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New Years Eve by Armando94
New Years Eve
The alarm went off, both young boys groaning at the irritating sound as their room had kept them both warm and dark through the night, not even a peak of sunlight through the curtains that draped to the floor. Joey snuggled his head into his boyfriends upper chest and neck, letting out another soft groan. A.J. crossed his hand over him to turn off the alarm before sinking back into the mattress, letting out a sigh. The two of them had work today, on New Years Eve. A.J. had a great job downtown in banking and Joey worked uptown in the publishing industry. It really did not bother them, they had been in New York anyways for the holidays. There other two roommates here in HK were also a couple, but both those boys had gone home to celebrate. That hadn’t been much of an option for either of these boys this year, or the last few holiday seasons. They very much received the boot from both their families upon college graduation a few years ago now. In a good sense, A.J. and Joey were already on the right paths for their careers, but that lack of support emotionally left both boys damaged even if they had each other and their jobs lined up. Even initially these first few years, both boys worked part-time jobs in the food industry on weekends just to make some extra bucks. They tried to not let it bother them, seeing other twenty-something year old’s out to brunch, boozing it up with friends from work or college, while Joey came around to take their order or clean their plates. Or for A.J. when on a Friday night he should be out having drinks with co-workers of the firm when in reality he was rushing uptown away from work to bartend and pour out drinks, servicing other high-society people by night. What always got them through these moments were that they weren’t alone, they were together. And one day, they would have enough saved up, and higher paying positions, maybe even move outside the city to a house that they could take the Metro in to work.
"Morning," Joey said into A.J.’s skin.
A.J. planted a kiss on-top of his boyfriend’s hair and muffled, "Morning baby." He then cradled him further into his grasp. "Time to get up."
"I know, I know," Joey said as he started to sit himself up against the pillow. "At least you only have to work half the day, not so bad."
"Thankfully, no offense."
"Its fine," Joey sighed. "Someone has to cover, don’t want any issues from the authors. Though I highly doubt any will be calling today."
"Then shouldn’t be such a bad day huh? You could scoot out early."
"Most likely," Joey smiled at that.
"What time did you say is the party later?"
"We don’t really need to be there until 9 or 10, considering it doesn’t turn 2020 until a few hours later. But we are going all the way up the Heights, so, need to plan for travel time even if we catch the A."
"True," A.J. started to get out of bed, "I’m gonna go shower," he tossled his hand through his hair, his overgrown businessman’s cut. It really wasn’t all that bad, just a little bit over the ears, touching towards his collar. He politely slicked it back on Christmas Day when they went to spend it with one of the publishers Joey worked with who lived in a pre-war on the East Side.
"I’ll make us some breakfast then, get us in the mood for work," Joey slipped out of bed. His hair had grown out a bit too, longer than A.J.’s. He still was able to make it work even on the longer side, and A.J. did really like how his hair flopped in the front. Sometimes out of the shower it could completely cover his eyes.
After A.J. finished in the shower, he found that Joey had made them some scrambled eggs and toast, they ate on and off from the kitchen, getting their bags ready for the day. A.J. would be leaving ahead of his boyfriend as he had to take the subway, but Joey had the flexibility to walk since it wasn’t so bad out. As Joey started taking a shower, A.J. began putting on his clothes. Oh yeah, his neckline of hair was definitely tucking itself into the collar of his shirt, that’s so embarrassing! Why hadn’t he thought to get a trim before the holidays? Although, in actuality, a trim wouldn’t be enough, not at least in his heart. He really wanted to make a big chop—
"Babe," Joey came out of the shower, hair flipped over his eyes like a dog. "I think we are going to need some more conditioner soon."
"I guess that’s what we get," A.J. combed his hair with his fingers.
"Yeah," Joey mirrored his boyfriend, catching the drift. "I guess we’ll have to think some more about that."
"What? What do you mean by that?" A.J. lightly joked, but was also intrigued.
