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It was about 8 weeks since I had moved into a new apartment with my best friend. As a nurse I needed to keep my hair fairly short and hadn’t found a new place to get my hair cut yet, even though it was getting kind of itchy and thick at the back. Not to mention, with working odd hours it was hard to get time for a cut. Finally one day at work one of my colleagues said, `You need a haircut bad or Debbie (my boss) will go crazy’. That did it.

Next day I went to the mall across the street from my place and found a salon. I always got the feeling of butterflies whenever I had my hair cut – left over from my childhood probably, when I used to hate sitting in a huge barber chair while some stranger poked around my face with sharp scissors. Today was no different as I went into the salon.

`Can I help you?’ the receptionist asked.

`Um, yes – can I make an appointment for a cut?’ I said.

`Hmmm, let’s see.. Sure, come back in 45 minutes and we can take you’, she answered.

I whittled away the 45 minutes still with that uptight feeling in my stomach. I knew I desperately needed to get rid of that mop on my head but I was still nervous as hell. Finally time came to return to the salon.

`I had an appointment,’ I reminded the receptionist.

`That’s right – Michelle will cut your hair today’, she said, as an attractive brunette came out of the back of the salon and came up to me.

`Hi, I’m Michelle – we’ll cut your hair first before we shampoo it today, I think’, she told me as she spun her styling chair around to face me. Once I was seated in the chair she turned it round to face the mirror and bumped it up a few times. She unfolded a long black cape and draped me with it, then fastened a piece of neck tissue tightly around my neck and fastened the cape at the back.

`You’re definitely in need of a haircut – how long has it been since your last one?’ she asked me as she ran a comb over my long, thick tresses.

`About 2 months’, I told her.

`How short do you want it?’ she asked. `Well, it needs to be fairly short for work – probably if you take off 1 ½ inches it should be good’, I replied.

`OK – with clippers or with scissors?’ she asked.

`I’m used to a scissors cut – it grows back quicker’, I answered.

`Sure – scissors it is’, she replied, picking up a spray bottle and wetting down my hair as she combed it. Now I got to see just how long my hair really was – as Michelle combed it down the back touched the cape round my neck, the sides touched my earlobes, and my bangs hung down into my eyes. Michelle continued to wet down my hair until it dripped onto the cape before picking up her scissors.

Then came a series of snips as Michelle ran her shears across the right side of my head, and big, thick pieces of hair dropped onto the black cape. She did the same thing with the left side of my head, then ran her shears across the hair at the back, sending a shiver down my spine as I felt her steel scissors against my skin. Pulling the hair at the back up with her comb, she continued to cut layers away from the back of my head. `Now you’re starting to look better – but we’re not done yet’, she told me, and ran her shears across my forehead. In the mirror I watched my long, thick bangs drop to the cape and slide down.

Then she pulled up the hair on the top with her comb and cut row after row away. Picking up a pair of shears with teeth on the blades, she snipped away a little more at the back, sides and top. Pieces of cut hair were falling everywhere. She then used a razor to finish the sides and back, and held up a mirror for me to see the back.

What a difference! Gone was the long, thick mane of hair I’d had before and in its place was a nice, new layered cut at the back, just above my earlobes.

`It’s great!’ I said to Michelle.

`Good – now let’s shampoo you and get rid of all that shedding hair’, Michelle said, leading me over to the sink. She placed a towel around the back of my neck over top of the cape. I leaned back into the shampoo sink and felt warm water running over my hair. It felt so nice.then Michelle began gently scrubbing shampoo into my hair, working it around.then rinsing it out. She towel-dried my hair, then walked me over to her chair again.

`Do you put gel in your hair?’ she asked.

`Yeah, I usually do’, I told her. She put some styling gel on her palm and rubbed it around my hair, then mussed it up a little at the front. She ran a brush through the rest and blow-dried my hair.

`Now you’re a new man’, she told me as she dusted off my neck with her brush, unfastened the cape and pulled it away. I stepped out of the chair and walked over to the desk.

`Make sure you come back in 6 weeks and we’ll keep it nice & trimmed’, Michelle said, as she wrote down her name on a salon business card & handed it to me. I paid her and gave her a generous tip.

When I went back to work, my co-workers asked, `What did you do to your hair – it’s wonderful! You look 10 years younger!’

`Just got it cut’, I answered, knowing in the back of my head I would be returning to see Michelle again.

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