Outside the Box

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I hadn’t been aware that we were expecting any online orders. I certainly wasn’t waiting for anything. Ben hadn’t told me that he’d ordered anything. Yet here it was. A box, delivered by a rather nice young man. I put it on the kitchen table for when Ben came home.

I got at text a little later to say that he wouldn’t be needing dinner. He was going to a friend’s. I was going to tell him about his package, but then couldn’t be bothered to type that much, so he just got a standard “ok.xx”. Another meal on my own.

I sat at the table, going through the motions of eating what I’d warmed up, but I wasn’t overly interested. It made me think that there should be more to life than this. Okay, I’m divorced, but I’m only 39, not unattractive (even if I do say so myself), and I’m certainly in need of some attention under the bonnet, as you might say. Ben’s 17, starting to find his way in the world, finding himself drawn away from me and into the wider world. That was only going to get worse (there’s a protective mother’s point of view, if ever there was one!), so there was no excuse for sitting here staring at a plate of warmed up lasagne. I should be out there, being desired, being satisfied. The only problem is that I’m not sure how that part of existence works anymore. I don’t do any social media (and wish to Heavens that Ben didn’t either, but I know that he does) and I really don’t like the sound of those apps that let men choose a woman off the peg. Whatever happened to polite conversation, getting to know each other and then politely taking things further?

My eye was drawn to the package. It was a bit bashed. One of the pieces of tape at the corner didn’t look like it was doing its job properly. It wouldn’t take much to have a little peek inside. I couldn’t. I had to respect Ben’s privacy. I did.

I couldn’t see anything. I got the torch that we keep in the kitchen drawer for power cuts and other such emergencies. I shone it inside. Whatever was in there, was wrapped up. I widened the gap slightly, so that I could probe with my finger. I felt something. I pulled my finger out. I looked inside again, shocked. I told myself not to be so stupid and slid my finger in again. I hadn’t been wrong. Whatever it was had got hair!

I continued my forensic examination, trying to do as much as I could without leaving any evidence of tampering. I struck paydirt when I found the packing slip and managed to ease it through the hole, that was now slightly bigger than when I’d started. I laid it on the table in front of me and read it. Then I read it again. What did my son want with a dummy hairstyling head? Surely some mistake? I put the packing slip back and did my best to cover my tracks. I’d leave the box for him. After all, it was addressed to him. I’d help him repackage it and send it back.

Whatever Ben was doing, it must’ve been engrossing, because he wasn’t back before I went to bed. He’d sent me another text to tell me that he’d be late and not to worry. Not for the first time.

I’d decided to take advantage of having the house to myself and went for a shower. All that pondering over dinner had re-ignited thoughts that I hadn’t done anything about for a while. I was horny and here was a chance to relieve the pressure a little. Not the way that I’d like to do it, but it would have to do. I really must get out and find someone who can do the necessary.

I grabbed a glass of wine and was undoing my shirt even as I went up the stairs. It was nice not to have to be concerned about being caught by a teenager with an over-active imagination, who’d file away the sight of his mum in her undies for later use. After all, how much exposure could he have to women in a state of undress. No, don’t even go there. I don’t want to know what might be on his computer.

I finished undressing in the bedroom and went into the ensuite to turn the shower on. Before I did, I stood in front of the mirror to examine the package that I hoped to put on a wider release shortly. I cupped my boobs, rolling my nipples between my thumbs and forefingers. I’ve long since given up envying women with big boobs. My ex-husband used to call them my “little volcanoes”, which took a little getting used to at first, but I could see where he got that from and am more than pleased that they still fit the description: conical, pointy, pert, topped with a hazelnut-hard nipple that was starting to feel rather wonderful. Not quite a full handful, but good for hours of fun in the right hands.

I peered into the mirror. My face has worn well, only the slightest trace of creases. I looked this way and that, just in case it was a trick of the light. It wasn’t, I’m pleased to say. My hair could certainly benefit from the attention of someone else, just like other bits of me. It covers my collar, but I leave it to its own devices for long periods and it’s certainly overdue a sprucing up. There’s no way that a man would look at me on the street and regard me as a well-groomed prospect. It’s natural blonde, although towards the “dirtier” end of the spectrum than the “Scandinavian-stunner” end.

I let my eyes descend past my boobs and carry on going. Over the slight mummy-tummy that I’ve never managed to get rid of, but have also managed not to let it get out of control. I tried to look at myself from a male perspective. Child-bearing hips, used once, one careful owner. Bush? Present and correct. I smiled at the recollection of an uncle who I over-heard talking about “horse-hair” on a woman. That wasn’t too far from its current state. I also thought about the occasions when I’ve sullied my own internet browser history with things that I wouldn’t want Ben to see. Purely out of necessity, of course. The women in those films certainly didn’t have an issue with horsehair. I remember one who had a narrow strip of pubes that must’ve taken ages to get looking so perfect. Others had just whipped the lot off. Their nether regions had looked so different to mine. I wondered what it would be like to feel nothing there. I wondered what it would be like to have a man run his tongue over my hairless mound. I could always do something about one of those things, but not the other. Not yet anyway.

I turned the water on and got in to the shower. I shampooed. I soaped. I washed. I stroked. I squeezed. I felt stirrings.

Once I’d dried myself off, I went into the bedroom and got my “special friend” out from its hiding place, which I still hoped was “inquisitive-son-proof”. I’d just die of embarrassment if he stumbled across it. I twisted it and smiled at the gentle buzzing sound. I smiled even more once it was in place! I closed my eyes and drifted away.