"Well," Joey fumbled, "nothing, just making a joke," he fake laughed, and he knew his boyfriend probably saw right through it. What he meant to say was maybe they could use some decent haircuts for once. Not only would they avoid looking like teenage boys in the work setting, it was time they stopped wasting money on such products unnecessarily, if they had shorter hair. But shorter hair, well, Joey didn’t really know how short to go or be. Or how his boyfriend would feel.
"Alright, I’m off then," A.J. brushed by and kissed Joey’s cheek and then lips. "I will see you when you get home then?"
"See you then," he smiled back, and then started to get changed himself.
There really was no one at the office, or at least on the floor. Joey not only felt this but had already paced the place when he first arrived before nine, and then again at ten. Maybe some people were working from home, why couldn’t he have? No, it was better he stay in here, in case someone called or something was needed from here to be done. At least he would be the messenger and attendant to that. And after all, he did enjoy his job, he was very lucky to have it. Both him and A.J. were lucky to have the jobs they did, they hadn’t gone to any Ivy League school, or no parent helped put their foot in the door. No, they got here all on their own merit. One thing they could be most proud of.
Joey began filing through a few things, preparing for the new year and all the different launch meetings that would occur. And all the different author meetings they would have, to discuss revisions to the books or even acquiring some. He was going down the list of authors and checking for any emails when he saw one for a man they had published with once before, who had served in Afghanistan when he was young and had retired from service. They had scheduled a call with him in the new year so he was just replying back confirming the date and time. Joey would most likely be handling this meeting all on his own. He decided to look up this former army officer and started looking up some photos online.
Some of the first few were what caught Joey’s immediate attention, and attention he was brought to in more ways than one. There were photos of this guy back during his army days, sporting what looked like a very extreme haircut, some would say a military high and tight, or perhaps even a Jarhead. Just like how Jake Gyllenhaal was in that one movie years ago. Joey had never seen the entirety of that film, but he had definitely beatted off at clips and photos he’d found online when he was younger. And this former military guy had just as strong of a face structure, good chin and strong cheekbones, and a great sized forehead that complimented this very tight haircut. Joey started looking further into the reflection of his computer, making his face try and swap places with the author’s seeing what he might look like with such a haircut…
He jolted back in his seat, not at the sight it portrayed, because he felt like it hadn’t worked so well. But the fact he was actually doing that. Thank goodness no one was around as Joey immediately found himself feeling very stiff down below and he let out a cough. Then his mind flicked back to what he had said to his boyfriend that morning, about maybe changing things…about their hair.
No, no, no, no! Joey wouldn’t, he couldn’t in fact! He always thought A.J. liked his longish hair. Very boy-like, even if they were in their mid-twenties. What on earth would he say if Joey showed up with such a severe number done on his head from the barber? Oh god, the barber. Even going into a shop he had never been into before in the city rather than just a plain haircuttery place where he could just have a light trim. No, the real deal, no frills, some man taking full control not expecting anything less of the strange client except what they asked for.
Damnit, he felt himself getting hot again. He needed to stop, he needed to move on and work on something else. He needed to distract himself.
A.J. had worked through his lunch to get through a few things, he wasn’t that hungry after breakfast, that had tied him over. Plus all the coffee he had had that morning at the office which nearly flushed his system out. All that caffeine and trying to distract himself with work from what had been bothering him on the subway trip down to work as he looked at himself in the reflection of the window across from him in the fairly empty cart. He kept telling himself to stop messing with his hair, leave it alone, you were on public transportation for crying out loud, don’t touch anything until you’ve washed your hands when you got into the office!
But of course when he did that, he had to take one good look at himself in the mirror, and he saw the flop plopped on his head. He rushed out of the bathroom and proceeded to make himself his first of many cups of the day. In there, as he paced the floor, he caught sight of a few other employees, young guys a little older than him who had their hair perfectly coiffed with tapers at the bottom or all the way up to skin fades. And then there were some male partners in the kitchen as well having their breakfasts and talking to others, some of them with decent businessmen’s looks but that were weekly trimmed to perfection so nothing was out of place, and then those men who had "come home" and gone all in for the chrome dome look. Once his cup was ready, he fled back to his desk and engulfed himself in work, trying not to look at any of his male coworkers for the day and talk to only the women. But whenever he had to talk to one of the other guys, he couldn’t help but focus on analyzing their haircut, what they had, or how long maybe it had been since they’d had it cut. A majority looked like a week or less, maybe two weeks top. Damnit, everyone did get their haircuts for the holidays!
