A Curious Meeting by Barber Jos
I look around in the small concert hall of our village and see all those grey-haired middle-aged or even older men and women and only some youngsters are present. Even the younger women seem to be old-fashioned with those terrible perms and even worse the outgrowth of those artificial curls, not to mention all those grandma’s buns.
We are waiting for the famous string quartet, which will play some of my favorite music. I stare at my shoes and suddenly I see that my left shoe and the lower part of my dark trousers is covered with hairs. I start to grin and Helen, who accompanies me, asks, “What’s the matter?”
I point downwards and try to remove some of the hairs that still covered my wife’s head an hour ago. It was already three weeks ago that I cut her hair for the last time and both of us know that her crewcut is only perfect when it is not only cut very often, but also very short.
After dinner Helen saw herself in a mirror and complained that she found her bangs too long and she knows very well that I will refuse to cut only the bangs, the more when the hair around her nice small ears is also too long. We decided that there was still enough time, certainly because nowadays I am quite experienced with the electric clippers.
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Helen took off most of her clothes as she usually uses one of my old shirts as a cape; each time I think better to buy a cape, but usually I forget about it till the next time.
There we sat in our new bathroom, Helen on a low stool and I on a higher one. It ‘s a ritual now that Helen points at some places in the room which I still have to paint, but just like with the cape we will forget about it till the next haircut. I gave Helen some kisses on her head and we made the usual jokes about the hairdresser who seduces his customer. I took my clippers with the #1 guard, which will leave only very short hairs of about 1/8″.
Since last summer I almost clipper shave the sides and back of Helen’s head. Helen saw some pictures of girls at the French internet site Presentation and was surprised how charming those haircuts with côtés très courts (with very short sides) are.
This was curious, because her first reaction was, “Awful, they just look like men.”
But comparing the pictures, before and after, she realized that the effect of the haircut was sensational and she even wondered if we could visit that hairdresser maybe somewhere in the future on our way to a holiday destination in France or Spain. In the end the need for it was not urgent, because we discovered that I could cut her hair like that in our own bathroom.
And that was the reason that I placed the clippers at her nape and started to clipper shave Helen’s hair.
During those first movements, when the skin of the head is almost exposed after the removal of most of the hair, Helen really shivers and even I have sometimes the feeling that I make a terrible mistake. But when I kissed the stubble at her nape and higher up, I felt those very short bristles with my tongue and knew that soon also Helen would enjoy what happens.
But this evening we were really late and I had to hurry to finish my job. Soon the sides and back of Helen’s head were cleaned of all that unnecessary hair. I put on another guard, leaving longer hair and soon the nice bristles of the crewcut appeared and I even cut most of the hair in front with the clippers in another position, leaving somewhat longer hair. I even used the clippers making a nice transition from the stubble at the sides to the longer hair on top. Only the fringe is made wispy with the thinning scissors.
It is a pity that I had to hurry today, because I like to do the work at ease, usually with the excuse that I am afraid to make mistakes. Soon I admired my own work and together with Helen I inspected the result. Usually she is shocked for a moment how short her hair is, but a visit to the concert hall is enough to make sure how youthful she looks, compared with all those women of our own age group.
Helen took a bath and I removed the hairs with the vacuum cleaner, but I was so hurried that I did not see the hairs on my shoe and trousers.
I look around and see that almost all the places are occupied; still some minutes to go before the concert will start. At the last moment a couple of our age enters the concert room and to my surprise I see that both of them have the same very short hair that Helen and I sport. The man is clipper shaved and the woman has a nice crewcut with beautiful grey hair, unlike Helen who still has a mixture of grey and blonde hair and usually hides the grey by colouring her hair.
