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It took 40 years - extended by Tim

My heart is pounding as I pull into the small parking lot. It has been constantly increasing in rate the closer and closer I get to this shop. I wonder if I’ll have the nerve to go through with this. Each time I ask this question, but I have yet to be in a situation where the elements are right.

I want to get a flattop. I don’t know why, but it’s one of the things I want to do. I just turned 40, and it seems now is as good a time as any. My new girlfriend loves short hair and even mentioned that her favorite cut of all is a flattop, though I doubted she knew I was listening or would even consider such a thing. So it certainly wouldn’t disappoint her for me to go out and get one. It wouldn’t bother me at work, as I’m out in the hot sun all day, wearing a hat, doing construction. My co-workers probably wouldn’t even notice. Besides, almost all of them have a flattop or some short cut. I’d just be fitting in. It would probably feel a lot cooler during these summer days. What I’m trying to say is there really isn’t any reason for me not to get a flattop.
But I am very resistant to change. And changing my looks is a big deal to me. And this would be a big deal. After all, my own hair is fairly long, though not as long as it was just a few years ago. Back then my girlfriend loved very long hair on guys, and I grew mine out long enough for a reasonable pony tail, which she loved to play with in the bedroom. That was fine by me. Since going out with my current girlfriend I’ve ever so slowly had it trimmed a bit shorter each time. Now it just covers my collar and ears, and my bangs don’t quite reach my eyes any more. But a flattop would mean losing a lot of hair. So why do I want one?

As best I can figure it is just something I’ve always wanted to experience. I know if I were a girl I’d want to have extremely long hair, like long enough to sit on, and then experience all the things a stylist could do to it, like updos and curls and all. I think it would be fun to be pampered and change my look so easily without cutting off anything.
But since I’m a guy I think I’d like to experience a real short haircut, namely a flattop, at least once in my life.

I did have a similar type experience many years ago when I got my hair cut for a Halloween party. I went as a clean cut all-American boy from the 50’s. I visited a barber shop to get it done (I never went to barber shops, only expensive salons) figuring they would give me the best look. What was terrifying at the time was the shop had the clients face away from the mirrors, so I couldn’t see what was happening. I ended up with my ears fully exposed, surrounded by slight ‘whitewalls’, with the back tapered a good deal shorter than anticipated. The top was left relatively long but parted on the side and slicked over with some type of old fashioned ointment. It lay perfectly straight and tight to my head. Quite different than normal, since my hair is naturally so wavy it is almost curly. I discovered the next day that my bangs were cut at a relatively sharp angle that resulted in the haircut only looking good if parted on the side, and awful any other way. Plus it only looked good if it was slicked down straight, which I refused to adopt as a daily style. I didn’t want to be a modern day ‘greaser’. So instead I found myself wearing my hat a lot, and using things like gel or such in quantities just big enough to get my hair through another day without being laughed at. It seemed to take forever for that haircut to grow out. I remember absolutely hating the whole experience and saying I would never do anything so stupid again.

But looking back on it I discovered it was one of the more exhilarating hair experiences I ever had. I often longed to do that again, if only I didn’t hate how I looked in the haircut. That’s what really stopped me, and that fear is probably what has stopped me from getting a flattop. After all, a flattop is so short it can’t be combed into another style if you don’t like it, unless you want to go even shorter, like…bald. And I have no desire to experience that. So what would I do if I got a flattop and hated how I looked? From watching friends with one, I know it would take many months for one to grow out.

I also fear being told my hair might not be able to go into a flattop. After all, flattops only look good if the hair stands up perfectly straight, not wavy or curly. I’d hate to go through the whole procedure only to be disappointed by the outcome. It would be like destroying a fantasy or something. That possibility also keeps me from pushing the issue further. The fantasy can remain alive that way, and without fantasies life isn’t nearly as exciting.

But right now I want to get one, if for no other reason than to make my girlfriend happy, though deep down I know it’s to satisfy my own strange desire. Just once and I’ll be over it. And I need to do it before I start losing my hair and can’t get one. I hate looking back on my life regretting things I should have done. Something as easy as a haircut shouldn’t fall in that category.
Plus I finally figured out what I was waiting for. I wanted all the elements to be right again. I most definitely wanted it done in a Barbershop. It had to be some place that did a gazillion of these things every year and could do them right. And not just any barbershop. I wanted one with someone I consider a ‘classic’ barber. Not some young kid, and definitely not a woman.
Furthermore I wanted to duplicate that experience of not seeing it happening just like that one barbershop experience so many years ago. So it had to be a shop that didn’t have mirrors all over the place. Just blank walls to stare at while the transformation was taking place.

