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This is part self-exploration trying to explain how and why I feel as I do. Part almost therapy I guess. Some of the cuts are 100% truthful recollections as I explored this side of what it is to be me. Some of the cuts are fiction, almost unspoken wishes of how I would like a cut to be if only…

A haircut. It’s just a mundane, routine thing. Hair keeps growing all the time and so you need to get it cut. Maybe fifteen or twenty or at a push thirty minutes and you’re done until the next time. Every couple of months or so and I would find myself making the usual trip to a well-known barber shop or salon. That must be the way it is for most men I would have thought. Isn’t it just like that for you? Isn’t it just like that for me? In truth – no it isn’t. It’s far from just a routine thing for me. It never has been and to tell the truth I don’t think that it ever will be. I have vague memories of childhood haircuts. Distant recollections of short-lived and fairly unpleasant trips for a regular “trim”. They were always in a barber shop and it was always a male barber doing the honours. But that was then and this is now.

I can’t remember at what age exactly when a haircut tipped over from being just something that most people did into an entirely different event – and event is a deliberate choice of word. I also can’t really say at what precise point I began to realise that the unpleasant feeling I had while having my hair cut was actually, well, almost enjoyable. But once I had made that transition and realised that, in effect, bad could became good so my haircut adventures truly began.

My first light-bulb moment happened when during a routine haircut the woman cutting my hair, who had cut it several times before, for some reason that to this day I do not understand, decided to cut it much shorter than I had asked for. As she was cutting the hair on the back of my head at the time, and my head was pressed to my chest, I obviously couldn’t see what havoc she was wreaking on my hair. However, from the firm way in which the comb was pressed against my scalp and the rapid snips of the scissors, I knew that something was going on. And yet, I said nothing. I sat in a mixture of fear and silence trying to imagine when she would finally stop. Up and down, up and down the scissors worked their magic as she skilfully cropped my hair shorter and then shorter still.

Eventually the scissors stopped, but only so she could lift my head and then continue the assault on the sides of my hair. When eventually the unexpected assault was finished I was shown the back of my head. With trepidation I raised my eyes to view the devastation in the mirror’s reflection. I could plainly see the whiteness of my scalp now almost gleaming through the bristles of hair left on my head. With an air of resignation I said that it was fine and slowly walked to the reception to pay for this hair carnage. I left the salon unable to resist the temptation to run a shaking hand up the back of my hand. The hair was now too short to even grasp between my fingers and my head slumped down as I realised just how short it was. After a hurried journey home I stood trembling before a mirror in the bathroom at home (question – just why does your cut always look shorter in the mirror when you get home?), I tried to take in what had just happened, why I let it happen and how I was going to live with this for the next few weeks. 

As I sat in misery trying to work out why she had chosen to do this I made a sudden realisation. Yes, I had hated the haircut – before, during and after. But, and this made no sense, as I realised she was cutting it shorter than I had asked for, different to how I had asked for, as the sense of personal control was taken away from me so displeasure had turned to pleasure. As much as I wanted to shout stop, as much as I wanted to leap from the chair and flee to safety, I actually also wanted her to carry on. I wanted her to carry on. I wanted her to go shorter. I had no idea when she would stop and that’s what I wanted. I think.

After coming to that somewhat strange conclusion the only problem now was how to recreate that same scenario and to recreate it without being “spotted” as some kind of freak or pervert. My first thought was to keep my haircut instructions as vague as possible. This meant going to a salon or barber and then asking for a “trim” or “just a tidy up”. But most of the time this didn’t work as they would ask me how short I wanted or what did I usually have done when my normal stylist cut it. To get around this I started going to different places that I had never been before for a haircut, or going to the same place but asking for a different stylist.

After experimenting for a few cuts with this approach I made a second discovery. It wasn’t actually the length that was important. I had progressively got shorter and shorter but somehow it still wasn’t quite meeting what I wanted. It needed to be something more extreme. If you think about it, if shortness is the only thing that does it for you then it’s simply an inevitable journey that is perhaps only ever going to end up with one result – a shaved head. The problem with that of course is that once you have done that then where do you go from there? (Confession – I never did get that far).

