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On a whim by Manny
It had been a big week for Grant. Not only did he get the big promotion to General Regional Manager, but his best friend Jack drove up to town to help celebrate and to get a look at Grant's new, spacious corner office. Grant had taken Friday afternoon off to mark the event and spend some extra time with Jack. They were just finishing their lunch on the restaurant's terrace when the chat turned to the weekend.
"Got any special plans?" Grant asked.
Jack leaned back in his chair and ran his fingers through his dense mane of long blond hair. "Do I ever!" he said with a curious grin on his face. "I'm having this all shaved off! Down to the skin. Zip left. Chromedome!"
Grant was aghast. Jack's hair was totally awesome, and he'd worn it down to his shoulders for as long as Grant had known him.
"You're joking!" Grant stammered. "Why would you do something rash like that? You rock the longhair look."
"I know," Jack replied with a smug tone. Modesty was no virtue of his. Jack was a confident alpha-male type. "It's just that....while we've been sitting here eating, I've had my eye on that barber shop...and the sign in the window, 'We Shave Heads' caught my attention."
Grant turned to look behind him. It was a traditional barber shop, but with a trendy, modern twist. The young barbers were in vintage white tunics that contrasted with their colorfully tattooed arms.
"And...?" Grant stammered, still perplexed.
"Well, I just started thinking how cool it would be. A total transformation, a radical change. Like getting on a plane in Chicago where the temps are below zero and the snow is piled high....and a few hours later stepping off the plane in balmy Mexico. Warm sunshine, palm trees. A total change."
Jack caressed his carefully cultivated locks a bit and continued, "Since we can't fly...why not opt for something we can do to shake things up a bit? Just think, Grant. Walking into that very barber shop with all this hair. Sitting in that chair for a half hour or so...watching this all come off. And, then, walking out of there with nothing up here but supple, skin. No hair, no stubble...just skin smooth as silk. A power dome! I am going to rock the bald look, Grant! In fact...."
Just then, the waiter walked by and Jack motioned for the bill.
Then, he continued his thought, "In fact, why not come watch my transformation. Take a few shots...before, during and after. I was going to do it tomorrow, but why wait? Why not do it now? Let's head over there right now, Grant!"
Grant squirmed a bit at the thought. It would be exciting to see his cocky, confident friend lose the lush mane. "I'd be happy to. But, are you sure about this? It just seems like a whim. Or have you been considering this for a long time?"
"Nope, just popped into my shaggy head while we've been having lunch. I saw the sign, 'We shave heads!' And, the penny dropped. Time for a power dome! A brutal, bald, in-your-face look. I've doubled for a Tommy Hilfiger model far too long. This girly hair needs the fast feed electric hair clippers and a lather shave. It's time to upgrade to titanium balls and go for the Kojak look!"
The waiter brought the bills and there was a slight tussle over whose turn it was to pay. Grant prevailed -- he argued that with the huge pay raise he was getting, he could afford it.
"Thanks, pal," Jack said as he watched his friend sign the check. "I'll make it up to you at the barber shop....pay for both our chrome domes!"
Grant looked up in a bit of a panicky mode. "Oh no.....!" he exclaimed. There was no way his head would be shaved. "That is definitely NOT on my agenda!!" Grant exclaimed emphatically. "Photographer is one thing, and shavee quite another!"
"Why not?" teased Jack, knowing full well his friend was far too cautious and conservative. "That fussy little business cut of yours adds a few decades onto your look!"
"I am a general manager at the regional office of a large corporation! I need to look mature and conservative," Grant countered.
"Just think about both of us walking out of that shop over there without a stitch of hair. Smooth silken scalp....that's it!" Jack purred.
Grant squirmed in his chair. He wished he were as bold and brave as Jack. But his mind was churning with, 'what will everyone say?' Only as a fantasy could Grant immerse himself into feeling the razor scrape the remnants of hair from off the top of his head.
"Well, let's see you transformed first...and your reaction. You might find a naked head is not to your liking at all. Ha! Confident Jack in an oh-my-what-have-I-done moment? I'll be capturing your reaction on video, you know," Grant teased, hoping that a regretful or ambivalent Jack would emerge from this rash undertaking.
