Shining Example by Anthony Knoppa
Jerry gave her a quick peck on the cheek and hurried out the door. “Gotta run Honey, or I’ll be late,” he called over his shoulder.
“Lying son-of-a-bitch.” The thought was there before she could stop it. What was wrong? She knew he still had plenty of time to get to the office.
Jerry was a good husband. She admitted that. He tried. “And so do I, dammit!” Still, something was missing. Sex just wasn’t what it used to be. But that’s to be expected. Or is it?
Automatically, Sherry glanced at her reflection in the mirror. Twenty-three and attractive, with long brown hair hanging silkily below her shoulders. She honestly knew she was still a very long way from going to seed. Still what was it? Sherry pulled her hair back with one hand looking at her reflected profile in the mirror from the corner of her eye. “I’ve started to neglect my hair. I really need to have it done.” On voicing the thought she went to the phone and dialed her hairdresser’s number.
“Donna? This is Sherry. Do you think you can squeeze me in today?”
“Sherry!” came the reply. “Of course I can get you in. If there wasn’t time we would just make the time for you!” Donna reflected that it had been quite some time since her friend had come to the shop.
“Where in the world have you been keeping yourself? It seems forever since I saw you last. When can I expect you?”
“You know how it is. I just get so tied up doing the little things that I’ve been neglecting my hair. Can you get to me this morning?”
“Sure, about 9:30?”
“Okay. I better get off the phone if I am going to make it in time.”
“See ya then.”
“Bye.” Sherry replaced the receiver and hurried to get dressed. She only had 25 minutes before the appointment. There was no other customer in the shop when Sherry arrived. Donna greeted her and motioned to the chair. “What did you have in mind, Sherry?”
“Oh Donna. I don’t know. Something to get Jerry’s attention and keep it.” She paused. “You better give me a scalp treatment too. Dandruff is getting to be a real problem. No matter how hard I try, I can’t get rid of it. The next morning, the flakes are always back.”
Donna smiled. “Honey, the best way to get rid of that dandruff is to shave that head. But you don’t want to go that far, do you?”
“Oh God,” Sherry breathed. “I never thought about that.”
Donna laughed. “I was only kidding. But I’ll bet it would get Jerry’s attention.
“One lady came in last week and had me shave her bald. I was kinda doubtful at first. Know what I mean? But she insisted. Well, let me tell you. When she finally got up from the chair, she was bald as a billiard ball.
“I thought that after she got it shaved, she would regret it. But you know something? The next day she was back to have it shaved again. And every day since. Said her husband is wild about it and wants her to keep it shaved from now on.”
“Donna, how do you think I would look shaved? You know, bald like that?”
“Well, you’re certainly pretty enough.” Donna paused to look at Sherry’s head. “You sure have a nicely shaped head. I think it would look real good. But don’t you think it would be a good idea to give it some thought first?”
Sherry felt a tightening in her stomach: she felt the heat rise to her cheeks. Her voice quavered when she said, “Shave me, Donna. Shave it all off. Do it before I change my mind.”
“You sure?” Donna looked skeptical. Sherry nodded her head, unable to find her voice behind the lump in her throat.
Without another word Donna fastened a cloth around Sherry’s neck. She picked up the shears and hesitated, looking at Sherry’s face reflected in the mirror. Sherry, catching her look, nodded slightly.
“Want to save the hair?” Donna whispered. Again, Sherry gave a slight nod of her head.
Sherry heard the first prolonged snip of the scissors as Donna cut a large swatch of hair from the top of Sherry’s head and laid it in her lap. A bristle of hair stood up on the top of her head where two feet of hair had once adorned the spot. Snip-snip-snip. The top of Sherry’s head got lighter with each snip. The pile of hair in her lap grew. What was left of the hair on top of her head, cut irregularly to a length of about a half inch, poked out in a variety of different directions.
Donna paused from her work. “Be better if we aren’t disturbed,” she said simply, walking over to lock the door and display the ‘CLOSED’ sign.
“We’ll do it in stages, Sherry. It will give you a quicker look at that shaved scalp.”
Sherry heard a click, followed by a faint burring sound when Donna turned on the clippers. Meeting with Sherry’s hair, the tone of the burring changed. She felt the cool of the metal blade on the crown of her head plowing a path across the top of her head sending the newly shorn clump of hair tumbling down her face into the pile of tresses on her lap. Again, the clippers were at the crown of Sherry’s head moving slowly forward to send the next clump tumbling down her face where it rebounded off her nose before continuing downward to join the other shorn locks in her lap.
Over and over the clippers moved across Sherry’s head. Fascinated, Sherry could only stare at her reflection with the top of her head clipped so short she could barely make out the shadowy stubble. While the unshorn locks around the sides and back hung gracefully past her shoulders.
Donna walked around in front of Sherry, appraising the work. Brushing her fingers lightly across the mowed area. savoring the bristly feeling, she smiled, “I think it is going to look just great, Honey. You’re gonna just love it.” She smiled again, still feeling the bristle. “Here Honey, give it a little feel. See what you think of it.”
Sherry shyly complied, briefly running her hand across the newly mown head and smiling.
