Taylor’s fifteen-year-old face appeared in the mirror as she wiped the steam from her shower off. Her young body was swaddled in a bath robe, her limbs and hair still wet. She picked up a can of de-tangler and gave her long, black locks a coating while running her fingers through it. She picked up a comb and began straightening it out. Turning her head side to side as she combed, she examined the health and sheen of it and felt a pride at having it be a part of her.
She heard laughter from behind the closed door and down the hallway and was reminded that her older sister, Rebecca, was in town for a week. It had been six months since she had last visited from out of town. Rebecca was seven years her elder and a hairdresser who had moved out on her own a couple of years ago and now stopped by in town a few times a year to visit. She always seemed to take “ownership” of Taylor’s hair whenever she came, too. It was like she knew better or something.
There was no doubt that she was “tending” to their single mother’s hair as usual. She always wanted to know how her family’s head of hair was doing and give it a tune-up first thing herself. Taylor would be next, there was no use fighting it has her mother always made her do it because she thought it was a nice thing for sisters to do for each other.
With a sigh, Taylor put down her comb and opened up the door, letting the steam flow out. She grabbed a dry towel and walked off to her room, her bare feet feeling the soft carpet beneath her, and dabbing at her still damp hair. As she passed her mother’s room. She looked in and saw the back of her seated mother’s head. Her blonde hair was rolled up in neat rollers all over and she and Rebecca giggled and chatted away. Her leggy sister stood beside her, wearing black sweat pants and a grey, tight-fitting spaghetti-strap tank top and her usual trendy, inverted bob with black hair and was currently putting a net over their mother’s head. Taylor slunk by quietly into her room and closed the door.
She sat down in a straight-backed chair in front of a dressing table with a mirror and played with her drying hair for a few minutes, waiting for her sister, looking into the mirror with her big, dark almost black colored eyes at her creamy white skin and how it contrasted with her dark black, small-of-back length hair before deciding to get dressed. She shed her robe onto the bed then slipped into dark red, bra and panties before hearing a knock at her door.
“Yeah?” she called.
“Hey sis, let me do your hair for you.” came the reply.
Taylor made her way over to the door and opened it up to see her smiling sister standing there. Taylor smiled back and the two embraced. It was good to see Rebecca again, she thought.
They made their way over to the dressing chair and, still in her underwear, sat down. Her sister put her hands on her shoulders.
Taylor’s breasts seemed to protrude over her flat stomach more noticeably than usual, and they had been a little tender that day as well.
“Good grief! What has mom been feeding you?” Rebecca said with a grin as she reached around and gave Taylor’s left breast a squeeze.
“Ow!” Taylor said while looking down and rubbing herself. “Not so hard.”
Rebecca put her hands on either side of Taylor’s face and brought her head up, looking into the mirror. She began fingering Taylor’s long damp hair, getting a feel for it and pulling it all behind her head. Rebecca picked up a wide tooth comb from the dresser and began stroking it through Taylor’s, already, mostly straight hair. The comb glided through her soft hair with the faintest whisper all the way down to the ends. Rebecca put the comb down.
“Where do you keep your round brush and dryer?” she asked.
“Top right drawer.” Taylor replied while pointing to her dresser.
Rebecca opened up the drawer and pulled out the brush and dryer. She plugged in the dryer and turned it on. She started picking out sections of hair and pulled as the dryer went to work, her younger sibling’s head moved slightly in the direction of pull. The warm air and hair whipping around from the dryer felt good on Taylor’s bare skin. She relaxed and looked into the mirror, her mind drifting to another place as her sister flawlessly dried her lower-back length hair, nice and soft and straight.
The comb and dryer were set down then Rebecca pulled a pair of scissors out of her pocket.
“You’ve got some split ends sister.” Rebecca said.
“Oh, yeah, I guess.” Taylor answered.
The towel that Taylor had brought in was laid over the back of her shoulders, still a little damp but warm from the drying of her hair. A comb was run down the length of Taylor’s hair and used to pull the ends out away from the chair. The shears were ever-so-slightly opened and closed on the very ends of her hair. Small tufts of light, dry hair floated down. Taylor began chewing on the fingernails of her right hand while she continued to look in the mirror. There was something romantic and enchanting about the gently falling locks of hair, although she couldn’t put her finger on what it was.
