The following was presented as part of the GMSMA program "What's the Buzz? Barbershop Scenes" held September 22, 1999.
Forced haircuts—the idea of an unwilling guy being tied or held down, pleading and then begging not to have his precious hair taken from him. Then the sudden click-thud as the clippers are switched on, and their hum morphing to a low buzzz as they move to his head...
Buzzcuts, brush cuts, crewcuts, butch cuts, flat tops, high and tights, discipline haircuts, motivation haircuts—just mentioning the words can be a turn-on to some guys who are truly into the scene.
I was a pretty kinky minded little boy, with lots of fetishes that I still enjoy today, but for me, forced buzzcuts is one of the earliest and strongest fetishes I remember having as I matured—right up there with handcuffs. I never got buzzed myself; long hair was "in" when I was young and trying to "fit in," so I sported my hair pretty long until I moved to New York City. And even then it was several years before I had the balls to start exploring the thing that had always fascinated me. But as a kid, I was transfixed whenever a crewcut, especially if forced, was in a scene on TV or in the movies.
The first time I remember being snagged by the fetish was while watching a made-for-TV movie with Jan Michael Vincent called "Tribes." It was about this hippie who was inducted into the Marines. (A tough and hot Darrin McGavin played the DI, by the way.) There was a scene where we witnessed our hero get his Paris Island induction haircut. I was transfixed—watching Jan's long, blond hair fall (in slow motion) onto his caped shoulders, victim to the blades from the terrifying chunk of buzzing metal held in the barber's firm mitt. He wasn't restrained, of course, but it was very hot. During the opening credits of Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket" we see recruit after recruit getting it all buzzed off. There's an episode of "Bonanza" that would give any one with a haircut fetish a hard-on—a smarmy narcissist pisses off the Cartwright boys to the point they finally tie him into a chair and have the barber shave him bald. "This Boys Life" treats us to DeNiro taking his stepson Leo DiCappria for a disciplinary flattop. The list goes on and on...
Forced haircuts and head shave scenes often pop up in lots of literature, films, plays, opera, and let's not forget about good old Samson. Humiliation haircuts pepper many fraternity hazing stories; they often are the fate that befalls losers of weird bets or dares. I have to presume, then, that a lot of people recognize the power of this thing: cutting off a man's hair. They may not be sexually aroused by it, but it is universally recognized as a major "Thing To Do." But I would get hard when watching or thinking about it, and of course, I never would have dared imagine that there were other guys out there that felt the same way—that were turned on by watching or giving or getting military haircuts. But it turns out there are lots of us.
A whole lot of stuff can be brought up when a forced haircut is used in an s/m scene. It can be especially intense when used as a true induction: the bottom being shorn of his former physical self—suddenly and drastically transformed with a few passes of the buzzing clippers.
I think it works on various levels of s/m and fetish play. First, the mere physicality, the possibilities for creative and extremely hot bondage. Some guys make the restraint into the chair the best part of the scene. I know of a kinky buzzcut fiend in Allentown who has a barber chair fitted with extra heavy leather straps for buckling around the wrists and ankles, and a collar that he clips to the headrest bar.
Obviously the humiliation aspect of such a scene can be part of the allure too. Once this same Buzz Top has a guy helpless in barbershop bondage, he taunts and teases him about how he's gonna look as a baldie, until he finally lets the clippers do their work. "Yeah boy, gonna take all your pretty hair and make you bald."
A scene can be the beginning of an intense military trip: Marine Corp DI dealing with a sissy who didn't want his hair cut. "Gonna turn you into the grunt maggot you really are..."
But if it isn't Marine bootcamp or brig related, sometimes it can launch a completely different realm for role play and fun (and it's one of my favorites): Dad taking his boy to the barbershop for a "real" haircut. Make his boy look the way he wants him to look. Like a man. Yeah.
Barbershop and haircut scenes can be a truly "heady" experience. And while it certainly is a commitment (you can't just forget you've done it the next day), the fact that you wear a long lasting reminder of the scene is part of the thrill.
The most extreme side of this is the total head shave. Once I personally got over the trauma (and pure ecstasy) of actually finally getting buzzed, my fascination turned to the total baldie—the Kojak, the Yul Brenner, the Mr. Clean. I had always been attracted to guys who look like that, but the idea of one of them doing it to me to make me look like them, it used to make me crazy. Until I finally had the chance several years ago to fulfill that fantasy too.
But while buzzcuts have an extremely hot and sexy feel to them, total headshaves often take on a spiritual and mystical type of power. I find the shaving of a "willing" head to be truly a magical act. The flip side of that, of course, is that when forced upon someone, the humiliation and degradation is increased tremendously too—so much that the poor recipient would have been delighted at the compromise of only getting a buzzcut. (There's a scene in the film "Performance" that is particularly striking.)
