Gentle Persuasion by Firefly
As Julie walked into the salon she realised that something was different. The whole place had been refurbished and she didn’t recognise any of the stylists. She had been coming to this salon for the past four years, mainly because an appointment wasn’t necessary, there was usually a stylist available to give her a trim and she never had to wait more than half an hour. She walked up to the receptionist and asked if it was possible to have her hair cut. The receptionist looked at her and asked, “Do you have an appointment?” Julie explained that the salon used to run on a non-appointment basis and asked if this had changed. The receptionist explained that the salon had recently been taken over and that each client now required an appointment. She offered to book Julie an appointment for next Tuesday but just as Julie was about to accept one of the stylists walked over to the reception desk.
“I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation,” he said, “maybe I can help. My next client isn’t due in for another hour so I could fit you in if you’d like.”
Julie looked at the stylist. He was in his mid-twenties, with long, dark curly hair. He was absolutely gorgeous!
“I only wanted a couple of inches off the length,” she said.
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“Great, that won’t take long. My name is Marcus by the way,” he said. “What’s yours?”
“Julie,” she replied
Marcus led her over to one of the basins and draped a cream cape around her shoulders, fastening it around her neck. He slid his hands under her hair and pulled it out from under the cape.
“You have beautiful hair, although the ends are a bit dry. When did you last have it cut?” he asked.
“Quite a while ago. Maybe 3 months, I haven’t had chance to come in for a while,” she told him.
Marcus asked her to lean back over the basin and he proceeded to shampoo and condition her hair. As he did so he asked her how much she wanted cut off.
“I’ve always had my hair long,” she explained, “and I don’t really want to change it – it’s so easy to manage. All I have to do is wash and blow dry it.”
“That would explain why the ends are so dry – you probably have your hairdryer on too high a heat setting,” he scolded her playfully.
After he had finished rinsing away the last of the conditioner he piled her hair onto the top of her head and wrapped a towel around it. Leading her over to a vacant chair he explained that he was the new owner of the salon and said that he was pleased that a lot of the clients of the previous owner still came to the salon to have their hair cut.
When she had settled into the chair Marcus unwrapped the towel from her head and began to comb out her hair. He sectioned it out and clipped the majority of hair on top of her head, leaving a long section at the nape.
“I’ll only take two inches off the length as you asked but I should warn you that it could do with more like six inches to get rid of all the damage,” he told her.
“I really don’t want much cut off,” she pleaded with him, “and I won’t leave it so long to have it trimmed again,” she promised.
Marcus shrugged his shoulders and said in a rather condescending way, “It’s your hair so it’s your choice.” He placed the blades of the scissors about three inches above the ends of her hair and started to cut. He then released more of the hair from the clip on top of her head and cut this to the same length, continuing until all her hair was trimmed to the same length.
“Have you ever thought about having a fringe?” he asked her.
“I used to have one, and it took me for ever to grow it out, so I’m not about to go through all that again,” she said laughingly.
“OK,” he said, once again shrugging his shoulders. “I just thought that it would suit your face shape but if you don’t think so we’ll leave it as it is.”
He the picked up a hairdryer and began to lightly dry her hair, careful that the heat setting was low.
When he had finished he unhooked a mirror from the wall and showed her the back view.
“That’s wonderful,” Julie praised him, “and the condition doesn’t look that bad does it?” she asked.
Marcus pulled a few strands of hair from the back, over her left shoulder, rubbing the ends between his fingers.
“Can you see the little whit flecks on the each hair?” he asked her. She nodded. “Those are split ends and you can see that they are quite high up the shaft. Although you need to look closely to see them, it does mean that the hair is damaged and the only remedy is to cut it off.”
Julie looked from her hair to Marcus’ face – she could see that he wasn’t joking, but she just couldn’t imagine having that much hair cut.
“Maybe next time I’ll have a bit more cut off,” she told him, but she knew that wouldn’t happen and could tell he knew it too.
He removed the cape from around her neck and she subconsciously flicked her hair back over her shoulders. When she walked towards the reception desk to pay, he reminded her that she should book an appointment for her next trim, and not to leave it too long.
As she left the salon, she mentally promised herself that she would not return to be bullied by Marcus again.
A month later, she was blow-drying her hair and she remembered what Marcus had said about the heat settings on her hairdryer. She looked at it and realised that there was only an ON or OFF button – no different heat settings. Maybe Marcus was right, maybe she was damaging her hair without even knowing. She pulled a section of hair from the back and inspected it closely. There were even more split ends now than there had been when Marcus had shown her.
“Damn it,” she said out loud to herself. “I guess I’m going to have to get a bit more cut off than I want”
She made a telephone call to the salon and arranged an appointment with Marcus, but only for a trim.
The day of her appointment arrived and she found herself putting on her makeup with extra care. She had chosen her favourite dress (although why she did this she wasn’t sure – Marcus wouldn’t be able to see it under the cape). She walked into the salon 20 minutes before her appointment – she was hoping to see Marcus at work on another client, hoping to see what sort of cut he was giving her.
Marcus didn’t look up as she entered – he was busy with his hairdryer. The client he was working on had a short, chin-length, inverted bob. Julie noticed the cut hair on the floor below her chair – there was lots of it and judging by the length of it, she must have had quite long hair before Marcus had got to work on it. She did have to admit though, that the style really suited the woman.