I vaguely recognize the woman and then with a shock I realize that she must have been the woman in the car. Yesterday I was shopping in the main street of our village, when I heard a car horn and looking at the car I saw a woman greeting, or rather I thought she was winking. This is something that often happens in our village, which is visited by thousands of tourists. One of the things that I dislike most of all is the behaviour of those tourists who are too lazy to come out of their car to ask for information. Sometimes I wink that they can come out of their car when they really need me, but usually I do like I am crazy and just walk farther or just enter a shop to evade all those lazy idiots. In this case I entered our local, very small, department store and asked myself if I was supposed to know the woman who had something vaguely familiar about her. When I came outside I did not see the car anymore and just went home and annoyed Helen with my complaints about those lazy tourists.
And now the woman, who still has something familiar about her is seated two chairs from me and to be honest I feel uneasy about it. Helen, who also noticed the couple, whispers in my ear: “Some fellow hair fetishists.”
I can only utter: “Sshtt, it is not necessary that all people hear about my strange hobby.”
Often we are quarreling about her comments, because my dear Helen has a very clear voice that can be easily heard even when she thinks that she whispers. In this case nobody seems to have heard her and I tell her that maybe it is that impolite couple that I met yesterday when I did my shopping. I ask her if she knows them, in which case I will be not so happy, because it will mean that to a certain degree, I am the impolite one.
But Helen whispers that she does not know them.
For the time being I forget the couple when the quartet enters: four young girls, three long-haired ones and one with very nice, very short hair.
They start with one of the late quartets of Haydn and I totally forget the people around me, fascinated by those extremely well playing girls. But alas one of my neighbours starts to cough and with a lot of noise she inspects her handbag, probably looking for a handkerchief. I wonder if I can kill her without further disturbance and see that I share my feeling with the grey haired woman with the crewcut, who has taken off her glasses. For a moment we share some frowns and I see her wondering in a flash about my presence. Happily my neighbour stops coughing and I can concentrate again on the music, but at the same moment my brains seem to work on another job, wondering why I know the lady with the crewcut.
Without glasses she is even more familiar and I wonder where I noticed those beautiful eyelashes before. Annoyed I realize that I hear less and less of the music, while I am thinking about that woman. It must be long ago and that means that that grey hair must have been black and suddenly I have memories of 30 years ago, the time that I met my first wife.
I have memories of myself waiting at the entrance of the hospital, where she had her education as a nurse and then I see her coming out of the hospital, accompanied by a girl who she introduces as Esther, a girl with medium length very black hair and beautiful eyes and striking lashes. I glance aside and know exactly who that woman is.
Heavens, more unease develops, when I think about the last time that I saw her and most of all about the last time that I had contact with her after the sudden death of my wife. This will be a very painful meeting, but maybe not too bad if Esther was really winking at me yesterday.
My wife was already somewhat older when she started her study at the nursing school, maybe she was 24 and I suppose Esther was 17 or 18 years old. My wife was befriended with some of the other students, who were also somewhat younger and most of those friends seemed to adore her. For one reason or another Sam (Samantha was her full name), who was in fact a rather shy girl, seemed to have a certain charisma and the other girls seemed to trust her and told her about all their loves etc. One of the other friends was Mary, in fact an unhappy girl, with a very dominant mother. Mary had extremely long hair and considered that as the ultimate sign of womanly charm. She even persuaded Sam that she must let her hair grow and that was why Sam had shoulder length hair at the moment that I met her for the first time.
In fact Sam was much more inclined to have short hair as I learned later, when I read diaries of the time that we found each other at a dance. That meeting was the crazy result of pure coincidences. At that time I was a rather shy boy and remember very well that several girls seemed to be attracted by my good looks as they told me and that suddenly I lost my shyness and decided to discover if I could find a nice short-haired girl.
I hardly ever entered a dance; first of all I am a bad dancer, but at that time it was no problem, because dancing was most of all a free movement and hardly any interest existed for all those classical dance steps that spoiled my pleasure in the past.
At first I did not see any girls with short hair, but then I saw three girls who seemed to be friends and one of them, a small girl, had a nice short haircut, with short wispy bangs. I mustered all my courage and asked the girl for a dance. She seemed to be a student nurse, but being closer and speaking with her I realized that we did not share any interests and that was why I was happy that the music stopped and that she returned to her place.
