It’s Showtime – Sabrina S. and Sean O’Hare
“Good afternoon guys and girls and welcome to the Waster hairstyling equipment stand. I’m Marcia and today we’re going to be demonstrating our full range of styling tools,” announced the smartly-dressed woman with the sharp haircut, which could be best described as a feminine flattop.
In the audience, Shauna and Stewart took in the fine lines of this lovely young woman’s fine haircut – clearly the result of an effective application of equipment from her stand – as they waited with mounting anticipation for the show to begin.
“First up this afternoon we have Roger, who’ll be demonstrating our new cordless clipper, the Waster HyperTaper, with a variety of attachments to show that clippers aren’t just for cutting hair hyper short,” she declared while apparently absent-mindedly running one hand up her nape. However Shauna and Stewart hoped fervently that such a demonstration would be in the offing. “Please feel free to come to the stand after the demonstration and handle the products. Even try them if you can find a willing friend.”
Stewart looked eagerly at Shauna’s neat, scissored crop at this invitation, and was promptly met by her smiling eyes and a mouthed “No Way!”
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Roger sauntered on to the stage, ushering a young model with thick, wavy, glossy hair halfway down her back into the spotlit chair. “Hi everyone. I’m Roger and this is Patsy,” he said by way of introduction, as he enveloped her with a cape and fitted a rubber cutting collar securely around her neck.
Roger began combing Patsy’s hair while chatting away to the audience. “I saw Patsy while walking around the stands this morning and thought how great her hair looked. What do you all think?” he asked, and the crowd cheered in agreement while Patsy almost beamed in acknowledgement of her good fortune. Marcia standing to one side, with arms folded, silently stared at the abundance of hair with an indefinable expression; it appeared to be one almost of longing. Much the same as Shauna and Stewart felt – a longing to see it all hit the floor!
“But it’s very thick and heavy, so I suggested to Patsy that she let me give her a whole new look and that’s what we’re going to do isn’t it Patsy. Getting rid of all this weight,” he declared, giving the ponytail he was now holding at the back of her head a dismissive flick as if it was already history.
Patsy’s expression changed dramatically as the reality of her situation sunk in. Stewart said quietly to his companion. “I wonder how much pressure was applied for her to act as a model?”
“Who knows,” replied Shauna excitedly, “but I’m glad it was enough. This should be fun!”
The girl sat, apparently a willing victim, but with a nervous and sad expression spreading across her face. A face that was gradually covered as Roger now reversed the starting point of the ponytail and began to gather it all at her forehead.
“Now the HyperTaper isn’t just for cutting hair very short,” said Marcia, barely keeping the disappointment from her voice. “They can also be used to layer, to texturise, and open up a whole range of styling options as Roger will now demonstrate.”
Shauna and Stewart watched in awe as Roger, now firmly holding Patsy’s hair in a very long, thick ponytail at her forehead accepted a set of HyperTapers from Marcia. She then stepped back slightly and held the ponytail high above Patsy’s head in what appeared to be a well-choreographed display – phew, what a job! thought Shauna – as Roger held up the clippers to the audience and in full view of Patsy’s nervous, darting eyes.
“These clippers can be used for the whole range of styling tasks! From giving a short back and sides,” Shauna and Stewart both mouthed a silent ‘Yes!” to each other – “through detailed graduation work, to removing a lot of hair quickly and efficiently,” Roger informed the audience with undisguised glee at the power in his hand. As Roger dried up, Marcia asked Patsy, “Ever had your hair cut with clippers before?”
She tried to shake her head but it was gripped firmly in place. She managed a forced, “No – no I haven’t…”
“Well don’t worry, it’s not so bad – I have them used to cut my hair all the time.” Patsy took in Marcia’s flattop and her eyes widened like a deer in the headlights as she realised that Roger had the power in his hand to render her own hair down to almost nothing like her tormentor’s. Marcia stood there with a smug expression on her face. The audience was almost silent. A silence then broken by the loud buzzing of the HyperTapers, amplified around the stand by Roger’s microphone.
