The Contest by Hair-Raiser
The day had finally arrived. At last John and Tania were going to see who was the more persuasive hairdresser. John had developed a good working relationship with Tania. She had come to work in the salon about a month ago and was certainly a lot of fun to work with. She could make the customers and John laugh, although she did have a habit of playing mischievous pranks that took some getting used to. She had the most amazing hair that fell to the small of her back and despite his nagging, she would not let him cut it. John did try every few weeks to persuade Tania to let him cut her hair and it would always start a lively discussion and either end in howls of laughter or John going bright red and staying mad for a few hours. However, he’d come to really enjoy her good humour and her ability to have a good time, even on the slowest, most boring day. Tania loved women to enjoy their hair and if they came in with long hair and wanted to keep it long, Tania was happy for them and didn’t try to persuade them otherwise. She had come to understand John’s desire to chop as much hair off his clients as they would possibly allow and she was amused to see him trying to talk his customers into ever shorter styles.
On a quiet afternoon when they were alone in the shop and after John had just failed to get a young woman with shoulder length hair to try anything more adventurous, Tania boasted that she was much more persuasive than John and she could get a woman to go shorter than he could. John secretly feared that Tania was right, but Tania was just a little too big for her boots and he wasn’t about to admit her supremacy in this regard, especially as she had no interest in getting the customers to go short. After much debate they had agreed, that next time they both started cutting clients hair at the same time and the clients had similar length hair, then they’d both try to get their customers to go as short as possible. Whoever got to cut the more hair would be given the title of the most persuasive.
Well, three weeks had passed and there had been no opportunities for the competition. They’d even got into the habit of delaying the start of a client’s haircut until the other stylist’s customer arrived and they could see if the hair lengths were the same. Eventually, Lucy and Alexandra arrived. Mother and daughter had been visiting for nearly a year and had identical, thick, shiny hair that hung just 3″ below their shoulders. John usually cut both their hair, mother first and then the daughter, both would talk non-stop during the session. John had tried to persuade Alexandra to go shorter only six months ago and she’d been dogmatic in her refusal. It would be perfect, let Alexandra get her hair cut by Tania and she’d strike out, then just take a couple of inches off mother and John would win the title. He could even use his favourite “it’ll make you look younger” line.
“Do you mind if Tania cuts your hair today Alex. I’d like to sneak out and get some shopping done and I won’t have the chance otherwise.”
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Tania looked up from the newspaper she was reading.
“Well, I’m not sure. You know I like how you do it.”
“It’s OK. I don’t bite and I’m a much better hairdresser than John.” Tania looked smugly at John who gave her a hard stare.
“That’s a good idea,” Lucy added. That means we can get out a half hour early and get a coffee before we have to pick up dad and Tod.
“OK then,” Alex begrudgingly agreed and sat in the chair next to her mother that had only just been vacated by Tania. She feared what dad and Tod were talking about. She knew her parents didn’t approve of her new boyfriend, but they had been trying to get along which she appreciated.
Tania and John went to the hat stand and picked up a cape each.
“Game on,” John whispered and flashed Tania a broad smile. They both went back to their respective chairs, swung the cape around and started brushing the hair. John wondered how he should broach the subject of going shorter.
“So how would you like it?” Tania enquired.
“Just a trim. Just 1/2″ or so.” Alex replied. Tania nodded quietly and kept brushing. John flashed Tania a glance. Why didn’t she argue? John waited and still Tania brushed. John started to worry that Tania didn’t realize that this was the competition. John decided that he’d have to make the first move so that Tania would know that this was the competition.
“Well Lucy. What do you think? Time for a change?”
“Funny you said that. I was thinking of having a fringe cut. Do you think it’ll suit me?”
Without saying a word, John brushed Lucy’s hair over her face and then pulled it to the side so that the hair was pulled across her eyebrows. He stared at her in the mirror.
“I think it will work, but we should cut the sides as well to softly frame your face.”
“That sounds nice.” Lucy swallowed. “All right, I’ll do it.”
“Since you’re feeling brave, I’ll take a few inches off the length as well.” John walked to the counter to pick up his scissors and comb. She didn’t say no. He was home and dry and it was now down to Tania. He turned back and was amazed to see that Tania had left brushing Alex’s hair and was standing behind Lucy staring at her hair in the mirror.
“Wow. That is so great,” Tania enthused.
“Yes,” Lucy agreed. “Well as John said. It is time for a change.”
“That’s real gutsy. I bet you’re the real go getter in your family.”
“I have my moments,” Lucy confirmed reveling in the attention. Tania turned back to her chair with Alex sitting, her hair brushed so much that it shone in the bright light. Tania continued brushing.
“So do you take after your mum or your dad?” Tania asked casually.
“She takes after me.” Lucy replied before Alexandra could give her opinion.
“She certainly looks like you, just not as gutsy.”