She looked just like a younger version of her older sister; flawless skin and strong, feminine features including a well-shaped nose and inquiring, dark eyes.
“Have you grown your bangs out again?” the elder asked.
“Yeah.” came the reply.
“What have I told you about growing your bangs out? I’d prefer that you wore yours short, you look better that way.”
Oh, well. Here we go again. Good-bye long bangs. Thought Taylor as she rolled her eyes.
She put her hands on the arm rests as her front was combed down over her face and snipped at the eyebrows. Her sister collected the long hairs from her lap and threw them in the waste bin. Her back was dusted off with the towel and combed again for good measure, the ends of her hair bounced up some after being combed down.
Taylor was about to get up when something bright-pink and satiny landed in her lap.
“What’s this?” Taylor asked, picking it up between her fore finger and thumb, like it was going to bite her.
“You’re wearing a sleeping cap tonight babe.”
“What!?” an exasperated Taylor said.
“Did you think I did all of that work on your hair, just so you could have bed-head when you wake up? Uh uh.”
“Mom! She’s trying to make me wear this thing to bed!” she called down the hallway.
“Do as your sister says honey.” said her mom from the master bedroom.
Rebecca smiled a victorious smile and said, “hold still.”
Taylor slouched as her hair was gathered all up above her head and delicately twisted down into a loose bun before the cap was stretched over her head. Taylor felt poking and prodding as her sister tucked each stray lock underneath.
“It’s okay. I made mom wear one too, so you’re in good company.” Rebecca stated. She placed a wet kiss on her younger sibling’s cheek. The words: “good night” came to Taylor’s ears along with a stifled giggle as Rebecca left the room and closed the door.
With a huff, Taylor got up and crawled into bed.
The cap itched all night. Twice she woke up, on her right side, staring out her window at the night sky. Stupid Rebecca. Stupid cap.
This was so uncool she thought. She’d die if any of her friends knew what her sister did to her hair.
Its all because of this long ha… Wait a minute, what was she thinking? She loved her long hair. She just hated the fact that she had to submit herself to all of these treatments from her sister like she was a little baby or something. She had never had anything but long hair and couldn’t imagine herself without it. Maybe that was it. Maybe it was because she had never thought about it before. A slight tingling started in her stomach at that. Was it worth it to keep having long hair if she couldn’t do anything with it? If I cut it short, really short, then Rebecca won’t be able to make me do anything. Ha! That will show her. What will I look like with short hair?
But she couldn’t think any farther than that because that was where sleep overtook her.
It was now Saturday morning and sunlight streamed into the room, causing Taylor’s eyes to flutter as she woke. She finally took of the hat and threw it in the clothes hamper and stretched after getting off the bed. She then proceeded to bounce into the bathroom.Â She stripped completely and started the shower, testing the water with her hand before stepping in.
As she washed her hair she was brought back to her thoughts of the previous night. I can’t cut my hair shorter. I just can’t do it…can I? For some reason she couldn’t shake the thought away. Every time she thought about it she felt a very pleasing tickling sensation in her stomach. The thought of her cutting her hair shorter was just so..so wrong. She thought. It seemed so exciting. She knew that if she didn’t, she wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about it. I’ll do it. Taylor thought. Then I won’t have to be my sister’s guinea pig anymore.
By now she was out of the shower and had dried herself off. After brushing her teeth she wrapped her hair in a towel turban and made her way back to her room. 10:00 am. Okay that gives me plenty of time.
Taylor got out some red nail polish and sat on her bed, and proceeded to paint her toes and fingernails. After that, Taylor sat down at her vanity and did her makeup. She felt like using a little more than usual today and made sure that her long lashes were displayed to their fullest. The flutter in her stomach flared every time she thought about the cutting. She thought that it was strange how she was prepping like it was a date or something. Where am I going to go? It’s much to short of notice to make an appointment at my usual place. I’ll have to find somewhere that takes walk-ins. She got close to the mirror and sensually brushed her slightly agape lips with gloss, savoring it. After makeup it was time for her hair which she knew how to do in her sleep.
