(Revised version from my archived catalog)
Cindy was your average high school student with middle-of-the-road grades, trouble with her parents, and battles with her younger brother. Her appearance, however, was far from average. Cindy was what any red-blooded boy would call a pretty girl, with an athletic build, deep blue eyes, and the most luscious blonde locks imaginable. It hung in ringlets down her back to just long enough to cover the top of her faded jeans.
Boys always ogled her when she walked by. One of the first things out of any boy’s mouth that she dated was “I love your hair”. She got so used to it, that it started to mean less and less. Soon it was obvious to her that her hair meant more to people than what was underneath. Not that she would ever part with it, though. Only in the summer, on the hottest of days, had she ever consider cutting it.
After school let out each summer, Cindy would take her kid brother, Max, to the local barbershop and watch with curiosity as the barber ran the clippers over his head. At the direction of his mother, Max always got his head buzzed right to the skin.
“All off?” The barber asked her as she encouraged Matt to get into the chair.
She knew the barber had caught her more than once, watching, as he clippered her brother’s head bald. He would start in the back and slowly work his way around until the sides and the back were nothing but skin, and then placing the clippers at the top of his forehead, he would skin him down there too. The whole thing took maybe a minute.
She paid him the five dollars that he charged for a “Summer Buzz” and then dutifully walked Max back home. She had always loved to rub his head, feeling the sandpaper finish and the strange rush in the pit of her belly which always thrilled her.
It was about the middle of August and her mother had been bugging her to take Max back to the barbershop to get another buzz. The sun was beating down that day and the heat was very nearly unbearable. Cindy piled the hair on top of her head but to no avail, her head was too hot then, so she let it back down her back. Perspiration poured off her back and she could feel the moisture seeping under the waistband of her cutoff shorts. Reluctantly, she agreed to take him. She put on her lightest top and grabbed Max by the arm. “Let’s go.” She said, slightly annoyed.
When they arrived at the barbershop it was very quiet, and they were the only ones there. This time Max hopped into the chair with no encouragement and waited for the barber to cape him. “All off?” The barber asked again, looking at Cindy’s heat flushed face. Cindy nodded. As he was setting up his clippers the barber looked over at her slumped in the chair. “I bet you wish it was you in the chair today. All that hair’s got to make you uncomfortable.” He mused.
Cindy cracked a smile. “Don’t think I haven’t given it some thought,” Adjusting her hair so it fell over the back of the chair and away from her soaking wet back. With every pass of those clippers over her brother’s head, she thought what it might feel like to be in his place. Her long, damp locks sliding down her back and onto the floor, a shiny bare scalp left in place of the wilted blonde strands that she normally treasured so much.
“Got a new set of clippers yesterday.” The barber boasted. “They cut the hair so close, you could swear it was shaved with a blade.” He held them up. They were considerably smaller than the set he used on my brother.
“Wow mister, can you use them on me?” Max asked, “I wanna try those.” He looked over at her. She just nodded, thinking that it would hardly be noticeable since his hair was already so short.
“Ok, sonny, but remember, you will be truly bald.” Max giggled and nodded for the barber to start. He used the new clippers more slowly and deliberately, and she definitely saw a difference. Where there was once a dull fuzz there was now shiny skin. Max reached up from under the cape to feel and giggled some more.
Soon the cut was done, and her brother was pretty much bald. She rubbed his head as he hopped out of the chair and felt its smoothness. Cindy shuddered, which did not go unnoticed by the barber.
“You’re next young lady.” He said as he dusted off the clippings from my brother’s cut. He turned the chair towards Cindy, inviting her in.
“I love my hair mister, and besides, I only have the five dollars my Mom gave me for Max.” Somewhere inside, she secretly wanted to sit in that chair, but a huge part of her was screaming to run. A smile crept over the barber’s face as he once again pointed the chair in her direction.
“I’ll make this one, on the house. How would that be?” He laughed.
“I’m sorry. I kinda want to, but I just can’t!” Cindy grabbed her brother and quickly walked out of the shop. She kept looking over at her brother’s head, so smooth and shiny. How cool that must feel, the breeze on his scalp must cool him down at least a little. He wasn’t even sweating. When they got to their street Max ran on ahead like he always did. She slowed, not having to keep up with her brother’s frantic pace. Eventually, she just stopped, realizing her mistake.
Slowly and deliberately, Cindy did an about-face and walked back uptown. The closer she got to the barbershop, the faster she walked. When she turned the corner and saw that spinning pole, she stopped.
“Do I really want this?” After staring at the pole to the point that she felt dizzy, she forced her left foot forward and entered the shop. Sheepishly, Cindy looked over at the barber who was now reading a paper. “Does that offer still stand, Mister?”
He lowered the paper, a smile creeping across his face. “I may be a lot of things but I’m not a cheapskate. Of course, it does.”
Cindy walked across the hardwood floor, creaking underfoot as she moved towards the red upholstered chair. Hesitantly, she stepped up onto the footrest and allowed herself to fall back into the leather and chrome throne. It was much more comfortable than she thought it would be.
