Spicing Up Retirement

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It was a Tuesday morning when I poked my head into Jeff’s office. “I have an 1130 appointment to get my hair done, Jeff.” What made me say the next sentence I’ll never know but, like Pandora’s Box, it opened something I could never put back in. “Do you want to come with me?” Jeff looked up, probably as surprised as I was and said, “you want me to come with you?” Well, I could hardly back out now so I said, “sure, we need to leave in a few minutes if that’s OK.” Looking back at me Jeff replied, “yeah, I’d like to go. How long is this gonna be? Just an hour or longer?” “I’m not really sure but we could make a date of the afternoon.” “That sounds good. I’ll just shut down here and we can leave.”

Jeff and my surprise at this exchange is due to the fact that in over 40 years of marriage I had allowed Jeff to accompany me on maybe 5 haircut occasions. When I say allowed that is exactly what I mean. I was always afraid he would inject himself into the haircut and urge either me or the stylist to do something I didn’t want.

You see, Jeff likes short hair on women in general and on me in particular. He’s stated on numerous occasions “there’s no such thing as too short.” I disagreed completely. I have always felt a woman’s hair is her crowning glory and should be as long and as feminine as she wants it to be. Jeff believes a woman shows off her femininity quite well by flaunting convention and telling people to take note of women with short hair. He believes it gives them power. So, for the most part over our 40+ years we have agreed to disagree with an occasional short cut to keep Jeff happy.

Jeff and I met while still in college. He was an Air Force ROTC guy and stood out a bit on campus on the days they were required to wear their uniforms. I’ve always had a thing for a guy in uniform even in the 70s when that wasn’t such a cool thing to do. We met at a party on campus and one thing led to another and we were married a few weeks after graduation. Jeff was immediately sent off to pilot training in Mississippi and I dutifully followed as Mrs Lieutenant. I was one of 15 wives to student pilots and pretty much left my degree in accounting behind for the year he was in flight school. In addition to his wings at graduation I presented Jeff with a short new haircut and we had our first son a few months afterwards.

After eight years of flying fighters for the Air Force we decided the rigors of family life and the need for the Air Force to send its fighters seemingly everywhere around the world for sometimes lengthy deployments was too much separation for us all. Jeff found a job as a pilot with one of the overnight package delivery companies and we established roots.

Our family grew to three kids, always a dog, and we are now down to just two horses we keep on our small ranch property. Jeff kept his hand in the Air Force by joining the Reserves and switched over to cargo planes, much like those he flew every day for UPS. I was able to get back into accounting and managed to keep things going at home while Jeff traversed the world in either his UPS or Air Force uniforms. He has been a great provider and between the two of us we’ve had a great life.

We brought up our kids to be independent. Two of them are in the Air Force as pilots now and the youngest lives fairly close by us and is finishing her post doc DVM degree in veterinary sciences at the same university where she teaches vet medicine to student veterinarians. She is a large animal vet which is great for us as it helps to keep our vet bills low.

All of them share my love for horses. Though it has cost me dearly every once in a while. I know how to play Jeff to get something I want. When I wanted the first horse the cost, in addition to buying him, was a short haircut. So, I sucked up my courage, got my hair cut short to meet Jeff’s needs and voila, all issues with getting my horse disappeared. Of course, I grew it out almost immediately.

Jeff has never insisted on short hair but hinted rather constantly that it would be welcomed. I hated it because he likes it so short, but every time I rode that horse the cost was worth it to me. People at the office would tell me how great my short hair looked. But, in my mind, I could never accept their praise as anything but them telling me what they thought I wanted to hear. My stylist has told me I was meant for short hair. But what I heard was “you look like such a great mom with that haircut.” ARGH! I immediately started growing it out. Jeff took full advantage of the short hair and we ultimately had son number two.

I knew he had been keenly aware of one of the neighbors who had her blonde hair cut short on the top with it buzzed so close to her neck and sides you could see skin. I could tell he thought Anne looked great. I mean it isn’t hard to notice when he kept saying, “I really like Anne’s hair like that.” Hint- Hint. I had to agree the cut looked good on her, but I was in no way going to subject myself to anything even close to that. It wasn’t at all feminine in my mind. I was keeping my short bob. It was already plenty short as far as I was concerned.

