Eager, With a Twist (a true story)
As you might know, if you are a regular reader of my material, I’m a girl with a bit of a haircut fetish. As often as I get mine cut, (It really ought to be more often, according to my partner.) it’s usually something short.
I haven’t been to a salon since I was old enough to make that decision, so the local barbers always get my business. I had been frequenting the big, six-chair shop that sits on the main street of the rural town where I live.
I’d recently made a change, however, and have been taking my business to Hebb’s Barbershop. It’s a small, one-chair joint, which I described in a previous story. The guy just goes out of his way to be friendly and accommodating, something that is sadly lacking in most places these days.
So, as short as this is probably going to be, I thought I would share with you all, something that happened last Thursday. The scruffy crop that I had been sporting for the last few weeks was starting to annoy me, and I knew it was past time for a trip to Hebb’s.
I could hear something was going on before I was even on the front porch, and I considered coming back later. I’m glad I decided against that, as this account would have been lost to anonymity.
Opening the door, I was treated to what appeared to be a teenaged girl and her mother, having it out over what sort of haircut she could have. I felt bad for the man in the chair, who had only come out for a cut. I wondered how long this had been going on, but judging by the look Hebb gave me as I sat down, it had been too long.
Distracted, I had forgotten to grab a number off the rack. As I did so, I was accosted by the mother.
“It’s women like you that are the problem, you know!” The woman accused. “Now, that’s enough!” Hebb finally said, pointing at the woman with the business end of his scissors. “Arguing with your daughter is one thing, but you will leave my customers out of it.” I wouldn’t have thought Hebb had it in him, being such a kindhearted soul.
The woman went on under her breath, but not quietly enough to prevent me from hearing her call me a dyke.
“Mom! Jesus!” The kid stood up and stormed out of the shop, her mother hot on her heels, but not before she gave me the dirtiest look. When they had both gone, everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
“Sorry about that, Claire.” Hebb offered, shaking his head in disgust.
Now, I’m not so thin-skinned that I let the woman’s insult get to me. I’d been called worse, and by women who knew me. I don’t try and keep my being gay a secret or anything, but I didn’t think I wore my sexual orientation on my sleeve.
“I wonder if her name’s Karen.” The guy in the chair finally chimed in, and we all laughed, albeit a bit uncomfortably on my behalf.
It was right about then that the front door opened, and it was too optimistic of me to think it wasn’t the mother/daughter team returning. To my surprise, the girl came right up to me and apologized for what her mother had said.
“My mother is such a closed-minded ass. I am so sorry.” Unfortunately, her mother chose that moment to return as well.
“Now listen here. Your daughter is welcome, but you are definitely not.” Hebb insisted.
With that, the woman tried grabbing her daughter by the arm, but she shrugged her off, raising a fist at the same time. “I hate you!” She managed, before her mother finally left, and without her daughter.
I tried to count in my head, the number of times I’d told my mother the same thing. I chalked it up to being young and stupid, mostly. The spitting gravel in the driveway was indication enough that she had, indeed, left her daughter behind. I only hoped she hadn’t dinged up my paint.
The girl still held onto her number throughout the whole thing, and I was surprised she had. She sat for a few minutes before depositing it back on the rack.
“Why’d you do that?” I asked
“I’ve got no money with me. My mom was going to pay for my haircut.” She said, pouting slightly.
“Don’t you worry about that, now,” Hebb assured her. “I’ll cut it on the house this time.” He smiled, which in turn caused the girl to do the same.
“Why not.” Hebb shrugged, giving me a knowing look. I wondered how much of the melee I’d missed.
Hebb finally finished with the first customer, shaking out the cape and cashing him out. Looked as though he’d sprung for a cash register since I’d been in last.
The girl then offered to allow me to go ahead of her, saying it was the least she could do. I, of course, declined, insisting that she earned her spot, trying not to give away the fact that I was dying to see what she wanted done.
Excited, she climbed into Hebb’s chair. The smile only grew wider as he fastened the cape snuggly around her neck. “I’ve been waiting so long for this.” She bubbled.
The girl’s hair wasn’t crazy long, but it was all of mid-back and black as midnight. She nodded, as though she and Hebb had already discussed the cut. This was what I had missed.
I was only a little surprised when Hebb left the scissors on the counter, opting for the clippers instead. He slipped them underneath, dividing the long hair which fell copiously to the floor from the chin-length bob he was leaving behind.
As he worked his way around, the smile slowly faded from her face, and I worried she may be regretting what she had done. Those fears were allayed soon enough when she finally spoke.
“You are going shorter than that, right?” She asked, reticently.
“I’m just getting rid of the bulk, honey.” Hebb insisted. A few moments later he made good on his word, peeling back the bob into a boyish crop, not too much longer than the one I was sporting.
It ended there, leaving her a healthy amount of hair to style and comb, but still short enough to be edgy. It was only when she stood and turned towards me that I noticed the pride pin that had been hiding under her hair. She knew I’d seen it and smiled, knowing it was no longer a secret. “Now you know what I’m up against.”
“Be careful,” I sighed. “and good luck.” I wondered if her mother knew, or if the girl still had that trauma to live through. Either way, I figured it wouldn’t be the last time I’d be seeing her.