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My girlfriend and I have had a weird relationship. We first met over 10 years ago when I was interviewing her for a job… I remember going through my usual script but I was completely distracted by her appearance. She had these great little lips, the longest neck you’ve ever seen, great green eyes and the best “flapper bob” I’d ever seen outside of photos from the ’20’s and ’30’s. It was just ear-tip length and inverted high in the back with the underneath graduating layers clipped quite close. Needless to say I hired her. During the course of the next two years she was growing her hair out (yuck). She had a succession of styles that culminated with a very bad perm. We had not yet become romantically involved so I was very coy about her hairstyles saying things like; “I’m one of those weird guys who likes short hair on women and it really looks good on you.” We played and flirted and finally became involved. This was at the tail-end of the “bad-perm” period and her hair was nearly down to her shoulders. Being “in the closet” about my hair fantasies she didn’t know the level of my interest in her hair. One weekend I was out of town for a seminar and she was home alone. She made an appointment with a hairdresser and had all that hair cropped into a 2″ layered pixie cut type cut. When she greeted me at her door I almost fell over and deeply regretted that I had not shared my fantasy so I could have seen what must have been a dramatic clipping. Still, we were three years into our relationship before I confided in her about my haircut obsession. Although she does not share my sexual feelings about hair and its cutting, she is a hair adventuress, willing to try many different looks and loving the convenience and clean lines of the shorter styles. So I’ve seen a lot of hair fall to the floor in our time together, but Tuesday January 30, 1996 will be remembered as a red-letter day in the haircutting annals…

Jenna and I have been living at different ends of the Golden State for about a year and a half now and doing a pretty good job of maintaining a long distance romance. I transferred to Sacramento about a year and a half ago with great hopes and sort of got stranded. A similar thing happened to Jenna. With no jobs of a comparable nature here in Sacramento she was stuck in LA (Orange County actually). Recently, however, things have been looking hopeful for her to make the move to Northern California. OK, OK I’m getting to the hair part…

A little over a year ago after a history of near buzzes, short layers, skater cuts Jenna decided that she wanted to experience longer, more feminine hair. Thus began one of the ugliest grow out periods ever seen. You’d have to know Jenna to realize that her whole aspect changes when her hair is getting longer. I’d swear she starts to slump, look frumpy and even projects a lower level of self confidence. To say the least longer hair drags her down. In April of last year she just stopped getting her hair cut. I did my very best to support her in her quest for longer hair and did a pretty good job of not trying to convince her to cut it. About 4 weeks ago she left me an opening. “I hate my hair and if I’m going to be job interviewing I need to do something about it.” Yay!

We went throught the cycle of looking at the hairstyle magazines, seeing what was trendy and trying to decide what to do. She vascillated between; “I want to cut it all off” and some kind of variation of one of those “Friends” cuts (Gag me with a spoon). There was a reason for the shag to disappear the first time around.

Now I have to go back in time just a bit to fill in a little detail about picking the hair cutter…

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(When I first came to Sacramento I was sitting in the car-wash waiting area when this woman with a spectacular haircut sat down right across from me. She was in her early 40’s, gorgeous, well dressed and very confident. Her hair was top of ear length on one side and buzzed close on the other. It was clipped close in back and was about 2″ long on top. When she sat down she pulled out a cigarette, lit it and relaxed into herself. She was striking and, except for the cigarette, reminded me of Jenna at her best coiffed. So what do all HA aficionados do at this point? “Hi, I hate to bother you, but where do you get your hair cut? My girlfriend would look great in that style.” I always make sure I refer to my girlfriend… it’s just less threatening that way. She responded in a wonderfully deep voice, “Oh thank you, he just cut it and it’s a bit shorter than usual this time. He’s over in Pleasant Hill… Here’s his name and number. I love him! He’s great! Tell him Deirdre sent you… He only works by referral.” Pleasant Hill?! That would be 80 miles from Sacramento! In my next phone conversation with Jenna I told her about this encounter and her interest was piqued. From that time forward every time she was thinking of cutting her hair, until the grow out debacle of course, she would say, “Maybe I should go to that guy in Pleasant Hill…” But it just never happened and the grow out started. By the way some of you may remember me asking for help on a bad haircut Jenna got about a year ago. I had found the stylist and we went together. It was the worst unflattering cut ever and Jenna wouldn’t talk to me for a whole day. She said she would never allow me that much control in matters of her hair again. OUCH! Is it any wonder then that I had more than a bit of trepidation at making any suggestions about her hair when she began to think about cutting it?)