I was back in the room sooner than I’d intended. It had never bothered me before, but now it did. I couldn’t help thinking what it would feel like to be doing this without the impediment of my tangly bush. I tugged a strand, surprising myself with just how long it was. I looked at the clock, wondering how much longer Ben would be out for.

Should I? Why shouldn’t I? After all, I bet most women trimmed or shaved down there. I headed for the bathroom and got my nail scissors out of the cabinet. After a final pause for thought, I pulled at a tuft and snipped it off as close to the skin as I could. I dropped the redundant hair in the sink and went for another go. I’d started at the sides, just in case. I’m not sure in case of what, but I grew bolder with the next snips. I stretched out a tuft from the middle and snipped. I had a rhythm going now, snip, toss, snip, toss with the occasional pause to marvel at just how much hair was building up in the sink. Certainly enough to make a nest for a reasonable sized bird, at any rate. The pile in the sink grew, the hair on my mound diminished. It looked strange, ragged, miles from the sleek finish that I’d seen on-screen. I plugged away until I could get no more. It looked pretty crap, if I’m honest. Neither as womanly as it had been or as slutty as I’d aimed for.

There were only a couple of safety razors left in the packet. I’d have to get more. I lathered up, feeling rather undignified and started to stroke away with the razor. I had shaving my legs and armpits down to a fine art, but this was totally new territory, with more delicacies than elsewhere. I slowed down.

I’ve no idea how long it took me, but eventually I was back in the shower, rinsing off. My fingertips explored the new terrain, sliding over its smoothness. I closed my eyes and lost myself in the sensations. Before I knew it, I was lying on a towel on my bedroom floor, still wet from the shower. Ben really would have something to remember if he came in now, with nothing left to the imagination. I had achieved my goal of “slut pussy” and was revelling in the delights of a de-forested mound, with lips that relished their new-found freedom. That first glimpse in the mirror before I’d “assumed the position” on the floor had shown me what I’d done. I had pouting lips! Who knew my pussy could look so good! I wanted to shout it from the rooftops.

Thankfully I had made it to bed before I fell asleep, although I was mortified to realise that I’d left a pile of pubes in the sink. Ben had his own bathroom, but even so! I packaged them up and disposed of them once I got downstairs. The first thing that I noticed once I was down, was that the box was no longer on the table. I looked in the hall, but still nothing. I heard Ben upstairs and took the opportunity for a sly stroke of my mound again. It was like Christmas. This toy didn’t need batteries, but it did need something plugged in to make it work to its full potential. I really wanted to do something about that, starting today.

Ben was his usual uncommunicative self over breakfast and wasn’t forthcoming at all about the box when I asked him about it. “Just something he’d ordered” he replied when I asked. He didn’t deny it, didn’t say that it was a mistake, just “something he’d ordered”. I didn’t want to pry, but I was curious.

The weekly house-cleaning took on a new complexion. I did something that I’d said that I’d never do and went on a search of Ben’s room while he was out. I wanted to see what he’d got, out of the box. It took me a long time, but I eventually found it, tucked away right at the back of his wardrobe, on the top shelf. I should’ve started there really, but maybe I was afraid of what else I’d find.

It was indeed a dummy head for trainee hairdressers. It even looked like he’d had a go at styling it. That only drew me to his computer and the motherlode. I’m not too computer-savvy, but I know enough to discover that my son has been looking at all-things to do with haircutting and styling. I sat on the bed, not sure what to make of it. Eventually, I put everything back the way that it had been, just hoping that he hadn’t set any of those spytraps that you see in films to betray illicit searches.

It didn’t make any sense to me. Why was Ben looking at stuff like that, going to the lengths of buying a dummy? I decided that it looked harmless and not to pursue it. After all, it wasn’t as if I’d found a drug stash or anything.

It wasn’t until about three weeks later when all became clear.

Ben has a friend called Adam. Adam has a mother called Sharon. We’ve chatted in the past. Now she was on my doorstep, looking far from happy. I invited her in, offered her tea. She declined.

‘I’ll get right to the point’ she said, standing in the hallway still.

This sounded like it was going to be a time when I wished that Ben’s dad, or some man at least, were around.

‘Are you sure you won’t come and sit down, Sharon?’ I offered again.

‘No thanks. I’m not stopping.’

She was certainly annoyed. She looked at me.

‘Look what he did’ she said, reaching up to pull a wig off. I’d thought that there was something different about her, compared with when I last saw her, but thought that she’d just had a change of image. She hadn’t had long hair, it had been brownish, rather than the almost black of the wig that now dangled from her hand. I stared at her. She had what I could only call a crew cut, if you could call it that. It was stubble, barely anything left.

‘I don’t understand’ I said.

‘Your Ben. He did this’ she said, pointing angrily at her bristly scalp.

‘What do you mean?’

‘I mean that he said that he was going to hairdressing school and he could cut my hair if I wanted. I believed him and this is what he did.’

‘But he’s doing art’ I said.

‘He said that he’d changed to a hairdressing course and he needed a model.’

‘I don’t know what to say. Please come in though. We can’t stand here.’

I led her through to the kitchen and made her the tea that she’d said that she didn’t want. I asked her to tell me from the beginning.

There wasn’t much more than the initial summary. Ben had heard her saying that she needed to get a haircut and had told her about being on a course and needing a model. He’d said that he could do her hair for her and she’d thought that she’d get a free cut at the same time as helping him out. He’d cut it with scissors and had eventually explained that he hadn’t been able to get it right, so he’d had to keep going shorter. By the time he’d plucked up the courage to confess, there was nothing for it, but to use the clippers.

‘My Steve says he’s going to leave me’ she sobbed eventually.

