A Number of Mistakes
Part One of the Mistake Series
It was early on a Saturday morning and the spring breeze was blowing through the window of the car. I was taking my son, Matt, to the barber for his monthly cut. He was never too keen on going as the barber that my husband chose was notorious for giving haircuts shorter than asked for. My husband was also a customer of Jimmy’s Barber Shop and always wore his hair stylishly short.
I had been to the shop several times, as my husband was frequently out of town on business and left it up to me to see to the task. Matt was six this year and was hoping his father would let him wear his hair slightly longer, but to no avail.
“It’s a buzz cut for you young man until I say different.” My husband commented at his meek request.
Matt was very fair-haired as I am, and when the barber clipped his hair so short it appeared that he was essentially bald. I know my husband expected him to have the “number-one buzz” as he called it and it really left nothing behind.
Recently, however, I found that my trips to Jimmy’s were not entirely without some reward, as I had discovered that I enjoyed watching men get their hair cut. It was a fascinating process, completely different than my salon cuts.
As I guided Matt through the doorway, we took our seat along the side wall, between two other men. They were engrossed in their magazines and the man in the barber’s chair was being clipped short by Jimmy.
“Mommy, you forgot to take a number,” Matt announced. Jimmy had recently installed a number pad on the wall next to the coat rack, and as we were not wearing any coats I had forgotten. “Can it get it?” He asked.
I nodded, and he made his way over to the door, tearing off a number just barely within his reach. He returned, smiling, seemingly forgetting the haircut he was about to get.
“I’m number 17,” he said, and the smile suddenly ran away from his face. I could see that he was not looking forward to his haircut by his face.
“Don’t be sad sweetheart, you’ll look good, and besides, it’s getting warmer now and it will feel better.” My comments didn’t seem to raise his spirits. None of the magazines on the rack were of any interest to me, so I settled in to watch Jimmy cut hair.
The man in the chair was in his teens and was getting a very short cut. Jimmy was running the clippers up the back and sides of his head with no plastic guide on them at all. I felt that warm sensation I then got as I watched his scalp appear behind the path of the clippers. To my surprise, Jimmy didn’t switch over to scissors for the top but instead simply ran the clippers over the young man’s head, in what seemed like all directions.
“There you go. Short enough for you?” The man nodded nervously as he saw me watching, running his hand self-consciously over his shorn head. He paid Jimmy and swiftly left the shop. “Fifteen!”
The next two haircuts were nothing remarkable, and certainly not as exciting as the first one I had witnessed. I was getting a little bored in fact by the time Matt’s number was called.
“Seventeen,” Jimmy called out, as two men stepped into the shop and took their seats adjacent to me. “Well, hello there, Matt. How are you today?” Jimmy smiled and motioned for Matt to step up to the chair.
“Look Mommy, I took two by mistake.” He handed me a page with the number “18” on it. Not really thinking about it, I took the number from him and scooted him up to the chair.
“The usual?” Jimmy asked. “A number one buzz?”
“Yes, please.” I sat back down in my seat and watched Jimmy peel the hair off my son’s head. It seemed shorter than usual and as I was about to say something when Jimmy turned to me.
“Got some new clippers this month. They cut a little closer than the old ones, so a number one may seem a little short.” He continued to shear Matt’s head over and over until he had reduced his light blonde hair to stubble. Shutting off the clippers, he hung them on the hook below the counter and grabbed another, smaller set. Using these clippers, he worked on the sides and back, higher and higher until he was satisfied with the cut.
Matt was pretty much bald by the time Jimmy had finished, save for a shadow of hair that remained on his crown. As Matt stepped down from the chair, he felt his head and moped a little, realizing that nothing was really left of his blonde hair.
“It’s pretty short, Mommy.” I got a closer look at the way it was cut, and it was indeed very short.
“Don’t worry sweetie, it’ll grow out in no time.” There was no sense in arguing the fact that it was way too short. It was done. I opened my purse, but before I reached inside, the barber called in my direction.
“Eighteen.” Jimmy was looking directly at me, and I realized that I was holding the number in my hand. “That’s you.” He said, almost mockingly.
“This was just a mistake. Matt grabbed two numbers,” I said nervously.
“I don’t think so. If it was a mistake, you would have thrown it away a while ago. You’ve been holding that number for twenty minutes.” He grinned. “What do you think Matt?” Looking at my son who was still rubbing his hands over his head. “Do you think your mommy needs a haircut?”
“It is pretty long, Mommy.” He tugged at my shoulder-length hair. “I think you should get it cut.” He giggled. I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a modicum of revenge in his tone, however innocent.
At that moment, and I don’t know what came over me, but I looked at my son’s head, and then at Jimmy, and as if under their own power, my legs pushed me up out of my chair. It was all a blur as Jimmy spun his chair around to meet me and before I knew what was happening, a cape had been fastened around my neck. Jimmy pulled my hair out of the cape and let it fall loosely around my face.
“I think I know exactly what you want young lady. I’m a fairly observant man, you know.” He probably knew which haircuts caught my interest, and he also probably knew how I felt about them too. To my horror, he spun the chair away from the mirror so that I was facing the men in the chairs opposite. Jimmy leaned in close to my head and whispered in my ear. “Your hair smells lovely. What a shame.” He pulled so close that his beard rasped against my cheek. “All off?”
