[Dedicated to my favorite Texan, who helped inspire a lot of the local flair and details of this story]
The first day he saw her, it was an unseasonably warm spring day in Lubbock. A day where you could smell the hot dust as it kicked up from the flat horizon.
After a steady rush of midday clients, the barbershop fell into its typical late afternoon lull. The owner, Shawn, sat back in his red vinyl barber chair and pulled out a well-worn paperback novel to read. He’d sent the other barber, Carlos, to lunch and was savoring his momentary solitude when the bell announcing that the front door was opening jangled.
He looked up, and whatever mild annoyance he might have felt at being interrupted mid-chapter abruptly faded when he saw the woman who entered.
First of all, it was rare to see a woman in Duke’s Barbershop at all. The Duke in question had been Shawn’s father, and the shop still held the distinctly classic and masculine energy it’d had when he was still alive. The tall red vinyl and chrome chairs, black and white linoleum floor, wood stations with white sinks. Stripped barber pole outside. When Shawn had first taken over, the walls still held the faintly yellow tint of years of men smoking cigarettes inside while they got their hair sheared. He’d cleaned up the place, put up a fresh coat of paint, but decided to leave the vintage spirit of the shop intact. The old regulars seemed to like the familiarity of it, the local hipsters enjoyed the authentic Americana of its aesthetic, but mostly he kept it the same because it reminded him of his dad.
It wasn’t a place women typically frequented, and especially not one like her. She walked in tentatively, eyes downcast. There was something strange about her that he couldn’t quite place. She was wearing a clean, but worn dress that hung loosely off her body. It was so old that the afternoon light behind her illuminated her body through the threadbare fabric and he could clearly see all of her ample curves.
And her hair. It was light brown with natural golden highlights, hanging in thick waves all the way to her hips. The hair of a medieval princess, Shawn thought, longing to touch it. A jolt of imagining what it would feel like to get his scissors, his clippers, into the mass of it shot through him like lightning.
She looked up, and he could see that she was beautiful, in a very understated way. She wasn’t wearing any makeup, so he could clearly see the freckles dotting along her cheeks and her pillowy soft lips. Her sea green eyes were open wide.
Shawn stood up slowly, as if she were a skittish woodland creature that he had to approach with great care. “Hello, Darlin’,” he said, his mild Texan drawl pleasantly rounding out his words. “Can I help you?”
She looked at him for a moment, opened her mouth as if to say something. Closed it. Shook her head, turned on her heel, and left the shop, bell jangling in her wake.
After a moment of shock, Shawn made to follow after her, but by the time he stepped outside onto Indiana Street, she was already halfway down the block. Her hair swayed down her back in time with her frantic steps.
“Now, what the fuck was that all about?” he muttered to himself with a wry smile as he stepped back into his shop. He sat back in his chair and pulled his novel back out, but for some reason couldn’t focus on the words on the page.
A few weeks later, Violet was looking at herself in the bathroom mirror of her tiny apartment on 34th Street. The place wasn’t much, but it was the first home that was just hers. Her part time job at the coffee shop and her scholarship to the college helped to buy her freedom from her very restrictive life.
She’d grown up on a small farm in the middle of nowhere, New Mexico, raised alongside her many cousins by her deeply strict aunt and uncle. They were homeschooled, very old fashioned, and pretty much entirely separated from anything like normal society. But even though she was almost entirely isolated, deep down, Violet had always felt different from them. She spent years studying in secret and applied to college to get the hell out of there, and it worked. Here she was. It wasn’t New York, but to her Lubbock felt like a huge city. A land of opportunity. A place she could finally explore what it meant to be in charge of herself.
She looked at her reflection and didn’t feel connected to what she saw. She knew her hair was healthy and beautiful, but her aunt had forced all the girls in her family to wear it as long as possible. They were supposed to wear modest, old-fashioned clothing. They weren’t allowed to learn about anything related to sex or pleasure. Violet had always felt a burning desire deep inside of her, and she didn’t totally know how to go about sating it.
Looking at her long hair felt like looking at a symbol of her old life. An old life she was desperate to shed.
Since her first day in town, she’d noticed the barber shop right down the street from her apartment. She’d walked by many times, fascinated by it. She’d only had her hair trimmed every few years by her aunt and had never gone somewhere to get her hair cut. She didn’t even know the etiquette of going to such a place.
Still, her eyes were drawn to the shop every time she walked by. It seemed like only men went there, but a place to cut hair is a place to cut hair, right? She loved watching the barber, who was a tall and handsome man with tattoos running down both his arms, work his magic on his clients. She never lingered long in her strolls past, but he was mesmerizing to watch.
