Walking with my cousin into Sam’s Barbershop at the corner of the street, we walk in as the door chimes. Adjusting my beige cardigan, I sweep away my long hair to the side looking for the person in charge as I stand with him at the doorway scanning the empty shop, old fashioned and antique.
Jaina: “Is anyone there?”
Sam: “Hello! Sorry was cleaning a bit. I’m Sam. Are we cutting your hair today young lady? Or this little guy here?”
Jaina: “It’s just him.”
I nudge him towards the chair as I walk towards the back and sit on the couch texting on my phone, wondering why would he ask me for a cut in such a place. One especially not meant for young women like me. The barber is in his early 30s, younger than most I’ve seen. Has a well-groomed beard and a high and tight cut. Nodding to me as my cousin follows him to the chair.
Sam: “Hi there, young man!”
I giggle from a couple cat videos on my phone as he’s seated in, ignoring most of what’s going on.
He begins cutting his hair. First putting a tight strip around his neck and a checkered cape over him.
I overhear my cousin giving instructions and the cutting begins. The sound of clippers fills the otherwise hollow shop.
The barber makes eye contact with me via the mirror and smirks. I nervously look away blushing as I pick up a magazine lying beside and glance through, flipping the pages.
A louder, more annoying buzz starts as the little trimmers come on, cleaning my cousin up. The barber moves quick and with purpose and I can see the style coming into shape.
Out comes my scissors and I start slicing some bulk off the top. Spinning the boy around so I can have a better view of her.
Jaina: “His mom wanted it short for the summer, just make sure it’s good enough.”
I remind him as I watch him scissor away at my cousin.
My ears prick at the sound of the buzz as I watch his new haircut take shape turned towards me.
Sam: “As you wish, my dear!”
My cousin chuckles as the barber says something to him and continues to slice through the hair.
Turning towards her
Spinning the boy around.
Jaina: “Uhh .. yeah .. that’s good enough.”
I act concerned checking the cut while in reality I’m barely bothered.
I whisk the cape off of him, releasing him. Looking to see her next step…with a smile on my face for her.
Sam: “Pretty hair you have miss!”
I get up taking a few bills from my purse as I walk over to the counter setting them on the countertop as I wait.
Jaina: “Why, Thank you!”
I flip my lush mane to the side as I watch him handle the register
I handle the money and look back at her and offer change back, wondering if she’ll tell me to keep it as a tip.
I take the change dropping a couple pennies back into his hand with a smile
“That’s your tip!”
Sam: “Ha! You know, I could offer you something else, miss …”
I walk behind my chair, cape thrown over my shoulder and chair open towards her.
Jaina: “Umm what …?”
I stare confused at his sudden movement behind the chair which he faces towards me
Sam: “Have a seat and find out”
Jaina: “Thanks but, I get my hair done at the salon ..”
I decline politely closing my purse, smiling slightly at him
I smile and say to the boy,
“Don’t you think this young lady (not knowing the relation) should take a turn like you did?”
The boy laughs and goes, “Yeah! She gets a haircut too!”
I look flustered as I stare at him with anger and look at you
“He’s my cousin, and I’m afraid I wouldn’t want to have my hair done at a Barbershop mister.”
Sam: “It’ll be worth your time. Come on, let me earn a nice tip and you be the judge. Just have a seat.”
I roll my eyes, feeling my ends as I eventually submit.
“Ugh … fine, my ends could use some TLC…”
I motion him towards the waiting area couch as I trudge over to the humongous chair standing aside as I stare at it.
I turn the chair more towards her. My eyes appetize at the sight of her beautiful hair coming to my chair, like a lamb to the slaughter.
I place one hand on the arm as my petite body sinks into the leather chair, I notice how small I felt in comparison as I crossed my feet on the pedestal.
Placing my hands on her shoulders, I ease her back into the chair and delicately run my hands through her long hair. Staring at her pretty face, quite nervous; I feel it’s softness and volume.