Finally, it was after one o’clock, and A.J. realized he could leave for the day. Most people had already cleared out. But he stuck around and wrapped up a few things. He went to the bathroom one last time, took his piss, and then proceeded to thoroughly wash his hands. One of the stalls flushed and out came a man close to 50 with an outstanding flattop. A.J. had seen him only once or twice it felt like, not someone regularly on his floor. The gentleman said "Happy New Years," as he washed his hands.
"Happy New Years to you too," A.J. said, sounding distracted.
"Got any good plans tonight?" the man asked.
"Friend’s party, that’s about it," A.J. offered. "Yourself?"
"Just hanging back with my wife at our apartment to watch the ball drop," he started to dry his hands. Then he grazed a hand across his sides. "But first, gotta get this cleaned up this afternoon."
"Your hair looks like it was just cut, sir."
"It was, not too long ago, but I don’t go too long between visits, about every ten days I’d say. Well, you enjoy your evening."
"You too," A.J. called after him as he slowly dried his hands. Every ten days? Jeez, that man must have his sides completed scalped then, white-walled even! A.J. threw his hand at his crotch at the though of all that, thank goodness the other man had left. But A.J. turned around and looked in the mirror one last time, another hand forked through the front of his hairline, catching his forelock and holding it out. He dropped it and pffted out some air from his mouth.
The time had come.
A.J. sat patiently on the subway train uptown back towards their apartment. He had chickened out a little bit when he left the office when he perfectly could have found a barber shop nearby. Yes, a barbershop, no fancy salon cut. Maybe even he would have found that other man from the firm getting his clean-up. Instead, A.J. realized he’d be fine and would easily find a barbershop in HK, there were plenty of them, he had always stalked by in the past when he wasn’t rushing back to the apartment and some of them were still open.
One he stepped up onto the streets, he casually sifted through people, now that the city was slowly going to get crowded, especially by Midtown, the last place he’d want to be on all of days of the year. He made a few turns until he was out of this mess and on one of the more quieter Aves. A.J. walked up a few streets until it caught his attention, a few blocks from their apartment, the red and white pole spinning, and blue neon up above it glowing. He knew this meant they were open, whatever the hell this shop was named, it did not matter to him. He was going in, no regret and hold ups.
A.J. pushed open the door and found three barbers inside, no one waiting. Two of the barbers had clients in their chairs, but the one in the middle did not. He looked up from his newspaper, perhaps he was in his mid to late forties? Maybe he was even older, and just looked good for his age? Crap, that might be, the closer A.J. stared at this man who was staring back.
"You need haircut?" the barber asked, in a thick Eastern European accent.
A.J. looked around for a brief moment to delay, "Do I need an appointment?"
"Nonsense," the barber stood up and patted the chair with his paper. "Sit."
A.J. immediately obeyed and walked over, dropping his bag to the ground and plopping himself down on the brown leather chair. Unloosening his collar a bit as well as the necktie he had on. The barber then cascaded a blue cape across A.J. that matched the color of the barber tunic top he had on. A.J. really couldn’t gage how old this man was, he could be 45 or 65 for all he knew!
"You first time here? I never see you before."
"It is," A.J. blushed. "I—I live pretty close by. Just never been."
"Never been here or never been for haircut?" the barber lightly touched the front hairline of A.J., laughing a bit which made A.J. weakly laugh as well, just to appease this man he was letting take full control. "I am Yuri," he stook his hand out towards A.J.’s right side of the cape.
A.J. took the hint and smiled back as he gently turned a bit in his seat, and stuck out his right hand and said, "Armando, but you can call me A.J."
"A.J., I like that, A.J." Yuri responded. He grapped that tissue neck and wrapped it around A.J. "So, A.J., what do you have in mind. New year new you?" he laughed.
