By the age of 13, I had amassed a collection of four incredible ponytails and braids. Not bad if I may say so myself. Of course, I had nothing to compare it to. At that point, I had no idea what a fetish was, although I was sure that my, ahem, interests, were not normal among other people. It was around the age of 13 that I began to explore my interests on the Internet, as well as in real life.
My first encounters came from using the family computer to “surf the Web” (this was a while back, mind you). When I thought no one was looking, I would get online and look up pictures of haircuts. Unfamiliar with Internet as I was, my initial searches were rudimentary at best. I didn’t find much at first, but then, I was just getting started. One day, when I was almost 14, I got really close to something interesting. My searches had led me to some called Hairsnip, or 1HSS. I wasn’t sure what it was, so I clicked on the link and found a whole treasure trove of stories, written, I assumed, by fellow hair enthusiasts. Just then, by older brother Eric walked into the family room. I frantically exited out of the web page and tried to open up another program to avoid suspicion.
“Hey Soph!” Eric called to me. I turned quickly and smiled.
“Oh hi Eric!” I replied, trying me best to look nonchalant. I swung my waist length brown hair over my shoulder, acutely aware of the weight of my silky locks. When I was nervous or scared, my hair felt even heavier and thicker than usual.
“What are you up to?” he asked, grabbing the orange juice from the fridge and pouring himself a glass.
“Oh you know, just the usual.”
He gave me a quizzical look and glanced over my shoulder at the computer screen. I realized that I couldn’t remember what program I opened.
“Minesweeper, huh?” Eric asked. I breathed a sigh of relief.
“Uh, yeah, I guess,” I managed lamely. I was notoriously bad at minesweeper in the family, even though I dominated at games like Boggle and Bananagrams. I guess I was better at word games than other ones like minesweeper. Whatever, it doesn’t matter what kinds of games I like.
Eric looked sideways at the screen, frowned, then shrugged after a while.
“I hope you win,” he said as he downed the last of his orange juice and left the room. I exhaled quickly, letting the trapped air out of my lungs. The weird pit in my stomach slowly started to dissipate, but it bothered me a little. I was not used to straight up lying about my fetish, so I felt guilty having to make something up for Eric. I loved me brother, and I didn’t want to lie to him, but I couldn’t let my secret out. What would he think? Looking back, I realize that he wouldn’t have understood anyway. I was a fourteen year old girl who knew little, if anything, about sex. I think a lot of other hair enthusiasts can relate to the urgent need for secrecy, and the furtive enjoyment that is simultaneously uncomfortable in public.
That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy myself in public. I became accustomed to having to pretend to be nonchalant in public when I saw lots of hair being cut, but I managed to find occasions. Hanging out with Svetlana at Olga’s salon was always rewarding, and I saw a few more chops. I found I enjoyed long to short makeovers even if I didn’t keep the hair, although my favorite element of the hair fetish was collecting ponytails. My modest but beautiful collection remained at four until I was almost fifteen, but I don’t usually count those because the two new additions were mine.
But first, let me back up for a sec. After my close call with Eric walking in on me, I found more private occasions to visit this new website. On it, I found a hidden horde of hair stories, ranging in quality and detail. I loved the compelling stories of massive chops, or the ones where the cutter got to keep the hair as a trophy. That word “trophy” stuck in my mind as I read and read. I am a voracious reader, mind you, and I have a whole bookcase of classics in my bedroom. I would spend hours reading 19th century American literature to my heart’s content, stroking my long locks absentmindedly. This brings me to the next main phase of my hair fetish: my own hair.
I never got the same butterflies in thinking about my own hair being cut as I did about the hair of others. Many of the Hairsnip stories described a fetish for getting one’s own hair cut, but I had never considered it before. Sometimes I was struck by the irony of it all, that a teenage girl with super long brunette hair having a fetish for haircutting and ponytails. But, alas, I couldn’t change my circumstances even if I wanted to, so I was confronted by the inevitable question of what to do with my hair. I had thought about going shorter, maybe to my shoulder blades, which would mean cutting off over a foot and a half of hair. My dad was kind of obsessed with my long hair growing up, calling it my “princess tresses.” I thought it was kind of cute, but my mom would roll her eyes, half out of exasperation and half out of amusement. Her own graying brown hair was cut in a shoulder length bob, basically for as long as I had been living. After reading the stories, I resolved to discuss it with my parents.
They were initially hesitant about the idea, especially my dad. For him, I think it was less a fixation on the hair itself than a nostalgic preservation of his little girl. I was always a daddy’s girl myself, so I could understand how much he cared about it. I showed them some prospective styles, and they agreed. Now, it’s not like my parents controlled my life or anything, I just didn’t want them to be shocked when I came home one day with my hair chopped.
And so, I made my decision. At this point, I was almost fifteen, and my ponytail collection had been feeling a little lonely. I wasn’t brave enough to hit the forums and talk with other people about their hair fetishes, so I decided to wing it. I loved my Aunt Janine, but I wanted something in the neighborhood, on my way home from school. There something appealing about the idea of swinging by a salon on the way home from school and getting my hair chopped. I had butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it, but I wasn’t sure if this was from the nervousness or the fetish. Still, it was going to happen, one way or another.
