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The Monkey's Ass by DHC
Patrick Corcoran’s stomach fluttered with excitement and fear as he left his apartment building and headed for the garage where he kept his car. A gust of pleasantly warm spring air blew in his face, messing up the heavy forelock hanging to his right side. Patrick savored the invigorating feeling of wind blowing through his full head of thick chestnut-colored hair. It never failed to pick him up.
But it would be a very, very long time before he’d experience that sensation again, if all went according to plan. Patrick was on his way to Barry’s Barbershop for a haircut. However, this was not some ordinary barbershop and this would not be anyone’s idea of a regular haircut. He was on his way to get his hair sheared off by Barry’s aggressive clippers.
Based on what he had read online, Patrick knew that by sitting in Barry’s chair, his thick locks were doomed. But he couldn’t help himself. For months, he dreamed about the luxurious feeling of heavy-duty, fast-feed, menacing electric clippers sailing across his head. That sensation of metal teeth gliding on his scalp plus the knowledge that his hair was being shaved off was so erotic and never failed to drive Patrick wild inside.
What made it even more worth it was seeing and touching his newly shorn head for the first time. Something about rubbing his hand over the dense stubble made him feel high as a kite, like a real man. It was enough to make anyone giddy.
He reached the garage, got in his car and pulled the directions to Barry’s up on his phone. Before starting the engine, Patrick took another look at his hair in the rearview mirror. He wasn’t sure if he’d call it a full mane, but it was still a lot of hair, not even a hint of male-pattern baldness anywhere—a scissored on the back and sides but longer on top, with a heavy forelock dangling to the right side of his face. All the women he’d been with loved playing with it, especially in the bedroom. Patrick smiled thinking back on those long, blissful nights.
But those were in the past and now his locks were ready to succumb to the clippers. He drove out of the garage, wound his way through the crowded city streets and eventually onto the highway.
Throughout the drive, Patrick reflected on the forces that brought him to this moment. His fascination with ultra-short clipper cuts started when he was 14; he had noticed a large chunk of the kids in his all-boys Catholic High School occasionally came in sporting radically short buzz cuts. Patrick couldn’t get over how appealing those haircuts looked and how they stood out amongst the masses of regular heads of blonde, brown, black and, occasionally, red hair. Those buzzcuts made the kids seem older, more masculine, even more authentic.
Over the years, Patrick became more and more fascinated with these radical haircuts. He also began fantasizing about having his own hair cut off, working himself up into a sexual heat over the thought. Unfortunately, the Irish-Catholic Corcorans were dead-set on him keeping his respectable, medium-length hair. They weren’t going to let their only child make himself look like a newly booked convict, or a skinhead. "You have such a wonderful head of hair Pat," his mother would say. "You look so handsome with it."
And so his chestnut locks stayed the same and Patrick’s yearnings grew. Sometimes he agonized over his fantasies, wondering if they meant he was secretly gay. That thought always struck an intense fear in his heart. He didn’t want to be gay, didn’t see himself as such, and didn’t think a gay lifestyle would suit him. Yes, he considered the female body very sexually desirable, but his haircut fantasies always were about men. What did that mean?
Gradually, Patrick accepted that he could have both sexual urges and still consider himself straight. There would be some moments of confusion, but overall, he was happy and comfortable with his identity.
The closest he ever came to having his hair shorn off was in Freshman year of college, when he trekked to the town barbershop and asked for a long buzz—a number 5 guard used on top and number 4 on the back insides with a light taper. The feeling of the guarded clippers running back and forth and up and down is scalp was better than he imagined. He felt like a rocket ship soaring into outer space, where he’d float in a gentle weightless ecstasy.
Reality, however, set in and Patrick found that not only had he upset his parents, but the girls on campus had no interest in his long buzzcut. It seemed like they were more attracted to guys with more of a metrosexual look—trendy clothes, perfectly manicured beard and longer hair held up by some kind of product. Patrick realized that if he wanted to get girls, he had to grow his hair back and tame his intense urges to get shorn.
Once his locks came back and the heavy forelock grew in during Sophomore year, he had more success with women. He began having a steady stream of girlfriends; some of them short term, some of them long-term. All involved sex and Patrick became adept at impressing them in bed.
College rolled by and before he knew it, he was entering the workforce. After bouncing around for some years, he finally took a job as a producer on a well-known television news show. He liked the work and the pay was amazing, so amazing in fact that Patrick was able to put a down payment on his own one-bedroom apartment after three years, with his parents’ help of course. He continued to entertain women and had a couple long-term girlfriends. But his deep fantasy of getting shorn at a barbershop always remained in the back of his mind. He inwardly pined for the day that he would feel clippers chewing off all his soft locks, leaving him with sandpaper stubble.
