To read about Kayleigh’s first haircut mistake check out: Kayleigh’s Miscommunication
Kayleigh felt butterflies flutter around in her stomach as she approached the white exterior of Jai’s Unisex Salon. A week earlier Kayleigh had lost more than a few locks of hair inside that salon. She had left feeling very self-conscious with a completed shaved nape (which she loved) and a very high A-line bob (which she had just about gotten used to).
A week later her hair was still in its precise new shape. A couple of millimetres of stubble now coated her exposed nape. At its longest point her bobbed-hair brushed against her chin. At its shortest point, the back of her bob was still high above her occipital bone. Now all that would have to change.
With a deep breath, Kayleigh entered the salon.
Once inside Kayleigh did her best not to stare at the three women sat in the waiting area. All three were bald. Their heads had been shaved completely smooth. Two of the women, Kayleigh realised, were actually older teenagers. They seemed just as curious by her as she was by them. The two teenagers kept looking up from their phones to stare at Kayleigh. The oldest women looked to be in her late fifties. She only gave Kayleigh the briefest of glances before returning her attention to the ten year old girl sat in one of the large barber’s chairs.
The young girl’s head was completely covered in a cap of white foam. An older Chinese lady with white and grey hair stood behind the girl holding a straight razor. The lady’s name was Huan and she smiled when she saw Kayleigh standing in the doorway.
“Jai!” she called in the direction of the back of the salon.
A beautiful woman in her thirties appeared from behind a thick blue curtain which separated the salon from the staff area at the back.
“It’s Kayleigh, isn’t it?” said Jai warmly. “Do you want to come and have a seat? Lien here is the last one.” She indicated the girl in Huan’s chair who was smiling as the razor passed over her head.
Kayleigh walked over and settled comfortably into the chair in front of Jai’s station.
“I’m surprised to see you back so soon,” said Jai. “Are you wanting me to tidy up your nape?”
“It’s more complicated than that. I…I need your help,” Kayleigh confessed. “See, last Friday I had an interview for an assistant manager position at work and I got the job—”
“Thanks. But I got the job on the condition I change my hairstyle to something more…conservative.”
“Ah I see,” said Jai, immediately understanding Kayleigh’s predicament. “And because you’re current style is quite dramatic…” Kayleigh felt Jai’s fingertips lightly touch her nape.
“I just don’t know what style would even work,” said Kayleigh desperately.
“Hmm.” Jai studied Kayleigh’s hair in thoughtful silence.
Kayleigh felt her heart pound loudly in her chest. She shot a quick glance across at Lien whose head shave was nearly complete. What if Jai said the only solution was to shave her head too?
“The problem is the length at the back,” said Jai after a pause. “Because your hair is so short, there really is no way to hide your nape…which means you’re going to have to embrace a more extreme style. Realistically the back is going to have to be completed shaved as well as the sides. It’s up to you but I’d recommend using the straight razor again, then you’d know the back and sides will be even and the same length.”
Kayleigh gripped the arms of the chair, nervous but determined. “Yeah that would be ok. Honestly I thought I might have to go that short.”
Jai was now combing out her hair and placing the fine-toothed comb at various points around Kayleigh’s head as she mentally mapped out different styles. “As for the top, you’d still have some length to play with, although the hair that’s left will be above your ears. It just depends on how conservative you need the style to be. You could keep it slightly longer and go for a more feminine style with some soft waves, or you could go more dramatic with either a crew cut or a flattop. Or you could match the length of the top with the sides.”
“You mean be bald?”
“I’m just giving you some options,” said Jai with a smile. “It’s your choice.”
Kayleigh stared intently at her reflection in the mirror. As hard as she tried she couldn’t yet picture her face void of the hair that currently surrounded it. She bit her lip nervously. “Do you mind if we shave the back and sides first? I’m not quite sure on what style to go for yet.”
“No problem dear,” Jai chuckled as she started to create a line that separated the hair on the top of Kayleigh’s head from the sides. Once both women were happy with where the line was placed, Jai picked up a pair of red clippers.
