If there was one thing Alena hated about running late for work in the morning, it was that it almost always led to her leaving her apartment with wet hair. But not for the reasons one might think, especially in the Summer when her honey-blonde mane would dry fairly quickly.
The problem was that although Alena was, on the whole, an incredibly attractive young woman, her hair was all but perfect, tumbling in thick, loose, romantic waves almost halfway down her back and with perfectly placed layers that would frame her high cheekbones and dark green eyes. When left to dry on its own, it inevitably became “Fuck me” hair, begging to be tugged and rumpled as her body was used in whatever way the person doing the imagining wanted. The bus and subway rides into work became uncomfortable exercises in avoiding eye contact while also trying to maintain the natural sense of self-confidence that prevented most men from acting on any of their thoughts.
And once she made it into the office, once she got past the sometimes-leering security guards in the lobby, she’d have to make a bee-line to the women’s room to gather the thick mass of silky locks back and clip them in place, so she could make a barely-passable attempt at wrangling them into an acceptable updo.
This morning was no different than any of the others, though it involved two separate instances of having to move away from men – one old enough to be her father and one young enough to land her in jail – who tried to slip their fingers through the ends of her waves without her noticing.
It was almost enough to make her consider chopping it all off. Especially as she sat in her friend Elizabeth’s office, reviewing the presentation Elizabeth was giving on behalf of their team that afternoon. Not only did Elizabeth have a pair of scissors handy right there on her desk, but she also had the absolute cutest pixie-cut possible. Adorably fluffy and the most envy-inducing shade of strawberry blonde imaginable, despite being incredibly short, it was actually quite grown out when compared to the near-buzzcut Elizabeth had first walked into the office with. Previously, her gorgeous curls danced around waist length, but then one weekend she just decided “Off with it” and there it went. Suddenly it was too short to even part, and only recently had gotten long enough to do so.
Sitting to Elizabeth’s side with her back to the door as they reviewed some Powerpoint slides, Alena jumped in tandem with Elizabeth when there was a knock at the doorjamb. They both spun to see Jim, their immediate supervisor, grinning without apology. “Morning, ladies. I just wanted to check in on how the preparations are going.”
“All but done,” Elizabeth replied as she straightened the blazer she’d worn just for the presentation. “Alena’s just helping helping me make sure I didn’t miss anything.”
Jim nodded. “Good. Good.” His gaze dropped toward the floor, and he tapped the doorframe a couple times.
“What?” Alena asked. Jim had started out in the same group as she and Elizabeth, so there was a certain camaraderie between them all that made him terrible at delivering bad news.
“Mister Robertson is going to be in attendance. You know how he’s always been interested in the department’s work.”
Alena nodded, but felt it would have been more accurate to say he was more interested in Elizabeth. He never seemed to miss one of her presentations despite knowing full well she was a married woman. To a woman, even, so it’s not like he’d have had a shot anyway.
“So Ted thinks it would be a good idea if Alena gave the presentation instead.”
Alena’s jaw dropped as she heard the order from Jim’s boss, and from the corner or her eye she saw Elizabeth’s do the same.
“It’s always Elizabeth, though,” Alena replied.
“I know.” He turned to the other woman, clearly uncomfortable with being stuck giving the news. “I’m sorry. Elizabeth. It is what it is.”
Elizabeth’s brow furrowed, and she couldn’t vocalize an answer.
Jim turned his attention back to Alena before leaving. “Be sure to fix your hair beforehand, Alena. It looks fine for a normal day, but not today. “
Alena unwittingly made an insulted squeak. Jim rolled his eyes. “Just let it down and brush it out, or whatever it is you do. I’m sure Mister Robertson will appreciate it.”
Jim the retreated quickly, leaving Alena and Elizabeth with fallen jaws as they slowly turned to look at one another.
“I… I don’t know why, Elizabeth,” Alena insisted. “You should be giving this presentation.”
“I know why,” her friend said quietly. “And it’s not your fault. But Jim just told us exactly why.”
Alena’s brows knitted together, but then Elizabeth reached up and tugged the clip form her hair, sending the honey blonde waves tumbling past her shoulders. Alena blinked and looked down at her now-curly locks and blinked. “What? No!”
