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Twenty-four year old Claire was driving her dad back home, having taken him into town. She did this as often as she could and, having moved out to her own apartment, she enjoyed spending the time with him and catching up with all of his news.

He was a proud father, was why shouldn’t he be. Claire had grown up into a very attractive young lady, and had studied hard to make a good career for herself in the pharmaceutical industry. He loved to hear about how she was doing at work, and equally enjoyed their outings together.

As they drove along, her dad asked if she would detour to his usual barbershop. He said that he hated to take up her time, but didn’t know when he’d have a chance to get there again otherwise, since he had an awards dinner to attend in two days time.

“Of course I will. Don’t be silly, I don’t mind.” She smiled. “Do you still go to the one around the corner?” She asked. Her father nodded. Soon, they were parking up outside a small row of shops. There, in the middle of them, stood the barbershop.

“I’ll be back soon.” Her dad said as he unfastened his seat belt. Claire unfastened hers at the same time.

“Listen, I’ll come in and wait for you. That is, if you don’t mind? This being one of those gentlemen’s clubs and all?” Her dad smiled back at her, and signalled her to follow. She locked her car, and followed him inside.

Claire had never been in the barbershop before. Well, she may have done when she was much younger, but she didn’t remember it.  The interior was very traditional; the pair of typical red leather barbers’ chairs, standing in front of white china wash basins and large wall mirrors. In front of the shop window stood a row of wooden chairs. Claire’s dad indicated to her to take a seat in one, which she did.

A woman emerged from a back room, and greeted her dad. They obviously knew each other well, and her dad introduced Claire to the woman, whose name was Gina. It was clear that her dad had talked about her previously, and couldn’t wait to acquaint Gina with her.

“Finally we meet!” Gina exclaimed. “I’ve heard so much about you.”

Claire’s dad continued, keen to boast about how well his daughter was doing at work, much to Claire’s embarrassment. Gina, smiling knowingly at her, complimented her success before escorting her dad to one of the barbers’ chairs.

As she sat there, watching Gina cape her father, Claire couldn’t help feeling surprised that the shop was run by a woman. She had fully expected to see an elderly gentleman, poised ready with the scissors. Instead, she had come face to face with Gina, who looked to be only in her mid-thirties? With an absence of any decent magazines to read, Claire found herself watching Gina begin the haircut instead. Her dad always wore his hair cut short, generally with clippers. So, it was no big surprise when he asked Gina for a short buzz cut, and she lifted the clippers off their hook.

Having combed his hair out, Gina now positioned herself to his side with her clippers switched on ready for action. Claire watched as she ran the clippers over the teeth of her comb, rapidly shearing away half the length of her father’s hair. Claire had never seen hair cut like this. She was used to salon life, where black-clad `stylists’ fussed over the trimming of each millimetre of split end! Here, Gina’s no nonsense approach soon smartened up her dad’s greyish hair. To finish the look, Gina placed a guard on the clippers, before running the blades up the back and sides to taper the length and blend in the layers. Finally, she used scissors to trim back his longer, top layers. The end result was one very smart haircut.

Claire found the whole experience intoxicating; the look of the shop’s interior, the smells of men’s grooming products, and the sight of Gina at work. As she brushed the stray hairs away from her father’s neck, Claire couldn’t help but look admiring at Gina’s fine figure and her shoulder-length, black hair. She was a good-looking woman, and not what Claire had expected at all.

Her father rose out of the chair and paid Gina for his haircut. As he put his coat back on, he couldn’t help himself and began talking about Claire again. Gina, who was busy sweeping up the hair cuttings from around the base of the chair, paused to listen to him. He went on about how proud he was, and how attractive she had grown up to be. Claire wished the ground would open up at her feet!

“You have a very beautiful daughter.” Gina agreed with him. “She has the most gorgeous hair.” She added, admiring Claire’s thick, blonde mane. Claire thanked her for her remarks, and then ushered her dad towards the door. They all exchanged farewells, and then Claire and her father left.

Driving back to his house, her father told Claire that Gina’s mother and father had died, leaving her the shop. Having been brought up there, and having cut hair from her teenage years, Gina had kept the shop open. So that’s why she seemed young to run such an old-fashioned looking barbershop, thought Claire!

