Emily carried a sleeping Madison from the car to her crib. She went back out to the car and got her purse and job offer. She grabbed a water and sat down to read it again. The hours worked great with Matt and her schedules. Her annual salary would increase by forty percent and there was a signing bonus and an annual goal bonus. It did require one sacrifice on her part. She had a week to give an answer. She was feeding Madison when Matt came home. “How did it go?” he asked as he kissed her and Madison. “It is a good offer.” She answered as she motioned that the offer was on the coffee table. He began reading the offer and whistled when he read her salary and the bonuses. “Oh babe” he said when he read the requirements. He looked up to see tears streaming down her face. “You are not thinking about it are you Em?” “We need to consider it Matt, the hours and the money.” She answered as she walked and put Madison in her crib returning and sitting next to Matt on the sofa. He ran his finger through her mid back blonde highlighted hair and said “Babe, shaving your head, that’s not a sacrifice you need to make.”
For the rest of the evening they talked about it. The hours worked better with their schedules. Their neighbor, Bonnie a retiree agreed to come to their home and watch Madison in the mornings for the couple hours between when Matt left for work and she got off. Matt had to be at work at 10 am and was home between 6 and 7. She currently would have to go back to her current job doing the morning and evening traffic for a sister radio station which would require Madison to go to day care in the evenings. Before going out on pregnancy leave she filled in for a month for one of the guys on the highest ratings radio station in their area. “They said I got the best audience comments then the other 2 fill in’s.” She would be replacing Mark, one-third of an extremely popular morning show. Three bald men known as the Ball Busting Baldies from Baldwin. The radio station didn’t want to mess with something that was on top. Mark was terminally ill with cancer and wouldn’t be returning to work.
As the week went on they reviewed their finances. The signing bonus would pay off more than half of their credit card debit and the increase in pay would help pay down the rest. They had other debt to pay off as well. It was almost perfect except Emily would have to shave her head. Matt jokingly said they would also save because they wouldn’t have her hairdresser and hair product costs anymore. “Seriously babe, shaving your head is a huge and drastic change. Sure financially it would make a difference but we are doing okay” Matt said to her. Crying Emily replied “I know but most of that credit card debit is mine. We owe the hospital a monthly payment for the next year from Madison’s birth. We will be making minimum payments forever. Actresses shave their heads for roles or women with cancer shave their heads. I really don’t want to but I think I need to. I would help us out of hole debt wise.”
The night before the expiration of the offer they sat on the sofa and read it again this time focusing on the requirements. The contract was for three years. She would have to keep her head shaved for three years. She couldn’t cut it between the date of the offer to the day of shaving or the offer would be voided. The initial shave would be at a barbershop live on air and on Facebook live. Video would be published on the radio stations website. At any time she decided not to keep her head shaved the contract was voided and if within the first year she would need to repay some of the signing bonus. She assured Matt she wanted to go through with it. He pulled her hair back and he said “Just trying to imagine you bald babe” he said. Tears formed in her eyes and she said “You still going to love me with no hair?” “Even more” he answered with tears in his eyes. “I feel terrible that you think you have to do this.” He added. She corrected him and said she didn’t have to. “It’s only hair” she said as tears streamed down her cheeks.
She woke up early, showered and got dressed. She had a meeting to review the offer. She was escorted to the conference room where she again met the station manager and the H/R manager. They reviewed the contract and answered the few questions Emily had. She said she was ready to accept and sign the offer. A notary came in to notarize all their signatures. It was decided her first day would be one week from that day. They set up a meeting that Wednesday for her to meet with the morning crew to go over her addition and her first day. She called Matt and updated him and said she was on her way home. “I will be bald in less than two weeks” she said before hanging up. Matt felt bad when they hung up. He could hear the sadness in her voice. Most people would be excited to start a new job, she was dreading it.
