I couldn’t believe it. This was so disappointing. Here I had worked so hard to become a healthy, productive, sober woman who was wife material, when Adrian didn’t care about upholding his end of the bargain. Surely he must know that I hate it when he comes home drunk and that having the half-empty bottle of tequila in his pocket is incredibly triggering for me.
I used to go around with a thermos full of whiskey that I pretended was tea and almost destroyed my body and life beyond repair. When Adrian came into my life I was four years sober; he was my first “normie” boyfriend. Having never had problems with addiction himself, he couldn’t possibly understand how dark and scary it is to hit rock bottom, go through withdrawal, and face the daunting prospect of rebuilding broken relationships and gaining trust again without that handy crutch of alcohol to numb the pain.
I didn’t mind if Adrian had a few drinks with his friends or colleagues when I wasn’t around, or even in front of me in a restaurant setting. As long as he was still relatively functional and could take care of himself I saw nothing wrong with it. Some people can drink responsibly; I can’t so I don’t drink at all anymore, but Adrian can. He knows that I can’t have any alcohol in the house. There’s a 90% chance I’ll be totally fine and not touch it, but I don’t want to risk that 10% and relapse. And yet, he brought home a bottle that still had a fair amount of booze in it.
Worse, I could see red lipstick on Adrian’s neck. I love wearing red lipstick, but I knew I wasn’t the one who made those marks last night. Adrian probably wouldn’t remember who it was or how far he went with her, given how drunk he was. Heaven knows I did my share of despicable and ill-advised things while in a blackout. I know all too well how that works.
There is a handsome young man of about 22 who works on a different floor of my office building. I have sometimes caught myself fantasizing about grabbing his arm and pulling him into an empty conference room to have my way with him, but I would never actually do that. Sober me is not a cheater. The young man in question has plentiful black hair that he wears buzzed. I would love to stroke his pelt with my hand and feel it tickle my inner thigh as he eats me out, but I won’t do any of that.
Adrian, however, felt free to make out with somebody. There is no way she didn’t see his wedding ring, which is so thick that it takes up most of the bottom third of his finger. He also saw fit to come home with the bottom half of his shoulder-length red hair bleached and fried. I really hope he didn’t dip his hair in bleach drunk, because he could have seriously injured himself.
Adrian’s red hair would look great cropped short, but I didn’t want to force it. He felt fashionable and sexy with long hair, even though it’s a turn-off for me. I never told him this, so he isn’t deliberately taunting me with his hair. In general he is a good, well-behaved husband who does what he’s told. The honor system works pretty well in our house.
Except when it doesn’t. I never rub it in his face that I’m more senior at work than he is or that I make a little bit more than he does, although he must know this. He’s five years younger than me, too, but I don’t treat him like a child or the bratty but adorable little brother I always wished I had had. I think a big part of the reason why I prefer younger men is that I was always disappointed that my mother didn’t give me the younger brother I wanted.
“Adrian. I don’t ask for much. You’ll be hungover tomorrow morning and probably won’t want to go over our tax returns or clean the yard like you promised. These things still need to be done. I expect you to do half of the work around here—all the tasks you are good at and don’t mind doing—and I expect you to not go around snogging anyone other than me, your wife. Have I made any unreasonable demands on you?”
“No, Rachel. Nothing unreasonable. In my defense, though, I didn’t snog Sarah, she snogged me.” This was not better at all as far as I was concerned, but I decided not to pursue it.
The next morning I brought Adrian breakfast in bed, knowing how bad he would be feeling. Tequila and I fought many rounds back in the day, and I remember well how that ended in my losing every single time.
“She bit you, too, I see.” His neck was still red even after I had wiped away the lipstick. I didn’t want him drinking with Sarah, because she had a certain reputation for not respecting her marriage or anyone else’s, but I never told Adrian he wasn’t allowed to. He’s a grown man, he needs to be responsible for himself.
“And bleached my hair. She said she always wanted to make out with a man with long blond hair.”
“You let her do that. I don’t tell you what to wear or how to style your hair, do I? That’s up to you and how you choose to present yourself to the world, because I believe a person’s appearance is very personal.”
“What would you like me to wear? I’m curious. And my hair. I know you’re not a fan of it, but I have no idea what would please you.”
“I have no complaints about your clothes. You’re always well-put-together and appropriate. I like your color sense and you know what shapes and silhouettes suit you. The natural color of your hair is beautiful.”
“I’m glad my clothes pass muster. I never know where I stand with you, whether I’m pleasing you, getting things right.”
“I’m not a teacher. There is no right or wrong way for you to dress.” I don’t like being put into the Miss Manners role just because I’m older and arguably the one in charge of this household.
“It’s good that you respect my autonomy, but sometimes you feel distant, like you’re afraid to tell me what you need or want from me. I want to please you, really I do. Sarah is easy to read, but she’s married with several boyfriends. I don’t really want to get mixed up in that. Look, I’m sorry I let her make out with me and I’m sorry about the tequila bottle. I’ll take it to Greg’s house when we go watch the game.”
I could feel my eyes tearing up. So this is how Adrian really feels. I knew in my heart that he was right. Even after several years of sobriety I still felt fundamentally unworthy to assert my preferences, although I had learned to be clear about my rights and about practical issues.
“It’s because I love you. I’m afraid of scaring you away, of losing you, because you’re healthy and whole from the start, whereas I’ve lived in Hell, in slavery to alcohol, and my fight to escape has left me with scars and a certain darkness that I have no right to drag you into. You deserve better than that.”
