It was 9 AM. Michael would be back from his business trip in eight hours. I had thought long and hard as to what to do to surprise him. Our relationship was hardly stale, but I figured a surprise would be nice. After all, he’d been in Los Angeles for two weeks. Who knows what he was doing out there with his spare time; hopefully thinking about me. I don’t think, however, he knew what I was planning. But then again, neither did I as I stood in front of the bathroom sink that morning.
I brushed my teeth and put on my makeup. As I brushed out my brown hair I realized how lifeless it was just sitting there. I’d worn it pretty much the same way for years; shoulder length and straight. Michael loved it and so did I. It was low maintenance. All I had to do was wash it and get it trimmed every so often, as opposed to either of my sisters. Jane went blonde several years ago, and although it looks good on her, I guess the upkeep is brutal. The same goes for Dana, who in a fit of rebellion last year after she graduated from high school hacked most of it off and dyed it jet black. Every time she comes to visit Dana suggests I try it too. She says it’s liberating to have short hair. Liberating as it might be, I don’t know how well it would go over at work. I’m a new schoolteacher without tenure and I don’t know how well my principal would take it if I didn’t look “professional.” However, right now it is the summer…
I continued brushing my hair. I must have brushed it for twenty minutes or longer as I got lost in my thoughts. My hair had looked the same for years, so would it really be that bad if I tried something new? It’s the summer; If I don’t like it, certainly I can get my hair to go back to normal by the time school is back in session. For Christ’s sake, I’m twenty-four years old but I practically look like I’m forty! I’m going to do it! But what? And what would Michael think?
I logged on to the ‘Net and searched for hair sites. All of them looked rather interesting but nothing looked good enough for me to try. However, I found myself intrigued by a site in which all the women had extremely short hair. Some of the women were even bald. But no, that couldn’t be for me. I went to another site but soon I went back to the bald women. Could I? Would I even dare? What would Michael think?
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I ran through the pros and cons in my head. It would certainly be different. It might even be lower maintenance than my hair right now. It would be fun to try. It wouldn’t go over well at my job. Michael might not like it. Well, I could always buy a wig, and as for Michael, well, I could find out if he loved me for who I was or not. I was pretty sure I already knew the answer, and if I was wrong I would be upset, but then again, this was something I had to do for myself and if he couldn’t understand it, he could just move on. I ran to the kitchen and found a pair of heavy shears. After running back to the bathroom mirror I gathered my hair into a long ponytail. I stared at myself for what seemed to be forever before placing the shears to my hair. I probably put the shears down only to pick them up again about ten times before I started cutting. It was hard and it took several tries to get all the way through. When I first looked at the hair I was now holding in my hand I was horrified. But then I realized that I had just liberated myself in more ways than one. Had I been afraid to cut my hair because of my job, Michael, or both? It no longer mattered.
It was 11 AM. I drove twenty miles out of town so nobody I knew would see me. As I entered the next town I found the perfect barber shop. I parked my car and as I stepped inside I knew I had made the right decision. I sat down in the barber’s chair and I told the barber what I wanted. He didn’t try to dissuade me but he did suggest I try several different styles before going all the way just in case I changed my mind. The barber took out his scissors and cut my hair to an inch all around. I liked it but I asked him to go shorter. With that the clippers came to life and ran over my head. It was a weird sensation that took a little while to get used to, but one that I eventually found quite stimulating. My hair was now half an inch long. It needed to be shorter still. One quarter inch. Shorter. One eighth inch. Shorter. The clippers ran over my head one more time, this time without a guard. I had been clipped bald and I loved it, but I knew I wasn’t finished. The barber lathered me up and the warm foam felt absolutely wonderful. He said he shaved me twice to make sure he had cleaned everything up, but I think he saw how much I was enjoying myself and shaved me twice just so I could have double the pleasure. I paid the barber, leaving a big tip, and headed off to the department store next door after wrapping a kerchief around my head. In the store I stopped in the restroom and after realizing I was alone pulled off the cover to reveal my perfectly smooth head. One thing stood out to me in particular; my eyebrows were now way too thick. I could take care of that at home. And what would I do about makeup? I really didn’t wear much besides lipstick and foundation in earthy tones, but I didn’t think that would go with my new “hairstyle.” I bought several things at the store to help me at home, and on my way out I got two more piercings for each of my ears and earrings for them.
It was 4 PM. I came home and continued my makeover. Not only was it a physical makeover, but a spiritual one. I realized how much I had repressed of myself and realized that it didn’t matter what I looked like to anyone but myself. I could dress however I wanted and still be the same person. Michael, I hoped, would come to the same conclusion. As for work, I knew that the principal might have a problem with the new me so I made sure to buy a wig. My hair would be shorter and he would have to understand the additional piercings, but I knew in the end he could live with that. I tweezed my eyebrows until only a single row remained, and I also left a severe arch. I applied foundation until it looked as if I had been bald my entire life. I had never noticed how big and lovely my eyes were until this moment, nor how beautiful my ears were and accentuated my head. I loved rubbing my smooth head and it was all I could do to keep my emotions in check until Michael returned. I received a phone call from him; he was back at his apartment unpacking and would drop in shortly. I hung up the phone and dressed in my new black minidress, stockings, and heels. I finished the new me with matching deep crimson, almost black, lipstick and nail polish and waited for Michael’s reaction.
It was 9 AM the following morning. Michael and I had never had a better night. He had always loved me and still did. Michael had always loved my hair, but also knew that without it I was pretty much the same person. He wouldn’t try to persuade me to grow it back unless I wanted to, but did I?
It is now six months later. At first Michael bought a set of clippers and re-clipped me weekly. I also clipped him from time to time. However, we eventually did grow apart and we separated ways amicably. After our breakup I lathered myself up and shaved the stubble again. I liked the feeling so much I have continued to do so regularly since then. Sometimes I let some of the few people who know my secret shave me. Jane was astonished at first but has been willing to help me. Even Michael stops by every now and then and to show there are no hard feelings I’ve let him take the razor in hand. Just recently I’ve taken another big step by shaving my eyebrows altogether.
It is 4 PM. I’ve just received an urgent phone call from Dana, as she is upset with our parents again and wants to get revenge on them. It’s been six months since I’ve seen her. Perhaps she’ll like my “little secret.” Perhaps it will give her an idea or two…