I tried to take the note while looking at Ms. Locke to make sure she didn’t see it. I dropped it on the floor and quickly picked it up and hid it in my lap just as she turned around. Mary and I just sat there trying to stifle laughter and a few other students giggled.
“Give me the note”, said the teacher as she walked over to us and I handed it over. ” Again with the notes”, Ms. Sandra Locke furthered as she walked back to the front of the class. “I’ve had enough. I’ll see you, Hannah, in here after school for detention”.
My mouth dropped open. I quickly scanned the room as a handful of boys and girls around the class made a collective, “Ooooooooooooo”.
“And I’ll see you Mary in here before school tomorrow”, Ms. Locke said as she resumed writing her trigonometry on the white board.
“No fair!”, my friend said from the desk next to me.
With a sigh I turned my attention to the board and studied her writing for a couple of minutes before I felt something land in my lower-back length, light brown hair. I reached around andÂ grabbed what turned out to be a paper airplane. I didn’t even bother to look around behind me; I just crumpled it up and dropped it on the floor. With a growl I rested my chin in my hands and stared forward at our teacher who had now turned around and resumed lecturing again.
I was wearing my long brown hair today down with the hair on my crown sectioned off from the rest and tied in a long ponytail that followed the rest straight down, simple. I also had tight fitting, light blue jeans and sneakers on, white socks and topped off with a plain white t-shirt. I guess my looks could be described as average, girl-next door. Pretty, in a simple way that doesn’t really go out of style, pretty average for a sixteen year old.
My friend Mary, next to me, was a redhead and a couple of inches taller than I and about as pretty as me.
I tucked a lock of my hair over my right ear and turned a glance at Mary, who returned the worried look. Her red hair was slightly wavy and reached bra length.
The rest of the day went by pretty normally except for my english teacher assigning us an essay and that bitch Heather tripping me on purpose in the hallway.
When the last bell rang I shuffled out of class into the crowded, noisy hallway and walked halfway across the high school campus to my locker. After gathering the last of my books, I followed Mary out to the busses to see her off. She told me that she would call me later and wished me luck with detention before getting on.
I sighed and made my way back to Ms. Locke’s classroom. By now the halls were mostly empty except for the occasional teacher or student walking by, the sound of a vacuum cleaner somewhere and every once in awhile, you could hear a locker slam somewhere in the hallways.
I stopped before the door, opened it and walked in.
The classroom was empty and silent. Ms. Locke could be found sitting at her desk grading assignments. She looked up at me and gave a quick sly smile before looking down at her papers again.
“Sit at your desk please”, she said.
This I did, and sat for about fifteen minutes in the quiet classroom. I studied her fine, long, dark brown hair which was tied up in a chignon bun and her business attire. She wore a black pencil skirt which showed off her toned, shapely legs that were currently crossed under the desk. She wore dark stockings on her legs and on her feet were a pair of black, four-inch Gianvito Rossi heels. Her suit jacket was, at this moment, laid over the back of her chair, leaving her with just her white silk blouse on with just a hint of cleavage showing. I could also see that she had french manicured nails. I wondered if she used a garter belt with those stockings; probably I thought. I had tried to get my mom to allow me to buy stockings like those, but she said I was too young. That was one thing that I’ll give Ms. Locke credit for, she was a sharp dresser and scarily intelligent. All of the guys had a crush on her. But then again, it seemed that they had a crush on anything with boobs and a heartbeat. She was a little on the stern side, and didn’t banter with the students much. She didn’t tolerate goofing off in class; and for some reason I always got the impression that she somehow held girls to a higher standard than the boys. But that could just be my imagination.
The silence was broken when she said, “Why don’t you make yourself useful and straighten up the classroom while I finish this”.
“Okay”, I mumbled.
I went around the classroom, putting books away on the shelves and wiping down the desks. Pretty soon Ms. Locke put away her papers and said to me, “Okay Hannah. Come here for a minute”.
I walked over to the chair in front of her desk and sat down.