On one of Jeff’s deployments I managed to wreck the car. Nobody was hurt but the car was in the shop for a few weeks. At least until after Jeff got home, so there would be no hiding the fact there was a missing car in our garage. I needed some way to mitigate the damage. So, a week after I wrecked the car, I booked an appointment to get my hair cut. The stylist who thought I looked like I was meant for short hair was only too glad to remove most of it, exposing my neck and ears for all the world to see.

Again, I hated it. I was sure I looked like a man. When Jeff got home, he took one look and we told our two boys to go play in the barn for a while. Not one word was said about the car. Jeff’s hands were all over my neck and his lips couldn’t stay away from my ears. Jeff acted like a rabbit and for the week he was home we concentrated on one thing. I walked funny the entire week. Our daughter was born nine months later. I found out I could have burned down the house for good measure just so long as I had my hair cut short like that. Good thing I am not that bad around the house, and I grew it out almost as fast as my stomach grew with our daughter.

As our 25th anniversary approached I managed to surprise Jeff with a joint trip to the stylist. He asked for and got, shudder, a short neck and sides but I did keep it longer on top. We had a great vacation but again it was so short! Jeff loved it but I grew it out immediately. After that I told Jeff “never again will I have my neck buzzed. Never! Forget it.” Jeff looked like I kicked him in the you know where, but I was adamant.

About this time, I was seriously going grey. I managed to keep Jeff happy with it and changed colors about as frequently as the seasons changed. I would claim I was really a dark, almost auburn red head and our oldest is definitely a red head. I’d go darker red in winter and bright red in summer with variations in between. As the grey started making its inroads, I added some blonde highlights, and I would go somewhat shorter and then longer as my moods dictated.

All of which brings me to the more recent past. I had been a senior accountant at a large firm in the city. While I liked accounting, I was not one to try and work my way up the corporate ladder. Get my job done and go home to Jeff the kids and animals was my idea of a good work life balance. It gave me the opportunity to enjoy life with the family, dogs and the horses and we put all our kids through private schools as we’d planned long ago. Once the kids were out of the house and established all I could think of was retirement.

My idea of a perfect retirement was staying at home, riding our horses and being there for Jeff. Except for the grey and the wrinkles, I was still in pretty good shape. A handful of pounds more than I was in college when I was 120 but still, I had to admit I was pretty well put together and I worked hard to keep it that way. I know Jeff appreciated my efforts too.

The one thing I had not given a whole lot of thought to was Jeff and me together. We had kind of slipped into a pattern of less and less intimacy. We still did a lot of things together. We were now competing with other horse owners in the area doing what’s called Ranch Sorting. We’d take our horses to an arena and they’d bring in some cattle and put them into one of two round pens and we’d cut the cattle out of one pen and into the other as the cows’ numbers were called by a judge. Sounds easy but it’s not, trust me. We never cared so much about winning, although we have taken our share of prizes. It was always just about having fun and doing something together.

But I knew Jeff wanted more of me alone in the house. As time went by Jeff needed a little more help in the form of a blue pill and I needed more help too. My urges no longer matched Jeff’s even though he needed that blue pill and a half hour head start. So, we started this downhill slide which neither of us really wanted but it seemed forced upon us. Neither of us had a good idea as to how we would overcome this problem with being together.

I retired a few years ago. I was more than happy playing with the horses and dog and Jeff was still flying and when not flying he was with me, with the horses and competing. I knew Jeff had three loves. Me, the kids, and flying; in that order. Although he put in his 20 in the Air Force and retired there, he wasn’t ready to retire from flying completely when I retired and that was fine for a few years.

I also knew Jeff had never had roving eyes for anyone but me. Jeff is still as handsome as he was the day we met. He firmly believes the same is true of me although I am probably overly critical of my own faults. I tend to magnify my faults as I called them and since nobody ever says anything to me about looking older, they probably don’t see them the way I do. I know Jeff doesn’t care at all about my aging features as he is as attentive as the day we married. I see way more crow’s feet on me than I do on him. How he managed that while squinting at a rising or setting sun for all these years in the cockpit I don’t know.