Elizabeth sighed softly and shrugged.
“Because of my hair?” She paused a beat, then her eyes widened. “Because you cut yours?”
“It kind of makes sense, in retrospect. Despite always giving these quarterly presentations, Jim got the promotion.” Her expression darkened thoughtfully. “And Mister Robertson’s assistant always managed to say something that would wind up getting me to wear my hair at least partially down when I was presenting. So, now that it’s gone, I guess they don’t see a point in me being up there.”
“That is so wrong! We need to do something. You need to sue him.”
Elizabeth sighed and rolled her eyes. “It’s not overt, at least. Fuck him. I don’t care. At least I know it’s something I couldn’t control, so to speak, you know? Like if Jim wasn’t so obvious about it, I’d be wondering whether I did something wrong.”
“You definitely didn’t.”
“I know.” She went quiet for a minute, and then grinned as she eyed Alena’s wild hair. “Make it up to me by letting me fix your hair while we go over the rest of this. I don’t want to get out of practice.”
It was a weird feeling, once Alena fetched her purse with her comb and settled in so Elizabeth could play with her hair while they reviewed the presentation. There was a subtle, unspoken sense that Alena was a Geisha or concubine of some sort, being meticulously prepared for the emperor or sultan by a former favorite. Alena could have sworn she’d seen a movie or two with this sort of thing going on…
But it felt so wrong, even as much as she loved the slow, soothing sweeps Elizabeth took through her silky locks, carefully lifting and gathering and combing some more. Every now and then, Elizabeth would let a softly curly hank swing into Alena’s eyes, pretending not to notice her now-blinded friend for as long as possible.
Even so… Alena felt icky. She should have refused. She should have demanded Elizabeth still give the presentation, but within a few minutes it was clear that part of Elizabeth’s personality had powered down, and now asking her to ramp it up again would be borderline cruel. So Alena would give the presentation, with her Fuck Me hair falling free and swinging around every time she moved, enticing anyone who found her aesthetically interesting to imagine how her near-golden waves would look swinging above them as she rode their cock or piled in their lap and she kissed their pussy, and she would keep talking, hoping some aspect – any aspect – of her team’s proposal made it through.
She felt incredibly conceited thinking all of this, but – she also was basically told exactly that just now. Maybe it would only be Mister Robertson, but that was enough to justify her being creeped out about it. She wanted to be able to enjoy both aspects of this moment – the fact that she was giving the presentation for the first time and the fact that her friend was somehow making her hair look even better than normal with nothing more than a comb, her fingertips and a tiny bit of hairspray – but the cracks in the facade were too great to be ignored.
She’d give the presentation this afternoon, and then she’d polish up her resume the first chance she got.
After a few more strokes and them comb and one more two-handed rumple of her thick tresses, Elizabeth leaned forward and flipped her computer’s camera on, bringing Alena’s and her visages up on screen. “Okay, there we go.”
“Damn, girl,” Alena muttered. Her perfectly placed layers were somehow both wild and controlled; sexy and professional; rebellious and yet perfectly behaved.
“I’ve had practice. And am used to actually dealing with a lot more.”
“I love it. You have to let me take you out for a drink after the meeting tonight.”
“I don’t think I have to…”
“Yes, you do.” Alena turned in her chair to face her friend, silky locks of honey blonde brushing against her cheek as she did. “Please? It’s the east I can do, for everything.” In a whisper, she added, “And we can really getting into bitching and complaining about this place.”
Elizabeth smiled. “Okay, I’m sold.”
The rest of the day went fairly quickly, with Alena redirecting any compliments she received for how her hair looked to Elizabeth. Gradually, when the sting of the circumstances started to fade, she began enjoying the attention her hair got. She savored how it felt against her neck and bouncing against her back, and how soft and silky it felt when she tucked some behind her ear when she bent over to get something from her desk drawer. She was still annoyed, but at least she had stopped thinking about grabbing Elizabeth’s scissors and doing something drastic.
