Six weeks later, Sara walked in to class with her short bob dyed silver and cut a full inch shorter the previous time. This time, the line of the cut matched Sara’s jawline and the front sections ended just above the edge of her chin.
‘I can’t believe I managed six whole weeks without a trim’ she said when we next met, as I tried to stop my mouth from gaping open. ‘Look how short it is at the back!’ She said, ruffling the hair at her neck and revealing bristly half inch long hairs at her nape. Looking at it made me feel weak with what I assumed was envy. I saw some other girls whisper to each other and frown while flipping their own long ponytails. Sara stood out a mile from every other girl at our school with her sleek silver crop and something about it made me very hot under the collar.
‘Hey, if you have just been for a trim, it’s probably about time I visited the salon again’ I said.
’Time for another two inch trim sweet Katy?’ Teased Sara. I blushed and she kissed me lightly on the cheek ‘I’m off for a date with my guy Greg- I hope he likes my short hair!’ With that she waved and sauntered off.
I booked an appointment that day, and tried to gather my courage to ask for exactly what I wanted, but my next trip to the salon was very similar to the first. This time, Cindy asked at the end ‘Now, is that enough taken off the length?’ and I managed to reply ‘Maybe take a little more..?’. I emerged with a four inch trim, reducing my mane to the bottom of my bra strap. To me, I more or less looked exactly the same as every other girl at our school. I burned with frustration as I left and wondered if I’d ever have Sara’s confidence to ask for the cut I wanted, no, NEEDED at this point. But I’d have to make do, and wait for another six weeks.
However, a mere four weeks after that, Sara surprised me with another fresh cut. Still dyed a vibrant silver colour, she had had her blunt bob snipped to lip length all around and her face was now framed by short blunt bangs that sat high on her forehead and off her eyebrows.
‘I saw this cut on a magazine cover and knew that I couldn’t wait another moment to have it done. You know they had to SHAVE a bit to get it how I wanted’ enthused Sara to Katy ‘The hairdresser asked if she could, and I just said- Ok! Go for it! Here- feel this Katy’ She took my hand and lifted it to stroke her barely concealed clippered nape where only the suggestion of hair remained. I just hoped she didn’t notice how hot I was or how ragged my breathing had become. The rest of the week I thought about Sara’s haircut almost every day and night. It didn’t help that it was the topic of much gossip among the girls and I was surprised to hear that not everyone thought she’d made a good choice.
‘She was such a drop dead glamorous blonde’ said Casey ‘Why does she have to keep cutting it so short? Did you see that it’s shaved at the back? Why would a gorgeous girl like Sara have her head SHAVED like a boy?!’
I feigned indifference so my friends wouldn’t realise that I actually couldn’t stop thinking about Sara’s shaved hair and just how gorgeous I found it. I avoiding Sara so she wouldn’t notice my drooling stare when I caught sight of her clippered nape. Unfortunately, Sara caught wind of the others’ reactions to her crop, and I was shocked to find her in tears one night sitting on a bench on campus, a black beanie covering her whole shiny helmet of silver hair.
‘I heard Casey making fun of my ‘freaky’ haircut to the other girls’ she sobbed into my shoulder ’She was saying that getting my neck buzzed must be some kind of weird fetish and that’s the only reason I would make myself look like a shaved weirdo’
‘Of course that’s not it!’ I cried, although the word fetish resonated uncomfortably with my own feelings about Sara’s hair ‘You look amazing, these girls are just jealous that the only thing that makes them attractive is their shiny long hair. You’re a proper beauty. Honestly Sar’
‘No it’s true. Greg said the other boys were making fun of him. They said I’ll look like GI Jane by Summer at the rate I’m going. Greg told me that when we got together he couldn’t have imagined that I’d cut off my long hair, and that he’s not into short haired girls. He’s said he’ll give me a chance to grow it back, but for now we are taking a break from dating’
This really made my blood boil. I reached up and pulled off Sara’s beanie, revealing her tousled short silver locks and sending a bolt of lightening through my stomach. I placed my hands on either side of her face.