One day she even worked up the courage to walk in there. She’d spent all morning practicing what she was going to say in the mirror, holding her hair back from her face to see what she would look like with it at various lengths.
“Hello, I’d like a haircut. Something short, please.” She practiced it over and over again. Her heart pounded at the thought of losing her beautiful locks, but she knew it was something she had to do to begin her new life.
After all that, she stomped into the shop, and was completely taken aback by her attraction to the barber. The visual of the imposing chairs, the scissors and clippers and razors, the inherently masculine energy of the shop. It stopped her in her tracks. She panicked, and bolted.
Cursing herself now, she wished she’d had the guts to go through with it then. Who knew how the barber would have interpreted her request for “something short.” The thought excited her. And yet here she was, still stuck with her long hair. It was bad enough that she didn’t have the money to buy new clothes yet. She felt like she looked like the homeschooled weirdo she was.
Gathering her hair into a giant bun on the top of her head, she decided to head out to a bar. She’d never tried alcohol before, and if she wasn’t going to look the way she wanted yet, she was at least going to experience some life she’d never experienced before.
With the shop being closed on Sundays and Mondays, Sunday nights were Shawn’s Saturday. He loved his alone time, or going on weekend trips, but something compelled him this particular night to get out of the house and head over to The Spoon, a local dive known for surprisingly good barbecue and Sunday live music.
He walked in and over to the bar to order himself a beer and took a seat at one of the stools. He had the uncanny feeling of being watched, and turned around.
Seated at a table across the bar was the girl, who quickly averted her gaze when he looked at her. He’d recognize her anywhere—she’d been on his mind for weeks. She was by herself, wearing another modest dress that seemed out of time, and her cheeks were flushed as she slurped down what looked to be a Cherry Bomb, a boozy slushy concoction famous for making college students in particular get pretty fucked up.
He had to know what her deal was. Without thinking, he got up from his stool and walked over to her. Plopped down across from her at the table. Her cheeks somehow got even redder, and all that hair was piled on top of her head in a messy bun that was rapidly becoming looser by the second.
“If it isn’t our little runaway,” Shawn said with a little laugh. “I knew I recognized you from the other day in my shop.”
“Oh my God,” she said, her hand covering her forehead. “I’m so embarrassed about that.”
“No need to be embarrassed. I figured you just walked in there on accident,” he said, hoping with all his heart that wasn’t the case.
“No,” she said. “It wasn’t on accident. I meant to go into your barber shop. I just got nervous and had to leave.”
He tried to hide his extreme excitement. “Oh really? I’m Shawn, by the way.”
“Violet,” he shook her outstretched hand and the brief contact of their skin lit him up. He wondered if she felt it too.
“You’ll have to forgive me if I’m a little confused. It’s not every day that a beautiful woman with long hair walks into my shop. Especially not as long as yours.”
She smiled at the compliment, took a sip from her Cherry Bomb. Her words were mildly slurred, as if the drink was giving her confidence she wouldn’t otherwise have. “The thing is, I don’t WANT to have long hair. Not anymore.”
Shawn’s heart raced. All his life, he’d dreamed of cutting a beautiful woman’s hair short, but he’d never had the chance. He tried to hide his extreme excitement. “Oh yeah?”
“I’m sure you are one of those ‘long hair only’ guys it seems every guy is, so I understand if I need to get my problem solved elsewhere.”
“No, not at all. I mean, I’d be more than happy to help you…solve your problem, as you put it. I’m just wondering how your hair has gotten so long if you don’t want it to be.”
And so, she explained to him. Everything. Her extremely conservative and isolated upbringing. The rigid rules about hair, clothes, sex. How she longed to symbolically shed herself of all of it. He was riveted.
“So what’s stopping you from becoming the person you want to become? Why did you run out of my shop that day if it’s something you want so badly?”
She paused, considering. “Fear, I guess. What if I don’t look good? What if I regret it?”
He smiled. “I can guarantee you’re going to look good. You’d look good bald.” He said it like it was a bold claim, but secretly he’d already thought about what she would look like with her hair completely gone, and the thought thrilled him. “Pardon my reach.”
Reaching over the table, he pulled the elastic out of her bun that was almost falling out, sending her hair sprawling around her—so long it touched her seat. “And if you regret it,” he added. “The cool thing about hair is that it grows back.”
“That’s true,” she laughed nervously, “but it would take many years to get anywhere close to this long again.” She raked a hand through her recently released tresses as the band on stage began to play, so loudly that their conversation was cut short.
A waitress walked by and Violet spoke close to her ear, ordering another drink. The pair sat, drinking together and exchanging increasingly heated glances as the band played.