A few minutes before the 4 o’clock meeting, Alena and Elizabeth were in the meeting room preparing the powerpoint to make sure everything would run smoothly. Alena was even doing her best weather-woman impersonation, pointing toward the screen with exaggerated gestures and being sure to move in ways that swung her almost-curls around dramatically. Elizabeth was enjoying the comedy of it, right up until Jim popped his head into the room.
“Sorry, girls,” he said. “Mister Robertson can’t make the meeting today, so it’s being pushed until tomorrow.”
Alena looked up to the ceiling and bit back a groan of annoyance. “We all know he doesn’t actually have to be here for the presentation, right?” She lowered her gaze to meet Jim’s. “Can’t we just have the meeting without him?”
Jim shrugged. “Sorry. He was very eager to see your… proposal. We’ll do it tomorrow when he can make it.” He gestured upward, toward her hair. “Whatever you did to get that to happen today, do it again tomorrow. Seriously. It looks amazing.”
And then he was gone again.
Alena gritted her teeth and looked to Elizabeth. “Drinks. Now.”
“I mean, we’re clear with how creepy that all was, right?” Alena asked in the midst of drinking her second hard cider. The bar she and Elizabeth wound up at was a small, cozy hole-in-the-wall in the city’s offbeat neighborhood, nestled in with some tattoo parlors, social clubs, and other alternative fare. It was always a bit odd to see business people filtering in at the end of the day, but there absolutely was no better place to let one’s hair down, literally and figuratively, and be yourself without fear of judgement.
“Very much so,” Elizabeth agreed before sipping her bottled beer. Normally she was a fancy drink kind of girl, but Alena guessed that the volume of drinking she planned to do forced a more economically responsible decision. “I mean… Jesus. Do you think Jim did that on purpose?”
“Did what on purpose?”
“He basically told us the guy jacks off to our hair. Or at least used to, in regard to mine. That’s not something you let slip by accident.”
“But why would he tell us? And if he did want to tell us, why not just come out and say that? Though, maybe in more polite language.”
Elizabeth didn’t have an answer to that.
“Maybe he was trying to toe the line,” Alena offered. “You know, like plausible deniability. Say enough so we figure it out ourselves, without feeling like he’s ratting out the Good Ol’ Boys network.”
“Freaking good ol’ boys network.” Elizabeth took another drink.
“Your hair is super cute, just so you know.”
Elizabeth smiled genuinely, and nodded her thanks. “Don’t worry, I’m not having an existential crisis or anything because of what happened.” She shrugged, and ran her hand back through her strawberry blonde mini-locks, and Alena watched with a bit of jealousy how they sprang right back into place. Only two or three inches long at most, there just wasn’t much of a chance for them to look messy no matter what Elizabeth did. “Honestly, I absolutely hated it at first, but it has its benefits.”
Alena tilted her head inquisitively.
“One, it keeps guys like Mister Roberston away.”
“That’s more than enough in itself.”
Elizabeth smiled, and clinked her bottle to Alena’s in agreement before taking a sip. “And two, my wife absolutely loves it.”
Elizabeth nodded. “It was her…” she paused. “It was her suggestion, actually. And she can be very persuasive at times.”
Alena grinned. There were times she certainly wouldn’t have minded someone trying to persuade her to cuts hers, especially by those methods. Instead, she had the exact opposite problem, with everyone – including any hairstylist she seemed to go to – persuading her not to. Looking around the bar, she couldn’t help but notice how many cute, shorter hairstyles she saw, and how many she’d like to try. The only woman with hair longer than her own seemed to be the bartender, whose two, thick auburn braids teased the top of the pockets of her jeans as she worked.
Maybe she should try again. Hell, if it wasn’t so deep into the evening, she might have tried to find someplace to do it now just to show up the Good Ol’ Boys tomorrow.
“Did you have any trouble convincing the person to do it?”
“What do you mean?” Elizabeth asked.
“Whenever I ask a hairstylist to cut off more than a few inches, they freak out and refuse to. And your hair was just as pretty as mine. Did you get any pushback when you asked?”