But that was just it, wasn’t that exactly what A.J. had come in here for?
"Actually, yeah," A.J. softly responded, then he felt his throat close up a bit. "Just…just a little nervous, but, but I do want a change."
"We can do that," Yuri lightly touched his hair. "Anything you’d like?"
A.J. took a deep breath in, and then let it out. He thought back to that firm partner he saw in the bathroom before he left the office. If he was already sporting a regular flattop, how much shorter could that man be going? All A.J. knew was, whatever it would be, it was going to make that man look even sharper, and A.J. wanted just the same for him.
"Would it be too much to ask for a flattop?" he asked with hesitation.
"A flattop?" Yuri stared back at the mirror too, feeling his client’s hair some more. "Hmm, yes, I can see that. You have very thick hair you know?"
"Yeah," A.J. laughed some, "I’ve gotten that before."
"Alright, we can do that," Yuri nodded his head, slowly moving his hands to the sides of A.J.’s head.
"And…" oh boy, he was going for it. "Would it…would it be too much to ask, for the sides to be skin faded?"
"Really a new you for the new year," Yuri nodded his head but then smiled. "I think it will look great. One inch length on top. You trust me?"
A.J. felt his shoulders relaxed, and he let out a shy laugh. "I trust you, Yuri."
"Good," the barber went to his station and grabbed a pair of clippers, flicking off the attachment he had on it previously. And without a moment’s hesitation, he fired them up, and attached the side of A.J.’s right head, peeling off some of the hair as he said. "Happy new year," and let the brown locks float to the cape. The barber continued to do this motion, but A.J. was still a bit blind to it all. He certainly felt a difference on the side of his head as the barber continued his work, going very VERY high up to the top but still leaving a lot of room for the rest of the cut.
It wasn’t until the barber had moved to the back of A.J. that he caugh a glimpse of what was barely left on his right side. He even slightly turned and saw…well, nothing! It was virtually skin all the way up past his ears! Holy crap! This was going to be a short cut. "Head down, please," Yuri said as he forced A.J.’s chin to his chest and then climbed the clippers all the way up. As he passed the occipital bone, A.J. was afraid he was about to climax. My goodness, how incredible yet scary this felt!
Once the back had been cleared, the barber moved onto the other side and began peeling all that off, maybe even purposely allowing the hair to fall onto the cape so A.J. could see the transformation even clearer.
"This is certainly going to take some getting used to," A.J. joked and smiled.
"You will like it, I only make you look good," Yuri confirmed.
"Oh, I believe you man," A.J. smiled, and now he was starting to really enjoy this process. "I can’t say I’ve had a proper haircut in a while."
"No, you kidding right?" Yuri joked back, and then the two laughed together. They eventually fell into a comfortable conversation. A.J. told him what he did for work, that he lived with his boyfriend (which shockingly did not stir the barber one bit), what street they lived on, and a few other things. Turned out Yuri had been an immigrant when he was in his early twenties, had cut hair back in his homeland but then came here to escape persecution and the horrible regimes his country suffered way back. He had lived in Queens ever since moving to America and met his wife here and they raised their children and already had a few grandchildren. So this confirmed to A.J. that he was older that A.J. first thought, and man did he look great for that age. And above that, he could really wield these clippers and make a perfect cut. All the while they were chitchatting, Yuri was perfecting the skin fade on the sides. It looked completely immaculate from bare skin for half the head up to a tight transition.
Eventually, Yuri explained he would remove some bulk from the top, but not much. After that, he took a spray bottle and began to wet down A.J.’s hair, combing it all back with precision. "Now we make your flattop." To the client’s not-so-surprise, the barber began to freehand the main part of the haircut. Taking the clippers to the front of the hairline, lifting a bit here and there with the comb, but then swiftly removing it and then ever so precisely pulling back across the center top of A.J.’s hair with the clippers. And in its wake, A.J. could see through the mirror the mark he had made.
"No turning back now," A.J. said.
