The day Dona entered office with her long waist-length dark hair cut off into a choppy boy-cut, the girls in the office couldn’t help but gasp instantly. Sure, she was looking good, but the change was so sudden it baffled everyone around her.
Two of Dona’s friend, Fiona, and Susan joined her for lunch and bombarded her with so many questions.
“But why will you suddenly do that?” Fiona asked her.
“Here’s the thing,” Dona explained them both. “I went with a school friend of mine at this unique unisex barbershop. They have a system of lucky draw to choose a haircut. Simple—you have to go in, pick out a small piece of paper from a jar, and hand it over to the barber. And he will do the rest.”
Fiona and Susan remained speechless for a couple of seconds. The idea was intriguing yet so intimidating at the same time.
“Weren’t you scared?” Susan asked apprehensively.
“Honestly, kind of,” Dona confessed. “But my friend ended up with a lovely graduation bob, and I think my haircut suited my face, too. It was a hassle to maintain the long hair, so, it is a good change.”
Both Fiona and Susan agreed and complimented Dona on the look, apart from other colleagues and her boss.
A couple of days, Fiona and Susan finally decided to take the chance because they were thoroughly overwhelmed by the idea. Both the girls stepped out of the car as pulled near the unisex barbershop: The Hair Story
“Hello, ladies. My name is Luke. How can I help you today?” Luke was the only barber they saw; a man in his early thirties with a tall stance and lean figure.
“We were looking for a hair makeover, you know…” Susan began a little hesitantly.
“Well, we have a unique method for choosing a haircut here.” Luke then went on explaining about the lucky draw from the jar. “But, remember ladies, once you hand me over the piece of paper, you can’t back out. That’s the only rule around here. Rest it’s all up to you.”
“Are you ready?” Fiona asked Susan, who was having some second thoughts.
“Now that I am here,” she let out a determined sigh. “I will do it.”
“So, who wants to go first?” Luke asked, glancing between them.
After a moment, Susan said, “I will go first.” Susan thought it was best to jump into the process before she changes her mind and make a fool out of herself.
“Alright, please follow me,” Luke said, escorting Susan towards the counter where a large, transparent jar was kept with several folded colorful papers half-filled with it. “Pick one. You can ruffle if you want.”
Susan, with slightly trembling fingers, dipped her manicured hand into the jar and picked up a pale-blue folded paper. When she was about to hand it over to Luke, he warned for the final time. “I hope you are absolutely sure. There will be no turning back after I unfold it.”
Susan flickered a quick glanced at Fiona, who was sitting in the waiting chair and confirmed. “I am certain.”
“Perfect.” Luke gave one of his warm boyish smiles and took the folded paper and then ushered her towards the big leather chair to ease in.
After he caped her well, Luke unfolded the paper, took a look at the chosen haircut and then glanced up to meet Susan’s anticipated gaze on the mirror. “Definitely a big change,” he commented. “But you picked a good one, Susan. It will frame your face really well.”
“It isn’t too short, right?” Susan asked, biting her lip nervously. She didn’t want to sound like a scardey cat but couldn’t help asking.
“You can always grow out your hair, love. It’s just a matter of some time,” Luke said assuredly and went on to plug a giant clipper. “I will need to take down the bulk, and that’s it.”
With that, he gave Susan’s hair a thorough brushing to smooth it out. Susan had slightly frizzy sand-brown hair, reaching down to the bra-strap. He quickly gathered her hair into a low ponytail and held it with his left one hand. The clippers came to life, and within ten seconds, the low ponytail was severed from her head.
Fiona, on the waiting chair, watched in awe and let out a low gasp. She even considered running away, but her legs felt numb.
Susan, on the hot seat, watched in a daze how the hair length was reduced to the neck.
Luke doused her hair in water and smoothed it with a fine-tooth comb. Next, he whirled the chair to the side and adjusted her head a little, as she was made to look straight ahead.
“Hold still,” he cautioned and began working on her left.
