Blushing Katie – DLBARGRILL
Katie was one of those clients I really liked. It wasn’t because of her hair, which was a chestnut brown shoulder length non-style. She wouldn’t let me cut much, so by the time she came in each time, it was a mess. Her bangs were grown out halfway down her nose and they were always getting in her face.
No, I didn’t like Katie for her hair, but for her attitude. She had such a warm, sunny disposition, the kind you often find in 15-year-old girls, that she made me feel good. Just talking with her was enough to warm up a miserable day. I told her the best time to make an appointment with me was 6 p.m., just so she would be my last client of the day.
It was a particularly miserable day when Katie handed me the photo. “You just have to do my hair like hers,” she said to me. “You just have to.”
“I don’t know, Katie,” I said. “It’s kind of drastic.”
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“If you don’t, I’ll just die.”
“But, Katie,” I said. “We never take more than a half inch off. I thought we were growing it out.”
“Oh, yeah. That. Well now I want to do this. You can do it for me Amy, can’t you?”
I sighed. “Remember what happened when we cut it from your elbows?”
Katie shivered. “Yeah. Yeah. But I was only 13 then. I was such a little girl. It’s different now.”
“Does this have anything to do with a boy?”
Katie blushed the bright red a 15-year-old girl blushes. I had been there far too many times when I was her age, willing to do anything for a boy I liked. I too cut my hair.
“Well, uh, yeah. He’s just so beautiful and Tami told Michelle he’s in love with her.”
“Katie, she’s a movie star. Every guy is in love with her. This haircut won’t make him like you.”
“No. No. You don’t understand. He already likes me. Haley heard it from his best friend Jared.”
I sighed. “You know that it’s not necessary to cut your hair for him to like you.”
“I know that. But he also likes Courtney. She has really long hair and would like never cut it. This’ll make him like me more.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. Please.” I took out my clippers, held them up to her ear, and turned them on. Katie jumped. “Are you gonna use those?”
“It’ll look better if I do. If this is the cut you really want.”
She gulped. “Go for it.”
I fastened the cape and once again turned on the clippers. Girls her age were notoriously impulsive. What the heck. It would grow back. Katie closed her eyes as I put my comb in her hair at a diagonal angle at her chin. It took almost no time for me to cut the 8 inches below the comb. I moved the comb through her hair slowly further up her head as I got to the back and continued the same down the other side of her head. All that was left below the chin was some underneath hair in the back. I’d left that exposed on purpose. Katie couldn’t see that. Instead, her eyes opened widely at the sight of the short cut. She gasped and didn’t recognize herself.
“Do you want me to stop?”
She paused for 10 seconds, then said, “No.”
I washed the hair out of the clippers and again started at her chin. This time I clippered at a sharper angle, about 40 degrees. I exposed the back half of her ear and eliminated more weight in the back. The hair above her ear remained thick, but below it, it was only about 3/4 of an inch.
I couldn’t really leave her ears half exposed, so I took my comb and inserted it at eye level. I clippered everything below it off, carefully leaving a thin pointy sideburn. Repeating the process on the left side left both of Katie’s ears exposed, probably for the first time. Her hair barely touched the top of them. I didn’t like the way her ears stuck out and wondered if short hair would make her look like Dumbo. That would be a definite no-no with this boy. Maybe it was just me.
I took out a razor and started layering the top of her hair. It was a slow process as I took small sections and reduced them to no more than an inch in length. I could see the concern in Katie’s face, but I couldn’t very well leave the top that long. The cut called for her hair to be left a little messy, so I didn’t match each section with the previous one.
In the back, I didn’t want to cut the hair any shorter, but I wanted to match the top. I razored the bottom, but made sure it wasn’t in a straight line across. I did the same on the sides, so that the hair no longer touched her ears. I knew Katie hated bangs, but with this haircut she had little choice. I clumped the hair together in front and jaggedly cut across a half inch above her eyebrows. I brushed the bangs to the sides, which I knew would please her.
And that was it. Katie had the Winona Ryder haircut. She was a cute awkward girl, but not one you would mistake for Winona. The damage was done and Katie seemed to be struggling with a smile. “What do you think?”
“Well… I … I know he’ll like it.”
I guess that was what was most important. I told her she would have to come in more often, probably once a month. She answered affirmatively and thanked me but wasn’t quite there. She’d already moved on beyond me, although she was constantly touching her head.
That was 6 months ago and I haven’t seen Katie since. I can only conclude she decided to grow out her hair instead of keeping the boyish crop. Either her boy didn’t like Winona Ryder as much as she thought or it didn’t work out between the two of them. I guess it’s a life lesson we all get at 15.