It was the first day back after the holidays of my first year at college. As a smart and attractive freshman I’d settled in well, with several close friends and a good class record. To my surprise, I had proved popular amongst guys, many of whom had asked me out over the course of my first semester. Most of my friends had very quickly gotten in to serious relationships with boys on campus, but I had so far struggled to make a satisfying connection. I was very shy, and struggled with feeling confident in my own skin. I missed hanging out with them as we had at the beginning, before every weekend was taken up by them going off on dates.
My friend Sara was one of my favourite people I’d met at college. Adored by all, she was equally beautiful and kind. Unusually for my timid self, I had felt a spark of friendship between us from the very start, and she always put me at total ease. She had long, thick bright blonde hair that fell down to her breasts and it was impossible not to notice that she had a perfect figure, which she clothed stylishly, but modestly in mostly black and white colours. Like me, she had resisted dating for a long time but to my disappointment had told me over the holiday that she was texting a guy that she really liked and that ’this might be it’. I had enjoyed our bond as singles, and this would leave me to be the only remaining one in our friend circle.
I sat in class, eagerly awaiting my reunion with Sara, who texted me to say she was running late and could I please save her a space. I was sitting daydreaming and twiddling the ends of my own long, dark blonde hair around my fingers when she first walked through the door. My head snapped up at the sound of another friend, Casey, exclaiming:
‘Oh my god Sar, GREAT haircut!’
When I looked up, there was Sara, dressed in her usual black but without her signature long blonde locks draped over her shoulders. Instead, she sported a sleek platinum blunt cut bob, that hung in a razor sharp straight line just below her jaw. It was so fresh and neat it might have been cut five minutes ago. She looked simply stunning and something in me fluttered when she caught my eye and gave me a huge grin.
’Thanks Casey!’ she said and then headed straight for me. When she sat down, she leaned in close, her perfume washing over me in an intoxicating breeze.
‘Be honest, what do you think?’ she whispered, eyes wide and staring in to mine ‘Is it too much?’
’Sara you look… amazing. Just amazing.’ I tried to keep my voice steady as I was taken aback by my own enthusiasm for my friend’s short haircut ‘I can’t believe I didn’t know you were getting your hair cut over Christmas!’ I gasped (as if I somehow could have prepared better for this moment). There was a sigh of relief, followed by another huge grin and arm squeeze from Sara.
‘Oh my god Katy I’m so glad you love it’ she breathed, giggling and holding on to my arm excitedly ‘Because, I LOVE it!! Honestly, I think I’m officially a short hair gal now- I just can’t get enough of my new do! I’ve actually wanted to cut it for ages but couldn’t summon the courage to stand out- have you noticed all the girls at this college have long hair?! It took me until yesterday to take the plunge. I just thought- it’s the last day before the new semester, so it’s now or never. Got it all chopped off and now I’ve never felt more like me. You know what- I actually can’t wait for next time, I might even have it trimmed shorter! Who knows?’ She laughed. ‘It’s great to see you Katy.’
Class begun and I tried to stop thinking about Sara’s new hair. I wondered if she noticed my sideways glances at the sleek platinum curtain that flirted with her jawline and the skin of her lower neck, pale and exposed for the first time to the elements. I felt oddly hot and bothered by my proximity to her and the distracting spectacle of her neatly snipped white-blonde bob, which was attracting plenty of attention from all around the room. I momentarily imagined myself with the same daring cut but just couldn’t picture myself next to Sara. By the end of class, after a long internal struggle, I plucked up the courage to form the words:
‘Hey Sara, where did have your hair cut? It’s about time I went for a trim as well’. I blushed deeply as I faked a casual tone, and hoped she didn’t notice that I’d had my hair trimmed by a modest couple of inches very recently in my home town.
‘You’re not thinking of going short are you? Cause if you are just DO IT babe. You’d honestly look amazing bobbed, but you know… no pressure!’ She winked, laughed and wrote down something on my notepad. ‘Here’s the number for the salon!’
I giggled nervously and said something noncommittal about deciding on the style later. The bell rang and we went our separate ways. Ten minutes later, I had booked my first appointment.
A little bell rang overhead as I entered the small chic salon and an attractive but tired looking lady wearing overalls came to the front desk. She was around 40 years old and had sensible but glamorous shoulder length dark hair. She frowned slightly as she appraised my plain, girlish outfit and healthy long dark blonde hair. ‘Are you Katy?’ She said doubtfully. I nodded and stepped in to the empty salon. ’I am Cindy, please take a seat.’ She pointed to a large black salon chair in the middle of the quiet shop.
She quickly fastened one large black cape and one smaller rubbery one around my shoulders. My hair was fanned out around me and I sat facing myself, caped and framed in the large salon mirror, full of excitement, anticipation and dread. I braced myself against a small tremble that had begun to overtake me, and thought I caught a strange sideways glance from the hairdresser as she assembled her tools.
‘So, what are we doing today?’ I suddenly realised that no matter how many times I had imagined this I had no idea how to describe what I wanted. Hell, I didn’t even really know what I wanted, I had just spent the last few days picturing Sara and how she must have felt as over half her mane was sliced away and the remainder was trimmed so neatly to her chin. I suddenly felt doubtful. I couldn’t just copy Sara, I’d look like a ridiculous wannabe. I had nothing like the confidence to carry this off. I had none of Sara’s natural charisma or style.
‘Umm, I’m not sure. I thought I’d get it neatened up a little.’ Cindy said nothing, so I added nervously. ‘I’ve just started back at school’
The hairdresser looked a little bored as she brushed my mid-back length locks and inspected the ends.
‘Congratulations’ she said somewhat sarcastically ‘But, I’m going to have to ask you to be a little more specific, college girl’
‘My heart sank and my courage failed me as it so often did. ‘Uhh, just whatever you think is best’ I stuttered ‘Just trim some off’
‘Well your hair is actually looking pretty healthy, so I’ll trim about 2 inches off the overall length. Is that ok?’
I squirmed with disappointment but already knew that I wouldn’t contradict her. She made quick work of my gentle, dry trim that brought my length up to about the bottom of my breasts. I paid her and left forlornly, bitterly spelling out a response to Sara’s text ‘So, what are we talking?’ with the sad three words ‘Just a trim’.