It was a Thursday, calculated to be directly after school, when hopefully there could be at least another girl getting her hair cut shorter then. So, just as I got out of my last class of the day (English, also my favorite), I gathered my things and I began to walk to the salon. I wore my hip-length hair loose and all the way down my back. I hadn’t mentioned my incoming haircut to anyone outside my family, so I was looking forward to the reactions of my friends and classmates. I walked a few blocks from the school toward a strip mall, one popular with local students for its fast food joints and a bookstore I enjoyed. I saw the salon in the distance, Snip It Girl, a place I had selected carefully. It was close to school, so I wouldn’t have to walk far, and it was a fairly busy place. I had made an appointment with Macy, one of the stylists who worked there, but I had no idea what to expect in terms of the clients.
As I passed some of the shops in the area, I caught a reflection of myself. I tried to dress cute that day, so I wore a simple T shirt and short short overalls and Converse. My hair hung down my back all the way to my hips, covering my butt a little. I looked super basic, but I was in a basic mood on the outside. My thoughts ran through hypothetical scenarios of basic girls casually chopping their hair off in a salon on a whim. That wasn’t the case for me, but the stylist didn’t need to know that. After a minute, I had finally arrived at Snip It Girl. With some trepidation, I opened the glass door and stepped into the salon.
The place was cool, temperature-wise and aesthetically. The furniture was all black leather and chrome, complemented by muted colors on the walls and floor. I looked around quickly to see if anyone else was in the salon. To my disappointment, I was the only client there, and a few stylists were mingled in the back of languishing on their chairs staring at their phones. As I walked into the salon, the nearest stylist stood up and approached me smiling.
“Hi there!” The stylist said kindly. She was dressed in all dark gray with shoulder length blonde hair. A black hairdressers apron covered the front of her clothes. She extended a hand in greeting, which I promptly took.
“Uh, hi,” I replied lamely. I had a tendency to fall apart a little in social situations, but I usually regained my composure as the conversation progressed. The stylist, who I assumed was Macy checked her phone.
“You must be Sophie.”
“Yeah, that’s me!” I responded brightly.
“Perfect! I’m Macy, and I’ll be cutting your hair today.”
My stomach dropped a little at those words. Again, I wasn’t sure if it was nerves or my fetish, but time would tell. Macy guided me to the nearest chair and I slid onto the leather seat. The stylist gathered all of my hair together and ran her hands through it.
“Wow, your hair is gorgeous!” Macy exclaimed as she slid her fingers through the silky strands. I smiled into the mirror, bashful but pleased. It was pretty hair, if I did say so myself. Macy took a brush from the black finish station and began to brush my hair.
“So, what kind of style were you thinking today?”
I gulped and, like I had on other occasions, I began to reveal my plans without giving anything away.
“I want a chop!” I declared. Macy raised her eyebrows.
“Really? How much?”
“A good foot and a half.” I tried to sound casual, but my heart was pounding.
“Wow!” Macy said again as she brushed my hair slowly. “That’s a lot of hair to cut. Are you sure?”
“Okay then, let’s get started!” Macy retrieved a black cape from the station and shook it out, allowing the fabric to settle around me. My brown locks fanned out over the cape and fell out of sight behind the chair. Macy replaced her brush and grabbed a comb and scissors. Thinking fast, I blurted out: “Could you cut it in ponytails?”
Macy smiled and nodded.
“Sure! Are you planning on saving them?”
“Yeah, something like that.” I didn’t need to go into detail. It was best that way.
“Good for you.” Macy said. She picked up a few hair ties from the station and began to comb my hair and section two ponytails.
“Do other girls cut their hair in ponytails?” I asked, fishing for fantasy material.
“Actually, quite a few.” Macy said casually as she tied off the first ponytail. “Some girls save them and take them home, some donate, some use them in art projects. A lot of them just leave the ponytails here, and we don’t know what to do with them.”
“Huh, interesting.” My indifferent tone belied my fervent imagination conjuring up images of girls having their ponytails and braids sheared off and nonchalantly left behind like they were nothing more than a few snippets of hair.
Macy moved on to the second tail and I instinctively held my breath as I saw her reach for the scissors. Then, from the rear of the shop, I heard a voice call:
“Macy, could you help me with this?”
“Sure! Hang on Sophie, I’ll be right back.” Macy immediately turned and walked to the back of the salon while I sat there in disbelief. I had come so close to having my ponytails chopped off, and it was snatched away so quickly. Of course, that’s how I was feeling, which was more dramatic than the situation was in reality. I did feel a little uncomfortable just hanging out with a black cape around my neck, my long brown hair tied in two magnificent ponytails. The other stylists in the salon were busy doing their own thing, mostly looking at their phones. I couldn’t understand why the person in the back asked Macy to help when there were several unoccupied stylists already there. But whatever, I thought.
