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After Susan’s haircut for her 11th-grade prom in June, her mother had asked about going to the barbers for her own haircut. Susan had suggested the two of them go for haircuts, as her mom, Pamela, had been accepted to law school in September and would need one. Pamela had long, straight red hair that reached to the middle of her back, but she often wore it pinned up at her work, or in a ponytail. Finding a time to go was a bit problematic, though, as Pamela worked Monday-Friday and Saturdays were near impossible to get into the shop without lengthy waiting times.

However, Pamela’s employer at her law firm – who had encouraged her to go back to school – told her to take the first week of August off to have some time with her children. Pamela had been widowed for 4 years after her husband – Susan & James’ father – had died from snakebite at the university research lab he worked in. Although she had her husband’s pension, she had worked seemingly endless hours, often forgoing holidays, to provide for James & Susan since, as well as saving for law school. Susan had been working in clothing sales since the start of Grade 11 to help her mom, and together they managed quite well.

Now, with some time to themselves, Pamela & Susan decided to have a girls’ day together.
“What do you want to do tomorrow sweetie? It’s supposed to be really nice tomorrow – and one of the associates at work has invited me to play tennis with him next week. I need to get back into that, and you could really help me there. What do you say we have a game tomorrow?” Pamela suggested that night. “James is going to be out with his friends tomorrow so we’ll have the whole day.”
Susan had been on her school’s tennis team the previous year, and the thought of teaching her mom thrilled her. “I’d love to Mom,” she said, “but, before we do, I think, we need haircuts – this bob of mine is growing out again and you said you wanted yours cut too.”
“You have a point sweetheart,” Pamela said. “I’m not sure what I want him to do with it though – I need something conservative for my own school in September.”
“Why don’t you see what Barry suggests? He seems to have a good idea of girls’ haircuts.” Susan answered.
“OK – he did a wonderful job with your hair, he seems to know what he’s doing.” Pamela said, still a little uncertain.

Next morning, Susan and her mom were in the showers at 8 am. Knowing the shop would open at 8:30 or just after, Susan got into a white T-shirt, white athletic shorts, athletic socks and her new white & black Adidas Superstars. Pamela changed into a white tennis dress and short tennis socks that reached just to the tops of her white Reebok tennis shoes. The two ladies grabbed their racquets and tennis balls, then climbed into Pamela’s 2000 Chevrolet Suburban and drove to the shop.

When they reached the shop at 8:45, there was only one client in the shop – a small boy already in the chair. His mother – elegantly dressed in a colorful flowing print dress, black heels, white leather gloves, and a wide-brimmed hat -sat in the waiting area, watching as Barry snipped & clipped her son’s hair. Barry was only about halfway through, so the 2 ladies sat down in the waiting area.

“Well, hello, young lady,” Barry said, addressing Susan. “Nice to see you again. You certainly look like you could do with a trim there.”
“Yes – it’s starting to itch at the back,” Susan said. “This is my mother, Pamela – when she saw what you did the last time she decided she wanted you to cut her hair too.”
“I understand you cut my daughter’s hair two months ago,” Pamela said. “You DID do a fabulous job. I didn’t think that barbers cut ladies’ hair.”
“Started doing ladies’ hair about 3 years ago – had to in order to stay in business,” Barry said. “Not as many men use a barber shop any more.”
Susan & her mom started looking over the magazines – mostly men’s stuff, but Pamela did find a Cosmopolitan issue & picked it up. It seemed like a long wait, but it was only about 10 minutes before Barry was finished with his young client and removed the large dark green cape. The little boy stepped out of the booster chair & his mother paid Barry for his services. The two of them then left the shop, and as they did the phone rang.

“I’ll be just a few minutes here ladies,” Barry said, as he picked up the phone. “Columbia Barber Shop..” As Barry continued for a few minutes on the phone Susan began to get butterflies in her tummy, but also a chill of excitement ran through her again as she anticipated her imminent haircut. A few minutes later Barry was talking to her.