"No turning back moment you get in my seat," Yuri replied. And he continued with the rest of the top, before handling the sides, in which case he brought the comb back out for this action, fine-tuning it all. It was the fact he so quickly and almost effortlessly accomplished cutting the top that astounded A.J. It was done before he even knew it. And now the barber was just perfecting the rest of his haircut to his head shape. A.J. could see his forehead in all its glory, maybe a little bigger than he had remembered, but his strong nose was more pronounced and this haircut made him look more mature.
Eventually, The cutting was over, and Yuri rubbed a bit of product into his hands, and then began to massage it throughout the top of A.J.’s scalp. God all A.J. wanted to do was moan. This felt like absolute heaven, he was already imagining shower time with Joey in the near future and mornings of styling product. Then taking out the blow dryer and a different comb, perfecting the shape even more so now. And when A.J. thought it was all said and done, the barber grabbed a bit of foam and placed it all around the side and back of A.J.’s head, and ever so deftly scraped away any hair that might have been left, which A.J. would have sworn there weren’t any. At this point A.J. was ready to bust a nut, he couldn’t contain himself, but he had to. At least till he got home he knew.
"Alright, the new A.J.," Yuri came around at the end with a mirror in hand and showed his client the job from both angles. "Good for you?"
"Its perfect," A.J. felt his hand creep up the back of his hand, then trickle up to the top to feel the sharp points of his flat. "I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner."
"Well, I glad you did it now, and that I can make you happy. I hope to do that with all my clients."
"You certainly have with this new loyal customer, sir," A.J. smiled back as Yuri released the cape from him. A.J. stood up and looked closer at the mirror. Damn, this cut was tight! Yuri walked him over to the cash register to pay, and A.J. left him with a handsome tip. "For the New Year," he added.
"Thank you very much, Mr. A.J., I will see you soon, I hope?"
"Absolutely, I guess I have to keep this cut in check, right?"
"If you want to, yes. I’d tell you to do that."
"I’ll see you soon then, sir."
When A.J. got back to the apartment, he couldn’t stop staring at himself in the mirror. Wow, he had actually gone through with this, and it actually looked pretty good on him! He was not only hoping for his boyfriend’s approval of this cut, but for that partner from the firm to catch him in the bathroom in a few days time.
Oh, s**t, Joey…well…hadn’t he somewhat inferred…well…s**t…
Thankfully around four Joey was in the elevator out of the building. No major problems for the day, except for his own personal problems. Work had gone on just swimmingly, no major fires to put out, except the one burning inside him that had nothing to do with work. And now he was done for the day and could finally get out of that office and relax…or so he thought.
His mind was racing the moment he stood up from the desk and was then in the elevator. It was his last moments of keeping himself put, of not allowing himself to do the unthinkable, what had been bugging him all day long. He was glad he hadn’t started talking out loud to himself, in case someone else did show up on the floor. No one had, he had done a few paces of some other floors he frequented, saw some other coworkers he worked with in the different departments, made some light chat, that was about it. Every time he spoke to someone he felt himself totally drifting off and away, thinking back to those online images of the one author, and then of himself sporting a similar haircut.
Joey needed to distract himself with work-work, but he wasn’t fairing too well. Even during lunch he couldn’t help but open up that browser again and look at all those old images of the author in uniform…and that haircut. Even to this day it seemed like that author sported a short and professional look like he was in the army. Joey couldn’t keep himself away from looking, he needed other things to distract himself but ultimately waved the white flag. Not just that he couldn’t help not distract himself, but he knew he wouldn’t stop obsessing if he did something serious about it.
He felt like he was walking to his own execution, as he started to pass by people, all shouting and running, getting ready for their celebrations tonight. He needed to move off from the busy streets and away from the crowds. He started walking so fast and with no direction he hadn’t even realized when he had passed the street to turn down for their apartment. He just kept going until it dawned on him he had gone too far, so he hung a very sharp right, catching someone else off guard, he didn’t even apologize he just kept moving. Then down this one street over a few avenues. The light wasn’t in his favor to cross to be on the side for their apartment a few more streets up, so he stayed on his side of the road and made another sharp right turn.
