The stylist ran her fingers through Marie’s long, wavy hair, looked at her reflection in the mirror and said, “Are you sure you want to do this?”
“Yep! It’s time for a change. I’ve had long hair all my life and I’m sick of it. I’d like to have it cut into a boyish crop, around the ears and short in back.” Marie replied.
“Well, if you’re sure. Follow me back to the sink and we’ll get you shampooed.”
Marie caught a look at her reflection in the mirror, as she rose. Her hair really was beautiful! It flowed down almost to her waist in back, and was shiny and bouncy. Her brown eyes, framed by the flowing brunette tresses, sparkled like two pieces of dark, rich chocolate.
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Marie relaxed as the warm water flowed through her hair, and enjoyed the massaging feel of the stylist’s fingers as she worked. She sat up as the excess water was blotted from her hair, and followed obediently to the stylist’s station.
With her hair as long as it was, combing out the snarls was always an ordeal. The stylist patiently worked at it and then took some hair clips and began dividing the hair into sections for cutting. She reached for her scissors, took a section of Marie’s curls in one hand and used the other hand to gently tilt Marie’s head forward. She put the scissors around the helpless lock of hair at about the middle of Marie’s neck and said, “Well, this is you last chance to change your mind. Are you ready?” Marie closed her eyes tightly and said, “No! Please stop! I’m sorry, but I just can’t cut my hair.”
The stylist smiled at Marie and set the scissors back down on the shelf. “Don’t feel bad. It’s a big decision. When you’re really ready, you’ll cut your hair,” she reassured Marie. She was very understanding, and even took the time to blowdry and style Marie’s long hair.
Marie paid the stylist for her time and walked from the salon into the mall. She had a triumphant smile on her face. This was one of her favorite games, and one that she had successfully played many times. She never had any intention of cutting her long, wavy hair. However, she loved going to salons and pretending that she was going to get a drastic cut. She liked talking to the various stylists (She had to keep going to different salons so they wouldn’t catch on to her game.), and seeing their reaction as she brought them right to the point of cutting her hair. She got a tremendous rush herself when the scissors were moved close to her head, and then stopped. It was a feeling of power for Marie. Then, with her hair once again safe, Marie liked to walk around and look at the other women. Even though most women wore their hair short, and looked quite nice with it that way, she knew they were secretly looking at her flowing mane and wishing their hair looked like hers. After a little bit of shopping, Marie went home.
Several weeks passed, and Marie was faced with a boring weekend at home. All of her friends were occupied with other interests, and she had time on her hands. She ran her fingers lovingly through her hair and decided to have a little bit of fun. She looked through the yellow pages and selected a salon at the new mall downtown where she had not yet been, dialed the number, and made an appointment to get her hair cut that afternoon. Then Marie took a long shower, enjoying the feeling of the water and shampoo flowing down her hair to her waist.
Marie strolled confidently through the mall and went into the salon. “Hi! My name is Marie, and I have a 2:00 appointment for a haircut.” Marie told the young girl at the reception desk. The girl checked the schedule and assured her that Tanya would be with her in about 10 minutes.
Marie took a seat and began to casually look around the salon. It was very busy. There were a couple of women in various stages of getting their hair permed. One nervous looking young woman was having her shoulder length hair cut into a short, stylish bob. A couple of other women were having their hair styled, after having what, judging by the tiny bits of hair on the floor, appeared to be simple trims. There were also a few other people waiting in the reception area with Marie. She noticed with more than a little pride that she had the nicest hair in the salon.
“Hi, Marie, my name is Tanya,” the young woman said, as she held out her hand to Marie. Marie stood, shook Tanya’s hand, and returned the greeting. Marie noticed, with anticipation, that Tanya had long hair down to the middle of her back. This would make the thought of cutting long hair short particularly dramatic to Tanya. As she started to walk towards Tanya’s station, Marie used both hands to casually flip her long hair behind her shoulders and enjoyed the feeling of it bouncing down her back.
Marie took her seat and used both hands to hold her hair up out of the way so that Tanya could put the plastic cape snugly around her neck. “You have lovely hair!” Tanya complimented. “Do you want me to trim the split ends a little bit today?”
“Thanks, but actually I’d like to cut my hair into a really short style.” Marie said, with well practiced timidity.
“Really!?” Tanya exclaimed. “You caught me a little bit off guard. How short were you thinking of going. Something shoulder length, maybe with some bangs?” Tanya queried, as she placed her hands on each side of Marie’s shoulders, as if to show a suggested length.
Marie took hold of Tanya’s hands and slid them dramatically upwards until they were at about ear level and smiled at Tanya. The look on Tanya’s face was amusing to Marie. “I’m trying to decide between two styles.” Marie said, as she produced a couple of pictures from her pocket.
One picture showed a woman with a bob haircut that exposed just the tip of the woman’s earlobes and was angled upwards in the back. The bangs were cut very short, showing off elegantly arched eyebrows. The other picture showed a boyish crop that was tapered in the back, showing a nicely shaped head and regal neckline. The sides were cut around the ear and very close to her head. The bangs were short with a side part.
