I woke up groggy to a dm on my phone from Katie reminding and begging me to meet her at the local barbershop at 12, which was only 15 minutes from now, i knew she wanted to change up her hair for a long time. running my hand through my own dark brown hair, I didn’t really understand that desire. i loved my long hair, how it felt on my skin, how it almost reached my butt, i was so proud of it so her wanting to go short was a mystery to me, and at a barbershop of all places.. but i really didn’t have time to think about it and i wanted to support her, so i got up feeling woozy and put on a baggy shirt and walked out, i lived down the street from the barbershop so i knew I’d make it on time. As I came into view of the barbershop my heart fell into my stomach, I saw Tom in the window working at one of the stations, cutting someone’s hair with those machines barbers used to cut really close.
Tom was so good looking, I liked him.. for a very long time i liked him but he never even knew who i was and i haven’t seen him since we finished high school 2 years ago but seeing him and feeling my heartbeat i knew i wasn’t over that crush.. He was almost a foot taller than me, with piercing brown eyes, and that smile..I was so shy around him back then that I could barely speak and now I have to hang around him for however long Katie will take AND have to talk and support her? i don’t know if i can do that, plus my head was still fuzzy from the late night, and i looked a mess, my hair in a messy bun, no make up.. that’s how tom would see me? maybe for the first time when he actually paid attention?
So I stood there and didn’t know what to do but I promised Katie, and I felt awkward just standing out here, so I opened the door and walked in slowly, my heart racing. There were three chairs, all occupied by men getting very severe buzz cuts. Two of them were just getting started but Tom was almost done with his guy. All the guys in the chairs looked young like me, I was honestly expecting an older crowd here.
I looked around and i couldn’t see Katie anywhere, i looked angrily at my phone to see a dm from her that she was running a bit late and to please please wait for her. I sighed, I wanted to walk out and go back to bed but I made a promise so I sat on a chair in the empty waiting area and waited..
I looked at Tom working and my heart kept beating faster and faster, he looked even better now then in high school. for one second he looked up and saw me and smiled at me, i almost died. my throat was dry, I was so nervous.. I kept glancing at the door but there was no sign of Katie and before I knew it Tom was removing the cape from his freshly buzzed client, who looked sadly at the curls on the floor before saying thanks and leaving.
then i was taken aback when tom looked straight at me and smiled, “come on over miss, I’ll take care of you”. he never looked at me like that, ever, and from the miss i was certain he didn’t recognize me at all.. I sat there shocked. again he said “come on down, it’s your turn”, turning the chair around to face me. it was so big, and black. I tried to say that I was just waiting for a friend but my throat was so dry, and I was never able to talk to tom properly. I just mumbled something like “wa..waiting for a friend..”
He eyed me strangely, thoughtfully and then he walked over and leaned next to me, putting his hand on my arm gently, my heart fluttering at his touch. “Now I know you’re nervous but don’t worry, it’ll be fine, just take a seat” and as he said that he took my hand and lifted me up slowly. I couldn’t believe he was touching me and without thinking i got up, staring at him.. I tried to talk again but I couldn’t find the words and without really understanding what was going on I found myself being led into the chair before he slowly eased me into it. The big leather cushions swallowed me up and made me feel so small.
“See, that wasn’t so hard” he smiled at me as he tore a strip of paper from a roll and folded it tightly around my neck. I was so nervous and where the hell is Katie? I thought as my heart nearly burst out of my chest and Tom put a large white cape over me, covering me completely, snapping it tight over the tissue on my neck. I was trapped… I felt like I couldn’t move and I definitely couldn’t speak.. What would I say when he asked what I wanted? I’ll just say a trim, what’s so hard about that?
but he didn’t ask anything, he took out my hair tie and let my long brown hair fall behind the chair and said “that’s quite a lot of hair, very cool what you’re doing by the way” and as i smiled weakly in response, trying to say anything, he picked up sharp looking shears, gathered my hair up in a thick ponytail, and before i even understood what was happening he started hacking at it, close to my nape. my heart imploded and I stared in shock as my long long hair was cut free from my head in seconds and was held in Tom’s hand.
My hair hung in a limp bob just below my chin and I couldn’t believe the girl in the mirror was me. Tom laid my long ponytail on the counter in front of me, it was too long and he folded it in half to fit, it was so shiny and soft and I was staring at it, holding back tears. “maybe we’ll donate that what do you think?” he said and then he saw my expression and quickly put his hand on my shoulder “listen i know it’s a shock but you knew we had to start somewhere and don’t worry, it won’t look this messy in the end, and I’ll make sure to make it extra cool OK?”
I just stared at him, trying to say I just want to go, that I’m waiting for a friend and she’s AWOL but I just couldn’t, my head was thumping as was my heart, was this a dream?