But it's not always about humiliation, punishment, or discipline. Some guys, both bottoms and Tops, shave their heads on a regular basis, outside of any sort of s/m scene. I asked some of the Cue-Balls I know to write down their thoughts about the subject:
"First of all, it's a proactive approach to becoming bald. Rogaine, hairpieces, and comb-overs convey the message that you don't like being bald; you're ashamed of it. Head shaving proclaims my naked, uncovered dome with gusto. It's legal public nudity. It flouts conventionality with attitude. I'M OUT AND I'M PROUD!
"Second, shaving is sexy. I shave in the shower, and often I slick up my dick with shaving gel and proceed to shave my head while sporting a big boner. Admittedly it's a fetish, but the erotic aspects of hair removal are undeniable.
"Last but not least, it feels great. When a playmate strokes my smooth head, I shudder with pleasure.
"There's an old Tibetan proverb: Grass doesn't grow on top of a mountain."
"I've been shaving my head for about six months. Before that I had been clipping it. I've always liked close-cut or fades, and very much like Mohawks. I was always frustrated trying to find a barber who could do it the way I wanted, and the fades were too difficult for me to do myself. I was so relieved when I was able to do my head myself, and it's so easy! It's so extremely low-maintenance.
"Someone finally suggested I try shaving it. They said I'd probably look sexy, and since I've always found bald men extremely hot, I decided to try it.
"The act of shaving, even clipping, is very erotic. The feeling of the clipper's teeth on the back of my neck, the humming vibration, is very arousing. The cold feel of the razor as it soothes my skull on its final pass. There is also something about renewal, maybe something linked to the spiritual, that takes place. Perhaps it's simply the intense intimacy that is involved in this self-grooming. And I love the feeling of a man's hands touching my head; without hair the sensation can be incredibly vibrant. I especially like a man with rough, big, heavy hands.
"As hair is one of the current "religions" of both American and "gay" culture, I truly love not having any. It is a statement that I feel says, "Here I am, I don't fit into any of your categories, look at me, know me for who I am." Being bald removes an image barrier at the same time as it is one in itself. People, I guess, have their feelings about baldness. It is really a look, just like any other hairstyle. But there is definitely something radical, fringe about shaving one's head. It is a defiance, in the sense that it rebukes current trend.
"However, this is the most important reason why I shave my head: my dad likes it. If he didn't like it, I would have had no choice but to let my hair grow. I would've done that, gladly, and been happy to do his will. But I was very happy when my dad told me he liked my head shaved. When a son pleases his father, it is a gift he gives to his father and to himself. It is a satisfaction, and a respect that they both share, upon which they can build greater love.
"I hope my thoughts and feelings on shaving my head are of use to you. I must say that my brain seems to be working better since I started shaving."
"I thought that perhaps I shaved my head for purely aesthetic reasons—I like the way I look without better than with—but upon further reflection I've come to believe there is more to it than that.
"First of all, I can discount any connection subculturally to the skinhead "movement," as my buzzing and first shaving predated that phenomenon (and besides, I'm firmly classically entrenched). Although I'm very attracted to its adherents and am, I think, as kinky as any of them, merely having a shaved head is no free ticket into a skinhead's bed. Or anyone else's for that matter, but I digress.
"I think it has more to do with my father and my deep regard for him, whose shining head is amongst my earliest memories. No he didn't shave it, but he was prematurely balding and buzzed what hair he had very close. Nonetheless the association and resulting comfort level with no hair is very apparent to me. This of course might even more explain my love of other men with little or no hair and the primal evocation of "Daddy" that comes from me during a severe spanking.
"Also, five years ago I went from buzzing to always shaving. I had shaved many times before on special occasions in preparation for a medical procedure, and discovered that I enjoyed the act of shaving as a sensual, erotic even, meditation. Yes, shaving is high maintenance and when hurried a bit of a hassle. But with the time to spend it can be a great pleasure for me. This also evokes memories of my dad, who used to rub and scratch my head gently sending me into some kind of hypnotic trance. Do THAT, and I'm yours.
"Having said that, it hasn't escaped my attention that "life is but a stage" indeed, and that certain parts can be played more convincingly without hair—skinhead (hmmmm), paramilitarist, mad doctor, jungle poacher, psycho taxi driver, extraterrestrial, the king of Siam, Michael Jordan, etc. There's nothing quite like a captive audience to bring out one's thespian inclinations, but I digress yet again.
"Alas, my shaved head is my most shameless self-promotion (other than my shaved balls)."
"It started as part of a scene—my top shaved my head (and everything else). While consensual, it was not something I would have volunteered to do. With the sole exception of my eyebrows, I was completely hairless. Even the hair on my fingers was gone. I never knew what being naked really meant until that moment. It was an immensely powerful experience that the mere telling of the event does not do justice to. I was close to tears at the time. It was an act of submission unlike any I had done or experienced before. I felt "different" after it. I was different. I later realized that it was a major landmark in my journey into s/m.
