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[Total: 3    Average: 3/5]

Karen was a plain small woman in her twenties. Not that she was ugly, just the opposite! But she was very adept at hiding her potential attractiveness in colorless and unbecoming clothes.

The only thing that did not match this image, was her hair: long, thick, straight, almond brown, which she always wore in a tight pony tail. Never had anyone seen Karen with open hair!

And never had she been in a salon, because it always had been her mother who trimmed the ends.
But her mother had died two years ago, and now Karen had a real problem.

The hair grew and grew, and the once so perfect ends started to split more and more.
Karen tried to dismiss the problem. But every morning when she brushed her hair,
she became aware that soon she would have to do something about it.

Every time she passed in front of a salon, she imagined herself going in and saying: “I’d like to get the ends trimmed.” But there would some stranger, possibly a man, open her pony tail, and start working on her hair, which in the meantime had reached her hips.

And as all salons had large windows without curtains, all the people passing on the street could see what was happening – unthinkable! Additionally the more the ends split, the more Karen feared the professional headshaking comments.

She also feared that instead of a simple trim she would get a more radical change of style – and it wasn’t that she loved her long hair that much. It really was more often than not a nuisance, but she had great difficulty with the thought of one day standing in front of the mirror and having to get used to a new Karen.

Additionally she would feel so ashamed of going to the office for the first time with a new hair style, and all her colleagues commenting on it.

One Saturday afternoon Karen discovered on a quiet side street a small salon, whose display windows where covered by white curtains. And then she suddenly took a decision and entered the salon and told the nice elderly lady who was just mopping the floor:

“Good afternoon, I’d like to get trim.” The barberette looked up and smiled. ,This is really a barbershop for men, but no problem, we’ll do it! The only thing is that I’m leaving now, but my son is staying, he’ll cut your hair!”

And before Karen was able to say anything, she called: “Mike, can you come? You have a customer!” A handsome young man entered the shop through a side door, and asked Karen to sit on one of the two barber chairs. And quickly he caped her with practiced hands and opened her pony tail.

He brushed her hair with firm strokes and said: “Beautiful hair! But the ends really have to be trimmed, perhaps to the middle of your back? Then you’ll have gotten rid of the split ends! But first I’ll wash them thoroughly.”

Karen who barely was able to avoid trembling, heard herself saying: “Is that necessary? Can’t you trim them dry?”

But Mike answered firmly and briefly. “No, here we only cut wet hair, and your hair will have to be washed soon, it’s somewhat greasy.”

This was true. Formerly Karen’s mother took care of the bothersome cleaning two times a week (Karen remembered the Thursdays and Sundays ritual, where she had to kneel in front of the bath tub, and was shampooed very energetically.) But since her death, she only got to wash her hair once a week at the most, and not with the same toughness and energy.

Mike had already placed a towel on Karen’s shoulders and asked her to bend forward over the wash basin. Then she realized that she was going to get an old fashioned front shampooing.

Mike turned on the water and placed the showerhead over her head and a warm intensive flood flowed over her hair, and as it got wetter the weight increased and was pulling her head deeper into the basin, which was quite deep and ample, but nevertheless a bit too small for such long hair.

Before she closed her eyes, Karen saw how the now almost black mass of hair coiled at the basin’s bottom and covering it. She couldn’t avoid thinking proudly “This is my hair”

Through the curtain of wet hair, she heard Mike asking if the temperature was OK and apologizing for it being somewhat uncomfortable, as they only had basins for front washing in this old fashioned barber shop – but Karen was already lost in a fascinating dream world, surrounded by the rushing of the water, and she began to relax and to enjoy it … First she got an initial shampooing, a rinse, and then with the second shampooing a long head massage.

Mike hard just started to rinse her hair when a colleague of him came into the barbershop wanting to know if he was going to be free today in the evening or if he was engaged.

There Karen was sitting with her wet hair bent into in the wash basin and behind her back the two men were chatting. She couldn’t see them but she sensed how Mike’s colleague was staring at her. Finally Mike said: “I have to continue, my customer is waiting!”

The door closed and she was again alone with Mike. The waster was rushing again, Mike repeatedly asked her if she was OK, and he offered her a small piece of cloth for the eyes . But Karen didn’t want a cloth she was feeling happy and sheltered.

Mike couldn’t be dissuaded to go and fetch a conditioner, which in a barbershop usually isn’t right at hand. Finally he rinsed her hair again very thoroughly.

When Karen was allowed to sit upright again and opened her eyes for the first time it seemed to her as if she had awoken from a long soothing sleep.

“Sleeping Beauty” she thought, and she saw herself in the mirror smiling contentedly. The hair was professionally combed, cut, and dried, and then Mike asked: “Shall I tie it again into a pony tail?”
“No” said Karen, “Please leave them open, that fits my current mood.”

Author’s note:
I’m aware that many of you readers will give this story a poor rating, because there wasn’t any drastic reduction of the hair length or even head shaving. Nevertheless I feel that most of the stories on this site have gotten too predictable and some different stories are needed to break the pattern.

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