Elizabeth’s cheeks reddened, and she looked around the bar for a bit before deciding to answer. “No, not really. I think he was glad for the opportunity.” She smiled, taking another sip of her drink. “I don’t think barbers get a chance to work on pretty girls very much.”
Alena blinked. “You went to a barber?”
Elizabeth laughed and nodded, as if she were telling an embarrassing story from her youth. “Yup. Wasn’t the obvious by how little was left?”
“No! Because, like I said, it looked super cute on you. I just can’t imagine you walking into a barbershop.”
Another grin. “It wasn’t your typical place. It was at a festival, of sorts. Amanda-the-wife used the festive feelings to her advantage when convincing me to go for it,” she explained. “The guy and his wife have a regular shop nearby, though.”
Alena’s heart paused, and she could feel her idea from just a few moments before solidifying. “How nearby?”
Elizabeth shrugged. “A few blocks.”
“You don’t need an appointment for barbershops, right?”
“You… You’re not thinking what I think you’re thinking, are you?
Alena checked the time on her phone. “Can we go see if they’re still open?”
“They will be, but you can’t cut your hair!”
Alena’s heart dropped and her shoulders sagged. “Not you, too.”
Elizabeth held up a hand. “Sorry, no. But I think I’m just obligated as a friend to say that at least once. But are you sure?”
“Yeah. I am.” She raked her fingers back through her thick locks, annoyance growing as they swept beautifully back into place to frame her face. “I’ve thought about it a lot before and it just really, really seems like the perfect night to do it.”
Unwilling to wait for the waitress to stop by with their tab, Alena went to the redheaded bartender to clear their tab, and then grabbed Elizabeth by the hand and led her from the bar. She was far more giddy and excited about heading to the barbershop than Elizabeth was, though he own excitement seemed to have caught on by the time Elizabeth guided her to the front door of the most traditional barbershop Alena had ever seen, smack dab in the middle of the most alternative part of town. A little brick shop with a huge front window, it had the telltale spinning barber pole and what Alena assumed was the required lettering of the word “Barber Shop” across the glass.
Inside, a man who looked the part of an early-1900s barber to a T, including the thin, curled mustache, sat in one of two barber chairs, talking to a young woman with the most perfect, sharply cut dark pink bob. Heavy bangs accented her eyes, which turned toward the door with curiosity as she saw Elizabeth and Alena outside.
“Let me go in first,” Elizabeth said. “It looks likes they’re supposed to close soon, but they’re friends. I don’t want to put them on the spot by both of us going in.”
Alena nodded, then shook her hair back out of her face. She smiled as she did, simultaneously loving the feel of her soft tresses slipping through her fingers and looking forward to getting rid of most of them, finally.
After a few moments and some gesturing (Elizabeth seemed to be gesturing no toward some suggestions the bobbed woman made), the barber was out of the chair, dusting it off as Elizabeth came back toward the door and beckoned Alena in.
The barber strode toward her, hand out. “Hello, I’m Ed.”
“Alena,” she replied as she took his hand.
“Kim,” the woman with the perfect bob waved. She seemed to be in the middle of texting on her phone, so Alena just waved.
“Elizabeth told us you were really eager to get a cut tonight,” Ed said as he looked Alena over. She shifted her feet under his gaze and fluffed her hair a bit for him. “I’m assuming you just want a trim, since no one would be crazy enough to cut such gorgeous hair.”
Alena sighed, and Elizabeth stepped forward to slap Ed’s shoulder. “Don’t you dare!”
Ed laughed, backing away in surrender. “Okay, okay. I’m sorry. Elizabeth told us what the situation was, and, my dear, you definitely came to the right place.” He gestured to the closest barber’s chair, a much larger, higher seat than most of her past stylist ever used. “Have a seat, and let’s talk about what you were thinking.”
With both a sense of relief and building nerves, Alena stepped forward and up into the barber’s chair. It wrapped itself around her, warm and comfy while also being rather utilitarian in design.
“Did you use any product today?” Ed asked as he stepped behind her, gathering up her long locks and letting them spill down the back of the chair.
“Not really. Just a tiny bit of hairspray. Like, very tiny.”