“I am,” Alex protested. If she knew what door that reply opened, she certainly managed to look surprised at Tania’s next question.
“So you have the guts to get the same cut as your mum?”
“What a nice idea,” Lucy enthused. “We’ll really surprise dad and Tod.”
“Oh, I’m not so sure.”
“You’re not sure you have the same amount of guts as your mum?” Tania asked innocently.
“No!” Alex sounded annoyed. “I’m not sure getting the same haircut as mum shows what guts I have.”
“You’re right. If your mum’s having 3″ off the length, you should go 4″ to show you’re more gutsy.” Tania walked over to the counter, put down the brush and picked up her scissors and comb.
Chop, chop, chop. Tania started hacking away at Alexandra’s hair, cutting it into a rough shoulder length bob. 4″ of chunks of hair slipped down the cape and onto the floor as Tania made her way around Alex’s head. Alex looked like she was undergoing root canal dentistry, the pain evident on her face.
“There. That’s a good start.” Tania declared proudly knowing that it was now up to John to continue the contest or quit. The look on John’s face suggested he wasn’t sure whether he should quit or not. He decided to use Tania’s tactic.
“Wow! That does look good. C’mon mum. You can do better than that. Let’s go to your chin.”
Lucy surprised John and rather excitedly declared, “Let’s do it!”
John, scissors in hand, needed no further encouragement and, starting on Lucy’s left, started cutting a bob level with her chin. 6″ swathes of hair started tumbling to the floor and Lucy beamed her approval with her broad smile.
Tania nodded acknowledgment to John of his success in taking the lead, although she believed this was temporary.
“Sorry Alex. Looks like we’re going to have to get those ears out for you.”
“What do you mean?”
“To show your mum that you’re the more gutsy, we need to cut your hair around the ears.”
“I don’t know if I can go that short.”
“Of course you can. It won’t hurt and then there’ll be no doubt.”
Alex looked pained, but she didn’t want to lose this battle with her mother. “OK, but not too high.”
Tania got her spray bottle and wet the sides of Alex’s head. She made a parting about an inch above each of Alex’s ears and clipped the hair above the partings out of the way. Without looking up, Tania chopped around Alex’s ears sending long slithers into her lap. Alexandra was nervously chewing her lip and was in danger of making it bleed.
“There!” Tania exclaimed. Alex’s ears were exposed. She sat self consciously with the hair clips still holding the next sections to cut. Tania smiled at John, the ball once again firmly in his court.
“Bravo. But what are we going to do?” John repeatedly pulled his fingers through Lucy’s chin length bob.
“Got it!” He went to his draws and pulled out his trusted clippers. To his surprise Lucy was still smiling. He oiled the blades and put on the number 3 guard. Still she was smiling. He plugged them in and turned them on.. Still she was smiling.
“Here we go.” John pushed Lucy’s head forward and pushed the clippers up the back of Lucy’s head.
“My god!” Tania declared. “Don’t worry we can catch up.” She quickly got her clippers, and in no time was sending locks of Alex’s hair plummeting to the floor. In near unison John and Tania stripped the girls hair off. All too quickly they had finished and turned the clippers off, leaving close cropped neck and sides and a bush of hair on top. Lucy was still smiling but Alex looked about ready to cry.
“So they’re equally brave,” John declared, having clearly enjoyed clipping Lucy’s hair.
“No. I think you’ll find Alex is more brave.”
John looked closely and saw that Tania had been using a number 2 guard. He looked at Lucy and she nodded. John attached the number 1 and reduced Lucy’s neck and sides to stubble, her white scalp clearly showing through.
“So looks like there’s only one place to go.” Tania offered.
“Absolutely not. This is as short as it gets. Finish the top and I’m out of here.”
Tania looked at John and acknowledged that she’d lost. They both reached for the spray bottles and after wetting the hair, started razoring the top down to a sexy finish. The rest of the haircut was finished in silence.
“And voila.” John pulled off the cape and Lucy smiled at the reflection of the new her.
“Thanks so much John. It’s great. I wish I’d done it ages ago.”
“And voila too.” Tania declared freeing Alex from the cape.
“So what do you think?” Tania decided to use the direct approach.
“I wish I’d just admitted mum had more guts and kept my hair.”
Lucy laughed. “It looks great and you never know, your awful Tod might hate it and you can go find yourself a proper boyfriend.”
“Tell me we didn’t just get these cuts to piss off my boyfriend.”
Lucy smiled. “Of course not dear, but I feel lucky. Let’s go see what the boys think.”
The two women kept talking as they paid and left the salon.
“Champion. Champion,” John declared proudly.
“You cheated. Best of three and I get to pick the next one.” Tania hated losing but liked to see John happy.
“You’re on and it’s going to be 3 – 0.”
“Even if it is. You know you’re never going to persuade me.” Tania waved her hair at John and started to run when he chased her.