A Question Of Detachment?
It had been there, deep inside me for as long as I can remember, although as a pre-adolescent boy, I had no understanding of the aching that occurred each time I thought of women’s hair.
I suppose it was inevitable that I would become a hairstylist.
But the everyday, mundane requests of the clients soon created numbness, and I forgot why.
“Just trim an inch,” was the standard phrase. “You know, my husband… ”
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Blah. Blah. Blah. Of course I knew her husband. He was most husbands, boyfriends, brothers, fathers, sons. And they had no idea…
Linda was one of those clients. Now a beautiful young woman, she had been my client since she was a young girl and all this time, she had long, chestnut hair to her mid-back. Each and every time I dutifully sectioned her hair, in 1/2″ sections, and trimmed as little as I could.
I never really broached the subject of cutting her hair short, as she repeated her mantra each time. “I hate short hair. I want to keep my hair long.”
On this day I found myself behind Linda, once again. But for some reason, earlier this day, she had called to say she would like her hair cut, soon, perhaps above her shoulders? I felt the same aching I had felt those many years before, and had missed for so long.
As I carefully brushed the tangles free of her hair, I could feel a growing in my loins. Glancing at our reflection in the mirror, I moved to hide it, not wanting to let her know my secret desire was about to be sated. She too began to feel different. What until now had been an only an idea, a picture in a book, existing in her mind, was about to be real! “Why don’t you wash it before brushing out the tangles?” She was becoming impatient, supposing that the now familiar section by section cutting process was still some time away. I asked her to be patient with me for just a little while longer for me to prepare her hair. Slowly, without her knowing, I worked the strands into a ponytail. I didn’t tell her two things.
First, I didn’t tell her I loved the anticipation. I stroked her hair with the brush, torn between staying in this euphoric state, and rushing toward the inevitable climax. I wanted to milk the moment for all of its sensual value, feeling the tension build.
And second, I didn’t tell her of my plan to cut off the ponytail in one piece, to have, to hold, to caress. And to surprise her. The thought of the gasp that was sure to come from her caused me to begin shivering. I was sure she would notice.
As I finished brushing her hair into the ponytail, I asked her if she could pass me two hair elastics, resting on the edge of the counter. She began to ask, “Why?” Suddenly, she realized what was about to happen. She was not going to have short hair section by section allowing her the luxury of time to adjust, or perhaps to reconsider. In a matter of a few seconds her long hair would be gone.
Her new realization caused her already high level of excitement to swell. She began to urge me on. There would be no stopping now. Both of us were barely hanging on to what little control we had left.
Linda began to behave as if driven by a strange force, one that she had not experienced before, a desire coming from deep in her body. Her head and shoulders began to move, to allow her desire a chance for expression. Bracing her head, I placed the first elastic on the pony tail, doubling, then unfolding the silky rope of hair through, holding it down at a low elevation, as close as I could to her nape. I rolled it as tight as I could to her hairline, feeling a gentle aggression pushing the elastic up to leave no slack. I slowed to take a breath, brushing the thick, long, chestnut hair for the last time. And then I felt the most wonderful feeling of sadness for the price she was about to pay.
It may have been a second, or it may have been a minute. To this day I don’t know how long I held her hair in my left hand. I rolled the second elastic up close to the first one, leaving only enough room between them for the shears to do their job. I paused to ask if she was ready, wanting to hear the answer. I wanted to hear her plead, “Cut it. Cut off my hair. Please cut it!” I’m not sure those were her words, but my mind filled in what my desires wanted to hear. I slowly picked up my shears, shiny and oh, so sharp. With my left hand, I raised her hair slightly. My right hand approached the back of her head, and then suddenly I had pressed the blades against her thick ponytail, and squeezed. Once. I heard the rasp of sharpened steel severing hair. She tightened, perhaps wanting to cry, or perhaps not wanting the moment to end. In a fraction of a second I imagined how much hair had been cut. What if I stopped? How would it look if I let it go now? How would it feel? I slowed. I released, then again I squeezed.
Faster now! Squeeze, then release. Oh, careful, not too fast! Squeeze again, then release. Hold the moment in the mind!
Memorize the feeling, the vibration as I push the blades hard against the group of innocent strands that protest as if caught by surprise.
Driven by the sound of the slashing I squeezed and released. Over. And over.
In my love life I have learned to hold back, to pace my rhythm until I was ready to release. Sometimes you have to learn the same lesson twice.
Too soon it was over. In my left hand lay 18 inches of heaven, lonely and separate from her lovely head by an illogical distance, where it could never have been except for me. It hung between us, as if waiting to be claimed. By her? By me? The question needed to be answered. The soft bunch was much too valuable to ignore. The flared cut ends of the ponytail, held by the still tight elastic, seemed to invite my lips, but I resisted. Then I saw a similar vision, still in the elastic restraining the hair at the back of her head. A warm flush rose up through my body, replacing the tension I had built. I heard a soft moan. Maybe it was her release I heard. Maybe it was me. Quietly, I placed her lost innocence on the counter in front of her. I watched her inspect with fingers and eyes what had been her. God, how I envied her!
Then, pulling the elastic off her head, I watched her newly cut ends open up and dance, darting forward, up, sideways. Her hair swung in a way it had never swung before. As she shook her head, her eyes blazed. “Cut more!” she shouted, as if angry at the remaining hair for having conspired with the now detached ponytail to hold her prisoner, or perhaps angry enough to punish herself for so impulsively abandoning her refusal to part with her long hair. “Cut off my hair. Take more.”
On another day, I might have, but this day I resisted.
I carefully washed her newly shortened hair, caressing and not so secretly fondling the renewed strength and weight cutting seemed to bring.
Pressing precise sections against her soft skin, from her nape, following her jaw, I carved away the last remains of jagged ends, as if kissing a lover who had satisfied my soul.