“But, but…” burbled Patsy, trying to review what she had agreed to, under the spotlit gaze of a hundred interested stylists.
Marcia gave a decisive nod and Roger drove the blade of the clippers into the taut ponytail about two inches from Patsy’s forehead. Shauna and Stewart watched transfixed as strands began to separate and fall onto Patsy’s face. This is what they had come to see.
“Ohhhh!” Patsy cried, and several of the stylists exchanged knowing smiles, having had to execute similar operations in the past, and then having to put up with distraught clients wailing at the loss of their long locks. Neither Shauna nor Stewart had though. They had never seen so much hair cut in one go. They were fascinated.
“No need to worry Patsy. Your hair’s going to come off so very easily with the new Waster HyperTapers,” stated Marcia happily.
True to his word, Roger was removing a lot of hair quickly and efficiently. Patsy’s hair was very thick but the blades of the HyperTapers sliced through it like a hot knife through butter. Within a few seconds Marcia was proudly holding two feet of hair aloft while her partner-in-crime was tousling Patsy’s remaining hair which now fell in a face-framing layered style, reaching to her shoulders. “So are you now going to be giving Patsy a nice short back and sides like mine Roger?” Marcia asked with a teasing grin on her face, tossing the cut hair that she still held onto Patsy’s gowned lap for emphasis and then running her fingers through her short crop.
“No, not today Marcia. Sorry to disappoint you,” he replied with a smile, while a look of relief crossed Patsy’s face as she observed the silky strands of her former crowning glory slide languorously to the floor. To Shauna’s eyes the stylists appeared to be playing a well practiced game with each other, but one that neither seemed to want to take further while on stage. “As you see we have quickly produced the basic shape of a Meg Ryan type shag. I’m now going to use the HyperTapers with an assortment of guards to chip in to the outline to give more texture…” he droned on, at least to Shauna and Stewart’s ears, although most of the stylists in the audience continued to gaze with interest towards the stand.
The main action was over and what wonderful action it was, although they would have liked to see the clippers used in a more traditional context on some lucky young lady’s nape. They decided to move on and perhaps return later. After all there was still plenty to see at the show.
They passed the main exhibition stand where an international award was being presented. The short-listed styles and stylists were lined up as the nominations were announced. Mostly they were over-the-top showy styles that would look very out of place on normal women on the street. The results were then announced – in reverse order of course. In third was a rather nice wedge-based style from a rather disappointed London stylist who they recognised as having been around for years. There were mutters in the audience of ‘derivative’, ‘nothing new in him’ and ‘rubbish, it was a vital cut’ – whatever that meant – when he was proclaimed the originator of the retro-based style. Second place was won by a guy – a guy who had produced something resembling a mullet! Shauna and Stewart couldn’t understand why the audience weren’t laughing as this guy from the famous Benny & Joe team picked up his award. After this, Shauna and Stewart were delighted to see that the winning style was a well cut, and very short crop, dyed a beautiful shade of red. The well-known winning stylist from Germany was beside himself with joy, so much so that they couldn’t make out what the artiste was saying, even though they had both studied German at school. The stylist seemed to be talking an entirely different language with very few ‘R’s in it. Shauna and Stewart both cheered loudly to see their hero receive his well-deserved award.
Walking around – as well as taking in all the sights of the show – had tired them out and they decided to give themselves a brief respite by grabbing a sandwich and a cappuccino. It was very busy in the cafe area with no tables free so they ended up sitting down at a table already occupied by a young woman – with a well-cut, if rather long, hairstyle. Ever the gentleman, Stewart asked if they might share the table with her but he didn’t get a reply. This woman was staring intently down into her coffee and seemed to have a problem of some sort – indeed, she seemed to be crying.
Trying to ignore the young woman’s tears, Shauna bolted down her lunch and the two of them discussed what they had seen and what they hoped to see. However as they were about to leave, Shauna’s compassion came to the fore and she asked, “Look, I hope you don’t mind me asking but is there anything we can do to help?”
