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Candy had always struggled with her sexuality. She hadn’t known if it was normal to be equally attracted to and repulsed by the male of the species. She knew that she wasn’t a lesbian after an interlude at a disco during her teen years.

Like so many brides before her she never thought her marriage to Robert would end but after years in a repressive family Robert had seemed her only means of escape. It was a love match but after their first year it became apparent that he expected her to stay at home and for them to have kids right away. It was ok when she’d been a med student. She had always been an A-grade student “a diamond in the rough” as her tutor at her tough inner-city school had always called her. She smiled at the memory, if no-one else she’d be happy with what I’ve achieved.

She’d given birth to Lara in their second year together. She’d become pregnant surprisingly quickly and she adored her which surprised Candy immensely, drawing on her own Victorian parents.

She knew that their marriage had to end but hoped Robert would keep it clean. It had all gone down-hill when she took a powerful job with a higher salary than his- a consultant doctor when all he was was a meager beat-cop (they’d met at work during her Accident & Emergency rotation). Over the years she’d got a reputation for being “the woman’s doc” but she’d known that her 11 year marriage was over.

He had thrown Lara’s demand for her mother to read her a story into the argument. Once the acrimonious divorce was settled she’d relented and let him get full custody of Lara. He took her to America when he’d moved there. Over the years the acrimony turned to tenuous friendship.
By now Lara was 14. She had last seen when she was nearly 10 when she attended Robert’s marriage to a stewardess of one of the American air-lines (genuinely no pun intended!) She didn’t recognize her daughter now a mere 4 years later. This sweet girl was changing- and Candy didn’t like it. She always wore make-up even then but Candy had shrugged it off. There was nothing she could’ve done about it anyway.

On the outside there didn’t seem anything wrong with Lara. Aged 9 she had shoulder-length caramel-coloured hair and a smirk which suggested that she had her father wrapped around her little finger.

Like a bolt from the blue Robert had called Candy. His wife had given him an ultimatum- they couldn’t cope with the teenaged Lara. So here she was.

Candy saw the problem straight away- her beautiful daughter. She naturally wiggled her hips after years of practice to get the boys (too long being a cheer-leader) straight bleach-blonde hair nearly to her knees ALWAYS worn down and straightened with tongs for full effect. Tight sweatshirt you could see her nipples through and a skirt no bigger than Candy’s biggest belt. She was appalled. Now was her chance to show her what having a mother was all about. But worst of all she always chewed gum but when she did speak she was no better than an American bimbo. Her daughter had become a Grease clone.

Candy always knew that she loved being a mother. She had missed Lara but dreaded what this man-magnet would turn into without her direction. She was only 14, she could set her straight in time. First she confiscated her make-up (never far from her side) 14 year olds do not need to be old before their time.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“A model.”
“Yes, but education is important if only as a back-up.”
“Whatever” her mom sure had some funny ideas, maybe it was a British thing.
“Who is your role model?”
“Paris Hilton. I like that she does what she wants and…..”

Candy had heard enough. A rich bimbo for a role model. No daughter of hers would turn out like her. She’d have preferred it to be Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen who Candy had always secretly liked. They had earned every penny of their fortune at such a young age, masters of their own destiny. But Lara didn’t know that. The sooner she got to work on Lara the better.

Candy dropped her off outside a big building. “Where are we going?”
“My friend is expecting you, for a haircut.”
She walked into the college.
“Lara. I’m told Sandra Collins is expecting me.”

Wow, she was intimidated by the few British students she saw, rushing from place to place. She wondered if she’d ever get here. The receptionist drew her a brief map which she followed. She pushed open the double-doors where a middle-aged woman smiled reassuringly at her, amongst a group of students both male and female surrounding a doll’s head and a barber’s chair.

“Come in, you must be Lara.” Lara nodded timidly.

“Well class, here is our model.” “Sit down here.” She ushered Lara into the stylist’s chair.

“Right, we’ll begin. Class, I want you to watch my every move.”

