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Joy 1Joy’s hair was beautiful. It was waist-length, a heavy silken gleaming fall of chestnut hair, in superb condition. She looked after it extremely well, having the ends trimmed regularly, brushing it every night and was very clever at arranging her hair in different ways. Her hair was greatly admired by all and envied by many, but one of the greatest admirers of her long hair was her husband. He was absolutely fascinated by her long hair and would watch entranced as she brushed her hair each night before bed. Joy had worn her hair long for many years and was quite used to the many admiring glances her hair received as people saw her beautiful hair spilling down over her back.

She never wore her hair up as it was very heavy but usually had it in a very thick plait or a gathered bouncy pony-tail and sometimes just one section held on the crown and then the rest in a straight glistening fall down to her waist. Her long hair had been part of her for such a long time that she now just took it for granted and then one night as she was in the bedroom brushing her hair before going to bed, her husband really shocked her. He said, quite casually, as he watched her brushing her long hair, “Paula had her hair cut short yesterday.” Joy turned round and paused in the brushing of her long hair, feeling quite surprised. Paula was a girl that worked in David’s office and her hair had been quite long and always looked very pretty in a silken blonde fall half way down her back. “Gosh, how does she look?” she asked. “Oh she looks terrific!” said David enthusiastically. “I always thought her hair looked pretty as it was but she looks twice as attractive with it short. She went to a new salon that has opened near the office, it specialises in cutting. A couple of the other girls have been and look good with their new hairstyles. I must admit I was surprised what difference a haircut can make to someone appearance.”

He paused and then to her absolute amazement he said, “I thought you might like a change so I have booked an appointment for you to go tomorrow evening. It will be interesting to see what they can do with your hair.” She looked at him in open-mouthed astonishment, “You mean you want me to have my hair cut?” She asked incredulously. David nodded and said, “Yes, You have always had it long and it would be good to have a change.” She still felt stunned and said, “I thought you loved my long hair.” “Well yes I do but I would like to see you with it looking a bit different. You have lovely hair and I am sure they could only make it look better.” Joy still couldn’t believe what he had suggested, and she said firmly, “Well, I like my hair long and I have no intention of having it cut.”

He shrugged and said, “It is your hair and your decision but I am a little tired of seeing you with all that hair. It is definitely time you had a new style.” He turned away from her and got into bed leaving Joy feeling absolutely stunned and almost in tears. Her long hair had always been so important to her and the thought had never crossed her mind that she should consider having it cut shorter. She was particularly upset by his comments about her hair and she began to wonder if perhaps she was being a little obsessive about her hair and should perhaps considering changing its appearance. She finished brushing her hair and joined David in the bed but spent a restless night thinking and worrying about her hair, should she seriously consider having it cut?

The next morning he was a little curt with her and just before he left he said, “I made that appointment for you at 6 o’clock. I hope you will keep it.” Joy still felt in turmoil about her hair. She did love her hair long and really couldn’t imagine how she would look with it shorter and if it would look as good anyway. Oh why had Paula gone and cut her long hair! If David hadn’t liked her haircut so much then the possibility of him wanting Joy to have hers cut would never have arisen.

Joy said nothing about her hair to any of the girls in her office but mid-morning she decided to phone Paula and hear what she had to say about her visit to the salon. “Oh hello Paula, this is Joy, David’s wife.” Oh hello. Do you want to speak to him?” “No!” replied Joy quickly; “it was you I wanted to speak with to find out about your hair. I hear you have had it cut.” “Yes,” said Paula enthusiastically, I finally took the plunge and had it done last week. I have been thinking I needed a change for ages so when this new salon opened near here I made an appointment to have it restyled. They cut it a lot shorter than I was expecting but it feels great and everyone has been telling me how much they like it.” “What does it look like?” asked Joy, who was feeling quite encouraged as Paula was so enthusiastic about her hair as she had thought it always looked very attractive when it was long. “It’s a chin length bob with it just a little bit longer at the back. I was a bit worried when I saw how much was being cut off but I had told them I wanted a real change and just let them get on with it. They do super cuts there as a couple of other girls from the office have been and their hair cuts are brilliant. Are you thinking of having your hair cut then?”

Joy felt her stomach lurch with a combination of fear and excitement. Well was she? She said slowly, “Well David seems keen on the idea but I am not so sure. I really do love my hair long.” “Oh I think you should, Joy. I know your hair is beautiful but it could look even better if you let them cut it. I am sure they would do a fabulous job and it is very exciting to have a change,” “Well maybe you are right but it is a big step to take especially as I am happy with my hair as it is. Thanks anyway Paula and please don’t tell David I rang you.”

After she had put the phone down Joy still felt very undecided about what she should do but inwardly she realised that she probably would now keep the appointment her husband had made. Would she though be brave enough to let them decide the style as Paula had, or would it be better to ask just to have a few inches snipped off, although she knew that it would not satisfy David. She decided that as the salon wasn’t too far from her office she would go along and have a look at it during her lunch break and perhaps see some of the work they turned out which may help her make up her mind. She arrived outside the salon and walked slowly past looking in and saw that it was an open brightly lit modern salon.

