The barbershop is abuzz, pun intended, with the sound of clippers as I finish work on my current client. I hear a ding at the door as I finish the edges. One client I’m familiar with, but the girl in tow seems new here, and more than a little intimidated.
I walk hand in hand with James as we walk to the waiting area and sit beside each other on the couch.
“Hon … this place … I think it’s only for men …”
I softly express my discomfort seeing the short hair on the floor swept as I glance at my phone trying to keep myself from the thought of feeling out of place in this male environment.
As I uncape my last client and briefly sweep the hair into the corner, I approach the register.
“Got a couple chairs free, come on up and pay and we can get you started” I say, looking at James.
He approaches the counter and pulls out a few bills; as he does so I catch more sight of your nervous frame, hair swishing around as your eyes dart.
I meet eyes with the barber for a brief second before they dart away, making me blush red as my face is buried deep into one of those tattered sports mags lying beside, I peek a bit before indulging in an inattentive paragraph on rugby.
I reach down for the money to count through it. My eyes widen slightly as i count through it a couple times, looking up to James briefly to check that it’s correct. I gesture for him to sit down with one of my colleagues, then gesture at the nervous girl to follow me. After a few failed gestures, I snap my fingers at her to get her attention.
“Hey. Come take this chair, let’s get started!”
Startled by her indecent and straightforward motion of calling, my eyes widen as I nervously comb back a lock of hair behind my ear.
“Oh no … Umm sorry I’m not here for my hair … just with him!”
I point at James as I see him seated in one the chairs as I smile.
“He paid enough for the both of you. Let’s get going, I’ve got a few more appointments after you.”
I say slightly roughly. My colleague has already got to work on James touching up a short fade, but I see a smile cross his lips when he hears her protestation.
I look at James questionably as I get up slowly, throwing back the magazine as walk towards you with my mane bouncing with each step.
“I’m sorry … there’s got to be a misunderstanding … but I’d like to cancel the appointment if he’s done anything like that.”
I look down as I speak trying to convince her, avoiding eye contact.
“We don’t do refunds miss, sorry. Let’s not waste time, I don’t want to hold the line up”
I say as I take hold of your wrist with some firmness.
“Sit, I’ll get things ready.”
As my colleague continues James’ cut, James whispers something to him. The barber smirks and looks at me jealously, then eyes her hair as I bring her over to the chair.
“H-hey! You can’t do –“
I try to pull away from her firm grasp and the next thing I know, I’m seated in a large leather chair, my petite body barely taking any space as I look like a deer in headlights gazing in the mirror as she slumps me in.
I quickly cape you, letting your long hair spill over the back of the chair.
James is finished now, looking rather handsome with a clean crop on top and nearly bald sides. He rises and takes a place near mine behind your chair.
“So, what’s the scoop? She’s having a bit of a hard time; I figure it’d be best for you to decide the cut, so she doesn’t try to weasel out.”
I look tearfully as you two talk away as if this were all planned as my heart sinks as the deception sinks in that James set me up.
“Babe … why would you do this … I thought you liked my hair …”
I speak out in broken sentences unable to talk as I look at James trying to not make a scene among all the men.
After looking hungrily between her luscious hair and the clippers, ignoring her remark, says,
“She’ll have what I had, just whitewall the sides as well”.
Before leaving to sit, he whispers into her ear,
“I do, but you’ll look far better without it”.
A tear trickles down my eye hearing those words as I eye my beautiful hair laid over my shoulders which I cared for years as it gleamed like silk.
“N … o …”
I word out silently watching his scalped head walk back as I close my eyes sobbing softly while he sits behind, quite joyous.
“I’ve got my orders, no use crying.”
No sooner do the words leave my mouth than the clippers turn on, buzzing a no-guard path along the side of her head.
I wince watching inches of soft length just fall off lifeless into my lap as the buzzing blades run up my sides, the pitch turning harsh as it’s pushed through my thick hair.
As the clippers expose more and more bare skin on the sides and back of her head, my pulse quickens and my breathes sharpens. Nothing like reducing a full head of hair to barely anything at all…
The chill air strikes as I shiver, feeling the high-pitched drone of the clippers overlap every sound in the shop, as if the barber specifically picked it in order to grab attention as I felt a lot of eyes on me, forcing me to console myself and hide those tears. I look at you determined to have me sheared like a lamb as I sense the devilish desire in your movements.
I finish the sides and back, leaving a now too-long island of hair surrounded by bare baldness. I attach a short guard to the clippers and begin to run them over the top of your head, not quite making it bald but cutting it nearly to bristle.
Watching the length untouched on top gave me hope for some Mercy from you as my newfound hope quickly dipped watching you attach something to the clippers which only meant one thing – MORE CUTTING, I flinch away from the clippers as she brings them closer to which I look at you pleadingly begging for some mercy.
“Please … don’t cut the top …”
Without hesitation, I cup her head forward as I drive the guarded clippers straight down the middle along her forehead.
“Can’t be going against a direct order like that. It’ll be over soon.”
As I begin to complete the cut, I feel almost a sense of pity at your sudden makeover. An incongruent wish, both that you felt better about the cut and that there was even more hair to mercilessly plow through. The waves bouncing to the side of my head fall in front of my eyes occasionally, almost taunting your nearly hairless form with their bounciness.
I bite my lip in anguish feeling you force my head into the jaws of the whirring blades as they touch my forehead, a chill runs down my spine seeing you denude my crown to mere fuzz.
I make my final few passes, leaving you with a high and tight, clearly exposing your mostly bald head to the entire shop. Though I’ve finished your cut, my clipper-hunger is far from sated. My heart yearns for even more women scalped, but this cut is done, sadly.
James walks up, eyeing your new cut lovingly.
“So, what do you think?”
I cautiously run my hand through the bristle like texture on my crown as my fingers feel my bare skin on the sides.
“It’s so … short …”
My face slumps in sadness as it hangs looking at all the hair around me, lying on the floor like a carpet.
As she’s feel along her cut, she notices me staring in the mirror almost in a daze, clippers still in hand. Without looking at her, I snap back
“Short?! I’ll show you ‘short’ ”
Without hesitation, I drive the guardless clippers straight up her nape, overtaken by my desire.
I’m left gasping, looking at what you just did trying to process your spontaneity.
“My hair !!! Whaaa did you –“
I glare with a hint of rage noticing the skin bald path behind my head, shocked beyond comprehension as I resent my fate. Pulling off the cape as I storm out the shop leaving behind James and the compulsive barberette, tearfully with my makeup all runny and a shorn head knowing never to enter a barbersop again.