But, I’m a Girl!
I wasn’t sure about this whole summer away thing, especially since it meant spending time with my cousins, but most especially with my Aunt Mary. She and I had never seen eye to eye, especially since I’d grown into a teenager. I remember some of the exchanges with my mother, where Mary would chide her on her lax attitude when it came to rearing my brother and me.
Mary was the older of the two sisters by ten years, and there was a definite divide between them. It wasn’t as though my mother wanted to send me and my brother there, but it was out of her hands. Since my father’s passing, she had become the breadwinner, and the opportunity that a new job presented was too good to pass up. It also meant that she had to train for the position in Dallas.
In a way, it was fortunate that the whole thing presented itself over the summer, as it freed my brother and I up from our school obligations. Even though I was eighteen, my mother wasn’t comfortable leaving the two of us to fend for ourselves, my brother being a bit of a handful at fourteen. He wasn’t a bad kid, but he had taken our father’s death pretty hard, and been misbehaving ever since.
Aunt Mary lived some five-hundred miles east of us, in New Jersey, so while my mother headed west, Thomas and I boarded a train for Trenton. I wasn’t entirely sure just what awaited us there, but I knew that it wouldn’t be long before my aunt would be on my case about something.
My aunt ran her home like a boot camp. Being older, only one of her three children still lived at home. My cousin Bradley was my age and a bad egg, probably more from rebelling against his mother than anything else. Cynthia and Miriam had long since escaped the overbearing grasp of their mother’s influence.
I imagined my aunt, waiting on the platform for us as we disembarked, and she didn’t disappoint. Dragging our rolling suitcases off the train, Aunt Mary was almost instantly at our side.
“I hope you two know how long I’ve been waiting for you.” She sneered, as Thomas gave me a knowing look. It was already starting.
“We can’t control how the trains run, Aunt Mary,” Thomas said. I knew better than to answer her, but he would soon learn.
“I wasn’t looking for any comment from you, young man. And, what on earth possesses my sister to allow you so much liberty with your hair?” She tugged at the blonde curls that emerged from under his baseball cap. It wasn’t as though his hair was all that long, it just didn’t meet her somewhat draconian standards. “Well. We’ll soon take care of that problem.”
“I’m not getting my hair cut.” He argued.
“You will do exactly as I say, Mister. You don’t want to get on my bad side already.” She chortled. “We’ll be going to the barber’s tomorrow.”
My brother just shook his head, fearing what damage our aunt might inflict on his ego. All the girls seemed to love his hair, I’d noticed, and it would be a big blow for him to lose it. Knowing my aunt, he was in for a drastic change.
Arriving back at their house, nothing could be said for a thing being out of place. It was picture perfect, not a shrub or a blade of grass deviating from the vision my aunt had for her life. Everything in its place, and everything exactly as she ordered it to be. I was sure Bradley had a lot to do with that and was certain we would soon be joining in the chores that kept Mary’s surroundings crisp and neat.
“You two head upstairs and get yourselves settled. Laura, you’ll be in Miriam’s old room. As for you, Thomas, you’ll be bunking in with Bradley.” I felt bad for Thomas, knowing that he would be subject to Bradley’s bad temper and facetious temperament. It wasn’t long before he made his appearance.
“Well, well, boys and girls, welcome to hell.” He said, almost bitterly as I rounded the corner and paused at the entrance to Miriam’s girlish paradise.
“Hello, Brad.” I offered. He looked exactly as I remembered him, his hair pared down to the finest stubble. The blonde hair made him look almost bald and Thomas cringed at the thought of getting the same treatment. We both knew that was exactly what our aunt had in mind.
“Say goodbye to all this.” Bradley joked, ruffing Thomas’s hair with his fingers as he walked past him into their room.
“Don’t remind me,” Thomas said, almost resigned to his fate.
As I unpacked my suitcase, my aunt walked in behind me and closed the door. She had a stern look on her face, and I knew that the rules were about to be laid down.
