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I feel the knife scraping across my head and for a very short moment I open my eyes to look at the woman opposite me in the mirror. 

I’m that woman and I must have been crazy to go here and let it happen  like this. 

We arrived here some days ago, late in the afternoon, early enough to enjoy that wonderful sunset.

We just put our luggage in the room and were sitting in front of the small bungalow looking at the red-coloured sky, which changed and changed.

Far away at the other side of the lake the sun disappeared behind the mountains.

The first bats started to fly in that seemingly irregular way across the water. Higher in the sky I saw a flying dog and told Irma what it was. 

I hardly noticed the couple that greeted us, maybe impolite, but I was totally fascinated by the beautiful sunset. 

Only when Irma started to talk with them I realised that it was the Dutch couple that was waiting with us at Singapore for the delayed plane to Medan.

I realised that the hair of Joyce was much shorter than it was last time when we wished them goodbye at Medan.

Of course Irma noticed also the short haircut and complained about her own long warm hair. 

Together with the Dutch couple we seemed to be the only guests and I knew that Irma should be curious enough to ask the woman where her hair had been cut.

And indeed an hour later we were sitting in the room where dinner was served(the restaurant) and soon Irma asked where Joyce had cut her hair. 

After some hesitation Joyce told that her husband seemed to be somewhat crazy, liking to take her to local barbers for haircuts. She told how they had a meal in a small town in the north and that Max, walking around, soon discovered a local half-open barbershop. 

I saw that Max did not like to talk about it and steered the conversation in another direction. 

We talked a lot about our travel experiences and it seemed that Max and Joyce had been travelling around quite a lot and we got a lot of advice.

After dinner we were sitting some time outside the bungalow, but it was rather cool and we decided to go inside.

Soon we shared the big bed. In fact I don’t have a sexual relationship with Irma. We were just good friends and discovered that we were both interested to go to Indonesia, but afraid to travel alone. 

We had planned a trip for the next day. A driver should drop us high on the mountain behind us and we should descend along small paths through the forest and plantations. Maybe a trip of 3 or 4 hours but still tiring enough. 

Early next morning we awoke and even had the courage to swim somewhat in the lake.

Joyce who liked to see the sunrise greeted us. Irma told her that she liked the short haircut, telling that she even wondered if she should have the courage herself to go to a barber. 

We went to the restaurant and had a nice nasi goreng as breakfast and soon we heard the driver who should drop us. 

Half an hour later we were high up at the mountain where it was still very cool the more because the whole area still seemed to be covered by the clouds, meaning that we stood there in a fog. Not knowing where to go.

Happily there was a small warung(coffeeshop) where we sipped a coffee. The local people told that within half an hour the clouds should disappear and indeed 20 minutes later we started to go down refusing to be guided by the too helpful man.

Soon we walked along shrubs that I recognised as coffee and we even enjoyed the delicious smell of the flowers.

Deep down we saw the lake but it was impossible to see the hotel.


The first half hour we hardly saw any forest, but at long last we came in a part that seemed much more natural. The atmosphere was extremely humid and soon with the rising sun the temperature increased and streams of sweat started to come out of my skin. 

Irma rubbed her head and started again to complain how warm that long hair was referring to the short hair of Joyce and even I could not deny it might be fine to have short hair. But again I could not imagine going to a local barber.

Happily we brought a lot of water and rested some time till Irma discovered the leeches that approached us, it made that we continued our walk. Half away we came at an open place in the forest where some local people had a kind of warung it did not look to clean but anyway there seemed to be no leeches and it was nice enough to sit in the shade.

It seemed too hot for coffee, but happily we could drink coconut juice, fresh from the nut. .

I took off my shoes and discovered two swollen leeches. Irma only had four of them. The owner of the warung only laughed and told that the rest of the way might be better. 

We had a nice rest but at long last we had to continue  our trip, at first accompanied by a lot of children who amused themselves to observe the clumsy Dutch women.

But when we said goodbye they stopped and soon we walked again alone through the remnants of forest and we even heard and saw some monkeys.

It was a quit hot and tiring business and it lasted still almost one and half hour before we arrived at a village near the lake but still some km’s from the hotel.

