The Stalker – DAREUC
He held his breath as he peered inside the Salon window hoping to catch a glimpse of Zoë. Jim personally did not know her, but he had been admiring her from afar since the beginning of fall semester in German Lit.. He was fascinated with everything about her, but he was especially fond of her mid length auburn hair. It had a slight wave to it and when the sun hit it just right shined with copper highlights. He would watch her toss her hair back then take a small strand from behind her ear to chew on if a lecture was getting particularly boring. When she received a poor grade her hair would fly as she shook her hair in disgust.
It was towards midterms when Zoë had her hair cut into a short bob. Jim first mourned the loss of her long locks, then became angry that she should stress him out by making such a sudden change mid-semester. His anger diminished when he noticed that Zoë’s hair in its new shape had become so light and full it swayed from side to side as she walked to her desk. Her hair in the front was still long enough that she still tucked it behind her ears and the back of her head was slightly buzzed exposing the lovely curve of her neck as she bent her head down to take notes.
Jim knew his grade point average was plummeting because of this new obsession, but he could not help himself. He increasingly was becoming obsessed with Zoë’s hair every time he saw her in class. Some days he wanted to reach out and touch the small tuft of buzzed hair at the nape of her neck and on other days he would imagine himself buzzing her hair into short crew, but he knew that was impossible. She would think he was crazy, “Hi Zoë. My name is Jim and I’ve been dying to run my hands through your hair all semester. Care for a crew cut? Uh… Oh. I mean Cappuccino?” No. Jim was not quite ready yet to approach Zoë. At least not until he came up with a better line.
Jim was checking his mid term grades when he overheard Zoë talking to her friends about having her hair buzzed into a crew cut. He could not believe his ears. It was a dream come true. He had to see this happen, even if he was not the man doing the buzzing. He strained to hear the rest of her conversation to find out when and where she was getting her hair shorn, but unfortunately all he could make out was 3:15 on Thursday. “Well, this a small town how many salons or barbers could there be?” he thought to himself as he thumbed through the pages of the phone book.
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After rifling through the yellow pages Jim found that there were two barbers and three hair salons listed in the town of Smithville. So around 2:45 that Thursday he began to drive from salon to salon hoping to find where Zoë was at. The first salon Jim checked out was Babs’ House of Hair. Jim rushed into salon to find himself surrounded by five or six blue haired senior citizens. “Can I help you Sweetie?” asked the receptionist. “No. Ugh… I am sorry. I was looking…. Never mind. Bye. Uh.. Ma’am.” Jim almost tripped over his own feet as he rushed out of Babs’ and drove to the next shop on his list.
Sudz and Cuts was next on his list. This time he was going to be less conspicuous in scoping the place for Zoë. He parked his car in the parking lot in the back and walked to the front of the shop. He looked to the left and to the right to see if the coast was clear then he peered into the storefront window. “High hair babes. Definitely not Zoë’s style.” From the outside Jim could smell the nauseating odor of perm solution, peroxide and hair spray, it would be nasal suicide to go inside, so he decided to check out the last salon on his list.
Roberto’s was located on the ritzy side of town. Jim doubted that Zoë would go there, but he had to go just to make sure. He parked in the front of the shop and quickly walked in. “Roberto’s… This joint should be called ‘The Copa Cabana'” Jim scanned the shop for Zoë. The place was littered with palm trees and by the front desk there was even a parrot sitting on a perch. “Well she’s not here. I guess I’ll check out the Barber shops.”
Choppin’ Charlie’s was a popular spot for students because Charlie offered a special student rate on Thursdays. “Well if I were to get a crew I would go for the bargain.” And Jim was right. He walked into the shop and found Zoë sitting waiting for her turn with Charlie. Jim sat next Zoë. “Now that I found her what am I going to do? I guess I’ll get a trim and that way she won’t notice me.” Jim liked to wear his wavy brown hair long and always trimmed his own hair for fear a barber would cut his hair too short. But to see Zoë’s hair get shorn he would almost do anything.