I ordered a beer and looking in the direction of the girls I wondered what to do. Staring in that direction I suddenly realized that one of the other girls seemed to stare in my direction as well. She was a tall girl with medium length hair, not my favorite hairstyle.
I looked around somewhat and looking again in the direction of the girl I smiled and she reacted, smiling also, and that was the beginning of my love for Sam.
Reading in her diary I saw that during that afternoon the nurse students should have had some lectures, but that one of the teachers had been ill. One of the girls who seemed to be rather dominant, and who had an earlier education as a hairdresser had offered to cut the hair of some of the girls, among others the girl with whom I had been dancing. Sam liked the short haircut very much, but had been too shy to ask also for it and later when the short haired girl, who she did not know very well, had proposed to go to a dance she had agreed to join her together with some other girls and so she had come to the dance. She was fascinated by the pretty look of the short-haired girl, who usually had her hair that short and wanted to ask her how she handled remarks about it. For example her long-haired friend Mary made nasty remarks about it which were not so very pleasant, but Sam told her straightaway that she liked the good looks of the short-haired girl, whose name I totally forgot.
Sam and I had a pleasant evening and it was a pity that she had to go home, because she had to start her practical work as a student nurse very early next morning. We exchanged addresses and I went home thinking a lot about the nice girl. My wish for a nice girl with very short hair was very strong and the next day I send her a long letter, describing my life and interests and I described also my hair fetish, even though I hardly knew that word at that time. For me it was extraordinary to express my feelings about it, because I did not have any idea if there were other guys with that strong preference for short hair. Maybe it was quite abnormal, certainly because at that time almost all the girls, but also boys, had long hair.
I did not know that Sam had her wishes to go short and that my letter stimulated her own hair fetish. It took some time before she had the real courage to have her hair cut; she refused to go to a hairdresser as it was usual in her family that her mother cut the hair of her daughters. With Easter she would go home and then maybe… Before, however she gone skiing with Esther and to my surprise she wrote a letter, describing that she had cut Esther’s hair with nail scissors. And indeed when they came back Esther had a nice short haircut and Sam had given her even a very nice short wispy fringe, but alas Esther did not have the courage to cut Sam’s hair when she was asked to do that.
Then Easter came and Sam went home and I wondered about the haircut. During some days I did not hear anything from her, but when she came back her hair had been cut, rather short, but her ears were still covered by hair and the parting of the hair at one side gave it a stiff appearance. Anyway it was much shorter. Sam was not very satisfied about it and promised that she would ask her fellow nurse student to cut her hair. But nothing happened until she cut the bangs herself, which I liked very much and then Sam decided that it was time that I should cut her hair. At first I refused, but in fact I was not very afraid to do it, because I often cut my own hair after a visit to a barber, when I was not satisfied about the style or the length.
And so I started my long time experiments with the cutting of hair, using very simple household scissors and one of the first things I did was to expose the nice ears of Sam. It shocked not only her friend Mary, but also her own family who found it far too masculine. For quite a long time I left the sideburns much longer than I wished and it took some years before she realized that shorter sideburns were much more flattering.
Soon we were experimenting with the length of the hair and within a short time Sam sported very short bangs, exposing that nice forehead. Usually I cut her hair rather short at the sides, leaving it longer (6-8 cm) at the top. But I did not realize that Sam had much shorter hair in mind.
One weekend she joined Mary during a visit to her parents and to my surprise she had asked Mary to cut her hair much shorter, maybe at a length of 3-4 cm. At first I was angry, finding it my privilege to cut Sam’s hair, but I was happy that she liked it that short.
