First Haircut By Deborah Wayne
The train’s click-clack, click-clack made me so excited. Imagine: my first haircut, and me sixteen. I was so surprised when Mom came up to me last Tuesday and told me she was going to take me to the beauty shop today. I had never been to a beauty parlor and never had a haircut in my sixteen years.
My hair was down to my knees, but my mother took wonderful care of it. She brushed and combed it every morning and evening. Now, while we were riding on the train I was so excited.
I had wanted it to be done at Mr. Allan’s near our home, but Morn insisted that we go to the place where she went for her first haircut.
We got off the train and walked to the shop. It was in an old neighborhood and most of the houses looked deserted. Finally we came to the place. It was a three story brick building, and we had to walk up to the third floor to get to the place. On the door there was a sign. It said: “Madame Sophie’s” and next to that there was a smaller sign saying: “Heads Shaved”.
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I asked mother about the second sign but she said that it was a misprint and had been there the day she first came there too.
We went in the shop, but something there seemed funny to me. Usually there are lots of women running around a Beauty Shop with rollers and all that type of thing going on. But this place seemed deserted, dead. I noticed then that there weren’t even any hair dryers or wash basins. That seemed strange too. (Even though I had never been to a beauty salon I had heard plenty of what happens there from other girls at school when they talked about it.)
Before I could wonder any further a short woman with small beady eyes appeared from nowhere and told us that she was Miss Dee, and that she would take care of me. Well, by this time I was nervous!
She led me down a hall with many doors on each of several little booths, and then I realized that all the equipment must be in each booth. Just as we passed the third booth I thought I heard some girl say: “Don’t! Don’t touch my hair!” She must have been getting her first haircut too.
Mother left me then and went back to the front of the shop. Miss Dee stopped in front of the fifth booth and pulled back the curtains. The booth was bare except for a chair in the middle and a mirror in front. She told me to sit down in the chair, and that she would be right back.
From the chair I surveyed the booth. One wall on the right was bare. The front one had a mirror and a shelf right below it. In the corner something was hanging. What? I looked closer and saw it was an electric hair clipper, the kind used to give crewcuts to boys. In the back was a small chest of drawers.
I left the chair and went to see what was in it. I opened the top drawer and saw towels and a plastic cape used to keep hair from getting down your back when you get it cut. The next drawer contained scissors and thinning scissors. The last drawer contained an assortment of razors and electric razors.
I then resumed my position in the chair and noticed suddenly that on the arms of the chair there were straps like the ones used to strap someone down in the hospital. I looked down and saw that they were on the legs of the chair too. I was just ready to get up when I felt my arms being held against the chair arm and the straps being buckled tight. Before I knew it both arms were fastened and I was a prisoner of the chair. As Miss Dee strapped in the right leg, and then the left, I asked her what she was doing. She just smiled. “Don’t worry.” Just as I was about to call for mother she came from behind and put a large piece of tape over my mouth. I tried to scream but the tape held fast and I couldn’t move.
Miss Dee then went back to the chest of drawers and took out a towel and a plastic cape. She placed the towel over my shoulder and then tied the cape around my neck I tried to move and scream. but both the straps and the tape held fast. Miss Dee then let my hair down… it cascaded down until it just missed the floor. She went back to the drawer and pulled out a pair of scissors. My eyes were wide and filled with terror as she came closer with those scissors, opening and closing right before my eyes.
Slowly but surely the long cascades of hair came under the rule of steel. Inch by inch she started to cut it, and layer by layer it fell to the floor. Minute after minute the pile of brown tresses on the floor grew in size until it reached Miss Dee’s ankles. All the while she was laughing and talking to herself about how nice it would look when my head was bald. “Bald?” I thought to myself. My eyes were wild and I strained at my bonds to release me from that prison of the chair. Sweat was pouring out of every pore of my body. My hair was growing shorter by the minute as the steel closed about my lovely locks.
Miss Dee stopped when my hair was about shoulder length. She took a mirror and held it in back of me so I could see the terrible work that had been wrought about my head by her. My every muscle was straining to gain release from her terrible scissors.
Ignoring my writhing, Miss Dee took the hair clippers from the hook under the counter. I started to cry. She plugged it in and turned it on. She held it in her right hand as her left hand held my head tightly. She began at the base of my neck and ran the clippers up to my forehead. The clippers left no hair in their path as they clipped on and on. She reached the front of my head and as I looked up I could see in the mirror a pathway cut through the hair across the top of my head She laughed as she started the clippers from the front of my head back to the nape of my head.
On and on this went as the clippers cut more and more hair off my head After the last run my head was as bare as a peach. Then Miss Dee felt my head with her fingers against my bare scalp. She went to the drawers then and took out a straight razor. She went out for a few minutes. returning with a basin of warm, soapy water. She lathered my head up well. Taking the straight razor she started at the back of my neck. Slowly but surely she shaved every last bit of hair off my head. After finishing my head she placed some soap on my eyebrows and shaved each one of them off also. My head was just skin with not a hair left on it.
All I could do was cry.