Sliding the comb into her hair, he brought it to the lip-length and sheared away the rest in a jiffy. Luke kept on repeating the same process—adjusting the length with the comb and cutting it down swiftly with the clippers. With one side of her head done, Susan’s lap was filled with wet clippings of brown hair. Maneuvering her head to the opposite side, he reduced the hair length into a lip-length bob and gave it a good tousle.
“It’s a lip length bob, right?” Susan asked,
“That and a little bit more,” Luke said distractedly, as he busied himself in perfecting the lip length bob.
The line at the back of her, unbeknownst to Susan, graduated higher than her natural hairline. Once the bob was done, he grabbed another clipper from the rack, fired up, and clasp a firm hand on top of her head with an instruction, “Head down, please.”
With her chin fully down, the buzzing machine attacked the back of her head, climbing higher and higher towards the occipital bone. Real terror seized Susan now, as she squirmed in the leather seat, on the verge of tears. By the time, the ordeal completed, she raised her head with glassy eyes to see the damage.
“Am I bald at the back?” she asked him warily and reached out to feel the back.
Luke grabbed her tiny hand in his and put them under the cape. “I just buzzed the back a little, and you still have a lot of layers and volume. Don’t worry.” He spun the chair away from the mirror. “Let me just fix the look now.”
With a rat-tail fine-tooth comb, he gave her a side part and layered out the long side-swept bangs with a Razor Comb.
“Sweety, you have a small and cute forehead, so I am skipping the thick bangs.”
This is really good, thought Susan. Sure it was a lot shorter than she bargained for, but as Luke said, hair can always grow out later.
With the haircut perfected and blow-dried, he fired up the clipper once more, and Susan thought it was merely the finishing touches for dry-cutting. What she didn’t expect was this: with one hand, Luke swept the right parting aside, and directed the clippers right at the temple, sailing towards the back of the left side.
Susan quickly jerked up with a squeak, but the firm grip of the barber held her in place. “Oh, my God! Luke, what are you doing?” The vibration was driving her crazy and making her weirdly aroused. Or, maybe, it was the fear.
He was unfazed with her reaction. Probably because he has seen so many of these surprising responses every day—where the stranger in the chair has no idea what haircut he or she was getting until they were released from the chair.
“Calm down, sweety,” he said, “You choose a lip-length bob with side shaved look. And I have to say: you are lucky because this hairstyle suits you perfectly.”
Susan didn’t feel lucky at all! She was a nervous wreck having a portion of the front shaved down to the bone. And as if the clippers were not enough, Luke massage the warm foam onto the shaved front and the buzzed back.
It was such an exhilarating experience for a woman to feel the sharpness of the razor against the raw scalp, that wiped away everything in its path, leaving fresh pinkish white skin. The buzzed-back received the same treatment from the razor.
“Ready to see the look?” Luke asked her and then turned the chair around.
Lost for words, Susan could only raise her trembling fingers and cup the back of her head to feel the smooth skin over. Then she spoke in an awed whisper, “It’s surprisingly short. But…I think I will get used to it.”
She vacated the chair with quivering legs and asked Fiona, who was absolutely stunned into silence. “What do you think?”
Fiona rose and came closer to feel the haircut herself. “I know it’s short, but it’s stunning, too.”
“So, it’s your turn now,” Susan said. “Go and pick one.”
“Umm…I was thinking of…”
“Oh, C’ mon Fiona! Don’t be a spoilsport.”
“What if it’s too short, and I look terrible?” Fiona whined.
“It’s summer.” Susan persuaded her. “If it is short, it will be a hell lot manageable.”
Fiona tucked her dark-red hair behind her ears and gave in. “Alright. One haircut wouldn’t hurt, I guess.”
Fiona walked towards the jar and picked the paper, while Susan took her seat on the waiting chair. Luke took the pink folded paper from Fiona chose and slowly unfolded it.
“You will be a lot cooler this summer,” was all he said before leading her towards the chair and then caped her with an additional tissue around her neck.
To be continued…