Her dad continued to describe how Gina’s parents had run a very successful hairdressing business at one time. Gina’s dad ran the barbershop downstairs, whilst her mother ran the ladies salon upstairs. In its heyday, they employed a handful of staff, and were always busy. Unfortunately, as fashions changed and more modern salons opened in the town, the ladies salon had fewer and fewer customers. When Gina’s mother died, her father closed the ladies salon to concentrate on just the barbershop. When her father died, a few years later, Gina took over.

Once back at the house, conversation turned to what to have for dinner. The highlight of any visit back home, was a dinner cooked by her father. He was a good cook, and prided himself on making everything homemade. Claire helped prepare the vegetables, but was then shoved out of the kitchen by her dad, and told to have a rest on the sofa!

Back at work on Monday, Claire received a phone call from her good friend Kathy. Having been working away for two months, she was now back in town and wanted to meet up for lunch and to have a gossip. Claire eagerly agreed to meet that lunchtime. She was really excited to hear from Kathy, and couldn’t wait to see her again.

As she sat in the bar, waiting for Kathy to arrive, Claire phoned her dad to wish him well with his awards evening. As she was finishing her call, she felt someone tap her on the shoulder. She turned round to see who it was. The face looked so familiar, but there was something different about them?

“It’s me!” The person exclaimed, seeing the confusion across Claire’s face. Suddenly, Claire realised it was Kathy! But her hair?! Her stunning shoulder-length, chestnut-coloured locks had gone? Replaced with a short, bleach-blonde, spiky cut!! “Isn’t it fantastic! Nobody recognises me anymore!!” Kathy cried.

“Oh my God!” Claire gasped. “What happened to your hair?” She couldn’t take her eyes off Kathy’s new hairstyle.

“I had it all cut off!” Kathy gushed.

“I can see that!” Claire answered back. “It’s so short……and blonde!”

“I know!” Laughed Kathy. “I was fed up with how my hair was, and fancied something different.”

“You can say that again!” Claire mocked.

“Yeah, well, I went into this place and asked them what they thought. This young asian girl said she could fit me in there and then, and so I said okay. Once she had me sat down and caped, she said she wanted to cut my hair short. I wasn’t sure at first, but she just picked up her scissors and said it was too late to back out!”

“No?”

“Yeah! So she just started cutting. I swear Claire; you’ve never seen anything like it. My hair just rained down! She just hacked into it before I could change my mind.”

“Oh my God. Didn’t you complain?”

“No, I couldn’t speak! I had wanted a change, but I would have never have had the courage to ask for something like that. By the time I realised how much she was cutting off it was too late. So, I just sat
there and accepted my fate. Besides, she was very cute.” Kathy said with a wink of her eye. “I just went with it. Ten minutes later, my hair was short. I loved it!”

“But, it’s blonde?”

“Oh yeah, she wanted to bleach it as well. I couldn’t refuse!” Claire laughed as Kathy ruffled her spiky new look.

“I can’t believe you’ve done it!” Cried Claire. “I would never have thought it.” Kathy smirked back at her.

“Neither would I, but why not?” She grinned. “Who knows, I might start a trend?!” The two of them laughed and settled down to catch up on the gossip. Claire was absolutely stunned by Kathy’s decision to have her long hair cut, but loved the look of her new hairstyle and the vitality it seemed to have given her. With so much to talk about, the two of them ran out of time and agreed to meet up again the following day!

Once back in her office, Claire couldn’t help thinking about Kathy’s dramatic change, and how liberated she now seemed! She reached up and felt her own blonde locks. She had worn her own hair long for so many years and had often considered changing her style, but doubted whether she could be that daring. Or could she? Perhaps, if the salon had been in town, and not where Kathy had been working away, then Claire may just have taken the plunge? The idea of the asian girl forcibly cutting Kathy’s hair so short excited Claire and, deep down, part of her wanted to experience that feeling.   

As she thought about it more, the idea of having her long hair cut shorter seemed to become more enticing. Previously, she would have rejected such a notion, but she couldn’t ignore how a simple short haircut had changed Kathy. Not only did her face look more open and fresh, but also the cut had given her a massive boost of self-confidence and sparkle!  Claire played with her long locks some more. But what if she regretted having it cut? It would be too late for regrets once it was on the cutting room floor! Indecision clouded Claire’s judgement. Perhaps that was the beauty of Kathy’s experience. Had the stylist suggested a short cut, and discussed cutting off her long locks, maybe Kathy would have rejected the idea and kept her length? As it was, the asian girl took matters into her own hands, and Kathy ended up with a short style that she absolutely loves, but would never have asked for! Perhaps, Claire also needed the decision made for her?

Casually flicking through the phone directory, Claire glanced over the advertisements for hairdressers. Should she choose a salon by just sticking a pin in the list, and follow her fate? Still uncertain whether she wanted her hair cut short or not, or whether it was a knee-jerk reaction to having seen Kathy’s haircut, she closed the directory deciding to give it more thought after work.

A while later, Claire’s dad phoned her. He was in a panic because he’d left to go to his awards dinner, but had forgotten to turn his table light on. He was paranoid about burglars, and would leave the light on whenever he went out as a deterrent. Claire said that she would drop by, on her way home, and make sure that all was okay. Putting the phone down, she sighed as she considered the detour she’d have to make. She really wanted to go straight home. Oh well.

Driving to her dad’s house, Claire returned to giving more thought to her haircut dilemma. She quickly concluded that if she wanted a radical change of hairstyle, then Kathy’s approach was the best way to go. Walk in, sit down, and let them cut it how they thought was best. It would be a risky gamble but, once sat down and caped, there would be no going back! There would also be the excitement of how her hair would look afterwards! However, she still liked having her long hair and sentiment was making this a hard decision to make. Then again, she thought Kathy’s long hair looked good, but loved her new, funky style even more!

As she drove down the road, a sudden familiarity about its appearance struck her. Of course, she’d taken her dad to the shops here on the left. As she drove past, she looked across and saw the barbershop. Being dusky, the interior lights were on and Claire could see that it was still open. Instinctively, she felt drawn to the shop and immediately pulled over and parked up. Switching off the engine, she sat there for a few seconds as if to question the thought, which was going through her mind. She knew Gina ran the shop by herself, and she had seen her cut her dad’s hair short with both scissors and clippers. Instead of a complete stranger, Claire could ask Gina to cut her hair.

“Here’s your chance. Do you really want your hair cut?” She asked herself. “You could walk into that shop now and get it cut, or you can carry on driving?” Her heartbeat pounded her chest, and she almost shook with nervousness. She looked round, back at the barbershop. It was nearly closing time! She had to make a decision! At first hesitatingly, and then with some conviction, she took the keys out of the ignition and opened the car door. The early evening breeze blew her long hair into her face. She locked the door, and then pulled the hair off her face. Claire stood by her car for a few seconds, still questioning her actions. It was now or never, and she knew time was not on her side. Leave it any longer and the shop would close up for the night. By morning, she could feel completely different about going through with it? She felt her long hair run through her hand once more, took a deep breath, and began walking towards the shop door.

Trying to appear confident, she pushed the shop door open and walked inside. Almost straightaway, Gina walked through from the back room.

“Oh, hello Claire.” She said, remembering her from their previous meeting. “Can I help you?” She asked smiling pleasantly. Claire composed herself.

“I was wondering if you would cut my hair Gina?” Gina looked puzzled.

“You want me to cut your hair?”

“Yes.”

“Okay. I can do that for you. What were you thinking? Just a trimming of your ends?” Gina quizzed her, as she picked up a cape from the back of one of the barbers’ chairs.

“No.” Claire paused, building up her confidence. “I want to go shorter.” Gina looked at Claire’s long, blonde hair.

“How much shorter?” She enquired with interest, shaking the cape loose and turning the barbers’ chair round to face Claire.

“It’s like this,” Claire explained, “my friend has just had her long hair cut into this really choppy, short style, and it looks great! It got me thinking, and I’d really like something similar.” Gina smiled back at Claire.

“You’d like your hair cut short?” She asked. “Like your friend’s hair?”

“Yeah.”

“I don’t think that would be a very good idea Claire.” Gina replied. “You have gorgeous long hair, and you shouldn’t decide to have it cut short just because your friend does. I’m not actually convinced that it’s want you want?” Gina looked sympathetically at Claire who, slowly, nodded her head.

“To be perfectly honest, I am in two minds.” She conceded. “It’s just that I was passing, on my way round to my dad’s house, and I saw that you were still open. Part of me really wants it cut short, but I can’t seem to make up my mind. I guess I just wanted to act on impulse?” Gina could see Claire’s predicament, but felt sure she would regret losing her long locks in the long run.

“I’ll tell you what.” Gina announced. “I should be closing up now. Go round and see your father. If, when you leave, you still want a haircut then come back and knock the door. I’ll open up for you. I’m in all night.” She paused. “If you don’t come back, I’ll assume that you’re keeping your long hair, okay?” Claire agreed and left to continue her journey to her dad’s house. Gina folded the cape up again and rested it across the back of the barbers’ chair, before locking the shop door and closing the window blinds. Retiring to the back room, she switched the shop lights out and hoped her words had dissuaded Claire.

It was half an hour later when Gina heard a knock at the
door. Sure enough, there was Claire standing outside in the dark. She had plucked up the courage to return.

“Still want a haircut then?” Gina smiled, as she opened the door. Claire nodded. “Very well then.” Gina added, locking the door behind them. “But, if you don’t mind, I’d like to work upstairs? It’ll stop anyone disturbing us.” Again, Claire nodded. She followed Gina to the foot of the staircase and followed her up. There, laid out like a museum, Claire walked into the original ladies salon. As she gazed around, she noticed how dated the fixtures and fittings looked. It was something out of the sixties!

“Right then Claire, if you’d like to put on a gown and then take a seat here? Gina beckoned her over to a workstation. As Claire put her arms through the sleeves of the floral gown, Gina pushed a small trolley over to where Claire would be sitting.

“My dad told me about a ladies salon up here.” Claire said, as she sat down in the chair.

“Yes, I still have a handful of women whose hair I do. It’s mostly perms and rinses to be honest with you.”

“Why don’t you open the salon back up again?” Claire’s question made Gina laugh.

“I have thought about it, but the barbershop hardly makes enough money to pay the bills as it is. If I were up here working, I would have to employ someone downstairs. Besides, this place would need modernising and there’s no money for something like that!” She pulled the trolley closer. “Okay then,” she said, holding her comb and scissors poised above Claire’s head, “so what have you decided?” Claire looked at her reflection in the mirror. Her long, blonde mane framed her face and poured over her shoulders.

“The hairdresser didn’t give my friend any say on how short her hair was cut.” Claire told Gina. “So, just cut it how you think!” Gina looked back at her through the mirror.

“You want me to cut your hair as short as I like?” Gina clarified. Claire hesitated in answering, as if her confidence was failing her rapidly.

“Yes.”

“So I can take all of this lovely, long hair,” Gina said, as she ran her fingers through Claire’s locks, “and cut it really short? As short as your father’s if I want to? Is that what you are saying?” Gina’s words were testing Claire’s nerve, but she tried to remain committed to going through with it.

“Yes.”

“I could run the clippers up here,” Gina continued, brushing her hand up Claire’s nape, “and shear all of this gorgeous blonde hair off?”

“If you want to?” Claire answered visibly uneasy.

“You know, I still don’t believe you!” Gina sighed. “Your mouth is saying cut, but your face isn’t.” Gina lifted up a long length of Claire’s hair and inserted the blades of her scissors into it, just one inch from her scalp. “The choice is yours Claire. If this is what you really want, just say the word and I’ll cut it?” Claire looked mortified as she saw Gina holding her scissors so close to her head. “Well?” Clearly Gina was getting impatient waiting for an answer. “Three………..two…………..one..”

“No, no, don’t cut!” Cried out Claire. “You’re right, I can’t do this.” Sentiment had got the better of her. Gina pulled her scissors away and released the hair.

“Thank God for that!” She said. “Your father would have killed me!” Gina added, relieved that Claire had thought better of it. She began combing out Claire’s hair. “It would have been such a shame to cut this.” Gina told her. “It’s so thick and luscious! There are loads of women who would love to have hair like this! You don’t know how lucky you are?”

“I know you’re right. I’m sorry for wasting your time Gina.”

“Don’t worry about that. I’m just pleased you came to your senses!” She continued to comb Claire’s blonde locks. “How about if I just trim the very ends for you?”

“Yes, that would be great!” Claire eagerly replied. Without further delay, Gina began snipping the very ends off Claire’s magnificent mane. It was clear that Gina enjoying working with longer hair, and Claire couldn’t help but think it was a shame that the salon couldn’t open full time again. She was sure that Gina was a terrific ladies stylist.

With her hair freshly trimmed, Claire said her farewells to Gina and returned to her car. Once back at her apartment, she couldn’t help continually feeling her hair, and especially the precisely cut ends. She viewed her reflection in the wall mirror. Gina had done a superb job, and had ended up taking off about an inch. Her hair length, once feathery and faint, now ended in a crisp, abrupt line.

Claire sat on her sofa, enjoying a late nightcap, and thinking over the day’s events. Part of her still craved the excitement that Kathy had experienced when her hair was cut short. However, Gina had been a voice of reason. She could have quite easily sat Claire in that barbers’ chair, and given her a really short haircut. Claire ran her hand through her hair once again. There was something reassuring and comforting about keeping her long hair, but she continued to feel an attraction to something much more daring and exciting.

The following day, she had lunch with Kathy again. As they sat at their table, Kathy couldn’t help but notice that Claire’s hair was slightly shorter.

“I see you’ve had your hair cut?” She said. “Where did you have that done?”

“Oh, just round the corner from my dad’s house.” Claire answered. “I went after work.” She didn’t want to admit going to a barbershop. Fortunately, Kathy didn’t know where Claire’s dad lived, so there was no question of her knowing the shop itself. However, Kathy remained interested in Claire’s cut all the same.

“They didn’t do much did they? Just the ends by the look of it?” Asked Kathy dismissively.

“Yeah.” Claire replied. After Kathy’s transformation, Claire felt that only having had her ends trimmed sounded quite dull by comparison. “I asked if they would cut it shorter, but the stylist had a problem with cutting long hair short.”

“Really?  Did you want it cut short, like mine?” Kathy liked the idea of Claire wanting to imitate her hairstyle.

“I was thinking about it. Yes.” Claire confessed. “But, like I say, they didn’t want to cut it that short.”

“I wish you’d have said you were having it cut?” Kathy remarked.

“Why’s that?”

“Because I’d have told you to cancel your appointment, that’s why!” She grinned. “I’d have taken you to see my asian friend instead!” She added with a wink of her eye.

“How could you do that?” Claire asked. “I thought you had your hair cut whilst you were away?” Kathy looked back at her confused.

“No. I had it cut when I got back on Saturday. Didn’t I tell you?”

“No, and I just assumed you’d had it done for a while, whilst you were on your course?”

“Not at all. In fact, the place is only just around the corner!” Explained Kathy, clearly still heartened by Claire’s apparent wish to emulate her look. “You were seriously going to have your hair cut short? As short as mine?” Claire couldn’t admit to losing her nerve at the last minute.

“Yes. I was in the chair and everything!” She boasted.

“And they wouldn’t cut it short? You asked them to cut it short and they wouldn’t?” Questioned Kathy sceptically.

“Yes, I asked them but they said they’d only trim the ends.” Persisted Claire. “I was so disappointed.” She added, trying to maintain the illusion. Kathy looked thoughtful for a second.

“You’ve got an hour for lunch, haven’t you?” She suddenly asked.

“Yeah, why?” Claire replied. Standing up, Kathy looked at her watch and smiled.

“Good. Come on, you’re coming with me.” She reached out and took hold of Claire’s hand, leading her towards the door.

“What are you doing?” Claire asked. Kathy didn’t answer. She carried on striding ahead, almost pulling Claire behind her. Claire just assumed that Kathy had suddenly remembered somewhere she had to go, and was taking her along for company. However, having listened to Claire’s tale of disappointment, Kathy was about to test her commitment
to having that short haircut she claimed to desire. As they walked along, Claire sensed that Kathy was up to something, but failed to realise the implication of heading for the arcade. As they entered the undercover parade of small shops, Claire could feel Kathy’s grip tighten on her hand.

“Here we are!” Declared Kathy, heading straight for a shop doorway. Claire looked through the shop’s front window. It was a hairdressing salon! “Come on, I want you to meet someone!” Kathy laughed as she gently pulled Claire into the shop. Suddenly aware of just where they were, Claire became very uneasy as Kathy spoke to the young girl on the front counter. The girl walked off, towards the back of the shop, leaving Kathy and Claire at the counter.

“Kathy, I don’t think I’ve got time for this.” Stated Claire, now conscious of her friend’s motives. Kathy just grinned back at her.

“Don’t worry Claire. It won’t take long.” Claire was about to protest further when a young asian girl appeared from the back of the salon. “Oh good,” Cried Kathy, “she’s free!” The asian girl walked up to the counter and introduced herself.

“Hi, I’m Nisha. You were asking for me?” She said.

“Yes, we were.” Replied Kathy eagerly. “You cut my hair on Saturday?”

“Yeah, I remember you. Long, brown hair?”

“That’s right. My friend here wants her hair cutting short too.” Kathy explained. “Just the cut, she’s hasn’t got time for any colour. Can you do it now? Claire stood there dumbstruck.

“Yes, certainly. This way please?” Nisha instructed. Kathy gently pushed Claire further into the shop, as Nisha walked over to one of the styling chairs. “Please be seated.” Without a word, and not wanting to lose face, Claire lowered herself into the chair. Kathy stood alongside, clearly intent on her friend receiving this haircut.

“You won’t have to worry about Nisha refusing to cut your hair short!” Joked Kathy, as Nisha threw her cape around Claire. Kathy explained the joke to her. “My friend went to a hairdressers, last night, and they wouldn’t cut her hair short for her! Can you believe that?”

“No.” Nisha replied abruptly. Claire noticed how her demeanour changed as she began combing out Claire’s blonde locks. Her face took on a look of pure concentration as she reached over for her scissors, off the countertop. “Your hair is thicker than your friend’s.” She remarked. “So it needs to be cut much shorter!” Schnick! Claire jumped as she heard Nisha’s words, followed closely by the distinctive sound of the scissor blades closing. Schnick-schnick!

Long lengths of blonde hair were sent falling onto Claire’s caped lap, as Nisha set about cropping the top layers first. Schnick-schnick, schnick-schnick! Kathy howled with delight as she watched her friend’s hair fall to the floor.

“That’s more like it!” She cried. Nisha was unfazed, and continued to cut free length after length of Claire’s blonde tresses. Schnick-schnick! Soon, a patch of cropped hair formed on the crown of her head; it’s length no longer than one inch. Claire was horrified to see that Nisha was indeed cutting her hair much, much shorter than she had Kathy’s. Even Kathy’s vocal outbursts fell silent as she, too, could see the severity of the haircut.

“My, that is short Nisha?” She commented, as Nisha finished with her scissors and picked up the hair clippers.

“Yes. Now I’ll shave the back and sides.” She announced. Kathy could see the horror in Claire’s face, as Nisha approached with the clippers already humming menacingly. Frozen with disbelief, Claire just sat there motionless as Nisha ran the clippers up the side of her hair. A torrent of blonde locks cascaded to the floor, as she repeatedly shaved them clear of Claire’s head. Instrumental in Claire receiving this haircut, Kathy was now looking very uncomfortable with how her friend’s transformation was emerging.

Nisha positioned herself, clippers in hand, behind Claire. Those long, blonde locks hung down the back of the styling chair. Within seconds, Nisha had sheared them all off, and they lay in a blonde mass on the floor. Relentlessly, she now sheared the other side of Claire’s head, removing the last trace of her glorious crowning glory.

Finally, the clippers were switched off and returned to their hook. Nisha scooped up a palm full of gooey hair gel, and plastered it on top of Claire’s head. She vigorously rubbed it in, before backcombing her hair using her fingers. The gel gave Claire’s new hairstyle a hard, aggressive look, and not at all like her previous long and soft look. Nisha looked pleased with the result.

“Short enough?” She asked, seemingly eager to pick up the clippers again if requested.

“Yes, that’s short enough!” Kathy answered on Claire’s behalf; convinced her friend would be absolutely furious with her. Claire nodded in agreement, but did not speak. Oblivious to any discontent, Nisha cheerfully pulled the cape away, and advised Claire to pay at the counter on the way out. Kathy paid for the haircut, as was always her intention although now it seemed the only right thing to do! Once outside, she couldn’t apologise enough to Claire.

