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Bob by A Recruit
Bob was one of the students in the department here at the college. I had had him in a couple of courses and most recently in a directed study course involving computer interfacing-a one-on-one situation. In other words, we knew each other a little better than the usual student-professor relationship. (And, NO!, not a “relationship” in the sexual sense. I am happily married and Bob was engaged.)
As far as hair was concerned, I was shaving my head daily, had been for a couple of years. Bob was not one of my favorite viewing subjects. He had bright blond hair which was always long. The first year, it was just collar length; then he grew it out to a pony tail for most of a year; got it cut fairly short-for him, that is (maybe 5 or 6 inches). His senior year he never had it cut. It started out long and got longer, so it was probably 2-3 inches around the edges and maybe 8 or 9 on top. Hair always neatly combed and clean.
One Friday afternoon in early spring I was sitting in my office, doing something or other on my computer when Bob stepped in. He seemed a bit embarrassed, and after a bit of small talk finally got to the point, “If I wanted to shave my head, how should I do it? I thought I would ask you since you certainly must know.” Well, My jaw must have dropped a mile. Of all the students on campus, Bob was the last guy I would have expected to ask that question. “Do you really want to do it? I mean, are you planning to shave your head? Why do you want to do that?”, I stammered. “It’s something I have always wanted to do, A bunch of my friends shaved theirs in high school, but I didn’t get to do it. I just think I want to try it.”
I regained my composure and explained the usual drill; clippers, shaving cream, etc. “Do you have a pair of clippers?” Bob shook his head. “I was thinking of using scissors” “You really need clippers. Maybe you can borrow a pair. Actually I have a pair you can use if you want. When are you planning to do the deed?” “I was going to do it Sunday” “Well, it’s Friday now, and I won’t be in the office tomorrow, but I can drop them off for you Sunday some time. How about right after lunch, say 1:30?” “Sounds good. I’ll meet you here or in the lab upstairs.” “Ok, Bob, see you then, Oh, if you want me to use them on you, I’ll be happy do do it”, I threw in on a sudden thought. Bob grinned,”Would you? That might be better than doing it myself. I might lose my nerve if I have to do it!” Would I? You bet I would. But I kept things under control, “We’ll see how it works out on Sunday. Don’t stand me up. You can have second thoughts, but at least show up!” “I’ll be here.”
Well, that was one for the books! Longhaired, hair freak Bob shaving his head! No way he’ll go through with it. But there is a chance he might, I suppose, so I had better be prepared. He wouldn’t have asked me about it if he wasn’t somewhat serious.
Sunday I got a box and put the clippers in it. I put the attachments in just in case Bob only chickened out partway. I also put in my can of shaving foam and a couple of disposable razors just in case he didn’t chicken out at all. I got to the office a little early-the place was deserted as one would expect on a Sunday, but Bob wasn’t there either. Oh well. I sat around for a while and about 10 minutes past I decided to forget it. I was just about to leave when I heard someone coming down the hall and Bob came into the office. “I was beginning to think you had got cold feet!” “No, church just ran a little long. Did you bring the clippers?” “Still going to go through with it?” “Yes! I thought about it ever since we talked and I’m ready. Are you still willing to do it for me? I don’t know if I could do it myself or not.”
I looked at him, “Are you really sure you want to do this? It’ll take most of a year to grow back the hair you have got.” Bob nodded. “Ok, lets get started-we can do it in my back lab where we won’t be interrupted.” I led the way, flipped on the lights and dragged a stool into the middle of the floor. “There isn’t any mirror in here. If you want to watch, we will have to go somewhere else or go find a mirror.” “That’s ok, I don’t need to watch. Get started before I change my mind.” “Do you want to change your mind? Last chance!” Bob took a deep breath, “No, do it!” I tossed the piece of a sheet that I had brought over his shoulders and flipped on the clippers. He had so much hair that it was hard to decide where to start. He had carefully parted his hair, so the part line seemed like a good starting place. I put the clippers down on his forehead and slowly pushed them back below the part. The weight of his long hair made the locks fall away as the clippers moved along, leaving a stubbly stripe behind. Bob reached his hand up to touch his head, “I have a bald spot here below the part. I guess it’s bigger now, isn’t it!” I laughed and went to work to make it even bigger. Rather than starting down low and pushing the clippers up through his mop, I worked my way down, running the clippers sideways along his head, so the hair just fell away. a couple of passes in front of and behind his ear, the left side of his head was just microscopic stubble, with the big shock of blonde hair arching away from the former part line and down the back of his head.
I decided to work my way across the back, so I put the clippers at the top of the baldness and pushed them across the back of Bob’s head. Again the hair fell away from its own weight as I made successive passes, lower and lower. The right side was a little different, since the top hair hung so far down the side of his head. The clippers sort of disappeared as they ran back. Lots of hair fell away, but the baldness didn’t show. Pretty soon that side was bare under the mop that fell over it. I didn’t ask if he wanted to reconsider and go with a high and tight--I was having too much fun! I went to the other side and started raising the part line, about half an inch at a time, lifting off the strands of hair as they came free with my other hand. Again and again the clippers marched across the top of Bob’s head, reducing it to tiny stubble. Finally, the last line of long locks fell to the clippers and his head was clipped to tiny bristles.
The sideways clipping had left a few shaggy spots, so, with my hand firmly on top of his sandpapery head I ran the clippers up the sides and back, getting rid of all the stragglers. “Ok, Bob, that’s that!” He put his hands up and rubbed them over his skull. “Wow! It’s rougher than I thought it would be!” “That’s easily remedied! Go get your head wet at the sink.” I pulled the sheet off his shoulders and the hair on it joined the huge pile on the floor. Bob got his head wet and sat down again. I squirted a big blob of foam in the middle of his scalp, like a topknot, and spread it around.
Then the razor. I wanted to see what happened, so I would wipe off most of the foam from each stubbly patch before I slid the blade over it. Like magic the tiny hairs vanished, leaving silky smooth scalp behind. I took my time with my first (and maybe only) chance to shave someone’s head, other than my own. All too soon Bob was shaved bald. I had done a neat job-no nicks and no rough microscopic stubble patches. His head was perfectly smooth, and he looked great. No lumps or bumps, no ‘ridgepole’; ears didn’t stick out, and since it was only early spring, not much of a color change. “Ok Bob, that’s it! You can’t get any more shaved than this! Go take a look!
He almost jogged down the hall to the washroom and stayed a long time while I swept up the big pile of his former glory. Finally he came back, rubbing his head and with a big grin. “I love it!! It’s even better than I imagined it might be. I just hope my fiance doesn’t freak out when she sees it. I told her I was going to do it and she didn’t try to talk me out of it, so maybe it will be ok. I’m definitely going to keep it for a while. Thanks for shaving it for me.” “My pleasure, Bob!” and I really meant that!
Bob kept his head smoothly shaved through graduation. I met his parents at the reception and his mother jokingly accused me of being an influence on her son. I don’t think she knew the whole story. I haven’t seen Bob since he graduated, though another faculty member reported meeting him at a party. With hair, unfortunately, but how much hair I don’t know.