Charlie was putting the finishing touches on a football player when he bellowed. “Who’s next to be shorn by the infamous choppin’ Charlie!” Charlie was a tall thin man in his seventies. His face looked as if were frozen in a perpetual grin, showing rows of grimy crooked teeth. Jim was expecting Zoë to take the chair when she turned to Jim and said “Oh. I am waiting for Debbie, Charlie’s daughter, you can go before me.” Jim was shocked. Could he trust this guy to give him the small trim he wanted? Charlie turned on his shears and held them up in the air, he had a crazy look in his eye which terrified Jim. “Come on don’t be shy. Come on let me get rid of those long locks of yours, sonny.” Charlie’s grin got even wider and Jim noticed he was also missing a few teeth.
Jim’s throat began to constrict, “Ugh. I only want a trim. O.K.?” he sputtered as he sat in Charlie’s chair. “Sure Sonny. Short crew right?” And Charlie ran the back of his clippers over Jim’s hair and let out a loud cackle. Jim was about to leap from the chair when he heard Zoë laugh. “Jim. Don’t worry. He does this with all his new customers.” Jim looked back at Zoë who was now standing beside him. “Oh. I knew that. Thanks anyway. Are you changing your hair. I liked it the way it was, but you would look great in any style.” Jim could not believe that he was actually talking to her.
“Oh thank you,” replied Zoë. “I am getting a crew-cut today because I thought it would always be cool to do it.” While Jim was talking to Zoë, Charlie started to slowly and carefully trim the ends of Jim’s hair. Jim started to relax. “Oh. I think crew-cuts are cool. I’ve always wanted to get one,” Jim replied, hoping to impress Zoë, but as he turned to smile at her he saw Charlie coming at him with his famous shears. “Crew-cut. That’s what I thought you said. OK. Here we go sonny.” Jim did not know what to do. He did not want a crew, but he really wanted to score some points with Zoë. So he let Choppin’ Charlie chop his hair.
When Charlie was finished Jim had a 1/4″ buzz cut and to his surprise he felt liberated instead of horrified. He head felt cool and tingly as he brushed his hands through it. Charlie brushed the hair off of Jim and shouted, “Next!” Having his hair buzzed suddenly gave him the courage to approach Zoë. “I don’t believe I did this. I feel great. I can’t wait to see you get yours.”
“You look great,” replied Zoë. “I love a man with the confidence and the spontaneity to do what you did. I am glad you want to stick around and see me get clipped. Perhaps later we could go out for a cup of coffee? ”
“I would love to,” replied Jim. Debbie had just finished with her last customer and Zoë put on a smock and sat in her chair. Zoë took a deep breath, closed her eyes and almost as if she were making a farewell gesture ran her hand through her hair. Jim’s heart began to race as Debbie turned on her clippers and began to aggressively shear off Zoë’s hair until it was about 1/2″ in length. Pieces of auburn hair flew off her shoulders and on to the floor. Jim picked up a small piece of hair and slipped it in his pocket.
When it looked like it was all finished Debbie turned off her shears, changed the guard and handed it to Jim. “If it’s OK with Zoë, would you like to finish her for me?” Jim saw Zoë open her eyes. “Sure. It’s all right with me. This feels fantastic. But, Jim, take it slow and steady this time around.” Jim was already aroused and he knew that this would put him over the edge. His hand felt warm from the vibration of the shears as he slowly ran them through Zoë’s head. He soon would be finished, but he did not want it to end then and there. Jim wanted to take her home and make passionate love to her reaching orgasm as he ran his hands through the 1/4″ stubble on the top of her head. But he knew this was impossible because he had only just begun to really know who Zoë was and he valued her too much to ruin it by approaching her for sex too soon.
When Jim was finished he turned off the shears and helped Debbie brush Zoë off. Zoë was feeling cautious about her new look. “Maybe this is a little extreme. I feel so exposed. Like everyone can see right through me.” But Jim thought she looked beautiful. “Well I think you look very exotic. Give yourself some time to get used to the new you.”
When Jim and Zoë left the barber shop they noticed they were getting odd stares from the people on the street. Jim could see Zoë’s face start to turn red. “They all probably think we belong to a strange cult,” thought Jim, who never considered what people would do and say when they saw them walking together in public together. But he was so happy to be with her it did not matter.
Through the remaining days of the semester Jim and Zoë became good friends. Every Thursday night they took turns buzzing each other’s hair. As they cut each other’s hair they talked and slowly got to know and respect each other. Their friends thought this was a very strange ritual, but they looked so happy it did not matter.