Feels good to be brave

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When Amina sat down in the salon chair couldn’t deny she regretted sending Hamish that picture. It had seemed harmless at the time but looking back at it she realised Hamish wouldn’t relent at the idea. 


Ever since they had started dating, almost a year ago, Hamish had been asking Amina if she would ever cut her hair short. It made sense as Hamish himself was a successful stylist working at an upscale salon in downtown LA. He had more than 50k followers on his Instagram with a successful Youtube channel too. His speciality was undoubtedly short hair, his feed full of 

adventurous pixies, bobs and the occasional super short crop. 


This seemed to contrast immensely with Amina. Born in Lebanon, Amina had what many would call a mane. Brown waves 2c in texture reached to her bra strap and when she straightened it it reached even further.   


It was after only a couple months of dating that Hamish had first inquired about short hair. 


“Think you would ever go for something short?” he asked casually in the car. 


“Ummm” Amina was caught slightly off guard by the question. “How short do you mean?”  


“Like properly short, pixie short” he turned to look at her as he said that. 


“Pffff” Amina huffed. “Maybe one day. I guess I always told myself one day I would like completely change up my look.” 


Hamish nodded. “You would definitely pull it off” 


Similar conversations continued for the next few months and when Amina would come into the salon for a trim every once in a while Hamish would playfully announce that today was the day for her short cut. 


Hamish would send pictures of clients or inspiration from instagram, asking for her opinions on the certain short haircuts.


And then one day Amina saw a short haircut herself in her feed. It was short, probably shorter than what she had in mind for the day she was eventually going to cut her hair, but she found herself drawn to it. The sides were properly short, short enough that clippers must’ve been used, while on the top the models curls were left longer. 


Without too much of a thought Amina forwarded the image to Hamish, she knew he would enjoy seeing her interest in short hair too. But what she didn’t expect was for Hamish to jump at the idea so intensely. 


That would look so good on u!!!! he texted back almost immediately. 


For the next few weeks every second conversation seemed to be about that cut. Hamish was adamant that it was the perfect fit for her and desperately tried to convince her of it. 


Amina wasn’t lying when she said that one day she wanted to cut her hair short. The key part however was one day. It was easy to say that she wanted short hair one day but with Hamish continuously pressuring her she was starting to feel flustered. Yes she wished she had the guts to go for something so short and edgy, but actually having all her hair cut off was entirely different. 


“I mean you have a nose piercing and four tattoos.” Hamish began the common conversation one evening. “Those are permanent, hair grows. That’s the amazing thing about hair.” 


He reached over and nuzzled her head of curly waves. 


“And then when it grows back we can try tons of cute other haircuts”  


“I just don’t think I’m ready” Amina replied, leaning her head away from his hands. 


“Look the guy that loves you and you love back thinks you would look hot as fuck with this, and you sent it to me so clearly you actually want it too, so what is there to be scared off?” 


Amina sighed. He did have a good point and over the 3 weeks of barraging she was beginning to wonder if he would ever give up. She loved Hamish, more than anyone she had before in her 24 years. And deep down not only did she want to make him happy but she wanted to be brave enough to go for the cut. She thought of herself as a pretty trendy girl, well dressed and with some artsy tattoos. Maybe not the best match with her hair which had been the same pretty much her whole life.  


“Are you ever gonna rest until I do this?” she said with a chuckle. 


He shook his head with a sheepish smile, sensing he had finally won. 


“Nope,” he said. “C’mon I know deep down you want to say yes” he moved closer to her as he said the last sentence. 


“Fine” she finally gave in, throwing her hands in the air sarcastically. 


“Fuck yes” Hamish said before pulling her in for a kiss. 


That was Tuesday, and the two had agreed that Sunday would be the day Amina would go to the salon. 



Amina woke up Sunday morning with butterflies in her stomach. Hamish was already up and she checked her phone. 




She rolled back over and let out a yawn. Her mind wandered to the sex last night and what sex it had been. Amina could’ve sworn Hamish was pulling on her hair with more vigour than usual, properly savouring it while he could she concluded. 


Hamish then popped his head back into the room. 


“I’m headed to the store okay?” 


“Hmmmm” she murmured back sleepily 


We walked over and planted a kiss on her cheek. 


“See you at 3?” 


“Yep” she said back with a slight smile. 