"Because the change in my appearance was so dramatic, I needed a "story" for my family, (straight) friends, and for people at the office. I told them that I was tired of my old style and wanted a change—a lie and not a very original one at that. Unfortunately, the story made it impossible to let my hair grow back immediately without coming across as a complete flake or a liar, so I was stuck with the style for a while. In time I got used to the "look" and I actually like it now. It's going to be around for a long time."
"Why do I shave my head?
"Well, let's consider the alternatives:
"The comb-over is, I think, possibly the most sophisticated of all hair-styles. I think the comb-over is particularly appealing when the hair is swept up from the back, over the top, and then off to the side—almost as if the style was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as a preliminary design study for the Guggenheim. The part being located just above the collar lends such a sense of intrigue.
"Perhaps the toupee, rug, wig. Maybe if there was ever one that I couldn't spot from across the street I'd consider it.
"Plugs. They always look so natural. When I was a kid, I had a Betsy-wetsy with the very same hair style.
"A little long on the sides and then those few individual hairs on the top left very long? Sort of like I hadn't noticed that those 30 or 40 hairs on top weren't spaced rather far apart? Naahh.
"Believe me, if I had a full, thick head of hair I wouldn't shave my head. Or maybe I would shave it or cut it really close—just so I could let it grow out again. Oh, and I would spend a lot of money on great hair-cuts.
"But I don't have a great hairline. So, I shave my head. Hey, it's in style. (I hate to think of which of the above alternatives I might be sporting if short or shaved hair wasn't in style.)
"Most importantly though, I shave my head because it makes me look SO FUCKIN GOOD."
"I shaved my head because I'm cheap. Well, that was only the last reason. The second to the last reason was that it was a dare, only I didn't know that was the dare.
"I 'd better start at the beginning:
"About five years ago, with my hair starting to thin on the top, I was having my hair cut progressively shorter. Friends and co-workers gave me compliments on the change, saying that I looked better with my hair shorter. My trips to the barber were more frequent, but what the hell, I looked better.
"Oh, The dare!
"A close friend of mine (you could call him a hunting buddy), Dave, wore a hairpiece for some ungodly reason. He's a handsome guy but was very self-conscious about his lack of hair on the top since losing it in his late teens and early twenties. He'd been complaining a lot recently about the time and expense associated with its maintenance, and I was tired of listening to it. Why he bothered with the hairpiece, I have no idea, since he was self-conscious about it and always wore a baseball cap anyway. I tried to convince him to stop wearing it but he resisted, saying the only way he could do that was to "take it all off." I told him that he'd look great with a buzz cut, and he finally said that he'd do it if I would do it. I said OK, we'd do it on Monday.
"Monday I went to Astor and got buzzed, No. 0 on the sides, No. 1 on top. I thought it looked great and called Dave. "Well I did it," he said, "took it all off." "Buzz cut?" I asked. "No, shaved it!" Subsequent discussion revealed a basic lack of clarity in our little agreement. Even though I thought the look was sexy I wasn't ready to go naked.
"I went on like this for three months. Maintenance of my No. 0 on the sides, No. 1 on top now required weekly trips to the barber at $12 a pop (plus tip) and a significant loss of time on Saturday afternoons.
"This was getting expensive. (This is where the cheap part comes in.) I'LL DO IT.
"At the time I was renovating my current apartment and sleeping on the dining room floor. There was a floor-to-ceiling mirror on the wall. I woke up the next morning facing the mirror 10 inches away. I opened my eyes. Synapses fired to life. Confusion. Shock. WHO IS THAT? More Confusion. IT'S ME!
"WHAT HAVE I DONE?
"After I calmed down and went to work the first reactions came. People I barely new were walking up to me, hands outstretched, wide-eyed like zombies. Sometimes they'd stop, snapping out of this fascinating state, and ask: "Can I touch it? It's so smooth!"
"This is interesting.
"Friends thought it was hot. I thought it was HOT! It changed the whole shape of my face, compliments on the shape of my head, guys walking up to me in bars..."Can I touch it?"
"I think I'll keep it.
"I still get turned on by that question: "Can I touch it?"
"I still get turned on by the feeling of the skin against skin.
"I still get turned on by touching it myself, when it's just shaved and smooth as glass, when it's a day old and rough like sandpaper, when it's two days old, gripping one way and not the other.
"I still get turned on when it's going hot & heavy and a guy rubs his hands over it when it's dripping with sweat.
"I still get turned on when it's dripping with sweat and I rub it all over a guy's body.
"I still get turned on jerking off in front of a mirror. Rubbing it. Watching myself rubbing it. Feeling the hard, smooth skin. Feeling it being rubbed.
"I really got turned on the first time a guy begged me to rub it between his legs. In that sensitive spot between his balls and his hole. All over his balls.
"I feel the goat & stache just add to it. I love the way it feels. I love the way it looks. Naked, it's intense. Jeans and a T-shirt, it gives my look an "edge," in a leather jacket it's hot. In a suit, it's striking.
"It's been four years.
"I think I'll keep it."
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