The College Trim by Hair-Raiser
Gloria had been going to university for only six weeks. She’d come from a quiet rural area where she’d known everyone in the village from an early age. Life in the big city was very different and she was finding it hard to make friends. She was determined not to go home at weekends as her sister, a couple of years younger, had teased Gloria incessantly about her shyness and how she was going to struggle to fit in. Gloria wished she could be more outgoing like her sister but there was no way she was going to let her sister see that her prediction was correct and she was determined to tough it out until the end of the term in another four weeks.
Gloria had started going into the bar in the evenings. At least she would be guaranteed company, although normally it would mean sitting with a group of “freshers” like herself and listening to their animated chatter. Sure Gloria would try to join in the conversation but they seemed to have such different interests to her, brought up on evenings in with the family.
Tonight was going to be different, Gloria decided. “I shall talk animatedly about anything. I’m going to be a chatterbox no matter what,” she announced to herself before leaving her room on the campus to go to the student bar. When she got to the bar the usual crowd was well on the road to getting drunk. This head start was not a problem for Gloria, since before she went to University, she had never touched alcohol and so after only two pints she would get real light-headed and after four pints she would be throwing up. Gloria got her first pint and sat at the back of the group. They were talking about a band that she’d never heard of and she didn’t have the guts to admit it. Sitting next to Gloria was Amanda. Amanda appeared to be a real social animal and seemed to have a number of boys eating out of her hands already. It looked like Amanda had had a haircut, although it was hard to say since the length didn’t appear to have changed, it just looked neater somehow.
Gloria saw her chance to start some small talk. “Have you cut your hair, Amanda?”
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“Yes. Do you like it?”
Gloria was tempted to say that she liked it the same as the day before when it looked much the same, but decided that was churlish since she’d had the same haircut her entire life. Gloria’s hair was brown, centre parted, dead straight and fell 4″ past her shoulders. She’d had it cut every eight weeks, by the same woman, in the same salon, in the same town, again for as long as she could remember.
“Yes,” Gloria replied simply.
Amanda turned her attention back to the rest of the group who were now well into debating the merits of guitar based bands over keyboard bands.
Gloria couldn’t let the conversation with Amanda die that quickly. “So where did you get it cut?”
“I found a great place in town and Max is such a talented hairdresser. He gets so carried away though, he really cut my hair too short, but I think I’m getting used to it.”
Gloria’s expression showed her surprise at Amanda’s view that her hair had been cut too short. Sure her hair was short, falling halfway over her ears, choppy fringe obscuring her eyes and about an inch below the hairline at the nape. But it hadn’t been more than 1/2″ longer the previous day.
Gloria persevered, enjoying the closest thing she’d had to a real conversation since she’d arrived in University. “So would you recommend him? I’ll need to find a hairdresser sooner or later as well.”
“Certainly,” Amanda replied. “He’s a little bit expensive, but worth it.”
Suddenly Amanda and Gloria were aware that the other conversation had stopped and they were all listening to their conversation.
“Go on. Tell us how much.” Jeff asked. Jeff seemed to be the dominant male in the group. Always at the centre of attention and never lost for words.
“$40,” Amanda replied.
“My god. $40 for next to nothing. Will you give me $20 for actually doing nothing?”
The group laughed and Amanda blushed. Gloria decided she needed to say something to get the attention of the group.
“Yes. It does sound a lot for just a trim. I think I’ll try to find someone else.”
“I’ll do it for you,” Jeff offered.
Again the group laughed and it was Gloria’s turn to blush.
The conversation moved on and Gloria was pleased to find that Jeff and Amanda both helped her join in the conversation. She had finished her second pint and decided to call it a night. She had to study the next day and she was already feeling light-headed.
“Are you going already? It’s still early,” Jeff asked.
“Yes. I’ve got to do some studying in the morning.”
“Well I’m ready if you want to do it now.”
“Give you that trim.”
“No it’s OK. I think I’ll leave it a few weeks.”
“Don’t worry. I won’t try anything on. Hey Amanda, why don’t you chaperone us?”
“Sure. That’ll be great,” Amanda replied.
Gloria was so naïve that it had never occurred to her that Jeff could be trying to get her alone to make a sexual advance. She was brought up to believe that sex was something that you didn’t do outside of marriage. Gloria blushed at the thought. How could she refuse? Jeff and Amanda were being friendly with her, she wasn’t going to reject their friendship or it could be more lonely weeks before the end of term and she could return home without enduring her sisters scorn.
“Only a trim then.”
Jeff looked like he’d won the lottery.
As Amanda and Gloria stepped into Jeff’s room, they were both struck by the differences from their own rooms. All of the University bedrooms were the same: one single bed, desk and swivel chair, armchair, closet and washbasin. However, Jeff’s was full of clutter, socks drying on the radiator and no attempt to personalise it by putting up pictures or house plants. Jeff pulled out the chair from the desk and invited Gloria to sit. Amanda slouched into the armchair in order to get a good spot to watch the show.
Jeff disappeared into the closet which kept his clothes and other personal possessions and he found a comb and huge pair of shears. The comb could have done with a wash, or so Gloria thought, but she didn’t spend too much time thinking about it as her attention was captivated by the shears. The blades were about 9″ long and Gloria thought they looked like a pair her mum had used for dressmaking.
“You’re not going to use those on my hair are you?”
“Of course. They’re nice and sharp. You won’t get a neater cut.”
