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As I walked down to meet Ann, I felt really strange. I knew that most people would be shocked with what I had done. But, I resigned myself that they would have to deal with it. I didn’t care.

It was a little cool that day, not the sort you’d go around with an ultra-short buzz cut, but here I was. I felt the odd sensation of the short, bristly hairs under my cap. With a sudden move, I reached up and pulled the cap off. Here I was, bareheaded to the world. The cool air felt icy to me for a few moments. I sighed. I had to get used to it. Some people passed me as I walked to the pizza place; one or two gave me odd looks as if wondering if I was a girl or a boy.

I wasn’t wearing any earrings and any other obvious jewelry, so it might have been hard to tell from someone’s perspective that didn’t know me. In fact I wasn’t sure I knew me right now!

I got to the pizza place and walked in. There were many people there. I walked to a free booth and sat down, rubbing my shorn hair and wondering, not for the first time, what Ann would think. She would be the first person that had any idea what I was like only a scant half-hour or so ago. My old school friends like Katyann would probably gasp, turn purple and throw up! I grinned to myself thinking about it.

In the next booth was a guy sitting alone, looking at me. I felt a little uncomfortable all of the sudden. I reached for the cap to put it on, but then I noticed that he seemed to be interested. I checked myself and instead gave him a faint, watery grin. Maybe he thought I was a boy with a short cut. His hair was pretty short as well; he was tall and had sort of a beaky nose, and a pretty slender build. He wasn’t the sort of person I might normally think about, but after I sheared my hair off, I felt suddenly naked and alone and any friends would be welcome.

He got up and tossed his plate and cup in the trash. Then he paused by the door. He turned around and walked back to the booth, passing by mine. He stopped in front of me.

“I’m sorry,” he said, a timid edge to his voice. “I didn’t mean to stare at you.”

I laughed. “It’s OK. I guess I ought to get used to it sometime.”

He smiled and seemed to relax slightly. “When did you do it?”

He didn’t have to add any more, I knew what he was talking about right away. I rubbed my shorn hair again and grinned. “About 45 minutes ago.”

He nodded. “It looks awesome. I guess you could say it was the first thing I noticed about you.”

“Is that all?”

He shrugged. “Your eyes are very deep and brown. I guess they seemed to reflect the depths of your soul.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. “You are very poetic. I like that.” He grinned and I invited him to sit down with me. He did.

Just then the door opened and Ann walked in. She seemed to gaze around and not take us in. I waved to her and she came over. The guy seemed put on the spot. “Oh, your friend is here? I won’t impose.” I waved at him to stay put.

Ann walked over and looked, well – stared actually, at me. “Tracy,” she exclaimed. “What did you do???”

I blushed hard. “Well, I’ve thought about it for a while. And I decided to take the plunge!”

Ann seemed shocked. She sat down opposite me and next to the guy, who moved in to let her. Ann sighed. “Tracy, honey, I thought you weren’t serious! I guess I was wrong.” She seemed to become aware of the guy she was seated next to.

He introduced himself as Jon and I introduced Ann and myself. I told him how we’d discussed the short haircuts earlier. We all seemed to be able to talk easily to each other even though we’d only known each other a very short time. I wondered, for the first time, what my roommate would say when she saw it.

“Isn’t it cool how short a time it takes to dry your hair,” Ann asked.

“Yeah, ” I replied. “I love it now. It felt really strange at first. Now, it’s starting to grow on me.”

Jon smiled and nodded as Ann and I chatted about the advantages of short hair. Ann suddenly got up and gave me a whopping kiss on the lips, which I was totally not expecting. “I just love it, Tracy!” She asked me what I wanted to eat. She asked Jon as well, who said he was all set.

“So,” Jon said as Ann moved to the counter. “Are you two a couple?”

I shook my head, feeling the air moving over it. Funny how it felt less hot in here now that my hair was all gone! “Her kiss came as much a surprise to me as to you,” I confided.

“I’d, uh. I’d like to get to know you a little better.” He said hurriedly. He gulped. “Perhaps you could cut my hair for me as well?”

I grinned. I didn’t know him at all, but he seemed genuine. “Sure. if it’s a buzz cut!” I could see by his reaction he meant the same thing as me. That made me feel better right away.

He nodded. “Yeah, I meant that. I usually just cut it myself. It kind of lays flat and doesn’t do much.”

I giggled. “Mine too! I didn’t know what to do with it!”

Ann came back with some slices and she gave me a plate. I dug in and she sat next to Jon again. “Sorry for the kiss, Tracy. I don’t know what I was doing,” she whispered.

I shrugged. “It’s OK, I guess. It took me by surprise too.”