Patrick saw an opportunity the previous Fall when his parents revealed that they were moving to Florida for their retirement. So, when the cat’s away, the mice will play! As for his few friends, he didn’t much care what they thought. He could take their ribbing and flippant comments.
When his parents were all settled in their new condo, he started a weeks-long search for the perfect barbershop to get the big, anticipated chop. He looked at places in the city, but they mostly catered to the metrosexual men who wanted to look like Justin Bieber. He branched out to the suburbs but he ran into the same problem. Patrick was looking for a no-nonsense, take-charge, man’s barber to goad him into a good clipper cut.
At last, he found Barry’s Barbershop. It was a one-man shop, owned and operated by a former Marine in a hamlet two hours outside the city. To Patrick’s delight, the barber specialized in ultra-short clipper cuts, to the point where he did them exclusively. A website described the place as a "classic, American, no-holds-barred barbershop." Multiple reviews said Barry was a no-nonsense, professional barber; one even said "Barry’s is where real men get their hair cut."
And so, here he was driving two hours on the highway to a an ex-Marine barber who would give him the cropping he’d always dreamed about.
Before Patrick knew it, he reached the exit for the hamlet and then a blink of an eye later, he was driving down the main drag and his phone pinged telling him he had arrived. He slowly pulled into an adjacent parking lot and got his first look at Barry’s Barbershop. It was a tiny Cape Cod style, A-frame house that looked like it had two rooms at most. It had weathered grey shingles, a large plated glass window displaying an "Open" sign and a swirling barber pole was beside the front door. A giant American flag hung in a smaller window on the second floor. That flag confirmed everything for Patrick—his dreamy locks would be ripped off, no ifs, ands or buts.
He took one final look at his dense thatch in the rearview mirror and tousled it affectionately. Yes, it was great hair, but it would look even better lying helplessly on Barry’s floor.
"Time to go," Patrick said aloud. He put on his peacoat and walked toward the shop, suddenly feeling nervous yet profoundly excited, like a balloon was swelling in his gut; his legs wobbled somewhat as he grasped the doorknob.
"Hi, how’re you doing?" A deep, brisk voice asked. Patrick paused. Barry turned out to be a somewhat beefy man of medium height. He had thick arms and a sharp face that gave off a severe, vaguely menacing aura. He was almost completely bald except for a fringe of buzzed grey hair that ran around his head. The whole effect caught Patrick off-guard for a minute.
"Buddy, do you want me to cut your hair or are you gonna make me wait?" he said, motioning for him to take a seat.
"I’m sorry," said Patrick, sinking into the old-fashioned barber chair and feeling like he was on pins and needles. "I just wasn’t expecting your shop to be so small."
"This is a one-man operation. I don’t need anything bigger or fancier." Barry said, pride brimming in his voice. "You’re not one of my regulars."
"Nah, I’m up here visiting a college buddy. When I told him I want to try a new look, he told me to come here—said your specialty is very short haircuts." Patrick had practiced this speech earlier that morning.
"No such thing as too short in my book." Barry cast a pinstriped cape around Patrick and snapped it around his neck. That’s when he noticed the four sets of clippers dangling from the counter. They were displayed in the same matter that a knight or gladiator might display his swords, spears and other weapons of warfare. The Oster 76 clippers seemed to be given the place of honor in the middle; it was green and had a military camo pattern.
"You want to try something new, huh?" Barry asked, grinning slightly.
"Yup. I’m ready for a change. Give me your best haircut."
Patrick glanced at his shimmering locks in the mirror one last time before the barber swiveled the chair away so that he faced the window. He gulped, hearing Barry pick up the Osters and snap on a blade. The chattering machine came alive and he lifted the heavy forelock off Patrick’s face with a comb.
And then the ex-Marine plowed his clippers straight down the center of poor Patrick’s head, sending a sheaf of chestnut locks tumbling. His heart stopped, watching it slowly slide down the cape and onto the floor. The ruthless Barry drove the clippers back over his scalp three more times, deftly flicking his wrist so that Patrick would see every gleaming shank fall in front of him. Finally all that remained of his 4 inch forelock was a wide swath of clipped pelt.
"You got a name?" Barry asked.
"Patrick Corcoran," he responded, weakly.
"A good Irish boy. Well, Corcoran it’s about time you got rid of these ridiculous tresses and have a proper haircut."
With that, Barry shifted into overdrive, replacing the first blade with a #0000. He brought the green camo Osters to Patrick’s nape and drove them up the back of his head. Up and down the clippers went and mounds of hair fell in torrents at the barber’s feet.
