This story is a bit of a historical ‘what if’. I was doing some research and found out about Shannon Faulkner and her story. Essentially she was the first woman to attend The Citadel which is a prestigious military academy in South Carolina. There was quite a big debate as to whether she would be required to shave her head, as that was required of all male cadets. In reality the judge actually ruled in favour of the academy being able to do as they please but The Citadel decided against it to avoid more media scrutiny. Faulkner ended up dropping out of the whole program after just a few days. This story was inspired by these real life events and some of the articles written about it and looks at how I imagine the haircut would’ve gone if it had actually taken place. Bit of a shorter and more different story than usual but please let me know if these ‘what if’ sort of stories are interesting to you! At the bottom I have left several links. I would really recommend checking them out before you read.
“Cadet you may enter!” Barked the Sergeant.
Shannon walked through the doorway, down a short hallway and entered the barbershop. The sound of clippers droning filled the air. The barbershop was surprisingly small, the side she had just entered from had 2 rows of chairs filled with cadets awaiting haircuts. On the other side sat 6 large barber chairs, 3 on each side of the room. Behind the chairs were mirrors but the chairs were turned to face away from them. Instead, in front of the chair stood the cadet next in line. An assistant with a broom was constantly sweeping away masses of hair.
“Sit cadet” another Sergeant said sternly, snapping Shannon back to reality.
She lowered herself into the empty seat. Like all the other cadets she had her eyes glued to the front. She watched as the barbers made quick work of the cadets in front of her, sending hair either to the floor or across the crimson capes. As each cadet was shorn the others waiting would move up one seat.
Shannon tried her best to clear her mind. Today was finally the day, her time at The Citadel has officially begun. Her blonde hair was pulled back into a bun at the back of her head, when it hung down it reached a few inches past her shoulder blades in slight waves. She tried her best to convince herself she wasn’t nervous.
“Shave Shannon” A cadet to her right said softly. He was referencing the slogan that many people opposed to her joining the academy had created. As the debate raged as to whether she should have her head shaved or not, many people had begun to see her having her head shaved as a form of justice or revenge for her being allowed to attend the school.
Shannon continued to stare ahead, not reacting in the slightest. She knew people would have things to say and her best bet was not reacting.
The barbers moved fast and Shannon had now made it to the front row of seating. She could now clearly see what was taking place in front of her. 2 of the barbers were women and Shannon found herself crossing her fingers that she would get one of them. At least one the women barbers wouldn’t be completely opposed to her presence she hoped.
She moved up another seat, and then another only a couple seconds later.
The barbers moved at astounding speed, the time from when the clippers were placed to the forehead of a cadet, to when that cadet was replaced with another was no longer than 90 seconds.
She moved up one more seat.
She watched the corded clippers mow through hair as her nerves rose by the second. Her hair wasn’t something she treasured as much as other girls she knew but knowing she would walk out the door without a hair on her head sent shivers down her spine.
She moved up another seat, the final one in the row. The cadet whose place she had taken walked over and stood in front of a chair, the cadet standing there previously had just taken a seat in the barbers chair.
Shannon scanned the room, trying to see which chair would free up first. The closest chair on the right side seemed to be the answer as she watched the barber swing away the cape from the cadet. The barber was a big man, white and with a rather large belly. Shannon peered at the 2 women barbers praying one of them had finished just before.
“Next!” A sergeant yelled.
Shannon stood up promptly. The freshly shaven cadet from the front right chair stood up and quickly made his way out of the room, his bald head gleaming under the lights. The waiting cadet quickly slid into the chair and Shannon moved into her position, standing no more than 6 feet from the chair.
The barber made eye contact with Shannon, raising his eyebrows and giving a slight smile. Shannon looked away quickly, feeling heat rush to her cheeks. The barberette to her left looked like she would be somewhat kind, a stark contrast to the rather brutal looking man standing in front of hair. He had massive hands with chubby fingers, in fact he looked like the sort of person who had a ‘Shave Shannon’ bumper sticker.
Shannon had nowhere else to look as he watched the barber expertly swing a cape around the cadets neck. His hair was dark brown and slightly shaggy, partially covering his ears. The barber turned around and swivelled back around holding corded black clippers which he switched on. The sound was considerably louder just a few feet away and Shannon swore she could almost feel the vibrations of the machine.
The moment the clippers were on the barber brought them up to the cadets forehead. Without wasting a second he peeled them across the cadets head, leaving a pale strip of skin as hair tumbled down the front of the cape.
Shannon felt her legs getting weak as she watched the barber make pass after pass on the top of the cadets head, fully aware it was her turn in only a minute or two.
The barber had rapidly removed all hair from the top of the head and now had rotated the chair slightly so he could attack the left side. After just a few passes of the giant clippers had removed all hair from his left side and the barber moved the clippers around to the back of the head. Shannon watched glumly as chunks of hair slid down the back of the cape to the floor.
The barber spun the chair the opposite direction and began shearing away the remainder of his hair on the right side of his head. After no more than 15 seconds his right side was now void of hair, matching the rest of his bald head. The whole haircut barely took a minute.
Shannon knew the shave was without a guard but seeing how much skin was showing on the cadets head sent chills down her spine.
The barber spent another few seconds running his clippers over some spots that needed attention before the clippers were flicked off. Shannon felt panic begin to rise up, any second now she would be in that chair.
She wished she could somehow pause time, just to give herself a moment to calm herself but instead she watched as the cape was removed from the cadet in front of her, his hair tumbling to the hard floor. He stood immediately and walked swiftly from the chair to the exit.
