A Father’s Request and A Daughter’s Response

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Megan turned off the light to the bathroom and climbed into bed beside Garret.  The TV was tuned to the local news station.  She picked up her tablet looking at dresses. At the second commercial she said to Garret that she was thinking about cutting her hair.  In the twelve years he’d known his wife she has worn her hair at the same length, about 4 inches off her shoulders.  During college she wore it down, in a ponytail or sometimes up.  Since she began working she always wore it in a bun only wearing it down or in a ponytail on weekends. She loved her hair.  Garret was curious what had brought this on as she worked for the family business was always to look “professional”.  She went onto to say that they were have a difficult time recruiting and keeping good tech employees when they were competing with a better climate, a relaxed work environment, dress code and flexible work hours.  In a couple months we will be rolling out our new benefit plan to compete.  The family thought that since she was in charge of the department for recruiting and training that her appearance should be more relaxed.  More casual clothes and a trendy hairstyle.

They kissed goodnight and turned off the lights.  Garret fell right to sleep and Megan lied there wide awake. When her Dad mentioned cutting her hair Megan said she could wear her long hair in trendy styles.  Her Dad said he thought it should be a short trendy style.  She ordered some new clothes that night and had them shipped rush.  She would start changing up her clothes and how she wore her hair.  The thought of a chin length bob or one of those A line haircuts made her sick. She thought Garret would have more to say about it since it was her father that suggested it.

Over the next two months Megan replaced her skirt, blazer and silk blouses with dresses, cute jackets, pants and even a pair of jeans on dress down day.  Her hair was worn different ways.  Just this small change had made a moral difference and after the Fourth of July they were rolling out a huge work place environment change with flexible hours, new dress code and some other perks.

Garret was liking his wife’s knew look.  She seemed more relaxed.  He knew she was the peace maker between him and her family.  They wanted her to marry “better” She told Garret he was the one who made her whole.  A side of life she didn’t see or wasn’t offered often.  At first her family tried to monopolize all the holidays but Garret spoke up and Megan supported him.  Holidays and vacations were spent with both sides.  Garret didn’t take a job her father had wanted him to, really arranged, he took a job as a public defender.  Family time with his family was filled with homemade food, the little niece and nephews eating at the toddler picnic table brought in from outside, everyone regardless of age had a stocking filled for them and sometimes they ate on paper plates.  Holidays at her family were formal.  Food prepared by the housekeeper and cook, cookies left for Santa were bought, no board or card games, no football on tv, even the Santa thing needed help. Weekends at the lake house were even formal.  Everything was stiff and proper.  The 3 brothers and Megan were very competitive.  All worked for the family business.  The sisters-in-law all gave up the holidays celebrated with their families.  They were done earlier or later, needless to say Garret was not the brother or son-in-law they wanted.

The Fourth of July fell on a Saturday so most offices were closed on Friday.  The family had their final meeting on Thursday before the big roll out on Monday.  Megan’s dad Joe was impressed with all she and her team had done on the roll out and told her so.  “Only one final thing Megan, your hair, I expected to see it cut into a trendy shorter style.” Her father challenged her.  “I really didn’t think that was necessary I have worn my hair in a lot of casual styles, I don’t see how cutting my hair will make a difference” she responded back a bit confused as to why now. “I can’t force you to cut your hair but I am going to highly suggest that your hair be cut when you arrive for the holiday weekend” he father responded firmly.  She didn’t agree or disagree she just left the meeting.