One time she took a colleague home, a shy girl who liked Sam’s hair and it was the first time that I cut the hair of another girl. Sam did not only like her own short hair, but started to promote also that other girls cut their hair. One time Sam’s sister visited us and we changed her long hair with that severe parting into a nice short bob with bangs. Once we saw a nice girl with a crewcut, the short hairs pointing upward like a brush and the first thing that I had to do when we returned was to cut Sam’s hair like the crewcut of that girl. It was quite thrilling and a lot of work, because I had to cut the hair over a comb very carefully as I did not have clippers with which I easily cut hair of the same length.
When we finished our studies we started to live in a nice old town and sometimes we saw the fellow student nurses of the past and one time Sam organised a reunion at our home. We bought electric clippers and Sam said that they might be very useful during that party. I will never forget that party, because for some reason Esther suggested that I cut the hair of Angela, a girl with very long hair, as short as that of Sam. And to my surprise she agreed. To be honest I made a nice job of it. When I was finished I shouted, “Who’s next?” and soon my “barber chair” was occupied again by one of the other long-haired girls.
It was good that I had restricted my use of alcoholic beverages, because I made a good job of most of the haircuts and I was honest enough to refuse to cut the hair of one of the other girls when I had the feeling that such a short haircut would not flatter her at all.
The last one was Esther who had long hair at that time and I felt almost shy to cut that beautiful black hair. I remember how I cut her ponytail at one time with an old razorblade that I had found somewhere. When I asked her how she wanted the rest of her hair I reminded her of that attractive haircut that Sam had given her some years ago when they had been skiing, but Esther wanted the same extreme short crewcut as Sam sported now and I suggested that it was a lot of work to cut all that dense hair. In fact it was not really much work and at ease I placed the clippers at her nape. I think she must have been aroused already during the haircuts of the other girls and it was more than clear that she liked what I was doing. Repeatedly she felt the short stubble that appeared at places where I left only hairs of 1/8″. I made most of the hair on top very short with the #3 guard and what appeared was really beautiful. Some girls suggested that I even clipper shave the sides and back of her head and after some reflection I had to do that, leaving the white skin with thousands of black, maybe 1mm long, hairs. I had a lot of work to make a nice transition to the longer spikes at the top. But in the end all of us were surprised that this masculine haircut had an extremely feminine effect. To be honest even Sam was jealous and later that night when the party was over I had to give her also that perfect buzzcut. When we made love I discovered that we were quite aroused when I moved with my tongue slowly over the stubble that covered her head.
A month later we had a nice holiday and I still remember an old small town in France where Sam suddenly took me inside an old barbershop. I thought that she wanted that the local barber should shave my beard, but she just took a seat herself and indicated that the barber should clipper shave her, leaving a small forelock. At first the barber seemed to refuse, but Sam took the hand clippers and, placing it just behind her bangs, removed some of her hair.
I feared that the barber might persist in his refusal to cut her hair, but shaking his head in disbelief he took the cape and even called for his wife to see this strange girl. It was really strange, because we had been a week in the mountains and the skin of our faces was quite sun tanned. It was crazy to see the contrast between her brown face and that pale white skin of her scalp. I even feared that Sam might start to cry, but as usual she just grinned about it and assured me that within some days the damage might be repaired. And indeed soon the white disappeared and the contrast soon disappeared, the more when her hair started to grow again.
For some years we had hardly any contact with the group of nurses and Esther went for some years to Israel. The only one who we saw regularly was Mary. She did not visit the party and still had rather long hair. Once Sam and I were joking about that hair and then Sam decided that it was time that Mary would lose her long hair as well. In fact we understood that Mary was ready for it and that only her husband was the one preventing a good haircut.
Soon we would leave Holland to live in Thailand and Sam thought it might be nice to invite Mary for a few days without her husband but with her first son. Sam feared that Mary might be afraid when I cut her hair, but happily Sam had a colleague who imitated her crewcut. She had it cut in town in the hairdressing salon of the department store. Usually she had her hair slightly longer than Sam’s. I agreed to join Sam and Mary to town and Mary gave Sam the free hand about her haircut, saying that it had to be not too short. “Oh no,” was the only thing Sam said, “Certainly not a headshave, but something like Rita’s.” Rita was the colleague, who had visited us some days before and whose short hair had been admired by Mary.