For the first time the woman looked up and said, “No, I’m fine – er, thanks.” There was a pause but, as they prepared to move on, the woman continued, “It’s just that I was a haircut model for Benny & Joe earlier and ended up with this style. I had really long, one length straight hair and now look at it!”
It was well cut, for sure, but as she sat up straight the contrast between the short spiky layers on top and the sleek layers down her back could be seen more clearly. Shauna, shocked, mouthed “Mullet!” and Stewart nodded his agreement with an expression of distaste that looked as though he had just sucked on a lemon.
“Oh, I see,” responded Shauna. “Yes, I would be disappointed too,” she added, patting her own neat crop and thinking herself lucky that she didn’t have her nape covered by all that wispy hair. “Not that it isn’t well cut of course. Perhaps you could just pull the back into a ponytail until the top grows out.”
“But I don’t want it to grow out,” she wailed. “I wanted it cut short! A short, fashionable style from Benny & Joe!”
“Well it’s short on top,” observed Stewart, not adding that the back made this conservative looking woman look like a biker chick.
Moving to the chair next to the woman Shauna put a comforting arm around her and asked, “Well, why don’t you go back and ask them to cut it the way you want. I’m Shauna by the way, and this is Stewart.”
“I’m Claire. No time, they say. And they want to photograph me at the end of the day for publicity. Photograph me! Like this!”
“That’s a shame,” Shauna said, now gathering all the long hair streaming down Claire’s back into a ponytail. “If all this was all cut off,” Shauna said somewhat breathlessly as she tugged at the hair, “you would be left with a delightful crop. Do you agree Stewart?”
He nodded eagerly. “Claire would look stunning.”
Claire cheered up a little at this news, wincing slightly as Shauna continued to grip her ponytail. “But where would I get that done?”
Stewart waved his hand expansively, “Well you’re in the right place! There’s a few stylists around.”
Claire smiled, and nodded. Suddenly Shauna piped up, “And Stewart would be pleased to restyle it for you, wouldn’t you?”
Stewart almost choked on the dregs of his coffee as he took in Shauna’s mischievous grin, and Claire’s grateful smile. “Really? Would you?” It didn’t cross her mind that anyone, other than stylists or models, would be at a hair show. She assumed Stewart was a stylist, particularly given his partner’s offer.
“Er, yes, of course I will. I’d be happy to.” Shauna winked at him.
“OK, we’ll pop over to our stand in a minute Claire. We were there just before having our lunch, and all our EQUIPMENT is there,” she emphasised, and Stewart nodded his understanding of her plan. “So all this will come off, Claire, and then we’ll blend the top into the back and sides,” Shauna added, still reluctant to release the long hair she had been holding for five minutes now.
“That sounds rather nice, but I don’t want it too short.”
Almost ignoring her, Shauna asked in a husky tone, “Are you ready to clip Claire’s hair, Stewart?”
Did she say clip, or clipper, wondered Claire. “I work for a very stuffy boss so I can’t wear it too extreme.”
“Yes, shall we all go over to the stand,” Stewart said with more confidence that he felt, his legs turning to jelly at the thought of what could lay ahead.
Rather than lead Claire back to the Waster stand by her hair, Shauna regretfully released it as she led the way through the crowds.
Roger was still twittering away on the stand and Marcia hovered around looking, almost disapprovingly, at the layering and texturising of a new model’s mid-length hair. Shauna went to a corner of the display area where the whole range of Waster clippers were on display and pulled up a chair on which she indicated Claire should sit.
With no equipment, not even a comb, Stewart used his fingers to arrange the long hair down Claire’s back. Always the perfect team, words unnecessary, Shauna passed Stewart a set of Waster HyperTapers from the display. He switched them on and was astounded by the powerful vibration which came from deep within them.
“Not too short remember,” Claire said rather nervously on hearing the clippers start up.
“These clippers come with a variety of attachments which show that clippers aren’t just for cutting hair hyper short,” paraphrased Shauna, from the sales spiel she had heard earlier. “Besides, the top looks fine, it’s the back and sides that Stewart needs to clipper off.”