But this time it wasn’t a person he bumped into. It was a place. The red and white pole doing its dance, and the blue neon lights above that Joey couldn’t even read as he stood there in this fog, and then allowed that same fog to engulf him, blur his vision and then slowly but firmly open the glass doors and step right in.
It really was like he walked into a different dimension. The misty white clouds of fog vanished suddenly from his mind and he was literally inside a barbershop, one that was down the street from their place, but he had never been inside before. Of course, he’d walked by, maybe even peaked in. There were three barbers present, the one on the end looking like he was just starting a cut, the middle barber looking like he was finishing up with a client, and the first one closest to him in the midst of a cut.
The middle barber spoke up, "You next," he called out to Joey.
"I—I don’t have an appointment."
"That’s okay, I have opening. Sit," the barber directed his hand with the scissor to the seats of the waiting area. Joey quickly obliged as if he was a plebe in the army. Oh god, the transformation was already beginning. He sunk into the chair and watched as the barber was lightly touching up his clients cut a bit more, before taking one of those dusters and lightly brushing off the thirty-something year old’s face and neck. He had a usual cut for a guy his age, a medium taper and the hair with a bit of a coif in the front. He shook hands with the barber and then turned around, looking over at Joey and said, "You won’t be disappointed man, looks like you need it," the stranger rubbed the back of his beck, and then he followed after the barber to go pay for his cut.
Joey sat there in awe for a few moments more until the barber came back around and motioned for him to take a seat in the real chair of the shop. Joey grabbed his bag and dropped it at the side of barber chair, but then not so easily settling himself into this seat. The moment of truth, right in front of him, as the barber took out a cape that matched his shirt, and wrapped Joey up real tight in it. Then adding the tissue neck wrap even tighter around him so much so he felt like he couldn’t breathe. All he was waiting for was the barber to go full drill sergeant and shout in his face real close.
But the man didn’t, he calmly put his hands on either shoulder of Joey and said, "So, what we doing today? I never cut your hair before."
"No, you haven’t," Joey hoped he didn’t sound sassy at that. "I haven’t been here before, haven’t had my haircut in a little while either."
"No kidding," the barber lightly teased. "This not my first time, I have plenty men like you before, today, yesterday, and before that even." Joey realized this man had a very heavy Soviet accent. Not that Joey would be able to guess what part exactly.
But Joey knew the man was trying to make him feel welcomed, there was no agitation in his tone, just soft but brusque gestures perhaps. The right side of Joey’s mouth up-ticked a bit in a half smile, the kind he did at work when he did something well but tried concealing excitement. "That’s good to know, putting my trust in you," he took a hand out of the cape and ruffled the top of his hair where the bangs flopped.
The barber smirked and said, "You can trust me, promise," he stuck a hand out, "My name is Yuri, I will be your new barber, promise."
Joey made another half-smile and said, "Call me Joey," and he shook back firmly, one thing he was good at after all the many people he met in the industry.
"So, Joey," Yuri began, "is there haircut you had in mind?"
Oh yes, he did, whether he wanted to admit it or not.
"Well," Joey hesitated. "I do…but I don’t."
Yuri frowned a bit, "You do but you don’t?"
"Its just," Joey could hear the anxiety in his hair. "Look at me, I don’t know if anything will solve this."
"Believe me, anything can solve this," Yuri touched the front of his hairline. His firm fingers grasping the bangs, Joey felt himself suck in some air at the touch. "You don’t think anything can solve this, because you don’t believe in yourself."
"Damn right I guess."
"Well believe in you, son. I can believe in you. You took first step by coming in here today, sitting in my chair. Half battle done, right?"
"True," Joey nodded his head. "Its just, I’m afraid what people will say."
"Only matters what you say, and think. Trust, I’ve done this job very long."
Joey stared back at the mirror, eyes narrowed in further. He was really going to let this man cut his hair, one way or another. He might as well go all in, go big or go home. Or in this case, not big, whatever little left on top the barber could leave.
"Alright, I trust you, Yuri," Joey nodded his head.