Suddenly Julie realised that Marcus had finished blow-drying and was looking directly at her – a slight smile playing around his lips. She blushed and quickly looked away hoping that she hadn’t looked too appreciative of his latest creation.
“Hi again,” he greeted her. “Back for your usual trim?” he said mockingly. Once again he led her over to a basin and began to shampoo her hair
“I’m glad you took my advice and didn’t go too long between cuts,” he said to her, “but I can see that you have still been blow-drying your hair with too high a heat setting,” he chided her.
Although Julie hated to admit he was right she did tell him about her hairdryer and how she had to agree that it was damaging her hair.
“That’s OK – I can soon remedy that,” he said as he led her to the salon chair.
“I’m still not ready to have much cut off,” Julie warned him “maybe a bit shorter than last time but not much.”
Marcus studied her face in the mirror. “I saw you admiring my last client’s cut, it would certainly be a style that would suit you and I’m sure that once you got used to it you would love it.”
She too looked back at him through the mirror with a determined look on her face. “Why are you so sure that I want my hair cut? I’ve always had long hair and that’s the way I like it,” she said, but not very convincingly. Marcus caught the note of uncertainty in her voice and knew that the battle was half won.
“I know that I’ve only cut your hair once before, but I really do think that a restyle would be great for you – I think you know it too,” he said as he combed out her wet hair. Julie couldn’t believe his cheek.
How dare he say that he knows what she wants when even she wasn’t sure what she wanted!
Or was she? He seemed so confident and sure that her hair needed cutting. Maybe she should just let him get on with it.
“If, and I mean if, I was to let you, how short would you cut it?” she asked him.
Marcus smiled and placed his hands on her shoulders, bending down so his face was level with hers in the mirror he said, “I would have to cut off enough to get rid of the damaged hair”
Julie narrowed her eyes. “That’s not really an answer, is it?” she said.
“I guess you will just have to trust me,” he replied.
She dropped her gaze down to her lap and sighed. Marcus took this as a sign of agreement and placed his hand on her head, tilting it down so her chin touched her chest. He once again pinned the majority of her hair on top of her head and combed down the back section. Julie tensed as she felt the teeth slide down her hair, all the way to her bra strap. She had no idea how much hair she would be left with once Marcus had finished with her.
“Julie, I promise that you will not regret this,” Marcus whispered to her and she felt the comb against her neck once again. He picked up the scissors and pressed the hair against her nape. Slowly he placed the blades into her hair and closed them. She winced, aware that the scissors were very close to her hairline – he must have cut off about 15 inches of hair. Immediately her hand flew out from under the cape and she moved it up to feel her neck. There was nothing left, or at least that’s what it felt like to Julie. Marcus had sliced off her hair about half an inch from her hairline. Gently he took her hand and placed it back on her lap.
“That’s the hardest bit done,” he soothed. “There is nothing I can do now but to carry on.”
Julie knew he was right. Why, oh why, did she let him do that – she could have stopped him if she had tried, but she hadn’t. Suddenly she realised that Marcus knew what he was doing – he knew he could persuade her to let him cut her hair, he had been playing with her all along.
Marcus was delighted – it was always a challenge to try and convince a client that they should change their hairstyle – although he would only do this when he himself was sure the change was needed.
He knew from the moment Julie had walked into the salon the first time, that she was hiding behind her hair, but he didn’t think it would only take two appointments before he could persuade her to cut it off.
Julie sat meekly in the chair as Marcus pulled down another section of her hair. He cut this to the same length as the first. Next he pulled the right side section down. He saw Julie’s eyes lift to look into the mirror. He placed the scissors just below her chin and closed them slowly. Julie saw for the first time how short he was actually cutting her hair and she gasped. “It’s OK,” Marcus stated. “I’m going to cut it into a bob,” he explained. “It will be slightly shorter at the back and angled towards the front. I think I’ll cut a fringe as well if that’s OK with you?” he asked. Julie just stared at him, unable to speak. He finished cutting all the sections and then combed the front part of her hair down over her face. Placing the scissors just above her eyebrows he cut a blunt fringe from left to right. When he had finished cutting he walked away to get a hairdryer. Once again Julie moved her hand out from under the cape and felt the back of her hair. It didn’t feel as short now that the rest of her hair was cut to the same length as the nape.
Marcus plugged the hairdryer in and began to dry the under sections of her hair. Her natural wave made it easy for him to curl each section in under and when he had finished her hair looked sleek and shiny. “No more split ends now Julie,” Marcus informed her. She looked at herself in the mirror then at Marcus. He was smiling and she too struggled to hide a smile. She ran her hand through her new hairstyle. The ends felt lovely, not thin and straggly like they were only half an hour ago.
She shook her head and saw that her hair fell back naturally into the bob. She had to admit that Marcus had done a wonderful job.
“Well?” he said. “Do you believe me now?”
“I think it’s wonderful,” Julie admitted. “Thank you.”
Marcus had won, but Julie had also won as far as he was concerned.
“It will need a trim every 6 weeks,” he told her as he removed the cape. “I suggest you make an appointment now just in case you forget.”
As Julie left the salon, Marcus knew that for her next appointment she would need even more encouragement, as he was determined to use the clippers on her beautiful nape….