THE BLEACH AND BUZZ CULT
It started with her sister. And then that guy on AOL with his alluring stories about buzz cuts. Nicole was hurtling towards the chair, burning hotter by the minute. Bleached and buzzed. She couldn’t stop fantasizing about it. Bleached and buzzed. Buzzed and bleached. She’d never even seen a pair of electric clippers. But now just the thought of them turned her on.
She was in her late 20s and tired of the same old look. She craved a lift, an booster injection of fantasy and play. This seemed perfect.
She spoke with the AOL guy online one night, explaining that none of the barbershops in her small town would cut a woman’s hair. Find a salon, he suggested over the cyber wires, a funky salon that won’t spare the clippers. She pulled out the Yellow Pages. Here’s one, she typed, over at the mall. Still scared, she needed a push. Call them, she told him online, arrange an appointment for after work Wednesday. Tell them what to do. Then send me a note.
Two days away. Her heart pounded. Niki’s next stop: the wig shop. She couldn’t go into work with so little hair..or no hair. She found one. Her length. Her soft straight style. And nearly her color. Just a little more on the red side. Perfect. Everyone will think I just got a dye job, she said. The day arrives. He calls the mall salon to discover they didn’t take appointments and they didn’t do dye jobs. He dispatches an e-mail message. But Nicole is already in the midst of a bit of serendipity. She goes out to the sub shop with the girls at lunch. And there it is. Buzz cult fate. A little boutique with an outfit she liked in the window. Nicole walks in, curious. In the back, she finds a small two-bay salon. She nearly bumps into its proprietor – a tall, skinny woman with shoulder-length fuschia hair and a pierced nose. Very grunged.
A sudden rush of adrenaline. Then nerves. But Nicole speaks. “Do you do extreme hair,” she says, knowing, of course, the answer.
“How extreme do you want to go?” wonders the woman. Nicole draws a breath. She is too hot, too thrilled after reading those stories. She is beyond going back. She craves this and she sure is going to have it.
“As short as possible,” Nicole says, “and bleached out. Totally.”
“Are you sure?” the stylists asks.
One word: “Yes.”
The stylist smiles. “Let’s do it then,” she says. They agree on a 7:15 p.m. appointment. Nicole knows she can back out, she knows that once her luscious, thick brown hair is gone it will take years to return. If she decides to grow it. But she doesn’t have a bit of regret all afternoon and she walks in right on time as the woman is finishing up the scissoring on a guy in the chair. He leaves and the woman looks over. “You’re sure now?” she says. A gulp. “If we don’t have time,” Nicole answers, “we can make this for the weekend.”
The woman smiles. Thinly. “No,” she says, “I don’t get this chance very often.” Nicole takes a seat. The stylist steps to the chair and runs her hands through the soft strands of her hair. Nicole, mesmerized, watches in the mirror. “You’re sure?” the woman asks again.
“Yes. Do it,” Nicole says firmly.
The stylist, who introduces herself as Mike, short for Michelle, gently pulls Nicole’s hair back into a tight ponytail. And then she turns the chair away from the mirror.
Nicole feels a tug and a grinding sound. Very strange. And then Mike hands her a ponytail. “OH MY GOD!” Nicole says, her heart suddenly pounding. Mike turns the chair back to the mirror. “Whatcha think?”
Nicole’s deep, piercing brown eyes stare. She sees the beginnings of a new Nicole. She has almost the perfect bob, high up on the nape of her neck on an extreme angle. “Hang loose.” Mike’s words cut into her reverie. “I’m just going to close up.”
Minutes later, Mike returns with what looks like a bowl of whipped cream. ‘It’s easier,” she explains, “to go blonde with longer hair because it can cause irritation on a shorn scalp.”
Slowly, carefully, she puts the “cream” on Nicole’s bob and their chatting begins. They share stories. And Mike convinces her to make another transformation: a piercing. While she waits for the bleach to work its magic, Mike puts two rings in Nicole’s left nostril. It stings for a full ten minutes. Then, finally, it is time.
Mike bends the chair back and slowly washes off the bleach, then slides it upright again and towels Nicole dry. Her hair is fuschia. Nicole is shocked and gently moist at the transformation.
“Just playing,” Mike cracks, explaining that she put on a rinse. She washes it out. As she does Nicole sees her head turn pure white. Then another dry. “You ready?” Mike says.
“Yesss, please,” Nicole answers, remembering it as a favorite line from one of his stories.
Submissively and with full understanding of the effect, Nicole slowly lowers her chin to her chest, exposing her nape to the pleasures of the clipper.
