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MOVEMBER Part 1 by John

It was late autumn, and an email had been circulated to all staff in my office by our personnel department, encouraging male colleagues to sign up for "Movember," the annual charity event where guys grow moustache for sponsorship, to raise awareness of men’s health issues.
I was in my office which I shared with my colleague, Adam, when the email arrived. Adam chuckled and said, "Hey, John, why don’t we give Movember a go?"
I grinned. Adam and I both had short neat beards, and Adam had a fashionable skin fade haircut with a slicked back side parting. My hair was more conservative; a number two back and sides, blended into a scissor cut on top, brushed to the side.
"I don’t know mate…feels a bit silly," I chuckled in reply.
"Ah go on…it’s for a great cause!" Adam persisted.
I reread the email. At the end was a list of rules for guys taking part:
"Start with a clean-shaven face. If you have already got some stubble then it is time to shave it off as you will be starting Movember from scratch. Your whole face should be clean-shaven, including your upper lip, sideburns and handlebar zones." It said.
"So, basically…we’d both need to shave our beards off?" I asked as I finished reading the message.
"Yup!" Adam nodded. "Start with a level playing field."
"I’m not sure," I sighed. "I’ve had my beard for five years now…I’m not keen on the idea of shaving."
"Mate, it’s only for a month," Adam grinned. "When we’re done, you can grow it back."
"OK, OK," I relented with a smile. "Let’s do it."
"Good man," Adam chuckled. "Tell you what…there’s a new barber that just opened down the street from here. They’ve got offers on for hot towel shaves. Why don’t we go down there and get shaved properly? I need a tighten up of my back and sides anyway."
"Right, OK," I chuckled with a shrug. Adam loved his hair…he was in the barber every other week to get his skin fade lined up and his beard sculpted professionally.
The fateful date of 31st October arrived, meaning that to begin Movember, we’d have to be clean shaven by the next day. Adam and I agreed we’d hit the new barbershop right after work.
As we left the office just after five, Adam scratched his beard and said, "I’m going to miss this bad boy!" I chuckled and said nothing, but secretly felt apprehensive at going clean shaven.
We reached the barbershop within a few minutes. It was in a side street off the main commercial area, and consisted of one small room with two red leather barber chairs, a hard wooden bench under the front window which served as the waiting area, and a black and white tiled floor.
The walls were painted the same deep blood red as the chair leather. A large wall mirror hung facing each chair, with the white porcelain sink beneath.
Adam led the way and as we entered, there was no sign of life about the place. A rear door opened as we stood waiting, and in walked our barber, accompanied by a noticeable aroma of cigarette smoke.