So over the past two years I’ve been going to different barbers each time it was time to get a trim, hoping all the ingredients were right. If they were, I planned on asking for a flattop. If not, just an ever so slight trim. Unfortunately (or was it fortunately?) every shop I visited had mirrors all over the place, even the one I went to way back when for Halloween (the barber who did that cut retired some time ago). One shop I visited didn’t have the mirrors, but had some young punk kid doing the cutting. I walked out of there not bothering even to get a trim. Another shop without mirrors only had lady barbers. I didn’t subject myself to that either. And in all the other shops I ended up just getting a trim. The barbers usually took off about an inch too much, so it would take me several months of waiting between cuts before I was due for another.

And that leads me up to this moment. The familiar rush of adrenalin as I drive up to yet another barber shop, one I’ve never been in before. Will I get the nerve today to ask for a flattop if everything is as I want it? I wonder.

This shop has a bunch of cars in front. Obviously popular. I’ll wait. I have no other plans today. In fact I enjoy watching the barbers attacking and hacking at the hair of their clients. It seems all of them always take off a bit more than asked. I wonder if I should ask for a ‘long’ flattop so I don’t end up bald? Nah! That would sound stupid. If I’m going to do this I might as well do it right.
I walk into the shop, overcome by all the noise as three barbers are all hard at work, clippers whining. It has the familiar smell of talc and old time hair tonic. The wood chairs to wait on are old and uncomfortable. A ball game is on the television (black and white!), and old ruffled sports and car magazines sit scattered on an end table. No attempt to make it all neat and orderly. I’m already loving this shop.

The walls are nearly barren! Some old pictures of ‘celebrity’ clients who no one has ever heard of, and a few ancient oil paintings that probably cost about $5 each, (and that’s including the frames) are all that adorn the walls. Besides the mirror that runs the length of the wall by the barbers, there are no other mirrors in the place. The clients are all currently facing away from the mirror into nothingness. Obviously that criteria would hold true in this shop. My nerves get a little more tense and my hands feel clammy as I realize this might be the day.
I look at the other gentlemen all waiting (not a woman in the place). I feel so young compared to most, as they all look to be in their 50’s or more. Even though I’m 40 now most people still don’t figure I’m much over 30. I’ve stayed in shape, though it’s getting harder each day to do so. These men all look their age. There look to be five people ahead of me. I figure at least a 30 minute wait. I head for a seat, trying not to show how incredibly nervous I’ve become.

All three barber look up and either say ‘hello’ or nod in greeting. I get Goosebumps looking at them, as they all look straight out of an old movie. If I wanted to cast the ‘typical’ old time barber I’d have a tough time finding better qualified looking individuals. They all look to be 50 or older, with graying hair held in place with some type of greasy tonic.
I was home! If I was going to do it, this was the place. It didn’t matter to me which barber I got. Any of them looked to be the perfect barber for my scenario. As I prepared to sit down I look at my reflection in the big mirror. My hair looks so very long now. I reach up to touch it in back. I can easily grab huge handfuls of length. It probably could make a small ponytail again, or at least it seems like it. My bangs fall into my eyes, almost like a dare to ask for the cut and send them falling to the floor. I quickly try to imagine myself in a flattop and, as usual, can’t.
I sit and try to make myself seem comfortable as I waited my turn, constantly wondering if I will have the nerve to say it when the time comes. Much of me is begging not to go through with it. It seems to be a very even battle raging in my mind.

The clients on the chairs now are done almost too quickly, or so it seems. None of them sport flattops. But all of them end up with hair shorter than they would have received in a salon. A lot shorter. These barbers don’t mess around. Again I start wondering if I should ask for a ‘long flattop’. Would such a think exist in here?
Three new clients are in the chair. The barbers work fairly quickly, but make sure they aren’t so fast that they do a sloppy job. I can appreciate that. Unfortunately none of these clients are getting a flattop either. I was hoping I could watch one in progress. By the look of the other two men ahead of me they won’t be getting one either. Of course looking at me you wouldn’t expect me to ask for a flattop. Oh God I am nervous! Should I do it? There’s really no reason not to now if I truly want to go through with this. I figure I only have another 10 minutes or so to wait.
One of the barbers is done already! Of course the old guy he just finished was basically bald to begin with, so he didn’t really have much to do. Still, my moment of reckoning is coming up fast. Phew! The barber is taking a break for lunch. I’ll have a bit more time.