He could have had his chances with other women too. Honestly, he can be so dense about women. I have caught women openly flirting with him at one social event or other with me right there and he believes they just had a nice conversation! Air Traffic Control to Jeff, these women are coming on to you! Thank God for his denseness and fidelity. It has made for a wonderful marriage.

So, my comment to Jeff about coming with me on a trip to the stylist was something out of the wild blue for him and for me. Jeff had just retired from UPS a month prior and was doing his daily routine in the office.

I was in dire need of a haircut and a color. Over the past few months one thing or another had conspired against me to get either a cut or a color done. My hair grows like a weed. It’s always been this way and even now in my 60s nothing has changed except the grey has completely taken over even though I try to hide it. At the moment, nothing was hiding almost 3 inches of grey roots with the remnants of the red and blonde highlights done over 3 months ago. Something had to give.

I opened my laptop that fateful Tuesday morning and looked at my calendar. Nothing on either my or Jeff’s schedule. I called The Clip Joint for an appointment only to find out my regular stylist Liz had quit while I was otherwise engaged. While I was wondering what could have happened to Liz the receptionist asked me if they could substitute another stylist. She knew I’d been a regular for years, so she was trying her hardest to accommodate me. I said that would be fine and she replied she had a cancellation with Dominic at 1130 if I could make that. I immediately agreed and hung up.

After I hung up, I remembered Dominic. He’d had a station right next to Liz for the past few years. Liz had told me Dominic specialized in the short cuts for women and a lot of the guys who came into the salon. All I remembered of him was pictures of his wife and children at his station. He was in his late 30s or early 40s and was extremely handsome. He looked to have a very nice family even if his wife did have her hair almost as short as his. She looked cute but I would never have that done to me. My hair hid my wrinkles.

What made me invite Jeff I can never explain. I mean there was no plan or anything. And I am first and foremost a planner. I need to know what I am doing week to week and day to day. A spur of the moment popping in and asking Jeff to join me for a haircut was not normal for me by any means.

As we left the house in Jeff’s truck, I began wondering just what I was going to ask Dominic to do with my hair. I looked at myself in the visor mirror and then over at Jeff and said, “Jeff, do you have any recommendations for my hair? It’s been over 3 months since my last appointment and now look at it. I’ve got grey roots and red and blonde highlights and it’s down to my collar. I need some advice.”

Jeff hesitated, probably wondering what kind of trap I was planning for him to step into and if he’d have to gnaw off a foot or something in order to get out of it. Shocking me to my core he said, “Kim, I really like your grey hair. Why not just keep the grey and get rid of everything else?” There! I had him! All he wanted was a short cut. Damn the grey, go right for the length just as long as the length was short.

But before I pounced on him, I had to wonder. The grey really was winning. There was no denying that. I normally spent hours a month in The Clip Joint trying to fight Father Time and losing the battle and it cost a small fortune. There was no one else on this planet to please anymore as far as my looks. I had always thought I projected a professional image at work. A short bob with every once in a while going shorter and immediately growing it back out to the bob length. Who was I trying to please today? My nonexistent coworkers? Neighbors or people I was competing against on a horse and saw infrequently at best? People at church? Did my 60+ years on planet earth need the consent of any of them? Nope. The only person on this planet besides our kids that I cared about and that loved me unreservedly was sitting next to me driving me to my appointment.

I said, “That would mean cutting off a lot. And letting the grey show through. Are you sure you can handle an old grey-haired wife?” “Kim, I think you are as pretty as you’ve ever been. Whatever you want to do is fine by me.” I persisted. “But would I look old and ready to be put in the barn instead of in our bedroom?” He laughed and said, “I think you’ve been watching too many estrogen movies where the women feel a need to look like they’re still in their teens. I’ve never liked women who can’t accept they can still look great at any age. You know I like your hair short, but it’s been so many lengths and so many colors over the years I have come to just love you.” Well, how in the hell was I supposed to fight that? I mean he’s such an idiot that he only sees me for me and ignores the wrinkles, the grey, the everything. All I know is I have always loved this man and he loves me too. I continued to think about what Jeff said as he drove us into town.

