam was probably coming out of my ears.

(Before you jump on me for how I acted next, I have to tell you, I really regret my behavior toward the poor barber I was about to visit. I was ruder to him than I’ve ever been to anyone in my life. I have no valid reason for how I acted. My only excuse is that I was pissed off at myself for giving in to HFG, and I was pissed off at HFG for putting me in this position.)

I threw the door open, and startled him when I rattled off some rapid-fire instructions in a rude, pissed-off voice. I was almost shouting. "I know I just got a haircut, so don’t give me any crap about that. I want it shorter. Give me a damned flattop."

I plopped into the chair and looked at him. He stood there a few seconds, like he didn’t know what to do.

"Are you gonna stand there all day, or are you going to give me a haircut? I said I wanted a damned flattop!"

He walked over and started putting the cape on. I barked, "I ain't got all day. Let's get it done."

I thought about telling him to give me a longer, boxy flat, but didn't. I thought, "That’s a stupid thought! If you get a longer flat, HFG will have you out looking for another barber again."

When the barber picked up a pair of clippers I snarled, "Don't waste my time and money. I want it short."

He said, "Are you sure?"

I glared at him. "I’m sick of people asking me if I’m sure! Yes! I know what I want. I’m a grown-ass man, and I’m capable of making my own decisions. I want a flattop and I want a very short flattop. Do it. Now!"

He looked shocked, and maybe a little scared.

He started cutting, and I'll give him this. He cut it short. The sides were as low as the clippers could go. I couldn't tell what the top looked like, but I liked what he was doing. There was lots of hair on the cape, and more was falling. Seeing all that hair felt good. For a moment, it felt good and I didn’t mind that HFG had won.

While he was cutting my hair I noticed a "No Smoking" sign. I moved my pipe from the left side of my mouth to the right and kept on puffing. I thought, "Let him say something to me if he dares! I'll go off on him."

I kept a running conversation going in my head. The whole conversation was variations of, "Haircut Fetish God, I hope you’re happy, you sorry so-and-so. Look at what you've made me do. You’ve ruined my beautiful hair. I hate your sorry ass!"

The barber finished my hair, and turned me to the mirror. I gasped! It was probably the worst haircut I'd ever had. One side was peeled higher than the other and the sides were imperfectly blended into the top. The top was undulating rather than flat. I could see several gaps. It was a crappy blend of a flattop and a recon.

I wanted to kick Haircut Fetish God’s ass. "HFG, this is all your fault, and I hope like hell you're happy. I've had two great haircuts today, but because of your constant harping now I'm stuck with this...this...this messed up travesty of a haircut! What have you got to say for yourself?"

HFG shrugged his shoulders innocently. "Why are you blaming me? I didn't tell you to come in here foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog. Hell, he’s probably a good barber, but the way you acted most likely scared him so badly that his hands were shaking in terror. I could tell he was scared to death after your Chris the Barbarian performance. I’m surprised he didn’t run out." Then he gave me a look that I can only describe as parental. "This mess is all your fault, and don't you dare blame me for what you did! You only have yourself to blame."

I started feeling guilty, even though the idea of the barber being scared of me made me laugh. My anger left me and I thought, "I'm normally about as harmless as a butterfly."

I didn't tell the barber how s**tty I thought his haircut. I started trying to redeem myself.

I lied to him. "It looks pretty good." He looked relieved. Obviously, he’d been expecting me to blow my top.

"I've never had a flattop before, and thought I'd try one." (That was my second lie. I’d worn a flattop for almost two years at one point.) I looked at the mirror like I was trying to decide what I thought. "I'm not sure it's the best look for me. Would you mind buzzing it off? Is the top long enough to do a #2? I'll pay you for both haircuts. It’s not your fault I changed my mind." (I hoped he couldn’t mess up a buzz cut.)

He looked a little wary. "I can do that, but are you sure?"

I looked in the mirror. The mess on the top of my head confirmed it, and I didn't even need HFG to goad me. I didn’t want to go out in public looking like that. "I'm sure. I'm curious to know what my hair looks like buzzed." (another lie. I'd had many buzz cuts in my life.)

He started buzzing my hair and I innocently said, "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't see your 'No Smoking' sign. Why didn't you say something?"

His eyes told me he was thinking, "You came in here like a raving maniac and I was scared of you. I didn’t dare say anything."

