This is a true story. It just happened this afternoon. Enjoy.
What I Did this Afternoon
After months of procrastinating and finding excuses, this afternoon I finally decided to shave my head. The reason I had been so hesitant was that I had just spent nearly four years growing it out and it was down to my shoulders. But recently, I had realized that long hair really is more trouble than it’s worth. I was tired of the extra time it took in the shower, I was tired of it flying in my face when I drove around with the window down, and I was tired of feeling like I was pulling it out of my scalp every time I brushed it. I had it shaved years ago, before I grew it out, and I missed the convenience and the tactile pleasure of a smooth scalp.
I came home from class around 1:30 and waited for my roommate to come home. I wanted to have her take a few pictures for posterity. I took the clippers from out of the cabinet (not bothering to grab any attachments), set a chair in the middle of the living room, and got a towel. I didn’t want to do it in front of a mirror; I thought it would be less traumatic if I couldn’t see myself shearing away all that hair.
“Ready?” I asked.
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“OK,” she replied hesitantly.
I switched the clippers on and felt the reassuring buzz. I took a deep breath and made that first decisive pass, pushing the clippers up the right side of my head. I felt them plow through my hair and realized how much I missed that feeling. I knew then that I had passed the point of no return, so I continued buzzing the right side and felt the hair fall away in clumps. It was surprising how easy it turned out to be, shearing away all that hair, but I had a feeling that after I was able to commit to that first pass of the clippers, the rest would be a cakewalk. I could already feel the wind coming through the window and caressing my exposed scalp.
Then came the hard part: buzzing the back. I was working without a mirror, so I knew this would be a challenge. I told my roommate to move around to get some shots of the back as I removed the hair from the nape to the crown. Just behind my left ear I have a long blue braid that I got during a recent trip to Minneapolis. I decided I wanted to keep it, so I handed her the clippers and let her buzz around it.
Then I switched the clippers over to my left hand and went to work on the left side. Working left-handed was surprisingly easy, and in a few short seconds, the left side of my head matched the right. I couldn’t resist running my hands over the back and sides at this point. How I had missed being able to reach up and feel nothing but stubble!
Then came the best part: the top. I put the clippers directly in the center and pushed them back as far as they would go. A few more passes and what was left of my hair was reduced to less than 1/8″ of stubble. I couldn’t keep my hands off of it.
I stood up and looked at the mound of hair that had been removed from my head. I took the clippers into the bathroom so I could clean up the few odd tufts that I had missed. I got the first good look at myself and loved what I saw. My scalp was flecked with bits of short dark stubble where long brown hair had been only a few minutes before. I spent a full minute running my palm over the top of my freshly-buzzed head.
I drove to the local barber college to have them put a good shine on my head. I walked in the door and said, “I’d, uh…like to have my head shaved”.
They were able to take care of me almost immediately. The student took a small set of clippers and made a few passes over my head, then he broke out the straight razor. I was surprised at his technique and his skill. He lathered up my head one section at a time and methodically scraped away what little stubble remained. It would have been a sublime experience, but all the time I was getting shaved, other students kept walking up and asking me about my eyebrow pierce. He finished shaving my scalp as I reassured the fifth person in a row that, no, having your eyebrow pierced really doesn’t hurt all that much. I stood up, complimented him on his work, paid, and spent some time admiring my shiny shaved head in the mirror.
I can’t believe I was able to spend four years living without all this.