I Like to Watch

I Like to Watch

I Like To Watch by Sabrina S

I sat idly flicking through a magazine, waiting for the foil colours to activate. This time I was going blonde. I’d been red for five years before that, and I couldn’t honestly tell you what my real colour was. I’d forgotten.

God, hairdressers’ magazines were boring! Last November’s Vogue, tattered copies of those sensationalist women’s mags which now bore covers showing minor TV celebs now that Diana, Queen of Circulation, was dead.

Even the salon was quiet. I could usually amuse myself by watching what was happening with the other clientele. Being a unisex salon, you saw all sorts of things. The first time I came here I saw a teenaged girl shake back her long curls for the last time and demand a crew cut. Watching her hair get firstly chopped roughly to collar length with the scissors and then shorn to within a quarter inch of its life with the clippers aroused me, to my astonishment. Was I a lesbian? No, I discounted that. I discovered watching men get their heads clipped had the same effect on me. And today I was going to get my own shoulder length hair cut into a pixie; something I’d been looking forward to with a mix of terror and sexual anticipation.

Ah, someone was coming in! Entertainment, at last.

It was a mother and daughter. The mother’s hair looked as if it had been cut quite recently, and hung around her chin in a glossy brown bob. The little girl with her was about ten years old, with thick, slightly wavy brown hair almost to her waist. Ah, well, nothing interesting here, then. Just a trim for the child. Mothers were so particular about their little girls having long, feminine hair. I think the mothers got more of a kick out of it than the daughters, being able to braid it and put ribbons in it as if they’d reverted to their own childhood and were playing with an oversized doll.

The little girl sat in the chair, a resigned expression on her face. She kicked her legs back and forth against the metal legs.

“Stop it, Rebecca!” her mother hissed. “You’ll annoy the other people.”

The hairdresser who usually cut my hair, Julie, greeted them.

“Hi, Kerrie, hi Rebecca! What’ll it be today, just a trim?” Expertly she flicked the cape around Rebecca’s shoulders and lifted the girl’s long hair out so it draped over the back of the chair. The ends of it were quite ragged. Obviously a one trim a year kid.

“I want you to cut fifteen inches off it all round,” said Kerrie, plonking herself down in the chair beside her daughter. Rebecca still had that resigned expression. She wasn’t going to cry, but she didn’t look happy either.

“Fifteen inches?” Julie’s voice rose in astonishment. “But you’ve been growing it since you were little, haven’t you, Rebecca?”

Rebecca nodded. She looked in the mirror and caught my eye. Feeling a bit ashamed at being a voyuese to what was obviously a family matter and maybe a punishment, I looked away. But not before I saw a slight smile twitch at the little girl’s mouth.

Ah, interesting after all! Carefully I glanced back in the mirror.

“Becky’s been naughty. I told her if I ever caught her cutting her own hair I’d have it cut short,” said Kerrie. “And look!” She held up a lock of Rebecca’s hair. “She’s been hacking at the ends of it with my nail scissors.” That explained the ragged look then.

“But fifteen inches?” continued Julie. “That’ll make it up to here!” She pointed to just below Rebecca’s earlobes.

Kerrie nodded. “A short bob to the bottom of her ears.”

“Straight all the way around, or down a bit at the back like a pageboy? Otherwise the bob will be above her hairline.”

“Straight all the way around,” Kerrie affirmed. Wow, I’d have hated Kerrie for a mother! What was the punishment if Rebecca did something REALLY bad?

“I’ll have to clip the hair underneath,” Julie warned.

“Fine,” Kerrie agreed, and crossed her arms in a “get on with it” way.

During this time Rebecca said nothing, staring into the mirror.

Julie, frowning, picked up her comb and scissors, and gently pushed Rebecca’s head forward. Rebecca, in response, instantly dropped her head almost to her chest and then I knew.

Rebecca WANTED her hair cut short.

I peered around as carefully as I could and saw in the mirror something Kerrie couldn’t see for the long hair falling at the side of her daughter’s face. Rebecca was smiling, just the tiniest bit.

Julie pinned up most of the hair at the back of Rebecca’s head, leaving a thin layer hanging down from below the occipital bone. Then, still with that worried frown between her eyebrows, she picked up the big clippers that got far more use on men than women.

As she switched them on – clicckkkk, buzzzzzzz – Rebecca tensed. So did I, in fact.

Then Julie picked up the long locks of hair, held the hank gently away from the girl’s head, and laid the clippers against the back of Rebecca’s neck.

“Sure?” she asked Kerrie.

“Sure.” Kerrie seemed disinterested. She’d found a newer copy of Vogue than I’d been able to.

