Time For a Change – Spud
As I opened the door and stepped into the hairdressers it all looked strangely familiar but different. All the people were the same as they greeted me and I sat down to wait for my appointment. Today was different because instead of my usual trim, I was going to get my hair cut. I don’t know when it happened but after years of having long hair I suddenly just decided that it wasn’t me anymore and it was going to go.
Paul my hairdresser smiled at me and told me he would be a few minutes so why didn’t I grab a cup of coffee. I sat nervously and flicked through the magazines looking at various styles trying to imagine what they would look like on me. At home for weeks I had been tying my hair back checking the shape of my face without long hair framing it, but I still couldn’t really imagine it.
Suddenly Paul was in front of me ushering me to the washing area. I sank back into the chair and he started to wash my hair. He didn’t even ask me what I wanted done to my hair as for years it had just been a trim of the ends to even up my waist length hair. We talked about music and movies and then when my hair was washed we moved over to the chair.
I sat down and he fastened the cape around my shoulders and then unravelled the towel and my wet hair fell about my shoulders. Paul started combing it out with long strokes till it hung glistening over my shoulders and down my back. It was then that I told him that I wanted it cut short. He paused and looked at me as if to say “Are you really sure”. My eyes remained steady and he smiled and said “Okay — How much?”. I pushed my hands out from under the cape and started explaining that I wanted a bob. My hands hovered just above my shoulders indicating the level I thought it should be. Paul smiled and said as long as I was going to have that much off I really should go a little further as shoulder length was too long for a bob. He moved my hands up to my chin and then rolled my hair up in his hands showing how it would sit around my face. It looked a lot shorter than I wanted but I trusted Paul so I dropped my hands and nodded yes.
There was a mirror on the other side of the salon at just the right angle so I could see everything Paul was doing. He parted my hair down the centre and pushed the mass of it over my shoulders. He then took a diagonal line from the middle of my head about half way up my ears and then down towards the ear lobe and clipped the hair out of the way. He then combed the hair on my neck down very carefully several times and then started cutting the guide line as he called it. I felt the scissors against my neck for the first time and almost jumped out of the chair as I watched almost 2 feet of hair fall off onto the floor. The first cut was in the middle so an inch wide gap appeared, with the long hair hanging down on either side. He continued to the left and right until the guide line was finished. He bent down and picked up the cut hair placing it in front of me on the counter. There was a good three-inch gap between the bottom of my hair and the top of the cape exposing the pale skin of my neck. The next layer was combed down over the short hair and it was as if nothing had been cut until the scissors started moving along the cutting guide again. The hair fell away like a curtain revealing the short hair again. The pile of long hair on the counter mounted up and up.
The next two layers were combed down over the guide line and neatly snipped off as well. The next section combed down at the back was high enough to continue over my ears to my temples so he piled all the rest of my hair on the top of my head in a big damp bun. He then pulled my head back upright. Although I could see a large pile of hair on the counter in front of me, my hair looked almost the same as when I used to get the ends trimmed.
For the next layer he cut the back before cutting the sides. At this point I could see straight through the sides of my hair as the back was completely cut off. The sides just hung down waiting for the scissors to do their job.
The next cuts he made I would be able to see directly in the mirror in front of me, not in some far off double reflection. He moved around to the left side and the scissors slowly started moving forward and downward. With a few quick snips all that remained was the hair in front of my shoulders as the scissors passed under my ears. Soon all that was left was a strand in front of my ear covering my cheek hanging down to my waist. One final snip and the side was finished. I slowly turned my head from side to side looking at the long and then the short. The right hand side was then reduced to the same length. He continued this layer upon layer until the last layer was ready to be cut. I could see the strong line of the bob beneath a thin veil of long hair. He carefully combed it down checking the length and then slowly, snip by snip the last wisps of my once long hair fell to the floor and the bob was finished. I was amazed at the difference it made my neck seemed much longer and the line of bob accentuated my jawline. I smiled at the results.
It was a left side parted bob, one length with no fringe. Paul then blow dried my hair carefully brushing it under till it looked perfect. I looked at it in the mirror and shook my hair from side to side, it felt wonderful. I thanked him many times as I paid my bill little knowing that I would be back so soon…
For the first two weeks I just loved my bob. It seemed so manageable after long hair which used to take an age to dry. But I started hating the ritual of blow drying which was the only way to get that beautiful curl under which I liked so much, especially at the back.