We parked and entered The Clip Joint. The receptionist I remembered from prior visits and she is sporting a very short new do and she greets me warmly. “Hi Kim, Dominic is just finishing up his earlier client and will be right here. Is there anything I can get you?” Thinking I may be in need of a stiff drink here in a few minutes I replied “water would be great. How about you Jeff?” Jeff just asked for water as well.

Our waters arrived at about the same time as Dominic. He remembered me as a client of Liz over the last few years and we quickly commiserated on her departure before inviting me back to his station. As we turned to go, I looked at Jeff and blurted out “Jeff can you come back here too?” Jeff looked up in surprise as did Dominic. Clients weren’t normally accompanied by anyone else. But I needed some help today. Dominic quickly recovered and said “sure Jeff. Come on back.” Jeff got up and followed us to Dominic’s station probably wondering what was going on, as I’m sure was Dominic.

I sat in the chair and Dominic turned me to the mirrors saying “OK Kim, what are we doing today? I see you’re booked for a cut and color. So, are we just trimming this up and refreshing the color and highlights?” I took a big gulp of water and turned to Jeff. “Jeff, why don’t you tell Dominic what you’d like today. Anything goes.” “Anything goes” did I really just say that? What was happening to me? For the second time that day I had said something totally out of the ordinary for me. I was handing Jeff complete control over my hair. My crowning glory as it were. “Who are you and what have you done with Kim,” ran through my mind. Jeff looked equally flabbergasted and appeared to want to disappear as fast as he could. Preferably right out of The Clip Joint.

Jeff looked at me then at Dominic as if seeking divine intervention. He was sure his leg had landed in a bear trap; a big and extremely dangerous bear trap and a wolf was waiting for his answer. There was no safe way out that he could envision. I could see he really was thinking of which foot had to be sacrificed to get out of the trap. I had to break in and say something. “Jeff, didn’t you think cutting it down to the grey might be a good look?” I thought to myself “Whoa Kim, what did you just say and did that really come out of your mouth?” This could not me talking anymore. It had to be an alternate universe Kim.

At this Jeff found his voice and said, “yeah, I think it’s time to just let the grey win. I’m not a big fan of people trying to look like something they’re not.” Dominic got a knowing look on his face when Jeff said this. “So, you want to cut off the color, down to the grey and update the style. Right?” Jeff had gotten a hold of himself by now and was once again the captain of his ship. With his afterburners on full he forged ahead. “Yeah, if Kim is OK with this can we take the sides and back down short too?”

I had sort of expected this by now. I knew all I had to do was to just sit and wait as I was sure that Dominic would be the cavalry riding to my rescue and put a stop to the insanity. Nope, that was not going to happen as Dominic replied. “That is actually the hottest style we are doing these days. Even our younger clients are asking to color their hair grey and going really short. Kim, if you’re on board with this I think it’s a great idea.”

Now what kind of a box had I placed myself in here? My words of “Never again” flashed through my mind. But I had given control to Jeff and hoped Dominic might say what a bad idea that was but now Dominic was on Team Jeff. Team Kim was on the bench – literally. Since I had already told Jeff, in front of Dominic, to ask for what he wanted there could be only one reply. Taking another big gulp of water and wishing for all the world it were Scotch, I said, “Let’s go for it”. Dominic smiled, Jeff smiled, I frowned, and I was whisked back to the shampoo area like a sheep to its shearing.

Having been thoroughly shampooed and prepared I walked back to Dominic’s station wondering just how in the world things had gotten so out of control. I had just seconds longer to wonder before Dominic started sorting out my hair. It now hung limply around my face and touched my collar doing its job of carefully hiding my wrinkles.