Once done she picked out a short, black pleated skirt that ended right at her knees; a white, short-sleeved t-shirt with a large purple flower printed on the front and shiny black open-toed pumps with a chunky heel and strap that bucked above her ankle. She got a little pang of excitement when she seductively locked the straps around her smooth, soft legs just above her ankles.
After one final check in the mirror and she grabbed her handbag and meandered downstairs where she found her mom and Rebecca eating breakfast at the table.
“Good morning.” Her mother said.
“Want something to eat?” Their mom asked.
“I’m not really hungry mom. I’m going to go out for awhile, OK?” Taylor said on her way to the door.
Both Rebecca and their mom exchanged odd looks at that.
Once outside, she could already tell it was going to be hot today. A soft, warm breeze greeted, and accompanied her on the half-mile walk into town. The heels made a clicking sound and gave her a girlish bounce with each stop. She wafted sweet scents from her perfume. A modest amount of traffic moved along the streets but very few pedestrians on a lazy Saturday morning. She could occasionally hear a lawn mower going at a couple of houses that she passed and birds were chirping in trees. All of this helped take her mind off of what she was dreading but couldn’t avoid doing for some reason.
Taylor decided to get something to drink while she mulled over her options. She bought a strawberry milkshake at a nice little cafe in the middle of town and sipped at it on an outside table when it hit her. Across the street was a place called simply: Family Barbershop. It was one of those places that she had passed a hundred times but never really noticed or looked into. She was a little put off by the fact that it was a barbershop but it looked like they cut girls’ hair too. For some reason it just made sense and just like that it was settled. She was hoping that there wouldn’t be many people there but she could see some people in the waiting chairs along the window, which mostly blocked her view of the actual cutting. Oh well. I guess thats as good as its going to get.
Finally the moment had come. She stood and threw away her cup, then left. Realizing that she would have to cross at the end of the block, she turned right on the side walk and moved down to the next light and crosswalk. A car drove by, belching out some acrid smoke towards her, which made her cough and clutch her hair, to keep it from getting messed up in the air, before realizing that she wouldn’t have to worry about that soon. She stood next to a man and a little kid while waiting for the signal to change then proceeded across. She was abuzz with anticipation by now. The spinning red and white pole marched closer and closer as she moved, counting each line in the sidewalk as she went forward.
The whole front of the shop was a window with the door in the middle. She kept her head low and going straight, not looking inside until the last possible moment, so as to look to any who might be watching that she was just going to pass by before turning right as she reached the door. A jingling of a bell marked her entrance, but hardly anyone did more than glance for a second at who entered which was fine by Taylor. She had to admit that she had never ever been in a barbershop before on account of having a divorced mother since she was little and no brothers. Oh sure, she had seen pictures here and there and looked into some as she had passed by, so she had a vague idea of what they were like, but this was still all new.
The first thing that she noticed, to her surprise, was the lack of powerful, sweet smelling hair products that were found at every salon that she went to. There were waiting chairs on either side of the door with a couple of ladies in them, one with a child and one with a man at the far right. She took a seat next to one of the women, who had long hair like hers. There were three barber chairs, much bigger than the small salon ones that she was used to. In front of each was an individual, large and squeaky clean, framed mirror which all three chairs were facing. All three had customers in them and all of the barbers were middle-aged women dressed in normal clothes. The far left chair had a man in it. The middle had a skinny young boy of about eight years old and the far right had a long haired girl somewhere between five and six years old, obviously in a booster seat while the barber was cutting a couple of inches off her length. The little girl was completely covered by the maroon cape. The only sounds in the room were the buzzing of clippers which was being used on the boy and the snipping of scissors. The floor was clean black and white checkered, the walls were some kind of polished wood with modern paintings on them. And above, a celling fan rotated. It was an interesting mix of traditional and sleek modern. Taylor then looked down at the glass table in front of her with magazines piled on them.
Just then she heard one of the barbers say “OK, all done.” Before lowering the chair and taking the cape off of the boy in the middle. The man in the waiting area then got up and went over to thank the woman and collect his child. Then paid the barber at the cash register on one side of the room. She quickly tidied up her station before calling out “Next!” in a sing-song voice. The woman on the right ushered her son to go to her. Who looked like another skinny eight year old.