So it was only three weeks later that I made my next appointment with Paul. I sat down in the chair and explained the problem and Paul smiled and said it was a common problem with long bobs. He lifted up a small mirror and showed me the back of my head. He pointed out a small wave in my hair that ran from the middle of my head down towards my ears. He then lifted my hand up to my head and pressed my fingers against a boney lump. He told my this was my occipital bone and it defined the natural fall line of my hair. Hair cut along this line would naturally lie against my head and not flick up. I had seen women with this kind of cut and had always assumed it was just a different style not the answers to my prayers. So without even hesitating I said let’s do it.
After washing my hair Paul parted my hair down the centre as before and then took a diagonal line from the middle of my head almost level with my ears and then down towards the ear lobe and clipped the hair out of the way. He gently pushed my head forward till my chin touched my chest. I remembered that only three weeks ago I was staring down at a lap full of hair and now it just brushed my shoulders, but not for long. He combed the hair on my neck down and lifted the centre section out parallel to my head and using his fingers as a cutting guide he cut off all that was showing above them. At the bottom only an inch was cut off but at the top over four inches slipped between the scissor blades. He continued to the left and right, lifting up section after section and chopping it off short. The shorter hair was slightly darker and I could feel the coolness on my neck as he evened the ends off by cutting it straight off about an inch below the hair line.
He then combed the first of the top layers down. It completely covered the short nape hair and I watched fascinated as he carefully cut the line of the bob. The line started half way down my ears in the centre and moved down at a steep angle toward my ears at the side. I couldn’t believe that the long layer was being cut half way up the back of my head. After only two more layers the sides were ready to be done. As before he moved around to the left side and as I felt the scissors touch my ear I almost jerked away as it felt so high. The scissors slowly started moving forward and downward. With a few quick careful snips my chin length bob fell away to become an ear length bob. The top layers were then combed down section by section and my long bob became a shorter bob.
Paul dried my hair which took no time compared to normal and then picked up the mirror to show me the back. The top layer looked smooth and smart but the wedge looked a bit untidy. The bob looked so neat and geometric I knew this was wrong so I asked him to cut it shorter. He smiled his approval of my decision and pushed my head forward and clipped the longer top layer of hair up out of the way. He then combed the shorter neck hair between his fingers and cut off any which showed above them, quickly reducing the wedge to three-quarters of an inch.
I started to move my head back but he held it in place as he picked up a small comb and a smaller pair of scissors and before I could say anything he bent over and started running the comb up through my hair using the comb as a cutting guide. He started cutting the hair even shorter. I thought at first that he was just evening up any untidy hairs but again and again the comb raced up my neck. Each time he cut just a little less high up my neck and although he was only cutting off a fraction of an inch at a time the short hairs cascaded down my neck in a continuous shower. The hair got shorter and shorter until I could see my scalp starting to appear at the bottom. It seemed impossible for it to get any shorter but still the comb and scissors moved up and down my neck until he was no longer lifting up hair with the comb but snipping off any which remained showing above it. When he finally pulled my head back into a upright position he had tapered the wedge from half an inch at the top to a buzz at the bottom. When he showed me the finished cut in the mirror I just nodded half in a daze. It was finished… gone was the shorter bob, it was now a short bob. The skin revealed for the first time formed a pale border around the tapered hair of the nape.
I walked outside and ran my fingers through my hair from front to back. The front felt comfortably normal but instead of finishing at the base of my neck it suddenly finished at the occipital bone, barely a hands width from the crown of my head and then there was just short bristles of hair.
I loved my new bob and the reaction I got from men when I let it fall across one eye and then tossed it out of the way.
I kept it like that for almost a year letting Paul cut it just a little shorter at the sides so my ear lobes were fully exposed. Finally people could see my earrings and I couldn’t stop men running their fingers up my neck, especially when it had just been cut.
One day I walked into the salon with my hair clipped behind my left ear and Paul suggested that I might want to try something different if I liked that style. I said okay do what you want.