Her father was challenging her. She already had an appointment for a trim tonight.  She faithfully trimmed her hair every eight weeks.  Did she have the guts to cut it off? She asked herself.  What would Garret say? It was just hair.  Women cut their hair short all the time.  It is just hair she told herself again.  It will grow back.  She was going to cut it on her way home and surprise Garret, it would be too late for him to stop her or reason with her.  As it got closer to five she had a change of heart and needed him there.  If she could do it she was afraid of the aftermath of the haircut. She called Garret and asked if he would come to the office and wait while she finished up somethings and either go out or pick dinner up on their way home.  Garret arrived as some of the staff was leaving making his way out of the elevator and towards Megan’s office.  She was on the phone so he sat on the couch in her office.  She walked over and sat down next to him.  “Garret I want you to promise me you won’t ask any questions, I don’t want your opinion, I don’t want you to try and talk me out of it.  I made this decision and I need you to be supportive and comforting” she said to him sadly.  “Sure baby what is it” he touched his forehead to hers. “I am going to cut my ponytail off tonight.  I have an appointment with Adrian in an hour.  I don’t really want to I have too.  I need you there to support me in this decision. I am nervous and scared. This is a first for me” the emotion coming out in her voice.  Garret looked at her and lifted his hand to his mouth and made the gesture of turning a key and throwing it out.  She whispered thank you and kissed him.  Garret then pulled a bottle of wine of and said “We both could use a glass, you before” and he took his hand making a pair of scissors at the hair band in her hair “and me to reduce the shock” he said.  She had a wine opener in her desk but needed some glasses from the kitchen.  Hand and hand they walked not saying a word.  He couldn’t believe his luck.  He always wanted Megan to cut her hair.  He loved short hair on women.  He knew enough not to ask her but her father had.  He was the bad guy.  As they walked to the kitchen the office was all quiet.  As they were silently walking out of the kitchen her father said “You ready Thomas”.  Megan stopped dead they quickly stepped back into the kitchen so they wouldn’t be seen. “Right behind you dad, so do you think Megan will go through with it?” he asked.  “I sure hope so.  I finally got a hold of that Adrian.  The appointment on her calendar was a routine trim.  No decision of a haircut.  I told him I wanted her to get a haircut and not a trim.  Something short like a man’s haircut, one she would get at a barbershop. Her ears should show and no length in the back. Some clipper action would be great but not to extreme. Nothing radical.  He would get a nice cash tip of 5 C notes if she appears like that this weekend.  I need to show Garret that I still have some pull when it comes to her.” Joe answered.  Garret had put his hand over Megan’s mouth to avoid any sounds. When the door closed he whispered “I am so sorry babe”.

For the next half an hour they sat on the couch with her doing most of the talking.  She was in disbelief at what he had said.  She was trying to make sense of it.  “Why so short, why at all?” she asked Garret.  “I don’t have an answer babe.  I really don’t know what to say except do what you want.  Don’t worry about your dad or me.  Just be you” he said softy to her.

They walked to Adrian’s speaking very little.  Garret didn’t want to encourage her to proceed with the cut or fight it.  He need to remain neutral even though he was so hoping for more than a ponytail chop but some clipper action as well.

Adrian was outside waiting for Megan and confessed the whole proposal from Joe to her.  She hugged him and thanked him for being honest and it made her feel more comfortable in the chair.

For the next few minutes they discussed hair styles.  Just a trim, a bob, an A line cut, a layer cut, a pixie cut and the list went on of good and bad options. Megan asked Garret what he thought and he once again made the motion of locking his mouth with a key.  He would not pressure her either way.  She loved him so much. She asked “What would look good on me that is short exposing my ears, removing the length, has some clipper action, you might say short and trendy?” Garret was carefully not to show any expression. “I’m doing a lot of shaved pixie cuts and with your cheek bones you could pull one off easily” he answered.  Megan had been sitting in the stylist chair and capped for about fifteen minutes.  Adrian turned chair so she could see.  He put his finger about an inch above the ear and said from here down it is shaved and the top is left longer.  The longer hair can be combed straight back, parted on the side and a few more options.  I would go with a side part or just short to the same length and comb forward and down. Let me pin it up so you can get a better feel.”  As he did that Garret pulled up pictures of shaved pixie cuts on his phone.  Garret could hardly contain himself.  He then handed the phone to Megan.  She flipped through a few on his phone and handed it back to him.  Once Adrian finished she ran her fingers through the hanging hair and asked “This will all be shaved?” she asked.  “Buzzed with the clippers to whatever length you choose” he answered her.  Adrian’s phone rang again for the fourth time.  He picked it up from the counter and excused himself as he walked away to take the call.  Adrian apologized for being interrupted.  Megan told him no problem and then conceded she couldn’t follow through with a haircut and to just trim it.   Garret wasn’t surprised by her decision.

