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Shy Louis vs. Shorn Louis by Manny
"Just a heads up, fellows, the new guy Louis is painfully shy. I think he's an okay kid -- but it's terribly hard to strike up a conversation with him." That was the assessment of my housemate Phillip who was in charge of keeping the four rooms occupied of our shared rental property. Phillip was our resident official adult, with a real adult job that required a coat and tie every day -- his anal personality ensured that all the bills were paid and that no one left a mess in public spaces.
"All I care about is that he can pay his share of the rent," cracked Barry, the resident cynic.
"Maybe we should throw a welcome party for him to see if we can get him to come out of his shell a bit," I offered.
"You can ask if he'd like that," Phillip replied, "But I rather doubt it. The guy is hard to engage in any sort of chit-chat or conversation. It's like he's in a world of his own and wants to stay there."
I carefully knocked on the bedroom door that was closed shut. There was no immediate response, so I tapped again a bit louder and called out, "Louis, it's one of your new house mates, Nathan. I just wanted to say hi and introduce myself."
The door cracked open a bit, and through the small opening came a very soft response, "Hi. Oh, this room is a mess...I wouldn't want...."
"Oh, don't worry about that," I said, pushing the door open and muscling my way in. "The previous guy was a total bum and pack rack. We're used to seeing a mess in here."
Louis stood there feeling uncomfortable -- I could tell by his body pose. His facial expressions were almost totally obliterated by a mass of long, thick brown hair that fell past his eyes down to his chin. There was so much of it, that is was about the only thing related to Louis that made an impression. It was clean and shiny hair, but unstyled and totally in need of a good cropping.
"Nathan's the name, but you can call me Nat...you know, like an irritating gnat! I get on people's nerves sometimes, but my intentions are good. How can I make you feel at home?" I asked.
"Nothing, really," he replied hastily. Then he hesitated, "Oh, I do have a heavy box in my car if you would give me a hand...."
After that initial request for help, Louis retreated from any significant interaction with the three of us in the house. He generally kept to his room with the door closed and only made the briefest appearances in the kitchen to grab something to eat. Barry and Phillip were irritated with him and vacilated between ignoring him and hoping he'd move out. Phillip, in his anal way, ragged on and on about the way Louis left the bathroom -- especially how his long hair would clog the drain.
One evening after the other two had retired for the night and I was reading the paper in the kitchen, Louis popped in unexpectedly. From beneath the long hair, he spoke, "I'm famished. You wouldn't have any snacks in your stash that I could borrow? I'll replenish them as soon as I get to the grocery store this weekend."
"Louis, I'll be happy to share everything I have -- chips, nuts, pretzels, sweet rolls, you name it! If....." I paused dramatically, "If only you sit down at the table here with me and have a good long chat while we eat. None of us has been able to get to know you at all....."
Louis stood awkwardly, not knowing what to say. Finally, he sat. "I'm just shy. I hope you don't think I'm stuck up or anything. I'd really like to make friends, but it's hard for me...."
"Well, for starters, would you please get that hair out of your face so that I can look you in the eyes for once?" I said with a laugh. "Eye contact is important for communication, they say."
Louis just sat for a bit...then he finally mopped his hair back from his face and laughed awkwardly. "There! I'm not a monster, you see!"
To the contrary! Louis was one extremely handsome fellow. "No, you're not! Now here's a beer and chips and trail mix and whatever else I have.... OK, now we're going to engage in some small talk. I know it's painful, but it doesn't have to be. Let's share a bit about ourselves.... I'll start. Nathan here..... Engineer by training. Forklift operator by occupation. Hobbies include visiting new baseball stadiums...."
"Hey, I collect baseball caps," piped up Louis.
"Gee, we're having a conversation...but that hair is back in your eyes, Louis!" I snapped.
He mopped it away from his eyes hastily. "Sorry....I think it's my natural shield from the outside world," he commented with his characteristic awkward laugh.
The conversation went on from there for over two hours, till way past midnight. Once Louis got started, he jabbered on freely. It was like he was a different person. The conversation went on for a half hour. I was surprised that when it started to lag, Louis kept it going. "So tell me something else about yourself," Louis said, showing no sign of wanting the conversation to end. "Do you have any other hobbies?"
"Gee, that calls for another round of beers," I said as I stood up to go to the kitchen. On my way back, Louis' lush locks of glossy hair that hung down past his shoulders in back emboldened me to seize the moment.
