Hair Masters by Tanya Clark
I opened the car door and looked at my mom, “Thanks for the ride.” “Now Tanya, don’t go overboard with spending, your new Visa card *does* have a limit of one thousand dollars.”
That wasn’t a lot of money for her and I figured I could spend it all if I wanted to. But mom had been very specific about what *she* expected me to buy at the shopping mall. I shouldn’t complain, after all, it’s my fault. *I’m* the one who asked her, *I’m* the one who said “Why don’t boys ask me out?” *I’m* the one who really knew the answer to that question already. I admit it, I’m a bit of a tomboy. Probably a bit more than I’m admitting. But I really don’t think that a one day shopping spree at the mall will change that.
My Problems start with my boyish appearance. Yes, I could do more to change that, Ok, but I’m not going to fix my flat chest. “Just give it time.” Mom would say. I always wore boys’ clothes, just as I had that day. Jeans and a t-shirt, tennis shoes. I wore no make-up or jewelry and I didn’t even *look* dating age anyway. No wonder I never had a boyfriend! My hair; well, to be honest with you, I had never been to a beauty salon in my life. Once mom started refusing to trim my hair, I took things into my own hands, chopping most of it off myself. I always cut my own hair after that. It had grown to an unrestrained mass of shaggy tangles. When I washed it, I simply shook it out like a wet dog does. It was hardly what anyone would call feminine.
It was no wonder that a hairstyle was first thing on the list that mom had written for me to take along. She had underlined “PERM” which was written in capital letters. I guess that was supposed to be a hint or something! The rest went like this: 2. Two sundresses in pastel colors and at least one with a flower print. 3. Dress shoes to go with the dresses 4. Make-up job at a department store (buy what they tell you) 5. Have ears pierced. 6. Flowery feminine perfume (don’t buy the cheap stuff and get used to wearing it. “Wearing it” was underlined. 7. Jewelry: earings, necklace and bracelets.
I guess that just about covered everything a tomboy like me needed to become properly “girlified”. I felt depressed looking at my reflection in the mall entrance doors. I walked into one of the styling salons in the mall and bashfully looked around. I probably would have been more comfortable in a barbershop but this seemed to be less girly than the place mom frequented where you only saw women in curlers.
I sat down in an empty seat and began reading a magazine.
Then I heard the sound of a boy’s voice in back of me, “I am *NOT* going to get a haircut today!” I watched out of the corner of my eye as this kid argued with his mother. He looked about the same age that I *looked*. I was a high school senior that looked like a 14 year old.
“Yes you are, I’m tired of going over and over this with you. You’re not getting out of it this time. You look like a girl,” She lectured.
I was wishing that someone would say that to me right then. He was really making a scene as she dragged him over to one of the chairs. When I walked out to use the bathroom next door I heard his mother say “I want him to look like a *boy*. Cut his hair nice and short. I don’t care how you cut it, I want it *short*!” She handed the stylist some money and said she’d be back after running an errand. The stylist nodded.
As I returned from the bathroom I saw the same boy walk out the salon entrance just as I was about to go in. Then he ran past me knocking me down, quickly ducking into another store.
Before I could even get up I felt two hands grab me and pick me up. “Now I’ve got you, you little stinker!”
“No he went that way.” I pointed to where the boy had gone.
She grabbed my wrist firmly and said, “Come with me.”
“What’s going on?” I asked. “I didn’t do anything!”
“Don’t give me that.” She said. “You’ve been nothing but trouble since you got here. I’ll tell you one thing, you won’t be getting away again, that’s for sure!”
“That’s when it really starting sinking in. She thought that *I* was that boy had just ran away! I noticed several other people staring at me and giving me dirty looks.
“I….I’m not the person you think I am.”
The stylist was quite bigger than me and had little trouble putting me into her chair.
“Oh sure you’re not,” giggled a girl to her friend. I felt like crying.
“I’m really a girl, honest. Tanya’s my name. *Really*.”
That raised the eyebrows of the man sitting next to getting a buzzcut.
“Be glad you’re not my son, kid. I’d make *sure* you look like a boy before you leave here.”
The stylist never responded to me. She walked backward toward the counter, her eyes fixed on me the whole way. She pulled out an apron from the bottom drawer. Having never seen an haircutting apron before I thought they all looked like this one. Later I found out I was wrong. It was different from any one I’ve seen since. Oddly shaped, it looked like an oversized short sleeve shirt with thick plastic rings reinforcing the ends of the sleeves and the collar. It also had grommets around the edge which I thought was strange. I found out soon what *they* were for.
She opened up the collar ring and turned my chair around, facing it away from herself and the mirror. I felt something go around my neck and heard a snap. Then she snapped me into each of the sleeve rings. For the next few minutes I could hear the constant metallic popping and snapping sounds coming from the chair back behind me. I struggled to escape but only the smallest movement was possible.