I didn’t know what to do, other than to hug her while her shoulders shook. While she’d composed herself, I tried to think of something constructive to say.

‘I don’t know what to say. Obviously, I’ll make him apologise to you and Steve.’

‘He’s already done that. To be fair to him, he was man enough to face Steve. I’ll give him credit for that.’

‘What else can I do to make it up to you both? I’ll buy you another wig, two wigs if that’s any use.’

‘There’s not much that you can do is there? What’s done is done.’

‘I just wish that it had been me that he asked, rather than you’ I said.

‘He would’ve had some explaining to do, wouldn’t he?’

‘He’s certainly got some to do now.’

‘Don’t be too hard on him. Maybe I shouldn’t have come, but I just had to tell someone.’

She started to put the wig back on, looking around for a mirror. I watched her tweaking it and then she turned back to me.

‘I hope you don’t mind me saying, but you look better without the wig’ I said.

She looked at me.

‘You can’t be serious?’

‘Really. It suits you. I know you wish you’d never let him near you, but it does make you look stunning’ I said.

‘I’m not sure my Steve would agree. He said that he’s not coming near me while I look like a bloke. Sorry, I shouldn’t have told you that.’

‘I’m sure he’ll be okay once he’s got over the shock. Both of you will’ I said, trying to sound convincing.

‘I just don’t understand how you can say that I look good with a skinhead. I mean, you wouldn’t do it, would you, but you’re prepared to tell me that it looks good, just to protect your boy.’

‘I’m not protecting him. I’ll deal with him when he gets home, but I do genuinely think that it looks good on you. Not that you didn’t look good the way that it was. Or you don’t look good with the wig’ I burbled.

‘Probably time to stop digging. And time for me to go’ she said.

She stood up and I put a consoling hand on her forearm.

‘I’m really sorry. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do.’

‘There isn’t anything, is there? Nothing up here either’ she added, trying to smile at her attempt at humour.

She left. I sat at the breakfast bar, stunned and confused until Ben came home. He knew that something was amiss.

‘Sharon Watson was at the door today. Sit down and talk to me, young man’ I said as soon as he appeared in the kitchen.

Even before he’d sat on a stool, his face was beetroot red. He was shaking. I could see the hint of a tear in his eyes.

His explanation tallied with what Sharon had told me, with the additional explanation that he’s been too embarrassed to tell me that he found hairdressing and fashion more interesting than art. He did try to tell me that it was a natural progression, but we agreed that we’d come back to that.

‘Could you not have stopped before you ruined her hair completely. I don’t know, rung someone to help you. Got her to a salon where they could rescue the situation?’

He took a deep breath.

‘I didn’t want to stop. I liked it. It just looked better, the shorter it got.’

‘So you meant to do that?’

‘Not at first. But I thought that I should just go for it after a while.’

‘I don’t know what to say?’

‘Can I go and get changed?’

‘Why? You’re not going out anywhere for a very long time’

‘Mum!’ he said.

‘Don’t look at me like that. Have you any idea how embarrassing it was to have her come round here like that? It would’ve been bad enough if you’d done it to me, but to your friend’s mum…’

‘You’ve got to admit that it looks better than the bird’s nest that she had before’ he said.

‘I don’t have to admit anything of the sort, now go!’

Anger and embarrassment subsided on both sides over the coming hours. I got Ben to write a letter of apology to Sharon and her husband and tried to get my head round the idea of my son studying hairdressing, rather than art. Not that there’s anything wrong with hairdressing, but it isn’t what I’d imagined for my son. I had no idea what his dad would say when he found out. That was a bridge that we’d have to cross, but wasn’t important for now.

In true teenage fashion, Ben said that he couldn’t deliver his letter to Sharon, because I’d banned him from any contact with her son and his family. I had to agree with his reasoning.

The following day, I put my coat on and went round there, clutching Ben’s letter. I wouldn’t say that I got a warm welcome, but she opened the door and invited me in at least.

The first thing that I noticed was that she wasn’t wearing her wig. When she glanced up from reading the letter, she caught me staring.

‘Steve doesn’t like it’ she informed me.

‘I’ll pay for one that he does like’ I offered.

‘I told him that. The only thing that he said isn’t something that I could repeat word for word’ she said, a smile creeping across her face.

‘I can imagine’ I said, although I couldn’t.

‘It was along the lines of he’d like to do the same to you, to see how your husband liked having another man in his bed. Only he didn’t use those words.’

‘Well, apart from the fact that I haven’t got a husband…’

‘I’m sorry, I forgot’ she said, looking embarrassed. ‘But you must have..’

I shook my head before she could finish.

‘I’m sorry, I didn’t know’ she said.

‘I haven’t wanted to bring some strange man into the house, while Ben’s at such an impressionable age’ I explained.

‘Yeah. Who knows what could happen? He could turn into a hairdresser and hack some woman’s hair off’ she said. ‘Sorry, I didn’t mean that. Well, I did, but you know what I mean.’

‘I’d better go. I just wanted to let you have that as soon as I could.’

We wrapped things up and I headed for the door. Just as she was turning the knob, an idea crossed my mind.

‘Would it make him feel better?’

‘What?’

‘If I did it?’ I offered.

‘This?’ she asked, pointing at her head in the way that she had when I first saw her.

‘He’s all mouth and no trousers. He wouldn’t care.’

I went to go through the door.

‘I would though’ I thought I heard her say.

I turned back. She was looking straight at me.

‘If you think it looks so good, why don’t you do it?’

I paused.

‘I meant it, it suits you’ I said, avoiding the question.