Tanya regained her professionalism and studied the pictures. She looked carefully at Marie, pulling her locks back out of the way so she could get a better view of Marie’s features. “You weren’t kidding when you said you wanted a short haircut. Are you sure you want to go so drastic in one visit?” Tanya asked.
“I’ve been planning this for a long time, and I’m ready.” Marie lied.
“In that case, I don’t think the bob would accentuate your best features,” Tanya said. “Your neck is really lovely, so that should be displayed, but the bob makes you look short and kind of blocky. The cropped style, on the other hand, would show off your neck while the short sides would make you look petite and perky. It would also better show off your eyes.”
The conversation went on like this for several minutes, as they looked at Marie’s pictures, and some other pictures that Tanya showed her from style magazines, and Marie pretended that she was going to have her hair cut short. As this was happening, Marie couldn’t help but notice the curious and interested looks of the people around the salon. She definitely was becoming the center of attention, which was also part of the game.
Marie took one final look at the pictures, stared at her and Tanya’s reflections in the mirror, and said, “I’m convinced. Let’s go with this style, and don’t worry about me thinking that you’re cutting off too much. I trust your judgment.”
Marie was holding up the picture of the shortest style. Tanya took it, set it on the shelf, and said she had to return the style magazines to the reception area. Marie was admiring her flowing tresses in the mirror, and secretly looking around her at the other customers. A number of people were surreptitiously admiring her hair and her courage. One woman, possibly spurred by Marie’s courage, was having her shoulder length hair cut short. She caught Marie’s look and returned a smile.
Tanya came up behind Marie and began gently arranging Marie’s hair with her fingers, taking the opportunity to understand the natural flow the hair took. “You’re really in for a major change.” Tanya said. “Are you really sure you want to cut your hair short?” she asked. Setting her jaw in fake determination, Marie nodded and said she was ready.
“Okay. Since we’re going to be cutting it off anyway, I really don’t feel like washing all of this hair.” Tanya said. Then, to Marie’s horror, she put her scissors in the middle of Marie’s neck and proceeded to cut in a straight line until she reached the front left hand side of her hair. As her lustrous locks fell to the floor Marie stared at her reflection. Moving to the back of Marie’s head again, Tanya cut around to the right side and Marie was left with a jagged bob on her head and over two feet of curls on the floor! “There. That wasn’t so bad! Follow me back to the sink and we’ll wash your hair.” Tanya said cheerily.
As she stood up, Marie’s bobbed hair flopped limply against her cheek and neck, and she felt like she was going to cry. She leaned back at the sink and Tanya washed her hair. It didn’t take nearly as long to wash as it had the other times. The excess water was blotted from her hair, she stood up and followed obediently back to Tanya’s station. The sight of her tresses piled luxuriantly on the floor just about made Marie’s knees buckle, as she took her seat.
Tanya combed quickly though Marie’s hair and began dividing the hair into sections. She gently tilted Marie’s head forward, placed the scissors at the back of her hairline and cut it off in about four snips. The feeling of the cold steel on her bare neck made Marie involuntarily flinch.
The next several minutes were a blur to Marie. All she knew was that her hair was being sheared very short. Section after section was released and cut off. Tanya moved to the side and after a few snips Marie’s ear was showing, and there was an ever growing pile of hair in her lap. After what seemed like hours of cutting, but was just a few minutes, Tanya moved to the other side. A few minutes later and almost all of Marie’s long, flowing mane was on the floor. She was left with a boyish looking style.
“It would look better if you’d let me clip the sides into a nice precise line.” Tanya said. Too numb to really respond, Marie nodded her assent. Tanya plugged in a set of electric barber shears and clicked on the power switch. The buzzing sound moving towards her ear sounded to Marie like a chainsaw must sound to a giant redwood. The feeling of it sliding up her head as the tiny hairs floated down over her face was just about too much for Marie to stand.
Finally Tanya was finished. Marie looked in the mirror and had to admit to herself that, even though the haircut was hideously short, it was a good quality haircut. Tanya had done what Marie had requested. Marie stepped onto the carpet on the floor that used to be her locks. She found it hard to believe that so much hair could come off one head.
Marie paid the Tanya for the haircut and walked from the salon into the mall. She had a queasy feeling in her stomach. She caught her reflection in the mirror and wanted to cry. Her eyes, that had looked so vibrantly brown and alive when framed by her hair, stuck out and looked like two chunks of cold, dead coal on the face of a snowman. Her ears stuck out like a Mr. Potatohead! Needless to say, she didn’t think her recently exposed eyebrows had an elegant arch.
Marie walked dazedly around the mall around and looked at the other women. Even though she used to think most women wore their hair short, Marie was stunned by how many women at the mall had long hair flowing down past their shoulders. She thought lovingly of her recently sacrificed mane, ran her fingers over the stubble at the back of her neck, and went home. Hopefully, given time, she’d get used to the new look.