Jill walked the two blocks to the salon she had found earlier. It was called ‘Hair Razors!’ and it had a kind of campy look to it, like a salon trying to look glitzy but not quite managing it. Jill entered and gave her name. A stylist came out and said, “Well hello! My name is Gwen and welcome!” She was nauseatingly bubbly. After a few weeks in the woods, Jill had to learn to get used to dealing with people again.
“So, Jill what can we do for you?” she asked as she lead her back to one of the stations.
“Well – Gwen – I need a low-maintenance haircut,” she replied.
“What were you looking for?”
“Bald,” Jill said with some finality
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With a little chuckle Gwen said, “Oh, hiking the AT are you?”
“Yeah, how’d you know?” Jill asked a little mystified.
“Darlin’ let me tell you a secret. I walked the trail end to end six years ago. A month in I couldn’t take my sweaty matted hair so I had my head shaved. Simple and easy solution – and darlin’ let me tell you it felt real good if you know what I mean.” Gwen led Jill to a more private station behind a set of saloon-style swinging doors. “Now let’s get this cape around your neck and get to work,” she said with a certain amount of relish in her voice, “and Jill, you’re in for a real thrill so if you fell the need to ‘relieve yourself’ just go ahead.”
“Excuse me?” Jill asked, a little taken back.
Gwen leaned in closer and in a lowered voice said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you or nothin’. All I’m saying is that some customers have found this cut, well, arousing. I just want you to know that if you feel the need to get some relief don’t be embarrassed. Just fill the need. OK?”
Jill replied somewhat apologetically, “I’m sorry. I didn’t understand what you meant. Thanks.”
With a cape around Jill’s neck, Gwen fired up a pair of rather imposing looking black clippers. “Last chance to say boo,” Gwen said.
“Let ’em rip,” came the reply.
The clippers began to move slowly through the hair on the front of Jill’s head. They ground away at her hair sending it cascading to the floor. Gwen moved them over the top and down the back of Jill’s head in one slow fluid motion. “Holy shit, does that feel good!” Jill thought and her mind wandered back to how she ended up sitting in barber’s chair in Tennessee.
Jill’s life had reached a turning point of sorts. Since she was a child, she had lived in someone else’s shadow. When she was little she was her mother’s daughter. As a teen she had been daddy’s little girl and then her boyfriend’s girl. After that she was the fiancée and then a wife. After being a wife, she was a mother to her children. Jill never really considered herself as being Jill. She always considered herself an adjunct, a “possession,” of someone else.
She had been in therapy ever since her husband had announced that he was leaving her, for a much younger woman of course. Oh, she had made out well in the divorce, but, for the first time in 45 years, she was on her own, truly on her own, and she was at a loss for an identity.
As she sat discussing the trials and travails of her life with her shrink she had come to the conclusion one day that after all her lack of self identity she was now thinking of herself as his patient. In a sudden burst of self-examination, she decided that she had had enough therapy and decided to cancel all future sessions. To her amazement the doctor had agreed and even encouraged her decision.
She was now standing in a bookstore looking through the self-help section. It depressed her. As she flipped through the titles she found the whiny “I’m a victim” motif upsetting. “At what point did we stop taking ownership for ourselves?” she thought.
On the way out of the store, she noticed a book on the best seller rack with a bear peeking out from behind a tree on the cover. The title was “A Walk in the Woods.” She flipped to the inside jacket and read the synopsis. She found the subject interesting. The author had lived in England for many years and as a way to rediscover and reconnect with his homeland he had decided to hike the Appalachian Trail from end to end.
Jill asked a clerk who walked by if the book was any good. “Yes ma’am. It’s quite funny. The author is a humorist and he has some very funny experiences,” he said.
Jill thanked him, purchased the book, and went home. With a cup of hot tea and nice fuzzy blanket to ward off an autumn chill she opened the book and began to read. Very quickly, she was laughing hysterically. After a while a thought crept into her mind, “Why not try this?”