“Wonderful!” Mike cracks, “a bottom!.”
“What?” ponders Nicole. “A bottom, a sub?” Mike explains.
“Well, kinda,” Nicole answers, smiling to herself, her chin still resting on her chest. Mike pushes at Nicole’s already-lowered head dramatically, making sure it can go no further.
Then click. The rush hits Nicole again like a roiling wave. She grips the arms of the chair. Mike places the clippers at the base of her neck, the vibration resounding throughout Nicole’s electrified body.
“Bye, bye” Mike mutters, a devilish smile on her face. The vibration travels. Slowly. Closer and closer to the occipital bone in Nicole’s skull. More intense by the second. Louder. My ears, Nicole thinks, are tickling from the buzz.
Then she feels it. The first to fall. Off the side of her ear. A gulp. Some squirming. An advancing wetness.
“Hold it,” Mike says, leaving Nicole, chin down and practically begging, and walking away. “Here,” she says returning and offering a glass of wine, “this will help.”
Nicole gulps hungrily. And then it starts again. Head down. Clippers on. Vibrations searing an already taut nervous system. Mike traces the clippers from the nape up again, this time tickling Nicole’s left ear as the hair falls. Then she turns the chair to face the mirror. “How ya like that?” she says. Nicole sits stunned. She is bleached. But nothing looks different. Her hair still hangs in an angled bob. “I thought you cut it,” she says. “I did,” Mike replies, grinning broadly and lifting the sides of the bob.
“Oh my God,” softer now, emerges from Nicole.
Along the sides she has been clippered down to a quarter inch, leaving a softness that looks like cotton.
“You still want me to continue?” Mike wonders.
“Yes,” Nicole says firmly, “I’m going to do it all the way.”
At those words Mike is transformed. “OK, bitch,” Mike says, roughly now and shoves her head down again. This time the clippers work harder up the back and over the sides. White rain falls across the cape. Wave after wave tumbles down on the cape. Nicole, in ecstasy from the fear and the thrill, comes in soft spasms.
Mike spins her around and shows her the progress. It’s a funky Mohawk. “How much do you want on top?” she asks, now suspecting the answer.
“I’m in your hands. Do what looks best to you,” Nicole offers. Mike spins her away from the mirror again.
Nicole hears the clippers humming. Again. Every part of her tingles. She feels their teeth at her forehead, softly snarling, eager to roar.
“You’re entering the twilight zone now,” Mike mutters, savoring the drama. She pushes the clippers down the middle of Nicole’s head. Nicole, drugged with thrall, thinks she feels every little hair being clipped. Blonde falls in front of her eyes, sticking to her lips. She reaches under the smock to “relieve” the pressure. Once, twice. She is soaked.
The clippers continue their ennervating path, plowing through the whiteness sending it floating away forever from Nicole’s head. It’s the number three guide, leaving a soft 3/8 inch in its wake.
Then a click. And silence.
Nicole sits, barely able to contain herself. She wants, no she needs, to see. Now. But Mike tells her to wait. “Before I turn you around,” she says…her voice trailing away. She returns with a makeup tray, does Nicole’s eyes. Then she attaches a chain to her ear and nose.
Then…the chair is spun one more time. “Shit,” Nicole exclaims. “I look like a model.” She does. Intense, stunning.
“Let me be the first,” Mike says, beaming now. And she rubs Nicole’s soft, pelt-like whiteness. They laugh. Mike leans down in back of her, gazes into the mirror over Nicole’s shoulder and asks “Is that the look you wanted?”
“Ohhhh, yes,” Nicole murmurs, arching softly back into Mike, who leans in and gives her a little peck on the cheek. They turn, face to face. Stare at each other. And then kiss. So hot is all Nicole thinks. Mike rubs her head. Again and again. And each time Nicole believes she will explode.
They leave, head back to Mike’s nearby apartment. She gives Nicole a black latex outfit. It’s almost sensory overload. The new, inviting crop. And the latex, like a second skin. White blonde on top. Shimmering black below. Nicole stares in the mirror and gushes. Uncontrollably. She can’t believe how far she has come in a few days. Eventually, she takes off the body suit and puts on her daisy dukes, her fatigue shirt and her Lugz. On the way home, she detours to a 7-Eleven for a Pepsi. The local boys are out and they whistle and yell and hoot. Nicole smiles. Ignorant fools, she thinks. If they only knew the feeling. But then why should they? Only the daring gain entry to the buzz cult.