The answer to my question came out of the blue and in an unexpected way. I had been out shopping for a new pair of jeans, nothing special, just a regular piece of denim to wear at the week-ends. I chanced upon a small clothes shop that I had not noticed before in a side street and decided to pop in and have a look. Inside it was fairly dimly lit and it became obvious to me pretty quickly that this was not the sort of place when I normally shopped. I have always been quite a conservative person in clothes and this definitely not the place for me. As I browsed through the racks of totally inappropriate clothes with a growing feeling of desperation I spotted a half-open door at the back of the shop. Thinking this might be another part of the store I headed towards the door.

As I got nearer and so could actually see inside, I was surprised to see not racks of clothes, but a single black metal chair sitting on a plain white floor. In front of the chair was a tall, free standing mirror. Next to the chair stood a black trolley on wheels on top of which I could see quite an impressive range of hair cutting equipment. The walls of the room were painted a deep crimson colour.

“Take a seat. She’s just nipped out to get a drink but she’ll be back any minute”, a voice sang out behind me.

I turned around to see a young girl of around early 20s arranging clothes on one of the racks.

“She won’t mind – just go in and take a seat”, she instructed.

“No it’s okay really, I wasn’t really after a haircut I just wondered what was back here”, I nervously replied.

The girl approached me now and gently nudged me forward into the small salon.

“Don’t worry she won’t bite”, she laughed, “Well not much anyway!”

Unsure of exactly what to do next I hovered at the doorway hurriedly thinking of a way out of this. I know, I know, this makes no sense. A haircut somewhere I have never been before by someone who has never cut it before – it was perfect – wasn’t it? Welcome to the strange world of the haircut fetishist.

But the decision was taken for me as a second woman, the hairdresser as it turned out, now entered the shop.

“Ano
ther victim for your Debbie”, the young shop assistant sang out, “although he’s a bit of a nervous one”.

I looked at the woman who it looked like was now going to be cutting my hair very soon. I would love to be able to say that she was tall, slim, blonde and stunningly attractive – that would help make a great story. But no, she was about my height, quite plump, but still quite pretty. Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of her appearance was her hair. I had seen women many times with a boyish or even mannish haircut, but not a woman who literally had a man’s haircut. There had clearly been no attempt to soften the harsh look of a freshly cut flat top and the razor had left clean and blunt lines around the edges of her style. In fact there was no trace at all of even the tiniest bit of hair re-growth.

I suddenly realised that I was staring at the haircut and blushed furiously. She seemed not to notice and swept past me into the small makeshift hair salon.

“Are you coming?”, she asked.

I paused and then gingerly edged my way into the small room. She had already taken up her stance behind the black chair and waved me towards its cold embrace. I slowly lowered my self down into the chair. I looked into the mirror and saw the face of a man who was the very epitome of someone who was nervous. I heard a swishing noise as she swirled a hair cape behind me and it settled over my seated body. The cape was much heavier than I normally expected in a salon and I would guess that it must have been made out of some latex fabric – very shiny, very pink and very constricting. Then instead of tucking in the edges of the cape at the back of my neck, or fixing together a Velcro strip to hold the cape in place, this cape had a thick strip at the neck that fastened with a gleaming metal buckle. To say it was a tight fit would be to play down just how constricting this neck closure was.

Satisfied that I was now securely trapped, Debbie produced a second smaller cape and spread it across my shoulders. If anything this cape was even thicker and heavier than the first and seemed to press me further down into the chair. She picked a comb and started to draw it through my hair a look of intense concentration on her face. I waited for her to ask how I wanted my hair cut. And waited. But no question was forthcoming from her lips.