She closed her eyes and thought about it. One way to stake out her independence was to do something thoroughly independent. There was something else about it. The author had gone out his way to note that the AT was not really all that scenic and that the view from the trail was so short that for miles on end you could only see a few feet into the woods and maybe a few dozen feet ahead. He described how this closed in tunnel like view of the world, and the need to keep moving, forced the mind to consider only what was in the present and induced a monk like introspection. That’s what she decided she needed. Even if she got nowhere it would be worth the effort of having a grand goal to reach for.
Since it was fall Jill decided that she would spend the next four months preparing, reading, exercising and learning what gear she would need. The next day Jill began to prepare. At the end of four months, she was almost as fit as she had been in college. She had read a great deal about the trail, had talked to the AT council in Harpers Ferry and was more than prepared for her adventure.
As Jill’s plane descended into Atlanta, she wondered what it would be like to walk for over 2,000 miles. Oh she had walked up to 25 miles in one day around her home but she had never really been in the woods, so to speak.
Four hours after landing, a cab dropped Jill off in Amicolola Falls State Park, Georgia, at the foot of Springer Mountain. 2,158 miles to her north lay Mt. Kahtahdin, Maine. Jill paid the driver, tipped him well, and hoisted her pack onto her shoulders and set out for the summit of Springer Mountain that was the official beginning of the AT. It was a brisk March morning and her voyage of discovery had begun.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with but one step,” she said reciting the ancient oriental saying. Jill was off.
Three days later Jill realized that she didn’t have a good way to clean her hair. She had light colored hair that hung down below her shoulders and when it got dirty and oily it was just an awful mess. She kept it combed as best she could but it had quickly become greasy and sweaty and occasionally it would get tangled in the webbing of her pack. Fortunately, it was still cool in the highlands so she just dealt with it and walked on.
On the fifth day, Jill decided that she had to do something. She had tried a ponytail, a French braid and a bun and nothing seemed to keep the sweaty matted hair off her neck. Even a hat didn’t seem to work. In desperation, she used the last of her biodegradable soap to wash her hair in a fast flowing, and amazingly cold, mountain stream. Relief was short lived.
She got off the trail in Stecoah near the Smoky Mountains and found a small, run-down old beauty shop. She explained her problem and the old woman who ran the place told her she could do a chin length bob and clipper her neck. “It will be cool and require only a combing to get it to set right,” which she said with a cigarette hanging from her mouth with a long ash that just didn’t seem to want to fall off.
“No,” Jill replied. “I don’t think I’m that daring. Just trim it to the shoulders please and undercut the back.”
With the cape around her neck, the old woman quickly cut her hair to the shoulders with three quick strokes from a set of massive shears. With a loud pop from set of ancient clippers the old woman announced, “Now I’m gonna undercut the back some so’s your neck’ll stay cool. Now don’t move none.” She worked the clippers up her neck slowly removing all the fine wispy hair. Jill had never felt such a wonderful sensation before. A brief flicker of a thought ran through her mind, “What would it feel like if she just ran these things right over the top?”
Done with the trim, Jill paid her bill and left. She liked her new look. Her hair was shorter than it had been in a long time. She looked and felt ten years younger. Her neck was cool and her perky new haircut bounced as she walked and she liked the way her now smooth neck felt.
A week later Jill’s hair was a matted sweaty mess again. As Jill hiked the massive ridges of the Smokies she was exerting herself hard and was sweating profusely. She encountered a great number of other hikers and she noted that most of the really serious women hikers had pixie cuts or other short styles. Over a campfire one evening, she was discussing her grooming problems with some other women when one of them said she didn’t really have much of a problem any more. With that she pulled of her hat and presented the group with a buzzed scalp.
There was a general chorus of; “I could never do that.” Jill asked the buzzed-headed hiker about it.
“Well, when I started this trip I just hated they way my hair felt. So I just figured that since nobody I know can see me, why not just get my head shaved. By the time I get to Maine nobody I know will ever know the difference,” she explained.
Out of the chorus of questions one of the others around the fire asked, “What was it like. Getting shaved, I mean.”