“Good,” She said, “I think we’re ready now.”
A girl’s voice in back of me said, “Is he going to get his hair cut now mommy?”
She answered, “I think they’ve got him this time!”
“Hey Lisa, looks like you got yourself a real rascal there don’t you. Oh well, boys will be boys won’t they?” She grinned at me the whole time.
Lisa answered, “Oh yes, and *boys* will have *boys* haircuts too!”
I thought about pulling out the list that mom had given me at that point but couldn’t imagine how embarrassing *that* would be. This whole thing was embarrassing enough already. And mom was going to be so upset with me for not listening to her. I desperately tried to figure out some way to get out of this. Everyone in the whole room was convinced I was that boy and nothing short of a public display of what was between my legs was going to prove otherwise. I figured it would only get worse if I argued and she’d probably cut it shorter too. Of course I had no idea how short she was going to cut it in the first place! I felt my heart pounding when she walked behind me with the spray bottle in her hand. The spray bottle released a cool mist of water into my hair as Lisa struggled to untangle the knots. “What a mess!” She exclaimed. The color of my face went back to red again after its short rest. She spent what must have been 10 minutes combing out all of the snarls, revealing about every length from chin to just above the shoulder. I think this was the most humiliating day of my life.
Lisa looked at the stylist next to her, “What do you think, should I give him a cute side part?”
She replied in a girly voice, “Oh yes! That’s so handsome on boys. He’s getting a short cut, I hope.”
Lisa nodded about 4 times creating a sharp line of a part on my left side, “*Absolutely*”
“Wait a minute,” I pleaded. “How short *are* you going to cut my hair?” She silently picked up the scissors from the counter. My hair was combed with the long hairs on the side part hanging down several inches below my ear, drawing the attention of Lisa’s hungry scissors. I heard the soft sound of snipping as she reduced their length to my earlobe.
The other side was combed and cut in the same fashion.
After the sides, she moved to the back. With both hands firmly on my head, she tilted it forward, pulling my neck against the restraining collar. Her hands dug deeply into the hair in the back, pulling, cutting, and recombing. She moved through my hair like a machine as I watched wet clumps of my hair in rapid succession like leaves from a windblown tree.
The top was next in line and she spared no hair from the wrath of her scissors. “I’ll teach you to run away,” hissed Lisa. I made one last attempt to struggle away but it was in vain. I felt my resistance weakening like some sort of modern day “Samson” as my hair got shorter and shorter.
The stylist next to us came over and smiled at me. “Oh! Don’t we look handsome today!” While teasingly running her hands through my short back hair over and over again she got close to my ear so that Lisa couldn’t hear. “Buzzzzzzz,” She whispered with a wink. That made me tremble at the thought.
No, they wouldn’t…or *would* they! I sure wasn’t going to ask.
“Here,” said the other stylist handing a set of clippers to Lisa. “You can use mine if you want, I just had the blades sharpened. They work great!”
“Oh, super!” replied Lisa. “Mine have been acting up…like this one,” Pointing at me. “But I think he’ll behave *properly* after a *proper* boy’s haircut. Don’t you?”
I figured she wanted an answer out of me because they were both staring. I guess it was reflex, but I did a *really* stupid thing at that point. I stuck my tongue out at Lisa in the mirror. *Boy* was that a mistake! I could see the anger in Lisa’s face as she reached out and grabbed the clippers. I figured I was going to get it now and get it good! The clippers hummed and she started shaving up the back of my neck slowly, using her comb to create a taper. To my surprise she stopped at the middle of my ear. I was partly relieved when she put the clippers back on their hook even though my hair was already very short. I was starting to like the way I looked and I was comfortable with short hair. I also have to admit I really liked the idea of looking boyish, especially against my wishes. A scary kind of excitement pulsed through my body.
“Hey Lisa, can I give him the punk look?”
“Sure” Lisa watched as the clipper lending stylist pumped some white stuff from a bottle on the counter and walked over to me. Obviously it was for me and into my hair it went. She rubbed it in all over my hair making it clump together and stick out every which way. Then it was dried with the blow drier, combing it out as she went. I resembled a porcupine by the time she was done with me. This is the first thing I’ll change when I get out of here, I thought.
Lisa had disappeared by now which made me nervous. I was afraid of what she might be planning next for me.
Just then the phone rang and gal who was working on me picked it up.
“Hair Masters, Julie speaking, can I help you…yes…uh huh…he’s here… no he was *very* naughty.” She looked right at me and continued, “He got up and ran out and Lisa had to chase him…it’s OK…yes, but I don’t think it’s enough…oh yes of course I understand and you’re right it should be done…I’ll let him know..bye.”
