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Discovered by Flatty
I stood outside the barbershop window, trying to appear nonchalant as I eagerly watched the activity inside. It was an old fashioned shop, with 5 chairs. I had never been inside but would use any excuse to walk by this particular block and would always slow down and try to see as much of the action going on as possible. Almost all of the haircuts they gave were short—really short and I loved catching glimpses of them as I slowly walked by, trying not to attract any attention. I had fantasized about going in and getting one of those short cuts, but I knew I didn’t have the nerve. Ironically, despite my secret desire for a short style, I wore my hair quite long. It was light brown, with golden highlights from the sun and was several inches past my shoulders. It was notably thick and had a nice wave. I usually kept in tied back in a ponytail during the day, but today I wore it free.
I had been out running errands all day. In the morning I was scheduled to leave on an extended trip for the summer—I had always wanted to backpack through Europe and had been saving up for a long time and tomorrow, I was leaving for a 10 week trip to all of the countries I had only read about. At 25, I knew I was older than most of the college age kids who would be backpacking alongside me that summer, but I was really looking forward to the trip. That afternoon, I was lost in thought, both thinking about the trip and admiring an attractive blond getting a great flattop trimmed up. The flat looked amazing on him and as I was watching his cut finish up—from the hair on the cape around him, it looked like barely 2 weeks since his last cut—I began to fantasize what it would have looked like if he had just gotten that same tight flat but starting with longer hair, since I particularly like watching major transformations from long to short.
Suddenly, I voice behind me startled me out of my thoughts and brought me back to reality. “So, are you thinking of getting a haircut?” asked a deep voice. I almost jumped at the sound of the voice and felt my face flush red, embarrassed at being caught staring at the barbershop. One of my biggest fears was that people would know that I was obsessed with short haircuts—I think that was part of the reason that I had grown my hair so long—no one would ever suspect I had a desire to buzz my head if I had hair down to my shoulders. At the sound of his voice, I gave a start and turned to see a remarkably attractive guy standing to my left. He had deep brown eyes that matched his dark brown hair, which was cut into a high and tight, buzzed close at the crown but progressively longer towards the front, with maybe ½ an inch at the very front. As I looked at him, I shocked myself by saying “Yeah, I guess I’m thinking about it.” Why had I said that? I had frequently (in fact almost constantly) dreamed about getting a haircut, but I wasn’t seriously thinking about it at all—I knew I would never be able to do it. “Looks like it’s been quite a while since you’ve had a haircut” he said with a slight smile, as he gestured to my flowing locks. I nervously ran my hand through my hair, “Yeah, it has” I said awkwardly. “I’m leaving for a trip tomorrow and I’ve been so busy that I didn’t get a chance to make an appointment with my regular stylist for a trim before I leave.” Why had I said that? It was true that I had wanted to get a trim before the trip and hadn’t gotten around to it but why was I telling that to this stranger? “Looks to me like you could use more than a trim” he said, looking me directly in the eye. I could feel my heart start to pound in my chest and I wasn’t sure what to say in response.
Just then, the door to the barbershop opened and out walked the guy I had been watching getting his flattop sharpened up. He looked at me and held the door open as if expecting me to walk in. “Come on in” said the dark haired guy, “let me get you looking sharp for your trip.” I swung around to face him quickly, “Do you work here?” “Sure do” he said and before I knew what was happening, he had ushered me into the barbershop. “Follow me” he said, as he walked towards the back of the shop and stopped at the last chair, gesturing for me to take a seat. There was no one working at the chair next to his and each barber working at the first 3 chairs was in an animated discussion with his customer. No one else was waiting since the shop was set to close soon. I looked around uncertainly but didn’t want to make a scene so I sat nervously in the chair. “Look” I said quietly, “I don’t want to be rude but I was only thinking about getting a trim and I’m not sure I even want to do that.” He ignored me and expertly wrapped tissue around my neck and caped me. He stood facing me with his back to the other barbers. “I don’t think that’s true” he said. “In fact, I’m pretty sure that what you really want is for me to cut off all of that long hair of yours.” “What are you talking about?” I retorted, “I like my hair just the way it is.” “Look,” he said, continuing in that same quiet voice that only I could hear, “I started working here about 3 months ago and I’m a pretty observant guy. I’ve noticed you walking by here a lot. And I’ve noticed that every time you walk by, you slow down and pretend to be playing with your phone, but you’re really looking inside. I’ve also seen you walk by, cross the street and stand on the other side of the street looking in for a while and then cross the street again and slow down out front again. I’ve also noticed that the shorter the haircuts we’re giving, the longer you linger out front. I think you do that because you like watching our customers get their hair cut short and you want to get one as well but you’re too scared to actually do it.”