“Are you ready?” she asked. “I’ll remove the bulk of your hair with these, and then I’ll go over it with the razor. Does that sound alright?”
Kayleigh nodded firmly and lowered her head. She resumed her tight grip on the arms of the chair as she felt the unguarded blades of the clippers touch her skin.
Despite her situation, Kayleigh closed her eyes and smiled as she felt the vibrations of the clippers pass over her head. Soft locks of severed hair gentle caressed her cheeks.
As hair was falling on her shoulders and onto her lap and down onto the floor, Kayleigh tried to picture the next stage of her haircut. Like Huan’s mirror, the edges of Jai’s mirror were also decorated with photos of various haircuts the client in the chair could choose. Could she really pull off one of those extreme shaved haircuts?
Watching Jai remove the last of the hair from the side of her head, Kayleigh couldn’t help but grin. There were certainly a lot of people she knew who would consider this dramatic undercut an extreme haircut. So what to do about her hair? What if she started with a longer style (well, relatively speaking) and gradually asked Jai to take it shorter if she felt brave enough? Or maybe she could give control of the remaining haircut to Jai?
Bzzzzzz. Bzzz. Then, all of a sudden, the clippers fell silent.
“There, how does that feel?” Jai asked.
“Wow,” was all Kayleigh could think of to say. She turned her head from side to side, admiring her new look and the barely there stubble on the sides of her head.
“Just wait until I’ve used the razor. It’ll look even—”
Ring, ring. Ring, ring.
“Oh bother. I bet that’ll be the supplier for the new barber chairs. He said he’d call this afternoon.”
It’s alright, I don’t mind waiting,” said Kayleigh sincerely. “The call sounds important.”
“I can continue Jai. All finished up now.” Huan smiled and placed a friendly hand on Kayleigh’s caped shoulder. Kayleigh turned her head in surprise. She had been so engrossed in her own haircut that she hadn’t realised she was now the only customer in the salon.
Ring, ring. “If you’re sure you both don’t mind.” Jai’s eyes darted quickly from her mother to Kayleigh to the blue curtain which hid the ringing phone in the back of the salon. “I’ll be as quick as I can.”
Huan laughed. “You take all the time, Jai. Go on.”
Jai mouthed ‘thank you’ at both Kayleigh and Huan and darted behind the curtain. Now Kayleigh and Huan were alone. Kayleigh couldn’t help but feel a little nervous as she remembered the last time Huan had taken her scissors to her auburn locks.
“So, what we doing today?” asked Huan. She freed the hair on top of Kayleigh’s head from its clip. This last remaining section of hair did nothing to conceal the dramatic change that had just occurred beneath it. “You not like previous haircut?”
“Oh no I really liked it,” said Kayleigh hurriedly and not entirely truthfully. Huan seemed nice and she didn’t want to hurt her feelings. “I got a promotion but they said I had to change my style so now I have to get all of my hair cut off.”
“All off?” Huan hadn’t heard of anywhere local that required its employees to be bald, she thought to herself, but she was pleased Kayleigh seemed to be embracing the change. And her chance to do a third head shave on a woman in the same day – what a treat! “You want razor shave after too?” she inquired hopefully.
Oblivious to the thoughts she had accidentally planted in Huan’s mind, Kayleigh nodded as she remembered the wonderful sensation of Huan shaving her nape with a straight razor the previous week. “Yes please, Jai mentioned it would look better with a completely smooth shave.”
Huan picked up the red guardless clippers that Jai had left on the shelf in front of the mirror. “Straight razor head shave is best head shave,” promised Huan.
Wait, thought Kayleigh, why is Huan holding the clippers? They hadn’t discussed the length of her remaining hair yet – had they? Perhaps Huan was simply going to go over a section that Jai had already done. Maybe there was a stray piece of hair left behind her ear or something.
Huan turned the clippers back on and raised them to Kayleigh’s forehead. Kayleigh’s eyes widened in panic. What was Huan doing? Dammit had she said something again that made Huan think that—
With a well practiced effortlessness Huan pushed the clippers through Kayleigh’s precious few remaining locks of hair, carving a pale path down the centre of her head. “Oh God!” Kayleigh breathed hoarsely.