"Yes, I do. I'm an amateur barber. I love to cut guys' hair," I said looking straight at his lush mane from behind.
Louis froze, speechless. Still standing behind him, I set his new bottle of beer on the table in front of him. Finally, he asked, "Are you good at it?"
"Better than whoever cuts your hair now," I replied cooly, as he sipped nervously on his beer.
Then I grasped a shank of his uncut hair. "WHy not find out for yourself?" The heavy tress felt wonderful as I fondled it.
"It's rather late, isn't it?" he commented nervously, glancing at his watch.
"It will only take a few minutes, Louis," I insisted. "I'll go get my barbering kit right now," I told him. "And don't think all that hair in front of your eyes is going to survive. That forelock is the first thing I'm going to take care of when I get back!"
In a flash, I went to my room to get my tools of the trade. But Louis, proved even quicker. I saw him heading into his room just as I was coming back down the hall to the kitchen. "I got tired suddenly," he said apologetically as he slipped into his room and closed the door, locking it quickly.
I staggered back to my room feeling bad about what happened. I must have had too many beers! I had certainly been way too aggressive with Louis.
In the morning I sent him a text message. "Enjoyed getting to know you better last night. Sorry about the way it ended. My bad."
A few minutes later he texted back, "Sorry I cut the rap session short. No pun intended. LOL"
Louis had a sense of humor! But it was hard to judge where he was with regards to being on the receiving end of a good cropping. I eyed the barbering kit that was still sitting on my desk. Yes, dear Louis would certainly benefit from my hair-cutting skills. I would lop the locks off in back right at the nape -- the wonderful sound of shears crunching through a dense mane and the fantastic sight of the shimmering shanks falling to my feet. Then perhaps a bit of a layering for a nice, full stylized look with some bangs falling to just above the brow. Of course, the first cut would only be a confidence building measure. Little Louis would eventually be introduced to the clippers.....and then he would become thoroughly acquainted with them! That was my plan for his dense, long main of overripe hair.
As I dreamed about caping him up, I heard the shower. That meant Louis was beginning the long ordeal of washing his mane of hair.
I decided to set my timing to accidentally run into Louis as he was emerging from the bathroom. Maybe it would give me a bit of a clue about our little haircut chat and where he stood on the issue.
As the bathroom door opened, I was startled to see a very unfamiliar site -- Louis with a towel wrapped around his waste and his damp hair slicked straight back. His face was unobstructed for a change! For a moment there, it looked like he'd received a buzzcut. None of the flowing mane was visible. He looked incredibly handsome in his sleek, minimalist arragenment of his hair.
"Oh, Louis!" I exclaimed, feigning surprise, as I found him suddenly a few inches from me. "Didn't realize the bathroom...."
"Sorry for tying it up so long...." he said apologetically. "Hey," he said, tapping me on my arm as he maneuvered past me, "Sorry, I copped out on you last night. From the very first day I moved in, you've been so friendly. I know you just wanted to help me."
"You're right about that -- and, seeing you just now makes me realize how handsome you are without all that hair in your face," I murmured.
"Speaking of my hair, friend, could I borrow your blow dryer?" Louis asked. "Mine went on the fritz yesterday."
"Sure, it's in my room, on the desk," I said.
After finishing my shower, I was in for the surprise and thrill of my life.
As I opened my bedroom door, I was greeted with an astonishing site. Louis was sitting in my desk chair, calmly waiting for me. My barber's cape was snuggly secured around his neck. His thick, long, gleaming hair was draped in a most tantalizing manner and he looked serene.
"Louis!" I gasped.
"Is your offer still valid?" he asked, a bit nervously, as he flicked his head a bit to send his pretty locks dancing about the cape. "I noticed you still had your barber kit out on your desk when I came into borrow the hair dryer, and I got to thinking....I do need a haircut."
I stood behind him, picked up a brush and started pulling in through his hair. For such a dense mane, the brush moved through it with surprising ease. "A haircut, eh? It would be sheer pleasure. Pun intended!" I chuckled. "Any special request?" I asked.
Louis turned to look me, "This was your idea...you must have something in mind."
Out of the corner of my eye I spotted the huge set of Oster's in my kit. I fondled Louis' lovely hair. It would be a huge gamble....but this might be my only opportunity. "How long has it been since your hair's been cut, Louis?"
