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Family Loyalties

This was the moment she’d been dreading for the last few weeks. Having heard her name called from the master bedroom, Suzanne made her way up the stairs to where her sister, Josie, and hairdressing friend, Debbie, waited for her. As she walked in, her mother was leaning across the dressing table, looking into the mirror and admiring the haircut that Debbie had just given her.

“Look at this.” She exclaimed, seeing her youngest daughter walk through the door. “Hasn’t Debbie done a wonderful job?” Her mother stood back from the table and turned around so that she could have a good look. Suzanne was a little shocked. Her mother’s usual shoulder length bob had been radically transformed. It was now cut much shorter; with the length of the sides having been taken much higher and the back clipped quite short. Longer layers, from her crown, had been only slightly trimmed so as to sweep down diagonally across her forehead.

“Mum, you look so different.” Suzanne replied, not sure if such a modern style suited a woman in her late fifties?

“Yes, but doesn’t she look incredible? I persuaded her to let Debbie loose.” Josie said, smiling to her younger sister. “It’s your turn now Suzanne. Go and sit in the chair.” Suzanne walked across the room to the dressing table whilst her mother continued to voice her overwhelming approval of her new hairstyle.

“You know Josie, I would never have thought of having my hair this short. I love it!” She beamed, running her through her short locks. “I can’t get over the feeling of this.” She added, rubbing the clipped hair on her nape.

“Perhaps you could convince your youngest to have the same done?” Josie said, pointing to her sibling. Suzanne scornfully stared back at Josie through the dressing table mirror, as Debbie shook her black cape and flung it around her.

“Okay then,” she announced, fastening the cape securely around Suzanne’s neck, “so what am I doing with your sister Josie?” Suzanne watched as her elder sister approached the chair and looked down at her long hair with obvious displeasure.

“Well, hopefully she’s seen some sense and will finally agree to have it cut?” Josie replied.

Suzanne frowned back at her sister. “No, I’ve told you, I’m not having it cut.”

“Oh, you can be such a bitch sometimes Suzanne!” Fumed Josie despairingly. “I knew you’d be like this! You’re only doing this to spoil my wedding aren’t you?”

“Not at all. It’s got nothing to do with your wedding…”

“It’s got everything to do with my wedding!” Interrupted Josie. “You’re one of my three bridesmaids, and all that I’m asking is that you have your hair bobbed like Gail and Jess so that you all have a similar look. But no, you want to be awkward. You want to be the odd one out, you…”

“I want to keep my long hair!” Suzanne said defiantly. “I am not willing to give up my hair just so that you can have three identical bridesmaids.”

Josie glared angrily down at her sister. “Tell her!” She hissed, turning towards her mother. “Tell her how selfish she’s being.” Smiling understandingly, her mother stepped up to stand behind her seated daughter.

“Suzy love,” she said softly, “why not do this for your sister? It is her special day after all?” Suzanne rolled her eyes.

“I know it is, and I’m really not trying to be awkward,” she argued, “but I don’t see why I should have to give up my long hair just to please her. She wouldn’t do the same for me!”

“Of course I would!” Josie snapped back. “I’d do whatever you wanted if it were your wedding, but it’s not, it’s mine.” She reached down and grabbed a handful of Suzanne’s long locks in her hand. “So, are you having this lot cut or not?” Suzanne shook her head. “Very well,” ranted Josie, almost throwing the hair back down, “if that’s how it’s going to be!”

“Suzanne! See how upset you’re making your sister?” Her mother persisted.

“No mother, if she’s made up her mind then there’s nothing more to say.” Josie begrudgingly acknowledged.

“Oh, don’t be like that Josie.” Her mother replied.

“Be like what?” She snarled. “It’s my big day, and will my own sister try to make it special for me? No!”

“If trying means having my hair cut short, then no, I won’t.” Argued Suzanne defensively. “I don’t see why I should!”

“Oh, can’t the two of you work this out?” Sighed her mother.

“We’ll just work with what we have.” Josie snorted, “What do you think Debbie?” She said, stepping to one side to allow her hairdressing friend to take over.

