Object Jamie – DLBARGRILL
I was standing in the back at the hair show, mostly because I wasn’t invited. As a writer, I have a lot of free time and I just couldn’t get inspired to write anything. My friend and stylist Denise saw my boredom and invited me along. Since I didn’t have anything better to do, and I must admit I was curious, I went. That didn’t mean I wanted to take a good seat away from someone who was supposed to be there.
Most of it was of little interest to me until a woman named Jamie walked on the stage. Around 23 or 24, Jamie was what I’d call a natural beauty. She wasn’t someone who would turn heads in the street, but anyone who looked at her would say she was beautiful. It was more in a girl-next-door way though. Jamie wore an expensive pinstriped suit and had straight chestnut hair which stretched halfway down her back.
Jamie disappeared for a few minutes and I forgot about her. When she returned, her chestnut locks were brushed straight back and the suit was gone under a stylist’s cape. The suit must have cost $400-500, although once the cape was around her neck, her clothing was indistinguishable from the models who didn’t even spend a quarter of that.
A stylist ran his brush through Jamie’s hair, and I now noticed she seemed unhappy. I didn’t get the stylist’s name, but since he was French, or he wanted people to think he was, I named him Jean-Luc. I then knew I spent too much time watching Star Trek reruns.
Jean-Luc spoke, “Our next volunteer is Jamie. Jamie has beautiful hair, wonderful to make our next cut. Jamie, why are you here today?”
I was right: Jamie was uncomfortable. “Well, I just started working as a rep with Paul Mitchell and they strongly suggested we all change our style at a hair show. They want us to stay current for when we’re out on sales calls.”
Jean-Luc laughed. “A willing participant. Always my favorite. Don’t worry, Jamie, you’re in good hands. How long have you had your hair this long?”
Jamie gulped. “Like my whole life.”
“We’re going to start by sectioning the hair into fours.” He brushed the hair forward in front of the ear on each side. “Then we want to choose a length in the back. Now we’re doing something a little different today. We’re going to cut with product in the hair. This makes things easier to section, and Jamie, it’s Paul Mitchell.”
Jamie tried hard to break a smile, but she really couldn’t. She was supposed to smile, of course, all the women getting their hair cut had. If the stylists were going to sell these cuts, the models would go a long way to helping. Instead, Jamie just stared at her long locks brushed over her right shoulder.
He pushed Jamie’s head forward so her chin rested on her chest. “You’ll notice how we don’t even need clips because the product keeps the hair moist and hydrated. First thing we have to do is choose a length.”
He did. He carefully cut about 8 inches from the center of Jamie’s back. Brushing more of the hair from the sides back, Jean-Luc covered the area where he’d just cut. The shorter hair, a couple of inches below the shoulders could easily be seen under the blanket of hair. “This will serve as our guideline.” Jean-Luc proceeded to cut again along the same line, freeing up a huge amount of hair which probably had not seen a pair of scissors. Jamie seemed to squirm a little, but she knew the results would be disastrous if she moved too much.
Jean-Luc finished with the back, combing the hair almost to the bottom of the shoulder blades. As he brought Jamie’s head up straight, the contrast between the long sides and shorter back was sharp. “Jamie has no idea how much we’ve taken off,” he commented as he comb easily through the sides. “All she can see is the uncut sides. Trust me, Jamie, it’ll look great.”
Jamie smiled a little better this time, but I thought I saw a tear falling down her cheek. It was tough to tell and she quickly put her hand on her cheek. She was so quick, she might have been rubbing hair off, I don’t know.
“Now we’ve achieved a length, we can release the volume of the hair. We can now continue around the shoulders in an even line.” He did just that, cutting the hair on the sides to the same just longer than shoulder length. All Jamie saw was the hair on the floor. “Now we’ll angle the hair slightly shorter. If anybody hasn’t seen it, we use the fingers as directionals.”
Jean-Luc cut upwards on the sides, clipping the 1-2 inches which he held between his fingers. Gradually, he settled into a center parted a-line bob which had a face framing fringe. He called it a “90s hairstyle which goes from shorter to longer.”
He gave Jamie a hand held mirror and she tentatively smiled. Once she handed it back to him, Jean-Luc began putting more product into Jamie’s hair. “That isn’t the only cut we need to show today. Fortunately, Jamie has lots of wonderful hair to play with. With a client who has hair like this and gives you freedom to create, there’s a lot you can do.”
He again pushed Jamie’s chin to her chest and brushed all the hair forward at the hair line. I couldn’t see Jamie’s face but I was disappointed for her. The man had led her to believe he was done cutting and he was still going shorter. Sadist.
Another 10 inches of hair disappeared as Jean-Luc snipped all the hair in the back to the hairline. “What we’re doing here is creating a new line, following the curves to emphasize her volume. We’ll impress everybody Jamie sees on those sales calls.”
Someone asked a question as Jean-Luc parted the hair, first on the right side, then the left. He created a horn of all the hair in the center. Jean-Luc answered the question, leaving Jamie unattended. I felt bad. She was a person, not a prop. I missed what he said about creating layers.
He fluffed up the hair a bit and I could see how thick the hair was. He then continued cutting the sides to chin length, trimming off the hair piece by piece. After he finished the hair between his fingers, he combed the hair over that area and cut those. While the hair was two different lengths, it was slowly taking shape. Jamie’s face was blank, however, as if she wasn’t there.
He pulled the hair over to the left side and mentioned something about cutting the hair in an asymmetric line shorter to longer using the side part. The results as he blew the hair dry were stunning. The short chin length bob was beautifully cut and angled around the face. I hadn’t noticed before her beautiful eyes. Jean-Luc took off her cape and Jamie walked down the runway. Her hair bounced as the audience clapped. The clapping wasn’t for Jamie, who was now so beautiful, but for Jean-Luc. Jamie was just a device to the audience.
Not to me. When I saw Jamie walking toward the door I caught up to her on the way to the bathroom. I told her, “I don’t ever say this, but you look beautiful.” I could tell Jamie was skeptical, so I added, “The long hair wasn’t you. This shows off your eyes.” I didn’t know if that was a good thing to say, but it was all I could think.
“Do you really think so? I love my hair long. I felt so dehumanized.”
I assured her she was now beautiful, without mentioning I had thought she was only cute with the long hair. I did mention that Jean-Luc had treated her badly. Jamie thanked me and continued on to the bathroom. I didn’t know if I should do what I did next, but I needed to do it. I inquired if I could buy a beautiful short-haired woman coffee. She smiled for the first time since the haircut started and demurred. There were a lot of people here she needed to talk to. Work called. She did tell me she appreciated my flattery.
Jamie walked into the bathroom and out of my life. It was just as well. I was seeing René then and while we weren’t exclusive neither of us were seeing anyone else. I went home that day and did a lot of writing. Jamie was my muse. I created a character around this girl I didn’t know but only imagined from her reaction to the haircut. If I’d gotten to know Jamie reality might have limited my creativity and she might not have been the quirky person I created. Even though she turned me down, she gave me my story.