His reflection in the mirror before her blinked. “Really? And it kept its form this well?”
From the corner of her eye, she saw Kim gesture Elizabeth toward the other barber chair, then turn to Ed. “I know it’s a few minutes early, but okay if I close up, hon?”
He gave his okay, then turned his attention back to Alena. “So, what did you want to do tonight?”
Alena considered the question. Beyond “Off with it,” she hadn’t really given it much thought at all. Glancing around the shop, she somehow doubted she’d find a lot of women’s style magazines, and she didn’t think it’d be fair to spend much of Ed’s time looking at them if she did. But the walls were covered in old-time photos of men’s hairstyles, and she realized that if she was going to go all in – if she was going to do something that would get people to stop fawning over her hair all the time – then she should really go all in.
She pointed to an image of a young kid, probably a schoolboy in the 1940s, with nearly naked sides and short, slick hair parted to the right. “How about a slightly girly version of that?”
Ed blinked, and Elizabeth gasped. As she locked the front door and closed the blinds, Kim murmured, “Alright!”
“Are you sure?”
Alena took a deep breath, narrowed her eyes, and nodded. “Yeah. I want it to be super short, and I’m okay with it winding up a little androgynous, but…” Her cheeks reddened and she felt a little silly, but…”I still want to be hot, if that makes any sense.”
Ed smirked, then nodded. “It does.” He picked up a striped cape and flicked it open. “Shall we begin?”
Alena took a steadying breath. “No time like the present.” After he enveloped her form in the cape and flicked her wealth of blonde hair over her left shoulder, she made a hacking motion with her left hand. “Off with it.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Ed reached behind for a strip of white paper he fastened around her neck, and then snapped the cape closed and fluffed her honey gold locks out across her shoulders and down her back. Picking up a comb, he asked, “First, if you’ll indulge me? I don’t get to tend to hair this pretty very often.” Alena smiled, for once glad to hear a genuine complement toward her locks that day that didn’t leave her feeling like she needed a shower. Ed began running the comb through her hair, slowly and almost tenderly, following the teeth with a gentle touch of his fingers as every long, slow stroke slowly coaxed some of the waves and curls Elizabeth had managed to wrangle under control earlier that day to sleep.
Next to her, Kim had also gotten out a cape and paper strip of her own. “I happened to be texting your wife when you came in, Elizabeth. She was hoping I could give you a trim while you’re here.”
“What?” Elizabeth sounded a little surprised, and let out a tiny whimper when Kim let her see the chat messages. There was a small sigh, and then, “Well, since I’m here anyway…”
“Exactly what she said.”
Alena assumed Elizabeth wouldn’t be getting the same treatment with a combing and caressing, so in that regard she felt like she won the day. She had to admit, having someone truly enjoy playing with her hair one last time wasn’t something she would have asked for, but she was awful glad it happened. She was even kind of sad when it finally ended, with Ed softly settling her hair so, parted in the middle, it fell in graceful waves in front of either shoulder.
He then plucked his scissors from the band wrapped around his upper arm and clacked their blades together. “Shall we?”
Alena smiled, nervous and elated that, finally, after so many aborted attempts and considerations, she wouldn’t have to be jealous of or embarrassed by the attention her own hair always got. “We shall.”
Ed’s comb started through her soft locks once more, gathering together a thick group of them just above her right temple. “Don’t panic – I’m just going to get rid of the bulk of it all first.”
She nodded, fighting to his both a smile and her nervousness as he captured the thick, silky tress between two fingers, pinching it just a few inches from her scalp, and lifted his shears toward it. There was a dramatic pause as the blades remained open, but then they snapped shut with a crunch. Alena involuntarily gasped as the shorn length dropped into her lap without fanfare, a gorgeous, glossy length that was simply gone now, forever banished from the rest of her mane, with the only evidence of its existence that remained taking the form of a clump of bangs a five year old might have cut on her own.
“Oh my god.”
“Still okay?” Ed asked, already eyeing up the next lock to cut. Alena realized he’d been strategic in his choice for his first cut; if she’d panicked he could easily – if only moderately successfully – changed course and leave her with long locks and a short fringe instead.