The middle barber finishes. With two ahead of me odds are I’ll end up in his chair, unless the first barber returns in record time. One of the two ahead of me mounts the chair and gives directions. Shucks, no flattop again. Just a trim.

The third barber is really taking it off of the guy in his chair. He doesn’t look like he’ll end up with much hair left. Some kind of crew cut I guess.
I have to smile. The guy in the middle chair is getting a cut like I did for Halloween so many years ago. Short sides and back, long on top, and slicked over hard with a side part. I wonder if the barber will put some kind of grease on his hair?

The third barber finishes up. The last man in front of me mounts the chair. He’s not getting a flattop either. I start deliberating about not getting one until I see how proficient they are on someone else first. Stop it you coward! Just go for it. You may never get a chance like this. If I come back to this same shop in a couple of months for the cut it will lose some of its sense of adventure. To really run the whole gamut of excitement it needs to be here and now.

Another client walks in the door and has a seat. He looks to be about my age. His hair is already really short. I wonder what he’s here for?
It looks like the middle chair will be my destination after all as I figured. This guy’s ‘trim’ looks pretty severe to me. Yet he doesn’t seem to mind the huge clumps of clippings dropping to the floor. Part of me wants to just ask for that Halloween look again. No! I hated how I looked, and growing it out was sheer hell. Just go ahead and ask for the flattop.
But it’s a flattop! It’ll be really short! If I don’t like it there will be no way to disguise it! Maybe that’s what most worries me. Once I get one I’m stuck for a pretty long time. Even that Halloween cut could be disguised a bit in about a month. A flattop will take a good deal longer than that I figure. But wait! With my natural wave it might only last a matter of weeks. I wouldn’t be stuck after all! Have some balls and go for it.

Oh no! The guy in the middle chair is done. Sure enough the barber did apply some type of oil to his hair. His hair is now plastered down tight and glossy to his head. That cut sure brings back memories. I wonder if anyone saw the grin on my face watching the client transformed into a greaser. The barber is quickly paid, and I’m just about to get up when the barber heads to the back room. Was I going to end up with the third barber? He looks to be about half way done with his present client. He was really taking it off the back. I unconsciously run my hand through my hair again. It seems longer still than when I walked through the door, and wavier too.
The middle barber comes back in, broom in hand, and quickly sweeps up the area around his chair, and as a courtesy the area around the other two barbers too. I see his nametag says Fred.
Fred! Sounds like a good name for a barber.

As he starts heading back to put the broom away he looks at me.

“Go ahead and have a seat. I’ll be right with you.” Then he disappears in the back.

I stand up trying to mask my nervousness. I take a good last look at myself in the mirror. God my hair looked shaggy. I certainly am due for a trim. But a flattop! That would mean losing almost all of my hair.

I sit down in the chair and nervously run my hand through my hair, still not sure what I will say when asked. The wall in front of me is totally barren. Not even a picture frame with glass that could reflect a silhouette of my image. I won’t get to see any of this. But then that is what I want, isn’t it?

Fred returns by my side and snaps the robe around me, fastening the tissue perhaps a bit too tight around my neck. As soon as my hands are covered I death grip the arms of the big old chair. I hear him walk to his counter and take out a new comb from that big jar of combs floating in blue liquid. I always wonder what that liquid is. It sure has a distinct smell to it, and it leaves that smell on your hair. Actually that is kind of a fun part of barbershops, strange as it sounds.

He starts combing through my hair, tugging a bit as the slight curls are smoothed through. “What’ll it be today?” he asks as he works his way around, combing my bangs back a bit to one side so they no longer fall in my face.

“A flattop.” The words somehow come out though I don’t remember saying them. But they come out somehow. I sit in shock a bit that I actually said them. Then I wait to hear him say my wavy hair won’t work in a flattop.

“Very well,” he says as he finished combing through all the tangles. Then he stops and returns to his counter of tools.

Oh my God I said it! I can’t believe it. How many seconds do I have now to back out before it’s too late? Is he going to ask me how long or short of a flattop I want?

The clippers roar to life.

Obviously not.

He stands behind me and puts one hand on my head, leveling it out and making sure I hold still. I’m looking straight ahead, frozen, knowing I have only moments before this becomes a reality. My heart is pounding. My hands are moist with sweat. I take a deep breath and hold back the urge to change my mind.

