You don’t know why, exactly, but lately the only thing you can think of is getting your hair cut. When you wake up in the morning and run your fingers through your hair, pushing it out of your face. When you wash your hair, or brush or comb it. When you go to the gym and pull it into a ponytail. When you tuck it behind your ear while you’re working. When you style it before going out on a date. You must touch your hair a hundred or more times a day and every single time you think: “I really need a haircut.”
But you’re busy or distracted or indisposed and you never manage to call your stylist to book an appointment. And your hair just keeps getting longer. Your friends notice. You receive compliments. Still, all you think about is getting it cut. You have a dream that it gets caught in an elevator door and the firemen who come to the rescue have to chop your hair off to free you. You have a dream that your best friend’s toddler somehow entangles his lollipop in your hair so thoroughly that it has to be hacked away at the roots. You have a dream that you are an actress who parts with her signature locks for the role of a lifetime.
You realize these dreams excite you. Some mornings when you wake up from one of these dreams, you reach into the top drawer of your bedside table and grab your vibrator, pleasuring yourself with it in one hand while you passionately pull your own hair with the other. You need a haircut, sure, but more than that you want a haircut. You want it as badly as you have ever wanted anything or anyone your entire life.
And still you do nothing. You don’t know what to do. Will a little trim satisfy your urges, or does it need to be a significant cut? What if you like the experience but hate the final look? You try to tell yourself “it’s just hair” but you know how long it can take to grow out a bad haircut. Your vanity might be getting the best of you.
The dreams continue. You dream you are a novitiate in a religious order that demands you sacrifice your hair before you take your vows. You dream a madman is running around your city chopping women’s ponytails off—yours included. You dream you visit the doctor to talk about your chronic migraines and without a word he grabs a pair of scissors and cuts a large section of your long hair level with your earlobes and tells you the weight of your hair is the cause of all your troubles while he finishes giving you a short, rough bob.
One day as you’re running errands you find yourself passing a trendy-looking salon with a banner that reads GRAND OPENING draped across its facade. You keep going, on to the next errand, but as you head back home you pass the same salon. Surely the salon won’t take a walk-in, you tell yourself. At least not this late in the day. But something comes over you and you are turning into the parking lot and then you are walking up to the front door and the receptionist looks at you as you gape at her with your mouth slightly ajar, as if you have forgotten how words work.
The receptionist asks if you have an appointment and you say no and prepare to leave but she tells you Mark, the owner, had a cancellation and if you’re ready she can take you straight back to see him. You look toward the door and consider walking right back out. Instead you follow the receptionist to Mark’s station. He is tall, with broad shoulders accentuated by a just-slightly-too-tight black t-shirt. He has dark, wavy hair that he wears long on the top but short on the back and sides and his blue eyes twinkle as he introduces himself. Your throat is dry. You squeak out a sound that might have been your name—but it is also possible, looking at the handsome stylist/salon owner and thinking about what might come next, that you have forgotten your name.
Mark leads you to the shampoo station and apologizes that he will be the one washing your hair today, explaining that the salon is still so new they haven’t finished hiring salon assistants. He guides your head back so it hangs over the sink and then he turns the water on, taking a moment to make sure it is neither too hot nor too cold before turning the hose toward your head. Once it is sufficiently wet, Mark begins to shampoo your hair. His hands are big and strong and when you open your eyes you see his rippling arm muscles over your head. He massages your scalp and it is heaven. Pure bliss. You wish you had your vibrator with you and at the same time you are so, so relieved you do not.
The salon owner finishes your scalp massage and applies conditioner to your hair. He compliments you on how healthy and strong it is, and asks if this is your natural color. You awkwardly nod, your head still in the sink, and mumble your thanks as Mark rinses your hair and helps you to sit up, wrapping your head in a towel.
You follow Mark back to his station. He capes you, then removes the towel from your hair. You stare in the mirror at his big hands and his forearms and his biceps as he selects a comb and begins to gently run it through your hair, making sure it is free of any tangles. At one point he hits a small knot and you let out a short, sharp yelp, in spite of yourself. Mark makes eye contact with you in the mirror; he apologizes and asks if you are okay. You nod slightly and he finishes combing through your hair, until he is satisfied no tangles remain.