“I knew all about your past when I said my vows at the altar, and accepted it as a necessary part of making you the woman I fell in love with. You were always honest about it when we were dating. I need you to be honest now, too. You don’t want me drinking with Sarah. That comes through loud and clear. But it’s OK for you to say that directly.”
By now my cheeks were wet. I sat down on the bed next to Adrian and threw my arms around him. When I finally disengaged, I saw chunks of broken-off blond hair on the duvet. Adrian looked down and saw it too.
“Actually, you’re right that I’m not a fan of your hair the way it looks now. Certainly not the fried, brittle blond part, but even before you and Sarah experimented with bleach your hair wasn’t my favorite. I love the natural color, but not the style.”
“I can’t go into work on Monday morning looking like this.” Adrian’s expression clouded as he realized just how badly damaged his hair was. His gloriously thick red mane was a point of pride for him, and now it was ruined.
This was my chance. I had never had the guts to ask him to cut it, even though I would find him even more irresistible if he did. Any drastic change like that would have to be something he did of his own volition. Now that his long hair was ruined, he might be willing to cut it short.
“Would you consider cutting off the damage? I love really short hair on a bloke and have always wanted to see what you would look like with short hair, but didn’t feel comfortable imposing that on you.”
“I thought women liked long hair on a bloke, and to think you actually prefer short! Clearly I didn’t conduct myself very well last night, so you would be completely in your rights if you wanted to punish me.”
“I don’t want to punish you. You’re not a naughty child and I’m not your mother. But if you want me to cut your hair however I see fit, I will.”
“You deserve carte blanche. If you want to shave me bald, you can.”
“Can you get up? Are you OK?” If he had drunk the way I did, he would not be functional until nightfall. He must not have had as much as all that. Seeing Adrian hung over reminded me of what kind of hot mess I used to be and how inconsiderate I must have been. He was positively bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in comparison.
“Yes, I’m feeling a little better. I can get out of bed, probably handle sitting still and the vibration of clippers.”
“Then you knew. I have a weakness for men with crewcuts and buzzcuts that showcase their faces. You have the perfect face and head shape to look really sexy with super short hair.”
“All right, what are we waiting for?” I was surprised how willing Adrian was to let me do this. He was surprisingly steady on his feet as he followed me into the backyard. I had already undressed him the night before when he was drunk and only bothered with putting on his pajama bottoms, so he was bare-chested. He sat on a metal deck chair and indicated that he was ready.
Adrian must have known that I kept a set of clippers, even though I had never used them on anybody. Just the satisfaction of owning them and looking at the box sometimes while I imagined shearing Adrian was enough to get me wet down below, but now I had the chance to break them in.
I wrapped a plastic picnic mat around his shoulders and began to play with his hair, which continued to break off in my hands. “Remember, this isn’t punishment. We’re fixing the mess that you let Sarah make, but this is also a turn-on for me.” I wanted to make my intentions clear.
The clippers were battery-operated and turned on with a soft purr. Gathering his long hair into a ponytail with my hand at the base of his neck, I sliced through it with no attachment on the clippers. Now that his hair was chin-length, it would be easier to clipper off. I rummaged through the box, looking at the attachments. Let’s start with the eight, because I can always go shorter.
I gently pushed Adrian’s head forward onto his chest and began running the clippers up from his nape to his crown. The rhythmic vibration of the machine felt soothing to me as I wielded it; Adrian seemed OK with it, too. I didn’t want it to make him feel sick. Adrian remained expressionless until I pulled his right ear down to buzz his side. It was finally sinking in that I was cutting his hair very short indeed. He looked a bit panicked as I repeated the procedure on the other side. If I stopped now he would have a wonky undercut.
When I had gone over his whole head with the eight a few times I stopped to stroke the short hair. I decided to leave the very front this length, which would be the longest. Changing the guard to a seven, I went over his whole head again except for his fringe, then changed to a six. This time I went up to his crown all the way around but left the top alone.
I had never cut anyone’s hair before, so I thought I needed to go through all of the attachments. This meant I got to caress his back and sides with the clippers repeatedly, so that I could feel my underwear getting wet and waves of pleasure emanating from my nether region. I had always downplayed my kinkiness before.
When I had worked my way down to the bare blade I edged around his ears again, enjoying the clean curve up and over, and cleaned up his nape. Putting down the clippers, I rubbed his newly-shorn hair to check for spots that needed to be blended. If I had thinning shears I could texturize the top better. Perhaps my nail scissors would do in a pinch. I had seen barbers in online tutorials twist and cut for texture, so I gave this a try.
Moving around to the front, I took a good look at my handiwork. Wow, how stunning Adrian is with a short textured crewcut! It was all I could do to keep from throwing my arms around his neck and giving him an even bigger love bite to match Sarah’s. That could wait until after cleanup.
I sent Adrian into the house to take a shower while I cleaned up. The beauty of cutting his hair all off in the backyard is that cleanup is quick and easy. I was already finished and back in the house in time to hear the shocked gasp coming from the bathroom. Adrian had seen his new haircut in the mirror. I followed him into the bathroom and nuzzled his neck from behind.
“Do you have any idea how hot you are?” My hands were already at his waist, ready to pull down his pajama bottoms. I was fully prepared to follow him into the shower stall and corner him there. I wanted him in me right now.
“It’s so short. I don’t think I’ve ever worn my hair this short in my life.”
“I hope this won’t be the last time. Forget Sarah. You want to make out with somebody, make out with me. You can be as naughty as you like and there won’t be any need for punishment.”