“Have you ever had hair as short as Tracy’s, Ann,” Jon asked as she started to eat her slice. She nodded.

“For $500 I got it cut at spring break last year. It’s been short, well shortish, ever since. Not really as short as Tracy’s, though.”

Jon seemed to be relaxing around us girls with short hair! He seemed to be rather shy. “I remember I used to be afraid to get mine cut at all, it was something of a miracle that I ever got my first buzz cut.”

I could sense that, although he was speaking to both of us, he was directing it more towards me. He wanted to get to know me better, he had said. Suddenly I felt a tremble in my knees and the slightest twinge in my pants. It was similar to the way I felt when I took the clippers to someone’s head. My own, or my brother’s hair, for example. That insistence that would grow as a slow, burning sensation way down deep inside of me. Eventually I would probably have to change my underwear! Despite the very short time I had known Jon, I sensed I wouldn’t be too uncomfortable in his presence. I’d had a few boyfriends in my time, but basketball, sports and school kept me pretty busy most of the time. I never had a lot of time for relationships. The guy I went to the prom with was someone I had been seeing for a couple of months, but after the prom we grew apart and broke up. That was the last relationship I had had. For some reason, I suddenly wanted to start a new one – with Jon!

In a way, though, I could also get some sense of Ann’s feelings. She seemed to spend most of her time starting at me, or at my shorn hair. I began to suspect that like me, she had something of an inner desire to see hair being cut – especially when it was brutally short!

“Maybe,” I began to say, but I trailed off uncertainly. I choked back what I was going to say by taking another bite of pizza. Ann and Jon both looked at me. “What,” Ann asked. “Maybe what?”

I shook my head. “Forget it. Stupid idea.”

Jon looked as intrigued as Ann. “”How do you know it was stupid unless you share it?”

I shrugged. “I just had this crazy idea that we should start a club for those who like to get short haircuts.”

Ann smiled and Jon grinned. “We can call it the Clipper Club,” Jon said. “Admission is a buzzcut.”

I shook my head. “Don’t get carried away. We’d be the only members.”

Ann shrugged. “I don’t know. I know a couple of girls on the swim team were talking about it. I’m sure that a few people share our love of short hair and getting haircuts.” She looked over at Jon. “We three can be the founding members, right?”

Jon nodded enthusiastically. “Tracy can be the President, Ann can be the VP and I’ll be the Secretary or Treasurer or something.”

I laughed at the eagerness on their faces. At that moment a couple of jock guys walked by and I heard one
saying, “is that a girl? What the hell did she do to her hair? Wow, that’s ugly.”

Suddenly a rage began to build inside of me and my good mood vanished. Ann reached out and laid her hand gently on my arm. “Easy, easy. They’re a bunch of insensitive numbskulls. Don’t pay any attention to those jerks.”

I wanted to get up and flail the living daylights out of them. “Stupid jerks,” was all I said. I still seethed. I guess it was the first negative reaction I’d heard since shearing my hair off. I guess I’d better get used to it.

Jon looked at Ann. “Did you get that when you had yours sheared off last year?”

She nodded. “I got it worse because I had quite a few friends and my hair went down to my shoulders. When I went all the way for the five hundred bucks, most of them seemed to shun me and wouldn’t hang out any more with me. Very disturbing.”

Jon nodded. “And I had this friend Mary, she was always sick and they discovered some sort of leukemia. They gave her radiation and she lost her hair. She shaved her head rather than deal with how it looked. A lot of people gave her hell about it. at least those that didn’t know her and what she went through. I and a couple of her friends all got our heads shaved too, as a sort of solidarity move and to show her we were determined to get through it with her. She told me later that was the single best moment of her life since she had learned of her sickness.”

I grinned, some of my happiness returning as Jon told the tale. “That’s great, Jon! I don’t know if I could go all the way down to bare skin myself. What did it feel like?”

Jon grinned. “Is this the first meeting of the club? We’re swapping stories and experiences?” We all laughed.

Jon told us what the smooth skin felt like. “I’ve wanted to shave it off again since I’ve come to school, but I haven’t had the guts, I guess.”

Ann smiled. “Let us shave it for you. Sort of an initiation rite, I guess you could say. Then you can shave Tracy’s and mine as well. We’ll all help each other. How does that sound? The band of shaved heads?”

I looked at Ann, hard. “You want to go all the way again. I mean to bare skin?”

Ann nodded furiously. “Yeah! I do!”

I thumped the table decisively. “OK, let’s do it. Tomorrow after our work gets out. Say about 6 o’clock? At my dorm room?”

We all agreed. A head-shaving event was going to take place tomorrow evening!