In a local shop we could buy some cola’s, that were even very cool, as there seemed to be a fridge. 

Along the main road we walked back to the hotel where we arrived at one o’clock.

I had hardly any energy left to take a meal and just ordered vegetable soup.  Irma seemed to have much more energy. I told her that I liked to have a siesta and just after a shower I looked for our bed and totally exhausted I stared at the ceiling.

Outside I heard Irma talking, probably with Joyce and her husband. I heard a woww that looks even better. How did you dare to do it? But as I told I was totally exhausted a hardly could my eyes open.

I heard Irma asking can you show me where it was. I heard Joyce say ‘ okay, but I want to eat first.”

It was silent and I fell asleep.

Sometime later I awoke hearing Irma who entered, telling that she wanted to go with Joyce to the village tellingme that she should be back in an hour. I just murmured okay, I am too sleepy to join you.

When Irma opened the door again to leave I just saw Joyce and had the impression that her hair seemed even much shorter, but I was too sleepy to be sure and fell asleep again. 

Quite a time later I awoke, probably because the door opened. For a moment I did not know where I was till Irma switched on the light. Her hair had been cut extremely short leaving only a fur of very, very short bristles. The light was too strong for my eyes and I asked Irma to switch off the light.

Irma asked if I liked her hair and with my sleepy head I told that it looked good but very boyish.

Irma went to the bathroom and it lasted some minutes before she came back, totally naked.

I n the half-dark room I could see her very short hair.

She took my hand and asked to touch her head. It was crazy to feel those short hairs and could not resist rubbing her head again and again, whispering how curious it felt.

Irma was lying quite close and touching my head she suggested that she expected that I might cut my hair as well. And feeling the short bristles I suddenly got the urge as well to have my own hair cut. 

Heavens I have had my hair always long, the shortest ever was something touching my shoulders. 

For some minutes we didn’t speak while I was trying to imagine how I might look like with extreme short boyish hair like that. 

I had my eyes closed and suddenly felt the fingers of Irma touching my nape and suggesting the work of clippers. I heard her whisper: “it feels wonderful”. 

I had no strength to answer or to resist her suggestions and again I touched the very short bristles o
n Irma’s head.

I sighted and again I did not show any resistance when Irma pulled at my arm taking me from the bed.

I just dressed myself, went to the bathroom and stared at my face with the roughly put-up hair.

I loosened the hair and wondered what might happen during the forthcoming hours. 

I made my face wet to refresh my sleepy face and wondered how it might feel when almost all of my hair might be removed. Yes how ???? 

We came outside and I saw Joyce with her husband in the lake, both of them almost as bald as Irma.

I wondered what the owner and his personnel might think about those mad Europeans. 

I told Irma to keep her mouth shut about my visit to a barber not being sure yet if I really wanted to go on this mad way to what????? 

We left the small compound and climbed the stairs to the road.

Just when we stood there a small bus halted and a boy made some place in the already crowded cabin. 

Irma made clear that we wanted to go to the next village and paid. Not enough according to the boy who tried to extract some more money from these idiot tourists. 

An old man pointed to Irma’s hair and said: seperti laki (like a man), but Irma just mentioned: saya suka(I like it) . An old woman next to Irma touched the rests of her hair and just shook her head in disbelief.

Another woman made a joke about it and all of the passengers seemed to be quite amused. Before a schoolboy could explain to us the meaning of the joke, the bus halted and we freed ourselves

Irma knew exactly where to go and soon I saw a barbershop with one barber and his customer inside and two barbers  waiting outside for potential customers.

Irma was greeted as an old friend, the more when she pointed to my head and made the humming sound of clippers.

In fact I wanted to escape, to run away, but Irma entered already. She seemed to be well prepared and started to talk to the barbers who seemed to be quite amused.

I was invited to sit down in one of the old wooden barber chairs and with an elegant movement a cape was tightly wrapped around my neck.

I suddenly realised that we had hardly any discussion about the haircut .

In a small mirror I saw my long black hair covering the more or less white cape.

Turning my head I saw to my surprise that Irma was sitting as well. I wanted to talk with her, but she just commented; wait and see.

I realised that there seemed to be no way back and looked what the barber was doing.