I look up at him in the mirror, feeling his hands run through my soft hair as I sit nervously unsure about the barbershop treatment.
I see her nerves and know that I have her by a thread. I say nothing but rip a strip from the counter and move behind. I wrap it around her neck, while lifting up the gorgeous length. Tight and secure.
“Ever had your haircut in a barbershop, my dear?”
Jaina: “N-no I haven’t, this is my first time.”
I feel the crisp tissue against my supple neck, a bit tight as he wraps it around; my long hair splashing over his hands after securing.
Sam: “I’ll have to make sure it’s memorable for you. Feel free to call me Sam.”
I give a slight smile introducing myself.
“You can call me Jai”
I ease her back into the chair again. Trying to calm her nerves. I then flick the big white and red pinstriped cape over her body. Tucking it in around her shoulders; I securely button it in the back.
I extend my neck as he flourishes the cape over me; my tiny head pops out. Some of my long hair still under the cape secured from behind.
I pull her hair out to put on full display.
“So I know you said just the ends. But you’re here. You’re comfortable. Let’s change it up a bit”
I say, not waiting for your reaction I move to the counter.
Jaina: “I uh – “
I see myself in the mirror. Long hair down. Fully caped in a barber’s chair.
I watch him move towards the counter spontaneously leaving me flabbergasted over what’s going on.
I lightly touch her legs and spin her around. Away from the mirror. I begin combing her silky hair out, admiring it. I begin to section it off. Taking the bottom section completely down and clipping the rest up high and out of the way.
I feel the comb run through my hair like silk thanks to the serum I used for styling this morning.
“Umm … can I face the mirror? My hair’s naturally straight and I’d like to see what’s being done if you don’t mind”
I ask noticing my cousin reading the mags.
Sam: “But that would ruin the surprise!”
I continue combing. The hard bristles keeping her hair nice and straight. I rummage by the counter through plastic guards picking out a desirable length for my “special” client. I fluff her hair out and run my fingers through it one more time.
I feel anxious having my hair sectioned up with clips as I’m blind towards the back as I feel my long hair flowing behind, left unguarded. I hear him rummaging by the counter to the clicking of plastic.
“Umm … we haven’t discussed styles?”
I fell his fingers run through the length of the open section.
Sam: “Don’t worry Jai. I’ll give you a barbershop experience you won’t forget.”
I pump the hydraulics of the chair lifting her up from the ground. Then a few more strokes of the comb, then a new sound.
I feel heightened with each pump of the chair as I almost jump out hearing the droning pitch.
“What’s that ??”
I ask cautiously.
Sam: “Just a little something. You may feel a tickle on your neck”
Jaina: “My neck?”
My flight response kicks in and I flinch a bit in fright as I sense it nearing me.
Before she could make any moves, the clippers are pressed onto her neck. Holding her crown in place with my left hand for support as I tilt her head forwards gliding the clippers up her pale nape. The loud buzzing filling her ears and the vibration goes up her neck and leaving behind a clean buzzed area. Her once pretty hair cascades down to the ground below. They come back up again chewing up her soft long locks, some falling on her lap on the cape.
I squirm in fright, quivering as I see long locks of hair slide onto my lap, sensing the cool air against my nape.
“What are you doing?? I don’t want it short!”
Sam: “Shhhh it’s just hair. You’re going to look lovely!”
I push forward her chin against her chest and continue buzzing to my pleasure.
Firmly with my hand on her head I continue to run the clippers over the back section. Her head getting lighter and lighter and the pile on her lap getting heavier
I whimper feeling the buzzing device against my neck run over and over as my head’s forced down. I try to lift it up, but to no avail.
“I just wanted a trim … please”
My voice breaks feeling the pressure against my head as he buzzes away.
What feels like slow motion has been just a few minutes. And then click. The clippers turn off. I take my hand and run it through her freshly buzzed undercut. A #2 buzz. Perfect.
I place the clippers down and undo the clipped-up sections
I feel his fingers with abnormal ease as my mouth hangs open wondering how short he has cut it.