‘Your Ben didn’t know that when he did it, though, did he?’

‘No, he didn’t’ I replied, wondering how much of a lie that was.

‘So why don’t you do it?’

‘I don’t know what to say. I haven’t got a reason. I will if you want me to’ I said before I realised.

‘It won’t be a shock for you though, the way it was for me, will it?’

‘Well no, but it would still be a shock.’

‘So you’ll do it?’

I took a deep breath.

‘If that’s what you and Steve want’ I said reluctantly. What had Ben got me in to?

I saw Sharon look nervously around to see if anyone was listening. Then she beckoned me in again.

‘I’ll talk to Steve, but I know what he’ll say and you really wouldn’t be up for that!’ she chuckled.

‘What?’

‘He’s got this idea about us having a threesome. Me and him’ she said quietly.

‘I thought he didn’t like the idea of female skinheads?’

‘He doesn’t. The hair would be for me. The threesome would be for him’ she said.

‘Whoa, I’d have to think about that. I’ve thought about it. No.’ I said firmly.

‘You know I had to talk him out of going to the police’ she said.

‘You didn’t tell me that.’

‘Well, he says things in the heat of the moment, but it crossed his mind.’

‘And you think that he’ll come round if I help fulfil his fantasy?’

She nodded.

‘And what do you think about that?’

‘It could be interesting’ she admitted.

‘It could make parent’s evening a bit awkward.’

‘You might enjoy it if you’ve not had a fella for a while’ she said. ‘Sorry, that was below the belt’ she added.

‘What if I say yes?’ I asked.

‘That’s up to him. First you’ve got to say yes.’

‘It would be a one-off. He’d have to agree to drop anything to do with Ben.’

‘I think if you drop yours, he’ll drop anything you like’ she said.

If I wasn’t mistaken, she seemed to be enjoying my discomfort.

‘And what do we do about the thing for you?’

‘Let’s wait and see, shall we’ she said enigmatically. ‘I’ll text you. Should I ask Ben for your number?’

‘God no. Here’ I said, getting my phone out of my bag.

I walked away from her house wondering what I’d got myself into. Gone were the days of a simple apology ending a matter. They wanted their pound of flesh, I wanted to protect Ben from whatever might happen. Even if he only got a police caution, it would blight his job prospects. I couldn’t let that happen. I could deal with Steve. He wasn’t bad looking, although I didn’t know him beyond saying hello once in a while. I could lie back and think of something nice if I had to, after all, it wouldn’t be the first time, if I’m honest. A couple of misguided attempts to get back in the saddle hadn’t gone so well and it had been the price of those experiments. I should just’ve said no, but had let things run their course. There may even be some pleasure with that part, but getting my hair cut was different. Everybody would know. Questions would be asked. I wasn’t against cutting my hair, but that short? For someone else? I didn’t want to, but what choice did I have?

When Ben asked how it went, I told him that Sharon appreciated the letter and not to worry about it. I declined to enter into negotiations about the length of his confinement.

The thought of what Steve might want was on my mind for days, but as time passed, the likelihood receded of anything happening. I’d heard nothing. I started to wonder whether I was insulted that Steve was prepared to pass up the opportunity of me helping with his fantasy.

It was the middle of the next week when my phone pinged and I saw at it was from Sharon. My stomach leapt. Not necessarily in a good way.

“This Saturday. 8 pm. He likes slutty underwear. Bring a bottle”

I had to smile at the last comment. I wasn’t sure if she was trying to be funny, but that was how it came across. So that was it. Did she know that Ben would be staying with his dad for the weekend?

By the time Saturday came around, I was oddly aroused by the whole idea of going to Sharon and Steve’s house. I’d been in a drought for longer than I cared to remember, couldn’t really recall the feel of a man. I spent more on lingerie than the occasion deserved, but hoped that it would ease the embarrassment of the whole scenario. I walked up to their front door slightly self-consciously, clutching a reasonable bottle of wine tighter than I should.

The door opened. Sharon peered round the jamb, silently inviting me to enter. I held out the wine to her as I crossed the rubicon.

‘Hi Sharon’ I said, trying not to look shocked at the sight of her in a black PVC catsuit, complete with cowl. That’s one way to cover up Ben’s handiwork. It was skin tight. The zip down the front was very much down, doing little to restrain her generous boobs. I’d never paid much attention to her physically, but she certainly scrubbed up well. She clearly didn’t dress for everyday use to emphasise her curves.

She dipped her head in appreciation of the gift, taking the chance to examine my little black dress.

‘I didn’t know what to wear’ I said.

‘Don’t worry, I’ll take it from you. No point getting it messed up, is there.’

I looked at her with surprise.

‘Now?’

‘As good a time as any.’

‘Can you help me then?’ I asked.

The dress is a devil to do up on your own, so I certainly wasn’t going to let her see me struggle to get out of it. It would be bad enough revealing what I’d got on underneath, without having to do contortions to get out of it.

‘Let’s go through’ she suggested.

I followed her into the lounge, unavoidably looking at her PVC clad backside. She was so much more shapely than I’d previously given her credit for. Steve was sitting on the sofa. In a posing pouch. A posing pouch that stirred when I entered the room.

‘I didn’t think you’d come’ he said.

‘Here I am’ I said with a little shimmy. I felt Sharon’s hands on my zipper. In moments, my modesty would be gone.

The dress slipped off my shoulders and tickled me on its way to the floor. I did a shimmy again, desperately trying to give the impression of not being a virgin with her first boyfriend.

‘Nice’ Steve said unnecessarily. His posing pouch had already registered his interest, its occupant straining over the top for a better view. Maybe there was going to be some enjoyment to be had this evening.