He was a tall, heavily built guy of about thirty. His black hair was cut in a dramatic skin fade…really high, with the top slicked back. A large hipster beard occupied most of his face. He was dressed smartly in black trousers and a crisp white shirt. His top three shirt buttons were open, revealing a massively hairy chest, while his shirtsleeves were rolled up to the elbows, exposing heavily tattooed arms.
"Hey gents, good to see you, I’m Matt," the barber said when he saw us. We each nodded and introduced ourselves respectively.
"OK, so what can I do for you gents this evening?" Matt beamed.
"We’re starting Movember tomorrow, mate," Adam grinned, "so we both need a clean shave."
"Ah, very good!" Matt grinned approvingly. "You’ve come to the right place. I’ll certainly take those beards off for you. Who’s first?"
"I’ll go first!" Adam chuckled. Adam and I both took off our suit jackets, and hung them on the row of brass hooks along the wall. I took a seat on the wooden bench, facing the chair in which Adam was quickly seated by Matt.
"So how about the hair, mate?" Matt asked Adam as he adjusted the chair height.
"Skin fade, please," Adam smiled. Matt nodded, and grabbed a black silky cape from the other chair, draping it around Adam’s shoulders.
"Can you just unbutton the top button on your shirt for me, mate? So I can get at your neck," said Matt. Adam obliged, slightly loosening the tie knot before opening his collar button. Matt tucked a small towel into the back of Adam’s collar, thus loosening it further. He then pulled some neck tape from the dispenser attached to the wall, and carefully fastened it around Adam’s neck. Next, he tilted the chair back into a semi-reclined position.
Matt went to work on Adam’s beard with the bare clippers. It wasn’t a massive beard…but the hair was thick and the amount of clippings cascading onto the cape was impressive. Leaving Adam’s moustache to the last, Matt paused and grinned, asking, "Shall I leave the tache for now, let you see how you’ll look in a few weeks’ time?"
Adam laughed and said, "Yeah, sure." Matt left his moustache intact, but the remains of the beard came off, down to a stubble.
Next, Matt moved the chair to the upright position, changed clippers and started work on Adam’s fade. He asked Adam if he wanted it higher, and Adam said yes. He started from the line of the occipital bone, using that as his guide. Working with the edger and then bare clippers, Matt left no hair visible below that line. Blending the hair further up Adam’s head, he used a number one guard, then a number two, before blending it in and changing to the scissors on top.
I watched intently, never having seen a skin fade in progress before. By the time Matt had finished, Adam’s hair looked amazing…he had no hair below the tops of his ears, and his hair was slicked back on top and finished with a shiny pomade. As Matt styled the top of Adam’s hair, I thought he’d finished, but I was wrong.
Matt strolled over to a white cabinet fixed to the wall, and from it retrieved a steaming hot white towel. I watched in fascination as he applied the towel to the back of Adam’s head, covering the back and sides of his head.
As Adam sat there, with the towel wrapped around his neck and nape, Matt reached over to the sink and lifted a small metal bowel and a shaving brush. There was a strong smell of citrus as he began mixing lather in the bowl. Peeling the damp towel off Adam’s neck, Matt vigorously brushed the thick white lather over the neck, around the ears, and up as far as Adam’s occipital bone.
Matt pushed Adam’s head forward, so that his chin rested on his chest. Taking up the straight razor, Matt shaved the entire area from neck to the hairline high above Adam’s ears. I was mesmerised…I’d never seen anything like it.
Matt wiped away the residue of foam with the towel, before returning the chair to the reclined position. He removed the neck tape, towel and cape, revealing Adam’s crisp white shirt and the thick blue and green tie lying along his torso.
Matt moved away to the cabinet again, returning with a second steaming towel. He set it aside on the sink momentarily, leaned over and loosened Adam’s tie knot down to the third button, before opening his second button. The towel previously tucked into the back of Adam’s collar was then draped carefully over his chest, tucked into his open shirt front.
"How do you like the tache?" Matt winked at Adam in the mirror. It was the only remaining hair on Adam’s face, and sat, thick and drooping, above the light stubble which now was all that remained of that proud beard.
Adam laughed and replied, "Looks good, but let’s get it off!"
Matt tilted the chair back once more, and wrapped the steaming towel tightly around Adam’s face, leaving just his nose uncovered. He left Adam like this for a few minutes as he mixed fresh lather, then, peeling away the towel, he applied the warm lather all over Adam’s face.
The shave lasted only a few minutes; Matt was clearly a skilled barber with total control of the razor. Once finished, Adam was bereft of any facial hair. He was smooth from his neck to his temples.
Matt applied some citrus aftershave balm to Adam’s clean shaven face, and then some bay rum to the nape of his neck, rubbing it into the shaven sides of his head. Adam gazed contentedly at himself in the wall mirror, nodding with a dreamy smile as Matt showed him the back in the rear view hand mirror.
Briskly dusting Adam off, Matt gestured to me to take my place in the chair. Adam got up, walking towards me with beaming confidence. He looked sharp…I really couldn’t help but admire his fresh haircut. He really did look dapper without the beard.
Adam and I traded places. I settled down into the chair, which still felt warm. Matt’s big, tattooed hands grasped my shoulders warmly as I sat back.
"Well John, same for you, buddy?" Matt winked at me in the mirror. I shifted uncomfortably, looking at my hair in the mirror.
"No, I think just a trim for me, please mate," I smiled awkwardly.
Matt chuckled and slapped my back. "Come on, mate. Look how good your buddy looks with the fade," he grinned.
I glanced over to where Adam was busy taking selfies of his new look on the waiting bench.
"Ok," I said, my mouth dry. "Go for it."
Matt nodded and smiled his approval. He threw the cape around my shoulders, then undid my top two shirt buttons, folding the collar down at the back, before applying the neck strip.
Matt ran his fingers through my hair, tousling it. Then he began buzzing the back and sides down, working his way from the number two down to the zero, using my occipital bone as his guide. A huge amount of hair fell on the cape as he worked. I was tingling with anticipation.
Tilting the chair back, Matt used bare clippers to reduce my full beard to a short stubble…including my moustache. It felt strange, losing my beard of five years in just a few short minutes. Returning the chair to the upright position, Matt used the scissors to carefully trim the top of my hair, leaving me with a hard parting just like Adam’s. He carefully applied the same glossy pomade, leaving me with a retro look.

Next, Matt made his way to the steam cabinet and retrieved a hot towel. He applied it to my neck, covering it right up to the occipital bone. Matt whistled to himself as he mixed the lather, as I sat with my chin resting on my chest.
Stripping off the towel, Matt brushed warm lather all over my bare neck and the sides of my head, right up past my ears. He carefully shaved the whole area smooth, leaving me with the same sheer back and sides as Adam.
Tilting the chair back again, Matt removed the cape and the neck strip.
"Why don’t you take your shirt off, to keep it clean?" Matt suggested.
I wasn’t sure what to make of that request, but I nodded, and began to open my buttons.
"Allow me," smiled Matt helpfully. He undid the rest of the buttons, and pulled the shirt off over my head, leaving me there bare-chested. Matt threw my shirt over the adjacent chair, then went over to the cabinet for a fresh hot towel, which he wrapped around my face.
I relaxed as the steaming towel did its work opening my pores. Matt removed the towel, and applied the creamy lather to my face. Skilfully, he removed every trace of stubble from my face with the straight razor. I was as smooth as an egg.
Massaging the citrus cologne into my face, Matt remarked, "That’s you, all ready for Movember, my friend. You look great."
As he showed me the finished look, I had to agree. It looked and felt great. I ran my hand appreciatively over my faded sides, feeling that surreal smoothness, admiring Matt’s skill.
Matt brushed me off and I got up, retrieving my shirt and jacket from the hooks. Adam nodded approvingly as I got dressed. Clean shaven, we both looked much younger.
"So you two guys will be back at the end of the month for the Movember shave off?" Matt chuckled as we settled our bills.
We glanced at each other and grinned.
"You bet we will," I smiled.

To be continued…

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