Jack hammed things up a bit and mocked Grant's nervous-nelly attitude, "Good heavens!" he gasped in an effected effeminate tone. "My pretty hair is all gone! What have I done?" Grant fondled his glimmering tresses. "I just won't be the same without my princess look."
Then, in an authoritative, commanding way, he stood and snapped, "Come on! Let's go! I'm tired of long hair!"
He strode straight to the barber shop with Grant trailing closely, eyeing the lovely long hair. Such lovely natural highlights. Such great body and bounce. To have hair like that....a real dream!
Jack pushed the door of the shop open and walked in with a purposeful determination. One barber was idle.
"Good afternoon, gentleman," the barber said. "Who's first?"
"I am," Jack announced and headed to the empty barber throne. "Are you the one who shaves heads? The sign in the window caught my eye."
"We all do," the barber said with an unconcealed grin. "It's our specialty. We have men coming from near and far for head shaves. Is that what you're here for?"
"Yep, it's time to ditch the long hair," Jack announced. Then he pointed at Grant, "And he's next!"
Grant about died. "No, that's not true. I'm here as videographer, if that's okay."
"Sure thing," the barber replied. "It'll be quite a show with those perky tresses hitting the cape and floor. Take a seat, sir."
"Gladly!" said Jack as he eased into the barber chair. He eyed his splendid mane in the mirror.
Grant was wondering if his buddy was developing cold feet yet. His head was still spinning at how quickly the whole trip to the barber shop had developed.
The barber walked over and reached for the cape. "Bald, eh?" he grinned.
"Totally! Clean! Zippo hair....all this off," he said, grasping at his male model locks and displaying them.
The barber cast the cape and fastened it snuggly around Jack's sturdy neck.
"I can see why you're so anxious to be rid of the hair, young man. Quite a lot of work each morning, I imagine," the barber said. "First we'll take you down close to the wood with these." He reached for the large set of Oster clippers.
"Grant, get over here. I want this recorded!" Jack ordered.
Grant scampered into place.
"And I'll be in charge of the video when that fussy business cut of yours hits the cape. Understood?!" Jack bellowed so that everyone in the shop knew what would happen next.
Grant squirmed at the warning. Jack was so manly and macho. It made him feel even more of a sissy watching his friend enjoying his experience so much.
The barber plied a brush through the thick, golden mane, pulling it straight back from Jack's handsome face.
"This hair has certainly has been well maintained," the barber noted. "But, in my opinion, long hair is just not natural for men. I guess that's why I'm a barber. I do enjoy sending girlish locks to the barbershop floor."
He snapped the clippers on and brought the chattering teeth up towards Jack's forehead.
"Are you sure about this, fellow?" the barber cautioned, knowing by Jack's eager look that there would be no turning back.
"Bald! Shave it all off! Every bit of it...." Jack ordered.
The barber plunged the clippers into the massive forelock and drove it back slowly, purposefully through Jack's shimmering locks. Mounds of his hair began falling to the cape -- huge 12-inch clumps falling in torrents.
"Timber!" Jack exclaimed, watching the start of his transformation from princess hair to cueball.
Grant came in for a close-up shot of the hint of stubble left atop Jack's head. "Holy s**t! That's short," he murmured.
"Whatever's left up there is coming off with lather and razor," the barber chuckled. "And you're next in the chair, understood?!"
Grant almost pee-ed in his pants. The barber was piling on!
To his horror, Grant heard himself reply softly, "Understood." He glanced at the young barber with his muscular, tattooed arm wielding the clippers. In a way, Grant felt antsy to get on with his own transformation as well.
"It will be bald heads for both of us," Jack said as he flashed a huge smile. "That's my Grant! Fearless! I can't wait to see you scraped clean. Then he reached out from under the cape and gathered up a fistful of his own cut hair. "So glad to be rid of this, finally! I want to hear all my fan club cluck, 'but you had such nice hair...'!! And I'll flaunt my bald head and tell them, 'and now I have such a nice smooth scalp.'"
The barber continued methodically clipping off Jack's long hair down to the finest stubble imaginable. Mounds of the blond locks piled up in Jack's lap. It was a vast golden cauldron of hair.