I’d decided to stay traditional, with a crimson, cupless basque, sheer knickers and stockings. Isn’t that what every man wants? I hoped that he’d appreciate it. I wasn’t expecting Sharon’s wandering hands. Couldn’t the guy at least get up off his backside and grope me himself?

‘Nice titties’ she said, running them through her hands until she got to my nipples. They certainly weren’t letting me down, showing more interest at this stage than Steve. Apart from his dick, of course. Sharon’s hands roamed further afield, teasing, exciting, reaching the sheer material of my knickers. I’ve never been with another woman. The opportunity never came up with Graham, so it was entirely novel to feel another woman’s fingers slide inside the leg of my knickers.

‘You’ve done a good job’ she complemented as she stroked her fingertips across my mound.

I was relying on my limited exposure to internet porn to get me through the rest of the evening. I went from being fondled to lying on my back on the lounge carpet, where I discovered that Sharon’s catsuit unzipped underneath so as to be crotchless when the need arose. I watched her bare nether regions approaching my face, struggling to believe that I was about to do what I was about to do. I could just see Steve with his hand on his cock when my world was reduced to another woman’s crinkly bits.

I might tell you about the rest of the evening when I’ve got over my embarrassment. I had no idea that I had it in me (you can “double entendre” that as much as you like), but I did. Once I put my inhibitions to one side, I had the best time that I could ever remember. I learned things, did things that I never imagined and walked out of that house having made peace with Steve. I shook my hair as I walked back to my car, smiling at the thought of what I’d done. Sharon was a lucky woman to have that sort of service on tap.

Yes, you read that right. I shook my hair. Not a hair on my head had been harmed during the evening. Steve really wasn’t one for crewcut ladies, unlike my son! There was a man who was determined to remain in his rut. I couldn’t complain – he’d stayed in mine for much of the evening too, if I’m to be crude about it. I had to concentrate on my deportment on the way back to the car. I didn’t want anyone asking where I’d left my horse!

I drove home feeling oddly fulfilled. It was a spectacular way to end my dry spell and would provide fodder for my late-night musings for some time to come. Hopefully Ben wouldn’t ever find out the real reason why I was going to relax his curfew on Monday.

My hair, you ask? Steve is of the opinion that walking in to a barbershop and getting my hair cut off is going to be more of an ordeal for me than having him or Sharon do the honours. Why won’t I ask Ben to do it? Well, it would be too much of a treat for him probably and going to a barbershop is what they wanted. They’ve generously given me a week to get it done. Just then, I was intent on basking in the glow of what both of them had done to me and the barriers that they’d knocked down in my existence. My hair was something for another day.

I didn’t even think about my hair the next day. Ben commented that I seemed more relaxed than I had and was indeed delighted when I admitted that maybe I’d been hard on him. He was released into the wild again, on the condition that he didn’t scalp any more of his friends’ mums.

On the Monday morning, I washed my hair in the shower and thought about what I agreed to do. I’ve never really thought of myself as a short-haired person, although I’ve always known that I’d have to go for the chop at some point. It’s just a part of growing old gracefully. The chop that I’d agreed to as a way to protect Ben was way more (or less) than I’d ever contemplated though. I didn’t want to do it. I had to. I could explain it to Ben, but to anyone else? I’d have to make something up.

I massaged the lather through my hair, enjoying the sensation. Images of Sharon with her crewcut came to mind. Images of Sharon squatting over my face chased them away. I could still taste her. I knew that it should disgust me, but it didn’t. I flicked to the memory of her husband pumping into me from behind, balls slapping against me. Not the biggest guy I’ve ever seen, but bigger than I’ve ever had. I rinsed my hair off, otherwise I knew that I’d move on to other things and waste an hour in there.

I headed in to town mid-morning. I had some shopping to do, but I knew that I needed to do a recce for somewhere to do the deed. I was nervous as I walked down the high street. It was like being forced to have my hair cut, but being a co-conspirator, if that makes sense. Nobody was dragging me, kicking and screaming, to do it, but it was still something that I was doing at someone else’s bidding, not of my own freewill. There would be consequences for not doing it, so in a way, it was against my will. The fact that I’d drive myself to town and ask someone to do it, didn’t make it any less involuntary when I thought about it. Part of the agreement was to send Sharon a picture of where I got my hair cut, which obviously wasn’t something that I did when I got my haircut in normal circumstances.

Ladies salons were out, unisex salons were out. They wanted a full-on barber. The thought of some hairy guy cutting my hair wasn’t appealing. For some reason though, even if I’d had the option of getting it done at my usual salon, it wouldn’t have seemed right. I couldn’t have brought myself to have Ruth cut it all off.

I’ve never paid any attention to barber shops in town. It’s been a good while since Ben let me go to the barber with him and that hasn’t happened since we moved here. To me, barber shops are like mobile phone shops. Just plugging a gap in the high street, but of no use to me. Now that was going to change. I walked past places that I just couldn’t see myself going in to in a million years, but then I got lucky.

I was down a side street, just seeing what might be lurking down there, when I found a barber’s that didn’t look like it was a relic from the 1950’s. “Billy’s Barber Shop”. Who’d have thought that I’d be standing outside, seriously considering getting them to cut my hair?

I’d glanced through the window as I went past and saw the shape of someone who definitely wasn’t a man. It was only a fleeting glimpse before whoever it was disappeared into a backroom or a store room or something. It couldn’t have been a customer, unless they were going to the toilet back there. There was a man at the chair nearer to the window, busy with a customer. I’d paused to look in the window of another shop and then doubled back for another look. The mystery figure had re-emerged from wherever she’d been and I could see that it was definitely a “she”. The first one I’d seen during my barbershop cruising. The shop looked decent, modern, cared for on the outside, so that could only bode well for the inside. It was as good as I was going to get. I went in.