My eyes must have almost jumped out of their sockets. A protest was on my lips, but I was seemingly powerless to say a word. All I managed was a single nod. Inside, my head I was screaming but it was too late. A high-pitched whine had started up behind me, one I had not heard before. Jimmy came around the front and I caught a glimpse of the bright chrome clippers as he placed them under my bangs, momentarily at the top of my forehead.
“Sure?” As if he thought I actually possessed the power of speech.
My eyes met his and they locked for a moment. It was all the consent he required. I felt the warm steel glide into my bangs and hair began to spill down the cape. Somewhere in the distance, I could hear Matt giggling, but I was lost in another world.
Just as he had done to the young man earlier, Jimmy ran the clippers over my head in every direction. The whirring blades felt foreign against my scalp, but not at all unpleasant. Just as I thought I was enjoying the sensation, it stopped, and there was silence.
I sat in there in complete shock over what had happened and was about to get out of the chair, when a firm hand pushed me back down. I felt something warm being spread over the sides and back of my head. By the smell, I knew it was shaving lather. I felt the tug of a razor near the crown of my head as it was drawn down the back. Slowly, and deliberately Jimmy worked his way around one side, and then the other. He was not gentle, and for whatever reason, that didn’t seem to bother me.
Again, I could hear Matt giggling in the background. Jimmy had finished shaving and began wiping the excess lather from around my ears and neck. He ran his hand over the top of my head and once again reached for the clippers. These were very small indeed and barely made any sound.
“This won’t do, will it?” He asked, but not directed at me. “Let’s finish this up.” He adjusted something and then ran the clippers over the top of my head. Very tiny bits of hair were falling everywhere as he did. For the first time, I noticed that the two men in the chairs were no longer reading their magazines, but instead were watching me.
Having crisscrossed my head several times with the small clippers, Jimmy then came around in front and placed a small comb into my left eyebrow. “These look so out of place now. Eyes closed” he said and I felt the clippers run over the comb making a clicking sound. He once again lifted the comb into the brow and the clippers followed. He did the same to my right brow. “There. All finished.”
As he began to loosen the cape, Jimmy spun the chair around, so I was facing the mirror for a moment, and I briefly saw myself. There was a moment of complete shock as I tried to take in what I had just seen. I didn’t dare look back, but I had to.
As I stood up from the chair, I wobbled a little. Catching myself, I stood square with the mirror. There was nothing. Nothing at all. My entire head looked completely hairless. I instinctively ran my hands over it. The sides and back were like glass and the top, only the finest dusting of stubble. My eyebrows were nonexistent, having already been very fair, and to top it off, my ears stuck out from my head like spoons. I was suddenly overcome with panic. What would my husband think? My friends, my family, my…
“Gee Mommy, your hair is even shorter than mine.” Suddenly, I was pulled back from the brink of tears. “Can we go home now?” I smiled at him and nodded.
“What do you think of your mommy’s haircut, Matt?” Jimmy laughed.
“It’s really short. It’s even shorter than mine.” Matt giggled.
“How much do I owe you, Jimmy?” I asked timidly, reaching into my purse.
“Matt’s cut is eight dollars but yours is twenty-five.” I smiled, not questioning the discrepancy, handed him forty, and headed for the door. “You’ll need that cut every week.” Jimmy insisted.
I turned, smiled again, and with a nod mouthed what I think I remember as a ‘Yes, Sir.’ Escaping through the door with Matt on my sleeve, I ran for the car and my impending embarrassment.
When we arrived home, I told Matt to go play with his friends next door. He looked back at me for a second, giggled, and disappeared into the neighbor’s yard.
I hurried into the house and up the stairs, locking myself in the master bath. Slipping quickly out of my clothes and underwear, I stood staring at my reflection in the full-length mirror behind the door. By now, my arousal was streaming down my thighs, but I didn’t dare touch myself or I would have had an orgasm instantly. I wanted this feeling to last.
Leaning into the mirror, I closely examined my head and its smoothness. Three wisps of a razor I thought, and I’d be completely bald. My eyebrow stubble and my protruding ears only added to my humiliating dilemma, and I let out an audible moan as an orgasm coursed through my body without ever touching myself. That had never happened before, ever.
Soon afterward, the reality of what had happened began to sink into my bones and I was once again filled with the fear of embarrassment. Funny though, every time I thought about how humiliated I would be, the wetness returned between my legs.
When my husband arrived home, (and got over his initial shock) he heard the tale, laughing uncontrollably for what seemed like an eternity. He rubbed his hand over my bald head, as if he knew how much it humiliated me.
“I think I could almost get used to this look. Almost.” He leaned down and kissed my forehead where my bangs used to be.
I knew I must have turned every shade of red imaginable. Not surprisingly, or maybe it was, our lovemaking was better than ever, and he just couldn’t keep his hands off my head.
A few days later, the stubble began to appear and the shock to friends and family was passed. I began to feel like it was all just a good experience. My husband was going back out of town on business that day, something I had grown to tolerate. As he was leaving, he rubbed Matt’s bobbed head, who sported far more hair than I did just then.
“I think we can let you start wearing your hair a little longer, young man, what do you say?” Matt smiled ear to ear, hugging his dad and running up to his room to watch out the window, something he always did as my husband left.
Now alone, he leaned in to kiss me. “You on the other hand need to go see Jimmy. When I got my haircut yesterday, he made me promise you’d be there Saturday morning.”
As I watched his car disappear down the street, I wasn’t at all surprised to find that the familiar moisture had returned between my legs.