The clippers are placed on my neck just above my collar and pushed up just an inch or two. I hear them hit hair and carve into it. I can feel that a sizeable chunk was just removed. My neck feels a bit cooler already.

He removes the clipper and starts in again at the base of my neck, a little to the right of where he just attacked. Another chunk is hacked off. I figure I still have time to change my mind, or at least ask for a ‘real long’ flattop. Right now all I’m stuck with is a taper in back.

Another pass, and another, and another. As best I can tell I no longer have any hair reaching over my collar. My neck feels exposed. I’m enjoying this so far. My heart rate is still increasing. I can feel it pounding in my ears.

The clippers are starting to extend up the back of my head now. I can feel them tight to my skin. Still not too late to chicken out, but I’m quickly running out of time. I can tell it’s already as short as that Halloween cut in back.

Oh God! The clippers are running high now. It feels like they went clear to the top up the back. Say something you fool! You don’t really want this! You’re going to be bald! You’ll look like a fool for a long, long time!

He’s going over and over the back still. The sound of hair falling is diminishing. It almost feels a bit like a massage the way it’s running up and down now. My head feels so very different now. But the hair falling over my ears and towards my eyes fool me into thinking little has happened thus far. A big part of me wishes I could see what has happened back there. Or better yet, a video of the entire thing. That would be great!

The clippers are on my left side now, starting at the front. I close my eyes as I feel the hair covering my ear quickly peeled away. I open them just in time to see a handful of hair fall in front of them down the apron to my lap. Wow! I didn’t realize how long it was. These hairs look nearly six inches long. The clippers are hugging my head ever so tight. I can’t believe I’m doing this. They’re reaching high and higher. Isn’t that too high? I’d swear it is. He did hear me ask for a flattop and not a buzz cut, didn’t he? My mouth is dry. Nothing can come out even if I wanted to. I’m just glad he isn’t trying to carry on a conversation. I don’t think I could without sounding like an idiot. It is so strange right now, all my senses on such high alert. My eyes are darting around trying to sneak a look. Not a chance. Nothing to do but grin and bear it.

The right side is being subdued now. I see more hair fall to my lap. It looks so very curly. I can’t believe I’ll actually end up with a flattop that actually stands up straight. Part of me hopes it won’t work, so I’ll walk out of here with clearly shorter hair, but with no one knowing I’ve got a flattop. The waves and curls will hide it.

No! I want it standing up straight, damn it! I want to experience the feel of running my hand over a level, prickly surface. What a great thrill that will be.

The right side feels basically done now. My ears are tingling. I can feel some small stray hairs tickling them now. They aren’t used to being exposed. What a peculiar sensation. I better get used to it.

The clippers are shut off. Now what?! The barber brings a whisk broom and quickly flicks away all the stray hairs. I seem them falling every which way. The feel of the broom against the sides and back is so very unusual. How much hair is left now? I can still feel all the length on top, and my bangs are falling in my eyes once again. I really want to reach up and explore things with my hand.

The broom stops. Silence again. What next? The top? I wonder if a flattop FEELS like a flattop? Will my head feel level? Will my hair feel like it’s standing straight up? The clippers return to life. I guess

I’ll find out soon.

Not yet. He’s going over the back again. I hear more hair coming off. Is he going even shorter? He seems to be pretty much just concentrating on the lower half. Does a flattop taper up the back? I don’t think so, but I don’t know.

He’s working on the sides again. Shorter still. Folding down my ears so he can get in there real good. I don’t know if I have anything left. Should I ask how short he is going? No! Don’t be a sissy. Just let this happen and enjoy it.

The clippers are silenced again. I hear them being hung up by the counter. My bangs are poking hard in my left eye. It’s really annoying. I want to reach up and push them back, or at least shake my head, but I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize this haircut.

Fred returns, comb and scissors in hand. He combs up my bangs and quickly slices into them. Some return falling forward again, but nowhere near long enough to bother my eyes again. He works quickly but steadily back through my top hair. I can feel it quickly being reduced in mass, though it doesn’t seem short at all. Maybe I was going to end up with a ‘long’ flattop after all, even without asking. I find part of me wants to ask for a short flattop. Shut up! Just let it happen. Just let it happen.

He stops cutting. I hear the scissors and comb returned to the counter with a loud clack. Now what? I can’t be done. I’m sure my hair isn’t a flattop. But maybe it is. Maybe it won’t feel anything like it looks.