Before Emily knew it Wednesday morning had arrived. Everyone told her how excited they were that she was joining the morning crew. They were going to start airing an announcement about a new addition to the crew the next day. Heather was the morning crew production assist. She was in charge of promoting the show and doing a lot of the behind the shows work. She was not much younger than Emily. The station and morning crew wanted to use the addition of Emily and her agreement to shave her head to help fund raising for an organization or cause. The station was known to do fund raising for different charities. They decided on St Jude’s. Heather had done some research on locks of love and they didn’t take highlight hair. Heather then suggested auctioning off the chance to shave Emily’s head. For the next few hours everyone was making suggestion on who and how her head would be shaved. She sat quietly wanting to scream out, this is my hair you are all so willing to have shaved and cut. She was dreading her public shearing. Finally they took a break and Emily sat in the bathroom stall trying to calm down a bit. She was washing her hands when Heather exited a stall and started telling Emily how brave she was. “I don’t think I could shave my head and then keep it that way. I love my hair too much. What does your husband think about you shaving your hair off?” After she was finished Emily answered “We both are a bit overwhelmed and I’m a bit nervous.” Which Heather answered she would be too.
Matt had texted her during the meeting letting her know not to make dinner because he was bring home Chinese. Over dinner they talked about his day, Madison, their Sunday game day with friends everything but the elephant in the room. He finally said “So what happened today at the station?” Tears welling up in her eyes she answered “Well it was just shy of three hours of planning my head shave. Everything from who, to where, to how. Everyone from Michelle the station manager, to Heather to Gary to James of who and how it should be done. Should it be the barber, Gary and or James, the listeners? How should it be done straight down the middle with the clippers, cut it different lengths then shave it, cut the ponytail off then shave off the remaining hair? It went on and on. Finally the plan was finalized which, by the way was sent to me by email this afternoon. On Monday my addition will be formally announced and the listeners should not worry because the ball busting baldies from Baldwin will still be that, bald because I will be shaving my head on Friday at George’s Barbershop starting at 7am; the listeners participation in the event is encouraged. My ponytail will be cut off by the highest bidder and the remaining hair will be cut off piece by piece by anyone donating $20 cash or more at the shop that morning. The shaving of the rest of the hair with clippers will be done by the highest silent donor then finally the barber will shave my head with shaving cream and a razor” she barely got that our before she began to sobbed. Matt held her while she cried. He felt bad that he didn’t earn more so she didn’t have to work. This was torturing her .Madison had come as a surprise and decided to marry when they got pregnant. He tried to convince her to back out saying they would make it financially. She calmed down and said she would think about it.
The next day she called and told her mother, sister and Matt’s mother. After all, all the picture and Facebook calls would show her with a bald head. On Sunday at game day she told everyone before the game and while they were shocked she agreed to do it, they were encouraging. The girls began talking and they were supportive of her decision and talked about wigs or just sporting the bald head. Matt actually heard her giggle which made him smile. He hadn’t heard that for the past week.
Neither of them slept well and the alarm came way too early as it did every morning that week. All was working well with Bonnie and Madison. The station was getting several bids for her ponytail cut and donations to shaving her head with the clippers. Thursday night came way to fast and neither slept. Matt had said from the beginning that he would be there for her head shave. He decided that he would go in with her and bring her home. Bonnie was there at 4:15 to watch Madison. She hugged Emily and told her she was beautiful and to remember that.
The station was buzzing that morning. There were people from their parent company. On the air Emily admitted she was nervous about her make over. Matt was proud at how brave she was being even though he knew how hard it was. She admitted she had never had short hair in her life and would probably shed a few tears. Electric clippers were started several times so she could get used to the sound. Both Gary and James had been given her tips all week on how to keep her head shaved. They interviewed the man who was the highest bidder who would be cutting her ponytail off. A local drug store had given her a gift of electric clippers, shaving cream and razors. At 6 am Emily, James, Michelle, and Gary all got in a limo heading to George’s Barbershop.