After a while, Violet leaned over to tell him, “Let me tell you a secret. I’ve never been drunk before.”
He smiled, “For real? This is your first time?”
Her grin was huge as she nodded back. “Yeah, and I get the hype, honestly. I feel amazing.”
She leaned back into her seat and stared at him, an undeniably sensual expression crossing her face as she looked at him. Pushed her hand through her hair again, seeming to know exactly how the action affected him.
Shawn leaned over to her and said, “I have an idea for something you could do tonight to start working on your transformation into who you want to be. Nothing scary. Do you want to go on a little walk with me?”
She nodded, he flagged down the waitress to pay for their drinks, and then the two of them walked outside into the warm night.
For some reason, and not just due to the drinks running through her veins, Violet felt completely at ease with this man. Otherwise she would not be out walking with him at night. He had a calm, in-control demeanor. He felt like a real adult to her—a man.
“Where are we going?” she asked, hustling to keep up with his long-legged stride as he walked across the street. As if on instinct, she placed her hand in his, and he looked down at her with a warm smile, squeezing her hand in return.
“It’s nowhere fancy, but it’s the only place open this late that’ll serve our needs right now.”
She looked up at the large chain retail store they had stopped in front of. “What are we here for?” she asked.
“I know you said you hated your clothes. That you never got to pick anything that you actually liked. I want to buy you an outfit—whatever feels most like what you actually want to look like.”
The thoughtfulness of the gesture overwhelmed her. “Are you sure?”
“Seriously, anything. I want to do this for you.”
He patiently walked with her as she scoured the racks, holding items up periodically to ask his opinion. Ultimately, she landed on something that seemed to surprise him.
It was a dress—tight and black, clinging to her body and showing off her ample cleavage. Almost punk rock in vibe. Short enough that her hair nearly reached its hemline. Black boots. A far cry from her Little House on the Prairie dresses and brown loafers. She examined herself from every angle in the mirror, a huge smile plastered across her face.
“You look beautiful,” he said, genuinely.
He paid for her clothes and she changed back into them in the bathroom before they headed once more into the night.
“Let me give you a ride home,” he said, and she accepted.
He pulled his truck in front of her apartment and took another look at her, filled with desire as he drank in the confidence with which she wore her new outfit. His baser instincts wanted to kiss her, go upstairs with her, but he was a gentleman and she had been drinking, so he just gave her leg a light squeeze and said, “Make sure you drink some water before you go to bed. I’ll stay here until I see that you’re safe inside your building.”
Looking at him with a nod, she unbuckled her seatbelt and opened her door. She slid her boots to the concrete, holding her dress to her legs so it didn’t slide too far up her body, and held the door in her hand for a moment, as if contemplating whether she should close it. “Shawn?” she asked, looking over at him in the driver’s seat.
“What if I said I wanted you to cut my hair? Tonight.” She looked away from his eye contact, and brought her hair in front of her, nervously twirling her long strands in her hands.
He paused for a moment. He wanted to, so badly. “Are you sure that’s what you want? I know you’ve been drinking.”
“It’s what I’ve been wanting for weeks. Months. Years. I don’t want to lose my nerve.”
“Then I’d say, get back in this truck immediately.”
It was only a few blocks away, but Shawn drove with the efficiency of a driver in a closed course, pulling practically with a screech right in front of his shop. He walked around to the passenger side to give Violet a hand down, close enough to inhale the faintly floral scent of her hair. Hair that was about to be gone in a matter of minutes.
He opened the door to the shop, that familiar jangle the only sound other than their increasingly short breaths occupying the space between them. He left the blinds closed as he locked the door behind them.
She walked right over to the red chair, and hopped into it. Crossed her legs in that black dress, leaning back with her arms resting at her sides. “I’ve always wondered what it would feel like to sit in one of these.”
He walked over to her, readied his materials on his station. “Oh yeah? How does it feel?”
She leaned back further, spilling her hair over the back of the chair. “Liberating.”
He was hard as a missile seeing her there, thinking about his luck. Thinking about what he was about to do. His wildest dreams, coming true. “Hold your hair up,” he said, and she obliged, as he secured a black cape around her body. Her bare legs and new boots were visible under the vinyl, and she released her hair in a curtain around her.
“I might miss being able to do that,” she said, shaking her hair around for the last time.
“What kind of cut are we doing for you tonight, Violet?” he asked, the pinnacle of professionalism.
She smiled devilishly at him. “Something short. Please.”
“‘Short’ is a pretty subjective term, especially when you are starting with hair as long as yours.”
“I trust you. Do what you think will look good.”
