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Some extra time to get a proper shearing by Manny
It was the last day of the conference, and I decided to dress down a bit from my power suits and ties. I examined myself in the hotel mirror and felt quite confident in my Harris tweed jacket, navy wool slacks, and a lilac shirt that picked up some threads in the jacket. My only debate was whether to don the tie I’d brought — a perfect combo with the jacket and shirt — or go with the open collar. I tried the tie on and was quite content with my studiously coordinated, relaxed look.
As I continued to admire myself in the mirror, I noticed that my coif had gotten a bit rumpled in the dressing process. I grabbed a brush and plied it through my dense dark hair. My locks were so thick and full that the magnificent pomp was several inches high! I worked in a bit more product....brushed it a bit more....and, voila! A male model look if there ever was one. Then I noticed the hair on the side was lapping over the top of the ears. More product, more grooming...and then it was to my liking — brushed straight back, not touching the ears.
While I was happy with the outcome, there was no doubt that I was due for a haircut. I generally alternated between a very light trim, when I just had the stylist shape things up a bit, and a proper crop. I’d let it get a bit overgrown and then instruct the stylist to take it "quite short this time" with thinning shears unleashed and even a bit of clipper action at the nape. I loved seeing the piles of my cut hair on the floor after a proper shearing! The lightheaded feeling as I left the salon, was also a sensation I enjoyed.
I had always toyed with the idea of one day going ultra-short, of ditching the salon for an authentic barber shop -- preferably one that specialized in flattops and military cuts. It would be so thrilling to watch my precious locks pile up on the cape and stumble out feeling and looking scalped. Of course, that had not happened to date, as I was quite image conscious, especially with regard to the office.
I grabbed the small mirror from my travel grooming case. Oh, it was quite long in back! Dense brown hair covered more than half the collar. Everything indicated it was time for a good pruning! Note made for my return home, get a haircut! The top needed to be taken down, and the back....well, the stylist should shear away at least two inches in back.
Perhaps I would instruct the stylist, "very short this time, several inches off the top, please, and tapered short around the ears and in back!" I might point the to the clippers and casually comment, "how about firing those up today?" Fondling the freshly clipped nape was another sensation I enjoyed immensely.
The huge downside to very short hair was that it did not suit me. My ears, particularly, seemed to stick out like jug handles when the sides were cut short. After my short crops, I would always endure a few, "oh, what happened to your nice hair?" remarks. It was enough to make me queasy and think -- no more ultra short cuts.
The last day of the conference began with a very welcome announcement. We were ahead in the agenda and would dismiss at noon, instead of 3 pm. Most people would jump in their cars and drive home. But, I was headed to the airport for a flight out that evening to another business commitment. What to do with the extra time? Check emails? Work on a report? Watch Netflix?
Just then, I saw a busboy come in to refill the water pitchers on the tables. He sported a bald fade and looked quite manly. My eyes locked onto his shorn head. Almost no hair!
The light popped on in my head, "Get a haircut!" Yes, in fact, that was what I would do with the extra time. Part of my afternoon would be spent under the barber’s cape! There was a traditional shop near the hotel that I’d eyed earlier in the week. Just the thought of going to an unfamiliar place for a haircut was a bit exciting. But the thought of putting my male model mane at the disposition of an old school barber made me shift nervously in my conference chair with anticipation and dread. If I wanted an extra-short shearing, that shop would more than deliver, I surmised.
I reached for the small writing pad with hotel stationary and complimentary pen. I dashed off a verbal instruction. "Quite short today. Tapered to zero and just enough on top to grasp between my fingers." I felt a surge of excitement jolt through me as I put the final period on.
During the morning break, I approached the busboy. "Since we’re leaving early, will you get the afternoon off too?" I asked.
"I wish!" he exclaimed. "No, they’ll find something else for us to do. There’s always something...."
"I’ve decided to get a haircut. I noticed your haircut. It's quite nice, and I wondered if there’s a place near here you’d recommend."
The busboy shrugged, "My cousin cuts my hair — in his kitchen — a #0 on the sides and a #1 on top. Doesn’t take much skill. I haven’t worked at this hotel very long. Sorry. There’s a barber shop about a block from here, but I’m not sure those old men are very experienced with styled hair like yours. Actually, your hair is quite nice the way it is. Are you sure you need to get it cut?"
I finally got the good-byes with the conference participants over and headed out the front door of the hotel. I walked quickly toward the twirling barber pole. I was anxious for a good shearing. It was time pretty boy got treated to a no-nonsense short back ‘n sides. I shivered at the prospect of walking out of the shop feeling a bit scalped and very vulnerable.
I was quite determined to follow through quickly with my urge for a proper shearing, to push the door open, and stride in. There would be no casing the joint a bit to see how I felt about the situation. Just walk in and either take a seat in the waiting area or ease into one of the large barber chair, as instructed by the barber.
I followed my plan to a tee. Suddenly, I found myself inside the time warp. Two geezers were manning the shop, clad in matching white tunics. The older gent, who was just removing the cape from his client, greeted me with a nod. There was quite an assemblage of shorn hair at his feet. The teen getting out of the chair looked very barbered. His hair was the same color as mine and tapered very short all the way up the back with exaggerated arches around the ears. The top was shorn down close and combed forward into "little boy bangs" cut straight across, high atop the forehead.
