London Tales VII

London Tales VII

London Tales VII – LondonHair

Her limp fringe lifted for a split second and then fell, the clippers continued steadily carving the first lane. The second stroke widened the carved gorge through her hair, then the third and forth.

A few minutes before she had placed her small rucksack by the foot of the chair and sat down. Running both hands through her hair she looked in the mirror and waited to be cloaked. Fastening the Velcro straps behind her neck I asked what she would like done. With hair that looked as if it had been cut with a blunt penknife – she patted her hair and replied in a boyish tone “take it all off”. We touched briefly on the subjects of length and style.

She selected answer “D” from the multiple choice question of which grade to have her hair cropped. I was just about finishing her grade 1 skin. Then it struck me – I hadn’t asked her if she was really sure about having her this done.

Why not?

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She was like every other female who had sat down and asked for this type of style. OK – some had asked for less severe crops – some were prettier, others not so, some younger, some older.

So, why not?

She was dressed pretty much like all the other previous females. Maybe she had a few more earrings and adornments but all in all, she was pretty much run-of-the-mill.

Would I ask a guy sporting long hair if he was sure he wanted it cropped? Maybe not.

Inhibitions – I thought to myself – that’s what it is. This young woman confidently sat down, requested what she wanted and watched casually as her golden locks came off. I didn’t particularly think this type of peel suited her and as she arose from the chair she passed one hand over her sandpaper like skull – which made a rasping sound.

Pondering on “Inhibitions”, I thought maybe that was the wrong word. Perhaps not inhibition, perhaps just the thought of what others might think would be enough to discourage one, stopping what one wishes to do. I thought about another young woman who I had just recently cropped – very smartly dressed, short neat hair, very well groomed. She entered the shop half an hour before late closing. I had seen her walk past a couple of times – as she’d walk past she would quickly look into the shop – maybe she was shy I thought, as she hung her raincoat up on the hook. She waited to be asked to the chair. Both Rosa and I were seated and I stood up – would she prefer Rosa to do her hair? – It was my turn and Rosa was winding down. The young woman smiled almost nervously as she sat. Wide-eyed and looking back at me via the mirror she fumbled for some cuttings that she had placed in her trouser pocket – No – other pocket – she apologised – the cuttings were in her raincoat pocket. I handed her her raincoat. She unfolded them; there were two small clippings. Both pictures depicted short haired-models – one with quite a heavy length top but shaved ultra-short through the back and sides; and the other a short tousled look with V’d sides. She wasn’t sure which of the styles she preferred – she quite liked the first style but thought the top was too long and she also liked the second style but thought it was too square in shape. Her hair, although short and suiting her, was quite heavy at the sides – almost framing her high cheek bones – the fringe which was perhaps the longest in layers rode high on her head. Lifting hair with my fingers I asked her realistically how much she wanted off – the two or so inches whittled down to less than half an inch. And finally the naked ear crop (the ultra-short back and sides) that she requested materialised in our briefing.

“You realise how short this style will be?” Do I begin to make her re-think this through?

“Will you have a problem with work?” I keep posing these questions or even disclaimers.

She tells me what she does – hairstyle or lengths are not a problem. Some people simply lie, tell you that they’re going off exploring some uncharted territory and hair is the last thing they want to be worrying about whilst they’re rubbing twigs together trying to make the microwave oven light up.

“So you won’t be wanting your hair dried then Miss Vasco De Gamma?”

“Oh you’d better. I may just catch a cold on my way to the airport.”

Attaching a grade 4 – clippers in one hand a flat top comb in the other – I ask her again, “And you’re definitely sure?”

Convincing herself she nods and swallows dryly as the square flat comb prongs itself through her fringe and then the clippers rest for a second on the comb before they begin to move forward in unison. Both comb and clippers negotiate the contours of her scalp.

She stares into the mirror – she is surrounded by short wisps of her dead hair – her cropped hair, rounded through the top to half an inch.

She looks positively bald – she thinks – it will grow – within a week or so she’ll have her usual style – Maybe if she leaves the sides and the back it won’t look so short.

“Do you still want it cut short up the back and sides?” I ask.

I ask her again.

“Hmm – sure.” She coughs. The grade 1 snaps into place and a run the clippers liberally up her nape – what a beautiful nape – the unit rips up behind her ear. Her thick matted sideburn peels off – displaying the contrast between loosely cropped and ultra-cropped.

Shit – what will everyone at work say – she told her close friends she was having something daring – this is taking the piss – they’re all going to say- bugger!

(c) MIGKIL 1999

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