So how did the momentous cropping happen? Two weeks ago I had to be in the Bay area for a meeting. It was pouring rain and I didn’t really want to get back on the road until it let up. So I went in search of the hair shop in Pleasant Hill. When I found it, it was in a little strip mall and looked pretty unassuming. I went in and asked for the stylist that had been recommended. He was the only one in the shop right then and had a client in the chair. She was quite striking with a very cute layered bob, very flattering. I explained who referred me and he exclaimed, “Oh Deirdre! She’s a wild woman! Was she newly buzzed when you saw her?” I said she was and began telling him about Jan. That she was growing out her hair… that it was terribly unflattering… how good she looked in short hair, blah, blah, blah. I felt I’d found a haircut enthusiast and just couldn’t shut up. The client in the chair then began to rave about the stylist… I listened to her compliments, picked up a card and began to leave. His last words to me were; “If she decides to come in just tell her to let me do whatever I want…” Wow…. I liked this guy!

I related my conversation to Jenna as soon as possible, with much enthusiasm and she was hooked. “I just might let him do whatever he wants… I want to look good for these upcoming interviews.” My response? “When do you want to come up, I’ll make the appointment.” Her response to me? “We’ll see…” I probably don’t have to tell you the sense of anxious anticipation I fell into.

Well when you put enough thoughtful energy into something happening, it usually does. The thing is you don’t always know how its going to happen. On the 23rd of January, Jenna’s Grandmother had a severe stroke. She had been in failing health for some time and most of the family was actually praying for her 90+ year old body to finally be at rest. Jan actually began to plan bereavement time and found that her company is quite generous giving five consecutive work days for the purpose. Grandmother passed away on January 27 and the funeral was scheduled for the following week in Fresno. It also became a good opportunity to come to Sacramento to see me. Please don’t misunderstand… there was plenty of compassion about Jenna’s Grandmother’s passing. But everyone actually seemed at peace about it… “Do you want to do something about your hair when you come?” Subtle, huh? “See if you can get me a Tuesday appointment OK?” I then, after the last experience, had to say; “Now you won’t hold me responsible for this outcome will you?” Her answer was, “Nope, you’re off the hook, whatever happens is my choice.” Whewwww (mopping sweaty brow)…

But… it was Sunday. Most high end salons are not open on Sunday… nor are most high end salons open on Monday… The likelihood that this would happen was small since the next day the salon would be open would be Tuesday; Jenna’s last day in town. (more sweat of tension) Being quite driven I picked up the phone and dialed the salon… four rings… an answering machine… “I was in a couple of week ago, she’ll only be here Tuesday… blah, blah, blah… I was babbling again. Jenna arrived Monday no return call from salon… We went through the day with some minor hair talk… “If it’s meant to happen, it will.” Tuesday morning at 8:20 the phone rang; “Can you get here by 12:15?” WHAT A RUSH!

A little over an hour in the car to look through all the nondescript styles in the hair magazines. Ugly, ugly, ugly…

We arrived at Alex’s shop right on time. After sitting down in the chair the dialogue began…

A: What are we going to do with your hair today? J: I’ve been growing it out and I’m not really sure if I want to keep growing or… A: The longer hair is not good on you… How wild can you go? J: I’ve been pretty adventurous about my hair in the past but I need to be presentable for interviews. M: (Trying to be helpful) If she decided to continue the grow-out what would you suggest? A: (Holding his fingers at about the bottom of her ear signifying a straight bob line) I’d cut it to about here and keep a beveled edge and let it grow. J: That sounds awful… can I show you my pictures of don’ts in the hair magazines? A: Sure… J: (Leafing through) Not like this or this or this… A: (Cutting Jenna off in mid sentence) I’ve got an idea… You’re sure you’re adventurous? J: Absolutely… A: OK… First (Grabbing the thick handful of hair at the back of her head) All this comes off… I might be able to leave some wispys at the base but this has to go… it’s awful. Then I’ll cut you blunt to the ear top, feather that edge and cut short underneath. I’ll leave a lot on top but I’m going to texturize it aggressively to give it lift and volume. I’ll leave some barely there long wispy sideburns… I may actually need to buzz some of the back. M: (Thinking to myself… I don’t want to be responsible for a negative outcome) I’m still off the hook, right? J: Yes you are… A: Well? J: Go for it!… I’m ready to be free of this mess.