She lay in bed for another 20 mins scrolling through her feed in an attempt to distract herself. She couldn’t deny she was feeling nervous. Ever since she agreed to go for the haircut she felt this pit in her stomach. Sure there was also excitement but the closer to the day she got the more the nerves began to outweigh it. 


Eventually she made her way to the shower. She couldn’t help but feel nostalgic looking at her long hair in the mirror, for ever since she could remember her hair had at least covered her shoulders. With a shudder she realised soon it wouldn’t cover her ears. 


She gave her long hair a final shampoo and conditioner before fixing herself breakfast. She busied herself for a couple hours until 1 when she started getting ready. As she sat in front of her mirror applying her makeup she could feel the butterflies in her stomach growing. 


She picked out a white tank top and jeans before calling an Uber. She had just about an hour until her appointment but with LA traffic the 30 minute drive could take much longer. 


The whole ride her mind began to race. The inevitability of her impending haircut began to dawn on her. Suddenly she wished she could pull out. She swallowed hard as she realised there was no way she would get out of this. She had agreed fair and square. I want the change she tried to reassure herself but she found herself feeling much braver on Tuesday than today. 


After 45 minutes of overthinking, Uber pulled into a parking spot and Amina exited. Right in front of her was the salon. 


Giving herself a moment to clear her mind she made her way to the door. 


As she pushed the door open she felt the cool air of the air conditioner. It was a modern and large salon, with a spacious waiting area when you first entered. Then sat a reception desk and behind it a wall obscuring the rest of the salon. 


As she walked in the salon the receptionist called out her name.


“Amina hey!” she said excitedly standing up. 


It was Maria, Amina had met her outside of the store a few times alongside the frequent visits to the salon. 


She waved back. “Hey” 


The two girls embraced as Amina reached the counter. 


“Excited?” she asked.


Amina realised Hamish must’ve told the other employees at the salon. 


“Ohh, yeah, yeah” she said nodding slowly. 


“Bit anxious too?” 


“Yeah kinda feel like I’m about to go skydiving or something” Amina said. 


“Ohh, I’m gonna miss it” Maria said as she reached out to stroke her hair. 


“Yeah me too”


“Well Hamish is already done so you can go back and see him. So best of luck with your haircut.” 


“Yeah, okay, thank you,” Amina said, starting to make her way towards the back of the salon. “I’ll see you afterwards” 


“Yes! Or maybe I’ll come check on you later” She replied excitedly. 


Amina walked past the wall behind the desk and entered the rest of the salon. There were chairs spread out everywhere, Amina counted close to 10 stylists currently working. Hamish’s chair was always the right most at the back of the room and Amina began walking past the other chairs,  heading to see her boyfriend. 


“Hey there” she said, catching Hamish somewhat off guard as he was adjusting a camera stand. 


“Hey babe” he said as they kissed. 


“Are you gonna film it?” she said motioning to the camera he had placed on the counter under the mirror. 


“Yeah gonna make another Youtube video with it” he said nodding. 


It made sense, Hamish was uploading at least 1 or 2 haircutting tutorials per week, especially tutorials where he was giving short haircuts. Amina wished she had known however, and part of her wished her first short haircut wouldn’t be filmed for the internet to see. 


“How you feelin?” Hamish asked, taking one of her hands in his. 


“Pretty terrified,” she said honestly. 


Hamish nodded with an understanding look. 


“You’re gonna look great alright?” 


Amina couldn’t help but smile. “Thanks” 


“I think we should just get started then huh? Don’t wanna drag this out for you.”


“Yeah” she found herself saying even though she would do almost anything to delay the proceedings. 


He turned the black chair to face her and she lowered herself onto it. 


He turned the chair back to face the mirror. She wistfully looked at her hair as it streamed over the front of her right shoulder. 


“I’m just gonna start filming now alright” he said as he turned the camera on. 


Amina took a deep breath and faced the camera. Hamish took a spot to the side of her. 


“Hey guys welcome back. Today I got a very special video, I’m here with my beautiful girlfriend Amina.” 


Amina gave a small wave and smiled at the camera. 


“And well today we’re going for a complete transformation. We’re gonna be taking this all off and going for something really quite short.” He stroked her hair as he spoke. 


Amina couldn’t help but feel sick listening to the words coming out of his mouth. 


