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?Erin, VS1 is showing Empire Records on their Movies that Rock at 11:30! Will the TV bother you if I turn it on?? Jenna Moran was already in her Lands End nightshirt as she talked to her roommate. Her dark pony tail extended well past the nightshirt?s collar. Jenna was normally a jeans-and-sweatshirt girl, one who blended into the campus.

?Empire Records? That?s such an old thing, and you?ve rented the video twice since we?ve been rooming together. But sure, if it?ll make you happy. Keep the sound down and I can finish my reading for Econ and then slip into sleepy land.? Erin Johannsen smiled wanly. She brushed her long variegated blond wavy hair back from her face, then flipped a page. Erin ignored her roommate as the movie started, then noted how she kept glancing between it and a book. Erin already had an idea what scene Jenna was watching for. Sure enough, when the scene showed the sullen Debra climb off her motor scooter, storm through the record store and into the back room, Jenna leaned forward in anticipation.

Erin decided to test her theory. ?Jenna, how?s that sociometrics class coming??

?Wait just a minute, okay? I?ll get back to you on that,? the tall girl answered. Erin walked over and watched the actress, Robin Tunney, she thought it was, grab a handful of hair from the back of her head and take scissors to it. Erin watched the scene, but watched her roommate more as the movie character kept hacking away. Jenna murmured, ?That would take so much guts! Can you imagine??

?I couldn?t imagine wanting to,? Erin responded. ?But I guess the actress was paid well.? By this time, Debra had gone from scissors to clippers and was mowing the remains of her hair, with a smile of triumph on her face. ?So what is it about that scene that always fascinates you?? Erin asked.

?I don?t know,? Jenna said. ?People always judge us by our hair, and when I see something like that, I think ?Why should they?? I mean, if I wanted to be bald, why couldn?t I??

?Why, indeed?? the short blond responded. ?Go ahead. Do it. It?s okay with me.?

?Do what? Jenna looked up from her chair, confused. ?I don?t get it.?

?Yes you do. Look, kid. You?re the bright psych major and I?m the dumb blond business major??

?You?re not dumb, and you know it!?

?I know, but that?s the impression people have. Anyway, you keep panting over that scene. You really wish it could be you. You?re like a kid wanting to ask her mom to wear makeup, but she?s afraid her mommy will scold her, so she just hints. So since you?re mom is three hundred miles away, I?ll give you permission to do what you want to do anyway.?

?Do you really think that I should?? Jenna asked doubtfully.

Erin looked firm. ?It doesn?t matter to me if you shave it or dye it purple or whatever. What?s important is if you want to. If you don?t do it now, while you?re here at the university, you?ll never be able to do it again. You?re just a whacko psych student, so you can get away with it now. So go for it.?

Jenna slowly pulled out the elastic band holding her pony tail and walked over to the mirror. ?I?ve always been curious about it, what I would look like, I mean. And what it would feel like. And hey, it grows back. I?ll think about it.?

Erin shook her head. ?If you think about it, you?ll chicken out. Go ahead.?

?Will you shave yours, too?? Jenna asked.

?No! Unlike you, I like my hair. And if I shaved it, everybody would think ?there?s another dumb blond trying to improve her IQ.? This is your thing, babe. Besides, maybe you can use the whole experience for a research project in a psych course??Social Reactions to a Bald Female at a Midwestern University.??

?Hey, not bad,? Jenna said, still staring in the mirror, playing with her hair. ?At least that would be a good excuse to tell my mom, and it might be a fun project. But we don?t have any clippers.?

?Hold that thought and don?t do anything drastic. I?m going down to third floor and will be right back.? The dorm housed men on odd-numbered floors and women on the even ones. A few minutes later, Erin was back, with her hands full. ?Jim Nolan, I used to date him, remember? He always has a crewcut and maintained it himself. So I went down and borrowed his clippers. He was already in bed, so he was a little ticked. When I told him you wanted to shave your head, he brightened up and asked if he could come do it for you. I said no. But he asked me to tape it for him on his video camera. So I agreed. If Robin Tunney could shave her head in front of a camera, so can you.?

?So I?m going to do this. I?m going to do this.? Jenna examined the electric clippers. Erin hadn?t brought back a plastic guard. ?Yes, I?m going to do this. Do I look like Robin Tunney??

?About as much as I look like Renee Zellwegger,? Erin grinned. ?Actually, your eyes are prettier, so you?ll have trouble looking sullen and hateful all the time.?

?I don?t need to be sullen and hateful, just independent,? Jenna responded. ?I guess I?m ready if you are.? Erin angled the camera so it caught the mirror image of her roommate?s actions. Jenna reached for a clump of hair on the back of her head, laid the scissors to it near the scalp, hesitated, then closed the blades. ?Wow! What a feeling! It?s panicky and exciting all at once, a real rush. But more important, it was this big sense of taking power over my life.? She grabbed another clump at random and clipped, dumping it into the sink. Her mouth open, tongue between her lips, Jenna moved the scissors around, leaving strange-looking clumps. Erin noticed her grinning at one point when the right side of Jenna?s hair was savaged and the left side still remained long, as Debra in the movie had grinned. Like Debra, Jenna continued chopping. Her hair was a short, thatchy, uneven mess, sticking up at strange angles all around her scalp. ?Time for the clippers now. Let?s clean this up.?

?Couldn?t you just have used the clippers to begin with?? Erin asked. ?It would have saved you a lot of work.?

?It isn?t about saving work. It?s a symbolic action, and it?s also more fun to do it this way.? The girl plugged in the clippers, and began plowing the stubble down to the surface of her scalp. Clean paths appeared through the clumps. There were still some places that had wisps of hair dangling, but soon Jenna was staring at her smooth scalp, shaded by the roots of thousands of hairs below the skin line. She moved her head from side to side slowly, grinning at its smoothly rounded shape. ?I?m sure I?ll get stupid remarks and rude looks,? she said, ?But I love it. This is who I want to be.?

Erin just hugged her roommate and said, ?I?m glad you did it.?

The two cleaned up the bathroom. Jenna plopped her hair into an old blue plastic grocery bag. She wasn?t sure what she wanted to do with it, but she didn?t want to throw it away quite yet.

Finally, about 2 AM, the young women climbed into their beds. In the dark, Jenna kept rubbing her hand slowly over her head. ?Jim Nolan offered to give you a closer shave with lather and a razor, if you want,? Erin spoke in the darkness.

?Maybe,? Jenna replied. ?Do you suppose he?d let me keep his clippers when he?s not using them? I don?t know how long I?ll want to stay like this, but right now I really, really like it.? A few moments of silence ended when Jenna asked, ?Erin, do you remember how Debra in the movie has this really cool nose ring??

?Maybe tomorrow, babe. Maybe tomorrow,? Erin muttered as she rolled over to go to sleep. ?Goodnight, Baldy.?

?Goodnight, Blondie,? Jenna chuckled.

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