He walked around to her front and held her chin in his hand, really examining her face. Thinking about what would look best on her. Knowing she’d given him free rein, and he wasn’t going to waste the opportunity. After some time, he began brushing, parting and sectioning her hair, securing the top part up with clips. For a moment, he let his hands melt into the silky perfection of her long locks.
It was almost a shame to cut off something so beautiful. Almost.
He turned his back to her to gather something from his station, and when he turned around to face her he held a pair of clippers aloft in his hands.
Violet eyed the clippers with panic, her heart pounding in her chest. Had she just been talking a big game? She knew she said short, but clippers? She’d never imagined having those touch her head, and she couldn’t imagine what it would feel like. Should she tell him to stop?
Deep down, the thought of it thrilled her though. Just ridding herself of all this hair. Letting this man shear her into the new version of herself. She looked up and made direct eye contact with him as he flipped them on. This was her chance to tell him to stop, to say she didn’t want to go this short. But honestly, she knew she did want it.
She didn’t say anything as he rounded back behind her, the buzzing sound reverberating through her spine before it even touched her. “Put your head down,” he said. Firmly. “Chin to chest.”
She obeyed, and he pushed the clippers right into the back of her head, shearing her hair so it fell in huge tendrils down her front to collect in her lap. The feeling of metal vibrating against her nape and around her temples filled her with an intense longing she couldn’t quite understand, but she felt a hotness right into her center. As he made his way around, pushing pile after pile of her sun-kissed locks into her lap, her desire ramped up and she gave into the ache at her core by beginning to touch herself underneath the cape.
Finally, he stopped, and she figured he was done with the clippers. But he wasn’t. He merely secured a different guard onto the device and went back to her scalp, cutting it shorter, fading her sides and blending them seamlessly together. He was a master of his craft, and he took his time making sure her hair was perfect. Finally, he removed the guard entirely and faded the perimeter of her hair down to the skin.
He took a hot towel, and placed it around her head, softening the remaining hairs at the bottom of her nape. And then he methodically lathered her up, carefully cleaning up her hairline with a straight razor. She felt the gentle sharpness of the razor and knew that it was an act of trust to have him be so close to her neck with something so dangerous, and her heart pounded even more.
After what felt like forever, he wiped her down with another hot towel. “Ok, I want you to feel this.”
He reached under her cape to grab her hands, the enormous pile of her hair in her lap sliding in a heap to the ground, and noticed that her right hand was resting in her panties. She flushed with embarrassment, but he just reassured her. “Don’t be embarrassed. I’m happy this feels good for you. It’s hot for me, too. More than you realize.”
He brought her hands to her head and she reveled in the unfamiliar sensations…the soft bristle of the short buzz at the top, down to the smoothness of her skin fade. “Wow,” was all she could say. She was robbed of words.
“I’m not done yet,” he said, letting the top part of her hair down. “Keep touching yourself while I work on this part.”
He turned her around so she couldn’t see her reflection, held her remaining hair in his grip, and grabbed his shears, giving a few practice slices near her ears as she shivered. Without wasting any time, he plunged the scissors a few inches away from her scalp and sliced through rest of her thick mane. The seemingly endless sound of slicing metal through thick hair sent shivers down her spine as she increased her pressure on her clit, trying to stifle the moans building inside her. He let go of the severed hair and let it slide through his fingers to the ground. He wanted to leave her some length on top. With the same close attention that he paid to carving out her sides, he methodically texturized and perfected the top of her hair until she had a super short and completely modern pixie cut. Something edgy that matched her dress, her boots. The way she wanted to present herself.
He looked at her with a smile and removed her cape, brushing off the short hairs that had collected on her neck with a big fluffy brush that sent additional tingles down her spine. “Are you ready to see yourself?”
She was touching herself with an increasing pace, too turned on to be self conscious that he could see what she was doing anymore. She barely got out the word, “Yes.”
Turning her chair around to face the mirror, she took in the sight of the new version of her. Without all but a few inches of her hair, she was unrecognizable. She looked like…herself. Closer to what she felt like inside.
“Look at you,” he said. “And look at all your hair on the ground.”
She looked around her chair and saw the mountain of her cut hair completely surrounding them. The sight sent her over the top and she collapsed into an enormous orgasm as he watched her, his own arousal mounting.
When Violet came back to, she brought her hands to her head and rubbed her hands through her shortened mane. “I can’t believe I finally did this.”
“And to think, your transformation is only beginning,” Shawn smiled, putting his hands on her shoulders as they both looked at her reflection in the mirror.
[Thank you so much for reading! As always, I welcome any feedback.]