“I’ll put up a photo of the style but you’ll see that we’re really gonna be cutting all of this off” 


Hamish’s commentary was making Amina feel like she could throw up. Going through this ordeal was nerve wracking enough and having Hamish reinstate just what was about to happen was making it only worse. 


“It’s something we discussed for a while, isn’t it?” he nodded towards her through the mirror. 


“Yeah a while” she nodded in agreement


“But she’s ready for it now so let’s get right into it shall we?” 


She nodded. 


“Excited?” he said


“Yep” she lied. In fact any inch of excitement seemed to have left her body. She swore she could feel her body begin to freeze up. 


“Let’s get started then” 


He pulled across his trolley and from it grabbed a large claw clip. He grabbed her hair and wound it around the top of Amina’s head before clipping it in place.   


He then reached under the counter and retrieved a silver cape. He quickly shook it and Amina was then enveloped by the polyester. He clipped it into place around her neck before then releasing the hair from the clip. The mass of hair tumbled down the back of the cape. 


Amina could feel the blood draining from her face and she was struggling to take deep breaths. Her nerves were really starting to get a hold on her. 


“So first what I’ll do is remove all the excess weight. There’s a lot of bulk here that we won’t be needing.” Hamish said as opened a drawer from his trolley. He pulled out a black wide toothed comb and silver pair of scissors. 


Amina gulped when she saw the shears. Her long haired days were about to end. 


She could feel Hamish pull the comb through her hair, the hair sitting against the back of the cape. 


“You ready?” Hamish asked as he clicked the scissors together a few times. 

Amina nodded. 


“So nothing fancy” Hamish instructed. “Just going to cut across at around the shoulders.”


Amina watched as Hamish moved behind her and she could feel his fingers taking a section of her hair to the right side. Her hands gripped the armrest tightly. She watched as the scissors moved out of view to behind her body. 


And suddenly she heard a sharp snip.  


Two more snips and Hamish held out a handful of her hair. It was a good 8 inches long. 


“The first bit cut” he said as he dropped the hair to the floor. 


Amina bit her lip, seeing her hair detached from her head increased the panic flowing through her. 


The scissors went back behind her. 


snip snip snip snip


He continued cutting across the hair streaming down the back of the cape, letting the hair fall down the cape to the floor. Amina couldn’t see what was happening but could feel the scissors moving across her shoulder blades. The snip of the scissors seemed impossibly loud. 


snip snip snip 


More of the dark hair fell to the salon floor. 


snip snip snip 


Hamish pocketed the scissors and tossed the now considerably shorter hair over Amina’s shoulders. Already it was much shorter than it had been for years, falling to her collarbone. 


“Feels lighter already?” Hamish asked. 


“Yeah wow” Amina said, turning her head, watching how her shorter hair sat. Still her hair wasn’t that short, and part of her wished to stop the haircut now. Something to her shoulders was still quite a change, maybe Hamish would be happy to settle for this for now, she wondered to herself. 


“Now I’ll begin to section it.” Hamish continued with his tutorial. “Just a very simple horseshoe section, something I think everyone will be familiar with.” 


From his trolley he pulled out the claw clip again. Using his comb he began separating the hair on the crown from the rest that hung around the sides. 


“So we’re sectioning it like this just because of the nature of this haircut, it’s quite disconnected.” Hamish continued explaining as he gathered the hair on top of Amina’s head. 


Amina looked at herself in the mirror. Her hair was now clipped at the top of her head with the rest hanging down just touching her shoulders. She could tell her face gave away her nerves. 


“Now all this is gonna be cropped down nice and short” Hamish said as he pulled his fingers through the hair on her sides, pulling it back to show what he meant. Amina’s mouth got dryer by the second. 


He went to the counter and Amina’s arms went weak when she saw him return with clippers. 


“Now this is where it really gets serious,” Hamish said playfully, holding up the clippers. 


Amina nervously smiled. Clippers being used on her hair was going to be quite a nerve wracking experience. 


“So gonna use my Wahl Beretto and gonna go clippers over comb just to remove most of the hair. Really good technique to get rid of a lot of hair pretty quickly.” 


Amina gulped hard, preparing herself for what was soon to occur. 


Hamish moved to her right side and with a wide toothed comb lifted up a section of hair at her right temple only a couple inches from her scalp. 


“Ready?” he asked, looking at her through the mirror. Amina had her eyes fixed on the silver clippers in his right hand. 