“Young lady.? Step right up.. You’re next.” He stood to the right of the huge black chair and unfolded the dark green cape. Susan blushed for a minute as she stood up and walked over to that large, elegant barber’s chair. Stepping into it and then sitting down on the seat, Susan felt so comfortable – as if she had been seated on a throne. She placed her feet on the steel footrest and looked down at her runners as the barber flung the large cape around her neck again. An ocean of dark green covered her down to her ankles. Susan felt a tingle go through her spine as the barber folded a large tissue into her collar, then folded it over & brought the ends round to the front of her neck. The cape was then fastened at the back and Susan heard a BUMP, BUMP, BUMP as the chair was raised up to the right working level. Barry turned Susan around to see her in the mirror. “OK, Miss – are we just cleaning up your style this time?” he asked.
“Yes – just like the last time.” Susan told him. “Good enough – you looked very nice with that style.” Barry remarked, as he ran a comb through Susan’s locks and began to spray it down with water. Susan watched herself in the mirror as her hair was combed down in front of her face, with little streams of water running down the cape. Pamela had looked up from her magazine and was watching her daughter in the chair.

“So, what did your boyfriend think of your last haircut?” Barry asked as he began taking the shears to the perimeter, snipping away ½” lengths of hair and bringing her hair to the jawline again.
“He loved it,” Susan told him. “He said if I kept my hair like that he would take me to the senior prom next year too.”
“So you must be entering Grade 12,” Barry said. “Do you know what you want to do when you finish school yet?”
“Nope, not too sure,” Susan answered, “but I’m beginning to think hairstyling might be a possibility!” she giggled.
“Well, young lady, people will always need barbers & hair stylists,” Barry answered. “And more young ladies like you are becoming barbers these days, because as a rule they find men’s hair easier. However, as I found out, you will likely have to learn ladies’ hair too to broaden your client base. There you go – you’ve just had your first lesson in running a barber shop,” Barry laughed. Susan smiled to herself.
By now, Susan’s pretty bob style was starting to make itself felt. The barber ran his scissors across Susan’s forehead, just above her eyebrows. Her bangs dropped from her eyes and onto the cape, and she smiled once again at the beautiful young woman looking back at her from the mirror. A second later, Susan watched herself swing round to the front of the shop again. “OK young lady – put your head down please,” he said, and Susan complied as the clippers whirred to life. Susan once again felt that tingle of happiness go down her spine as the barber clipped a short fringe at her hairline. He then spun the chair around so Susan could see herself again in the mirror.
“Once again, it’s gorgeous!” Susan exclaimed as Barry held up a mirror to the back of her head. “Great! Now how about we rinse your hair so you’re not shedding all those loose hairs?”
“Sure.” Barry led Susan from the chair to a shampoo sink. With Susan seated in the chair he placed a towel over her shoulders and Susan leaned back into the sink. Warm water ran through Susan’s hair, and all too soon
he was finished. Gently toweling Susan’s hair until it was damp, he took her back to the barber’s chair & seated her in it. The towel was removed from her shoulders. He blow-dried her hair and brushed it out, then dusted off her neck with a neck brush. The cape was released and the tissue removed from Susan’s neck. With a SWOOSH, the large cape was removed from Susan and she stepped out of the chair.

“Ma’am? Step right up,” Barry said to Pamela. Pamela put down her magazine and walked to the chair as Barry held it at the back. She was surprised as she stepped into the chair and had a seat – it did feel VERY comfortable, she thought to herself. Barry then took 2 rubber bands from a container near his tools, and gathered Pamela’s long hair into a ponytail, placing the rubber bands around it. He then moved to the right side of the chair and unfolded the large cape shaking any loose hairs off it. Then the cape was draped round Pamela’s neck, and she felt a tissue being folded into her collar. The tissue was brought round the front of her neck and she felt the cape tighten at the back. Now Pamela was ready for her haircut, and Barry turned the chair so Pamela faced herself in the mirror.
“Now.what are we doing today, Ma’am?” Barry asked. “It looks like quite a while since your last haircut.”
“Yes, it’s been at least a year, and then I only had a few inches taken off – just enough to keep it from reaching my waist.” Pamela answered. “I’d like to keep it at least shoulder-length, though it does need to be somewhat conservative as I start law school in September.”
“I think we can do that,” the barber said. “How about we bring it up just above your shoulders – maybe about an inch or so? That’ll give you some breathing room and will still look conservative enough.”
“Hmmm..I’m not sure, maybe even shorter.”
“How about we go to that length, then see how you like it and take it from there?”
“Sounds good.” Pamela answered. Barry took a set of long, sharp haircutting scissors and with several snips cut through Pamela’s ponytail. Her 8-inch-long ponytail was dropped onto the cape and Pamela’s eyes began to tear up as she gazed at it. The barber then ran a comb through Pamela’s long, red tresses and began to wet down her hair, like he had done with Susan.