Alex took her over to the shampoo area and washed and conditioned her hair… my hands began to sweat and other parts of my body also began to react.

Jenna and Alex came back over to the chair and she looked like the proverbial drowned rat. Her hair looked even longer, stretched by virtue of being wet and Alex began to comb her out. After removing all the tangles, he studied her head very closely. “Are you ready?” he asked. “Go for it!” she replied.

Alex pulled a pair of very long shears from his drawer and a large comb with a handle on it. Not your usual precision hair tools but he was the expert and he certainly proved that quickly. He sectioned her hair about a half inch above her ear, combed the upper section over her head (he didn’t even need to use the little clips), combed down the lower section and put his comb underneath and close to her scalp. Her hair hung below the comb over 6 inches long. He lined his shears up right against the comb and began to slice off her hair. I love the sound of wet clipped hair hitting the cutting cape and was in heaven as the first long strands clicked onto the cape and slithered quickly to the floor. Once the bulk of this section was gone he used the shears over comb method to cut even closer. He combed each successive section of hair down and quickly sliced it off just above her ear. It was stunning to see the transformation… Jenna was coming back. Alex followed the same sectioning off process on the other side and hair began to pile up on the floor. Jenna had had a body perm about six months ago and the hair still bent slightly as it landed on the floor. I reached down and grabbed a few of the long locks as a souvenir and banded them together with a piece of string that had been laying on the counter. Alex was definitely into his work.

Jenna was marvelling at her transformation with a wide smile and exclaiming how cute her hair was becoming. Alex had begun to work on the back. He established a slight weight line that echoed the line on the sides and began to sytematically shear off all the long hair he had so decidedly said, “All of this comes off.” There were some 6″ – 7″ hanks falling revealing the delicate curve of Jenna’s occipital and her gracefully long neck… I was practically salivating. Alex tapered her hair right to the scalp from the occipital and left some very long feminine wisps right at the nape… very sexy.

Alex turned his attention to the top of her head and said; “I’m going to cut long layers here…” and proceeded to section and cut the hair on top. After the sides and back this was nothing dramatic as he was maybe cutting and inch at the most. Where it began to be interesting again was when he started to texturize the top. He made deep and jagged cuts into the lines on the sides and in the bangs. He used a heavy texturizing shear all over the top and combed out a tremendous amount of shorn hair. But the most thrilling on the top was when he began to use the fine texturizing shears pulling the hair up from the scalp with his comb and placing the shears no more than a half inch from Jenna’s scalp. Long strands were combed out and hit the floor.

The three of us were obviously satisfied with the result as evidenced by the smiles we shared. Jenna put on her glasses and was thrilled. Alex sent her to the restroom where a barber’s vacuum waited for her. “There are so many little hairs from the texturizing”, Alex said, “I want you to use the vacuum to get them all off.” (No fear of hair long enough to get caught in the vacuum.) Jenna came back to the chair raving about how cute it was, how good it felt… Alex styled her hair using only his fingers and a little hairspray… Jenna was thrilled… After styling, Jenna went back to change out of the gown and Alex swept up the hair. I have never seen so much of Jenna’s hair on the floor and wished I had been brave enough to ask for it. Oh well…

Jenna returned, paid the bill and we left. I cannot begin to convey to you the sexiness she now exuded. We actually found a secluded spot along Rt. 80 going home and I expressed my appreciation for her transformation, not an easy task in a Honda del Sol.

Now the sense of anticipation and longing to be clippered is shifted to me. Today might be a good day for a flattop…

I’m waiting for the pictures to come back and will send them as soon as I get them color scanned… If anyone has this equipment handy I would happily mail some prints to be scanned. Let me know.


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