“Yep” she breathlessly replied. 


The clippers were switched on and Amina felt her heart in her throat. So close to her ear the noise caught her somewhat off guard. 


“Here we go,” Hamish announced. 


Amina watched as the clippers moved towards her. She had to stop herself from instinctively leaning away from the buzzing apparatus as it got closer to her. 


Placing the clippers at the front of the comb, Hamish pulled them across the length of the comb.




 Amina’s jaw dropped as the chunk of her dark hair fell to her shoulder before sliding down the front of the cape. The hair settled in her lap. 


She couldn’t help let out an audible gasp as she took in what had just occurred. A good 6 inches of hair curled up atop the cape, with only a few inches protruding from the right side of her head. 


Hamish moved slightly to the left, lifting another section with his comb. 


The clippers raced across the comb again, Amina watched with distress as more hair rained down the side of the cape, audibly hitting the floor. 


“Holding up okay?” Hamish asked. 


“Yeah” Amina replied softly. 


“Feeling it rain down on you?” 


“Yeah” she tried to chuckle as she spoke, even though feeling her hair falling to the floor was giving her a heart attack. 


Amina felt another swipe of the clippers across the comb as the hair fell swiftly to the floor. 


“It’s always a bit nerve wracking going from long hair to something much shorter.” Hamish said to the camera. “And this is her first time having something shorter than her shoulders right?” 


Amina nodded silently. 


“So really what a big transformation this is gonna be” 


Amina wished he would shut up just for a moment. Watching her hair being cropped away was hard enough, having a voice reiterate how much of a change this was only made it worse. 


Hamish was now standing behind her and she felt his comb pull up another section from her nape. Seconds later she could hear more hair slide gently down the cape, before plopping onto the floor. 


Her right side was now cropped to only a few inches, and Hamish was well on the way to have the back and left match the right. 


Hamish moved to her left side and the clippers came back into view as they mowed away another section.  


He lifted the leftmost section of her hair with his comb and without the slightest hesitation pulled the clippers across the comb. The hair cascaded down the front of the cape, joining the pile on her lap. Amina couldn’t help but feel her lip quiver looking at all the perfect mix of curls and waves sitting limply in front of her. She didn’t want to imagine the damage on the floor. 


Looking at herself in the mirror only made her even more terrified. Her sides were gone, save a few choppy inches of dark hair. 


“Now let’s get my number 3 guard” Hamish continued as he moved to the counter. 


He moved fast, barely taking time to pause as he clipped the plastic guard onto the clippers. 


“I’ll take the whole thing down to a 3 and I’ll come back and sharpen it” 


Amina didn’t fully understand what he was saying, but she knew the picture, the sides were to be extremely short. 


The clippers buzzed back to life again. Amina couldn’t help but feel more fear rise up inside her, hair that already looked unfathomably short was about to go even shorter. 


Gently Hamish tipped her head forward so her chin tucked into her chest. The clippers were then at her nape and she got the chills as the buzzing machine pushed up into her hairline. 


It was a foreign feeling, not one that Amina could say she was enjoying and she could feel just how close to the skin it was cutting. 


A small clump of her soft hair dropped to her neck before Hamish swept it away with his hand. 


She felt more and more hair drop down the back of the cape as the clippers made their way to her right side. She could now see the silver clippers as they ran up the side of head just behind her ear. Short waves of hair fell past her shoulder to the floor.  


Her ear was folded over and she felt her neck tingle as the clippers removed more of her hair. More hair fell to the cape. Amina watched as clippers were lifted up against the side of her head. Hamish had reached her right temple and as the clippers ran up against her side, more clumps of hair rained down the front of the cape. 


What remained was a short pelt of dark hair, no evidence of the curl or wave her hair normally possessed.


“Feel that” Hamish said as he turned her head to the side, showing her closely cropped side in the mirror. 


Amina’s hand had a slight shake to it as she gingerly moved it to her scalp. Placing her fingers against her newly cropped sides she couldn’t help but almost recoil as she felt the prickly hair. She could see how short it was but feeling her scalp with barely any hair covering it, reinforced just how severe the cut really was. 