"It’s so stupid that men are allowed to have long hair these days. Every time I see a man with this amount of hair, I want to drag him into my chair and give him Parris Island’s famous Induction Cut. I’m a Marine you know."
"Yeah, I heard that." Patrick said, feeling too drained to keep the conversation going. Barry continued stripping the growth from the back and sides until sandpaper stubble remained. A somewhat lush pelt of hair remained on top.
"Whoa, whoa, I’m not finished with you," Barry snapped as Patrick made to get up.
"Hell, no. This is where the real fun begins." The shorn client leaned back in the chair. The barber then applied some butch wax to Patrick’s hair. After massaging it in, he picked up a very wide, green comb and combed every strand so that they stood erect. Patrick realized that he was probably in for a very short flattop; a part of him felt relieved that he wouldn’t leave completely bald. He asked Barry if this was the case.
"Not exactly. I’m giving you something even better. We Marines used to call it the Monkey’s Ass. It’s my absolute best and favorite cut, after the Induction Cut." Barry explained with a toothy grin.
Patrick squirmed, wondering what Monkey’s Ass meant and how it would look on him. Using a clipper-over-comb method, Barry slowly flattened out the top. Little brown tufts of hair were falling on all sides, a far cry from the large sheaves of locks. The plush pile on top was finally reduced to spartan, military-like appearance.
"Now, hold very still Corcoran. This is my favorite part."
He took the clippers and suddenly drove them straight through the beveled top, almost to the hairline. It sent another shockwave through Patrick’s body; that’s what the Monkey’s Ass was, a horseshoe flattop!
"Oh, yeah. Just that makes my job as a barber worth it." Barry continued reducing the length of the flattop; Patrick was amazed there was still any hair left to cut. He exhausted and drained, like he had been squeezed through a straw.
And without warning, Barry spun the chair around to face the mirror. Patrick felt paralyzed with awe; he now sported the shortest, most severe, precise, perfect Horseshoe Flattop in the universe. Never before had he seen a more sublime haircut, like God Himself had cut it.
"Holy s***!" Patrick murmured.
"‘Holy s***’ is right," laughed Barry, gazing with pride at his handiwork. "I was going to give you my Induction Cut. But you took initiative, coming here on your own and giving me the reigns. You’ve got guts, Corcoran, and I decided to reward you with my famous Horseshoe flat, in here known as the Monkey’s Ass."
He rubbed his client’s shorn scalp with his calloused palm, which sent shivers up and down his back. He couldn’t get over how the horseshoe accentuated his facial features and made his shoulders look wider. He looked like a real tough, hard-ass Irishman. The best haircut he’d ever gotten.
Patrick was just about to say he wanted to keep it when he had another thought. Yes, this horseshoe was a sight to behold and he loved it. But he now he wanted it gone. It was the inexplicable urge to destroy something beautiful.
"It’s incredible Barry," Patrick began, his mouth feeling dry. "But could you shave it off?"
"Down to the wood?"
Barry once again picked up the clippers and snapped them on. And just like in a bootcamp barbershop, the machine sailed down his scalp, obliterating the beautifully crafted horseshoe. Patrick closed his eyes and enjoyed the otherworldly sensation—Barry authoritatively holding his head in one hand while clipping with the other, the metal teeth chattering. He wished the horseshoe could have stayed, but this feeling made it all worth it.
All too soon, the barber snapped off the clippers and surveyed his shorn client. Patrick looked like a Marine recruit. His thick gleaming hair was gone and only stubble remained. It was a shock, seeing himself in the mirror and his heart beat two miles a minute. Something inside his roiling stomach, however, told him he made the right decision. He looked more manly now than ever. It was like a veneer had been stripped away and now he was face-to-face with some beautiful, brutally authentic truth.
Patrick and Barry’s eyes met in the mirror and something passed between the two of them. In that moment, he saw that the barber understood his sudden desire to get shorn. Barry patted his shoulder and gently rubbed the stubbled pate in an almost fatherly way.
"I’m proud of you, Corcoran. You went with your gut. I promise you won’t regret it." Patrick grinned a little at the sentiment and let the ex-Marine clean up around his ears and neck.
He finally emerged from the barber chair and got an eyeful of the piles of shorn hair on the floor. He stared a little wistfully at them as he paid Barry.
"Be sure to stop in the next time you come to visit your friend. You’ll be needing touchups." Barry said with a smile.
"Yes sir." Patrick gave him a thumbs up and walked out the door. On the long drive home, he had the peculiar feeling that a unique friendship had formed between the barber and himself.