Tom took my silence as brave agreement and said “good girl” which made my heart flutter and then he gently but firmly pushed my chin down so it touched my chest “hold like that please” and I did, not sure what was coming and then I heard a click and a low hum.
I felt the machine vibrating against my neck and before I could breath he started pushing it upwards. The sound of the machine became deeper, scarier as it bit in my hair and I saw a cascade of brown fall from the back of my head to the floor. I burst into tears but Tom didn’t hear me over the machine and the sounds of the shop. and I felt the machine go upwards and upwards, to almost my crown, I had no idea how short he was cutting it but I knew it was SHORT. But I couldn’t do anything anymore.. I just sat there crying softly as he sheared me.
He took a long while on the back of my head, buzzing again and again over the whole area and when he was satisfied he moved my head to the side and put the machine at my side burn and shaved it off too. I finally saw how short he was cutting and it was as short as it could be.. my scalp was clearly visible behind the soft brown stubble that used to be my hair, all the way up to my crown which he was holding out of the way as he buzzed around my ear carefully. he moved over to my left side and pushed my head gently to his liking, then he proceeded to shave my other side burn. I cried the whole time but the big sobs were over while he was buzzing my nape. I knew I had nothing to do and I just sat there, sad as he was shearing me like a sheep.
He finished shaving all around my head and only then did he look at me and saw me crying. “I’m guessing you’re shocked, but you knew you had to do this when you signed up for the army like all these other guys here right? today is all of yours recruitment day so there’s nothing to it” my eyes opened wide in shock as he placed the machine on my forehead and causally pushed it back, revealing a wide white stripe on the top of my head, the brown locks falling sadly to join the mountain of hair on the ground.
“It’s been like you all day now, all the clients today were guys like you who put the haircut off to the last day so i get it but don’t worry, it’s almost over and i’ll make sure you look sharp” he smiled at me and, and I, still feeling like a mute just smiled weakly back at him again as he unceremoniously buzzed whatever hair was left on my head, adding the soft hair to the trash heap he was walking on as he buzzed me. i stared at the bald girl sitting in front of me and i couldn’t recognize her.. my head looked so small without my hair, my features looked strange to me..
Tom made one final pass to make sure, looked happy and turned the damn machine off finally.
I was so ready to be free and go home and cry. but then he picked up a steaming towel from a box and covered my head with it. I had no idea what was happening, he didn’t do it to the other guy before me but the warm towel felt so nice against my shorn scalp so I just leaned and relaxed, enjoying the warmth and trying to calm down from the shock.
“this isn’t part of the induction cut but i think I’ll pamper you with it, making you look extra cool for your first day”. I had no idea what he was talking about as he removed the towel and then spread shaving cream all over my head, below the crown and then I realized. I saw no point in saying anything, it was already done so what difference did it make. I sat there as he took a straight razor and pushed my head down again, this time I moved easily, knowing what he wanted “now don’t move so I don’t nick you” he said and my stomach lurched.
And then I felt the cold steel against my skin, just below my crown, and I felt the weirdest sensation as he started scraping downwards, he touched where he shaved and the feeling of someone touching my bare scalp was so.. wrong.. but what could i do? I sat there as he shaved me down to nothing, all over. He took his time and did it two times, the razor making my scalp vibrate in a weird way until Tom was perfectly happy with my bare skin.
He cleaned my head with the towel and I got my first glimpse at the new person sitting there, with a faint stubble of hair on top of my head, and a clean scalp all over. Tom then took a balm and rubbed it vigorously over my exposed scalp, as he massaged my naked head (so so weird..) i saw the scalp becoming shinier and shinier, almost like a mirror. he smiled when he saw me looking “this is our brand of buffing balm, it makes shaved areas shine and helps slow hair growth so you won’t have to shave that back down for at least six months” he said happily “the top though i can’t do anything about, you’ll need maintenance” he laughed.
I just stared at him buffing me until he was satisfied and finally he removed the cape. I looked so different, like a little boy, I was afraid to touch it and feel my scalp and was at a loss of what to do so I just mumbled something that sounded like thanks and got up, walking over all my once beautiful hair, holding back another round of tears. and walked to the reception to pay for my unwanted shearing,
Tom called behind me “good luck at boot camp! I’m sure you’ll do great” and I just kept walking. i paid and left and as i left who i saw other the fucking Katie.. she walked right past me! With her beautiful blonde hair down to her ass! And she didn’t even recognize me! I had no more energy so I wobbled home, afraid to touch my bare scalp. When I got home my phone dinged “WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU YOU BITCH! YOU PROMISED!”. I ignored it and fell into bed crying.