But…there was no need for that. Alena’s nervousness faded, and her smile was joined by a giggle. She suddenly realized the clippers that had been quietly humming at the station to her right had paused for that first cut. Kim looked on with an expectant smile, while Elizabeth seemed distracted, sitting with an expression that somehow combined shame and enjoyment among the strawberry clippings gathering upon her cape.
“Very much so,” she finally answered, and almost before she finished the sentence a second lock was gathered up and joined the first, followed by another, and then another.
Biting her bottom lip, Alena watched her reflection as her thick, gorgeous mane was so quickly and ruthlessly shorn away. Collection after collection of waves and curls fell away, sliding down past her shoulder and caressing her right breast before gathering in her caped lap. She knew she was already well beyond the point of no return when her right ear, for the first time ever, was suddenly revealed. It wasn’t bare yet, but the three or four inch locks left to do their best to cover it just couldn’t hide it completely.
With a gentle push, Ed guided Alena to look downward. As his comb and fingers continued to harvest her thick tresses, shearing them with long, insistent crunches and schnikts, each audible bit of evidence of her detressing was followed by a soft plop against her thighs and a new addition to the growing pile of what used to be her crowning glory.
Despite the feel of the cape across her shoulders, Alena’s neck grew cold as more and more of her hair was lifted away from her nape, never to fall gracefully and vibrantly down her back again. The soft tug elicited before each cut let her know exactly how much progress was making, and the resonant crunches let her know just how thick and heavy each lock was being cut. And, as the cutting and cropping and shearing continued, as the pile in her lap grew heavier and fuller and more abundant, she could feel her head getting lighter. After a few of the gentle tugs came from her crown, Ed let her lift her head, letting her take in the view of a resplendent mane that had its eye-catching beauty stripped away – or at least most of it. Her left shoulder still remained hidden by a wealth of honey blonde waves, but the rest of her head – the right side, her nape, and her crown, had been reduced to a shaggy pixie. Relieved of the heavy weight of her former length, those locks seemed to revel in their lightness, taking on more curl than Alena had ever seen outside of her toddler-aged pictures.
Within a few moments, the rest of her glorious tresses had been relieved of their weight, too, and Alena was suddenly looking at an image of herself with a gloriously messy, “just got laid” pixie cut bedhead, and was amazed by how gorgeous it still was given how little care – by design – had been given to the shearing.
Ed stood to her side, running his fingers through the lengths remaining at her crown and down to her nape. “How’s it feel not to be long-haired anymore?”
Alena smiled, unable to voice the thrill running through her after having been able to finally take the leap she hadn’t realized she wanted so badly. “Freaking amazing,” she finally whispered.
“Just you wait,” Kim replied with a smile.
Ed grinned, too, and moved to the counter behind the chair. “Now, that part was obviously the most dramatic, but this part is probably going to be the most new to you. I’m assuming you’ve never had clippers used on your head before?”
“Not my head, no.”
“Some people like them, but some are terrified. Just remember that they won’t cut you. And, again, we’re still working on shaping your hair, so don’t expect it to look perfect just yet.”
“Even though it kind of always seems to,” Kim added.
Alena laughed and rolled her eyes. How ironic would it be if she got what she thought was the shortest, most androgynous cut possible, only to find out it really turned everyone on, too? Maybe it was just a “be careful what you wish for” type curse, with the wish being that she had really great hair.
Eve with the warning, Alena still jumped when the clippers popped to life. Ed’s hand returned to rest against the crown of her head, casting her gaze toward the shorn locks now residing in her lap as the humming, vibrating teeth of the tiny machine were set against her nape. They rested there for a moment, and then slowly rose, their tone changing definitively once the teeth began combing through her remaining hair. Alena gasped quietly, sucking in her breath as those vibrating teeth began nibbling their way through her hair. To her side, she could see the impressive clump of soft locks that Ed dumped off the clipperhead before taking his second pass, creating a second burst of unexpected thrills not unlike a new lover’s first nips and nibbles. The chittering blades moved higher each time, spilling away more of her precious locks and opening up more of her neck to the barbershops cool air.