Jeff put the shears on the table and combed all of Gloria’s hair down her back. He then picked up the shears and with a long slow schick, he cut the bottom of Gloria’s hair in one go. As soon as she detected that Jeff had finished she looked down at the hair that had been cut. Good. No more than an inch.
“You idiot!” Amanda declared. “You didn’t get it level.”
“Oops.” Jeff confirmed the error. “Don’t worry. I’ll soon level this up.”
He again combed the hair back and even more slowly slid the shears under the hair. Schick. Another inch of hair fell to the floor.
“There,” Jeff declared proudly. “All done.”
“It’s still not level,” Amanda observed.
“Yes it is!”
“No, look.” Amanda got up and pulled the hair on the left and right sides towards the middle. There was a 1/4″ difference between the sides.
“My god. How about third time lucky?”
“C’mon guys. I only want a trim.” The alcohol had relaxed Gloria, but she was beginning to get uneasy.
“You’re doing it all wrong Jeff. You should comb it so it falls naturally about the centre parting and then cut it around the head. Here, let me do it.” Amanda snatched the comb and scissors from Jeff who didn’t look too disappointed. Amanda combed Gloria’s hair so that it fell in three sections. One at the back and then one on each side. She picked up the scissors and schnick. An inch fell from the back. Schnick. The left side was done. Schnick. The right side was completed.
“There. It just needed a woman’s touch.”
“Hold on.” Jeff took the comb back and combed all the hair to the back. Three steps were clearly seen. Neither knew quite what to say as Gloria sat patiently for the verdict. Finally Jeff broke the silence.
“You had the right idea but the shoulders were in the way. We should cut it above the shoulders and then just keep cutting as we walk around.”
“How much shorter is that?” Gloria knew this was no longer a trim, but hoped they would sort out the problem without it getting much shorter.
“No more than 2″,” Jeff promised.
Amanda passed back the shears.
Jeff looked carefully at the line he was going to cut. 1″ about the shoulders, all the way around.
Schnick. The first cut sent 3″ of hair plummeting to the floor. Schnick, schnick……. Six cuts later, he had made his way around Gloria’s head. It only took the briefest of examinations for Amanda and Jeff to realize that the left side was significantly below Gloria’s chin, while the right side was noticeable above her chin. Again there was a silence while Amanda and Jeff worked out their next action.
This time Gloria broke the silence. If you can’t sort it out, I’ll just go to the hairdressers tomorrow.
“No it’s OK,” Jeff announced. “I’ve got it. Instead of moving around your head, since we’ve got the swivel chair we can turn you and keep the scissors still and level. Hey, even better. Amanda, you kneel down, I’ll balance the scissors on your head and you turn the chair while I just open and close the blades as Gloria turns around.”
There were a few moments of silence while they all tried to think of the logical problem with the approach.
“You’ll also cut the top of my hair,” Amanda announced.
“So I’ll put a book on your head, the scissors on the book and then your hair is protected.”
“OK then,” Amanda announced. She knelt down and put both her hands on the arm of the swivel chair. Tom put a copy of Basic Accounting on Amanda’s head (the most use that book was going to be put to that term as it later turned out) and held it with his left hand. Then with his right hand he balanced the shears on the book and the long blades extended to touch Gloria’s head.
“Let’s do a trial run,” Gloria suggested, nervous of further mistakes. While Jeff held the scissors closed, Amanda turned the chair. Other than slight positioning errors caused by Gloria’s knees, once Amanda had moved back slightly they were ready to go.
Jeff wondered if he should tell Gloria that the height of the blades was half way up her ears, level with her nose. Another 3″ of hair was going to bite the dust. However, Jeff was concerned that they’d end up going even higher if they returned to their freehand methods. They started. Hair started tumbling, 3″ swathes fell on Amanda’s arms as she turned the chair. They moved slowly but eventually Jeff cut the last piece by the left ear. Jeff and Amanda looked long and hard, but finally decided that the bizarre arrangement had actually worked. Gloria’s hair was once again symmetrical. However, two problems remained. Firstly Gloria’s hair was so short that it no longer kept out of her eyes. The front piece kept falling back from the centre parting completely covering Gloria’s eyes. After much deliberation and showing Gloria the problem in a mirror, she was persuaded to have a fringe cut. Schnick, schnick schnick. In no time at all Jeff had cut a fringe, a good inch above Gloria’s eyebrows and quite wide. Amazingly he’d managed to get it level.
The second problem was the hair at the neck below the cut line which Jeff had taken through to the scalp. Eventually Gloria was persuaded to let him scissor and comb cut it close to the neck as he’d seen done on his own infrequent visits to the barbers. Unfortunately he didn’t get the finish even with it going down to the scalp in places and being over 3/4″ long in others. Without bothering to discuss the problem with Gloria, he got his electric razor and buzzed it all off below the line cut.
“Wow. You look great,” Jeff lied.
“That’s for sure. I wish I’d got Jeff to do mine instead of Max,” Amanda lied even more transparently.
Gloria got up out of the chair. Hair was everywhere. On her shoulders, clothes and floor. She’d lost over 8″ of hair in successive chunks and she looked like it had been accomplished with a bacon slicer.
Although she wasn’t happy about it, she didn’t want her new friends to feel bad about it.
“I guess I won’t need that trim for some time now,” she joked.
Amanda and Jeff were relieved that there were no repercussions.
“Now we’ve got the knack, let’s go to the bar and see who we can get to go next,” Jeff exclaimed.
“Bet you can’t talk Jenny to have a go,” Amanda countered
Jenny’s hair was to her butt. Gloria would have to see them try this, screw the studying.