The occupied barber turned to look at me. The woman looked at me. I was getting a vibe of “you’re obviously lost”, but then the woman flashed me a welcoming smile.

‘Hi, can I help you?’ she asked.

She was probably of a similiar age to me. I’d certainly put her in her forties, but she wore her jeans well and looked trim, she filled out her sweater well. She was friendly and that was all that mattered.

‘I’m not sure. I was hoping to get my hair cut’ I said.

‘I could certainly help you with that, but wouldn’t you be better off in a salon?’

‘That’s just it. I don’t want to go to my usual place. It’s not worth it for what I want.’

‘Tell me more’ she urged, looking bemused.

‘I just want to cut it all off’ I said. There, I’d come out with it.

‘As in “all off”?’

I nodded.

‘That’s a bit drastic’ she commented, waiting for me to fill in the details.

‘It’s a long story’ I said, hoping that she’d leave it there. She looked hungry for more. ‘It’s a solidarity thing. A friend’s just lost her hair and I want to show her that she’s not alone’ I said.

‘I’m sorry to hear that’ she said, thankfully not delving further.

‘So can you help me?’

‘Certainly. I’ll even do you a little deal, in the circumstances.’

‘Thank you.’

‘Now have a seat at the end there and we’ll get you sorted’ she said.

It was an alien world. Less comfortable than my usual salon, not concerned with anything much beyond getting the job done. I sat down, already feeling out of place in the “man chair”. She flicked a gown in a way that I’ve never seen in a ladies’ salon, anywhere. It swirled around me dramatically.

‘Now, all off you said?’

I nodded.

‘Sure?’

‘Sure’ I confirmed.

I was actually waiting for her to say that she can take it off, but she can’t put it back on, but thankfully I was spared that. I thought about Sharon with her skinhead. I thought about Ben who believed he was making an improvement. I wondered what he’d say when he got home later on. I thought about Sharon in her catsuit, wondering whether I should get one. Probably not the done thing to be lounging round the house with your bits on display, when your teenage son and his friends could appear at any minute.

I heard a “pop” and then felt a gentle hand on the top of my head.

‘Chin down for me’ she said gently.

I tilted my head forward, almost in reverence at the sacrifice that I was making on behalf of my son. I waited, but nothing happened.

‘To hell with it’ the stylist said. ‘We might as well make it memorable. Head back up for me.’

I brought my head level again, looking at myself in the mirror. I watched the clippers approach my forehead, felt them make contact and then watched in stomach-churning horror as they moved backwards across the top of my head. There was nothing left! Ben had left Sharon with a covering of hair. It was very short, but it still fell into the category of hair. I had nothing but skin.

‘I wasn’t expecting that’ I said, trying not to sound panicked.

‘You did say “all off”‘ she said, sounding a little concerned.

‘I did. I just wasn’t expecting those things to be so efficient. My friend still has some stubble, so it still looks like she’s got hair.’

‘In the circumstances, she probably wanted some sort of feel-good factor. At least this way you can show her that going the whole hog is perfectly fine.’

She made another run and widened the hairless super-highway across my scalp. I wondered what Ben would think of this. Hardly a challenge for a budding hairdresser like himself. How would I explain being skin-bald to people? I tried to rationalise it. I’d have to get a wig. Sharon and Steve would take satisfaction from it. My chances of finding a man had just gone to zero. All of these thoughts were colliding in my head, while the stylist or barber or whatever she called herself was calmly stripping me of the rest of my hair.

Okay. I agree, it wasn’t the best hair in the world, but it was my hair. I’d been on the verge of going to the salon to ask for something new before Ben came out of the hairdressing closet. It suddenly struck me that there might be another closet that he hadn’t come out of yet. Who was I to talk though, with his best friends’ mum having sat on my face and me having enjoyed the experience to the point that I wouldn’t say no to a re-match. Not that there was any prospect of that now. Steve might take satisfaction in my humiliation, but I doubt that he’d be able to get it up if faced with a woman as bald as his dad. I’d definitely have to go for the “Catwoman” suit like Sharon, if there was to be any chance of another evening like the last one with them.

I was watching the ruthless progress of the clippers down the side of my head. This woman certainly didn’t mess about once she got started. I thought back to getting band-aids mercilessly pulled off when I was at school. She’d seen me smiling.

‘What?’ she asked.

‘I was just thinking that this is what sheep must feel like.’

‘Not at all’ she replied with a smile. ‘I don’t think there’s a sheep in the world that’s ever looked better afterwards. You, on the other hand, are looking better by the second.’

‘Wow! I’m surprised.’

I’m not sure why I should be, since I had thought that Sharon looked better after Ben had done his thing. I looked at myself properly in the mirror, which I hadn’t been doing up until now. I still had some hair untouched on the left-hand side of my head, but everything else that I should’ve been able to see had gone. I was well on the way to being bald.

In a way, I was being stripped to my essence. No artifice of hair to shape someone’s impression of me. This was me. There went the last big hank of hair from the side. There was no distraction now. I looked at myself, hard. It was strange to see myself like this, but in a way, it was exciting. I hadn’t done anything remarkable for so long. Not that I could admit to in public anyway. I should just go with it. Embrace it. See where it took me. She was round the back now, nearly finished. I couldn’t help wondering again what Ben would say when his mum came home with no hair.