Mark puts his comb down and stands behind you, looking in the mirror. For a moment you are again looking into each other’s eyes and then he breaks the silence to ask what you want him to do with your hair today. You don’t know. You haven’t thought it out this far ahead. The dreams you’ve been having have involved everything from a long bob to a buzz cut. You have not flipped through magazines or scrolled through Instagram to find a style you want to emulate. You just know you want this haircut.
You cannot tell Mark this, so you say something about how you haven’t had your haircut in almost a year and you are just so tired of it and you want a change. Mark asks what kind of change and you tell him you don’t know. You pause, clear your throat. You don’t know if you want to say what you’re about to say but the words are already gushing out. You tell Mark to surprise you. To choose any style he thinks will be flattering for you. To just have fun.
Mark cocks his head to one side and studies your face in the mirror. He asks you how much liberty you’re giving him. You tell him as much as he needs. He asks the same question, in a different way: how much hair are you willing to lose? You’re glad your arms are under your cape so he cannot see you gripping the armrests of the chair, your knuckles turning white. You tell him again to choose any style he thinks will look good on you, no matter the length, as long as he doesn’t shave you all the way down to the skin. Mark opens his eyes wide. He compliments your bravery and asks if you trust him. You swallow, then nod your head. You feel a damp spot forming between your legs.
Once satisfied you really are giving him carte blanche, Mark gathers your hair into a loose ponytail and holds it in place with his left hand. He then takes up a pair of shears in his right hand, looks at you one last time in the mirror to make sure you haven’t changed your mind, and, seeing no objection, plunges the blades into your hair. You feel a slight tugging at your nape where Mark is holding your hair but you also feel it subside as his blades do what they are meant to do. You hear their distinct schink, schink sound behind you, closer to your ears than it has been since you were a child. It is hypnotizing. Suddenly the cutting sounds stop and your head feels light and Mark is standing behind you with years’ worth of growth held aloft in his left hand. In the mirror, you see that most of your hair now hangs messily above your shoulders.
Mark places your severed locks on the counter and returns to stand behind you, ruffling what remains of your hair. He tells you that from here he can cut your hair into a bob or a pixie or something more dramatic. You remind him that it is his choice. He nods, lifts up a lock of hair near your right temple, and holds his shears no more than two inches from your scalp, then pauses to look inquisitively at you in the mirror. You know that if he cuts your hair where he is holding the blades, you will be leaving the salon with a very short haircut indeed. There will be no turning back after he closes the blades. You nod at his reflection and he holds eye contact with yours as he slides the blades even closer to your scalp, no more than one inch away, then severs the lock and drops it in your lap. You gasp when it lands and Mark stops. He looks worried, as if he might have taken things too far. You smile him at the mirror and tell him to continue. With a look of relief, he grabs another lock of hair close to the one he has just cut and snips it just as short as the last.
You notice Mark is not using a comb, that he has not sectioned your hair. As more locks are sheared away and you look at the evenly-cut-but-shapeless, newly short hair covering the right side of your head, you begin to understand why. He has not yet begun the actual haircut. He’s still removing the bulk. You shudder involuntarily, both thrilled by the fact that you do not yet know what Mark has planned for you, and anxious that you’ll be unhappy with the outcome. Mark sees the subtle movement and asks you if you are nervous. More excited, you tell him, then blush at your honesty. In the mirror, your right cheek looks especially pink, as there’s no longer any hair to cover the color rising in your face. Soon, the left cheek will be similarly exposed. The wetness between your legs continues to spread.