Dominic worked quickly which was good for all of us. I wanted this over with and Dominic and Jeff probably were afraid if Dominic didn’t work quickly enough then I’d come to my senses and stop this nonsense right here. Dominic sectioned off my hair and grabbed a pair of scissors. Without another word he sliced at least 8 inches of hair off my head forever. Before I was barely able to even gasp, he continued around my head relieving me of well over a year’s worth of hair. He then worked on the top cutting it down to almost nothing in my mind even though there was still a good 3 or 4 inches up there.

At this point I was fairly certain Dominic was done cutting as he reached for his blow dryer and started drying my hair. He hadn’t buzzed my neck either so that was a blessing. It wasn’t too short, and I could easily live with it this length. Satisfied he had it dry enough he reached over for a black and silver machine which I quickly determined was electric clippers. My eyes must have bugged out of their sockets as Dominic said “this is to complete the cut. I just had to cut away the bulk first.” The bulk? That’s all my hair was – bulk?

I looked over at Jeff wondering how he was handling my shearing. Instead of a look of concern all I saw was a look of serene rapture. He was loving this! He was also trying hard to hide something else getting hard. And there was no blue pill that I could remember. I smiled to myself at this unexpected but pleasing reaction from him. I thought to myself, “Wow Kim, you can still get Jeff excited.” In for a penny in for a pound. I could always grow it out as I’d done numerous times in the past. I was sure I’d look like a guy but I couldn’t stop things now even if I tried and Dominic had taken the bulk as he called it to a point where only one outcome would be the correct one.

Dominic selected an attachment for his clippers and flicked a switch turning on a whirring sound from them. Beginning on the right side he tipped my head to the left and inserted the clippers in front of my ear. My mind screamed, “Oh no! He’s going to remove my sideburns!” Up the clippers went and sure enough my sideburns were history. Before I could recover from that travesty on my hair Dominic repeated it again and again all around my head until I felt truly fleeced. Exchanging the clipper attachment for yet another shorter one he went around my head once again removing more hair and then outlined the edges leaving sharp little points where my sideburns used to be and outlining my neck too. So much for my proclamation of never again having my neck buzzed, as it seemed more like shaved than buzzed.

Still in shock but slowly coming back to my senses, I looked at myself in the mirror and saw something I hadn’t seen in years. Yes, I was grey everywhere where I still had hair. But I had to admit I looked kind of cute. I thought I looked kind of like a guy but still cute in a feminine way. I didn’t think anyone was going to mistake me for a guy though. Too many parts were still in all the right places for that to happen. Even to me I looked better than I had in years. It seemed losing all that hair had let me lose some years from my face as well. My face, the one I had been trying to hide from the world because of all its wrinkles, looked better than I had thought. Jeff obviously liked it as his smile could not contain his enjoyment and he continued to squirm a bit in his chair trying to hide his physical enjoyment at my expense. I started to relax and resigned myself to just take in whatever was going to happen next.

Satisfied the sides and back were short enough Dominic started on the top. I had thought it was short already, but some of the colored part of my hair was still there. I just hadn’t seen it when it was wet. Now he started spraying my hair to get it wet again. Dominic took care of the last remnants of red and blonde in no time at all. He quickly reduced 3 or 4 inches to something more like 2 and I now sported a disengaged sort of spiked look. I had no idea my hair would stand up like this but again it looked kind of cute. The next to go was my bangs. MY BANGS my inner voice shouted. They’re the only thing hiding your eyes and your wrinkles. Quick, stop him before it’s too late! Snip. It was already too late, they were gone. My bangs too now stood straight up revealing my forehead and all its wrinkles to the world. Dominic then dried what remained of my hair. Gone was any hint of red hair or blonde highlights. What was left was a steel grey mass of disconnected spikes. My shame was complete.

Jeff and Dominic however thought it looked great as I could easily see in their faces. Dominic got some styling wax from his shelf and rubbed it into his hands and into my hair. Making the spikes stand out at different angles at random he worked his magic quickly. As his hands rubbed on my sides and neck, I felt just how short the hair was there. Dominic proclaimed himself done, swung the chair around and handing me a small mirror asked me what I thought.