As I sat there waiting, I heard the door of the salon open. A mother and her son, probably about 8 years old, came in. One of the free stylists stood up from her chair and welcomed the newcomers in. After a few moments of conversing, the stylist led the little boy to her chair where the stylist applied a booster seat and the mother hoisted the boy up. I looked over toward the back to see if Macy was coming back, but there was no sign of her. The stylist caped the boy and quickly plugged in her clippers and began to buzz the sides of his shaggy blonde hairstyle. Tufts of blonde hair fell to the floor. I watched through the mirror, but I wasn’t as interested in men’s haircuts. I wished that a girl would come in and have her hair cut.
The door opened again and I turned my head to spy the newest arrival. My eyes grew wide as I saw a girl from my school standing in the doorway, still holding her backpack. Her name was Lauren, although I didn’t know her too well. We had had some classes together, and we always got along well. She had long blonde hair that fell past her waist, and today she wore it long and loose. Lauren walked into the salon and took her seat in the waiting area. She looked in my direction and smiled at me. I managed a smile in response, but I felt a little embarrassed, sitting in the styling chair with my long hair tied in two ponytails. Just as I looked back in the mirror, Macy returned from the back room.
“Sorry about that,” she began, running her hands over my twin ponytails and reaching for a pair of shears on the counter.
“Now, where were we?” Macy smoothed the ponytail on the left, and my heart leapt as she began to saw into it. She didn’t even ask me if I was sure, she just plowed on. I felt the cold steel of the scissors crunching through my ponytail, the slight tug on my hair, and I heard the accompanying sound. Using my limited peripheral vision, I spied Lauren gaping, open mouthed, at the proceedings. I could hardly blame her; I finally knew what it felt like to be on the receiving end of a good chop. Macy continued to grind away at the tail until it was finally severed.
“There’s one for you!” Macy said, waving the ponytail high in triumph. I smiled weakly, and although I felt nervous and kind of relieved, I didn’t feel…well, whatever I would feel watching a haircut in progress. I didn’t want to call it just yet, so I allowed her to drop the shorn ponytail on the counter in front of me. The tail was almost 18 inches long, thick and brown. I marvelled at the length of what used to be my hair, but I felt nothing. Like, not nothing, but not the feeling I got from the fetish. I was disappointed, but I knew I had to go through with it. I was excited to see the finished style regardless.
Macy moved onto the second tail. Her shears tore a path of destruction through the bundled brunette tresses. Lauren continued to stare in amazement as Macy finally severed the second tail and placed it on the counter.
“Now, that’s the bulk gone!” Macy declared cheerfully as she grabbed a comb and spray bottle and began to wet the remnants of my hair. I got lost in the moment, letting her fingers run through my hair and snip the newly shortened ends. I enjoyed getting my hair cut, so I relaxed and let the sensations take me. After a few minutes, Lauren was seated and caped by a stylist, who trimmed her lovely long hair by about an inch. Not very interesting, but I saw her making sideways glances at me every so often. After about 30 minutes, my haircut was finished. Macy had done a wonderful job shaping the blunt line without taking away bulk. I liked the sharp, blunt ends of a one length cut.
She took the cape off me and I immediately touched my new hair. The length came to just below my shoulder blades, blunt and straight. I loved the length a lot; it was fun and sassy and short, comparatively at least.
I looked down at the counter and gazed at my two ponytails, long and thick and decidedly shorn. Macy beamed at her handiwork, obviously proud of her skills. I saw Lauren look at me through the mirror in front of her, and she smiled slightly. I returned the smile, before turning and grabbing the two ponytails. They felt soft but strange in my hands, as they had once been attached to me. It was a much different sensation holding someone else’s ponytails compared to holding your own. Still, I was happy to have them. I stowed them safely in my backpack, furtively doing so as to not seem eager to hide the hair. I paid and gave a generous tip to Macy, who seemed cheerfully grateful.
“Thank you, Macy.” I said, hitching up the straps of my backpack.
“Thank you!” Macy referred to the tip, but she almost seemed to have enjoyed cutting my hair. I couldn’t blame her; what I wouldn’t give to be able to wield the scissors and slice off ponytails for the heads of eager clients.
After I got my receipt, I opened the door and left the shop. The air seemed cooler and my head felt lighter, due obviously to the lack of heavy hair. I thought of the ponytails in my backpack, tucked snuggly between a binder and a textbook. They would be fine additions to my collection, I thought maniacally. But I was not General Grievous, and I didn’t have to kill anyone for those ponytails. I reflected on what I had felt during the haircut. The ponytail chops were thrilling, without a doubt, but it wasn’t white what I was expecting. I mean, I loved my long hair and I loved my new haircut, but I didn’t feel the rush I associated with the fetish. Yes, it was exciting, but no, it wasn’t fulfilling for a hair fetish.
My parents loved my new haircut, even my dad who pined for my long hair. I even considered giving him one of the ponytails to enjoy, but I decided it may be too bizarre. At any rate, the tails found homes among my collection, and even though they looked impressive, it wasn’t the same. So, with my new “short” haircut, I decided to focus my efforts on collecting more tails from elsewhere and trying to live my fantasy of actually cutting some.