As I got home that night, I could barely contain my excitement over what we had planned. It seemed a rush to me that I was going to go even shorter so soon after going with a clipper cut! I could barely contain myself. Even my nipples were becoming hard thinking about it.

As I got back to my dorm room, I realized that Missy, my roommate, had not yet seen me shorn of my hair. What would she think?

As I opened the door, Missy sat at her desk, working on some reading I guess. She turned to look at me and said hello. Her hair was also pretty short, tightly braided into two ponytails on either side of her head. She had once told me she didn’t like all that hair flopping about her neck. It annoyed her. You should try a buzz cut, I thought to myself.

I took off my cap as she turned to get back to her reading, but she hesitated and looked at me again.

“Get a haircut,” she asked, her voice light and a faint smile pursing her lips. “Looks great, actually.”

“Do you think it’s too short?”

Missy shrugged. “Who’s to say? I love to get mine cut. But it’s so costly.”

“What if I shaved it all off?”

Missy paused for a second, then she smiled lightly. “Now, that would be pretty unique, wouldn’t it? Still, I guess you have to go for it once in your life.”

I proceeded to tell her about the head-shaving party we were going to have tomorrow. I told her I had volunteered our room as the `salon’. She grinned. “I’d like to be here. Who knows – maybe I’ll join the fun!”

“Sure! You’d be welcome to do so! You want to be in our club?” I proceeded to tell her about the Clipper Club.

Missy seemed to have her doubts. “I don’t know if I’d want to keep it shaved.” she said, trailing off and chewed at her lip.

“Oh, you don’t need to keep it shaved. I just thought you like your hair short anyway. You can be our Treasurer. or whatever you want. As long as you’ve gone all the way once, that’s good enough. And to share a love of short hair!”

Missy seemed to brighten up. “Oh,” she said, “in that case, sure! Put me down as member number.what – four?”

I nodded. Then we began to talk over the plans and I let bits out about Jon and how I wanted to get to know him better. He had seemed to reciprocate as well. Today was my lucky day. I had gotten a buzz cut, an extremely short one at that, then started a club for others who shared my joy of it, had four members by 10 o’clock and a head-shaving party planned for the next day.

Life couldn’t get much better for me as I laid down that night to sleep. The weird sound of my short, bristly hairs against the pillow set off another seething surge of emotions. I heard Missy’s soft breathing across the room and wondered what she would look like bald. What would I look like for that matter?

Tomorrow, I would find out the answer to both questions.

Despite my excitement, I actually slept pretty well. Must have been all the excitement and inner tension that accompanied my head shearing. I got up and looked at myself in the mirror. Still have the bristly short goodness, I thought. Part of me felt the regret of the morning after. I chewed my lower lip and considered my predicament.

I couldn’t ponder long, as I had to get going for work. What would the Mr. Chang, the owner of the dry cleaners’ say when he saw me? As I put some toothpaste on my brush and started to scrub, Missy raised her head a bit bleary-eyed. “Oh, you look better than I bet I do,” she said, indicating my short buzz. “You gonna shave it tonight, right?”

I shrugged. I tried to say `Maybe,’ but with the toothpaste in my mouth it was more unintelligible than anything else. I grinned quickly instead. I grabbed a towel and walked towards the showers. Two girls walked by me and one stared. The other giggled and I heard her say “That’s a girl? Wow, she is sure ugly.” They kept walking so I didn’t hear the other girl’s response. However, it almost seemed to me that she was interested if nothing else! Hmmm. interesting. I wondered if she’d want to attend the head-shearing experience I had planned for the evening.

I got in the shower. I was amazed at how my hair and head reacted differently to my shorn locks. As I got out, I saw the short hairs, dark with moisture. My crotch felt the same way as I prepared to rub my head down with the towel. I had never had hair this short, so it came as a bit of surprise when a couple of passes of the towel and it was dry. Holy cow! I thought. That was intensely cool! I felt myself getting more and more confident, despite my obvious visible differences. Though what that insensitive bitch had said in the hallway stung, I felt like I was better, well, because I dared to be different!

I got ready in seemingly record time. Missy mentioned that it looked like I had cut about 10 minutes off my getting ready preparations. I nodded. “It’s great when two or three swipes of the towel get my hair dry.”

Missy looked forlorn. “I have to braid mine up. That’ll take me 10 to 15 minutes for sure. But after tonight, it ought to be a lot easier!”

She seemed to perk up on the last sentence. “What are you thinking about for a haircut,” I asked her.

“Oh,” she replied without hesitation. “All the way! Like you want to! I want to be as bald as you’re gonna be!” I grinned. “What if I just keep it like it is?” I enquired.