The clippers were running unimpeded over my scalp, in a fruitless search for something to harvest. They gave up and went quiet.

‘There, that wasn’t so bad, was it? What do you think?’

‘I’m stunned.’

‘You’re stunning, that’s what you are’ she said.

‘Nobody’s ever said that about me’ I replied.

‘There you go, you should’ve done this ages ago’ she said, rubbing her hand gently over my scalp.

‘It’s not something that’s ever crossed my mind.’

‘You should say a big “thank you” to your friend, however sad the circumstances.’

I was so pre-occupied looking at myself in the mirror, with my head tilted this way and that, that I hadn’t noticed what the stylist was doing.

‘What’s that?’ I asked, slightly startled.

‘The finishing touch’ she replied, smearing white stuff over my head. ‘Can’t have you walking out of here half-done, can I?’

Confirmation of my suspicion came in a few moments, when she had a razor in her hand. There didn’t seem to be much point in objecting to it, but after the first couple of strokes, I was actually enjoying the sensation. As long as I didn’t actually think of it as somebody shaving my head to the skin, that is. I noticed that the stylist was looking at me in the mirror from time to time, giving me a reassuring smile if our eyes met. In between, I was watching the white covering reducing with each stroke. I knew that with it, went the last traces of my hair. I was starting to be excited by the prospect of touching my hairless head for the first time, the way that I’d got a thrill when I’d shaved my pubes off for the first time. I was almost wanting it not to end, but I could see less and less white, only a slight film over my scalp.

A towel made short work of whatever the razor hadn’t cleared. Including the stray blob on my earlobe. The stylist held my head on each side in towel-covered hands, inspecting her work.

‘There you go, gorgeous’ she declared.

‘There you go again, using words that I wouldn’t associate with myself’ I commented. Maybe I could do without a wig for now, I thought.

‘You need to take another look at yourself’ she said, unfastening the gown.

I noticed the male barber look at me as I stood up. He’d got another client since I’d first sat down, but I hadn’t been aware of the changeover. I’d been too absorbed in my own little world.

The stylist had gone over to the till by the door in preparation. She smiled as I approached her.

‘Five pounds please’ she said.

‘That’s a lot less than I normally pay’ I smiled.

‘Every cloud…’ she replied as she took the cash from me.

‘Thank you for being gentle’ I said, not quite knowing why. She was probably as considerate with all of her clients.

She looked at me and smiled.

‘I hope you don’t mind me asking’ she said. ‘I’m due a break. Do you fancy a coffee?’

Not what I was expecting.

‘Yes, sure, why not?’ I replied, somewhat taken aback.

‘Billy, I’ll be back in ten’ she called over my shoulder.

There I was, walking out of a barber shop, completely bald, with the person responsible.

‘I haven’t introduced myself’ she said as we got to the street. ‘I’m Sarah’ she said.

‘Helen’ I replied, with a nod.

‘Well, Helen, it must be quite a momentous day for you, doing this.’

‘I hadn’t planned to go all the way, you know’ I said as we aimed for a coffee shop around the corner.

‘I would normally do something like this in stages, to give you the chance to stop where you were comfortable. With you, you were just so right to go all the way and I didn’t want you not to get to enjoy it.’

‘Now you tell me’ I chuckled.

I remembered about Steve and Sharon wanting a picture and got Sarah to do the honours quickly, making sure that she got the shop sign in the frame. We headed off down the street in search of a coffee shop that wasn’t too busy.

We ordered and found a seat in a quiet corner, making small talk. The coffees arrived, but we paid them little attention. Then I decided to tell her the truth about what happened with Ben and Sharon. She sat there in rapt silence, nodding as I relayed the events of recent weeks. I held back on the evening with Sharon and Steve.

Her hand touched mine across the table. It was like an electric shock. She pulled her hand back, embarrassed.

‘I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have’ she said. ‘I’d better be getting back.’

I looked at her.

‘No, it’s me that should be sorry. It’s just that I’m not, well, I have, but I’m not, you know’ I burbled.

‘At least we’ve cleared that up’ she chuckled.

I paused.

‘What time do you break for lunch?’ I asked, reaching across to touch her hand gently.

She looked as surprised at the question as I was that I’d asked it.

‘I’m on a half-day’ she replied.

‘I’ll still be in town, if you’ve got nothing better to do’ I offered.

‘What were you thinking?’

‘I don’t know. Maybe we could just see what happens’ I said.

‘Nothing that you don’t want to happen’ she replied with a little wink.

She looked at her watch and realised the time.

‘Shit, I’d better go’ she said, standing up.

We hurried out of the coffee shop and paused outside.

‘I’ll see you here about one’ she said.

‘Great.’

She leant forward and hugged me, rubbing a hand over my bald head as she eased apart. I watched her walk away, wondering what had come over me.

The thought of hanging round town until lunchtime wasn’t appealing, so I went home. I wanted to acclimatise in my own space, not where I felt that everyone was looking at me. I found myself stroking my head when I stopped at traffic lights, at junctions, even occasionally while I was driving. It still felt weird, but it was wonderful to feel an expanse of unfamiliar, smooth skin.

I went straight into the shower when I got in through the front door. I was too excited to sit down. I stood in front of the mirror, both hands on my head, not believing that it was me staring back. Not so long ago, I’d stood here, hairy in places that I was now hairless. This version was unfamiliar, but I so wanted it to become familiar. Just think…no more bad hair days, no more holiday chat with a stylist. Hair hadn’t got me a man. Not for a long time. Cutting my hair off hadn’t got me a man either, but it had got me someone to spend some adult time with, and who knew what else?