Water! He’s spraying water on my head. It feels so very cool, especially on the sides and back where it is dripping straight down. No hair left to slow its fall. He towels off the sides and back, rubbing my ears ever so quickly to remove the excess moisture. All is quiet again.

A blow dryer comes to life. I’m almost disappointed that a barber shop would utilize such a ‘modern day’ appliance. What did they do in the ‘old days’ before blow dryers when someone asked for this cut. He starts brushing through my top hair as the dryer hits it. He tugs at it a bit, brushing it this way and that. I figure he’s trying to straighten it all out. Good luck. It’s not going to happen.

Any second now I’ll be told this style isn’t for me. What’ll I do then? What choices do I have with the back and sides now so clearly void of hair?

I’m enjoying the sensation of all that hair up there. It still must be quite long by the feel of it. Do I get to keep all that, or is more still due to come off?

The dryer is shut off and returned to the counter. My hair feels really strange now. I can’t feel any bangs against my forehead any more. Did he actually straighten out all those waves so quickly? I had never been able to straighten out my hair before, though I had tried many a time, and used a great deal of gels and stuff in the effort. Was it really that easy to do? I must really be incompetent with it. Maybe I’m done. Maybe I’m now sporting a perfect flattop. I’m anxiously waiting to see in the mirror. I bob my head up and down a bit, trying to feel if the hair truly is standing up straight.

The barber returns to my left side and puts one large hand on my head, stopping all the movement. He tilts it just so.
“Now keep your head very still,” he says. Obviously there is more to come up there. I obey with a focus of a man holding a bomb that would go off with the slightest of movements. My hands are white-knuckling the armrests.

The clippers clack on once more, and I feel a large comb lift up my front hairs. The clippers then run over the comb. I can hear the steel meeting plastic. A wave of hair rains forward of my face. Not too long of clippings. Maybe an inch in length at most.

He works his way steadily to the back. Comb lifts and clipper makes a run. Soon he is all the way back and runs out of head to work on. Is that it? Is it now a flattop? I try to feel it. It feels different. Shorter. But I can’t say it feels flat.

He comes forward again, repeating the procedure. More hair rains on me, some stopping on my nose. I try and wiggle it off. It won’t go that easy. The comb and clipper combo is still working its way back. I can tell it is getting quite short up there. Now it definitely feels different.

Fred starts yet another pass. This time I feel the comb lying directly against my head, and the clipper running tight over the comb. My eyes open wide. Any thoughts of ending up with a ‘long’ flattop are now gone. I wonder if I’ll have any hair left at all. I want to speak up in opposition of what I just felt, but don’t. What difference would it make? Just let it happen.

Damn this is fun!

The comb continues to lie tight against my head all the way back. Now my haircut definitely feels different. The very top is now quite cool. I can feel the breeze from the ceiling fan on the top of my head.

He’s now attacking the sides again, holding the comb vertically quite tight to my head first, then running the clippers over it. He’s doing it over and over again. It definitely changes the feel of this cut. It feels like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. I can’t say it absolutely feels like my hair is now a level surface, but then again it might. I’m both enjoying this and fearing it at the same time. But my hands are no longer in a death grip.

The clipper is constantly going over and over the back and sides. This barber certainly is very thorough. He spends a lot of time in the back at my crown. It feels like he’s taking it down to nothing at all. This worries me quite a bit. Then the clipper stops and he stands out in front of me about 6 feet, studying his creation. He snaps on the clipper yet again and works on the top some more. I feel more hair fall, wondering where it is all coming from. Lastly, he drastically shortens my sideburns. They feel like they basically don’t exist any more.

Finally, mercifully, the clipper is returned to its hook. I anxiously believe I am done. The Wisk broom returns, removing all the stray clippings, including the stubborn ones on the end of my nose. I hear a strange noise like a blender, and then Fred is back behind me putting shaving cream all along my lower hairline and around my ears. It feels quite warm, nearly hot, and the odor is strong. This is great!

He expertly removes it all with a straight razor, toweling me off when finished. Then he goes back to his counter. I hear a jar being opened. I know my hair is now far shorter than it has ever been before. I should be worried now, but for some reason I’m not. I’m just so happy I’m finally done it and experienced this whole production. It certainly lived up to my hopes.