Alena had to close her eyes, trying to think of something else as the clippers rose higher, cresting the curve of her skull and attacking the thick tresses at her crown. The thicker her hair, the greater the pleasure, it seemed, and she suddenly understood why Elizabeth might have felt some shame during her own clippering. Especially if she found herself fighting off the urge to fidget like Alena did.
“Doing alright?” Ed asked.
“Yup,” Alena squeaked.
Her left ear was folded down, and the clippers roared around them again and again, spilling a thick, short hank into Alena’s lap with her longer tresses. Then the clippers attack her cheek and temple, rumbling as her head was tilted to the side and any semblance of her cute ear-tuck rendered nothing more than a memory.
The right side followed suit very quickly, her ear there bared within moments and all hopes of flirtatious hairplay stolen away for who knew how long. When her gaze was returned to the mirror, Alena couldn’t help but think the three- to four-inch lengths left atop her head looked absolutely ridiculous now.
As Ed turned back to his counter, Elizabeth was stepping out of her chair, hands furtively brushing her neck and ears. All softness and cuteness had been stolen from her style, with her beautiful strawberry blonde tresses returned to the same state as their initial shearing. Nothing more than the faintest of fuzz circled her ears and covered her nape, with less than an inch remaining at her forehead to attempt a side parting. Her cheeks had reddened, and although embarrassed, her smile seemed genuine and happy.
Spritzes of cold water calmed Alena’s still wild tresses that had any significant length left, and then Ed resumed his attack upon them in earnest with his shears. A new rainfall of severed tresses began, plunking off of Alena’s shoulders and nose as Ed’s left had circled across her scalp and herded together a locks long enough to pop up between his fingers before being snipped away by his blade’s quick, vertical cuts. His right hand would switch between using the scissors or using a comb depending on what Ed needed; it was a masterful little dance Alena’s assumed most barbers but not many stylist’s knew. She found it mesmerizing, not even noticing just how short her hair was being cut.
Soon, the blades were put away again and the clippers returned, shearing away another quarter inch or so of her now noticeably darker mane, then having their head changed and taking another pass. The result was a faded look, with enough length left at her temple and crown to almost hide her scalp, but practically nothing remaining around her ears or nape. It was a bit shocking, but, she reminded herself, exactly what she asked for.
No one would be noticing her hair anymore – there really wasn’t even any hair to be noticed. Especially where the trimmers nipped and nibbled at the edges, each touch making her wish they could just keep going.
Afterward, the scissors and comb again attacked what remained, this time sliding across her scalp diagonally and taking tiny, surgical snips. Ed then set them aside and rubbed some product between his palms, sculpting the last remaining inch or two of hair at the fore of Alena’s once immaculate mane into the barest hint of a side part.
As Ed approached the finish line, Alena finally felt panic start to rise within her chest. Even if you only considered the shortest layers that her hair had once been styled into, Alena lost at least twelve inches of length. There were probably curls and waves in her lap that were at least eighteen or twenty inches long.
The panic didn’t last, though. Within moments, the cape around her neck loosened and the paper wrapping was tugged away. Her shorn locks were spilled across the linoleum floor, as if being subjected to one last insult, but the new Alena was then dramatically revealed in the mirror before her.
It took a moment, but she eventually was able to rise from the chair, her hands lifting to the super-short style her beautiful hair had been sculpted into. Ed had achieved her request to perfection, taking the slick schoolboy hairstyle and adding just enough softness – just enough separation of the micro bangs that crested rightward across her forehead, and just enough of a gently curling sideburn – to let her feel like a girl with a short haircut, rather than a girl with a boy’s cut.
The gorgeous green eyes looking back at her watered with happiness as she looked at herself, at the perfectly sharp nose and high cheekbones, at the adorable ears that stuck out just enough to make hair-tucks easy but not so much to make her look like Dumbo, no matter what the kids in grade school called her. Gradually she straightened, running her hand down her nearly-nude nape as she added an arch to her back, striking her best Instagram influencer poses.