“Very well.” Debbie said, as she began to comb Suzanne’s hair out. “If you’re not willing to have it cut a little shorter for your sister’s big day, then I’m afraid you’re going to have to wear it up!” She clearly didn’t like it that Suzanne’s defiance was preventing Josie from getting what she wanted and, by her tone, had plans for Suzanne and her hair.

“Fine.” Suzanne replied. “I don’t have a problem with that.”

“At last, you’ve found something you can agree on.” Exclaimed Suzanne’s mother. “Perhaps now, you can stop bickering and let Debbie get on with her work? She added, glaring down at Suzanne, who looked back at her bewilderedly. “Right then, I’m going downstairs to check on your father. I’ll be back up in a while girls.” She said as she left the room.

“Okay mum.” Josie called after her, as Debbie continued to comb through Suzanne’s hair. Now, with only the three of them left in their mother’s bedroom, Josie asked her friend how she intended to deal with her sister’s annoyingly long tresses.

“She claims to love having long hair. Okay then, let’s see how much.” She replied threateningly. “First, I’m going to section it off into three, and then plait it nice and tight.” Josie smirked across at her friend. “Then, I’ll take the plait and wind it tightly upon itself, before pinning it up, high at the back of her head.” She gave Suzanne an ominous smile, before turning to Josie. “Believe me, by the time I’ve finished, her hair will be so tightly wound, it’ll feel as if its coming out at the roots.”

“That’ll teach her.” Hissed Josie, smiling down at her sister. “What do you say about that then?”

“Do it. See if I care.” Dismissed Suzanne. “I’m not letting you cut my hair. You can threaten me all you want!”

“Oh, don’t worry Josie, after she’s had it up for a while I’m sure she’ll change her mind.” Debbie humoured her. “She’ll soon be wanting me to cut it for her!”

“I doubt that very much.” Insisted Suzanne.

Debbie smiled. “Don’t forget sweetheart, come Saturday, you’ll have to wear it up for the whole day.” Suzanne just shrugged her shoulders at the prospect, but Debbie remained confident that time would prove her right. “We’ll see then shall we?” Smiled Debbie as she began to section out Suzanne’s hair. As she described, she sectioned the hair into three and began plaiting it together. At first, Suzanne took comfort in the fact that she couldn’t feel any pressure at all. But Debbie knew her art. At regular intervals, she would ask Josie to take a can of setting spray and squirt the three sections, then again once they were plaited. Once she had plaited the entire length, she pushed her pen into the plait and began winding it with vigour, again whilst spraying it. Suddenly, Suzanne could feel her hair tightening at the roots. Debbie noticed her look of discomfort and grinned at her through the mirror. “Just a little more.” She rotated the pen again. Suzanne winched, as her hair was pulled evener tighter. “Once more?” Debbie asked, turning the pen regardless. This time, Suzanne uncontrollably let out a yelp of pain, much to the amusement of both Debbie and Josie.

“Okay, you’ve had your fun.” Suzanne protested. “Slacken it off now.”

“No way.” Replied Debbie. “You’ve made your choice. You didn’t want it cut, so welcome to the alternative.”

“I can’t have it this tight.”

“Then you’ll have to let Debbie cut it for you. Just ask her nicely and she’ll do it right now.” Encouraged Josie, please
d to see that her friend’s plaiting was having the desired effect.

“No!”

“Very well, I’ll continue.” Smiled Debbie, taking the long plait in her hair and beginning to twist it upon itself. Simply handling the hair added to the pressure on Suzanne’s scalp, and she visibly flinched as Debbie manoeuvred the plait around. Josie allowed herself a wry smile, as she watched her sister squirming in the chair, persisting with her futile resistance.

Finally, Debbie inserted the last of the securing pins and gave Suzanne’s hair a final covering of the setting spray. Her hair was done. Debbie and Josie admired the harsh, rigid hairstyle with mutual satisfaction. With her scalp almost burning with pain, Suzanne could not conceal her reddened eyes from her two tormentors.

As the cape was removed, and Suzanne rose from the chair, Debbie increased the sense of intimidation. “On Saturday, I may even be able to get it a little tighter?” She smiled. “I wouldn’t want it coming loose half way through your sister’s big day, would I?” Suzanne did not reply. All of her thoughts were concentrated on the discomfort she felt. She could even feel the skin around her ears and temples being pulled. The pain was almost intolerable. “Go downstairs and show everyone.” Debbie added, clearly amused by Suzanne’s distress.