“What the hell did I let them do to me” is what I thought. I needed to hide in the basement for a few months too is what I thought. This was exactly why I never let Jeff go with me to a hair appointment. This was shorter even than when I wrecked the car. I should be angry at them and at myself for letting them do this to me is what I should be. This in no way was a haircut I liked. It was the shortest my hair had ever been, and I absolutely hated short hair.

But I could see I was in the minority here as both Dominic and Jeff seemed quite pleased with the results. The hair on the neck and sides was a short velvet pelt of hair that disappeared to invisibility the lower it got on my head. The grey was now everywhere, there was no more red or blonde highlights, and the top was just a short maze of steel grey spikes. I had to admit it looked good, even daring. It wasn’t nearly as manly looking as I had feared either. Just not at all what I expected when I woke up that morning with hair touching my collar. My anger subsided quickly, and I told Dominic it looked good and I got up from the chair. Jeff tried to stand too but had to reach down several times to fix his pants to hide his discomfort there.

We got to the receptionist with me still a bit conflicted about how short my hair was now and why I wasn’t angrier than I was with how things had gone with my hair. I thought to myself “Should I or shouldn’t I be angry?” The receptionist had a huge smile on her face and told me she really liked what Dominic had done. Of course she would I fumed. She was a Dominic model and had her sides and back shaved like mine. But she was clearly 40 years younger than me and didn’t have the grey hair or the wrinkles I had. Jeff took care of the bill and I saw he left Dominic an obscenely hefty tip as well.

Did I mention I have wrinkles? Yes, I was obsessed with my flaws and exaggerated them to the max. I could come to terms with the grey hair but the wrinkles! Didn’t anyone else notice them? For God’s sake, I felt like I had the Grand Canyon etched on my face. Every time I looked in a mirror all I saw was wrinkles. There were crows’ feet around my eyes, laugh lines around my mouth. Wasn’t anyone seeing the same ravages of age I saw?

Apparently not. At least Jeff never stopped looking at me the entire drive home. As we left The Clip Joint, he handed me the keys to his truck. His beloved truck the one that I was never to drive and told me to drive us home. What the hell was going on here? Had we really entered an alternate universe this morning? Everyone was acting out of character. I jumped in and looked over at Jeff and the smile on his face spoke volumes. I knew he correctly believed this was a once in a lifetime event and he wanted to savor every minute of it. My plan was it was already in a growing out mode.

As we pulled into the garage at home and shut down the truck all I remember was being dragged to our bedroom. Today he didn’t need a blue pill and we were both more than fine with how things went. Then later that night a repeat of the afternoon. Again, Jeff didn’t find a need for his blue pill. His hands were all over my neck and spikes and he nuzzled my ears like his horse does when he wants more treats. His excitement transferred over to me making me more and more excited too. We hadn’t had a day like this in years and we were both loving it.

When we woke up the next morning Jeff was more attentive to me than he’d been in months. He was usually attentive to me anyway and in my mind he turned up the heat each time I got a haircut but this was beyond the norm even for him.

All the while he was making breakfast, he found some reason to come over to where I was and just cuddle like we were newlyweds. It was almost nauseating, but I could get used to attention like this. Even at 65 a girl likes to know her husband still finds her to be attractive. Jeff obviously did. One look between his legs told me just how much he loved my new look. That was another double day and again no blue pill. I felt like I’d been riding my horse for hours and probably walked like I felt. But our rodeo was much more fun, lasted much longer than 8 seconds, and my cowboy was my bucking bronc. Yee Ha!

About a month after my shearing I was more than used to the new look. Jeff’s excitement continued unabated. He was mister unstoppable. My anger had also disappeared. Our friends all complimented me on it too. Nobody mentioned grey hair or wrinkles although I still thought I could drive a truck around Kim’s Grand Canyon. But I was finding this was all in my head and not in anyone else’s. Plus, the reality of the wrinkles was they were not nearly as bad as I imagined them to be. I was also finding out this look was growing on me. However, as I said before, my hair grows like a weed and in a month it had grown considerably. Jeff was still as attentive as ever and loving it, but I knew he believed it was in a growing out mode right now.