She was beautiful. She felt beautiful. That hadn’t exactly been a problem before, but the idea of having the whole of her noticed – maybe even, heaven forbid, her personality – rather than just being objectified as a walking head of gorgeous hair elated her. Maybe, without the Fuck-me hair, people would stop imagining how they’d fuck her before they even talked to her.
It wasn’t all gone forever, not by a long shot. She already looked forward to revisiting a carefully crafted version of that shaggy pixie-cut she briefly had earlier, but only after people had forgotten to think of her as the woman with amazing hair. Only after everything else about her had its time to shine. And, she had a feeling, never again long enough to hide her neck or even touch her shoulders, much less reach her bra strap. No, that version of Alena was gone for good.
“I love it,” she whispered. “Seriously. It’s amazing.”
“Glad to be of service,” Ed replied.
Alena followed him to the cash register, barely taking her eyes off of her reflection as she smiled brightly. “We need to go back to the bar,” she told Elizabeth. “I want to take the new look out for a spin.”
Elizabeth laughed, but nodded. She tried to pay for her own cut, but Alena refused to let her. “It’s my treat, even though you were holding out on how good clippers felt. I never would have guessed!” She looked to Kim. “Have you ever had a clippered style?”
Kim reached up and pulled her pink bob free, revealing a short, brown buzzcut that could barely have been an eighth of an inch long. It was really just a dusting of darkness across a pale scalp.
Alena froze, holding her credit card out, as she was taken by surprise.
Kim just laughed. “Sorry, I love catching people off guard like that. I get it shaved once a month or so, but some of our clients are older and more conservative, even in this neighborhood, so I wear a wig while on duty.”
Ed handed Alena’s card back with a smile. “You girls enjoy the rest of your night. Visit again in two or three weeks if you want to keep it touched up.”
Alena nodded, and saluted with her credit card before stealing a few business cards from a tiny display. “Will do. And if you don’t have anything else going on, you two should join us at the bar. It’ll be fun!”
Alena laughed the whole way back to her and Elizabeth’s drinking hole, both of them fantasizing about what the reactions in the office would be the next morning. Epic, they had decided. The reactions were going to be epic.
And after that, no matter what happened, they’d both work on their resumes.
At the bar itself, Alena reveled in the new kind of looks she received – admiring and sometimes unwelcome, but without the same level of lecherousness. It’s like the natural call to want to fuck her had been muted once her long, abundant waves had been tamed into the new, barely-there style.
And as Elizabeth and she toasted the new look, Alena realized the auburn-haired bartender was looking at her from the corner of her eye, her expression uncertain.
Alena raised an eyebrow. “Yes?”
The girl scrunched her nose apologetically when she realized she was busted. “I’m sorry, but you look really familiar. Were you both in here earlier?”
Alena nodded. “Just a few hours ago.”
“Am I crazy, or did you have really long hair then?”
Alena grinned. “Yes, I did. And now it’s gone.”
“Pretty much all of it,” Elizabeth elaborated before taking another drink.
“God, I wish I had the guts to do that. It looks amazing. Both of you look amazing!”
“Thank you! It might get me fired, but I like it anyway.”
“What? Why would it get you fired?”
“It’s a long story.”
“Our bosses have a long hair fetish,” Elizabeth said bluntly, “and she was told to wear it a certain way tomorrow. And that way was definitely not in a pixie-cut.”
“Okay, not that long of a story,” Alena realized.
“That’s terrible!” the bartender said. “Oh my god. I can’t imagine being in that situation.”
One of the other bartenders shouted over, “Didn’t you get in trouble for not wearing your hair down the other night?”
The auburn-braided bartender scrunched her face.
“Here.” Alena reached into her purse and pulled out one of the barber shop’s business cards, passing it to the bartender. “Just in case.”
The woman looked at the card and caressed one of her braids. She was called away by another patron before she could reply, but she did take the card with her.
“Working on converts already?” Elizabeth asked.
Alena grinned. “Just practicing how to make a good proposal without a sexy head of hair to toss around. I think I did pretty good.”
Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it. I’d love to hear any thoughts you have, including possible improvements or what you liked.
If you’re interested in how Elizabeth wound up with her short style, her story is Second Saturdays: