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“Oh my God, Jennifer! What did you do!” screamed Tim. “What happened to your hair! What happened??!?”

Jen licked her lips and looked at her boyfriend. “I wanted a haircut. It just got a little shorter and shorter. Pretty soon it looked like it does now.”

Tim put his head in his hands. “Jennifer, you had such nice brown hair! What would make you get a crew cut? That’s a haircut boys get!”

“I told you,” Jen said firmly. “I wanted it shorter. You knew I wanted to get it shorter. We talked about this!”

Tim removed his hands from his face and attempted a weak, watery smile. He felt his face go cold and waxen. His features didn’t seem to want to work anymore, but he had to admit her haircut had a certain allure to it. He felt he liked it more and more, if he just kept looking at it. Forget how Jen’s hair looked this morning. This was how she looked now. He would have to learn to deal with it. He loved her too much to let it all go over a haircut. Besides.

“OK, Jen. I’m sorry I got hysterical. It’s just a shock, that’s all.” Tim reached out and rubbed one hand over the bristle on his girlfriend’s head. She moaned and sighed. “What made you get it cut so short? It actually feels pretty awesome.”

Jen grinned and enjoyed his hand on her head. “Well, that’s sort of a story in and of itself. Let’s get a drink, sit down and I will tell you how I ended up getting a boys crew cut.” Tim nodded and they got some cold drinks and sat on the sofa. Tim resumed rubbing her head as she told her story and she was really getting to like her hair like this. She could sense Tim was coming to grips with it as well.

***

She remembered that she had talked many times to Tim about getting her hair cut. She had long brown straight hair that fell to her shoulders. At the very end, it tended to curl inwards, as if afraid to grow down any further. Jen had always had pretty long hair; in fact when she was growing up her mother had refused to let her get it cut. “Such beautiful brunette hair should grow,” her mother would say. Jen remembered that she wanted to get it cut, especially in the warmer weather but her mother always said no. It reached down to her butt and below. By the time Jen got her first miniskirt, her hair was long enough to just about reach the hem of the skirt. And still, there was no haircut in sight.

When she got a little older her father insisted that she get it at least trimmed. She sensed some hope. Her parents had a big fight over it. Then the next day, her dad took her to a beauty salon and asked the girl to cut about 2 feet of hair off! The lady obliged and Jen felt a great weight lifting off of her. The woman commented on having hair so long and asked Jen if she liked it that long. Jen said no, she wanted to get it cut, but her mom always said no. Her dad was probably in big trouble now.

After she came back with the haircut, her parents were really never the same. Her mom was furious that her daughter had her hair butchered. She cried and screamed. Her dad eventually left and stayed out the whole night. They never really got along after that, and after about 6 months, Jen’s dad filed for a divorce. They were barely speaking anyway. That was pretty traumatic.

The court wrangling was long and seemed to never have an end, but in the end, the judge awarded custody of Jen to her dad. As she moved into her dad’s new apartment, she remembered sitting down at the small kitchen table. He talked about what life would be like now that the fighting was over. Jen cried and sobbed. But in the end, he smiled and rubbed her head in a fatherly way. “You can get your hair cut as often and as short as you want.” Jen smiled. No more being ordered not to touch her own hair!

Jen discovered that she liked the feel of scissors on the skin of her neck. She got a short bob at the start of summer and when her mom saw it, she just shook her head and said she’d raised a boy. Jen couldn’t understand what the matter was. She told her mom she had a right to get her hair cut whatever way she wanted and what’s more, keep it short. She recalled she threatened to get a crew cut like many boys did. Her mother didn’t always seem in touch with Jen’s life anyway, now Jen was certain of it! Her dad never said a word, other than to say he liked it. She felt safer that way.

When Jen had gone away to college she had experimented with different styles, sometimes letting it grow out, sometimes getting it snipped shorter. She never dared to let the stylists use those electric trimmer things. That was only for boys to get flattops and crew cuts, etc. Not for her!

Then that morning, as Jen sat down and sipped her morning cup of coffee, she saw an article in the paper about the girl’s high school swim team. She had talked to Tim about getting a `really short haircut’ a few times; he never seemed to mind. She told him that morning, as he got ready to go to work that she’d probably get a haircut that day. She was on vacation from her job and was using a couple of days to just relax. Tim nodded, kissed her goodbye and left for his work. The paper showed a whole team of girls who had very short hair, or were bald. The caption said that they had opted for very short haircuts after winning the division title at their swim meet. Jen smirked and then turned the page. Must be nice, she thought, to be able to do that and get away with it. Jen’s mom would have a conniption if she had been one of those girls! Somehow or other, Jen kept turning back to that grainy photo and looking at it. It wasn’t as ridiculous as she had first thought. Why couldn’t she get a haircut like that? Maybe Tim would be angry, but he supported all her other decisions, smart or not-so-smart.

