It had been a rough few months for Colby Winters. Not only had she received another letter of rejection from a college that she had applied to, but her mother had just told her that her boss would have a position for her at the meat packing plant once she graduated. The one certainty in her life was that she wanted no part in spending the rest of her life working either there, or the dog food factory in the next town. A life of low pay and few benefits would just not do.
Walking by the Guidance Councilors office the next day, she was called in to the office of Mr Masters, her Councilor. “So, Colby. How’s the search going for a school to go to?” He had asked the question knowing that Colby just didn’t have the grades to get into much outside of community college, or maybe a trade school. He also knew that the family just didn’t have the money to send her away to school. Today, however he decided that he might have found the perfect fit for someone so desperate to escape this town,
“Colby, I have a brochure her for a school you might get in to” He handed her the pamphlet for a school called ‘Commonwealth Military Academy’. Colby looked first at the pamphlet, then to Mr Masters…”Mr Masters I don’t know if I’m the military school type.” Mr Masters convinced her to at least send in her transcript, so later that day she sent out one more envelope.
The following week she received a welcome package from the school, which was more than she had received from any of the dozens of other places she had sent applications to. Colby read thru all the materials and decided she would also do some research on the school online.
Open over 150 tears ago, Commonwealth Academy had been for males only, until 30 years ago when the state government had forced them to start admitting women. Since then over 200 women have graduated the Academy and for the last 12 years it has been run by a woman. Colby started to feel like she could actually fit in to the school. They were having an open house in 2 weeks, so Colby called the contact person assigned to her and accepted the invitation to go.
As she spoke with the person on the phone the woman answered all the questions Colby had, and then as they were about to finish their conversation the woman told Colby “This will be your only opportunity to make an impression on the admissions staff, so make sure to look and act like someone who wants to be here.” Colby wasn’t sure what the woman had meant, but told her she would look and act her best when she visits.
Colby spent the next several days looking online for everything she could find about the school. One of the things that she was unsure about was the required haircuts. She had seen several videos of new female recruits having their long hair chopped off and in the rules saw that she would be required to keep her hair off her collar the whole time she was there. As much as she loved her long hair, if it meant being able to get out of this town it was worth the sacrifice for the next few years.
The day before she was supposed to leave, Colby was surprised when her mother suggested that she might make a good first impression if she arrived with her hair already cut to school standards. “Mrs Roberts, next door said that Margie Williams who owns the unisex salon in town used to be a barber at that school, so she will know just how they expect your hair to be cut.”
At first Colby thought her mom was nuts, the unisex salon was nothing more than a barbershop that few, if any girls in town went to. The more she thought about it, she began to realize what her mother said made a lot of sense. She needed the right haircut, a short haircut, to make an impression on the admissions department at the academy.
Colby borrowed her moms car and headed towards the shop. As she pulled up in front of the window, she took a few minutes to watch what was going on inside. The young man in the seat was having his businessman’s haircut trimmed up, and Colby was somewhat surprised at how good he looked as he walked from the shop.
As Mrs Williams put the mans money in the cash register, she looked outside and saw Colby, parked right in front of her window. She gave her a bit of a smile then took a seat in the barbers chair to read her newspaper. Colby decided that if she was going to go in, in should be now when there wouldn’t be an audience. She made her way towards the door and now sure that this was what she needed, pulled it open.
Mrs Williams stands from the chair…”Welcome young lady, I’m Margie. What can I do for you today?” Colby, now relaxed by her surroundings spoke…”Did you really work at Commonwealth Academy?” The woman smiled at Colby…”Yes. I worked in the barbershop for 15 years while my husband was stationed at the Marine Corps base nearby. Why do you ask?” Colby went on to explain she was applying to the school and was told she should look her best when she went to the open house. Margie smiled as Colby talked…”So, you want to become a recruit do you?” Colby shook her head …”Yes I do. So I thought if I went to the open house with my hair already cut to the required length it would show how serious I was”
Margie told Colby to have a seat. As she was putting the cape and neck tissue on Colby she really noticed how long her hair was…”You’ve got quite the mane here. Are you sure you want it cut in such a short haircut before you’ve been accepted to the Academy?” Colby was certain the haircut would give her an edge over all the other applicants…”I want it as short as it will be once I start there in the fall.” Mrs Williams grabbed her biggest clipper off the hook and reached in the drawer for her smallest #000000 blade. It hadn’t seen much use lately, but after years of the same cut at the Academy she knew it would do the trick.
“You’re sure you want to be a pleb? The term was new to Colby, but Mrs Williams told her that recruits were known as pleb’s the first year. Colby swallowed hard as she nodded her head. Margie combed the hair on top of Colby’s head over to the side then fired up the big clipper ‘whrrrrr…..’ Starting in front of her ear, she ran the clipper straight to the top. The ultra small blade left nothing but a faint shadow of Colby’s dark blonde hair. A second pass and there was now a 2″ bald spot around Colby’s ear. A few more passes and the side of her head was laid smooth.
Colby expected clipper to give her a short haircut like she had seen in some online videos, but she didn’t expect to feel such cool air on the side of her head. Margie wasted no time shearing the back of her head to the skin. She remembered back when the recruits would all line up and the 10 barbers were expected to have each head cleared in under a minute. In just another few passes and the back and sides of Colby’s head had just a shadow of hair left.
Margie then turned to the top of Colby’s head….”This will give you something to play with.” Colby didn’t understand what Margie was talking about, but seconds later the clippers, now with a #3 blade on them, were brought to Colby’s forehead. A quick push to the back and a 2″ wide furrow of 3/16″ long hair appeared. A couple more passes and the top was done.