Garret said he was hungry and asked where she wanted to go as they walked towards home.  As they turned the corner she seen where she wanted to go.  She turned and faced Garret.  “It was my father who was calling Adrian.  I could see the number on his phone. He wanted to know what I decided so he can have the proper response all prepared.  Well he will be surprised.  I want to stop here before dinner” she said pointing to the barbershop 100 yards away.  “Megan, a barbershop?” he blurted out hoping he sounded more shocked then excited.  “Please Garret hold my hand all the way even in the chair.  I am so nervous. My whole body is shaking” she said trying to be brave.  He never let go as they sat there waiting.  Garret showed her some shorter styles on his phone.  None excited her.  “Just asked for a business man’s cut it is like your father described.  You can always go shorter” he whispered in her ear.  Megan’s head dropped then she whispered back in his ear “Thanks for supporting me and not giving your opinion, thanks for being neutral.  It means the world to me”.  Garret actually felt guilty because he was benefiting from this.  His wife getting her hair chopped in a barbershop.  It was a dream.

“Next” the barber in the middle shouted.  “That is us” Garret said to Megan as they stood and walked to the chair.  He held her hand just as she asked.  Garret seen the barber was surprised when she took the chair.  Garret held her hand as he tissue and caped her. “I’d like my husband to hold my hand during the cut please.  There will be a nice tip for your cooperation” she said nervously.  Apparently Garret wasn’t going to the waiting area any time soon.  He was about to get a close view of the long hair being cut.  “What will it be mam?” he asked her.  “Shave it all off” Megan responded.  Garret was shocked.  She didn’t look at him but she rubbed her thumb across his as he continued to hold her hand.  He couldn’t see the front of her as she was looking straight ahead and he was on the side.  “What guard would you like?” he asked next.  “No guard, shave me bald, right to the skin, no hair left please” she answered very stoic.  Holy shit Garret thought she really is serious.  He always pictured her in a cut pixie cut with the back buzzed but a total head shave.  Wow.  The barber took the guard off the clippers he picked up Garret noticed they were black and large.  “Chemo cut?” the barber said in a questioning yet sympathetic manner.  “No, just a statement to my family that says don’t fuck with me”.  He had no answer or comment.  Garret knew now she was in her pissed off stage.  The barber turned on the clippers and tilted Megan’s head forward and to the side and Garret watch as he placed them at the base of her neck and go straight up as the clippers removed everything in its path and sent it to the floor. Garret felt her jerk a bit when the clippers made contact.  He didn’t see any tears but then he couldn’t see her total face.  He watch as the clippers made another pass from the back up on his side.  He was doing as she asked shaved to the skin.  Next he placed them at her temple above her ear and came down.  He watch as the clippers continue to move across the top of her head all the way to the back sending everything in its path to the floor.  The barber had done a good job of keeping any hair from falling down the front. Garret wasn’t sure what he felt.  It was so final, so drastic, so butch looking.  His stomach was in knots so hers must be worse.  It didn’t take long to shave it all off.  He tidy up around her neck line and the ears.  The barber asked if she wanted it shaved with shaving cream and she declined “No thanks this is fine”.  The barber brushed her off and removed the cape and tissue.  Megan turned her head and looked at him and met his eyes for the first time since she sat in the chair.  She was holding back the tears.  He didn’t say a word.  She pulled at his hand so he bent down and she whispered. “There is a $100 bill in my wallet please pay for” she paused, “his services and a $100 tip.  My hands are shaking too much.  Also I would like my hair if possible.  I should have asked before he started.”  He briefly let go of her hand and took out his wallet and paid him $110 for the haircut.  “Thank you for being so kind.  My wife would also like her hair if possible.  Do you have a bag?“ Garret asked quietly. “I do and sir this is way too much” the barber said trying to give the $100 tip back.  “You earned it by following her wishes” Garret responded and reached for Megan’s hand.  “Here you go” the barber said handing him a zip lock full of hair. He took it from him and then opened her tote bag and put it in there.  Garret heard her whimper something.  Once she stood she took a glance in the mirror.  Garret felt her body buckle some at the first look.  Her head was so white where hair used to be.