I imagined the geezer combing down my lush, long pomp and scissoring off the fringe. I squirmed at the idea of 'little boy' bangs!
As the two ambled over to the cash register, the barber told me, "You can take a seat, I’ll be with you in a moment."
I stood and glanced at my stylized mane in the mirror. ‘Get out while you can!’ a voice from within me urged. ‘Just walk out the door....now.’
I studied the teen’s very short crop, and answered my urging with, ‘That length will suit you well, especially the short bangs! Now take a seat!’. I imagined the geezer snipping off my long forelock at the very top of my forehead! Of course, I was just playing with myself. No respectable businessman could get little boy bangs....
My quiff was a closely guarded asset. It measured at least five inches in length and was the prime exhibit of my showy coif. To have it thinned mercilessly and then chopped off...I got a woody just thinking about that.
I scurried over to the big chair and took a seat. There! The geezer was going to be given full rein over my appearance. I felt in that sort of reckless mood. Deal with the consequences later.....goad the geezer on. Today was my day to finally go ultra-short. To walk out of the barber shop looking and feeling scalped.
The geezer ambled over to me and studied me a bit. "First time here?" he asked as he reached for the cape.
I squirmed in the chair. "Yep, I’m new in town," I said, grossly shading the truth.
"I see it’s been a while since you’ve had a haircut. But, I’ll fix that for you quick enough," he said with a disapproving glance.
The cape sailed through the air, and he drew it tightly around my neck. The big metal clip secured it in place. My breathing felt constricted. Then he made a feeble attempt to drag a comb through the dense mane which was caked with product.
"Phew, how long has it been?" he asked rhetorically, reaching for the clippers.
The next thing I knew, my head was bent forward by the barber’s firm grip, and I stared at the white expanse below me. The haircut was about to begin and we hadn’t even discussed the length.
"Just a....." I began to say, trying to quickly retreat to the safety of a "trim". But, my words were drowned out by the shriek of the clippers as they roared to life.
A jolt shot through my body as the clippers hit my nape. What length was he tapering it to, I wondered? Hopefully a safe #3.5 blade. But, since he hadn’t altered it from the previous lad, I guessed it was a #1. Yikes! I grasped the arms of the chair beneath the cape as I felt the clippers climbing tightly up the back of my head....higher and higher the barber pushed them!! I imagined my hair beginning to collect at the geezer’s feet. Finally, as he neared the crown, he eased away from the scalp in a tight taper.
The other barber chuckled, "Giving him his money’s worth, eh, Smitty? He looks like a real businessman with that nice jacket and tie. Bet he appreciates good value."
"What I’m giving him is a proper haircut!" the geezer told his colleague. Then, he informed me, "There will be no need for all this goop once you’ve received a decent cropping."
The clippers were again thrust up the back of my head.
"I bet you’re already feeling much better," the barber noted, as he flicked away another swath of hair padding.
"Yes, sir," I murmured meekly. I steeled my strength and added, "I’ve been needing a good barber who is not timid with the clippers."
"Timid with the clippers?! No siree, not me. Never been accused of that," he commented as he cocked my head to the side and began at the base of my sideburn. This time I watched him strip away the thick padding of hair which dropped in a clump to the cape. The taper was super TIGHT! My ear stuck out like Dumbo’s without the padding of hair.
Unexplainably I piled onto the demise of my pretty boy coif, "The fellow before me. Perhaps like his, only shorter on top. Just long enough to grasp between my fingers. And tapered to zero."
"I know what I’m doing here," the barber smirked, feeling a bit chided by the extra instruction. I paid for it instantly as the clippers went up quickly through the lush top, peeling away a massive amount of hair. The cape quickly collected the shorn away clumps of my pretty boy look.
Then he took a comb and brought the forelock forward — long and heavy, in its full glory, falling past my eyes.
He was quick with the shears. SNIP, SNIP, SNIP. The curtain of hair fell to the cape. My bangs had been snipped off at the very top of my forehead! It was so startling short.
Then, like a maniac, he moved into clipper over comb action, removing all the length from on top. Shorter and short he took the top. "With this haircut, there will be no need for all that goop you were using. Nice and short and practical. One can’t go wrong with a crewcut."
Did he just say crewcut?! He put a guard on the clipper and began moving it over the top of the whole head. Nothing left was longer than half an inch.
The final touch were very exaggerated arches around each ear! Lather and a razor cleaned away all stray snippets — not just around the ears, but in back, as well, along the whole neck and even up through the nape.
"Looks like he just joined the army," quipped the other barber.
"He wanted it short, and that’s what he got," my geezer stated. "Lots of clipper action, Tapered to zero, just as he requested."
He was so proud to show off his work with a hand mirror.
I swooned. My hair had never been so short!
"Well, how does that look?" the barber asked.
I gripped the arms of the chair. I had come this far, so, why not?
"Uh, if you wouldn’t mind, perhaps a bit shorter all over?" I stammered. "Perhaps a zero on the sides all the way to the crown and a #1 on top?" I stated in a fog, sealing the end to Mr. Male Model Pretty Boy for a good, long while.
The rest of my time in the shop was more or less a daze....except realizing for the first time that my ears were even more gigantic than I'd remembered!