He is back again, depositing some kind of very pungent product on my hair. But he’s not really massaging it in like he would with hair grease. Rather just lightly placing it on, and just on the upper half where I figure I still have some hair to apply it to. His hands gently pat the top and sides like he was molding bread dough. I can truly tell by the feel of it I now have a flattop. I’m truly excited, wondering just how short it is, if it is truly flat and straight, and what I look like.

He goes back to his counter and washes his hands in the sink. Then he comes back with a scissor and does just a couple of quick little snips on top. I don’t feel or hear any hair actually being cut, but he spends a couple of minutes with this. I appreciate the effort he is putting in. I’ll give him a good size tip even if I don’t like my reflection.
He puts down the clipper.

“OK sir, see if this looks short enough for you.” The chair slowly turns.

I see my reflection now. I don’t recognize myself. I look far different than I imagined. I don’t know if I like it or hate it. It’s just too different to say right now.

But I am sporting an absolutely level flattop. The top hairs are rigid, and standing straight up. I’ve never seen my hair completely straight before, though I’ve tried to make it so a fair number of times. I didn’t think it possible. Obviously I was mistaken. The sight of it like this tells me so. My head now has an entirely different shape to it. I swallow hard. It is probably a bit shorter than I figured it would be. The sides are extremely short. The top hair looks quite long by comparison. I look down slightly and note it gets extremely short near the back, basically right to the scalp. He gives me a hand mirror and shows me the back. It matches the sides and runs clear up to the top. From the back I don’t look like I’m wearing a flattop. I look basically bald. Well, not that bad, but perhaps like I was bald a few weeks ago, and it has started growing out.

Of course from the front it is obvious I’m wearing a flattop. I touch the top a bit, noting how little hair I have left, and how the feel of the hair, slightly moist from whatever product he put in it, is absolutely arousing. It not only feels straight and short, but it feels thicker and denser.

“I can take it down further if you’d like, but I figured this was a good length for you. Any longer and your curls wouldn’t let it happen.”
“Would it make a difference in how it looks if I went shorter?”

“Not really. It will just last longer before you need to get it cut again. At this length you probably need to come in every two weeks for a touch up. Shorter and you could go for a month.”

Though part of me wants to experience even more coming off, most of me is still in shock over how different I look now. Right now I don’t want to be stuck with this style any longer than necessary, so I thank him for the offer but say I am happy with this. I pay him, tipping him well, and am out the door.

When I sit in my car I am trembling. I’m just looking at it through the rear view mirror, constantly touching it. I don’t know what I think of the look, but my hands adore the feel of it, and I’m glad I did this. The whole experience could easily become addictive. If I decide to keep this I need to come back in only two weeks. I don’t know if I can decide on keeping it in that amount of time.
My girlfriend Cristi loves it, constantly touching it and complimenting it. The feel of her hand on it is totally arousing. We have fantastic sex.

The next morning I shower and wash whatever the product was out of my hair. It is totally dry by the time I’ve toweled it off. It immediately goes back to shape, yet it looks even shorter now. The touch of it feels much different now. It is slightly prickly on the ends, and that feels absolutely exhilarating. All throughout the day I find myself touching it. It disguises the shape of my head so well I’m nearly convinced I truly have a flat head.

People at work really don’t comment about my hair. Of course since I’m in a hard hat they might not have noticed, but they surely must see that my ears are no longer covered, and that the back is so short. But they’re construction workers after all. What did I expect?

It’s been days now. I’m perplexed. I love the feel of it, even the look of it, but am not sold with the look on me. Cristi of course loves it. It’s cool the way it goes right into shape each morning.
It’s been a week since the cut. The sides and back are clearly growing out. I’ve decided I really don’t like the haircut on me. It sure was fun getting one though.
Sure enough after two weeks my curls start showing themselves. The top tries to start curving now. I use a blow dryer and with a little effort the flattop is back. Strange that I’ve decided not to renew the cut, yet here I am prolonging the days I’m sporting it.

One month has passed. I can’t make it stand up straight any more. I guess that’s OK. It still looks a bit odd. I can tell it once was a flattop. The sides and back feel almost long to me now, even though I can hardly grab them with my fingers. Do I grow it out now? Not much choice by the way I figure.

I’m missing the feel of the clippers. I want to experience the whole flattop cut again. I know it will still be different since I know how it works now, and what I’ll end up looking like, but I want it again. What if I have him go shorter? That would be different. A little scary.

But why get a haircut that I know I don’t like. Is the joy of the experience (and Cristi’s obvious pleasure) worth it? I don’t know. I don’t think so.