Taylor was going to watch what happened next but was stopped when she heard the man on the left being finished off and lowered. Upon paying and leaving the barber walked across the room, looked at Taylor and said “I’ll be with you in a moment.” She got a broom out and swept the floor quickly, pushing it toward a bin on the wall that sucked the hair up when it got close. “OK, she said. Now for you. My name is Laura.” said the barber.
Taylor got up and walked over to the chair and around to the front of it, set her pretty feet on the metal foot rest and stepped up. “I’m Taylor.” She smoothed out her skirt before sitting, then settled into the leather chair. She was surprised at how comfortable it was. She crossed her right leg over her left and laid her arms on the armrest. The femininity of her legs with the skirt riding up seemed out of place in this type of chair and Taylor somehow found this exciting. “OK the woman said.” She looked like she was probably a mother, blonde hair in a bob, and slightly overweight but not by much. “Haircut?”
“Yeah.” was all the reply Taylor could manage.
“How short? Short? or a trim? Or…” the barber answered, gathering Taylor’s hair in her hands, pulling it back over her shoulders to hang down behind the chair, then held it in her hands, moving it slightly to get a feel for it.
“I want to go short. Like really short.” Taylor said in a subdued voice.
“Like a crop short?”
Taylor surprised herself by anticipating that response. “Yeah. I don’t want to have to style it much. I want to try something simple.”
“Oh, one of those. Why didn’t you just say so? A number two sound about right?” Laura said.
Having no idea what that was, as she had never had clippers used on her before, Taylor said “Umm, yeah.” with a slight nod.
Laura just grinned and pulled the dark red cape off of the arm rest and flung it over her then fastened it over her neck with a couple of snaps. The chair began moving up with abrupt, jerking motions and it was raised very high.
The barber pulled out a comb and scissors a gathered the hair into a pony tail before quickly snipping it off and throwing it on the floor. Well, so much for that.
The barber walked to the counter, Taylor looked to her right to see the skinny boy in the chair next to her, his very short hair was worked with comb and clippers. How cute. She thought. He looks just like a little man.
The woman walked back to the chair and she looked forward again. She flicked the clippers in her hand on and they began buzzing loudly in Taylor’s ear. It was then that her heart started pounding. She watched with rapt attention as the comb was inserted into her nape and moved up, pulling a section of hair out and the clippers were run across it, sending a sheet of black hair falling to the ground. It’s done. Taylor sighed.
Another piece of hair was pulled out above the last one clippered off at the comb. She now had an idea how much hair was being cut off. If she had eyes in the back of her head, she would have seen that she was only being left with a few inches. The barber kept removing the bulk, she pulled hair out and again ran the clippers across them with a clacking sound. Her once beautiful mane was falling past the cape onto the floor in an already growing pile. The clippers buzzed loudly in her ear. The only thing she noticed was the sound and the feeling, nothing else got through at the moment. She sat, transfixed to the image in the mirror, watching the woman work. It seemed like every little detail about her stood out in the image she saw. She felt the comb scrape against her neck, moving farther up this time and pulling more hair away from her head, leaving it exposed and vulnerable to being hacked off. Then buzzing it away. It tickled her a little as it rained past her red shoulder. Bzzzzzzzzz went more hair bzzzzzzzz bzzzzzzzzz. It felt like she had started another path next to the first one. Again and again excess bulk was carelessly removed until the back of her head was now only several inches short. Laura held a neutral, almost bored, face and her hands seemed to move with a practiced effortlessness. From the mirror, it looked like nothing had changed, but Taylor could feel the lack of weight.
Barberette Laura, as Taylor now thought of her, walked to her left side and started her cutting below the temple. bzzzzzzzz bzzzzzzzz it didn’t take long before the area in front of her ear was done. The hair now fell on her shoulder and into her lap, some of it tumbling down to the floor. The pile was now massive. Taylor never realized how much hair she had had on her head. The strands that were cut off were over a foot long. bzzzzzzzzzz bzzzzzzzzz It didn’t take long for her left to be cut down to size and it was time to start on the right. In a few minutes it was done.Â The hair on top of her head was pulled up with the comb and cut off horizontally causing some hair to land on her face, itching terribly. She closed her eyes tightly to avoid the locks and listened to the sound.