“Well, shit. I guess I’d do it anyway!” Missy grinned madly. Then she briefly told me about when she was asleep that she’d had a dream that she was bald. “I was Miss Bald Universe, or something like that,” she concluded. She told me she awoke so wet and with such hard nip
ples, she had to find out what it was really like. Something about your dreams being your subconscious trying to tell you something, etc.

I had to head out to work. Time to see Ann and Mr. Chang and face reality. If Mr. Chang fired me, I’d learn a valuable lesson about real life. If not, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. At least until I went home for the holidays.

When I arrived at work, I was wearing a baseball cap as I had the night before. I saw Ann right away and as I took off the cap, she smiled. “I thought it was a dream, last night,” she said. “I guess we made plans for tonight?”

I nodded. “I convinced my roommate Missy to go for it. She had a dream that she was shaved bald and woke up all hot and wet, I guess.” Ann nodded vigorously. “So did I,” she squeaked. “I thought I was going to orgasm right there!”

Mr. Chang walked in and saw us talking. “Are you new,” he asked me, before he reacted. “My goodness, Tracy. You get a haircut?”

I gulped. It was now that I would face the first real test since I decided to lop off my long, sandy locks. “Yes, Mister Chang. I did. I did it myself. I hope you won’t fire me for being impetuous.”

Surprisingly, he laughed. He rubbed my head. “A bit long, don’t you think,” he smiled. I smiled in turn. “I might shave it tonight.”

“Bald?”

I nodded and Ann joined in. “Me too,” she said.

He looked solemn for a moment. “I don’t know why, but I don’t mind. I was brought to accept a very rigid structure. My parents were very stern. If I was a girl and I did what you did, I would have been grounded for about 15 years! Still, you were a very brave young lady and you are doing what you want to. I find myself admiring that ability to stand up, in the face of what’s normal and accepted and taking that plunge. That’s something else.” He paused. “No, I won’t fire you girls for doing what you think is right for yourselves.”

I sighed. I had been holding my breath as he talked and I exhaled it slowly. I thanked him for being understanding and not being angry with us.

“When I was young,” he replied. “I used to always get a short haircut, much like yours.” He indicated my short bristly scalp. “I know it was a lot of fun during the warm weather. But, since you’re girls, you don’t know what it was like. Shave it if you want. You should once before you’re too old to appreciate it.” He grinned again and gave us our instructions. We quickly finished getting ready and we moved onto the floor to observe our trainers.

As I left the back area, I witnessed what I think was a tiny, approving smile from Mister Chang. It made me feel even better!

Unlike the previous day, we felt the day was rushing towards its climax. We could hardly believe when we started our lunch breaks that four hours had passed since we had started. Most of the regular workers didn’t give us more than a brief glance. Maybe shorn scalps were common. One older woman, Sharon, told me that she “liked my boy’s haircut.” But, despite the way she said it, there was a twinkle in her eye. Ann told me after work that another worker, a man named Steve mentioned that my hair was pretty short. Had I lost a bet?

Ann replied that I had, a bet that I wouldn’t cut off my hair on a whim. Steve seemed puzzled, she said and then shrugged and moved off. If I had placed a bet that I would have shorn my hair off last night, I would have won big money. As it was, the enjoyment of cropping my own head made up for the fact that if, as Steve thought, I had to do it for money, it would not have seemed so natural. I guess the volunteer nature made a difference.

The day ended too fast for us, and I felt the butterflies building up. I was now having to face the consequences of my big mouth! I had said I would shave it, and I had to at least face up to the responsibilities of what I said I would do!

Ann and I left. She told me that she felt a knot of uncertain fear in her gut. She paraphrased FDR when she said, “I know I’m just afraid, because I don’t know what is ahead. I’m afraid of my own fear.”

I nodded. “I feel like I opened my big trap a little too quick before.” Ann smiled. “You went as far as I did before. Actually a bit shorter, really. You don’t need to be a baldie to still be the club’s president.”

I smiled weakly. I would feel totally hollow if I backed out now. “Thanks, Ann. But, I need to do this. For us and our club. For the hope that maybe Jon and I.” I trailed off, biting my lip for my own stupidity.

“You like him, don’t you,” she asked.

I nodded briefly. “I mean.”

Ann laughed. “It’s OK to feel a bit weird at first. Don’t shave your head to win a boy. Shave it to release your own inner soul. We’re both gonna bare our souls and our heads if this comes to pass!”

I don’t know why, but that helped cool the knots of uncertain fear that were churning me up on the inside. I felt better already. I resolved that, no matter what, I would end the night with a bare, shaven scalp.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

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