Enforced Motivation (Epilogue)

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Finale to Parts 1 & 2


“Ahh, Lily. Please, come in.”

“Thank you. Uhm, I. I’m a little confused, Miss, what’s happening with…” Lily began, before being cut off strangely quickly by Ms. Mitchell.

“I’m sure.” Her smile forced and twisted. “Look, I’ll be straight with you…”

“… Okay…”

The headteacher ran through the main points, explaining the dress code changes. She paused seeing Lily nodding along politely.

“Well. Unfortunately this has included haircuts…”

Lily’s face scrunched up as she tried to rapidly process the news.

“… Huh. So, the boys got…” She was once again stopped.

“Yes, we gave them those much shorter haircuts… Here’s the deal, Lily. You were, I suppose are, top of the year. And, for that, I won’t force you… But it would make things easier.”

“So, I have to cut my hair? Like that?” Lily queried, confused as to what the actual request was.

“… Yes, my dear. We have options for styles, but to stop any outcry in the interest of fairness. If that’s ok?” Ms. Mitchell was nearly pleading.

“… Oh, I see.” Lily gave a short response in acknowledgement. “Can I ask, why the haircuts?”

“We asked parents, and they agreed… Remove impracticality, styling time, and excess vanity. Hopefully give a real incentive for passing, being that it could then be grown back.” Mitchell clarified. “So, we gave the girls a choice of pixie or bowl?…”

“The boy’s cut is more practical though, no?” Lily asked.

“… Uhm, I. Yes, I would assume so…” Ms. Mitchell stammered, caught off guard.

“Well, I’ll do that then, please.”

Ms. Mitchell stared back, floored by what she was hearing. She waited, watching Lily for any signs, thinking the young woman would burst into laughter, exclaiming it all a joke. But no, she remained stone-faced serious.

“… You? You want the buzzcut? Hell, it’s basically a shaved head…” Mitchell threw her arms up. “Wha… What do I… Why?”

“I mean, like…” Lily started unsure, before gathering herself and resuming with confidence. “I like my hair, but it’s long, and a hassle to maintain. If I’m cutting it, especially if it has to be short, I may as well fully commit to ‘practical’. It’s only logical to, well, get rid of it all…”

“Alright, alright. Fine, we can do that… You clear it with your parents, though. I’m not fighting them over this, you’re old enough.” The headteacher conceded.

Lily nodded with a smile. The situation still seemed bizarre to both adults; the hairdresser didn’t dare act until given the clear. Mitchell paused, presenting a final moment to turn back. The student’s mind was set, logic had won, and she readied herself for the consequences. A hand was waved, summoning action to begin proceedings.

“… Y’know, the pixie would look nice…” The hairdresser mentioned, dragging her feet through the setup trying to save Lily potential regret. “Doesn’t have to be all off…”

“Oh, no thanks. I’m happy to go… Uh, it’s a ‘buzzcut’, right?” Her politeness was almost too sincere.

The hairdresser shrugged. She could feel Lily swallowing her nerves as she wrapped the cape around her neck. There was a tense atmosphere. The two older women felt, wrong. Like they’d were coercing someone, regardless of the truth. Smoothing out the cape, the hairdresser returned to fetch her implements. Lily looked up, hearing whispers, to find Ms. Mitchell holding up a finger as if saying ‘one’, teasing Lily’s brain for the meaning.

A series of cracks and snaps rattled in the background, before two quiet footsteps brought the hairdresser directly behind her. Clippers jolted into life with a flick, triggering a muted gasp from the chair.

“Head down, darling…” The hairdresser’s militaristic tone took charge of Lily.

With little reaction time, she tucked her chin, taking the opportunity to slam her eyes shut. Fear and anxiety and excitement whisked together, swirling in her core. Her toes curled as she clenched her muscles to the point of cramping. Logical, rational, by-the-book. They all described Lily to a T, but she couldn’t deny the emotions that she so masterfully kept controlled out of sight.

Humming crept up her neck, culminating in a sudden sensory surge. Professional grade clippers dug in, beginning their work. Catching the first strands at her nape, the blades gave a thwack – like strimming an overgrown lawn – whilst the motor loudly groaned under load. Lily had to push back against the hairdressers force.

She felt the guiding strakes of the insignificant plastic pressing into her head, protecting her from bare steel as the clippers hunted for every millimetre. A #1 guard was employed – as was used on her male peers – leaving merely a shadow for her to discover. The machine snarled, vibrating away as it hugged her scalp. With a flick of the wrist, it dumped the once bra-strap grazing strands and moved away.

Only momentarily, though. They reappeared, back at her neckline, for another go. Then another, and another. Lily remained oblivious whilst the back took form, or rather lost it. Mountains of once gleaming blonde tresses piled around the base of the chair. The stylist cum barber took small steps, shearing in methodical overlapping paths.

Lily almost jumped out of her skin feeling a hand on her shoulder. She’d drifted away from reality, but was quickly brought back to earth realising it was the hairdresser palming away stubborn stragglers. Fistfuls of her white-chocolate tresses slid into her lap. She looked visibly overwhelmed and felt nauseous, but braved a smile to Ms. Mitchell, who returned a sympathetic expression.

A few prominent passes with the clippers dealt with the majority. Dangling 17-inch locks replaced by stubble. The blades now moved with ease, sweeping back and forth as they cleared Lily’s crown. Each motion dusted her face, ears and neck with the tiniest of clippings, causing her to scrunch and squirm to relieve the itching. It continued, until abruptly ceasing with a clack.

“… Right, all done.” Exclaimed the hairdresser, brushing the scratchy trimmings off Lily.

Lily hesitated as the gown was taken off her. Every movement, every slight breeze was visceral with such a light and exposed head. She looked around, her eyes trying to calibrate peripheral vision without hair.

“… Oh, Uhm, sorry. Thanks.” Lily thanked the woman for her service and turned to a familiar face.

“Well… Home time then, eh.” Mitchell eyed her watch. “Remember what I said…”

“Yes, miss. Don’t worry.” She responded, lighting up as she took her first touch of a prickly neckline.

She made her way out, giggling to herself. The thought of being so extreme, so bold, had her beaming. One quick rub of her head was all it took to decide she loved it. It was cool and tickly, and she could sense everything. She excitedly messaged the group chat on her way home, not putting any thought into her friends’ experiences.


Had my meeting, it was SOOO good. Talk later??


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