Susan eagerly watched her mother as the barber began cutting the length of Pamela’s hair away, taking it in 1-inch sections starting at the back. Pamela looked at herself in the mirror as pieces of wet, cut hair dropped to the dark green cape & slid down to the floor.
“I don’t know how you manage a family as well as you do,” Barry said. “You work full time – you’re returning to law school – and you’re raising 2 children as well. Your daughter has told me so much about you.”
“Well, Susan is a tremendous help to me – she works weekends as well and donates 30% of what she makes to me.” Pamela answered. “She has always been older for her age, and when other kids are partying she was working, or playing tennis, or ice skating. And on top of that she’s such a good student.”

By now Pamela’s hair had reached just to the length of her shoulders, and the barber combed her bangs down in front of her face. Long, red clumps of wet hair dangled to the tip of her nose as the barber combed them down. The barber then spun the chair so that Pamela faced the front of the shop again.
“Now – I think if we just take these off just above your eyebrows, it will take a while before it grows back to that length.” Barry said.
“Sure,” Pamela said. “I’m not sure when I’ll be able to come back after this haircut.”
With a series of snips, Pamela’s wet, dripping bangs dropped to the cape and slid down onto the chair’s footrest. Once again, Pamela could see her baby blue eyes. “It looks good so far,” Pamela said, “but I’m wondering if we can take some of the thickness out. It gets quite heavy.”
“I can take some out with thinning shears,” the barber suggested. “That’ll still leave you plenty in the
back.”
“Sounds good.” Barry picked up the thinning shears – shears with teeth along the blades – and began snipping away at the back & sides of her head. Clumps of soft, red hair began to drop to the cape & floor. Brushing Pamela’s hair again, he sectioned it so that her bangs curved slightly in the front and reached just ½” above her eyebrows. Her hair reached just about 1″ above her shoulders in a bob-like cut.
“Wow – I can’t believe it!” Pamela said. “I never thought I would ever let a barber cut my hair, but this is wonderful!”
“Glad you like it ma’am. Now let’s rinse it so you’re not shedding all day.” Placing a towel on Pamela’s shoulders, he walked her over to the shampoo basin and had her lean back. Pamela felt so good as the warm water ran through her hair, and thought to herself, “The guys at work will NEVER recognize me.”. A minute later, Pamela’s hair was gently being towel-dried so it was still damp, and she was seated in the barber’s chair again. Barry blow-dried her hair, brushing it out as he did. He then began dusting off Pamela’s neck with a duster, unfastened the cape & removed the tissue. Then with a SWOOSH the large dark green cape was removed, and Pamela stepped out of the chair.
“OK ladies – $22 for yours,” he said to Pamela, “and $16 for yours”, he told Susan. “Long hair is a little extra.”
“Still, it’s less than a salon haircut,” Pamela said.
“I find if I charge less than salons more ladies will come in too – and they often bring their sons and sometimes their daughters for haircuts,” he answered.
“Well – it’s VERY likely I’ll see you again in 3 months or so.” Pamela said, as she paid him & left a generous tip of $10. “And make sure you come back in 6 weeks, young lady – and we’ll keep that cut nice & short,” the barber said.
“See you then!” Susan said as she & her mother left the shop. “Young lady, you sure have found yourself a good place for haircuts,” her mother said as they headed for the truck. “Now, if only we can get your brother in the chair!”
“That won’t happen, Mom – he’ll still want to go to Christine at your old salon.”
“Well, you’ve still found a cheaper and better place – at least for us!” Pamela answered. “Now – let’s go play some tennis!”

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