Finally the sound stopped and she opened her eyes only to notice that the barber had snapped some sort of plastic piece on the cutting device then turned it back on. Laura put her hand on top of Taylor’s head and pushed it all the way down to her chest and mowed the level plane that was her nape down to a true pelt. Gosh that feels good. Taylor sat completely still, soaking in the feeling that she was starting to enjoy. She didn’t move a muscle, wanting more of it. Showers of hair now fell in front of her to her cape covered lap, her legs creating an uneven landscape of hills and valleys of dark red. The tingling feeling of the clippers was amazing. This was turning into the most enjoyable haircut of her life.
The not unattractive barber passed the buzzing machine over the already short neck several more times, intermittently brushing her fingers over it to wipe off hairs and feel for evenness of length. Satisfied, Laura pushed Taylor’s head to the left and buzzed up her right side then the left. The barber pulled Taylor’s head up straight again, and switched off the clippers.
There were several people in the waiting area now and two young males occupied the other two chairs and Taylor couldn’t help notice that the pile of hair around her chair was much bigger than anyone else’s. In fact hear whole figure was covered in dry clippings. A hair dryer was turned on and blasted over her, blowing all of the hairs off.
Taylor felt a mist being sprayed on her head, wetting it. A wide tooth comb was raked through the cold hair until it was all combed back off of her face exposing her white forehead. The contrast between her skin and hair reminded her of snow white even if she did look like a drowned rat right now. Her dark hair had an almost blue shine in the direct light. That and the shortness of her hair brought out her features and made the makeup she wore stand out. Hmmm I’m going to have to get my eyebrows waxed. Taylor thought critically.
A pair of gleaming, razor sharp scissors were pulled out of a pocket. Taylor was almost giddy now, excited for what new experience was to come next. She relaxed her frame a bit.
Her fringe was combed down in front and hastily cut straight across, near the top of her forehead. The shears were cold and hard against her skin. Her hair was parted. A section of hair just behind her bangs was pulled straight up between the barber’s fingers and snipped in half. Comb, cut, comb, cut. She worked very fast here. The entire top of her head was now only a couple of inches long, but this wasn’t good enough. The barber’s fingers then lay flat against her scalp and she began cutting her hair to finger length all over. Wet pieces of hair plopped around her on the cape, they fell much faster than the when dry. As she was being finished up, Taylor for the first time felt cool air all around her head. Her head felt so light and clean now and her face really popped.
The comb and scissors were put down and a small pair of clippers were turned on while the cape was opened an lay, loose around her shoulders. Laura tucked a towel into the back of her shirt and pushed her head forward then shaped up her hairline all the way around, even above her forehead. The hair on top stayed straight up on their own now. Finally they were turned off and the cape was pulled away as the chair was lowered.
“What do you think.” Laura asked with a smile
“I..I don’t know what to say.” uttered Taylor.
The chair was turned around and she was given a hand mirror to observe the back. It was so uniform, so..so short but she liked it. Yes she liked it very much.
“There’s no need to use a hair dryer now.” the barber said.
A hand on Taylor’s shoulder told her that it was time to get out. She was led to the cash register where she paid and left a healthy tip.
“Thank you very much!” Laura said with a smile. “See you next time.”
“Yes I will.” And Taylor fairly trotted out of the shop and walked home.
When she got home, she thought that her sister and mother would have a heart attack when they saw her.
“Oh my god Taylor!” Rebecca yelled. “What the fuck did you do to your hair!”
“I felt like a change.” came Taylor’s confident reply.
“I can’t believe a hairdresser would chop off all of that beautiful hair you had!”
“Had? I think it looks rather beautiful now. Don’t you think? And besides it was a barber.”
“…” came the reply with a stunned expression.
“Well I like it.” said their mom, intervening.
“Your lucky I don’t know where that barber is or I would go down there myself and give her a piece of my mind!” Rebecca went on, undaunted.
“It was Laura down at Family Barbershop.” Taylor said. “Maybe we should all go down together and get haircuts sometime.”
“I think that sounds wonderful.” answered their mother.
“Wha..what? No no no no.” Rebecca said holding her ground.
“Ok Rebecca, but your missing out.” Taylor said as she walked past her to head to her room.
Rebecca just looked at her mom, exasperated, while her mom touched her own hair and seemed lost in thought.