“I’m not sure what kind of shenanigans my sister has let the two of you get up to, but you’ll find that I do things a little differently.” She indicated the bed, and I took a seat, giving her the high ground deliberately. “You’ll have noticed that I keep this house spotless, and I fully expect you to not only respect that but contribute to it as well.” She walked to the window, looking out at her well-manicured yard. “You’ll have the evenings to yourself, but during the day you’ll be expected to join Bradley in his chores. He barely manages now, so you two will make the job easier.”
I felt like confronting her about being made her house slave, but knew better and simply nodded. She turned to me, eyeing me up and down, judgmentally. “While Bradley and Tommy are at the barber’s tomorrow, you and I will be visiting the salon. I opened my mouth to object, but was met with an upturned hand. “I’ve already made the appointment, young lady, so there will be no argument from you.”
My long blonde hair was my pride and joy, and the thought of some hairstylist following my aunt’s instructions sent a chill down my spine. God only knew what she had in mind for me, but I knew that it wasn’t going to be to my liking. I had to say something. “Please don’t cut my hair, Aunt Mary. I’ll wear it up if you want, but please, don’t make me get it cut.” I begged.
“You’ll learn to appreciate a shorter style, Laura. It gets hot working in the gardens, and something short will be easier to maintain.” She walked to the door, satisfied she had put me in my place. “Supper is in a half-hour.” And with that, she disappeared.
I held my head in my hands, before running my fingers through the length of my hair. All the care and pampering it had received over the last few years was going to be for naught, I was sure of it. What was it to be, a lob, a bob or God forbid some insidious form of pixie cut? I was dreading the latter but was almost certain that was what my aunt had in mind.
Aunt Mary’s own hair was styled impeccably, her long brunette locks curling over her shoulders. She knew exactly what she was doing. She knew how this would make me feel, how submissive to her will, I would be, once my hair was gone. Most especially, since its cutting was to be at her command. I shuddered as I imagined it.
The following morning, I almost hated getting out of bed. I knew what was ahead of me, and I hated it. I almost cried as I ran a brush through my waist-length tresses, mourning how shiny and healthy the hair was. Soon, it would all be at the feet of some overzealous hairdresser, I was sure.
I barely touched anything at breakfast, my aunt chiding me for my lack of appetite. She knew all too well why I couldn’t eat, and I swore I saw her smirking as I cleared my half-full plate into the trash.
“Alright, boys and girls, it’s haircut time.” Her zeal over her statement almost made me sick. Thomas and I were markedly less enthused, hanging our heads, as we were ushered into her SUV. Bradley was spared the trip to the barber, as he seemed to be already devoid of hair, for the most part. We saw him laughing as he headed into the garden to start his chores. I almost felt like a dead man walking; or riding in this case.
As we pulled up in front of the rather utilitarian-looking barbershop, I was fully expecting Aunt Mary to instruct Thomas on how to get his hair cut. Apparently, that was not going to be sufficient. I felt completely out of place as we marched into the place, a small bell ringing over the door as we pushed through.
A row of chairs ran along one wall and our aunt directed us into them as she slipped a number off a small rack near the door. Thomas looked totally dejected, as he slumped down in the chair. I noticed the man who was already in the chair, the barber immersed in a conversation concerning sports as he worked the clippers up the man’s neck.
The barber had to be in his fifties, the salt and pepper hair cropped close to his head. Were he a few decades younger, I would almost have considered him attractive
I watched, empathetically, as Thomas sat wide-eyed, observing the sheering the man received at the hands of this barber. Pass after pass reduced the man’s hair to almost nothing. I wondered how extreme my aunt would be, but then, I didn’t have to wonder for long.
The barber shook out the cape, a flurry of black hair raining onto the floor as he did. The man ran his hand over the stubble which remained, barely a shadow against the white skin of his scalp. He seemed pleased, paying the barber for what I would have been furious over.