I looked at my calendar on the computer and saw nothing scheduled for either of us for the next few days. I called The Clip Joint and asked for an appointment with Dominic. As luck would have it, he had an opening at 2 that day. I slipped into Jeff’s office and asked if he had anything today, knowing he didn’t, and he said he was wide open. I asked him if he’d like to go into town with me for a little shopping in the afternoon. Of course he said yes, and acted like our Labrador retriever going out for a walk. The only thing missing was a leash on his excitement of going out with me.

As I drove my car into town, I stopped in the parking lot of The Clip Joint and he got a puzzled look on his face. I said, “I’m here for a haircut. Wanna come in?” He needed no urging. We entered the shop and were greeted by the same cute short haired receptionist and given water. Just as we were settling down Dominic arrived and said “hey guys good to see you both again. Come on back.” I asked Jeff to come with us again. He must have wondered exactly what was happening here. Twice in 2 months being asked to go with me to get a haircut? This never happened but I could tell he was more than pleased.

Dominic swung the chair for me to sit and asked how I liked the last cut to which I replied I got used to it pretty quickly and that I had actually learned to like it. He then asked me what we were doing today. I replied, “I liked the last time even though it was a bit of a shock. Can we do the same today but maybe just a tad shorter?” Jeff’s eyes jumped clear out of their sockets. Never in his wildest imaginings did he think the style of the last month would continue nor that I would ever ask for an even shorter cut. He almost immediately started to squirm a little in his chair. Dominic again smiled knowingly and said sure and escorted me back to the shampoo area.

After returning with my hair in a towel I placed myself in the chair while Dominic dried my hair. I sat there as Dominic then proceeded to use his clippers reducing my hair to just a bit shorter on the sides and back than it was the last time. He also went a little higher too if my eyes weren’t deceiving me. Exchanging his clippers for his scissors he then proceeded to take a little more than an inch off the top. This look needed more cleaning up than the spikes he’d given me a month ago. He grabbed his jar of styling wax and rubbed it into my hair and taking a brush he made sure it all stood straight up. Then using his clippers one more time told me to sit very still and then guided the clippers over my hair until everything was smoothed over to a uniform length. It gave a more refined look to the casual random spike look of a month ago.

Dominic showed me how I could have either the refined or the random look by just making some minor adjustments while I was styling it. I loved it and thought I could really rock this look even more than the spikes of the last month. He finished it off with the new refined style.

Looking over at Jeff it was clear he liked it as well since he hadn’t stopped squirming in his chair for the last 45 minutes. I thought to myself, “Well Kim, you’d best be ready for your cowboy because he’s clearly ready for some rodeo today.” That was a prophetic thought if ever there was one. The refined look didn’t survive the afternoon once we got home. I also bought some of Dominic’s styling wax and booked another appointment for 4 weeks out and I know Jeff made note of that too.

So far, our intimacy has improved dramatically. I always knew Jeff loved me and I loved him. But this was never about our love. This was about us and being together closer than we had been in years. Without ever intending it, I have managed to spice up our relationship, a lot. I wouldn’t change it for anything and if having my hair short is all it takes to spice up our retirement years than that’s a good deal for us both. Jeff hasn’t stopped his attention to me, and I have grown to love that as well.

When I look in a mirror, I no longer have the shock of seeing myself with short grey hair. I am more than comfortable with who I am and how I look. Jeff, Liz and now Dominic were right, I really was meant for short hair even though every bone in my body fought against it for so many years. I’m not sure what style the future has in store, but I think I can safely say it’ll be short.

As I said, I know how to play Jeff too. He has what he wants and although I didn’t realize it a month ago, I have what I want too. The two of us are now better than ever. There is also a new light weight cutting saddle I’ve been looking at and it’s going to cost me some money. Maybe now would be a good time to ask Jeff if he thinks I ought to buy it. I won’t be taking any bets against a new saddle arriving soon in our tack room. Saddle up and ride ‘em cowboy, Yee Ha!

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