“It was bit scary at first. It’s a big change and I almost began to panic when I saw the set of hair clippers the barber picked up…” she began to explain, but was interrupted by another girl.
“Barber shop! You have to be kidding! That must’ve freaked the locals out,” she half yelled in a hysterical laugh.
“Actually it did. It was weird walking in to the barbershop. It’s like this serious guy place and everybody is sitting around waiting their turn and nobody is talking except for the barber and the guy in the chair. They all talk about sports or other stupid shit and everybody else in the place is in their own little world reading magazines like they aren’t even there. It was just plain weird. After an hour or so, the barber calls out, ‘NEXT!’ and everybody looks at me. So I get up, sit down in this big chair and the barber asks in a really demeaning way, ‘So young lady what’ll it be?’ I looked right at him and said, ‘Shave it all off.'”
One of the quieter girls in the group jumped in and asked, “What’d he say?”
“Well, he kind of stuttered for a moment and said, ‘Young lady, you can’t be serious. Now either tell me what kind of cut you want or leave.’ He was kind of cocky and pissy at the same time so I simply repeated myself and told him to shave my head. Then I noticed that everybody in the place is now staring at me like I’m from some other planet. The barber started to argue with me so I decided to explain why I was there and that seemed to settle it for him. So, yada-yada-yada, I’m bald. It was really kind of fun,” she finished her explanation and just looked at the women in turn.
Jill measured the youngster and thought, “She could be my daughter for God’s sake.” Jill was nothing if not practical and considered the young girl’s story. It was a logical solution, get her head shaved and then not worry about keeping her hair neat until Maine. Simple, practical and cheap. “Hell,” she thought, “It’s only hair. It’ll grow back.” Besides, she was her own woman now and what better way to stake out her own identity than to take control of something so basic as her hair.
The next day Jill hitchhiked into Gatlinburg. After three weeks of trees and nothing much else the shock of the carnival atmosphere of Gatlinburg was like walking out of dark movie theater into a bright summers day. It physically hurt her eyes. Jill got a room at a flea bag motel and took her first hot shower in 9 days. It felt incredible. She especially liked the feeling of the hot water on her clippered neck.
As she soaped up her body, her hands began to wander over her body, touching and probing her most sensitive places. After a time she began to fantasize about the trip to the salon she would make that afternoon and the feeling of a razor gliding over her scalp. Very quickly, she had a nice subtle orgasm. It was wonderful. She lingered in the shower a while longer touching her breasts and crotch. Finally, her fingers were just to pruny to enjoy any more and with some regret she got out of the shower and dressed.
Gwen started the second pass of the clippers and in doing so grabbed Jill’s chin to keep her head steady. This brought her back to the present and the growing warmth between her legs. The second pass of the clippers was the same as the first, a long fluid motion from front to back. Gwen moved the other side and ran the clippers over Jill’s head for a third time.
The clippers were noisy but what Jill’s mind was centered on was the wonderful warm feeling buzz of the blade as it passed over her scalp. It was like a hundred little fingernails all at once. It was an incredible sensation.
Gwen noticed Jill shift in the chair and saw the cape spread a little flatter about her waist. Gwen smiled. She stopped working for moment so Jill could get comfortable again after slipping her shorts down a bit.
Gwen the pushed Jill’s head forward, perhaps a little sharply, so that her chin was against her chest. Gwen leaned in near Jill’s ear and whispered, “Just let go and enjoy the moment.” She then ever-so-slowly pushed the clippers up the back of Jill’s neck and over the top to meet the large bare spot. Jill began to work her fingers between her legs and her breathing began to deepen.
Gwen kept a firm hold on Jill’s head as she ran the clippers up her neck four more times creating a hairless patch from ear to ear. She then pulled Jill’s head back very far so that had her eyes been open they would have been looking straight up. Jill was breathing a little heavier and it was obvious that her hand was moving vigorously beneath the cape.