“Next.” The barber called out, looking in our direction. My aunt pushed Thomas out of his chair, and as if in a trance, he walked to the chair. “What are we doing, Mary?” He asked, as if knowing full well not to ask Thomas.
“I don’t want to bother with it the rest of the summer, Hank. Better shave him bald. That okay?” Mary asked, both our jaws dropping to the floor.
“Sure. I can do that.” The barber answered, sweeping the cape around Thomas’s neck. “We’ll just get rid of all this first.” The barber mimicked Bradley from the day before, ruffing his fingers through the voluminous curls that capped my brother’s head.
Thomas was pale as a ghost as the clippers peeled the hair from his head, leaving a naked trail of scalp in their wake. I swallowed hard, imagining how horrible that must feel. To my surprise, it wasn’t dread I was feeling, as much as arousal. ‘Where the hell was that coming from?’ I shook it off as the barber finished my brother’s skinning. He looked strange bald, but I knew that this was not the end for him.
It was about that time that my aunt’s cell phone rang. She looked at the screen, answering it with a worried expression on her face. “Oh?” She exclaimed. “Well, that’s too bad. I hope she’s alright. Thanks for letting me know.” She hung up her phone, depositing it back in her purse. She looked over at me, “You may be spared for the moment, Laura. My stylist has been taken ill.”
In the meantime, the barber had spread a liberal amount of shaving cream over my brother’s head and was just beginning to shave him. His skin seemed bright pink in the wake of the blade, totally denuded of its covering. Almost ashamed, the strange buzz of arousal played between my legs. I was confused. Why was I feeling this way?
“Hank?” my aunt called out, interrupting him as his blade was nearing the end of a long draw over Thomas’s crown. “You don’t cut girl’s hair, do you?”
He looked over at me, and then back to my aunt. “Not as a rule, but for you, I can make an exception.” He turned back to my brother, to resume his tonsuring.
“But…” I gasped. “I’m a girl.”
“Yes,” my aunt smirked, not hiding her glee, “you are.”
My reprieve was extremely short-lived. A lump had formed in my throat as I imagined this old man having at my luscious locks. At the same time, the warm glow in my loins had grown into a nagging pressure, and I was hard-pressed to understand why.
As the barber finished up my brother, he turned towards me and grinned, as if he knew what I was feeling. How could he? Was my arousal written on my face? It very well could have been.
As the barber shook out the cape, what was left of Thomas’s curls flew in all directions, a rain of blonde curls dancing over the linoleum floor. “I guess you’re next little lady.”
“Go on now, Laura. It won’t be that bad. In a few minutes, it will all be over.” My aunt coaxed. I walked on wooden legs, my brother staring intently, as I took my place in the chair.
I looked down at my brother, his shiny pink head making him ridiculous. He knew it too. Dejected, he took his place in the chair next to my aunt, who couldn’t resist running her hand over his glass-smooth scalp. “There you go, Tommy. Isn’t that better?” With all the fight drained out of him, all he could do was nod.
“Mary?” The barber asked, slipping the cape around my neck as he instructed me to hold up my curtain of hair.
“Can you cut it into a pixie?” She asked. I cringed at the word.
“What’s a pixie?” The older man asked, ignorant of the style.
I could feel the moisture building between my legs as the two discussed my hair and the way it should be massacred. Finally, the barber leaned in to talk to me. “Your brother looks so clean, yes?” He whispered.
The lump in my throat was almost suffocating, as the image materialized in my mind’s eye. He knew, and it was so unimaginably humiliating. Almost unconsciously, I nodded, my lips so dry I had to moisten them with my tongue. I pictured my brother being admonished by the girls now, his shiny bald head a beacon of ridicule.
“Like her brother?” He asked, looking over to my aunt.
“Oh, no. My sister would kill me. Something a little longer?” She managed.
