A Girl and a Barber…
She walked in early on a Saturday afternoon. The morning rush over, the barber, a youngish man, sat in the chair reading the newspaper. Perhaps, she thought surveying the knotty-pine paneling barren except for a price list, a pinup calendar and a few meeting notices, this will be easier than I thought.
The barber looked up from his paper. “The help wanted sign for a shampoo girl is for the beauty shop next door,” he said. “Ask for Margaret.” Her heart sank. “Oh, I’m not here for a job,” she said. “I’m here for a haircut.”
“Same place,” the barber said, turning now to look at her. “Next door, ask for Margaret. We don’t cut ladies’ hair in here. Just look there,” he added, pointing to the price list. The list, yellowed with age, except for newly pasted on prices listed “men’s haircut – $8”, “boy’s haircut – $6” and “flat top – $6”. “So move along little lady,” he said, turning back to the sports pages. Her face flushed red, the adrenaline of anger fuelling her next statement. “Look, pal, I said I want a haircut. In here. Now you don’t want me to raise a stink. I have a right…”
He stammered, then smiled slightly. “Ok, Ms. Gloria Steinem, have a seat. You’ll get a man’s haircut.” She had challenged him and she could practically see the words “feminist bitch” running through his brain. He thought he’d teach her a lesson.
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She sat in the black leather chair with the white porcelain arms, the elaborate metal footrest and the straight-backed headrest. He swung her around, stopping the chair bluntly, then took a white strip of tissue to wrap around her neck under the white striped barber’s cape. Turning her to face the mirror, he asked “what’ll it be?”
She paused, took a deep breath, her anger not subsiding in the least. It gave her a certain reckless courage. “Well,” she said, the flat top seems like a good deal. Give me one of those.”
The barber, grim, serious, burst out in a long, mocking laugh. “Lady,” he said, “that’s a man’s flat top. A real one. Not just some short thing like that chick Twiggy made famous back in the Sixties. Now a finely feminine thing like you don’t want nothing like that. Why, all the boys’d look hard when you walked down the street, then laugh. You’d turn heads, but that’s no way to get yourself a date tonight.”
His patronizing tone only made her angrier. “I said a flat top,” she said, her brown eyes flashing. “Is this a place where the customer doesn’t get what she wants?”
“Oh, ” he said smiling but serious, taken aback by her courage, “you’ll get just what you asked for.” He walked over to the counter, took a big red pair of clippers off a hook and flipped the switch. She stirred a little in the chair. Maybe she’d been rash, foolish, to let her anger control her mouth.
He moved behind her as she watched in the mirror. “One real man’s flat top,” he leered, emphasizing “man’s.” When he got behind her he roughly put his left hand on her chestnut tresses and pushed her head forward. She could see nothing but the striped sheet. The clippers chattered a high pitched, rumbling road behind her ears. She swallowed hard but tried to disguise it. She was trembling but she couldn’t let him feel the fear. He said nothing, just took the clippers and started running up her nape. The steel teeth vibrated against the sensitive spot in the center of her neck and she felt the air rush in behind them. A shudder ran from her soft nape down to her loins, already moistened with terror, anticipation and sheer arousal.
He worked quickly, uttering a grunt of satisfaction as he finished the back and moved to her right side. She still could see nothing. Hair fell in sheets over her shoulders, tumbling down over her breasts and between her legs. With her chin on her chest she watched her lap fill with limp, lank tresses, some sliding off and down on to the linoleum floor.
Though she saw nothing of the result with her eyes focused so firmly upon her knees, feet and floor, she could feel the liberating, arousing coolness grow. At her right ear, he placed the clippers above her cheek and moved it straight up. She watched now – her head freed to stare in the mirror – gasping in wonder, horror and thrall as the chestnut beauty she’d had since she was 13 peeled away without a complaint, revealing a startling nude whiteness. He was shaving her bald! She blew an itchy, fuzzy hair off her cheek and it floated down onto the cape.
“Uhhh, ” she stammered, “that’s pretty short.”