Secretly, Grant was thrilled to watch and record the divestiture. He'd always envied Jack's long hair. If he didn't have an office job, he would grow his hair long, like Jack's. But now....they would both have the same length. Zippo! Grant squirmed at the thought of his imminent head shave. He was determined to follow Jack's bold example. Enjoy the moment. He was surprised that he'd warmed to the idea of ditching the standard businesscut and going bald too. Jack was the role model he needed, and one who would ensure he carried through with the big transformation.
The barber finally snapped off the Oster's and took a look at Jack's clipped head. "Feeling a bit light-headed?" he joked.
Jack reached out from under the caped and briefly rubbed his bristled pate. "Can't wait for the next part."
The barber quickly whisked away a mountain of cut hair from the cape and sent the blond locks to the floor. He reached for some warm, damp towels.
"This is to prepare your scalp and make it more supple. We'll get a closer shave that way. Ready?" the barber before proceeding to enveloped Jack's clipped head in the warm, moist towel.
"My goodness, this feels like heaven!" Jack gasped. "I could sit here all day. It's like I'm at a high-end spa."
"Just wait till I massage that thick, warm foam into your scalp," the barber said, pointing to the lather machine on the counter. "And the feel of the razor being dragged against the grain will make you think you've died on gone to heaven. Especially, the first time you go bald. It is your first time, I take it?"
"Yep, and I'm loving every minute of it!" Jack gushed. "So will Grantie there!"
Grant was beginning to earnestly anticipate his turn in the chair. All hesitation had evaporated. All he felt now was a real eagerness to watch him morph from something standard and non-descript to a dynamo like Jack.
Jack groaned with delight as the strong hands of the barber massaged his scalp as he worked the lather all over the thick coating of stubble. Then the barber dragged the razor straight across the top with a determined flourish.
"Yow!" Jack yelped. "Amazing. Do that again!"
The barber obliged. The methodical shaving of Jack's scalp with the straight edge was captured completely by Grant's videotaping.
When the moist towels wiped the remnants of foam and stubble away, Jack beamed with delight. "I absolutely love it! I rock the dome! I feel so macho!!" he boasted. His smile stretched from ear to ear.
The only thing that took the wind out of his sails was a surprise splash of witch hazel. Jack jerked and yelped at the sting of the tonic on his sensitive, freshly shaven scalp.
"You took that like a man....almost," the barber joked.
The taunt cut Jack back down to size. He felt embarrassed that he had let out quite a cry.
The newly balded Jack emerged from the chair admiring his shaven head and fondling his sensitive scalp.
"Okay, Grant, hop up there. We're putting an end to this," Jack announced. Then, in an almost humiliating way, he tussled the tidy businesscut. Mussing it about. Grant's face turned red, and he tried instinctively to smooth it back into shape.
"When our barber friend finishes with you, Grant, there will be no neat little side part and trim little taper around your ears. No wavy forelock brushed into a conservative quiff. No, you'll be BALD! Just gleaming scalp, like me," Jack pontificated.
Grant took a seat quickly, hoping to escape Jack's emasculating taunts.
The barber caped Grant up. Then he asked Jack, "Do you want to do the honors? The first swipe with these?" he asked, holding up the set of Oster's.
"Would love to! If you'll film us with this phone," Jack said, handing the barber the video recording device.
As Grant felt trapped under the cape and a bit claustrophobic with Jack hovering all over him, he started getting some serious doubts about having his head shaved. His stomach churned. He needed to slow down the divestiture of his businesscut.
"Uh, Jack, I'm having second thoughts," Grant stammered.
In a flash, Jack grabbed the copious quiff and snapped on the clippers.
"Oh, no you're not!" he laughed.
In an instant, the clipper teeth were chewing off the forelock right at the roots.
Grant felt woozy and clenched the arms of the chair. He watched in panic as Jack initiated his divestiture.
Jack plowed the machine back through the prime of Grant's thatch. Then he lifted off the first massive clump of hair.
Instantly, Grant felt a huge wave of regret. Even with a single clump gone he thought that his smallish head was going to look ridiculous without any hair on it.
"Presto!" Jack announced as he tossed the wad of hair onto Grant's lap. "There is NO going back now, Buddy. It's BALD, period! That's your only option now. BALD like me!"
Grant looked at the shaved head on Jack -- so wonderfully shaped and crowning him with a commanding look. He had admired Jack's flowing locks, but the bald head was even more impressive.
"Time for the professional to take over," Jack said, relinquishing the clippers.