Mark notices you are flushed, too. He pauses his cutting for a moment and gently runs his fingers up your nape, which you cannot see but can tell has been cut to the same length as the right side of your head. You close your eyes and suppress a moan, but suspect from the look on Mark’s face that the moan was implied. He tries to break off any awkwardness you might feel and asks if this is will be the first time you’ve worn your hair short. You tell him about the bowl cut you had, ages six to ten, when your mom was too busy tending to your younger siblings to have time to tend to your hair, but that since then the shortest it’s been was collar-length. Nothing ever as short as this, thats for sure. He smiles and tells you you’re going to love it. That in the fifteen years he’s been doing hair, he’s only had a handful of clients who he took short decide to grow their hair long again. You wonder to yourself how many of those clients who’ve kept their hair short did so because they liked wearing their hair short, and how many did it because they liked that maintaining short hair meant more visits to see Mark, more time spent with those big strong hands of his tenderly working through their hair. You realize that no matter the outcome of this haircut, you are likely to fall into this latter group. You begin to daydream about what it would be like if Mark’s hands were always on you—on your head, on your arms, on your breasts, on your pussy.
You snap out of your reverie to see that Mark is holding the final longer lock of hair on the left side of your head in his left hand. He is studying you in the mirror, as if waiting for you to notice, and when your eyes meet, he closes the blades agonizingly slowly without breaking his gaze. It is the hottest thing any man has ever done for or to you. Under your cape, your hands slide toward your groin. You wish you were wearing a skirt but settle for pressing the center seam of your jeans against your clit.
The hair on top of your head is still long, or at least it is long compared the hair the covers the sides and back of your head, and Mark begins to cut into these locks, too. He leaves them longer, but is still cutting freehand, more concerned with getting rid of the hair he knows he won’t need than with the final look. You still have no idea how much hair you’ll be left with by the time he pronounces you finished.
The salon receptionist appears behind Mark and tells him all the other stylists are done for the day, then asks if she can head out. Mark nods and thanks her for helping to make the salon’s opening weekend such a grand success. He says he can take care of locking up. The receptionist seems to notice your hair, or what’s left of it, for the first time since she came to talk to Mark. In the mirror, you see her eyes open wide, and then wander over to the long bundle of hair on the counter and the piles of hair on the floor, but she doesn’t say anything about it, instead telling you both to enjoy the rest of the weekend. You watch her reflection retreat, noticing she has protectively pulled her long hair over one shoulder. If only she knew what she was missing out on…but no, you don’t know if you want to share this experience with anyone else.
Mark has finished shearing the top of your head and you can’t help but chuckle at your reflection. You are now sporting a haircut not dissimilar to the one you had in grade school. It does not flatter you in the least. Mark jokingly suggests that maybe he should stop here. Give you a chance to reconnect with your inner child. As he begins pin the longer hair atop your head up with alligator clips to separate it from the shorter back and sides, you’re glad to know he plans to keep going but the truth is even if he stopped here and you had to go out into the world sporting this style it would still be one of the best haircuts you’ve ever gotten.
Mark opens one of the drawers at his workstation and rummages around a bit before seeming to find what he was looking for. When he turns back to you, he is holding something you never dared to ask for but had so hoped he would use: clippers. There is a guard on them, but you can’t tell which one. At this moment you don’t care. Mark plugs the machine in and turns it on with a loud pop. The whirring blades come to life and he walks back behind your chair, then instructs you to point your chin down. You do as instructed, and Mark brings one large hand to the top of your head, so as to keep you still, while the other hand—the one holding the clippers—gets to work. He places the humming machine at the base of your neck and pushes it upward. You hear the blades change pitch as they hungrily make contact with your hair, peeling away you don’t know how much of what’s still left.
You have always known your neck was sensitive but what you’re feeling now…you’ve never felt anything like it. The vibrating machine sends chills down your spine as it strips you of he last vestiges of what had been, less than an hour ago, your long hair. He makes another pass, then another, clippering first the back of your head up past your occipital bone, and then each side. He takes extra care around your ears, folding them down so that no longer tufts of hair escape his clippers’ path. When it seems as if there is nothing left for the clippers to cut, he slowly runs the machine all over the back and sides of your head again. You cannot tell if he is moving at this pace because he is methodical, or if he is moving at this pace because he knows that’s what you actually want him to do. You press your hand more forcefully against your inseam.