He didn't say that though. "If you’d been smoking one of those cigars in your pocket I would’ve probably said something, but I don't mind a pipe. In fact, I enjoy the smell. You don't have to put it away, as long as no other customers are here. I really don’t care if people smoke, but I put that sign up to satisfy the no smoking crowd." I wasn't sure I believed him.

I thought, "Chris, you really acted like a fool. You owe this man a helluva tip." I muttered, "Thanks a lot, HFG. You're costing me more money."

I heard his reply. He was defensive. "Why are you blaming me? I didn't make you do anything. You’re here because YOU wanted another haircut."

I cut him off. "That’s BS. I’m here because YOU wanted another haircut!"

HFG ignored me. He kept right on talking. "I didn’t choose to give him a tip, you did. If I was in charge, I wouldn’t tip him at all after that horrible haircut you just endured."

I thought, "If you’re not in charge, who the hell is?"

I started glancing around the shop for the first time (I'd been too mad to look when I first came in). Everything was clean, but the shop looked a little shabby. Then I looked at the prices he had posted on the wall. Dear god, the price list must've been thirty years old. Haircut $2.75, flattop $3, shave $3.25.

I pointed at the price list and said, "Is that your current prices?"

He said, "Yes, sir. They’ve been the same since the day I opened. I’ve never had the heart to raise them."

I thought, "It’s no wonder everything’s a little shabby. I don't know how he manages to pay the electricity bill!"

I wanted to help the old guy out. I said, "I need a shave too. Will you help me out with that too?" (I hoped his nerves had calmed down. I didn't want him near my throat with a straight razor if he was nervous.)

Without help from HFG I decided to have him shave the little bit of beard I still had and leave the moustache. I thought, "What the hell. I've never tried a buzz cut/moustache combo. Why not?"

The barber did a really good job on the shave, and was actually chatting quite freely by the time he was done. He was an interesting conversationalist, and I regretted that my temper had made me miss out on what he would've said.

I gave him three $20 bills.

He protested, but I insisted, saying, "Two haircuts and a shave would cost more than that if I went anywhere else. Plus,I feel like I owe you something for the way I acted when I came in. I wasn't mad at you. Someone, or actually two someones, have been harassing me all day and I took it out on you. I'm really sorry."

"I wondered what I’d done to piss you off so." He smiled. "Don’t worry. I’ve taken my frustration out on the wrong person before too."

Mentally I flipped HFG off and said, "Thanks again for getting me into this mess!"

Haircut Fetish God looked at me with a guiltless expression and said, "Don't try to put that guilt on me. Your own stupidity got you into it."

I got in the truck and dared either of the gods to say anything. Just to make sure they were appeased, I lit a cigar and rubbed my head all the way home (God, I loved that feel). The gods stayed silent.

I got home, grabbed a beer and went outside to finish my cigar. I looked at my reflection in my koi pond. HFG whispered, "You've gone this far, you might as well go all the way."

I was emotionally beat, and I almost cried. "HFG, you promised not to bug me anymore today," but I didn't try to argue. I gave up in despair and went in the house, got the clippers and another beer. I went back to the patio, where I chugged about half a beer. The cigar went back in my mouth, I plugged the clippers in and went to work on what was left of my hair.

"There you go, HFG. You won the day. My hair's all gone. Will you let me enjoy my beer and cigar in peace?"

HFG acted offended. "Go ahead. Don’t let me stop you."

It took me a while, but I finally started relaxing. Then a soft voice said, "There's still a little stubble on your head, and you have that moustache. You could get rid of all of it if you got in the shower."

I didn’t even acknowledge what HFG had said. I picked up the clippers, took the moustache off and stomped to the bathroom.

I got out of the shower after a complete head and face shave, and looked in the mirror. I was pissed. Haircut Fetish God had carried me from a full beard and about eight inches of hair down to a completely bald head in the course of one day.

I started trying to think of excuses I could make when people asked what happened to my hair, and couldn’t think of anything reasonable. The only thing I could think of was the tired old "I lost a bet" routine, and I was too emotionally drained to think of something that I would’ve bet on.

When I couldn’t find a decent excuse, I tried to make something positive out of the day. I could only think of one good thing about that day. Haircut Fetish God was sated, and he’d disappeared for a while…

However, that wasn’t a completely positive thing. I was sure his disappearance wasn’t permanent.

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