“What are we going to do with you?”, the teacher started.
“I don’t know”, I replied.
“How many times have I seen you passing notes to Mary and others?”
“Uh, I don’t know”.
“How many times have I seen you here after school?”
“…I don’t know”.
“Too many times?”.
“Yeah, I guess”.
My hands fidgeted in my lap. Her gaze seemed to bore right into my skull, reading my mind.
She sighed, leaned back into her chair and rubbed her eyes. “I think it’s time some punishment was in order”
My heart skipped a beat and I gulped. She had never said anything like this before.
“I’m not going to allow you to continue wasting my time after classes, nor am I going to ignore your behaviour as if nothing happened. One way or another, I’ll get you to pay attention and start acting like a responsible young lady who has her priorities in life straight. So, this is what we are going to do. Since none of the other more conventional punishments have seemed too work, we’re going to try something different. You are going to be getting a haircut”.
I sat there confused. “A haircut? Why?”.
“I believe that a person’s attitude starts with their hair. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they wear their hair and I have to say that I am none too impressed with you. What you need is a good, short, no nonsense cut that is professional looking. Something that is appropriate for a young lady who puts her career first. I think that young girls should have handsome heads of hair, not whorish manes”.
“You are going to come with me to my salon”, she continued. “So, gather your things and follow me to my car”.
“What?”, I blurted. “Now? But-but you can’t make me get my haircut! Isn’t that against the rules or something?”
“Hardly. Your choice is simple. Get your haircut or you will fail this semester and have to repeat it over the summer.”
My eyes went downcast in defeat.
“Good choice. Now lets get going. Ms. Somerset happens to share my opinions about many things and as such does not like to be kept waiting”.
Before I knew it my things were thrust into my hands and I was ushered out the door. I followed Ms. Locke down the, now, completely empty hallways towards the staff parking lot.
“I am proud of you for coming with me; very reasonable behavior. It won’t be that bad, and in fact, you will probably like it when it is over” Ms. Locke said with a pleased smile.
I said nothing.
There were several cars in the lot including Ms. Locke’s sedan. I opened the back door and threw my pack in and then entered through the passenger side door.
Not much was said during the short ten minute trip. I could smell the teachers perfume and study her immaculate car’s interior. Pretty soon we were pulling into a strip mall where there was a salon that looked like it was part of a chain. I could see that the place was completely empty. We got out and made our way to the door where the door was held open for me. I immediately noticed the familiar sweet, pleasant aroma of salon products. The interior was pretty standard; a long room with a row of five chairs with mirrors running down each side of the room. The floor was black and white checkered linoleum with simple chairs in the waiting area and what looked like sinks in the back. The only person in the shop was a woman sitting behind the reception desk. She looked to be around forty with average body and long blonde hair. She got up as soon as she saw us enter.
“Sandra. Its good to see you”, the lady greeted.
“It’s good to see you too Melissa” Ms. Locke replied with a smile as they embraced. “I’ve brought a new client. This is Hannah, one of my students”.
“Hello”, she said plainly, with a deadpan expression.
“Hi”, I responded.
“You’re the one I’ve been hearing about then? Very well, come with me”
She led me to the first chair on the right, very close to the waiting area where Ms. Locke sat to watch.
“Short, helmet style crop. Skip the shampoo please”.
The salon chair softly creaked in response to me easing into it, almost in a trance. I had tunnel vision and just looked at nothing in particular on account of the butterflies and swift heartbeat.
My neck was immediately collared with white tissue and followed by a dark red cape that was flung over me and velcroed tight. The the elastic holding my pony in the back was grabbed and just pulled straight off.
“Ow!”, I said as I winced.
Ms. Somerset walked in between Ms. Locke and I and slowly turned the chair to the left so that I was facing the back of the shop, away from the mirror. I crossed my legs.
“Uncross your legs”.
I uncrossed them.