Amina’s head was tipped forward and she felt the clipper at her nape once more. The ragged pile of hair sitting atop the cape stared back at her. Running the clippers up the back of her head, Hamish moved towards the left side, with more hair raining down the cape. Her left ear was folded over and the clippers again were excruciatingly loud as her hair was sheared away. After just a few more passes with the clippers she could feel that her left side was now completely cropped. 


“Now I’ll use some lower guards to achieve that fade look” Hamish said as he turned off the clippers. 


“First with the number 2” he announced as she watched him attach a different guard. After a few minutes her sides had been buzzed even shorter. 


“Then with the 1”


Again the clippers ran around her sides and Amina could see her skin showing under the prickly hair. A fine dust of hair covered her shoulders as the clippers mowed across her scalp. 


Finally Hamish turned off the clippers and Amina felt her shoulders relax, unaware how tense they had been the whole time the clippers were being used. 


Hamish gently turned her head to the side. Feeling his fingers square against her scalp sent shivers down her spine. 


“Now these sides and back are looking immaculate.” He announced, proudly surveying his handiwork. 


Amina tried to block out the realization that the incredibly short hair she saw in the mirror was her own. The mass of curls that reached to her bra strap was now long gone. A good majority of it sat atop her legs on the cape. Looking apprehensively to the floor she saw more of her dark hair sprawled out, forming a semi circle around the chair. 


Hamish went on talking about his tips to achieving the perfect clippered fade but Amina was struggling to listen, her mind racing as she tried to take in what had just occurred. Nothing could change just how short the hair was, no matter how badly she wanted to. 


Hamish continued explaining his work as he began to unclip the top of her hair but Amina found his voice fading into the background. The soft curls that bounced down looked foreign next to her newly cropped sides. Amina was feeling her throat begin to slightly close up. For so long she had tried to stay brave but constantly having to stare at herself in the mirror wasn’t helping in the slightest. 


The hair fell to just around her chin and Amina felt slightly crestfallen realizing that with this section, any hair that could truly be considered long was about to be chopped away. 


Amina tuned back into what Hamish was saying. 


“Now I’m going to start bringing this length down quite a bit too.” 


He had pulled out his scissors from the draw.  


“Just going to roughly cut the shape, we know it’s going to be short,” he said as he began pulling the hair upwards. “So always best just to get rid of some of the excess length” 


Amina watched through the mirror as he brought the scissors up towards the elevated section. 


Crunch Crunch Crunch


The blades began at the front cutting into the mass of hair. His scissors must have been razor sharp as after just a few more squeezes of the blades together they closed in on eachother. Hamish dangled the handful of hair before gently tossing it to the ground. A further 5 or 6 inches had just been removed.


Her hair now flopped down, only protruding a few inches from her scalp. Amina now could no longer deny that she was a short haired woman. 


Hamish began taking sections between his fingers starting at the front, cutting away a further half inch. As he made his way towards the back Amina could see how short that top would be. Just like the picture she had to admit, pleased that at least the top was long enough to hold a curl. 


More small clippings of hair fell around Amina as the top section was brought down to the desired length. 


“Just need to connect the top and the sides slightly” Hamish said as he began trimming away a few hairs. Amina’s eyes drifted to the cape, catching a look at the pile laying there. It reiterated just how much hair she had before the cut. 


After a few more minutes Hamish announced he was finished and began pulling away the cape. 


Amina was in a sort of daze as she turned her head side to side, running her hands over what was left of her hair. Just like that her mane of hair was gone and save the mountains of hair strung out across the floor, there was no evidence of her long haired days. 


“How was that?” Hamish said having just finished the video and ended the recording. 


“Crazy” Amina said feeling almost drained from the whole process. It was all so fresh she could barely even figure out how she was feeling.


“Looks fucking amazing” Hamish said back gleefully, pulling her into a kiss. 


Amina stood up from the chair and was in awe at the amount of hair that laid around the chair. Clumps of the curly waves that once were attached to her head now stared back at her from the ground. 


“Oh my god!” a voice exclaimed from behind. 


It was Maria and she approached with her hand covering her mouth. 


“You’re a whole new person!” she said, taking a closer look. “Wow it looks so good,” she added nodding continuously. 


“Thanks” she said, smiling warmly.


“How was it?”


“Pretty terrifying,” she admitted. “Think I’m still in shock,” she said, taking a slightly shaky breath. “It feels good to be brave though,” she said nodding, looking back at the hair she was leaving behind. 


After picture: 



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