Margie hing the clipper back in its spot, then reached for a different tool. As she turned it on Colby was confused by the sound it made. Margie saw her face and tried to calm Colby down…”Just going to clean up the sides a little then your on your way recruit.” This put Colby at ease as Margie brought the foil shaver to her head. Margie proceeded to run the shaver all over the back and sides of her head. The former shadow of hair was now smooth to the touch.
Colby assumed that Margie was done with her work, but then she felt her hands rubbing the sides of her head, and it was a feeling like she never had before. “What is that your using Margie? It smells so good.” Margie replied…”This is a growth inhibitor, it will keep you looking good for a few month’s” Colby couldn’t figure out what Margie was talking about, but then Margie rotated the chair and what Colby saw in the mirror horrified her…”Margie, what did you do? I’m bald!.” Margie knew that most recruits didn’t like their first haircut, so she expected the reaction…”Its just like the cut all recruits get, and with the growth inhibitor, the sides will stay smooth for months.”
Colby was infuriated…”Margie, why did you give me the mans version of the induction cut?” Margie just looked at her…”What are you talking about? When I worked there all the recruits got this cut, so that’s what I thought you wanted.” It was then that Colby realized that when Margie last worked at the school it was still all male students, but that wouldn’t help her. Like it or not, she was stuck with this cut for months to come.
As much as she didn’t want to be seen with this haircut Colby figured that she would at least seem to fit in when she visited the Academy for the weekend. When she arrived she was getting stared at by all of the other girls, then finally a couple of them came over to ask about her choice of haircuts…”We don’t all have to get our hair cut like that do we?” Colby explained what had happened to her, which helped the girls feel a little better about possibly choosing the school.
The weekend went over great, and Colby was selected as 1 of the 40 woman that would make up next years class of cadets. It made it worth the haircut she has been wearing for the last 6 weeks, she even returned to Margie to have to top buzzed down to its original length. The back and sides were still as smooth as when she first visited Margie,so she hadn’t expected Margie to again rub her head with the same cream used on her first visit. Before she could react, Colby had just been committed to months more of the smooth look….”This will hold you for a few more months”
It was a month later when Colby reported for her first day of school. All of the recruits were told to assemble in the main hall. To their surprise they were not greeted by the woman who had been the school’s Commandant, but rather a very stern looking man who went on to tell them that they should expect the school to return back to its old ways. The girls could all tell that he really disliked them at his school. He spent a good amount of time telling them that they had to perform at the same level as the male students. Colby was stunned when Colonel Markson singled her out for her haircut, telling all of the females that he expected them to follow the same grooming rules as the men.
The girls were somewhat confused at what he was going on about, until they reported to receive their gear and haircuts. While female students over the past 20 years have had to wear their hair off their ears and collars, when they lined up for their haircuts, they all received the same cat as the male students. While tears flowed, their drill Sergeants were there to quickly get the girls minds off their haircuts and on to getting ready for inspection. This, of course made Colby the most hated female in the school.
After years of being a mediocre student Colby found her niche, no longer concerned about how she looked or what she was going to wear all of her energy went towards being the best student she could be. The students were given a week off for the winter holidays and Colby was in Margie’s chair on the first day home. After she was sheared down, she was actually looking forward to the cream being applied to the back and sides again.
While the other female students hated the look, 4 of which had already withdrawn from school, Colby now felt as if the haircut was what was going to keep her from having to move back home and work in the factory. Smiling as Margie wiped her head with the cream again, Colby realized this was the only part of her hometown she actually enjoyed.
The rest of her first year found Colby near the top of her class academically as well as her body now turned into a physical specimen. The summer break, of course found her at Margie’s again, then spending every minute of her time off continuing to work on refining her now muscular physique. When she returned to the shop just a week later Margie finally told her that if she used the cream too often her hair would start to become really thin if it even came back at all.
This made Colby think long and hard about her hair, or lack of it. Then, just one week later, she was walking in to Margie’s shop again. Margie, smiled once she saw her, knowing that she would return to the shop for another treatment. Once Margie coated her head again she handed her a brand new tube of the cream. “If you are sure about this put some on every day until the tube is gone.” Colby woke the next morning and as she looked at herself in the bathroom mirror she bit her lip as she squeezed some into her hand. Hesitating at first, she decided that she would never again want to be a long haired beauty queen and began rubbing the cream into her scalp. By the time she returned to the Academy the tube was gone, and so was the hair on the back and side of her head forever.
Colby flourished over the rest of her time at Commonwealth, she was even promoted to Cadet Captain for her senior year. Once she graduated she was offered a commission in the Marines as Second Lieutenant, something that she could have never imagined 4 years before. She was very excited to sign her 6 year commitment, as she had taken to a military life quite well.
Colby was assigned to the base where female Marines went thru boot camp and received further training. By her third year she was promoted to First Lieutenant, in charge of several barracks of females who had enlisted. She had hand picked her drill Sergeants who like her wore their hair like all the male Marines did. While they couldn’t force any of the new recruits to cut their hair any shorter than Marine Corps regulation, the drill Sergeants made sure that few if any of the new girls ever finished basic training with anything more than some light bristles on the top of their heads. All of their recruits were the best trained of any females in the corps.
Colby had found her calling, staying at the base and eventually being promoted to base Commander. As she sat in the base barbershop having the top of her head buzzed back to its usual horseshoe, she thought of Margie and that first haircut. She knew that everything she had gained since then had been thanks to her.