“Now, I’ll just run the clippers around the cut edges on top to give me a clearly defined area to shave first,” On went the clippers and Sherry started mowing from above the right temple. Moving slowing back and around the top of Sherry’s head. As the clippers burred their way through the hair, Donna became aware that Sherry seemed to be lifting her head slightly each time the clippers touched her head as if in anticipation of the kiss of the metal blades, as if accepting her mowing with a newborn eagerness neither woman had suspected before.
Again the clippers were switched off. The top of Sherry’s head reduced to a 1/16 inch stubble; the side and back still long and silky.
“Before we do any more cutting we’ll get that top shaved down smooth. That way you can get an quicker idea of what you’ll look like when we’re finished.”
The pleasing scent of talcum powder drifted to Sherry’s nose as she felt Donna dust the top of her head with a brush and the fragrant powder. Sherry was enjoying the slight tickling feeling of the brush against the light stubble when it stopped, to be followed by the caress of Donna’s fingertips feeling the bristles again. “Like that Hon?” Donna asked.
‘Mmmmm, I’ll say,” came the reply. “Feels kinda strange, but, yes I do like it.”
Wrapping a hot wet towel around Sherry’s head, Donna said, “Well. now for a good shave to get you looking respectable.” The towel was removed and Donna applied hot lather.
“Oooow,” Sherry crooned. ‘That lather sure is warm. And that towel. It was really hot.”
“It’s better that way. The hot water and lather will soften the hair so I can shave you easier and closer,” Donna replied easily.
Sherry riveted her eyes to the mirror, determined not to miss a second of what was going to happen next. Looking at the hair hanging long around the side of her head with the top lathered and ready to shave made the beat of her heart accelerate. The blood rushed again to her cheeks in a blush of nervous anticipation.
The sound of Donna stropping her razor to prepare for the balding was music to Sherry’s ears. She sat awaiting the razor. The lather seemed to cool a bit on her head.
At last, Donna turned, razor in hand, and approached Sherry saw the left hand rise and felt the gentle grasp of cool fingers on her forehead. Up came the razor. She could see it clearly as it approached her head. It all seemed to be happening in slow motion. Then the first touch of the keenness of the razor’s edge as it kissed her gently at the center of her front hairline.
A feeling of the sharpness of the keen edge, contrasted with the extreme gentleness of the hand behind it, gave Sherry a strange feeling of contentment as the razor moved slowly toward the center of her head with a gentle rasping sound. Behind the razor, a strip of scalp appeared gleaming dully in the light.
The breath caught in Sherry’s throat. Her heart was beating wildly now; the flush in her cheeks a bright scarlet. “I’m really being balded!” she thought suddenly. “I never thought I could ever feel this good. It is like I’m alive for the very first time! That first look at a bit of shaved scalp was the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen. I can’t believe it.”
But these thoughts were unheard by Donna, who was continuing with the head-shaving that had so aroused Sherry’s passion in the privacy of her thoughts.
The first strip of hair was shaved from the center of Sherry’s head and a pale strip gleamed like a sidewalk with the winter snow shovelled away and surrounded by the snowy fields of shaving lather. Starting on the second strip, Donna was moving more quickly now.
Back went the razor, its rasp now the only sound Sherry could hear More and more pale scalp appeared as the razor shaved away the lathered stubble.
“Ooooh!” Sherry sighed feeling the cold of the air conditioned room on the shaven area of her scalp,” that sure feels cool.”
“I’ll have this top shaved in just a couple of minutes, Honey,” Donna said, “then it should really feel cool. And you can get a good look at the progress so far.” She smiled and continued with the head-shaving.
“I think I’m going to like it. I haven’t been able to take my eyes off the operation since you started. I think it is about the best feeling I’ve ever had watching that hair come off and the feel of the razor on top of my head.”
“Glad you like it, Sherry. I like for all my customers to leave satisfied with their hair-do. In your case, I guess we’ll have to call it a head-do,” Donna laughed.
At last the top of Sherry’s head was completely bare and she sat and watched as Donna got a towel and wiped away the last of the remnants of lather from the shiny pate.
Any doubt at all about the head-shaving was gone as Sherry gazed at the bald dome in the mirror. She reached up and felt it. It was smooth. With a little more pressure she rubbed again. This time she felt a slight hint of a bristle. Disappointed, she cried, “Oh Donna, I can feel some hair on it! I thought it was going to be real smooth. I don’t want a head like sandpaper!”
“Now Sherry,” Donna soothed, “don’t let it worry you. I’m not finished yet. After I get that hair clipped and shaved off the sides and back I’m gonna shave the whole thing all over again to smooth it out for you. When I get through, you won’t be able to find the slightest trace of roughness anywhere on your head. I’ll have your head smooth as a cue ball.”
“I’m sorry, Donna,” Sherry said, “you know how it is. I had it all worked out in my mind how I want it, and it just scared me finding that roughness. Know what I mean?”
“Well, you just leave the head shaving to me. I’ll be sure not to leave a single hair that can be detected.” With that she picked up the clippers again and switched them on. She wasn’t going to bother with the shears this time.