"Oh, it's been forever. I hate the thought of going into any sort of place to get an unknown person to cut it. But, being caped up right here in your room with you feels so different. So exciting, even," he murmured.
"Then, we're going to make it exciting for both of us," I said, reaching for the clippers and retrieving them from the kit.
Louis' eyes bulged in a panic as the machine came into view. I paused briefly, wondering if he would object, but he remained silent. I plugged them in and snapped them on. "We're going to make up for lost time, Louis," I said as I grasped him by his long hair at the nape and immobilized his head. Then I brought the screaming clippers right up past his nervous eyes.
He flinched as the clippers came in contact with his dense mane right at the forehead. His petrified eyes belied his silent acceptance of the radical makeover. As I initiated his transformation, the first strands of his mighty forelock were severed at 1/16th on an inch. Slowly but firmly, I moved the screaming machine straight back through the dense, copious mane; I watched a massive amount of gleaming brown hair fall to the cape and slide to the floor.
"I'm going to take you down all over, Louis," I whispered in his ear as I pushed the clippers back through his mane a second time.
"It's all yours," he replied almost inaudibly. I watched as he caught a shank of the second mass shearing and fingered it before consigning it to the floor. "Take all of it off...if that's what you want for me."
I noticed that the towel wrapped about my waist was threatening to fall and expose my delight so I moved behind Louis and brought the clippers up through his nape. Mounds and mounds and his soft, beautiful hair fell in the wake of my machine. I was well on my way to reducing his samsonesque locks to a nice tight butch! He would not be able to hide his dreamy eyes from me when I clipped him down to a tidy short pelt of soft hair.
"Why did you run away from me last night?" I asked.
"Because I was afraid," he replied honestly.
"Afraid of a little haircut?" I asked, pushing the clippers up through some of the last remaining patches of thick, unshorn locks.
"I never dreamed you would take the clippers to me...." sighed Louis. Then he added, "But, if I had known what this felt like, I would have been under your cape the very night I moved into this house."
"Just wait till you feel your shorn head for the very first time with your own hand," I said, rubbing the soft pelt at the nape.
Louis moaned softly. "How long are you leaving it?"
"From sixteen inches down to a sixteenth of an inch!" I purred. "Nice and tight! I think boys that sport butch cuts are the most handsome. Stripped down to the minimum makes them more manly."
"Then I want you to keep me butched," replied Louis.
I ran the clippers over the last bit of long hair that remained and snapped off the machine. Then I ran both my hands over his entire clipped pelt, "Ah, this is such a welcome change. Little Louey's lush locks lopped. Now let me see that face of yours uncovered and free frrom that veil of hair you hid under."
Louis looked straight at me and beamed. "How do I look?"
"Sweet and innocent!" I replied. "Now go see for yourself," I told him, unfastening the cape and sending a massive amount of shorn hair to the floor.
The first thing he did was feel his own head with both hands, the way I'd done. Louis beamed broadly. "Oh, I love the feel!" he exclaimed. Then he scurried over to the mirror. A shocked and surprised looked appeared across his face and he squealed a bit. "Oh, my!" He touched his hands to his head. "I can't believe this. I would never have had the courage," he said, looking away from the mirror to me. "I could never have imagined this.... I feel like a different person!"
"Then I want you to start acting like one! See that hair on the floor -- your privacy veil! Well, it's been snatched off. And with it, went all that maddening shyness!"
"Or most of it!" said Louis hopefully.
"Look, you have a lot to offer. I enjoyed getting to know you last night. Now, I want you to leave this room, more self confident and open to others...."
"I will! In fact, I'm going out there right now to show Barry and Phillip!" he said, boldly moving to the door and rushing down to the kitchen where they were getting breakfast.
"Hey, guys!" he called out, breaking into the room. "Look at my haircut! What do you think?" I could hear him ask as I pulled on my sweat pants.
The two fellows were totally taken aback -- not only by the makeover, but by Louis standing there, smiling and babbling away.
"It's all thanks to this great barber I discovered living right here with us!" he continued.
"You look great, Louis!" both called out.
"I'm going to celebrate by cooking us all a pancake breakfast. The four of us need to spending more time bonding," Louis announced.
I eyed Phillip's fussy businesscut that was immaculately combed into place. The thick wavy locks on top were tamed and smoothed neatly to the side and he had a perfect taper around his ears. In contrast, Barry's red shaggy mop was uncombed and looking like a messy bedhead.