I was desparate to find out what was going on.
Julie had a very serious look on her face as she approached, “It was your mother.”
“Wha..What did she…ss..say.” I stuttered.
“She wanted to see how you were behaving.”
“Well, I’ve been prettt..ty good I think, don’t you?”
“I told her what you did.”
“I heard,” I gulped.
“She wants you *punished*.”
“What does that mean? You’re not going to spank me or anything are you?” I asked naively.
“I think you *know* that means.” She tried to hold back the smirk that was forming on her face.
She picked up the one pair of clippers that had a guide on it. I think it was placed there ahead of time from the way it looked.
Then she rubbed them on the back of my neck for at least 2 minutes, teasing me with an evil grin while the other stylists enjoyed the show. I heard the snap of the switch instantly sending shivers up my back and neck.
“Please don’t,” I begged, struggling again. Suddenly I wasn’t sure any more what I wanted. I could tell this whole thing was getting me excited, especially when I tried to get away against the restraining collar.
“You’re only going to make it *worse* if you don’t behave!”
I think I must have wanted that by the way the blood was racing toward my crotch. She grabbed really hard into my top hairs so hard that it hurt. I felt like I was her little hair slave, being punished for my disobedience. Slowly, but steadily she forced my head into compliance. It was like when you lose a long and hard fought arm wrestling match after struggling all the way down to the table. But this was one I wanted to lose!
Two of the other stylists were playing with my hair.
One said, “Are we getting a little flat top today?”
Julie answered, “Do you think we should?” As if she wasn’t planning that all along!
“Oh, that’s *such* a nice cut, don’t you want be cool this summer?”
The other one asked, “Is this your first one? Oh! That’s *so* exciting!”
“He’s going to love this. Don’t you think so?” Julie was pretending she wasn’t sure. “Well, let’s get started!”
With that she grabbed into the roots of my short top hair and forced my head down and removing the last trace of freedom I had left.
With my head down I felt the clipper’s cold steel touch my neck, barely slowing down as they started working on my hair. They plowed up my neck sending hair flying in their wake.
“Ooooh,” exclaimed Julie. “Isn’t this *fun*! You’re so lucky to be a boy!”
That comment made me feel really warm and weak inside. I felt completely helpless and I loved those feelings which seemed very girly to me. And the thought of being punished with the clippers: well that alone was enough to make my little panties moist.
Julie repositioned herself and her clippers for another attack. She switched guides for the sides and zipped them up super short. Next she pulled out a large comb and stuck it into the stiff top hairs. Shearing across the comb, she made my hair into a perfectly flat carpet. Buzz by buzz she sheared the hair leaving no more than a half inch sticking up.
Julie showed off her work to the other two still standing next to my chair. Turning toward them she ran the palm of her hand back and forth across my bristling hair. What a feeling! “It’s *so* soft,” she commented. She beckoned the other stylists to try.
One of them took up the offer. “He’s so handsome, I told you.” She said as she ran her hands all over my head.
Just then a woman stormed into the salon dragging a boy with her. It was the same boy who had ran away earlier. He was kicking and screaming the whole way, whining and complaining.
Julie looked over at the boy and turned white as a ghost.
“Oh, no it *can’t* be!” She shrieked.
“Oh I’m afraid it can be, Julie.” I reasoned.
She defended herself, “This was all Lisa’s fault. It was her idea, she’s the one who said-”
I interrupted, “Just call my mother and explain it all to her.”
Lisa walked over from the back of the room not seeing the boy, “Oh, that’s really cute!”
Then the boy yelled, “Leave me alone! I’m *not* getting a haircut. *No*!”
Lisa looked like she was going to faint when she saw the boy. I got up out of my chair.
“What did you *do* to her Julie, I didn’t tell you to buzz her!”
“Oh right Lisa, like you’re completely innocent with your little phone call.” “Well Lisa,” I interrupted the argument. “I think maybe you two could flip a coin or something to see who gets to talk to my mom.” I picked up the phone and dialed. “Hi mom…yes I’m still having my hair done…no not exactly the way you wanted it…There’s been a big mistake mom. Lisa will explain everything.” I handed the phone to Lisa who was staring into space with a blank expression.
I gave her a big smile and said, “Here you go sweety, aren’t we going to just have *so* much fun now…he he he.” I made sure she explained everything exactly the way it happened. I could hear my mother screaming on the other end, it was great! She said she’d be coming out right away, and knowing her she’d be bringing our lawyer with her.
I leaned over the front counter grinning from fuzz to fuzz. “I don’t suppose you’re going to charge me for this?” I asked, rubbing my hand on the top of my head. Julie had the most frightened look on her face.
“When my mom shows up, just tell her I’ll be somewhere in the mall shopping for dresses and perfume…..Later.”