Holding a large clump of hair in one hand. Donna used the clippers to quickly mow it off. She dropped the handful into Sherry’s lap with the rest that had been sheared and clipped from the head. Another handful and it, too, was cut away. Another and another. The work was going a lot more quickly now.
Sherry was amazed at the symmetrical beauty her head took on as she watched the cutting in the mirror. Her head had a nice roundness to it that was accentuated by the hair being cut from her head. The beauty she saw in the mirror transcended her wildest dreams.
The buzzing of the clippers continued and the pile of hair in Sherry’s lap grew larger all the time.
Off went the last of the hair. Then Sherry felt Donna giving it a last touch-up. Making sure the hair was well clipped around the ears on the neck, or anywhere. The clippers searched out the last of it and then they were suddenly silent.
There was the sound of running water and Donna was soon wrapping another hot towel around Sherry’s head “How’s that feel?”
“Nice, real nice,” came the reply.
“Now we can get you lathered up and shaved properly.”
“Good. I can hardly wait.”
There was a gentle high-pitched whirring sound and again lather was applied to her head.
Starting at Sherry’s right temple, Donna again went to work with the razor. Shaving back, then forward, and then upward with the razor, she worked back away from the temple moving closer to the ear.
Reaching the ear, Donna grasped it gently but firmly and folded it over. With a quick deft stroke, she shaved around the ear, then repeated the stroke to make sure it was well shaven. On around to the back Donna gently repositioned Sherry’s head so that it was bent slightly forward and to the left.
The razor rasped gently and moved up from the neck. Short strokes now as the balding progressed. more and more shaved pale scalp exposed.
Now the head was bent slightly forward; not enough to raise the delicate tendon at the nape of the neck but enough to allow easy shaving. Starting at the nape, the razor shaved its way ever upward and around.
Around to the side now. The rasping sound of the razor was lulling Sherry now. It was as if she was in a trance. She was aware of the steady progression of the head-shaving, but somehow detached from it. As if she were watching from a distance.
Sherry was aware of the head being lathered again and being shaved again. Of Donna shaving first one way, feeling with her fingers, briskly, searching for tell-tale stubble and shaving again in another direction. Shaving and reshaving.
Suddenly Sherry was aware that Donna was wiping her head clean with a hot towel. It was over! Donna’s fingers rubbed the head, searching, and rubbed some more. Satisfied that there was not a trace of hair left on Sherry’s head and satisfied it was a shaving well done, Donna said “Hold on there just a minute and I’ll sack that hair up so you can take it with you.”
Sherry was suddenly panicked As if for the first time, she had finally realized that she would be wearing her newly balded head out in public. “Think of something. Stall!” she thought desperately as Donna was putting the last of the hair into a plastic bag.
Sherry climbed out of the chair and accepted the bagful that Donna held out for her. “Donna,” she said, still stalling for time to put off the moment when she would have to walk out the door with her exposed baldness, “who was that woman who got shaved before me?”
“Why Honey,” came the reply curtly, “does it matter?”
“No, not really.” She paused, trying to gather her thoughts. “I just thought… well,” she laughed, “us baldies need to stick together.” She paused again, waiting for a response. Getting only a cool stare, she said quietly, “If you just don’t want to tell me, that’s okay.”
“There isn’t another shaved lady in the whole town as far as I know.”
“But you said…”
“I know what I said. I lied.”
Every time you come in here you act so proud of that long precious hair. I wanted to see how you would look without it: without that hair inflating your ego, I wanted to see how you would be without it.
Sherry was really desperate now. Following the lead of someone else was one thing. Being the only clean-shaven woman in town was something else entirely. “I want to buy a wig.”
Cooly, Donna replied, “Sorry, I don’t have any in stock.”
“What about those?” Sherry asked, pointing to a glass display case with several wigs inside it.
“Sorry, they’re all sold.”
“Do you have a scarf I can borrow?”
“Can I use one of your towels?”
Sherry stared at the woman who had shaved her. She had thought they were friends. Now this! Just the thought of going out in public was suddenly very embarrassing; she would just die!
Starting for the door, Sherry was stopped by something Donna was saying. “What?”
“I said, same time tomorrow?”
“You’ll need to shave it every day. At least once a day.”
Sherry couldn’t believe it. She walked out of the shop. The sun felt hot on her naked clean shaven scalp.
Heads turned. Sherry wanted to die. Men were smiling at her. Laughing?
No! That was admiration in their eyes!
She stood straighter now and looked people in the eyes. Walking quickly now, there was pride evident in her stride. The lightness of her heart told her she was happier and felt much better, more beautiful than ever before in her life. “Jerry will just love it!”
Now Sherry felt she could understand Donna’s actions. Had she given Sherry a wig or a scarf, she would still be hiding it and might never get over the hiding. Now she was bald before the world and proud of the looks she got.
As soon as she got home Sherry knew she would have to call Donna and confirm the appointment for the next head-shave. The breeze stirred coolly against her bald scalp. Sherry ran a hand across the shaved smoothness of her head. It was a truly wonderful feeling.