With a scheme in mind, I announded, "I'm all in favor of bonding! What do you say all four of us get matching butch cuts this morning?!"
"Fantastic!" Louis immediately replied. "Let me go get the cape and clippers!" he yelped as he dashed from the kitchen. Of the remaining three, I had the least to lose as I kept my hair cut into a longish ivy.
Phillip was totally in shock, "Are you crazy?! I'm not getting a butch got. I'm a professional -- a bank manager, with an image to maintain."
Surprisingly, I got support from Barry. "Oh come on, Phil. Lighten up. You're so anal. A butch cut is what you need. And you'll be losing a lot less hair than I will! Never had my ginger zipped off...."
"Philip, you've been complaining for months about how hard it is to connect to Louis. This is our chance! It's a huge breakthrough, and you're going along with it," I snapped.
"But the bank...." he argued as Louis flew back into the kitchen with the cape and clippers.
"Who's first?" he asked with excitement.
Barry and I simultaneously pointed at Phillip. "He is!"
"Perfect!" sang out Louis. And without waiting for consent, he cast the cape about prim, prissy Phillip's neck. Then he tussled the perfect combed businesscut.
"Hey," Phillip objected.
"Oh, stop being a baby," Barry snapped as he plugged in the machine.
I snatched the clippers myself and snapped them on. Then I grasped Phillip by his wavy thatch and forced him to face me. Fear and panic was etched all over his face. As happy as I'd been to clip Louis, putting an end to Phillip's fussy business cut was even more entertaining. I plowed the clippers straight into it and began pulling off a huge wad of silken waves. But, as the clippers moved toward the cowlick, I noticed there was no guard on the naked steel teeth! It must have fallen off somewhere from the bedroom to the kitchen. A swath of white scalp covered with stubble emerged. Phillip's coif was being taken down to ZERO! Oh how he'd weep when he found out what was in store for him.
Even Barry got a concerned look on his face, seeing the severely clipped scalp.
"Uh, Phillip, uh, I hate to pour a bit of cold water on our fun here, but we have a bit of a technical problem," I said apologetically.
"What is it?!" he demanded.
"Seems like you're getting an even shorter haircut than Louis did. More like an induction cut," I said.
"Like a marine recruit?" he yelled, jumping up to run to the bathroom.
We listened to a wail. Depite Phillip's apparent anguish, the three of us in the kitchen broke out into hysterical laughter. Phillip walked back in in a huff and looked ridiculous with a swatch of stubble right down the middle of his head where his thick, wavy businesscut had once given him an air of managerial authority. "I look ridiculous! Like a skunk! I guess I don't have many options. Take the rest of this off." Then he looked at me and snarled at me, "I'm the next to play barber, and you're getting exactly the same induction cut!"
Louis stepped forward. "Hey, we're all in this together. We're all going down to stubble...even though I hate to lose this nice soft pelt I just acquired," he said rubbing his head.
"I never agreed to any of this," laughed Barry, beginning to exit the kitchen.
In a flash, Louis was on him and brought him to the ground, pinning him down, "I was a wrestling champ in High School," he said with a grin. "Quick, hand me the clippers."
I obliged and Louis expertly clipped off a swath right across the top of Barry's head. "Now you don't have a choice, my little ginger boy!"
"Didn't want one either! Was looking forward to the induction cut. But, I admit, being pinned to the kitchen floor made it a lot more exciting, Louis!" he said with a smile. "You certainly are strong!"
At the end of our shearing session, we sported four matching induction cuts and posed for pictures. The shots were precious and told the whole story. Three underemployed fellows smiling broadly and one VERY unhappy bank manager with a grim scowl on his face.
"Oh, Phillip, stop being such a sour puss," I said as he stared at himself in the mirror. "You were so uptight and pretentious with that fussy little businesscut always perfectly in place. Just tell the people at work you had your head shaved for a good cause.
He cracked a small smile, "Hey, I think I will. And it was, I admit, a good cause. Look at how happy Louis looks and how bonded to us he feels."
"And note how different you look, my friend," I said, returning Phillip's gaze to the mirror. "Won't your employees be shocked when you walk in on Monday....shorn bald!" It was so fun playing with his emotions.
Phillip's face clouded over again. "How long will it take to grow back?" he asked with a pout.
"Not for a good long while if I'm the resident barber," I said with a wink, wrestling him to the floor and administering a humiliating Dutch rub and his shorn head. "We're going to teach you how to lighten up, my little Philly!"