’Sara, NO. I’m going to find a way to prove to you how beautiful and sexy you are with that short hair. You’re going to keep getting those haircuts. Just please, please don’t grow it out for anyone else’s sake’
She sniffled and shrugged. ‘Maybe I did get obsessed.’ She said. ‘It was so exciting revealing to everyone what I thought was the ’true me’, I just figured my friends would be supportive of the style I love. Turns out they prefer the old me’
As soon as I had walked Sara back to her dorm, I took out my phone and dialled the familiar number. After just five weeks, I was ready to return to the salon.
I felt a new kind of energy as I walked up to the door of the small, chic salon but was taken aback when I saw that the usually quiet place was today occupied by another hairdresser as well as a caped client and a waiting client. I was once again greeted for my appointment by a frosty Cindy.
’Hello, college girl. Back so soon? It’s been 5 weeks since your last trim. What can I possibly do for you today?’ There was an odd look in her eye that I couldn’t quite read. It was like she was challenging me.
‘Umm, I just thought I could do with another trim’ I said, cursing my own lack of confidence in front of the other customers. Apparently, it was impossible for me to form the words ‘short hair’. Luckily Cindy only raised her eyebrows skeptically as if thinking for a moment. Then, to my surprise, she beckoned me to the salon’s comfy waiting area where she sat down herself and patted the seat next to her. ‘Come and sit. I’d like to chat with you about whether or not I’m going to cut your hair today.’ I was speechless. My heart raced at the spectacle that had obviously attracted the attention of the other waiting room guest. Was Cindy allowed to refuse me service for returning too early for a trim? What was going on? My embarrassment mounted as I moved to sit down next to my hairdresser.
’So, young lady. I’d like to know what exactly is going on here. This is the third time you have visited me in eleven weeks for a ‘trim’. Each time you come in looking very nervous and despite parting with very little length, you leave looking miserable. You’re busy studying at college and I know that girls with long, thick healthy hair like you don’t bother paying $40 to get a few inches trimmed every few weeks. So I think you’re here for something else. Am I correct?’
I stuttered ‘Uh…Yes, something a bit shorter perhaps would be good. Something neat for school’ (I attempted to give a practical purpose to explain why I was so intent on returning to have my hair cut).
’Something a bit shorter you say? Or something that’s really going to stop this mop from distracting you from your studies? Because I think you’re after something real short, and that you’ve not yet been brave enough to just ask me for it. Please don’t waste my time. I can neaten you right up, right now if you’ll let me’
My heart leapt. I couldn’t believe it, my fantasy was playing out and somehow Cindy was reading my mind. Annoyingly, the attention of the other woman in the waiting room was firmly on our unfolding scene. I only had to say the word and… was I about to get my dream cut, finally?
’Yes’ I breathed, ‘Whatever you think will be good’ I added passively, true to form.
‘No Katy. It needs to be your choice. Would you like me to give you a nice, neat and SHORT haircut Katy?’
’Yes please’ I whispered, and looking in her eyes for the first time I found some conviction. I coughed and spoke louder: ‘I’d like you to cut it like that’
Cindy smiled a victorious, knowing smile.
‘Well then, it looks like I’m about to cut that hair of yours college girl! And I think it’s a going to be good proper haircut this time. One you won’t forget for a while’
‘You’ll look a very smart young lady!’ Offered the waiting client who was an older lady. ’Something nice and cool for when Summer arrives!’ She added. I looked over and tried to smile through my nerves and excitement. Cindy ignored her.
‘Ok. So in a second I’m going to cape you up on that salon chair over there and when you leave my shop that mop on your head is going to be for me to sweep up off my floor. Are you ready Katy?’
‘Ok, good girl. Let me go and get my things, I’m going to need some more equipment than usual.’