As he was talking, I could feel my face getting redder and redder—I thought I had been so clever and that no one could have noticed that I was watching the barbershop and this guy not only had it all figured out, he was calling me out on it. I was mortified and not sure what to do. “Do you know how I know all of that?” he asked. “Because I used to be you and the best day of my life was the day I finally shaved all of my long hair off and was true to who I am. So,” he continued, “you’re going to tell me the truth. What kind of a haircut do you want today?” We stared at each other in silence for a few minutes as I debated what to do. Part of me was terrified at the prospect of telling him he was right and letting him cut off my hair but another part of me realized that this was finally my chance to live out my fantasy. Finally, I took a deep breath and said, “I’d like you to cut my hair just like yours.” He looked at me for a moment longer, then nodded and said, “That’s what I thought.”
He turned his back to me to grab a set of clippers and snapped on a very short blade. As he did that, I looked at myself in the mirror, with all of my long, wavy hair flowing down past my shoulders, heart pounding and mouth dry as a desert. Before he flicked on the clippers he looked at me in the mirror, smiled and said, “Just sit back and enjoy it.” With that, he ran the clippers up the back of my head to the crown and dropped a huge clump of wavy golden brown hair in my lap. My eyes were wide as saucers as I realized that there was no going back now—I was about to look like a marine and I was loving every second of it. He repeated the process slowly, each time managing to expertly drop the cut hair entirely in my lap—the amount of hair was staggering. He worked his way across the right side of my head, going over each section multiple time to make sure every last stray hair was sheared off at the scalp. Soon, both sides and the back of my head were shaved bald. Just then, someone left the shop and I could feel a blast of air around my head from the open door—I’d never experienced anything like it! The barber stopped the clippers to put a guard on, then placed them directly at the center of my forehead, where the long wavy hair still reached from there down past my shoulders and slowly moved back to the crown, shaving off nearly 18 inches of shining locks and leaving ½ inch of short stubbly hair in its place. He added that to the growing pile on my lap and continued the methodical shearing over the rest of my head. Next, he used the clippers over a comb to take the hair down even shorter, working from the front towards the crown of my head. Finally, he spread warm shaving cream up the sides and back of my head and used a straight razor to shave away what little stubble remained. My scalp showed bright white where the sun hadn’t shone in years. I looked in the mirror and almost didn’t recognize the person staring back. My heart was still pounding—I couldn’t believe that I’d actually done it—but it felt exhilarating. I reached a hand up to feel the back of my head—it was completely smooth and then transitioned to a rough, sandpaper feel, nothing like feeling the long hair that had been there for so long.
“So, what do you think?” asked the barber. All of my embarrassment was gone—I couldn’t believe I hadn’t done this years ago. I smiled at him appreciatively and said, “You were right, I needed a change and I love it! Thanks a lot for your help.” “The pleasure was mine” he said, with a twinkle in his eye. “Now make sure you keep it looking nice and tidy from now on.” “I don’t think that will be a problem” I said, as I paid him, including a generous tip.
That happened about one month ago—I haven’t had my hair cut since then while I’ve been traveling through Europe but I’m already feeling shaggy, which is amazing since the hair on the back and sides of my head is barely ½ inch long. I’ve already decided to wait until I get back from my trip to go in for another cut, which means I’ll have to wait another 6 weeks before I get it cut again—I hope I can hold out that long. I may go for a flattop next time—the transformation won’t be as dramatic as before but it will still be fun. After that, I think I’ll be getting trimmed up every couple of weeks for the foreseeable future.