Two months later. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used gel and a blow dryer to reshape the flattop. It won’t happen. Not even close. My hair seems extremely curly now. I guess with it so short it does that now naturally. I don’t think it looks very good. Cristi has come out and asked me to cut it again. I didn’t respond, but could feel the clippers again in my mind. It felt so good.

Three months later. It’s looking pretty shabby now, but with my blow dryer I can make it look very nice. I find myself playing with it at night. I’ve given up on the flattop but play with a side part again. I bought some Brylcreem and grease it down like a few Halloweens ago. It doesn’t really look the same but it is fun. I go to sleep with it like that. I’m torn. I want it longer now, a lot longer, but I also want to go back into that shop and get it cut again. Cristi keeps dropping reminders on how much she loved me in a flattop.

Four months later. My hair, though it still has a few inches to go, has basically grown back into my old style. I don’t like it. I look stupid. I wonder if there is any style I look good in. I want to cut it again. It will be so fun again, feeling it all come off. I’ve decided to get a flattop again. I tell Cristi and she is so very happy. She asks if I’ll keep it this time. I don’t know. “We’ll see,” I tell her.
I go back to the shop. It’s busy again. The center barber recognizes me and gives a familiar “hello.” I nod back to him.

I’m not going to end up with him this time. It’s clear I’m going to end up with the barber on the left. That’s OK. He’s obviously competent and it will be a bit more fun at the hands of a stranger. In fact he’s cutting a flattop right now with his current customer. My God this one is short! Quite a bit shorter than the one I had. Not the sides and back so much, but on the top. The back portion of his head is showing basically nothing but bare scalp. The front hairs still show a very level flattop, but they are only about half as long as the one I had. This must be the shorter version Fred told me about. My nerves are on full alert as I contemplate getting mine this way. I really shouldn’t, because I don’t like how I look in a flattop. I’ll be stuck with the look even longer. But I’m really seriously thinking about it. I touch my hair. It’s so long now. I realize this time in the shop is going to be every bit as exciting as the first time.

The man in front of me is done. I stare at his hair as he walks off the chair. It is REALLY SHORT! SCARY SHORT! No way do I want mine so drastically short. The top of his crown looks absolutely bald. I have no intention of leaving here bald.

I sit in the chair.

“Hello sir, I’m Dan. What can I do for you today?”

“I’d like another flattop.” It came out so much easier this time.

He starts combing through my hair. “You’ve had a flattop before?”

“Yeah, some time ago. Fred did it for me.”

“All right. A basic short flattop then?”

These were the questions I imagined the first time. I need an answer. Or do I? Maybe I should just let him do it and see how I end up. That sounds like a great idea.
“That would be fine,” I tell him, and then grip the chair as the action began. What have I done? What am I asking for? How short is ‘a basic short flattop’?

It is like last time, a totally joyful experience. He goes in the same pattern as Fred had done. His touch is similar too. I can’t tell if the sides are any shorter or not than last time, though I am almost disappointed when it is clear he was through running the clipper over and over it.

The top feels different though. I think it is shorter. In fact I’d bet on it. It starts out feeling the same, but in the end he is using just the clipper, instead of clipper over comb. I can feel the clipper directly against my head at times. It is totally arousing to feel that. Several times he stands back and studies his handiwork before coming back and slicing off still a bit more. He seems even more focused on achieving perfection than Fred had been, and that’s saying a lot.

The same product goes on my hair, patted into place, and then I am handed the small hand mirror instead of turning to see the big mirror. There is that reflection again. The familiar level top, super straight at attention. I smile. I realize I missed this look, and now like a good friend it is back. It does look a bit shorter than last time, but hard to tell without feeling it. The sides and back are exactly as before. For some reason I don’t look at the very top of my head beyond noting it is nice and flat. I stand, certain this is the same cut as last time, and pay and tip Dan well. My heart rate still hasn’t come down from the whole adventure. God how I love this.

Then I look at myself in the mirror with my head tilted down slightly and see it. A bare strip of smooth skin, approximately an inch wide, running nearly all the way from the front to the back is clearly visible. There wasn’t anything remotely like this last time. I touch the top discovering it is far shorter than last time. This cut matches the person in front of me, except I figure the different shape of our heads has resulted in a different pattern of exposed skin. I hadn’t really liked the way his had turned out. It made him look like he had a huge bald spot. But on me I’m not sure. The barber notices me touching it.

