On the sensuality of head

You thought I was talking about oral sex?

You have a dirty mind.

No, I’m talking about my head. About how it feels to have it touched, rubbed, massaged.

In my early 20s, when I still had hair (or when I hadn’t yet admitted that I no longer did – baldness came early for me), one of my favorite indulgences was to go to a newly opened hair salon chain in New York called “Dramatics for Hair.” Today, there are nine of them. Back then, there were two or three, as I recall. Now, they’re pretty mainstream places, but back then, they were at least a little edgy (at least relative to my edges).

What drew me back to Dramatics after my first haircut there was the shampoo: as a guy, I never had the experience of having my hair shampooed by another person before I got it cut. Up ‘til Dramatics, I got my hair cut exclusively by septuagenarian men, first in little barber shops with Playboy on the tables, and then, at Astor Hair, a long-gone, sui generis place that must have had fifty barbers there.

At Astor Hair, you walked in and took a seat. There was a guy sitting on a tall chair in the middle of the floor, watching everything, and he’d direct you to the first free barber (Sal, or Angelo, or Pedro, or Tino). That barber might speak English, he might not. But he had a little office there, in this emporium, out on an open floor, with another chair inches from him to his right and left. He might have a statue of his favorite saint, pictures of his wife, his daughters, his sons, all scattered around. The barbers took care to personalize their seemingly impersonal spaces. And you’d sit in his chair, and he’d cut your hair, and you’d tip him and leave. The whole thing might take fifteen minutes. Maybe twenty. You might talk a little. But probably not much.

At Dramatics, it was different. All the staff there had “dramatic” names – Velour, or Blaze, or Gypsy. And they were, in my memory, universally hot women in their 20s. They all wore black, they all wore leggings. And instead of ushering me to someone’s grandfather when I entered, they ushered me to someone’s hot niece. Someone’s hot niece who would tilt my head back, gently support it, and direct warm, and then hot, water into my curly locks. Gently, sensually, she would wet my hair, guiding the water through all the ringlets of hair, ensuring that every last lock got good and wet before she introduced the suds. She would massage my scalp with her fingers as she worked up a lather, using more shampoo, and more time, than honestly were necessary, all while I generally would have a terrific view of her pretty face and, if I was lucky, her cleavage. The shampoo would be followed with a long, luxurious rinse. And then there was the conditioner….

This preparation for the actual haircut took longer than the haircut itself at Astor Place, to be sure, and it was just insanely sensual. That feeling – of having a hot woman attending to my head in the presence of hot water – it’s unbeatable. It definitely was a precursor to my later habit of going to “sensual massage parlors.”

A wise man once told me that I “accidentally erotized” my hunger for female touch in those massage parlors and it’s true. I could happily have gone five days a week for a shampoo at Dramatics and, had I done so, I don’t think I ever would have journeyed down the rabbit hole. Or had I done so, my descent would have looked very different.

Anyway – this is all to say that one of the things I don’t like about being bald (aside from no longer receiving compliments on my hair) is that I can’t very well get my head massaged in warm water by a hot woman without appearing to be a creep.


  1. This is one of the reasons I haven’t cut my afro. Then again, so many people I don’t know just grab my fro without asking or prior warning. That’s not sensual, that’s aggravating, and is the main reason I’m probably going to cut it off soon.

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