In Heat Like This, a Little Off the Top Isnt Enough By GLENN COLLINS For a legion of hot, sweaty, humidity-hating New Yorkers mostly of the male persuasion it is high scalping season. This weekend its going to get even hotter, thats why Im going to cut it off, said Marlon Young, 42, a retired correction officer, waiting his turn with five others in the Sanchez Barber Shop at 1797 Lexington Avenue in East Harlem. Im going bald, actually. Even the beard, Im taking off. It is not exactly news that in a July heat wave, short haircuts are popular. But half measures are no longer sufficient, and to spend a few hours in the barbershops of the city from Greenwich Village to Harlem to Flatbush and points in between is to see this phenomenon at its most extreme. A little off the top? How about everything off the top, and the sides and the back as well? Carlos Rodriguez, pointing to his hair, said he wanted to get it all off. Mr. Rodriguez, a 37-year-old construction worker, was waiting in the Ilan El Canario Barber Shop at 160 Havemeyer Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Sometimes they come in sweating, said Gil Sanchez, 58, who was cutting hair in the Sanchez shop. Begging for me to shave it off. Shawn Lindo, 28, a Manhattan personal trainer and bodybuilder, matches his hairstyle to the seasons. You need long hair in winter to keep you warm, he said as his noggin was being torn right down to the studs by Tim Roberts, his razor-wielding barber at Astor Place Hairstylists in Manhattan. But for three months, Mr. Lindo said, I have my head shaved, and when the summer rolls around, its something I look forward to. And now it is summer with a vengeance, a weekend for those H-words hot and humid. If the city reaches its expected high of 95 on Saturday, residents will be enduring the second heat wave of the year (the last one at least three 90-degree days in a row occurred from June 7 to 10). And so, at Astor Place these days, all we get is people saying, I cant take this hair, its too hot, said Michael Saviello, 46, the manager whom everyone in the shop, a cavernous 50-chair emporium at 2 Astor Place near Broadway, calls Big Mike. He estimated that on a hot day, 15 to 25 people would shell out $14 for a zero cut which refers to a close-shaving blade stamped with a zero that is affixed to electric clippers. A few blocks to the east, at 19 St. Marks Place, Jessie Mojica, 37, a shift manager in the Supercuts store, said that heat is definitely a motivator for getting chopped. Last week a hirsute customer with hair down to his mid-back took it all off, Mr. Mojica said. He was just annoyed with hot hair. And when youre having that tropical heat wave, head shaving is a cool topic, said Ian Tattersall with a laugh. He is a curator in the division of anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History and the author of the book Becoming Human. Voluntary baldness shaving a head is definitely some kind of a statement, he said, which could be cultural, religious or personal. But in some cases that statement could be as simple as, I feel more comfortable this way. That was true of Sammy Stewart, 25, a mailroom clerk who lives in Flatbush, Brooklyn. At the Classique Barber Shop at 666 Flatbush Avenue, he was getting what his haircutter, Baba Cory, 37, called a high and tight or a bald fade. Mr. Stewart called it a buzz cut. Head hair, of course, is a vestigial reminder of the fact that our ancestors used to be hairy and furry, Dr. Tattersall said. Some scientists have speculated that human hairlessness was an evolutionary adaptation. My guess as to why we retained head hair is for protection you wouldnt want the sun shining down on a naked brain case. Exactly the sentiments of Mr. Lindo, whose shiny scalp is protected by a cap. Which doesnt get sweaty when your head is shaved, he said. Carbon-footprintwise, Mr. Lindo and his shorn brethren may get gold stars. Adrian Wood, 62, the owner of the Paul Molé Barber Shop at 1031 Lexington Avenue at 74th Street, said, with a laugh, that you could say that it is very green to shave your head instead of using air-conditioning. Head shaving, added Mr. Wood more seriously, is never for the tonsorial schlepper. It is not easy to shave a head, he said, because the razor edge is square and the head is round. Indeed, it takes a half an hour to do the right kind of job, said Tony DiMaggio, a barber at Paul Molé who, at 67, said he had seen a lot of bald heads in 49 years of haircutting, describing the steps of clipping, lathering and shaving necessary to create the perfectly naked pate. He added that summer head shaving was not without risk. One of Mr. DiMaggios customers, a real estate executive, asked to have his head shaved and I said, Are you sure your wife will like it? He told me, Sure she will. Well, when she saw him she came over and gave me a piece of her mind. She told me I could never shave his head again! Admittedly, many men going under the razor this summer are not meteorologically inclined. At Levels Barbershop in Harlem, Eddie Rouse, 35, a hotel event manager, had his hair radically cropped nearly to the scalp, but it had nothing to do with the weather, he said, explaining that he likes to look impeccable. And Mark Tullos, 38, an e-commerce project manager, was also going bald irrespective of the season, he said in his chair at Marrella Hair Stylists in the main concourse of the south wing of the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Three years ago his thinning locks dictated head shaving because I was fighting time and losing, he said. The phenomenon that might be termed male seasonal baldness is certainly not unknown to women who get their summer dos. Mr. Saviello said that some female customers at Astor Place actually went for a Sinead OConnor look as the mercury rose. But there are less radical options. Its too hot to sit under the dryer, said Marceline Naude, 23, a registered nurse who was getting box braids at Amy African Hair Braiding at 702 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. Its easier to manage in the heat. Christy Carty, 30, a secretary who lives in Flatbush, said that braiding is a great way to beat the heat, adding: With the perspiring, you constantly have to wash your hair. If your hair is braided, you get up and go. And other women are beating the heat with strategies less extreme than taking it all off. Pat OBrien, 56, a retired worker for JPMorgan Chase, was getting what her barber, Wilfredo Morales at Astor Place, called a very tight crew cut. Ms. OBrien had a different term for it: sensible.