I go back to combing out her hair, including combing out the front over her starry eyes, hanging over and past her face.
I face my nephew, suddenly blinded by my brown curtain of hair as he combs all around, I blow through my hair trying to see what he’s up to.
I release the hydraulic on the chair sending her down.
I spin her again. This time to face the mirror. But still ensuring she can’t see behind her mane.
I notice the sudden change in height as I’m facing some other direction.
“Umm … what are you doing?”
I move to the back. Combing her hair out again. Placing the blades between her hair as the scissors go
I comb it out again. Keeping the line nice and straight.
‘SCHINK. SCHINK. SCHINK.’
Her hair raining down.
I let out an audible gasp hearing the shears slice rather high, a tear rolls down my cheek as I feel my hair fall off into a pile.
Sam: “Now, now. Just wait! You’ll love it.”
I assure her.
I sniffle trying to compose myself as I sit patiently.
I move to her side. The scissors just slide below her ear lobe and they’re back at it.
‘ CRUNCH. CRUNCH.’
Nice and close to her ear.
She watches the cape where more long strands fall.
Jaina: “Ahh “
I bite my lip tensely noticing how much hair I’ve lost feeling the absence of it on my shoulders as I gulp and struggle to retain my composure.
One more side falls victim next. Without mercy, I slice away.
I comb out the front of her hair. Close to her face.
I wince just hoping that he doesn’t cut in bangs or a fringe.
I comb down her silken locks. Place the scissors just above her brow and gingerly begin snipping out from left to right.
‘SNIP SNIP SNIP’
The fringe begins to show.
Squirming in resent as I hear the loud and slow snips expose my face from the curtain of hair, my security blanket.
I’ve now cut enough where one eye is visible.
My eye widens in shock at how short he has cut it as I just close then back in resentment knowing what’s to come.
I move to the other side. Making sure she has a great view in the mirror as the scissors cut through straight across her remaining forelock. Matching it and making a blunt bang just above her brows.
I give her a few mini snips just making sure the bluntness is good.
I stare in awe and pursed lips at the enormous pile of hair on my lap as I look in anguish.
“My hair …”
I softly blurt out.
I run my fingers through her now cute short hair and through the buzzed section again. But I’m not done…
I stop the spinning with her facing her cousin. New cut intact.
I hear another annoying buzzing sound.
Sam: “Gotta make sure your neck is proper”
Jaina: “Huh? Not done …?”
I nod a visible no to him as I’m spun facing my cousin.
The tiny trimmers tickle her neck as I line up the back and trim away the unwanted little hairs.
I feel the trimmers line out my hairline from behind as he does a running motion with the mechanical device.
They prickle and tickle as they do their work.
I sarcastically ask her cousin,
I squirm occasionally as I look at him with a steely gaze.
I approach the counter again, putting away the trimmer.
I spin her back to the mirror to face her reflection.
In my hand is a brush with powder on it.
I flick the bristles over her pale neck cleaning her up.
As I move to the front, I playfully tickle her nose with it.
I sense the sweet-smelling powder, closing my eyes as he brushes my face and nose causing me to let out a small sneeze.
I grab a small mirror to show her what the back looks like.
Sam: “What do you think my dear?”
I run my fingers through the undercut as she replies.
I nod approvingly reaching out and feeling the buzzed nape as I try to smile.
Erm … it’s … good … shorter than I expected certainly
I undo the cape. Then the strip. Releasing her from captivity.
“Now I expect you back in 2-3 weeks for clean-up, yes?”
I take a moment in the chair sighing as I watch an entire pile of well-maintained hair fall to the floor, eventually getting up and fluffing out my short hair.
“Uhh … sure, I’ll try to …”
I walk over to the counter picking up my purse.
Sam: “Good. You look lovely! Doesn’t she?”
I ask her cousin as he smiles at her.
Jaina: “Thanks for the cut mister.”
I grab my cousin’s hand pulling him along as we walk out.