Paul carefully clipped up the back of my hair but this time it was level with the top of my ears. Paul said let’s not waste any time and for the first time he picked up a pair of clippers with a #2 guard on. It was a strange feeling as the clippers moved up my neck for the first time. At the bottom the hair was barely long enough for the guard but as they moved further up more and more hair stood up before the clattering blades for a split second before they were buzzed off. Finally the clipper guard disappeared under the longer hair of the top layer a moment before a big lock of hair fell away from the blades down my neck onto the floor. Usually Paul took several minutes to cut the nape of my neck but this time it was all done in under a minute. Paul stood back and I starred at my neck. I was used to it being short at the bottom but to see it all buzzed from the top my ears to the hairline was a bit of a shock. Paul sensed my shock and reassured me that the top layer would not be cut that high. He explained that he was under cutting the style to remove some of the thickness. If he didn’t he would have to layer the top and that was not what he wanted for this style.
He unclipped the first of the top layers but this time only on the right side. The first layer was high enough that it came over my ear so I assumed that this was why he was doing it one side at a time. As the hair of my nape was all buzzed off I felt the cold steel of the scissors as Paul rested them against my neck. This time the cutting line started just above the occipital bone and as the scissors moved slowly and carefully down they intersected the back of my ear over half way up. The angle of the cut was steep so as the last cut was made the hair was just below my ear level. Three more layers were reduced to the same length and the first side was finished. This side was the longer side away from my parting.
Paul moved round to the back of my head and made the first part for the other side. I watched as the scissors started cutting the first layer. Instead of moving downwards they moved up Paul was continuing the cutting line diagonally up my neck. Paul looked up at me and said, “Don’t worry, this is going to look great.” He then took the next snip over my ear. Slowly, snip by snip the hair fell away from my ear until it stood out completely uncovered. He then angled the scissors down and cut a v-shaped sideburn. It only took two more layers to finish the side but Paul took extreme care and each time I gasped as the line was cut up my neck and over my ear. Paul explained it was called an asymmetric cut first done by Vidal Sassoon in the ’60’s. He picked up the clip I had been using and threw it in the bin saying, “You won’t be needing that any more.”
I slowly moved my head from side to side, from long to short, relatively speaking of course. My fringe still fell into my eyes in that sexy way while on the other side my eye stood out like a beacon. Paul had certainly outdone himself this time.
When I got home I sat down in front of the mirror and reached into the drawer where I kept my hair from the first cut. I held it in my hand and then placed my hand over my bob so I couldn’t see the join. Turning to the right my reflection showed me as I used to be with long hair. I only looked for a second and then put the hair back. To me the only haircut was a bob, a short bob with a buzzed nape.
Over the next six months my asymmetric cut gradually got shorter until Paul was buzzing the left side as well as the back. At first he left the top layer over the short hair but the next time the top layer finished an inch above my ear and the long side just barely made it half way down my right ear. I had a special deal and Paul used to buzz my neck every two weeks to keep that just cut look. I was addicted to being buzzed. So I guess it was inevitable that the bob would have to go. I discussed it with Paul and told him how I wanted it really short all over, definitely buzzed up high at the back and sides. Although a little unsure at first he finally agreed. Without even wetting my hair he fastened the cape around my shoulders and picked up the clippers and a comb.
He started with the #3 guard and moved round to the back. The clippers slid effortlessly up my neck, over the occipital in the fresh long hair, he lifting them off only an inch before my crown. Just a few more strokes and he was moving round to the shorter left hand side. He gradually moved forward, a cut at a time buzzing up to within and inch of the parting. Compared to the long right hand side it almost looked bald. Now for the other side, the side which had never felt the delicious hum of the clippers. Three inch chunks of hair fell easily away from the clippers quickly exposing my ear. Soon the right hand side was reduced to the same length as the left. Paul was just about to pick up some scissors to cut the top when I stopped him and suggested that he could use the clippers for the top… at least for the first part. He smiled and clicked the clippers back into life. Starting from the right he picked up the hair with the comb and ran the clippers along it causing a great cascade of hair to fall in my face. He gradually worked his way over my head leaving about two inches of hair. Finally one last section four inches long lay across my head. He lifted all the hair up and with one last run along the comb it was gone, tumbling into down my forehead into my lap. The clippers were put down and Paul quickly blended the back and sides into the top. Cutting it only about an inch long at the back he slowly moved forward over my head graduating it into a longer spiky fringe. As soon as he removed the cape my hands leapt to my head so I could feel my new buzz cut.