"Very good," the barber relaxed his hands. "So, what will be?"
"You’re gonna call me crazy," Joey laughed to himself.
"Try me," the barber offered up.
"Okay," Joey let out a breath. "How about a high and tight? Like a jarhead?"
"You going into service?"
"No," this shook Joey, because that was the inspiration. "But I want to try something new, even if it scares me."
"New year new you they say," Yuri joked. "I think this good for you."
"Is that crazy of me?"
"No," Yuri confirmed. "Plenty men do this. And besides, if I didn’t think this work for you, I would say already. I would convince you of different style."
"You really think that’ll look good on me? Super short?"
"The shorter the better," Yuri patted the side of his head. "Show your face more."
The barber grabbed a pair of clippers from his station, and turned them on. It jolted Joey a bit in his seat as he saw those teeth moving and vibrating real fast a distance away. He was doing this, this was all really happening, no waking up from a dream.
Really no waking up from a dream, as Yuri immediately went to Joey’s right side and immediately placed the clipper at his not-so sideburn and flicked the machine all the way up towards the top within half of a second of each other. Joey’s eyes bugged out at the sensation, the vibration he was feeling both on his head and soon enough in his pants. Yuri continued to flick and clip off the side of Joey’s head, realizing his client was definitely in-tune with what was going on. When the right side was complete in what felt like only a minute, the barber turned Joey’s head to the side with his hand and said. "See, super short."
Holy s**t, Joey felt like his mouth was going to fall into his hot lap. Instead his lower jaw only dropped a bit. That was skin, skin! It looked like there was hardly anything left.
"Head down, please," the barber forced the client’s chin to touch his chest. The damage done on the right side was no match for the back as Joey felt the clippers racing back up there like it was a Nascar competition. And Yuri kept repeating over and over the back of his skull that Joey was almost positive the barber might start peeling off his skin! Then it was the left side and that was much like the right side and done before Joey had even realized it.
All that was left was the big mess on top of Joey’s head, contrasted with the pale white skin bared for all on the sides and back. This was perhaps not the right cut for winter that was coming…but Joey couldn’t help but feel enamored with the change already. At first a jaw dropped because a chin clenched in, a face slowly being more accented.
"I say two on top," Yuri said, as he fiddled with some attachments.
Joey just nodded his head, "Okay, two it is, I trust you sir."
"Good," Yuri said as he returned with the clippers, that didn’t look all that different from how they were just before.
But before Joey could ask if two meant two inches off of the top, or two inches on the top, the barber was shearing right down the middle of Joey’s head, leaving a short strip for all to see. He followed up immediately with another one, a little more to the side, widening the strip to make Joey look a bit like a clown.
"I know this is all new to you, but trust me, you will look good, son."
"I’m sorry." Joey said. "I’m sorry if I don’t look like I’m enjoying it…I am. It is all new though, that’s all."
"New is good, new is what we all need sometimes."
"It is, thanks Yuri," Joey said, and the client and barber fell into a comfortable conversation as if this was not Joey’s first time. Yuri explained his past, he had escaped the Soviet Union regime many years ago and settled in New York and never left. It was really interesting hearing about his life, Joey being a bit of a history nerd. Joey told him what he did for work and Yuri found this interesting, saying how reading books and newspapers for the city always helped him improve his English. All the while, Yuri was taking strip by strip down of Joey’s head, leaving a quarter of an inch of stubble in its wake.
Joey let out a whistle once the top had been taken down. "Ain’t that something." This made Yuri laugh a bit. "I feel so much more tough now."
"You look more tough," Yuri chuckled, and began to even out the contrast of the sides and back to the top. But not overtly fading them, still keeping enough of a contrast between the two for that ultimate jarhead look. And they lightly chatted some more and Joey smiled a hell of a lot more as the cut was coming together.
He was doubly surprised when Yuri told him he was going to do the hot towel treatment on his head. Joey would have sworn there was hardly anything left on his sides and back, but Yuri managed to scrape away even further and leave half of his head virtually bald. Joey was impatient to touch it all.