“Too late to stop now,” he said crisply, smiling. “You wanted a real flat top. And a real flat top means lowering your ears.” He stepped in front of her to the left side, and soon cascades of chestnut were falling over her left ear. As she looked in the mirror, her shoulders were covered in tresses, laying limply in gentle waves. There was a stunning whiteness around her ears up to her crown, where the chestnut waves remained, like some kind of bad mohawk.
A tear escaped her steely desire to remain tough, and she subtly reached up from under the cape to wipe it away, sending a sheet of chestnut tresses a foot long rolling down the cape and onto her jeans. Her panties were also soaked. The more de-nuded he made her, the more turned on she became. She concentrated, storing every detail to share with her lover, sure to be shocked when she walked in this afternoon. But, oh, she would be pleased by how this haircut, this cool freedom, made her feel. Oh the possibilities!
She came back to the barber shop from her erotic daydream with the click of the clippers being turned off. “Now, ” he said, “you’re getting there.” He surveyed her, noting the moistness around her eyes. “No complaints?”
“Well,” she stammered, “I didn’t think…”
She stopped as he roughly grabbed her chin with his left hand and threw the switch once again. “Hold still!” he commanded. He took a big, oversized comb and, lifting the long hair in front and with the clippers, sheared it off in on quick, brutal stroke, sending it falling before her eyes and into her lap. The tears flowed now. But her arousal only increased. She loved the feeling!
Working swiftly, he moved from front to back, practically mowing, passing the clippers over the comb, a rasp as the silver teeth clacked against the plastic. And with each pass, the outlines of her bare head emerged. She wanted to reach up and run a hand, but she couldn’t just yet. He was still clippering, solemnly. As he reached the back, she looked in the miror and saw an soft field of tan wheat, uneven thanks to his roughness, but revealing. Sexy. She already imagined her lover’s hands…And her nipples grew even harder, her arousal heightened…If he only knew. A small smile escaped her lips.
“Short enough?” the barber mocked. Yes, she thought. Perfect.
Moving to the counter, he pushed a button and lather flowed onto his left hand. “A man’s finish,” he cracked sarcastically, spreading the warm cream along her hairline behind her ears and at the base of her nape. At the feel of the soothing warmth, she practically lost it, pushing her head gently back into his hand. Looking up from under moist eyelashes, she saw him pick up the straight razor, deftly flick it open with one hand, then come beside her to strop it one, two, three times with a loud whap, whap, whap. Moving behind her exposed neck he pecked away at the lather. The raw rasp of the blade on her stubble sent shivers down her back. And the meeting of cool air on her virgin skin as the warm lather was flicked away was a feeling she wanted to savor forever. Then he was toweling off the excess lather and sweeping the cape from her with a big self-satisfied, typically foolish male smile that proclaimed he’s shown this feminist. He’d put one over on her. Or so he thought.
She paused to stare in the mirror before dismounting. There was a different woman there, one with a long slender neck, small fetching ears highlighted by a bare whiteness and a soft, caressable field of auburn on her crown. She smiled. It was sooo sexy. She could not believe it had taken months to work up her courage to walk through the door. She ran her right hand over the top, left slightly uneven in his rough haste, then down the stubble in back, a stubble she would learn later would define this as a “high and tight” crewcut of the type favored by Marines.
“Don’t cry little girl, it will grow back nice and soft and wavy. In a year or so,” the barber said, recklessly lording what he believed his triumph in what he saw – wrongly and stupidly – as the struggle to preserve a man’s enclave.
She smiled broadly. “No,” she said, “it won’t. I’ll be back for a clean-up in three weeks.” In the mirror, she saw for the first time a man, about fifty, watching and waiting for his own haircut, a strange grin on his face. The barber said nothing, his expression blank. He was too thick, too sheltered in his old world thinking, too insecure to even guess at her enjoyment. She sighed, pushing aside the sexual politics of this visit as the wetness in her jeans brought other, more vital thoughts.
Time to hurry home. And be rewarded.