Debbie put a hand on top of my head and moved it over to one side, leaving her hand clamped against my scalp. Her unspoken instruction was clear – do not move your head. With her other hand she retrieved a set of clippers from the table next to the chair and flicked the power switch. The clippers burst into life. She placed the clippers at the edge of my hair and pressed them against my skin. Then with a determined look on her face she pushed the buzzing blades into my hair and up the side of my head. With horror I realised that I recognised the tool that was now climbing up the side of my head. The curse of the hair nut again – you get to know and become familiar with the weapons of torture that you like to attack and decimate your hair. But this was something different again. I recognised the colour scheme of the clippers and with dread it came home to me that these were Wahl Balding Clippers. I had read the descriptions many times of what these were capable of, I had even watched on YouTube just how effective these things could be. As they sliced with ease through my hair with only the slightest change in tone they left behind just a faint shadow of stubble.

Maybe she was just going to carve a sharp line around my ear first? But the clippers drove higher up the side of my head exposing my pale scalp underneath. Eventually she lifted the blades away from scalp leaving an almost hair free strip of skin almost to my crown. After a slight pause she resumed the assault on the side of my head and progressively and stripped the hair from the side of my head. The balding clippers were almost ruthlessly efficient. In what must have been less than a minute the entire side of my head was rendered naked and hair free. The clippers were silenced for a moment as she blew any remaining bits of hair free from my head. The buzzing began again as she stepped around behind me and repositioned my head so that my chin was forced down into the heavy black shoulder cape. I felt the clippers again begin their path of destruction and the hair started to rain down onto the cape and ultimately onto the floor.

I tried to work out how I was feeling. This was exactly what I wanted – wasn’t it? A haircut where I apparently had no control and no say in what was going to be done. I had no idea when this haircut might finish. I had no idea how short this was going to be. Wasn’t this therefore a dream come true or was it actually more of a living nightmare? What was most shocking was just how quickly this was all happening. Already she had stripped the hair from the back of my head and was turning her attention to the remaining hair on the side of my head. It was almost surreal. Could it really have been less than a couple of minutes ago when I had a head full of hair and now at least half of it lay scattered on the floor of this tiny salon?

With horrible inevitability the hair was removed from most of the other side of my head. The clippers were silenced once more and Debbie laid the clippers on the table. She picked up a small brush and began to vigorously run it backwards and forwards over the back and sides of my head to remove any stubborn pieces of hair clinging to my scalp. Debbie selected a second pair of clippers and started to reduce the remaining hair left on top of my head down to what I would guess was a #2. At that point it suddenly clicked in my head. A high bald fade. She had given me a high bald fade.

With the top of my head reduced in length to something that she was pleased with, Debbie replaced the clippers with an electric razor. With a look of quiet determination on her face she started to the shave the back and sides now down to absolute nothingness, not even stubble. The contrast between the back and sides, and what was left of my hair was startling. After running the razor several times over the exposed skin Debbie seemed satisfied with her handiwork. She ran a finger against the freshly shaved scalp feeling for any remnants of stubble that might have escaped. With a smile of satisfaction on her lips she replaced the electric razor on the small table.

Debbie retrieved a small bottle of some liquid and, after pouring a few drops into the palm of her hand, began to rub the liquid into the shaved skin. Satisfied that no spot had been missed, she took a rough towel and bean to vigorously rub the skin. I watched in disbelief as the pale skin began to take on a definite shine as Debbie buffed away at the scalp. She dropped the towel onto to the table and picked up a hand mirror to show me the final result. I didn’t want to look at the shocking result of her hair labours. But I also felt drawn at the same time to scrutinise just how high the clippers had hacked my hair away. To almost savour the starkness of the now bald skin against the remaining cropped hair. I nodded in silence not sure exactly what to say.

Debbie removed both of the capes and I almost breathed a sigh of relief to be released from their rubbery embrace. I stood slowly, my legs wobbling slightly. In a state of almost shock I paid for the haircut and walked back into the shop. The girl behind the counter smiled as she took in my new haircut.

“Wow, that’s quite a haircut”, she laughed.

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