The fact that I went out in a button-through dress with nothing underneath says everything about my expectations. The fact that Sarah took me straight round to her house said everything about hers. She showed me to the lounge and said that she was just going to freshen up. The sound of a shower running gave me a few minutes to have a nosey at photos on the shelves. After a few minutes, I heard sounds in the kitchen, signalling that she was done.

‘Hope this is okay’ she said, holding two glasses of white wine as she came in.

‘Lovely, thanks’ I said, reaching up to take one from her.

She was wearing a thigh-length satin dressing gown.

‘Hope you don’t mind’ she said, motioning to her gown. ‘It looks like you went home and found something more comfortable, so I thought I’d join you.’

I took a big pull from my glass, watching while she undid the belt at her waist. The two sides of the gown eased apart, revealing her in her nakedness. Sharon had kept her catsuit on all evening, so I hadn’t been faced with a properly naked woman until now. Sarah was shaved down below, making me feel relieved at my recent conversion. I wanted to feel her pear-shaped boobs.

I eased forward in my seat, making sure that the hem of my dress rode up, giving her an eyeful of my freshly-shaven mound.

‘You’re a bit of a dark horse, aren’t you? And now you’ve got matching collar and cuffs too’ she observed with a smile, putting her glass down on a little table.

‘May I?’ she asked, getting to her knees.

And that, Dear Reader, is how I spent the rest of the afternoon, naked and freshly bald, in the bed of another woman.

The afternoon flew by and it was so hard to drag myself away. Needs must, and Ben would be expecting to be fed when he got home.

Sarah and I stood just at the doorway to her flat, loosely holding hands opposite each other, still glowing from our exertions. She was still naked, my teeth marks still visible on her boobs.

‘You know, for a beginner, you’re not bad’ she said, cupping the back of my bald head to kiss me goodbye.

‘I’ve got a good teacher’ I said, giving her left nipple a tweak.

We made plans to see each other again, and I walked away from her flat wondering about the seismic shift in my life. I’d been worried about my son being gay and now I was worried about introducing him to the woman who I really hoped would become part of my life. We’d had fun, she’d awoken feelings that I’d forgotten about. She’d shaved me, brought me out of my shell, brought me back to life.

When I got home, I opened the front door with trepidation. I could hear music. Ben was home.

‘I’m home’ I called up the stairs.

No reply.

I went into the kitchen and made a start on dinner, thinking about Sarah and what she’d done to me, in the salon and later. Very aware that I had no underwear on while I was peeling vegetables. I was anxious about Ben’s reaction to me being bald, but no longer anxious about not having hair. Shaving my head had given me a new friend and should be more than enough to placate Steve and Sharon. Cutting my hair hadn’t been my idea. Shaving my head completely certainly hadn’t been my idea, but I was already at peace with it and any thought of it being forced on me had receded to the back of my mind. I didn’t hear the door open.

‘Mum! What the..?’ I heard.

‘Oh, hi Ben. Did you have a good day?’ I asked, trying my hardest not to be any different from any other day.

‘What’ve you done?’

‘Got my hair cut’ I replied. I really didn’t want to tell him about any threat to “out” him as having cut Sharon’s hair off. ‘What do you think?’

‘Did Sharon tell you to do that?’ he asked.

He knew.

‘You made her look so much better, so I thought I’d give it a go. I rather like it.’

He stared at me.

‘What time’s dinner?’ he asked, in true teenager fashion.

He went to the fridge and got a can. He turned to look at me.

‘It looks good’ he said sheepishly.

‘Ben, you know you can tell me anything, don’t you?’ I said seriously.

He shrugged.

‘I don’t want us to have any more secrets’ I told him.

He shrugged again, pulling the ring on his can.

‘About anything.’

‘Mum! I get it. No more secrets, okay.’

‘I want you to know that I support you, whatever. You can talk to me’

‘Okay.’

‘I also want you to know that I’ve met someone.’

He looked at me.

‘Don’t look at me like that. I’m not over-the-hill yet.’

He shrugged.

‘I’m going to invite her over for dinner’ I said, watching his expression while he processed the statement.

‘Her?’ he asked.

‘Her name’s Sarah.’

‘Fuck’ he said, closing the door behind him.

That about summed up my day: got my head shaved, got laid. Came out to my son. “Fuck” indeed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 responses to “Outside the Box

  1. I have to say, this was one of the most enjoyable reads I’ve had on this sight in some time. I loved the story, and the premise for the haircut, headshaving if you will. The rendezvous with Sarah was unexpected but very nice. Really well written.
    Claire (aka Dreadlocks)

  2. Thank you Claire, I’m pleased that you enjoyed it.

    You’re actually owed a bigger “thank you” than you know, because it was your own stories that led me to embark on this path. I don’t recall going down the “forced” route before (I’ve written too many stories over the years for me to be certain), but you’ve inspired me to explore a little, where previously I’ve shied away.

    Thank you inviting the rest of us into your carefully-crafted world. I’m only too well-aware of the time and effort involved.

    rayzur@outlook.com

  3. That was a really fun story. I liked the juxtaposition of serious themes and light heartedness, and the whole storyline was different than anything else I’ve encountered.

    Thanks for writing it and sharing!

  4. Masterful work. A lot of your works have had endings that left the reader begging for part 2 immediately. Not so with this one. Perfect ending. Ben was so relatable to many in their early years of discovery but not too much of the focus. His involvement was a “background“ catalyst that paced the journey of his mom to reinvent herself in the name of protecting him. I can honestly say that I didn’t see the twists and turns coming but enjoyed every one of them. You set the bar so high with your previous stories but this one wins gold with a new world record.

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