When Mark turns the machine off, you are grateful to see, in the mirror, that he has still left you with some hair. You are thrilled to see, in the mirror, how little of it there is. And there is soon to be even less. Mark still has the clippers in his hand, only he has switched to a different guard. He returns to the back of your chair and places them again at the base of your neck. You can tell he is stopping lower than he had with the last guard. You realize he’s going for a fade and wonder how short it will ultimately be at the bottom. Again, he finishes the back of your head before moving the sides. Again, you push your hand into the inseam of your jeans. Your clit is so swollen you can feel it through the sturdy denim. The wet spot between your legs has become a puddle. Occasionally, you see Mark looking at your face in the mirror, a gentle smirk on his lips. You are grateful to him for ignoring what you’re doing under the cape, despite it being increasingly obvious. You also wish that he wasn’t ignoring it, but rather that he’d choose to be a more active participant.
Finished with the second guard, Mark repeats the process with a third attachment and then a fourth. Occasionally, he runs his hands along the denuded sections of your head to check that everything is even. You can tell, as his hands move lower, there is almost nothing left of your hairline. You can’t wait to feel it for yourself, to get home and rub the back of your head with one hand while you play with your vibrator in the other. Once Mark finishes with your fade, he returns his clippers to the drawer. Something on your face must betray your disappointment. Mark laughs and assures you there’s more where that came from—you just have to return to the salon in a few weeks and he’ll touch it up again.
Mark begins to unpin the hair that remains at the top of your head. Instead of arranging it into a bowl-like shape, this time he combs all the hair forward. He observes how it falls, looks for any obvious cowlicks, then stands back with one hand cupped under his chin, head cocked slightly to one side. Suddenly Mark’s eyes light up. He pushes most of what remains of your hair toward your left, just leaving a small amount hanging. Then he picks up his shears and begins to make slow, tiny, methodical cuts to the hair he’s left, so that the hair begins to mirror the shape of your ear. He is so, so close to your face as he does this. You can feel his hot breath on your cheek. You wonder what would happen if you turned and kissed him right now, right in this moment. He’d probably mess up your hair, you remind yourself. You do not turn.
Satisfied with his handiwork, Mark moves to your left and pushes most of your hair to the right, then takes the same deliberate snips of the hair he leaves hanging toward your left ear as he did with the hair previously hanging toward your right. This time, you can smell him. He smells like shampoo and sandalwood and just a little like sweat. He finishes snipping his curved line on this side and then again pushes all the hair that remains toward the front. He combs it from side to side, as if to determine where exactly to start cutting, then at one point keeps his comb in place and raises his scissors to it. You can’t tell exactly what he cut because the hair he snipped fell into your face, and he has already picked up another section and began to cut it, too. You can tell the hair from the crown of your head to the spot where the buzzed hair ends above your occipital bone will be shorter than the hair on top of your head. But as he gets to the front of your head, rather than leaving you with a longer bang you’ll be able to sweep to one side or the other, he again cuts your hair quite short. Your bangs don’t even stretch halfway to your eyebrows. No hair on your head extends more than two inches from your scalp. You are exposed. There is nothing to hide behind. And it is exhilarating.
Mark puts his shears down but keeps his comb in his hand. Once again, he combs the hair from front to back, then from side to side. He has said very little since he joked about connecting you with your inner child, but now that the parts of his job that required the most concentration are behind him, he begins talking again. He shows you that you can part your hair above either eye and comb it to the side, or you can comb it all forward and let the bangs graze your forehead. He recommends using product to hold it in place but does not actually apply any to your hair—not yet, at least. It seems he’s not quite finished tousling it. You don’t care. He can keep his hands in your hair all night if he wants to. You look up at him and your eyes meet directly, rather than in the mirror, for the first time since you were introduced. Your lips are slightly parted and you can tell your breath has quickened. You might be imagining it, but it seems his has, too.
Mark smiles at you again, this time rather sheepishly, and takes a step back. Then he finds some pomade amongst his other styling products and rubs a small amount between his fingers before running his hands though your hair one last time. Mark traces a clear part over the arch of your right eyebrow and combs your hair into place. He takes a step back and asks what you think. You turn your head from side to side and admire his work. You look like Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby, only with the buzzed back and sides, you’re also edgier. It will take you some time to get used to, you know, but you’re happy with the result and thrilled with the overall experience. You begin to pull one hand out from under the cape, but Mark grabs you by the wrist, telling you there’s one more thing he needs to do.