She combed my hair back quickly and then picked up a pair of scissors and snipped right across, from shoulder to shoulder; slicing off all of my hair to just above shoulder hight. Almost two feet of brown hair dropped to the floor lifelessly.
“There we go” the beautician said. “A girl like you has no need of long hair anyway”.
My eyes began to mist, and I blinked it away.
The comb was used to section my hair up above my nape, letting the bottom most layer hand down. Then the top section was split into two and clipped in place. A spray bottle was used to dampen my hair. The water was ice cold. My hair was then snipped to an inch all the way across so that the lowest my hair hung was chin level, no longer. She went across again, making careful cuts. Snip snip snip snip I could feel the cold metal of the scissors on my neck and it gave me goose-bumps snip snip the sound could be heard clearly throughout the silent shop.
Then my left side was unclipped and combed down, misted, and cut straight across to chin level. Apparently, Ms. Somerset liked to be in charge and let her clients know it, because she hardly ever moved from her spot next to the counter; she would turn the chair this way and that. Whenever she needed to get at me from a different angle, the chair was moved and she stood still.
Pretty soon, she set the scissors down and combed through my hair again to straighten it out before opening a drawer and fumbling around with different tools. By this time, I had been turned all the way around so that I was facing the opposite wall. I could see my reflection in the mirror across from me. I looked exactly like what I was, a girl with a boring, plain one-length chin length bob. To the outside observer, nothing out-of-the-ordinary seemed to be going on. Just another sixteen year old girl sitting in a chair, getting her haircut after school.
I then heard a click and something being plugged into the wall. After a moment I heard a switch being flipped and a large dark red clipper turned on. It made a very loud whrrring sound, not a buzzing.
I felt a hand on each temple, guiding my head down. I broached no resistance as the guard came in contact with my nape and began to move up, it’s tone changing slightly. It stopped a couple of inches up my nape. I could feel lots of shorter, dry hairs falling past my neck, some landing on my lap and shoulders. I stared at the clumps of hair that were soon to be swept up and thrown away like so much other unwanted trash. The clippers were now being run more quickly back over the cut hairs of my neck, making sure it was cut evenly. I was then turned to the left and felt my left sideburns being sheared down to a number three. The cape was now covered with clumps of hair. I was facing Ms. Locke who was watching with passing interest.
More hairs landed onto my shoulder. She picked up a large, wide-tooth comb and began running the clippers up them at an angle, tapering the back slightly. She would flick them at the top, sending a small cloud of hairs out and raining down. I felt her reset the comb on my neck, I was keenly aware of the hard teeth being pressed into my head and the clippers raking up them with a clackity clack sound. Every once in a while, I would feel a small tug and pain as a hair or two was pulled during this process.
The light tickling feeling was not unpleasant and I might have enjoyed it under different circumstances. The sound of the clippers changed slightly as they were moved closer and farther away from my ear, I could feel hot air being blown out of them behind my ear when it was close.
Once more I was silently rotated around to the back of the shop, my view of the shop slowly spun from right to left before coming to a stop. The shearing continued on my right side. Melissa bent my ear down and sheared the hair around them off, giving it a clean, sharp look. My whole body was still, my legs on the chrome foot rest and my hands in my lap. All of my senses seemed to be hyper focused on my head, it was if there was nothing below the neck, like I was a disembodied head flowing around. This was heightened by the fact that it was warm under the cape and slightly chilly in the room.
A small piece of hair landed on my nose and it wouldn’t fall off. It was driving me crazy, so I took my hand out and rubbed it off. The clippers were moved away from my head for the moment to pass.
“Sorry”, I said and shot my hand back under and into my lap quickly.
There was no response as she resumed her work with a slightly annoyed look on her face.
Pass after pass the clippers went around my ear, before stopping and quiet once again reigned in the room. The guard was removed and turned on again, this time, making a much higher pitched buzzing sound. The clippers were flipped upside down and gently stroked across my hair line downward, sharpening and cleaning the hairline up all the way around. I could feel her shaping the bottom of my nape into a point in the middle. This tickled a lot.