“Take a seat cadet” the barber grunted as he leaned against the back of the chair.
Shannon felt sick to her stomach, for weeks now she had told herself having her head shaved wasn’t a big deal but in the moment she was finding it almost impossible to think that way anymore.
With her feet feeling like they were getting weaker by the second she took the handful of steps to the chair and lowered herself into the cushioning. It was a real oldschool type of barber’s chair, with navy blue leather and a metallic armrest and footrest. The chair felt far too large for her as she shifted uneasily.
“My lucky day” the barber said so faintly Shannon barely heard him.
She stared straight ahead and swallowed hard. The cadet next in line took position in front of the chair. Shannon wished she wasn’t going to be viewed so closely during her shearing. She turned her head ever so slightly to the left where the rest of the cadets waited, she was almost certain every eye was turned to her.
“Remove any pins or bands from your hair cadet” the barber asserted firmly.
Shannon began pulling away the hairband holding her bun in place. She cursed under her breath as she somewhat struggled to take it off smoothly. After another couple seconds she had the band in her hand and her hair unfurled itself down the back of her neck, to just past her shoulders.
“Poor little thing is nervous” the barber said softly again, not loud enough for anyone else to hear.
Shannon watched from the corner of her eye as the barber came to her side before draping a crimson cape over her body. He pulled it up towards her neck, flipped her hair over her shoulder to get it out of the way before clipping the cape together. Shannon cringed as he raked his fingers through her hair, pulling it back down her back.
She heard him turn around and felt her heartbeat begin to pick up as she realised he must be reaching for his clippers. A few seconds later her fears were confirmed as she heard the buzz of the clippers start off just behind her.
Her heart was in her throat as she felt one his hands against the back of her head. Firmly he tipped her head slightly forward. Without the barber saying a word Shannon heard the clippers come closer to her before she watched them come into her vision.
Without a seconds delay the roaring machine was at her forehead and Shannon winced as the clippers were forced into the middle of her hairline. She could feel the teeth of the blade against her skin as the clippers effortlessly slid across her head meeting the barber’s hand against the back of her head. He scooped up the loose hair and Shannon watched in disbelief as he dropped the handful of soft blonde hair down the front of the cape. The hair slid down the cape settling in her lap.
There had been barely any warning, no “are you ready?” from the barber, and just like that Shannon’s shearing had begun. She could only imagine how comical she looked with a strip of pale skin down the middle of her scalp.
She barely had time to react before the clippers were back at her forehead. Inserted just to the left of the first patch, the barber swiftly pulled the clippers across the top of her hair. This time the hair slid down her left shoulder, half joining the hair on her lap, the rest to the floor by the side of the chair.
Again the clippers were placed just to the left of the previous strip and aggressively pulled back against her scalp. Shannon watched forlornly as more of her blonde hair slid down the cape to the floor.
The barber now turned the chair slightly to the left, which meant Shannon now faced the waiting chairs. The heads of the recruits were facing forward but she could see the eyes were pointed at her. He roughly moved her head so it tilted to the right. Then she felt his hands lift up a handful of hair around her ear.
The clippers pressed into her hairline by her temple and the barber pulled them across the side of the head. Cruelly he dropped the fistful of hair on the cape and Shannon watched in anguish as it joined the other bundle on her lap. Already it seemed like there was an impossible amount of hair sitting atop the cape. She could feel her eyes beginning to water.
The barber continued assaulting the left side of her head and Shannon shot her eyes to the side catching even more hair drifting to the floor. His chubby fingers folded over her ear and she got shivers as the massive clippers removed any hairs above her ear.
He then moved her head forward and she felt the clippers make a vertical pass up her left nape. She could feel her hair raining down against the back of neck before it slid down the cape to the floor.
With her chin tucked against her chest Shannon could feel the clippers make pass after pass up her nape. She could only imagine how much hair was hitting the floor with each pass. She bit her lip, wishing she could be elsewhere.
Shannon shivered as she felt the barbers hand against her scalp, with no hair in between.
The barber now turned the chair to the right slightly and Shannon watched as he moved to her right side.
The barber moved her head to lean to the left. The clippers ran into her hairline slightly behind her ear. She felt the clippers reach all the way to her crown. A massive hunk of hair fell onto the cape, settling in Shannon’s lap.
She tried not to look at the mass of hair now sitting atop her legs. The shearing was going so fast she had barely any time to react.
The clippers roared past her ear and another tuft of hair fell down the front of the cape.
The barber gathered Shannon’s remaining hair, lifting it upwards before pulling the clippers across her head. The barber stepped to her side, dangling the last fistful of her long hair before tossing it to the floor.
Shannon felt weak, in not much longer than a minute her long hair was no more. She felt her bare scalp as the barber roughly moved her head side to side as he ran the clippers over any uneven patches.
The clippers were then switched off and her cape swiftly pulled off. She watched as her blonde locks cascaded onto the checkered tiles. With her legs feeling like jelly and her head bare she stood up. Laying in piles around the chair was the remains of her hair.
Still in shock she made her way out of the room. She shuddered when she felt the air conditioning against her exposed scalp.
She gasped as her hands went up to her head to find nothing was there, only skin. Again she felt her eyes begin to water, she didn’t even want to know what she looked like.
Whether she liked it or not Shannon had finally been shaved.
Some links to articles about the real life story:
Hope you enjoyed!