Oh great, a hair-cut was one thing but with witnesses. She was a friend of her mother’s and her mum had discussed what was to happen but not with her.

“Jane, do be a love and gown the client.” A small girl with glasses and short back and sides wearing a big red jumper and jeans did as she was instructed. Meanwhile Lara sat patiently while her mum’s friend taught the class about the technical side, some taking notes. This gave Lara a chance to look at the implements on the table next to the chair- a brush, a rubber band, a comb, scissors, some clippers then an empty trolley with several drawers. A shudder ran through her as she suddenly became the centre of attention.

“Well class you can do each head-shave differently with or without attachments or giving hair……..” Did she say head-shaves? It was too late now. Lara couldn’t leave if she wanted to. “Tom, please brush out Lara’s hair. Yes, that’s it, root to tip.” Lara enjoyed him tugging on her hair. She was reassured. “Now, because there is such a bulk I’m going to make it easier but you don’t necessarily have to do it this way.” Tom sat down as Sandra took over brushing.

She picked up the rubber band and after a few more strokes of the brush pulled Lara’s hair into a pony-tail at ear-level. Before she knew it Lara saw her pick up the scissors and felt her hacking away at her hair above the band. It didn’t take long for her to saw through the pony-tail as the hair remaining swung forward into a chin-length bob. They’ll never let her be a cheer-leader again after this. She couldn’t believe that her mum had known what would happen.

Lara felt sick She’d never had her hair cut ever before- her dad knew there’d be hell to pay otherwise. Then she remembered they’d said head-shave. She started to panic- but she couldn’t escape. She was strangely starting to be turned on by the lightness of her head. She felt the back as Sandra continued to teach. Her stomach lurched as she watched her throw 26 inches of her former mane into a big black bin she hadn’t noticed before in the corner.

All of a sudden she heard the clippers spring to life. She focused on Sandra’s voice “The easiest way is to start like this but you can do it whichever way you please but it is always best to follow the natural flow of the hair-line so……..” Lara drew a deep breath as she saw the clippers coming for her forehead, making her cross-eyed.

She felt the vibration on her head deeply penetrate inside her- she was getting turned on. She couldn’t believe it. She could tell that all eyes were on her and the atmosphere in the room had changed. Sandra mowed a straight line from her forehead to her crown.

While Sandra continued to waffle Lara felt her hair-now she knew what the parting of the Red Sea had been like. Hair on one side of her parting a line of baldness then a water-fall of existing hair to her chin.

Sandra kept the clippers in her hand, switched on. Lara was now desperate for it all to be over.

Could it be that she wanted to be bald? “Anyway…..” Sandra carried on shearing the top of Lara’s head so it tumbled down her cheeks like feathers, to rest in
her lap. When she had totally mowed rows into the top of her head Sandra suddenly turned the clippers off. I must look like a right freak at this stage. “Sadie, I’d like you to create what I did to the top in a straight line along the side.” Sadie nervously giggled as she turned the clippers on again.

Swiping in a distinctly wavy line her hair over her ear to her neck was gone. “Nice try. Darren?” He took the clippers with more force and mowed over her side-burn. “Better. Katy…. a little higher please.”

Lara shuddered as she suddenly felt a cool breeze come in through the window. She realised that she was half-bald by now- very odd yet her pants were moist. Lara looked down onto her cape, the pile of hair was growing. How odd it would be to have short hair like the kids she had teased for having short grubby hair like lesbians- what was she saying, how odd it would be to be bald?!
“Nice. Now, Nicola, you can start the other side.”

“Good. Simon?”
“Debra. Good. Good.”

“Now see how I’ve left it long at the back.” Sandra ruffled Lara’s remaining hair. It was a shock. Her pants were now wet through. Suddenly saw the pile of hair. “Could somebody throw this away?” Her pride and joy wastage. It made her smile. “Now class, come closer. Lara put your head down please.” Sandra put her hand to her neck and exerted a little force anyway. “If you do it this way” and Sandra mowed a line up her neck behind her ears up to her crown “you have to wait for the hair to fall.”