Upon arrival the live broadcasting booth and station’s logo balloon had been set up. A large screen had also been set up so those in attendance could see her shearing. There was a line of people waiting to contribute $20 or more to take a snip of her hair. The tech guys put a wireless mic on Emily so the audience could hear Emily through her headshave. She made her way into the shop and was introduced to George. James was already streaming this over Facebook live. Next up was Ryan who had won the bid to cut her ponytail. Gary was in charge of the play by play and announced that it was time for Emily to get in the chair. Matt held her hand as she walked to the red barber’s chair, hugged and kissed her before she sat down. He seen the color go out of her face when she got out of the limo at the parking lot and seen the set up and people in attendance. George put tissue around her neck and then a black cape was draped around and fastened. A representative from St Jude’s the charity that would be benefiting from her shaving and thanked everyone for their contributions and brushed Emily’s hair into a ponytail. George handed Ryan a pair of scissors. Emily was asked to comment and she also thanked everyone for coming and said she was nervous about this but she was looking forward to being part of the ball busting baldies from Baldwin. Gary began the countdown to the ponytail chop, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and with that the crowd was clapping and yelling “cut it off” Emily felt the tug on her head but could not hear the scissors sawing away her ponytail. Tears began to leak as she seen the hair falling to the side of her head. Ryan held up her severed ponytail and the crowd once again cheered. It took almost 45 minutes for the line of people to march through and snip away the remaining hair. Matt felt sorry for her as each person gave their name then took the scissors and snip another chunk off. Some of the women told her how brave she was and tears were leaking at times. After the last long piece was snipped off Gary announced it was now time for the next step for Emily to become closer to one of them “George are the clippers ready?” George started the clippers up and the crowd cheered again. Michelle, the station manager announced that their parent company had donated $5,000 and their CEO had personally donated $1,000 which was the largest individual donation. “Gabe Meyers will be shaving off the rest of Emily’s head.” Emily watch as her ex-lover came out of the crowd to stand next to Michelle. She was in college when they met and dated for almost a year and during that time he always suggested almost demand that she cut her hair short. That was over 10 years ago. Gabe took the mic and thanked everyone for showing up and supporting St Jude’s. He thanked the local station employees and thanked Emily for her donation to the cause, her hair. As he said that he looked directly at her with a smile on his face. He took the clippers from George and asked if everyone was ready and the crowd cheered again. He stepped over to the side and looked at Emily and said “More important, Emily are you ready to be shaved?” with a huge grin on his face. “Yes” Emily squeaked out nearly in tears. The crowd outside was chanting “Shave her, shave her”. “I am” Gabe said into the mic and turned on the clippers and headed straight for the middle of Emily’s head. Emily watched as Gabe brought the clippers to her forehead and shivered when they made contact with her head. She began to cry as she realized her hair was gone and it would be for a long time. Matt heard her sobs and watched the tears run down her cheeks as Gabe slowly shaved the little that was left. Matt walked a few feet back as he struggled with watching his wife crying, the past 2 hours had been torture for her. The crowd was still chanting “Shave her, shave her”. Gabe was enjoying every minute of this. He did it slow and sloppy so he would have to go back over the spots he missed. He heard Emily sob as he continue with the clippers. She also was crying because she knew Gabe was behind this whole thing. She didn’t give in to his demand that she cut her hair short or the other demands he made, she just left him. As she watched small amounts of hair slide down the cape he had won. Gabe always got his way. George began applying warm shaving cream on her freshly shaved head. George worked fast finishing up the last step of her head shave. It felt strange but then again it all felt strange. She looked over at Matt and he mouthed I Iove you and she said back “I love you too” which could be heard over her mic and the crowd cheered again and this time it was her name they cheered.
George removed the cape and tissue and brushed off her neck. Gary was next to the chair and asked how she felt and she reply “A bit chilly” as Matt stepped up to the chair and offered his hand to help her up. She was relieved because her legs felt like jelly. He immediately hugged her. Gary announced “everyone meet the newest and official member of the ball busting baldies from Baldwin”. The live portion ended but there were pictures to take. Some with her back in the barbers’ chair holding her hair, some with her holding the clippers and then group photos with Gary and James.
Matt hadn’t even pulled out of the parking lot when Emily began to cry as she rubbed her hands across her bald head. He pulled off and trying to console her. She was regretting going through with it. “What was I thinking? I look awful. I will be bald in any pictures of Madison and me for the next three years. It will be years before my hair will ever be that long again. More than years, probably a decade if I keep this up for the 3 years”. Matt let her vent and cry. Her mom, sister, Bonnie all said she look pretty that she had a nice shaped head. She didn’t leave the house all weekend and would cry now and then. Sunday night she sat on a stool in the bathroom while Matt shaved her head for Monday morning. She was required to keep it to the skin, no growth over 1 day. As Matt scraped the razor and cream off her head she told herself only 1092 days to go not counting leap year.