I was spun around to face my cape-covered image in front of me. A blow dryer was turned on and fanned over my neck and shoulders, clearing away the lumps of cut hair that had piled up around my head then turned off. I hadn’t realized just how covered in hair I was. A small cloud of dry hairs of various lengths went flying to the floor, I almost sneezed. Ms. LockeÂ said,
“You’re taking this rather well Hannah. Perhaps we can make an honest woman of you yet. I sure hope it goes as smoothly with Mary”.
“Mary?”, I half unconsciously replied.
The clippers were set down on the hard counter in front of me. Ms. Somerset picked up her comb and spray bottle again, giving it a few test sprays to the side.
The conversation continued as I was sprit-zed.
“Yes. Don’t think that I have forgotten her. Pretty soon, she will be sitting in that same chair too, with a cape around her shoulders.
The spray bottle was set down and my hair was combed again.
“Is Mary the other one?”, asked Melissa.
“Yes, her red-headed partner in crime who you will meet as well. And you know how I feel about redheads”, was the answer.
“Indeed”, Melissa said.
My hair was again sectioned in the back and on the top and cut with scissors to blend the sides and back of my head from the short, tapered hairs at the bottom with the eventual length of the top.
“Quite frankly Hannah, if it were up to me, you would not be they only one getting a makeover. If I was running the school I’d give serious though to implementing uniform haircuts for the whole school.
Melissa continued her combing and scissoring.
“Can you imagine? All of the girls with plain, sensible cuts. And I would have all the boys sheared close and high, with skin on the sides and very short buzz cuts on top, just like all men should be”. She sighed, “Oh well, a girl can dream can’t she?”.
Finally, the top section was let down and cut a couple of inches shorter so that it was a good four inches long on top my bangs being wacked off at the top of my eyebrows. I scrunched my eyes closed as the my bangs were combed up, snipped, and hair fell down past my face; combed down to check for length, to short, was the verdict as they were swept up again. Then the comb was raked down from my forehead down, laying the bangs neatly on my eyebrows; these were then gently snipped off to just above my brows snip……snip…….snip I could feel her breath on my face, and her hand underneath my chin. After that, the top of my head was swiftly combed up and cut, section by section from front to back. Her Melissa worked with speed, my head would rock slightly with the pulling and the teeth of the combed scrapped along my scalp.
The weight line between the longer top hairs and the short sides fell along the edge of my crown, just at the top of the sides of my head. If the longer hairs had hung down a couple more inches, actually over the short hairs, it would be a bowl cut. But instead the weight line gave the slight impression of a faint helmet of long hairs sitting on the top of my head with shorter hairs on the sides.
Ms. Somerset sectioned the back again into layers once more and took a razor to each of my layers, softening them. They felt like a light tugging my head and made a very quiet scratching sound.
At last this nightmare was coming to an end as the tools were set down and out came the dryer and brush. The top of my head was brushed in a way that did not require styling or product to keep the hair styled on top. After, the drying the cape was undone and whisked off of me.
“Is that good enough honey?”, Melissa asked.
I started to say “uuhh” until I realized she wasn’t asking me but Ms. Locke instead. She got up and came over touching my hair and looking.
“Yes, I’d say that’s about right. Thank you very much”.
“Sure, anytime” the barberette said as I got up and followed the ladies to the reception counter where stood there until I realized they were staring at me.
“….” I replied
“Your paying for your haircut. You didn’t expect me to pay for it did you?”
My face flushed scarlet as I fumbled for my wallet and pulled out a twenty for the ten dollar cut.
“Keep the change ma’am”,Â I murmured with downcast eyes.
“Thank you dear”, Ms. Somerset said with a smile.
I looked up at Ms. Locke sheepishly who was still staring at me.
“Thank you for cutting my hair”.
“Wonderful”, said Ms. Locke. “Now lets get you home”.
“Anytime”, Melissa said. “And I hope to see you again”.
We walked out the door into the late afternoon and I was driven home.