The barber asked her to hold up her hair while he positioned the cape around her neck, fastening it with a long metal clip. With a dampened woosh, the hair fell back down around her shoulders as the barber took over. She withdrew her hands back under the cape and immediately began to feel helpless.
Pumping up the chair, she could see the excitement in the barber’s eyes as he leaned down to her. “So, what are we doing, young lady?”
Cindy was expecting his usual question when he dealt with her brother and was surprised that he gave her an option for something less drastic. “What is it you always ask me?”
“What? All off?” He chuckled, not expecting her to want anything so drastic.
When Cindy failed to answer, the barber began to understand what she wanted.
“All off.” A statement, rather than a question.
She wanted to say something, but her mouth seemed to be out of order. All she managed was a nod. Watching him pick up the big black clippers from their hook, he caught her shaking her head.
“You don’t want me to use these, do you?” He asked, placing them back on their hook. “You want me to use these.” The small gray clippers that had so effectively shaved her brother bald were lifted from beneath the shelf. Cindy’s silence spoke volumes. “Ok, here we go.”
He didn’t start the same way as he did with her brother, but instead, began at the middle of her forehead. She could feel the clipper’s warm metal blades against her head as they peeled off her beautiful blonde tresses. She could also feel the breath of the barber on her now naked scalp. It was a feeling so completely foreign to her that it caused her to shudder. The next pass peeled off more, and then another, and another. Soon, she could feel the entire top of her head cooling off; growing more and more sensitive.
The barber had turned the chair so that Cindy could not see herself in the mirror, and each time she would try to peek, he would redirect her gaze to the opposite wall. He was clipping the sides now, first the left, then the right. It was as though she could feel every movement the barber made, by the air moving across her scalp.
“Almost done.” He said, as he pushed her chin down so it rested against her chest. She felt the blades at the nape of her neck sliding deftly into her only remaining hair. A few more passes, and the high-pitched whine of the clippers fell silent. “One more step and you will be ready for this heat young lady.”
Reaching into a metal canister, he pulled out a towel and wrapped it smoothly around her closely shorn head. It was very hot, almost too hot, but Cindy held her tongue, after all, this was all for free. The towel also covered her face so that she could not see what was going on, but she could hear. A slapping sound; slapping, then sliding, slapping, then sliding, over and over, until it stopped, and the barber slid the towel from her head.
Feeling a little dizzy, Cindy heard another high-pitched whine, but different from the clippers. A wonderfully warm feeling spread over her head as the barber covered it in white foam. It was shaving cream.
“Aren’t I already bald?” Cindy asked, Still not having seen herself in a mirror.
“I’m giving you the full treatment, little Miss, and it’s still 100% on me.” He chuckled under his breath. “When I finish, you will look like you’ve never had a hair on your head in your life.” The shaving foam did feel nice, but the razor was an unexpected sensation.
“That feels really weird.” As the straight blade carved its first short strokes across her scalp. “Feels like when I shave my legs, only better.” She laughed.
Much more at ease now that her hair was all but gone, Cindy relaxed for the first time, enjoying the closest shave possible. It took nearly twenty minutes for the barber to finish the shaving, after which, he wiped her head to remove any foam that remained. Slathering a very slippery liquid onto her head, the barber worked it laboriously into her scalp. His hands felt strangely wonderful as they slid over her baldness.
Using a small, but fluffy cloth, he began wiping off the liquid in very quick, circular strokes. He rubbed the cloth in one direction, and then the other, several times until it started to feel quite warm.
“I’d say that’s about all I can do.” He spun the chair around giving her the very first look at the new ‘Cindy’.
“Oh my God!” Cindy gasped. “It’s so smooth it shines.” Her hands immediately flew up to her head to feel the glassy smoothness of her scalp. She could clearly see the reflection of the antique light fixtures on the top of her head.
Cindy was amazed, delighted, and horrified all at the same time. She was really, really, bald, like old man bald. “Holy shit!” She blurted, covering her mouth having realized the language she had used. Slipping the cape from around her shoulders, the barber released her from the chair. Only then did she see her once-glorious hair, draped in piles on the barbershop floor. He smiled as he helped her out of the chair. Having no choice she trod on it, and for whatever reason, it felt good when she felt the slippery mass underfoot.
“Well, that ought to be a little cooler.” He laughed.
“Yeah. I guess so!” Cindy said, laughing nervously.
As she closed the door behind her, she saw the barber reach down and pick up a length of her hair, placing it carefully in a drawer under the counter. Thinking nothing of it, she quickly turned and headed for home. She knew she had a lot of explaining to do. Her mother, her father, and certainly her boyfriend, would all be devastated. Of course, she would have to endure the prodding from her kid brother, whose hair was now marginally longer than hers.
As she passed each store window, she could see her gleaming head shining, like a freshly peeled onion. That tingling in her gut returned, as she turned the corner towards her house and a breeze kicked up, caressing her slippery head. That’s when she noticed that she wasn’t sweating. She was cool and comfortable for the first time in weeks. Despite the hassles she would soon face, Cindy vowed never to regret her summer shave.