The barber picked up where Jack left off, quickly shaving the top and pausing so that Jack could get some footage of Grant reeling with a ridiculous-looking MPB. "Let's leave him like that," Jack laughed, "looking like a real grumpy grandpa!"
"Oh, I could've fashioned a nice combover had I known you wanted only a half bald head," the barber said, joining in the fun.
Jack stepped up boldly and decided to fondle Grant's MPB. "This look will go over nicely at regional headquarters! The more mature look might even garner you a promotion to the corporate headquarters. On the other hand....I want only scalp left on him. Take it all off!"
Jack had assumed control of Grant's makeover and the barber only had ears for him.
"Off comes the rest of the fussy businesscut," the barber remarked as he clipped the back to bald.
Grant had to endure the humiliation by watching the pile of cut hair grow on his lap. Of course, it was not like the mounds of flaxen hay that had tumbled down the cape when Jack was in the chair. But he was not enjoying any aspect of the haircut.
"Now that all his hair is gone, I see what a sweet little pea head Grant has," Jack noted to the barber.
"Yes, not a nicely shaped dome like yours, I'm afraid," the barber replied.
"A rather puny thing that will only look smaller once the stubble has been scraped off, I imagine," Jack noted.
"Then, let's get to it and see how he turns out," the barber said, applying the first of the warm, moist towels to Grant's head.
Sitting there with the towel draped around his head, Grant felt a relief from the dread which the transformation had infused in him.
The cruel, cutting chatter subsided. Grant again noted just how great Jack looked. And, maybe, just maybe, he'd be able to pull off the cueball look, as well.
Just like Jack, Grant thoroughly enjoyed the next part. The warm, moist towels preparing the scalp. The wonderful massage to work the lather in. And then the scraping of the razor! He could sit there for hours feeling the blade being dragged across his head.
But was his head as puny as Jack and the barber were making it out to be? Or were they just playing with his emotions and fears?
Grant was ready for the splash of witch hazel. He braced himself and didn't jump in his seat or yelp the way Jack had.
"You took the grand finale like a man!" the barber exclaimed. "Not like your little sissy friend there."
"Oh yes, that shriek of his when you applied the tonic," Grant laughed. He enjoyed returning some of the taunts and watching Jack blush with embarrassment.
"So, how do you like it?" the barber asked, showing off the full new look with a hand mirror.
Grant broke into a smile. "I love it! I feel so....authoritative! And sissy there is paying for both of our head shaves."
"Here are some business cards. When all your friends ask about your new look, hand them one of these. Shaved heads is our specialty," the barber said.
The two men left the barber shop almost giddy, pawing at their own freshly shaven heads and each other's.
"This is a historic day!" Jack exclaimed. "Now, take me to see that huge corner office you've been bragging about."
Grant was happy to stride into the gleaming building, stroll through the marbled corridors and enter the executive suite with a dramatic flourish caused by the astonishment of his bald head.
"Mr. Shultz, good afternoon," his new personal assistant Ken Watkins stammered as he pulled his feet off his desk and tried to sit up straight. Poor Ken was surprised to see his boss back in the office....and with no hair. "I thought you said you would be out this afternoon."
"While I was out having lunch and updating my look, it occurred to me that you didn't give me the weekly analysis before I left the office this morning. Remember, I told you that I wanted it on my desk by 11:00 a.m. each Friday?" Grant snapped.
Jack enjoyed watching his friend Grant pull rank over the hapless, discombobulated Ken. Oh, how the young man with the mass of overgrown thatch squirmed, trying to explain his lapse.
"It's just that with the server down this week....." Ken stammered.
"That was for two hours on Tuesday!" Grant interjected. "I expect better. A lot better from you! Or, do I have to find a new personal assistant? And, one more thing. Smarten up your appearance. A decent haircut and tie might help remind you this is a serious office."
The Grant strode into his new private executive office, while Jack hung back momentarily. He dropped one of the barber shop card's onto Ken's desk and took a minute to circle the slogan -- 'We Shave Heads' -- with a highlighter that was lying nearby.
"This might help you get in good with your new boss. He's quite energized by his makeover," Jack whispered.
Ken looked up through the dense forelock that was obstructing his view and gulped, "Yes, sir, thanks for the tip...."