Barely able to muster the power of speech, I whispered, “Yes. Like Tommy.”
The barber raised an eyebrow, looking to my aunt, who had obviously overheard. “Laura, are you…” but the barber had turned me to face the mirror, away from her influence. “Okay, Hank. Give her what she wants, then.”
Everything was being driven by the unbearable hum in my panties. It was as if I was being controlled by an outside force. The excitement quickly subsided as the clippers began to peel the silken dresses from my head. ‘What had I done! Was I possessed?’ I wondered.
Mesmerized and knowing it was far too late to divert the madness, I watched as the clippers reduced my hair to nothing. Swath after swath revealed more and more of my snow-white scalp, hidden my whole life under my wonderful blonde mane. Now, it slid, limp and lifeless down the side of the cape, forming what must have been a sea of gold around the base of the chair.
The barber seemed to be enjoying himself as he made long sweeping passes, glancing downward each time as the results of his efforts fell about me. The pressure between my legs was back with a vengeance, and I was glad for it. Had it not been for that misplaced excitement, I would surely have been in tears.
The cool breeze of the air-conditioned shop began to play against my newly exposed scalp, and I knew I was very close to being bald. Looking in the mirror, I was shocked by my appearance.
Gone was the lovely girl I had grown to admire in the mirror, however narcissistic that seemed. In her place was someone else, a bald knob with ears, that seemed a bit out of place as they protruded obviously from the sides of my hairless head. It was something I’d never noticed. How could I have known?
The buzzing finally stopped, and I was almost shocked by the silence. It was broken only by the whir of the lather dispenser, delivering a dollop of white foam into the barber’s open palm.
“Just like your brother, I think.” He indicated, as he spread the warm goo over my humiliatingly barren scalp. I gasped audibly as the razor’s blade made first contact with virgin skin. A slight tug, followed by a long rasping draw of the blade, sent my excitement into overdrive. I couldn’t stop my fingers from covertly caressing myself beneath the secrecy of the cape.
I saw my brother in the mirror, his mouth open slightly, and a look that could only mean one thing. He was as aroused by what was happening to me, as I was. The telltale bulge in the crotch of his jeans was too much of a giveaway. I smiled, turning my eyes away from him. He was my brother, after all.
The barber was no fool. He knew exactly what was going on under his cape, and he played into my arousal with a skill I was surprised to witness. He whispered under his breath between each stroke of the blade, like a ghost, and certainly unheard my aunt. “You’ll need to come back, you know.” stroke. “Every few days, you will sit in this chair.” rasp. “I know you will not disappoint me.” stroke. “In the evenings, you will come”
When he had finished, rubbing the hot towel over my slickened top and sides, he looked into my eyes for an answer. As if placed in a trance, I nodded, assuring him of my intended compliance.
I wasn’t certain how many times I had silently come in his chair, but I wondered if it wasn’t each time that whispered command found its way into my addled brain.
“You must feel.” This time louder, so both my brother and aunt could hear. He grasped my hand and raised it so my fingers slid seductively over my naked scalp. The sensation was beyond anything I had ever experienced, and I knew I hadn’t made a mistake.
Oblivious, my aunt paid the man, guiding us back to her SUV, a bit confused over my lack of tears or anger. “Well, you know you look ridiculous.” My aunt chided as she pulled out of the parking lot.
“I’m well aware, Aunt Mary,” I said, defiantly.
“Thanks, Sis.” My brother whispered, laying his shaven head on my shoulder. “You didn’t have to do that for me.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell him that my actions had a much more selfish intent. He did wonder about my motives, however, as the summer wore on; his smooth pate slowly covering with a fine pelt of blonde, and mine staying mysteriously bald.
After all, my aunt did say that my evenings were my own. I suppose some would see it as charity, that I allowed the old barber to have his way with me. I thought of it more as a fair exchange, my body for his blade. It was certainly better than submitting to my aunt.