“I am so sorry Claire. I had no idea she was going to cut it that short. I would never have taken you there if I had known she would do that to you. I thought she would give you the same as me. I’m so sorry. How can I…”

“Kathy!” Claire interrupted. “Will you stop apologising?” She put her hand up to her clipped nape. As she slowly and gently rubbed the remaining bristle, Kathy watched Claire close her eyes and heard her let out a small groan. “Mmmmmmmm” She murmured.

“What’s that mean?” Kathy was unsure just how her friend was feeling. She didn’t look, or sound, angry or resentful.

“It means I like it.” Claire finally confided. “It means I like it a lot!” The relief on Kathy’s face said it all.

“Jesus! I thought you were going to flip!” She confessed. “She cut it so short!” Claire just smiled back at her.

“Yes, she did, didn’t she.” Claire continued to enjoy touching her shaved nape. “You know, this is perfect! I actually love it!”

“But it’s so short?” Kathy stated, surprised by her friend’s reaction to the haircut.

“I know. I would never have had it cut this short. I know I wouldn’t!” She paused, remembering being sat in Gina’s chair. She pictured Gina holding her long hair taut, with her scissors inserted deep into her thick tresses, waiting for Claire to give her the nod. Yes, Gina would have given her this same haircut. Certainly she didn’t want to cut it, but it was Claire who had backed out at the last minute! For a moment, she felt as though as had betrayed Gina, who had only showed her kindness and sensitivity.

“So,” Kathy quizzed her, “does that mean I’ll never see you with long hair again?” Claire took a few seconds to ponder her answer. Having faced up to her demons, and having finally had her long hair cut off, Claire shared Kathy’s zest and sense of freedom. But whilst the asian girl had forced the sacrifice upon her, just as she had done with Kathy, Claire’s loyalties remained strangely with Gina. She had been the one who had been sensitive and understanding, rather than just scissor happy. As she stood there, savouring the feel of her closely cropped hair, an idea came to Claire.
 
“No, I don’t think you’ll be seeing me with long hair for a while, and you needn’t think of growing your hair back again.” She replied. “What’s more, next time I’ll be taking you to a hairdressers of my choice.”

“Whatever! I’m just pleased you like it!”

As they worked back up towards their respective workplaces, Claire told Kathy of a small barbershop she knew of, where the barber was a woman in need of some additional custom.

“A barbershop?” Kathy answered indignantly.

“Oh, it’s more than just a barbershop Kathy. You’ll see.” Claire reassured her. “We’re going to become regulars there!”

True to her word, four weeks later, Claire took Kathy to meet Gina at the barbershop for a special evening appointmen
t. Though not surprised to see Claire with short hair, Gina was disappointed to see her long locks had been cut. However, Claire’s faith in her haircutting ability was not misplaced, and Gina gave both of them short, but extremely feminine and modern-looking, haircuts.

The stunning haircuts received admiring looks and endless compliments. Family members, friends and workmates all asked where they had had their hair done. Claire and Kathy always directed them to Gina’s small shop, encouraging their female friends to ignore appearances and to trust in Gina’s ability. As more friends discovered Gina’s talents, so her reputation grew.

Within a matter of months, the increased custom made Gina so busy that she had to take on extra staff and, to Claire’s particular delight; she reopened the ladies salon upstairs. The salon even proved a big hit with the younger generations, who fell in love with its `retro’ charm. Maybe the old place didn’t need a makeover after all, but just some clever marketing? Gina was so grateful to Claire, attributing to her the shops change of fortune and success, and the two of them remained close friends.

For her part, Claire was pleased to see that the local barbershop and ladies salon, used by her father for nearly all of his life, had regained its place in the community. She felt that the vast majority of local people had overlooked Gina’s hairdressing skills, and that this ignorance had nearly set the business on course to close for good. How many other local barbershops will escape that fate, she thought?

PLEASE SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL, TRADITIONAL BARBERSHOP!
Ignore them and they WILL be gone!
Gents: where else can you get a good, decent haircut for a reasonable price. Go back and find out what you’re missing.!
Ladies: don’t give them a choice – frogmarch your man to the barbers today and, whilst you’re there, why not jump in the chair yourself..it’s only hair, it’ll grow back!   

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