Once again Shauna hungrily gathered Claire’s hair and held it firmly in a ponytail at the back of her head, and nodded eagerly towards Stewart to start.
“Attachment?” mouthed Stewart, looking around him. Shauna shook her head and once again indicated he should start. They smiled at each other, comfortable in the knowledge they were sharing a very special moment together.
“OK let’s go for it!” proclaimed Stewart.
Like the demonstration they had watched earlier, Stewart drove the clippers into the hair of the ponytail. But it was at the back this time, and he placed the blade of the clippers against the skin not a couple of inches away from the base. Not that the clippers minded. Like those earlier they acted like the proverbial hot knife passing through butter, and Shauna and Stewart watched in amazement as the mass of hair fell away leaving an almost shaved, white patch at the back of Claire’s head.
“Ohhhh!” exclaimed Claire, realising something dramatic was happening, but not quite sure how dramatic with no mirrors nearby.
Shauna concealed the cut ponytail in the pocket of her jacket, away from Claire’s questioning glances. Stewart, shocked by the efficiency of the HyperTapers, but also very excited, placed the clippers on Claire’s nape and eased them upwards only stopping as he reached the weight line of the original style. Her elegant neck now extended a few inches further up the back of her head, there being no appreciable difference between the now shaved nape and her bare skin.
“Phew!” Shauna whistled approvingly as Stewart concentrated on clippering the hair remaining below the weight line, including around the ears.
Shauna then heard the applause from around the front of the stand and realised the demonstration was coming to a close. Time to move. “Well there we are Claire, that looks so cute and so much sexier doesn’t it Stewart.”
“Much!” breathed Stewart, placing the clippers back on the display.
“Well thanks – both of you. It feels very short though. Do you think I could see the back? Do you have a mirror?” Claire asked with a slightly concerned air.
“Yes of course. Er, over there,” said Stewart, pointing to the adjoining stand.
As the audience dispersed, a few spreading around the stand, Shauna grabbed Stewart’s hand and they disappeared into the crowd.
“Aaarrghhhhh!” Claire’s scream came from the back of the stand as she took in the textured bowl-type cut that now sat on her head. With everything below the bowl shaved to the bone. Marcia ran from the back of the stand to find out what the commotion was all about and discovered the distraught Claire still staring into the mirror.
“Benny & Joe gave me a haircut. And then…” Claire stuttered.
“Benny & Joe did that to you?” Marcia questioned – surprised, but with a smirk upon her face and admiration for the clippered nape.
“No. After that…” and she proceeded to give an abbreviated summary of the two Waster stylists who had given her this dramatic hairstyle.
“Really? They were two of our stylists?” she asked, presumably guessing they weren’t but intrigued to find out precisely what had happened. “It does look very nice. Our HyperTapers certainly do a great job, don’t they? Beautifully short at the back,” she added, honestly.
“Yes, but I didn’t want it this short! It’s much too bizarre with it still long on top!” cried Claire, forgetting that the crown was the shortest of her hair a few minutes before.
“Well we can even it up a little. Shorten the top a bit more and graduate it into the back and sides. Would you like that?”
Deflated, Claire nodded and allowed herself to be led by Marcia on to the stage where she was swiftly caped and had the cutting collar placed around her neck.
“Good afternoon once more, ladies and gentlemen. I am now going to demonstrate the original purpose of the Waster HyperTapers on this lucky young woman here.” She picked up a set of the clippers and a large comb. Lifting the spiky layers on the crown with the comb, she allowed the clippers to clatter across them and inches fell to the cape. With a few quick passes she had brought the crown hair to a perfect, uniform half-inch flattop with the fringe a little longer. “Ah yes, that’s much better. And now to shave down the rest of the back and sides and you’ll have an extremely short haircut like mine to be proud of,” proclaimed Marcia happily.
In the audience, Shauna tightened her grip on Stewart’s hand – recognising this was what they both had come to see – and whispered, “Hey Stewart, it’s showtime!”