Reaching toward some sort of pump on his counter, Mark pushes a button and is left with a small handful of foam. He tells you he knows you asked him not to shave you to the skin but he just wants to clean up your hairline and around your ears. You say yes and he applies the warm foam to the areas he’ll be tidying. After a few moments he pulls a straight razor out of a drawer and strops it on a piece of leather he hangs from the drawer pull. Then he begins to slowly peel away any last traces of hair at your hairline and around your ears. The small scraping motions give you goosebumps. Your hand returns to the inseam of your jeans and begins to press against your clit but you realize that by this point it is so engorged that you risked having an immediate orgasm while a straight razor was poised dangerously near your throat. You were supposed to run a few more errands today but you decide you’ll be going straight home when you’re done here.
Seemingly satisfied there are no unwanted short hairs left behind, Mark wipes the remaining shaving cream off your neck and from behind your ears. He instructs you to point your chin down one last time and you think perhaps he’s found an errant long hair that needs to be addressed but instead he places both hands on your shoulders. He asks if he can show you something and honestly at this point he could offer to show you literally anything and you would say yes. You give your consent and he slowly runs his fingertips from the tops of your shoulders to your neck, and from your neck to the top of the buzzed area on the back of your head and around to your buzzed sides. You try not to squirm while he does. The puddle between your legs is a full-on lake.
When Mark reaches your temples his fingers stop moving and he applies gentle pressure as he begins to make small circles, first clockwise then counterclockwise, at the sides of your head. After a few moments, he releases the pressure and returns to his fingertips, gliding them back down the buzzed sides of your head, to the buzzed back of your head, to the spot on your neck where your hair fades to literal nothingness. When he finishes, he gives your shoulders a gentle squeeze and begins to remove your cape. You’re quick to move your hands before your lap is fully exposed but your clit is throbbing so much by this point you begin to suspect Mark might be able to feel it.
You ask if he does that thing—that last thing—for each of his short-haired clients. He pauses for a moment, as if to decide just how to answer in a way that wouldn’t give offense. Finally he answers with apparent truthfulness: not every client, no, but a few of them and it had been a while since the last. You ask him what inspired him to do it tonight. He says he doesn’t know entirely, but from the moment you walked in and gave him complete control he had been fascinated by you and then when he realized this experience was actually special for you, he determined to give you the best one possible. Now it is Mark’s turn to blush slightly, and he asks you if you are seeing someone and you say no and ask him the same thing. He tells you he is not and then, emboldened by what had transpired over the last hour you ask him if he’d like to have dinner with you. At your place.
Mark says he has a better idea and asks if you’ll excuse him for a moment. He returns a few minutes later holding a key ring. The salon is officially closed, he tells you. You have the place to yourselves. He returns to his station, where you’re still sitting, and stands in front of you, silently willing you to tell him the two of you are on the same page. Without a word, you reach out pull him toward you. With one hand, you remove his belt; with the other, you undo the button and zipper of his jeans and reach between his legs. He is already hard. You ask Mark if the chair you’re sitting in can be adjusted lower and he confirms it can, lowering your seat until you are looking directly at his open fly. With a little tug, his jeans and underwear pool on the floor.
You take Mark in your mouth and he places both hands firmly on the back of your head, rubbing and stroking your closely cropped hair. Later, he will lay you down on the floor, atop the piles of hair that he so recently severed from your head, and lick and suck your pussy until your back arches and you beg to feel him inside you. He will turn you around and enter you from behind, one hand wrapped around your waist and the other back at your nape, gently running his fingers along the back of your head so your new haircut—and your time in Mark’s chair—is very present in your mind as you both come.
You will continue to see Mark, as your stylist and as your lover. Both your hair and your heart will be his. When he proposes, some of your friends will ask if you plan to grow your hair out for the wedding. You will smile and shake your head. It was this haircut that brought you together, so it should be this haircut when you stand at the altar.
And all this because you couldn’t get the idea of cutting your hair of your mind.