She would have like having short hair if this was how she’d feel. Lara enjoyed the felling of having the pony-tail removed. It went so fast. Lara felt the breeze again. It was official she was now bald. She heard Sandra’s voice again “Danny, sweep up.” “Right, now to finish off, you need to make sure everything has been finished properly so you should shave the client’s head again. How is up to you, today I’m going to show you a hot shave. I know what you are thinking but yes this can be done to the head and it makes the initial shave last longer. With a normal head-shave the actual shave only lasts up to 12 hours before stubble starts to appear. Gentlemen, you may have noticed. With a hot shave stubble doesn’t appear for at least 4 days and it un-clogs the skin ladies, much as your skin-care regime.” What would her friends think of her now? Would she ever get a boyfriend like this?

“Anne dear, please wrap the towel in the hot trolley around our client’s head.” The heat of having the towel cosily wrapped around her head made Lara feel the full sensation of being totally bald. It was most peculiar but her hardening nipples indicated that she liked it.
“Do you know why we use heated towels before the final shave? Yes Rupert.”

“Because it softens the skin if it’s sensitive.”

“Correct. The skin on your head is much like the skin on your face and needs delicate handling.”

A new sound. Lara looked to see a knife- a proper cut-throat razor being sharpened on what looked like a leather-belt. “The razor needs to be hot to keep your skin alert. Nicola, please remove the towel. Debra, you may cover her head in the foam in the canister over there.” Lara suddenly felt the gloop on her head being spread across her head. Debra’s hand were nice and smooth. “It should always be warm because the client has such a sensitised head already, caution is required.” Lara loved the feeling of having no hair. This was fun. Screw cheer-leading she’d be living in the UK now. It’d grow if she wanted it to, but would she be ugly? Suddenly the tender hands stopped. Her head was fully-covered.

“All done? Right class, now this is important, you must always start at the nape of the neck and work your way up.” Lara felt the extreme heat of the scraping metal at the nape of the neck. She scraped higher and higher sideways, removing a lot of hair as she went, unlike before. Lara felt the class come close. “Up the next, over the cream then swipe to the sides then the forehead and temples going back, against yourself.” Lara felt the changes in direction. Her skin shivered as the air blew in once again.

“It doesn’t matter how many time you do this just make sure your razor is hot.” She heard Sandra clean it then continue. “When you are sure that there is no hair remaining you cover the clients’ head with a hot towel again. Simon, do the honours.” Lara suddenly felt the heat of the towel around her definitely naked head. “To finish off, you must always moisteurise the head as the oils within the hair that we learnt about last week won’t be protecting it anymore.” Lara felt the towel be removed as she felt the cold air on her whole head. Sandra massaged her head with drops of something that initially stang all over before the hot shivers cooled it down. “There you go Lara love, totally bald.” “Somebody de-cape her.” Lara’s knees turned to jelly as she attempted to move. She was eventually sucessful. “Now, I mustn’t forget- to brush any stray hair from your clients’ neck area.” Lara was up and de-caped. Sandra brushed her neck at eye-level. The bristles felt peculiar. “Class, thank Lara for being a successful victim.” The class tittered followed by a barrage of mumbled thanks. If her mom wanted her to have a lesson in humility it was learnt. As she left she saw her former hair in disarray in the bin, her stomach lurched.

The first thing she did upon leaving the class-room was find a bath-room mirror to stare at herself. She couldn’t face the world, not yet.
She saw her nervous but bald face looking back- she looked at how big her eyes were, how much smaller her nose looked- the people close to her had been right she didn’t need a nose-job. She smiled somewhat fakely to see if it looked OK. My God without the hair she looked like a happy Sarah Jessica Parker, almost angelic. Ah, so what she’d never be a cheer-leader again, she in England now she could be the cool American with the shaved head. She tenuously touched her head. She liked the feel of it. This was here to stay, she mused. She bought some hair clippers on the way home as she confidently strode the high street. This was better than before. She loved the attention of curious strangers.

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