It looked quite busy and just as Joy was passing the door someone was just leaving, and Joy looked closely at her hair. Oh it looked superb! The woman’s hair was almost shoulder length and had been smoothly dressed with a dipping wave in the front and then gently turning under. Joy realised she would be delighted if her own hair was styled like that and wondered if perhaps David was right and she should have her hair cut. She turned and walked back to the shop and on an impulse she pushed open the door and entered. The warm heavily scented air enveloped her and her stomach lurched slightly with nervousness as she approached the reception desk. “Hello, my name is Mrs Ball and I have an appointment at 6 this evening but I was wondering if I could be fitted in now instead?” The receptionist checked her book and then said, “Yes, Tom has a free space in a few minutes”. She looked at Joy’s long
hair admiringly and added, “He will enjoy looking after your hair, it is very beautiful.”

A few minutes later she was seated inside the salon, a large enveloping cape around her and her heavy waist length hair was being freed from the simple gathered style she had put it in this morning and was now being brushed through by a tall young man. “Your hair is very beautiful,” he said. Joy inwardly groaned, Oh why was everyone telling her that her hair was beautiful just when she was thinking of changing its appearance! “It is in superb condition and it is a lovely texture and the length is magnificent. I see you are booked for a restyle cut, do you have a particular style in mind?” Joy swallowed hard and her nervousness increased as she realised she would now have to make the final decision about having her long hair cut. She hesitated and then with a pounding heart she said, “Not really, I think it is time I had my long hair cut off so I will leave it to you.”

He smiled with pleasure as he continued to draw the brush carefully through her beautiful hair and then said, “Good. We like to be able to make the decision for a person that is having a restyle cut, as obviously it is a big step to take. Now, as your hair at present looks so attractive, I would like to give you a really dramatic short style that will be a total contrast but I think will look superb.” Joy felt even more nervous at these words, but then decided that now she had decided that her long hair should go, it was sensible to let a skilled hairdresser decide what the new style should be. She gave a little nod and tried to control her apprehension as he put down the brush and swiftly sectioned her hair into three and then began fashioning it into a plait. “I will be cutting off your long hair first,” he explained as he fastened the end of the plait with a band. “Would you like to keep the plait?” Joy gave a little nod; she would throw it at her husband if she didn’t like her finished look!

“Bend your head right forward,” he said softly and obediently Joy lowered her head. She could feel her heart pounding and her hands were sweating and she took a few deep breaths in an effort to control her nerves. His hands were on her head pushing it down even lower and then she heard the soft rattle of steel and her plaited hair was grasped firmly at the nape. Suddenly a great feeling of panic swept over Joy; Oh what was she doing allowing this! She didn’t want to lose her long hair!

Joy 2As these thoughts swept through her, with a great feeling of dread she heard a sharp scrunching sound and a pulling at the base of her plaited hair. She gave a little moan and a twist of her head but she knew that it was too late; the scissors were scrunching deep into her hair and she could feel the plait coming away from her head. She bit her lip hard in an effort to stem the tears that were springing to her eyes and kept her head still as he forced the scissors through her hair. It took about 10 seconds for him to completely sever the thick heavy plait and for Joy they were the worst 10 seconds of her life.

The next half an hour went by with Joy in a state of shock and she was hardly aware of what was now being done to her hair. All she could think about was that she had lost her beautiful long treasured hair and she had made a dreadful mistake. She didn’t want short hair but there was no replacing it except by waiting at least 5 years for it to grow long again. After the long hair had been removed she had been ushered away to have her hair shampooed and then when she had returned to the dressing table he had scissored away masses more of her hair and then cropped the nape hair with clippers. Joy had sat numbly watching clumps of her hair rolling down over the gown and feeling her head becoming lighter and lighter and bitterly regretting that she had allowed her husband to persuade her to consider to have her long hair cut.

Joy 3Less than 24 hours ago her long hair had been her greatest feature, prized by her and envied by most, and now it was no more. He now began blow-drying the short hair that clung to her head and she hated the bare and light feeling as the brush was used on her hair. When he finally released her from the enveloping cape she could not recognise the image that she saw reflected in the mirror and hated the short hairstyle she now had. When she went to the reception desk to pay she was handed a small bag and tears sprang to her eyes as she saw that it contained her severed plait. When she reached her office she had to endure the shocked comments of her colleagues, particularly several of the men who had always admired her beautiful long hair. When she reached the privacy of her own room she burst into tears and then had to control herself as her telephone rang. She picked it up and heard her husband say, “Oh hello Joy, I have been thinking about your hair and I think it might be a mistake to have it cut as I do love it long. Why don’t you cancel your appointment for tonight!”

THE END

Author’s footnote; I did cut Joy’s beautiful long hair over 20 years ago but I think she was a little happier than in this story! For a few pictures of Joy ‘before and after’ see Lee’s great site at www.hobbyhair.com you will find pictures of Joy under Guests Pages.

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