Jen couldn’t understand at that time why that picture allured her so, she would later come to realize why. She remembered threatening to get a haircut like that to her mom! That perhaps was why, when she was about the age of the girls in the photo, she had nearly done the same thing. She steeled her nerves and told herself it was ridiculous to think that way now. Still, almost unconsciously she clipped the picture of the girls swim team out of the paper and put it in her bag. She walked out to keep her 10 o’clock hair appointment.

Her usual stylist, Diane, was ready for her when Jen arrived. They exchanged some small talk and caught up briefly on events. Then Jen eyed the electric trimmers sitting on the bench where the girl kept her cutting supplies. After a minute or so, the girl brushing and combing Jen’s shoulder length tresses, she asked her what kind of cut Jen wanted.

“Something short, very short. I’m thinking that it’s been long for so long, I want to cut it way back.”

Diane pondered Jen’s hair and her reflection in the mirror. “How short?”

Jen allowed herself a tiny little smile. “Well, let’s just cut it short, like a short bob, and then we’ll go from there?”

“OK,” Diane nodded and reached for the scissors. She soon fell into a rhythmic motion. Comb, snip, comb, snip, over and over. Jen smiled. She liked feeling the cold steel against her bare neck. The shorter it got, the shorter Jen felt like she wanted it. The clumps of hair were soon gathering on her cape and surrounded the chair almost like a mediaeval moat. Jen remembered that picture of the swim team and told the girl about it.

“Oh yeah,” the stylist said. “They were in here – a couple of them anyway. About a week ago, I guess it was. Something about winning the championship or something.”

“Did you shave any of them?” Jen was curious. Diane nodded. “I shaved one down and the other I gave a very short boys cut. It was different. Why? Are you thinking about shaving it all off?”

Jen said no, but then she chewed her lip for a second. “But, maybe a really short boys type of cut would be nice. The weather’s warm and it’s as good a time as any to get it lopped off.”

Diane nodded and kept snipping. “That means you’ll probably want a clipper cut? Something short with a shaved neck?”

Jen
nodded carefully as Diane continued to snip, snip and snip away at her hair. Jen felt a cold thrill of fear race up her spine. What was she asking for? Diane finished with the scissors, and Jen saw the long pleats of hair now ended just above her ears. Wow, it was short! Jen raised a hand and ran it through her cropped hair, feeling some resistance at the neck area, but it was a great feeling. Diane moved back with a pair of clippers. She snapped an attachment onto the metal blades and Jen took a deep breath. Diane grinned. “Short?” Jen nodded. She wanted Diane to go through with it. “What I’ll do, Jen honey, is cut it short in the back with a number one attachment, but I will leave the top a bit longer. If you want it really, what they call a high and tight, I will have to get down to the skin and shave the back and the sides.”

Jen gasped. “You mean – ummm – shave with a razor?”

Diane laughed. “Yeah, that’s what I mean! If you decide you want that is. I can make a short crew cut though. I don’t have to shave it.”

Jen relaxed and felt herself say “OK, just a crew cut for the moment.” Diane nodded and snapped the clippers on. Jen had never had clippers used on her own hair. It was unusual. Diane placed the clippers at the base of Jen’s neckline and gently began to press upwards, almost as if she was mowing the lawn. Except that this lawn was Jen’s own hair! She pulled them away just before she reached the crown. “Looks pretty good,” Diane muttered. “I like this length on you.”

With a nod, Jen bid her to continue. Slowly working up from the neck, she pushed the clippers through Jen’s shorn hair. The buzzing and crunching was almost hypnotic. Jen felt herself envious of boys who could get their haircut like that and not be spared a second glance. She was so jealous of that, all of the sudden! Once in a while, Tim would get a short cut for the summer, and she realized they could now both get `summer cuts’ together. Maybe not just for summer either. Tim’s hair was starting to thin, and he told her a few times he had given some thought to shaving it bald. She told him he should, but so far, he held off. She wouldn’t love him less because he chose to shave it all off!

In this space of time, as Jen sat thinking, Diane worked around to Jen’s right side (Diane was left-handed) and Jen saw more and more clumps of her chocolate brown hair lifted away by the chattering metal teeth. The hair seemed dangerously short and the plastic attachment seemed to be thinner and smaller than Jen remembered. Diane worked around Jen’s right ear and also clippered her sideburns, reducing her hair to uniform stubble. Then Diane moved around to her left side, repeating the process. There was still a mop of much longer on top of Jen’s head. Diane quickly finished shearing the top. Then she turned off the clippers and moved to the bench, pulling off the plastic guard.

“Now,” Diane said, scanning, “how long on the top?”

“How short is it now?” Jen asked in a hushed voice. “In the back I mean?”

Diane glanced at her. “An eighth of an inch. That’s what a number one cuts to. Why?”

Jen shrugged. “How about a number two? How short is that?”

Diane picked up a slightly thicker black plastic attachment. “A quarter of an inch is number two.”