“Yeah, show them your long hair now Suzy.”

Bravely, Suzanne did not utter another word of complaint throughout the rest of the dress rehearsal. Outwardly, she appeared happy with her new hairstyle, and even complimented Debbie in front of others, giving no indication of just how agonising it actually was. However, that evening could not come quick enough. At the first opportunity, Suzanne retired back upstairs and took a long cool shower. Her scalp throbbed, having had to endure such torture for over four hours. As she laid her head on her pillow, Suzanne faced up to a stark choice. Yes, she loved her long hair, but she’d be unable to bear the pain of having her hair put up again, especially for a whole day. In truth, if Debbie had suddenly walked into her bedroom, armed with her comb and scissors, then Suzanne would have willingly climbed out of her bed. Debbie’s prediction had been depressingly accurate.

A Friendly Ear?

With Josie having arranged a final fitting at the bridal shop for Wednesday afternoon, Suzanne decided to take the whole day off work. One of her friends, Zoe, had wanted to get together for a couple of weeks. Up until now, either Suzanne was free when Zoe was working, or when Zoe was available Suzanne had plans of her own. Thankfully, Zoe was free on Wednesday morning and the two of them agreed to meet up.

As usual, their first port of call was their favourite coffee shop, which overlooked the river near the town square. Once sat down, the two of them eagerly began exchanging news and gossip about themselves. Zoe worked for nursery, specialising in the growing of large trees and shrubs. The work could be hard, and with long hours, but Zoe loved being outdoors. She especially enjoyed ‘on-site’ work, when she would be involved in the planting of the trees at clients’ residences.

Zoe now asked how ‘the wedding’ was going. Knowing the history of the two bickering sisters, she had been highly amused to hear that Josie had succumbed to family pressures and asked Suzanne to be a bridesmaid. Suzanne gave her a summary of how her sister’s plans were progressing, and examples of how awkward she was being. This inevitably brought up the subject of how Suzanne was being made to wear her hair on the big day, and how Debbie had plaited her hair excessively tight as if to persuade Suzanne to let her cut it.

“I really don’t think I could go all day like that again.” She told Zoe. “It was excruciating!”

Zoe smiled, appearing somewhat amused by the idea. “That’s the trouble with having long hair.” She said. “Why not tell your sister how you feel about it?”

“Like she’d care? I think its part of her bigger plan.” Replied Suzanne. “Ideally she wants me to let Debbie cut it, I know she does. She hates the fact that my hair is longer than hers. Nothing would please her more than Debbie getting her hands on it.” She continued. “It all goes back to three years ago, when she had her hair cut short. Her hairdresser persuaded her to sacrifice her shoulder length locks for a shorter, more fashionable, style. At first, she loved it and even tried to convince me to have the same, telling me how frumpy long hair made me look. But, once she’d lived with it for a while, she soon regretted having it done. Since then, despite having grown her hair back, she’s always been jealous of my long hair and resented the fact that I didn’t get mine cut too. Now, I think she’s using the excuse of her wedding to try and force me to have mine cut.”

“You could ask Debbie not to plait it so tight?”

“Not a chance.” Dismissed Suzanne. “She’d love to hear how painful it was. She’s already threatening to wind it tighter on the day. No, I’m convinced Josie has told her to do everything possible to make me agree to a haircut.”

“”But surely if she’s promising to wind your hair even tighter……” Mused Zoe.