“You got the perfect shaped head for a flattop. Not often you see a ‘landing strip’ turn out like that.”

I smile. A ‘landing strip’ he called it. A fitting name.

I fondle my new cut the entire drive home. The top is both frightening and exciting. I spend a good about of time just studying the look in the mirror. Then I wash out the product from the style and watch it immediately go into the flattop, looking even shorter since it hasn’t been tugged into shape with a blowdryer. The feel of it is awesome.
Cristi is almost crazy wild about it. The sex is incredible.

People at work even comment on it this time. “Nice haircut.” From a construction worker that is high praise indeed. I don’t get it. Maybe I should keep this after all. I’m not so sure about this landing strip thing though.

One week later. The landing strip is filling in nicely, and it’s starting to resemble the length Fred cut it, though it’s still a bit shorter on top. I love how it feels.

Two weeks later. It looks the same now as my first flattop. I’m starting to believe I actually look good in this cut. The landing strip is now filled in. I’m wondering if that is good or bad news.

Four weeks since I got it cut. It’s getting to look very long now, though it still naturally goes back into a flattop. Cristi asked if I’m going to keep it or not. I think I am, though I kind of want to see it even longer as it’s more fun having more hair sliced off at the barbers, and seeing a more drastic change in the before and after.

Six weeks later. I have to work at it to keep a flattop. This morning it’s not cooperating. I need a haircut. This weekend I’ll get it done again.

I walk in the shop bright and early Saturday morning. Despite the hour I still have to wait. I get Dan again. He remembers me. “Been a while since your last cut. Another flattop?”
I nod my head almost too eagerly.

He combs through my hair a bit. “The basic one like last time?”

I was hoping he would ask. I’m feeling daring, or perhaps just desiring a bit of the unknown like both previous times in this shop.
“Is there something a bit shorter? Not a whole lot shorter, but one that can make the….landing strip come out a bit more?”

The barber grins a bit. “I think I can manage that.”

My adrenalin pump throughout the cut feels great, especially as I feel him putting the finishing touches on top. I can clearly feel him making the landing strip this time, as opposed to the surprise of last time. I hope this wasn’t a mistake. Oh well, in a few weeks it will grow out. I’ll survive.

I’m handed the mirror. “Short enough for you?” the barber asks.

The sides are clearly a bit shorter, though there is still some stubble there which is a relief. I didn’t want smooth shiny skin glaring at the world. The top is once again standing straight and level. I love it. It doesn’t really look much shorter than last time. This time I study the top, amazed at what I see. The landing strip is certainly more pronounced. It’s a good two inches wide this time, twice as big as the last cut. And the hair that is left up there is super short. If it weren’t for the front ridge I’d look practically bald.

“That’s about as big a landing strip as I can make unless you want to end up with a horseshoe,” the barber comments.

“What’s a ‘horseshoe’,” I ask, unsure if I want to hear this.

“The absolute shortest flattop.”

I stare at my reflection, wondering how this could be any shorter. “How much shorter is that then what I have now?”

“Quite a bit actually. The sides and back would be shaved perfectly smooth, and the top would only be about ¼ inch long.” He touched the top of my hair as he described the cut. “The top part right here would literally look like a horseshoe. You’d no longer have a landing strip. Instead all this would be gone.”

Wow, it would be a lot shorter! It sounds way too short. So why is it sounding so thrilling to me?

“Did you want to give it a try?” he asks.

I’m amazed I actually consider it for a second. What am I doing? Most of me thinks my hair is already too short. I stare in the mirror. My God the landing strip is huge!

“I don’t think so,” I reply. I pay and leave the shop, loving the now familiar look in the mirror, and the feel of it being so crisp. For some reason I adore the feel of my hand against the large landing strip.

Cristi of course is in heaven. She readily approves of the shorter version I’m now sporting.

This one will last months if I want. I know I won’t wait so long any more to get it cut. I really like the landing strip.

Two weeks later, and the landing strip is starting to fill in. I don’t want to see it gone. I head back to the shop.
Maybe I should try the Horseshoe? After all, it will grow out in a couple of weeks if I don’t like it.
I get the third Barber this time, Steve. My heart is pumping again. No mirror, new barber, what the heck.

“Another flattop?” he asks.

“Yeah. This time make it a horseshoe,” I say. I can’t believe it. I’m going to basically be bald and I’m looking forward to it.

“Coming right up,” he says approvingly.

Pulse and heart rate are up. I grip the armrests. This is going to be fun!

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