“You’re everything I ever dreamed of in a man—you’re kind, smart, funny, and sort of handsome. I can’t wait to spend my whole life with you.” It was true. There was no doubt that Kevin was The One. He was not a perfect angel—but he was perfect for me. All the other men I had dated, I had never really understood the difference.
“I love you too. Will you marry me?”
I had already made it clear I didn’t want a blood diamond; our values aligned so well. I had kissed Kevin, but I knew we were both virgins, out of religious conviction when we were younger, and a sense of responsibility now.
“Of course!” I flung my arms around him and cried for joy.
When we disengaged, I noticed that Kevin also had tears in his eyes. “I want to get a picture of us now, like this, so I can always remember this moment. But you know, my hair’s a mess. Maybe we can stop by the shop first and you can cut it.”
“I agree that your hair is a wreck that badly needs a good chop, but don’t cut it. We can just slick it down for pictures.”
Kevin smiled. “I guess it’s true that women love a guy with long hair.”
“A vocal minority do, but most don’t. I can’t stand it.”
“Huh? I don’t understand. If you hate my hair long, then why don’t you want to cut it off for me? You’re a professional stylist. I trust you with my head.”
“I’m having a hard time keeping my hands off you, but we agreed to keep it chaste until our honeymoon. Your shaggy long brown hair is just enough of a turnoff for me. I want to save your haircut for the honeymoon. But I also don’t want to look back at our engagement pictures and see a long, shaggy mess, so we can slick it down as a compromise. I can style it so it looks like it could be short.”
Kevin began to laugh. “I should have known it was something like that! Just as long as I still look presentable at our wedding.”
When we left for our honeymoon, I was careful to bring my full haircutting equipment. The hotel room was the bridal suite with a balcony view of the crashing surf below. The television set faced a sofa with its back to the balcony; I couldn’t understand why anyone would choose to watch the TV when the myriad colors and moods of the tropical sea were so much more interesting.
There were white plumerias strewn over the coffee table and bedside table, which were of blond wood suggestive of the white sandy beach below.
We were both so tired from the wedding marathon that both of us were almost ready for bed without dinner, but I saw the lanterns glowing yellow across the street, and so we went to the food court there. The famous foods of Okinawa were so much better here, in their natural environment. As we ate I noticed the stage being prepared for a dinner show. Sure enough, a woman with a shamisen came out on stage to sing traditional favorites.
After her portion of the show, a group of men and women came on to dance the hula and other Polynesian dances. The men were shirtless and muscular, their bodies gleaming as they leapt about. I had always found Asian men much more attractive than European men, even though I’m a white woman with pale Celtic skin, blue-green eyes, and long red curls, so it was a big surprise to me that I married a white man who also had blue eyes. He was small for a white man, which I found very attractive, because I’m tiny myself.
The men dancing on the stage were stunning for another reason as well. All of them sported skin fades. The contrast of buzzed black hair on golden skin was so alluring, like a striptease that was more than suggestive of the shape of the cranium housing the most attractive part of a man: his brain.
After the show we returned to our hotel room, and I set up shop on the balcony, which was wide enough for a patio table and two wicker chairs. The balcony had a properly opaque wall and not a wire railing. Perfect. Kevin stripped down to his boxers. I had never seen so much of his skin exposed before. My hands flew to the top button of my shirtdress, until I stopped myself. I would be standing, and my upper body would be in full view. Kevin sat down and I began to play with his mid-neck-length mullet and feel the shape of his skull. I could feel myself getting wet down below.
I began with spraying his hair with water from an atomizer, to loosen up the hard-hold gel. This was not the good stuff I use on my own curls, but cheap, nasty stuff. There was no way I could manipulate the hair enough to cut it otherwise.
I reached for my trusty scissors in my equipment bag. Normally I would section the hair, but today I just wanted to take off most of the length quickly. Scissor over comb would let me crop closer to his head than my fingers would.
I realized that we hadn’t actually discussed the style, but I knew what I wanted to do. I missed those short, lightly-spiked cuts of the early 2000s, which was not coincidentally when I first discovered boys.
“I hope you don’t mind that I just assumed I could cut your hair as short as I like. I should have asked you first. My bad.”
Kevin did not turn around to face me, because he could feel the cool steel scissor blades against his scalp. “No, that’s OK. I trust you. I have a good idea of what you like anyway. I generally prefer my hair short. No more mullets, please!” Kevin was such a good sport.
As I worked my way up the back of his head I noticed that his roots were not brown. I had been vaguely aware that there was something unnatural and unappealing about his hair color, so it was a relief to discover that it wasn’t natural. Judging by the lightness of the roots, it was either prematurely grey or naturally blond or red.
My favorite part of a dramatic haircut on a man has always been ear liberation, when I first thin the hair above the ear and then snip all the way around, finishing with the electric edging clippers, which I then let run down to the nape of the neck.
I carefully texturized the top before realizing that I could have faded the back and sides more. Maybe next time, when more of his natural color grew back in, whatever it was.
“I can help you upgrade to something better than cheap, drugstore box dye if you need to cover greys.”
“Greys? No, I’m not that grey yet. I just feel funny about my natural color, that’s all.” Many people, men and women alike, worried about things like the perceived gravitas of natural features when they didn’t bother anyone else.
“I sort of hope your hair is red. I find red hair on a man incredibly sexy, especially if it’s very short.”
“How did you know it’s actually red? I’ve been dyeing it brown for years to try to hide the red, and to think you actually prefer it!”
“In that case, clippers. I guess we’re going shorter on the back and sides than originally planned. Don’t worry, the top won’t change. I guess you’re going to rock the two-tone look for a month or two, with the red creeping upwards.”
“Ugh, you make it sound like red tide.” Kevin snickered until he heard me snap the guard onto the clippers and they began to purr, content in the unexpected meal of dyed hair they had just been promised.
I lay my hand at the back of his head pushed it forward gently before letting the whirring blade come into contact with his nape. It felt like mowing the lawn, pushing the clippers up the back and sides of his head.
Each time I changed the guard, I blended with the comb, enjoying the unintentional color gradation. I made a few minor adjustments on top with the scissors, and I was done. I went around to the other side of the patio table to see my new husband from the front. Wow, how handsome he is! Seeing the cut hairs covering his shoulders and chest, I realized that I wanted to wash him in the shower. By this time I was so wet and sticky down below that I wanted to clean up, too, at least on the bidet.
I finished first and inspected the bed. Even though neither of us had any experience at this, I had a feeling that we would figure it out. Heaven knows I was certainly aroused enough.
Finally, there he was, a slim but taut Adonis with hair worthy of a Greek god. I don’t even remember unbuttoning my dress or unhooking my bra. All I remember is the satisfaction of knowing that we had a lifetime ahead of us to discover every inch of each other’s bodies, minds, and souls, as we metamorphosed over the decades, me into a white-haired old lady with a mischievous gleam in her eye, and Kevin first into my red-headed hero, then a distinguished faded blond gentleman, and finally into a white silver fox, bonded together like the old couple in the Greek myth who became two intertwined trees.