Jen nodded. “OK, a number two sounds good to me!” Diane grinned and snapped the attachment to the clippers. “Are you sure? I mean I can just cut it with scissors so that you can still comb it. I can always go shorter if you decide to.”

Jen considered it and it sounded reasonable. She had an out, if she chose to take it. But the voice of reason that sounded inside her head wasn’t communicating with her voice. “A number two, please,” she heard her voice say, and it seemed a long way away. “I get really tired of styling it and washing it. A really short crew cut would be fantastic!”

“Are you sure you don’t want to make it a high and tight? Shaved around the sides and really short on the top? A number 0 bare?”

Jen shook her head, noticing for the first time that the hair that used to flop around was absent. She knew she had to finish taking this plunge! Diane said it was OK with her and moved around turning the clippers on again. She put the clippers at Jen’s forehead, and began to push toward the back of her head. Jen heard the familiar teeth chattering, cropping her hair short. After the first pass, Jen saw a strip of short, thick bristles replacing the former long strands of hair. Diane repeated the motion, each time cropping a wider and wider strip of hair to short bristle. Jen felt excited, but also a cold shiver of fear. What was Tim going to say?

Diane had gone too far to consider stopping now. In any event, she was could always grow it back out! Sure, it would take many months, but the warm weather would be starting to recede and then she could reassess how she felt about the crew cut. She smiled a weak, watery smile as she saw Diane looking at her in the mirror. Diane returned the smile and ran another pass with the clippers. The air seemed cooler already, and she was feeling like this was going to be so much easier to take care of! Diane finished up, running the clippers a couple of times over spots where a longer hair must have lingered. Then Diane inspected the cut. She nodded, seemingly satisfied with the job. “Now,” she said, “a quick shave of the neck and you’ll be done. Unless you changed your mind and want that high and tight.”

Jen told her no, not yet. She wanted the storm of her crew cut to pass before she tried that! Shaving sounded exciting and Jen really did feel like trying it. But, her nerve gave way and she declined. Diane removed a pair of smaller clippers, with very thin metal blades and moved around to the back of her head. “Head forward, please,” Diane muttered. “I have to shape the hairline.” Jen obeyed and the high buzz and cold metal clippers were edging around the neckline, shaping it nice and straight. Then Diane snapped off the blades and came around. She then got a warm, wet towel and wrapped it around Jen’s neck. Diane then put a little foam on her hands and lathered it on Jen’s bare neck. “Just a quick shave down to the skin,” Diane said. “It feels better. Smooth is the way to go. That’s why guys seem to go for high and tights, that band around the head that’s all shaved. Unless of course they go all the way!” She began scraping a razor over the skin at the back of Jen’s neck and Jen felt a warm thrill course through her. She’s never had that sensation before. But, she sensed, it might be a premonition of more shaving action to come!

Diane pulled the towel and cape away and Jen finally mustered the courage to rub her own head. Wow, did it feel totally different. She was amazed and delighted with the short, bristly feel of her hair and how it seemed stiff and resistant. It was very arousing! She smiled at Diane. “I like it a lot, Diane. You did a great job!”

Diane grinned. “Still not too late for a high and tight!” She seemed infatuated with giving Jen one. “No,” Jen said. “Let me think it over and see how this goes over. I will let you give me a high and tight if I decide, don’t worry!” Diane chuckled and Jen paid her. She left the salon, but could not stop feeling her own bristly scalp for the remainder of the day.

***

As she concluded her story to Tim, Jen went back and rubbed it some more, like Tim had been doing. “A short crew cut really hits the spot,” she said. Tim nodded but said nothing for a minute. He just looked at her new boyish crew cut.

“So, you were thinking about shaving around the sides? That high and tight Diane mentioned?” Tim seemed different now, happier and more at ease with Jen’s new hairstyle. Jen nodded.

“Somehow, you’ve gone so far, why not go do it?” Jen started. “You mean it,” she said. “You think I should?”

“Yes, I’d love to see it. But this time, I want to be there. I want Diane to work her magic while I watch!”

Jen gave him a huge kiss. “Of course, baby! If you want me to, I will!” She was really excited now. “And
maybe,” Tim continued. “Just maybe, I will climb in the chair for that head shave I always talked about but never did. Would Diane do that for me?”

“Sure, baby!” Jen exclaimed. “She’d be glad to.”

So that weekend, Diane got her wish to give Jen that shaved sides high and tight and also got to shave Tim down to bare skin. Jen and Tim’s sex lives were charged up by the new hairstyles and even their co-workers seemed to like them. Sure, they were radical and different, but they were also unique. Jen toyed with getting her own scalp shaved and thought about asking when she got her high and tight “tightened up” every two weeks. She enjoyed the bare skin. She never felt like she would, but here she was. Someday, she told herself, I will shave it all, all the way. But I owe it to Tim to let him be there. At least I owe him that much, for how it changed us and our lives.

THE END

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