Yuri came around at the end with a mirror and said. "What you think, new Joey?"
"I love it," he exclaimed as his hands flew out of the sides of the cape and touched the back, his bare occipital bone, and then the extremely short top.
"I told you you would," Yuri unleashed the tissue from Joey’s neck, and whipped off the cape, letting the young man free.
Joey got a closer inspection right up to the mirror now. Wow, Yuri was right, his face really did look good with this haircut, it suited him very well. How had he not done this before? It seemed like he just needed that extra push. Joey then followed Yuri up to the front where he paid, and tipped him extremely well and thanked him once again. "I will be seeing you again very soon, my friend, if you wish to maintain that haircut."
"You will most definitely be seeing me very soon, Yuri, in the new year."
"Very good, happy new year Joey."
They shook hands again, "A very happy new year to you too, Yuri."
The moment Joey opened the door to the apartment, it dawned on him.
The short walk from the barbershop to their apartment, Joey hadn’t even thought about what his boyfriend was going to say when he saw him looking like this. He might even think that a stranger broke in! He better call out for him, not catch him too off guard.
"Babe, you hear?"
"Yes," he heard A.J. call back out, he could tell the voice was coming from the bedroom. Joey dropped his bag and made his way, slowly.
The door was a tiny bit ajar. So Joey slowly pushed it forward into the dimly lit room. His freehand sliding up and down the back of his hand real quick. Damn, that sandpaper feel was out of this world, now his only hope was his boyfriend would like it just as much.
Joey stopped in his tracks as he caught sight of the other young man perched on the end of the bed. He couldn’t say anything, his voice wouldn’t let him. It was like his mouth had gone completely bone dry at what was in front of him.
"Joey," A.J. said, as he quickly stood up from his seat.
A.J. had his haircut too, what were the odds! His sides shorn down as well, perhaps not as much as Joey though. And his hair in the most perfect flattop ever. A.J. crept over to his boyfriend and was the first to feel out, grabbing the back of Joey’s head, rubbing his hands from the sides to the back, and then finally to the top. A smile crept across his face and Joey mirrored it back. He allowed their foreheads to touch ever so slightly, breathing each other in, and then Joey grabbed for his boyfriend’s head, starting with the sides, creeping his way to the top to feel that precise flattop.
"I can’t believe it," Joey laughed.
"Same," A.J. laughed, hugging him in. "Guess it was on both our minds, huh."
"And now what’s left on top of our heads." This made both boys laugh out loud and then come close and embrace for a kiss. "You know, we still have plenty of time before the party."
"We do," A.J. said. "But let’s be gentle for now, I don’t want to mess up Yuri’s job."
"Wait, did you say Yuri?" Joey asked. "Did you get your haircut around the corner?"
"Did you?" A.J.’s expression was speechless. This made them both laugh even harder. "Well, did he convince you this would look good on you?"
"He did, I’m sure he did the same for you."
"He did, but I think he’s right," A.J. caressed Joey’s buzzed top again.
"Me too," Joey smiled back, and then they kissed some more, finding themselves eventually on top of their bed, slow kisses and slow hands up and down their scalped heads.
Eventually they made their way to the friends’ party all the way uptown. Both boys dressed to the nines in button downs and dress pants, dark colored peacoats for winter, and their new haircuts. They threw everyone there off, but thankfully most people complimented them for their new styles.
The two of them snuck away to the rooftop as the ball began to drop later in the night, looking out over the city before them as it erupted in celebration. Hearing everyone inside and outside shouting and celebrating, the two boys kissed in celebration of the year to come.
A.J. grabbed the back of Joey’s head again, that sandpaper feel.
"Think you’re gonna keep the look, babe?"
"Absolutely," Joey sheepishly smiled. "You?"
"Absolutely," he mocked but meant it. "Long hair or short hair, doesn’t matter to me. Although, I’m really liking the short for us both. I love you, Joey."
Joey touched the prickly top of his boyfriend’s new haircut. "I love you too."
(haven't been here in a while, hope y'all enjoy it. More to come!)