Then I heard a rasping noise and the clippers were gliding up the back of Rebecca’s head, giving her a number two undercut. The first locks fell away and I saw the little girl’s vulnerable neck with its clipped hairline, oddly naked against the soft hair at either side. There, the first silken strands of hair hit the floor.

Rebecca bent her head even further forward. Julie clipped up the back to the occipital bone, nuzzling the greedy clippers up behind Rebecca’s ears. The clippers squawked as they buzzed through her hair, and from the look on Julie’s face she was the most upset of the three.

The clipping bit was done. Rebecca’s neck had the look of an animal’s pelt, all silky. I wondered if Julie could do the same for me with my pixie.

Julie let down the sheaves of Rebecca’s hair and sprayed it with water, pinning most of it back up again. Rebecca still had her chin almost to her chest, and Julie gently brought it back a little bit.

“How are you doing, Rebecca?” she asked gently.

“Fine, thank you,” Rebecca said politely. She had one end of her long hair in her mouth and was chewing on it.

Julie combed the wet hair at the back of the girl’s head and then took up her scissors. Snit! The first cut, right in the middle of the back, half way up the undercut, and Rebecca’s severed hair slithered to the floor.

Julie worked quickly, as if trying to get the task over and done with so as not to upset Rebecca. She needn’t have worried. Rebecca, her face carefully schooled to expressionless, was enjoying every sensation, I was sure.

The floor behind Rebecca’s chair slowly became covered in hair as Julie cut it off in steps, taking a thin layer down from the pins, combing it and snipping it swiftly. The last long hair at the back tumbled down. Julie wet it down, combed it, carefully held it between her fingers and severed it. She combed the short, bobbed back of Rebecca’s hair. It looked great.

Moving to the side, Julie pinned most of it up and started again. This time Rebecca tipped her head to one side expectantly, and Julie straightened it.

With a visible sigh, Julie put the scissors level with the lobes of Rebecca’s ear and closed the blades. Long snakes of hair slid over Rebecca’s cape and fell near her feet.

The next layer was unskewered, dampened, and combed. I watched Rebecca close her eyes briefly in satisfaction as she heard the scissors close to her ears, and wondered idly if her thick, wet hair felt heavy as it fell onto her shoulders.

Then the last layer on that side was down, and Julie was chopping it off with a pitying expression on her face.

I wish I knew what Rebecca was thinking as she looked at herself in the mirror. Most of her hair was now hanging barely to the bottom of her ears. Her neck was naked for probably the first time in her life. The only long hair she had left was on one side, falling in luscious, soft waves over her arms.

Julie moved around, blocking my vision. I could only hear instead of clearly see as she snipped off the little girl’s long locks. I could see hair falling to the floor, and got oblique glimpses as Julie unpinned and repinned the hair on top of Rebecca’s head.

Sighing, I pretended to read my magazine, listening as the scissors sheared through the long, wet locks. Ah, never mind, I’d soon be able to watch my own hair get cut off.

In a matter of minutes Julie stood back.

“Kerrie? How does that look?”

Kerrie put down her Vogue and inspected her daughter’s newly cropped head. She ran her fingers over the clippered nape and nodded in satisfaction.

“Fine. Thanks, Julie. No, don’t bother drying it. The sunshine can do that.”

Julie brushed Rebecca’s neck and unclipped the cape. The little girl got to her feet and shook her head from side to side. Her hair flipped out in a way it never did when it was longer.

“Right,” Kerrie said to her daughter. “I hope that taught you a lesson. Hairdressers cut hair, not little girls. If I catch you doing it again I’ll ask Julie to cut all your hair off so it’s as short as this.” She rubbed Rebecca’s undercut.

Rebecca looked suitably humbled. Her mother and Julie discussed how much the haircut cost, and Rebecca, glancing around, caught my eye. In the first real show of emotion I’d seen from her, she split her face wide open in a wild grin, as if we’d shared something….which, in a way, we had.

Then mother and daughter were gone.

“Sorry to leave you unattended,” Julie said apologetically, checking my foils. “Ah, good, the colour’s done. It must be my day for short haircuts…you want a pixie cut, yes?”

Rebecca’s hair still littered the floor in long tangles. I couldn’t stop looking at it.

“Yes,” I said slowly. “Some kind of short pixie cut… and can you clip the back like you did that little girl’s?”

“Wasn’t that terrible?” said Julie. “Honestly, her mother can be a real pain. Poor little thing, all that lovely hair just gone like that. I hope she wasn’t too upset.”

I thought of Rebecca’s big watermelon grin and the way she tossed her head. Upset, no. As I followed Julie to the basin I wondered how long it would be before Rebecca discovered where her mother had hidden the nail scissors.

The end

 

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