Gwen ran the clippers over Jill’s left temple and then the right. Jill’s hair was now completely shorn. Gwen ran the clippers very quickly over Jill’s head again leaving a faint shadow of what had been. Jill’s hand moved in time with the clippers. No sooner had Gwen finished and turned the clippers off than Jill let out a low squeal and sucked in her breath as a shattering orgasm over took her. For a long time, she breathed in gasps with her body almost convulsing form the pleasure. Gwen just stood back and watched. “Another satisfied customer,” she thought.
After Jill’s breathing returned to normal Gwen said, “All done.”
“Done? I thought you were going to shave me?” Jill asked.
Gwen replied, “Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you just wanted a clipper shave. I’ll be back in just a moment,” and left to go get something.
Jill just sat in the chair basking in the after glow of perhaps the best orgasm she had had in years. She looked at herself in the mirror. “Wow, what a difference!” she thought.
Gwen came back with a towel. “This is going to be a little hot, so get ready.” Gwen then wrapped the towel around Jill’s head. Jill sucked in her breath at the sudden shock from the hot towel. It was an incredible feeling of warmth. She had never felt anything like it. She closed her eyes again and let the moist warmth of the towel flow through her.
After several minutes, Gwen removed the towel, which had the opposite effect of creating a sudden shock of cool air. These new sensations were beginning to put Jill into sensory overload. Just when she thought she couldn’t take another new feeling Gwen began to smear hot shaving cream over her head. Jill couldn’t believe how wonderful it felt as the warm cream was messaged into scalp, almost like what a foot feels like after falling asleep.
Gwen pulled a fresh Mach3 razor out of its sleeve and began the slow task of doing the first of two razor passes over Jill’s scalp. She moved the razor back and forth in two-inch squares scraping away the fine fuzz the clippers had left. Jill liked the scraping noise in her head, eased herself into the seat, and began to satisfy herself once again. After several minutes, Gwen had finished with the first shaving.
Almost reflexively, Jill rubbed her bald head. It was not what she expected; it was rougher than she thought it would be. Gwen said, “I know what you’re thinking. I’ll need to go over it once more to get it really smooth.” Gwen put another towel on Jill’s head. The sensation was less of a shock this time.
After a couple of minutes Gwen removed the second towel and spread more shaving cream on Jill’s head.
Gwen moved the razor in longer strokes this time and Jill marveled at how quiet it was this time compared to the first. It felt better as well. This was the sensation she had dreamed of the night before and as her mind focused on the feeling of the razor gliding over her scalp the warmth between her legs increased a new and Jill began to move earnestly in the chair. Gwen grabbed Jill’s chin in a firm grip and this seemed only to heighten her arousal. In short order Jill let out another but louder squeal as came again.
Gwen just looked on in wonder. “Well, she’s not frigid!” she chuckled to herself under her breath.
Jill finally calmed down and Gwen said in a laughing way, “Jill honey, can you just hold off a few minutes so I can finish you off?”
Eight or nine long razor strokes later Jill had a shiny bald head. She loved the look of herself in the mirror. Her head was very white and smooth. She marveled at the smoothness of it as she rubbed her palm over her scalp.
She chatted with Gwen for a few moments while she paid. Gwen gave some handy “maintenance” instructions including the need to wear SPF 30 sunscreen for about a week. “Your scalp will burn very quickly if you aren’t careful,” she said.
When she left Hair Razors, she noted a number of long glances and outright stares from passers-by. She loved the feeling of the sun on her scalp. She hitchhiked back up the New Found Gap road and got back on the AT.
Jill continued her journey, one step at a time, and her feeling of independence grew ever greater the father north she went. By the time she reached 100-Mile Wilderness in Maine she was a new person. When she got to the top of Mt. Kahtahdin she turned and looked southward reflexively touching her head. It was now September and Jill now sported a cute pageboy-like look. Her grown daughter had hiked the last ten miles with her and they had a long heart-to-heart chat as they went. At the top of the mountain, her daughter asked her what she was going do now that her trek was over.
“Well, dear, how’s about we find a nice little salon. I think I need a good trim!”