“Don’t worry, you brave girl. I quick and shock will be over soon.”
Bzzzz – another piece of her bare scalp was revealed. Bzzzz – and another. Kayleigh was suddenly grateful that Huan had started the clippers at her forehead. It meant that the severed hair was pushed back behind the chair where she couldn’t see it. And Huan had been right. With so little hair left it really was a very quick process for the clippers to pass entirely over the top of Kayleigh.
Only one short lock of hair was left, hanging limply down the side of her face as defeated as Kayleigh felt. Then it was gone, sliding down the cape and onto the floor. Now Kayleigh realised exactly how she has phrased her haircut needs to Huan. All my hair cut off.
“All done,” Huan announced happily. “I not be long. Need to get fresh shaving cream and clean razor.”
Left alone in the salon Kayleigh stared mutely at the mirror. Who was that bald girl with the wide blue eyes that was staring back at her? Kayleigh extracted her hand from beneath the heavy cape and ran her fingers over her head. The girl in the mirror copied her movements. Now using both hands to explore her head, Kayleigh and the girl in the mirror felt rough stubble and cool skin underneath their palms and fingers. Well she had needed her hair shorter for work although how she was going to explain this to her friends and family, Kayleigh had no idea.
Huan returned carrying a small round brush, a bowl of fluffy white shaving cream and a new straight razor. “You going to enjoy this part,” she promised.
Kayleigh could only smile weakly as Huan proceeded to coat her entire head in a cap of shaving cream.
“Right, I’m sorry about that. All sorted now. I can take over again if you…wow!” Jai emerged from the back of salon and now stood open mouthed at the scene before her. “Well I guess you decided on a new style. Good for you Kayleigh. Not every woman would be willing to try a head shave.”
“Thanks,” Kayleigh said with a nervous grin. “Though really it was Huan was helped me to decide.”
“She brave girl,” said Huan winking at Kayleigh. “Now first head shave – try closing eyes. You feel it more that way. You enjoy. And no moving.”
Staring into the mirror trying to work out if she was dreaming or she really was bald underneath that shaving foam, Kayleigh shot once one last nervous look in Huan and Jai direction and closed her eyes. She gripped the arms of the chairs as tightly as she squeezed her eyelids together.
For only the second time in her life, Kayleigh experienced the curious sensation of feeling a straight razor against her bare skin. She could feel Huan’s skilled fingers near her crown as the older woman carefully pulled at her skin to ensure the razor glided safely and smoothly over her scalp. While Huan started at her crown it wasn’t long before Kayleigh could sense the pressure shift to the back of her head, then the left side, then right, before finally…despite her fears Kayleigh felt a shiver of excitement travel down her spine as the last stubbly remains of her hair were removed with an elegant swipe from the top of her head.
A part of her was still trying to understand exactly how she had found herself in this position. A week ago she’d had soft copper coloured hair that reached her collarbone and now…
“You can open eyes now,” Huan declared.
Not entirely sure she was ready to face the truth, Kayleigh reluctantly opened her eyes. Huan finished wiping Kayleigh’s head clean with the towel and removed it quickly with a dramatic flourish.
“What do you think?” asked Jai who was also awaiting Kayleigh’s reaction with curiosity.
Tentatively Kayleigh extracted both hands from beneath the cape and stroked her head, cautiously at first then more firmly as she gradually moved her hands over her scalp. Her fingers and palms explored the shape of her denuded head and the soft pale skin that had been revealed.
Kayleigh laughed nervously although whether she was nervous about being suddenly bald or nervously realising she was actually tempted to keep her head shaved for a while she wasn’t sure. “It feels strange,” she confessed.
“Good strange or bad strange?” Jai asked with a grin.
“I’m not sure,” said Kayleigh honestly. “Good I think.”
As Huan was freeing Kayleigh from the cape she leaned down and winked at her. “Brave girl. You look good. I told you you’d enjoy head shave. Any time you want head shave again, you come back and see Huan.”
“Yeah,” Kayleigh agreed thoughtfully. “I think I just might.”