I felt myself trembling and again I wanted to run away, but at the same time I remembered the strange sensation feeling the bristles on Irma’s head.

With rough snips the barber started to cut off my hair and I realised that the hair was cut off quite near my skull. The effect seemed to be horrible and I wondered how he could make the same nice brushlike hair as Irma’s.

To my surprise I saw that Irma’s head was covered with soap and that her barber was massaging her head. I asked my self why she had her hair washed just an hour after her last haircut.

I paid no further attention to this activity as I had to follow what my own barber was doing. Within maybe half a minute no long hair was left and I looked at the rough ravage on my head. I realised that it should be time to upgrade this disaster and was happy when the barber took clippers and a comb. I imagined that he might shave my hair over the comb leaving bristles of an equal but minimal length. I turned my face somewhat to study my ears that happily were not sticking out too much. When my barber placed the comb against my skull lifting some of the hair rests to shave away the hair that came through the teeth of the combs, I heard the voice of the other barber.  He said something: mau gundul. He seemed to give an instruction and my barber just put down the comb and pressed my head against my breasts and I felt the clippers against my skull going upwards.  Only when he was already approaching  the top of my head I realised that he was shaving my hair as short as possible and I realised only then that gundul meant bald.

The movement of the humming clippers did not stop and I realised that even already a part of my hair on top of my head was completely removed.

It was then that I put my head in a more upright position to observe what happened.

In fact I hardly saw any difference as most of the activities had taken place at the backside, but moving my head somewhat downwards I just could see already a complete bald place. The barber just stepped aside and I saw in a mirror behind me that a white track was visible at the back of my head . Only the thousands minute black points seemed to represent the rests of my hair. In disbelief I took my hand from below the cape and felt the back of my head . Maybe an even more strange sensation than touching the bristly hair of Irma just an hour ago. I seemed to be in a dream and came back in reality when the barber seemed to ask if all was well. I did not know what to say and just nodded. Only then I glanced aside seeing the other barber with a straight knife scraping away the cream from Irma’s head and with that cream all the bristles that had been left there since her visit to this same barbershop an hour ago.

Seeing the first results of my own haircut I realised what her instructions had been  for the haircut of the both of us.

During some seconds I felt anger and hardly could suppress it, but again I remembered that strange sensation and curiosity that made me accept her invitation to visit this barber.

I made some strong comments and heard nothing but the soft grinning of Irma.

My barber continued his work and within a minute my head was as bald as possible with clippers and that was already very bald.

In fact I did not dislike my own strange, but attractive face and wondered if I should leave it like this.

At the same time I knew that Irma should not rest before I had the same complete headshave and to be honest I was curious as well to go on.

In fact it was quite clear that the shave with the knife had been ordered as well for me and  within a minute my head was covered by a thick white creamy layer

The head massage was wonderful and I had time to notice the smooth somewhat bald head of Irma who seemed to stare in disbelief about her own courage  or call it recklessness.

And then an endless scraping followed and for one or another reason I just did not look but just felt what happened on my head.

Maybe I was afraid that the barber should cut my skin causing a bloody mess, but  he knew quite well what he did. in fact I thought it to be more painful thinking about the clumsy way I sometimes shaved  my legs.

Only one moment I opened my eyes to see the stranger opposite me.

I only opened my eyes when the barber removed the last soap rests with a towel and covered my head with a white dusty material. After a minute he cleaned my head again and with a fatty cream he started to massage my head again polishing it resulting in a shiny ball.

I saw Irma behind me with a crazy bald head and wondered what the barbers might think, but they were just polite accepting our payment and tip.

Some minutes later we were on our way to the road looking for a bus that might bring us back to the hotel.

I hardly had courage to feel my head and just evaded the glances and comments of other passengers. 

We left the car above the hotel and descended the steps. I stopped a moment , told Irma that she was crazy and touched my head. Irma kissed my head.

We just passed the restaurant and went to our bungalow. 

Joyce came just outside and called for her husband.

They were polite enough to make nice remarks. We entered our room , just clinging together feeling, touching and kissing each other’s head. 

Outside we saw Joyce and husband, probably on their way to the villa

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