I took Mary’s son to the restaurant of the department store and Sam and Mary went to the hairdresser on the same floor; it meant that I could even see what would happen. The day before I had seen Rita, who had been to the hairdresser just before she left for her holiday and she had had her hair cut shorter than ever. In fact, only a forelock of 0.5-1 cm was still present whereas the rest of her hair had been shaved with the clippers.
Sam did not know about Rita’s extremely short haircut and I kept my mouth shut about it because I thought that Mary might be beautiful with a very short clipper-shaved head.
When the hairdresser asked how Mary’s hair should be cut Sam referred not to her own hair, but to the last haircut of Rita who was well known by the hairdresser. The hairdresser looked surprised but agreed to do this job. With a number of snips the hairdresser cut all the hair to the hairline and then to the surprise of Mary, but also Sam, the hairdresser took clippers and without any further discussion he placed the clippers without any guard just behind the bangs and pushed the clippers over Mary’s head. She only looked frightened and did not know how to react and before she could say anything several more movements were made and soon all of the hair on top, except for a short forelock was cut. It was extremely silent and nobody said anything while this happened.
Suddenly Mary said, “I don’t find this honest, Sam, it should be longer than yours.”
Sam could only say, “I asked him to do it like Rita’s hair which has always been longer than mine.”
Then the hairdresser had to tell them about the fact that Rita had been there yesterday and had asked for this dramatic haircut. It was clear that nothing could be changed and soon even the forelock was changed into a short wispy fringe and the result was maybe extravagant but in fact very nice and after some hesitation Mary decided that she liked this hair, but only wondered how her husband and child would react. The child was okay, but her husband was very angry, but to her surprise, she told us later, even he after some minutes changed his mind and that meant that for a long time to go, very short was Mary’s favorite hairstyle.
Some weeks before we left for Thailand Esther, who we had not met for some years called and she wanted to say goodbye before we left. In fact we did not like that visit, because we were irritated by some of the letters which she wrote from Israel. But anyway she came and to our surprise the nice girl of the past had changed into a fat (faced) unattractive girl. Later she asked me to cut her hair as short as in the past, but I refused and it was rather painful to confess why. But I was sure that it might be ugly. I certainly hurt her feelings and soon she was even angry and left our house.
We left for Thailand and had a good life there. From time to time Esther sent us a letter, but we were very concise in our reactions and almost forgot about her. Then my wife died and I sent messages to all our old friends etc . Esther was one of the first to send me her sympathy and declared that she wanted to visit me as soon as I came back to Holland.
I knew for sure that I did not want to have contact anymore and sent her a small letter that must have hurt her feelings.
Many years later I sit here in the concert hall and wonder what to say as soon as we will have to speak. During the interval Esther approaches me and tells me that I was right to refuse to cut her hair, when she was as fat as at that time and of course, most important, after some time she realized that in that difficult time she should have been more careful, leaving me the opportunity to refuse her visit.
She asks if she may visit me one time and I decide that it will be better to meet each other on neutral ground in one of the tea rooms, as I am sure that Helen will have not too much interest in such a visit. I am very right about it when I tell Helen later who Esther is.
Some days later I sit in the tea room and when Esther enters I see that she has been to a hairdresser, sporting the same kind of attractive buzzcut of a very long time ago.
“Do you like it?” she asks and I agree that it is beautiful, but alas it is almost the only thing of common interest and soon we are quite silent and we know both, as I feared beforehand, that we have nothing to tell each other.
Last time I asked for reactions about the 10 or so haircut stories, which I wrote during the last 6 months. I am happy with a very small number of positive reactions, but think that is hardly worthwhile to invest so much energy if there is almost no interest.
The decision is up to you; with a reasonable number of reactions I will go on.
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