Garret tried to get her to sit down on a park bench for a few minutes.  She insisted on going home.  Once in the apartment she let some tears flow as she rubbed her hands over it. Took her hair out of the bag and felt it.  He ordered Chinese to be delivered.  She barely ate which didn’t surprise him.  She went to take a shower and then went to bed.  When he checked she was sleeping.  He woke up to her crying and said “Megan baby” and she rolled over into his arms.  Her bald head rubbing against his cheek. She finally spoke “You have more stubble on your face then I have on my head” and they both laughed.  She went on “What did I do?” she said.  “I hate to break it to you but you shaved your head” he jokingly answered. “I know that silly.  But why?” she said.  Why did he want this?  Why was he so controlling?  Garret just listened to her for almost an hour.

The next morning she had to be okay with her choice. The only thing she could do was wear a wig and that wasn’t going to happen.  They were due at the lake house around 5 so they needed to leave around 3.  Her brothers and family had arrived the day before.  Around noon she took his hand and led him to the bathroom.  On the counter by her vanity was a can of shaving cream and a razor.  “I don’t want any stubble on this head when I walk in in less than five hours.  You however are not to shave today or all weekend.  You know that drives my father crazy.  “You stubble me none”.  She sat down and put the towel around her shoulders and waited.

They stood outside the gate at the cabin.  They could hear all the voices and children playing. Garret turned and looked at her face to face and said “You ready?”.  She was wearing her usual earrings, diamond studs he had given her and some light natural make up.  No hat or wig.  Just sporting her stark shaved head.  They announced their arrival with a hello and then they heard gasps, a couple “Oh my goodness, Megan is that you?” then her step mom asked “Megan dear are you sick? Do you have cancer?” Her father and brothers didn’t say a word.  They just stared at her.  “No Judy I am not sick.  At the family meetings it had been suggested that I do something shorter and trendier with my hair.  Yesterday Dad highly encouraged me to do something before today.  Once I made the decision to go short I wanted low really low daily maintenance I opted for the barbershop and while waiting decided to take it all off.  Shaved to the skin.  It was quick.  It’s trendy and much shorter.  I can’t go any shorter” she quipped.  She bent down and let the little ones feel her head and soon the kids and sister in laws were full of questions.

After dinner the kids were swimming and the adults were talking.  Garret notice Joe going off to the side to smoke a cigar away from the others.  Garret walked up and said “I owe you a thank you.  See, I love short hair, extremely short on women. I never wanted to be the bad guy and asked her to cut it.  You did that for me. She loved her hair.  Never once in twelve years talked about cutting it.  When others would suggest she would answer that she loved it too much to cut it. I was shocked when she choose to cut it.   Even more shocked that she choose a barbershop and to shave it all off.  Wow. Dream came true for me.  There she was in the barber’s chair, all caped and she instructed him to shave it all off, to the skin were the words she used.” Garret knew Joe was getting angry but he kept going “I held her hand for support as those large clippers came to life and shave her long brown hair off, to the skin, then falling to the floor.  She jerked when they first touched her head.  It didn’t take more than five minutes to shave all her hair off.  You raised a strong women.  She never shed a tear in that chair. I think she pulls off the bald look well don’t you?  I think it’s here to stay a while. It’s like she is giving you the middle finger every time you see each other” Garret stopped and scratched his face “Oh, I forgot to shave today, I was too busy shaving Megan.  Maybe I will have time tomorrow morning after I finish shaving your daughter.” he finished then walked away.

 

 

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