“I know.” Suzanne sighed. “I don’t know what to do.” She lifted her cup and took a sip of her coffee. Zoe looked at her across the table. Of all of Suzanne’s friends, Zoe was probably the most ironic choice in which to confide in. Soon after leaving school, she had shocked everyone who knew her by walking into a barbershop and fulfilling a long-held desire by having her long, shoulder-length hair cut short. Explaining that she was sick of looking after it, she’d asked the barber to give her a short back and sides, and that’s precisely what he’d given her. Those flowing blonde locks, which had been the envy of many a girl, cascaded to the floor as the aged barber pushed his clippers deep into Zoe’s mass of hair. Even now she could remember how the barber, clearly enjoying the act of shearing the long hair off such an attractive young girl, pushed her head forward with the palm of his hand as he pressed those clippers firmly against her skin. The sensation was amazing and, as she watched those long, blonde curls tumble, she felt more aroused than she thought she would do. Since then, she had religiously kept her hair cut short, always going to a barbershop in preference to a salon, but had enjoyed the thrill of dying her hair various colours. Sometimes it would be a shocking, vibrant colour, like orange or red. Other times it would be a more conservative plum or dark purple. Recently, she had reverted back to shades of blonde, although her current platinum colour was nothing like her natural shade.

“How about having it cut?” Zoe asked. Suzanne seemed surprised by her friend’s suggestion.

“What, let Debbie cut it? Are you mad?”

Zoe shook her head and smiled. “No, not necessarily Debbie.” She said. “But you need to do something? She paused but Suzanne did not respond. “Listen, you say that if you keep it long then Debbie will plait it as tight as she can, right?” Suzanne nodded. “Right then, in that case you have little choice but to have some of the length taken off.” Clearly, Suzanne did not find this solution appealing, and gave Zoe a disapproving shrug of her shoulders. “Doesn’t sound like you have a choice.” Concluded Zoe, beginning to sense that her friends’ love affair with her long hair may finally be at an end. Her luscious, brown flowing locks, for so long her most prized asset, were now almost a liability. If she wanted to keep them intact she would have to endure a whole day of agonising pain, and she simply wasn’t up to doing that.

Suzanne turned her head and gazed out of the window. For what felt like a good few minutes, she thoughtfully looked over at the river. “How much do you think I’d need to lose?” Suzanne suddenly asked, appearing to consider the possibility. This was music to Zoe’s ears. There was an old score here that needed to be settled. Yes, Suzanne was a good friend and although she didn’t approve of their tactics, she
did share Josie and Debbie’s desire to see Suzanne part with her long tresses. Since having that old barber shear off her long, blonde locks, Zoe had always promoted the attributes of short hair to all of her friends, but Suzanne had always been the most dismissive of the idea, fiercely reluctant to part with her prized mane. In Zoe’s absence, Suzanne had even joked that shorthaired girls were just dykes trying to be boys. It was a throwaway comment she made in jest, not intending to offend anyone specifically. Unbeknown to Suzanne, one of her mischief-making friends told Zoe exactly what she’d said.

Zoe didn’t confront Suzanne about it. Instead, she decided her friend needed to be taught a lesson. It was easy for someone with long, flowing locks to pour scorn on short haircuts, but what if those long locks were also cut short? Zoe decided it would be a more fitting revenge if Suzanne lost her precious mane. Perhaps then, she’d have more respect for girls who choose to keep their hair short? To this end, Zoe looked for opportunities where she could act out her vengeance. Her obsession had even extended to when the two of them had gone out to parties together. Her hope was that she might catch Suzanne off-guard, a little worse for drink, possibly slumped in a chair or, better still, stretched out across a bed in a quiet bedroom. With her friend incapacitated, Zoe could discreetly take her scissors from her handbag and trim off some of that length. Who’d take any notice of a bit of haircutting going on in the dark? As of yet, the right opportunity had not come along, but was Zoe’s patience about to be rewarded?

“Let’s see,” Zoe said, rising to her feet and stepping round to stand behind Suzanne, “it needs to be short enough to prevent her from plaiting it.” Zoe ran her hands through Suzanne’s hair, gathering it together to form a ponytail. For a second, she imagined the joy of slicing through the thick braid with a pair of shiny scissors. “Mmmmm, not as much as you’d think.” She declared, not wanting to scare Suzanne off the idea.

“How much?” Suzanne quizzed her. Holding her friend’s long hair in her hands, Zoe was increasingly excited by the idea of it being cut short. Having been intensely stimulated by having her own hair shorn off, she’d gone on to develop somewhat of a fascination for short female haircuts. This, together with the chance to see Suzanne finally lose those long tresses, was particularly arousing for Zoe.

“About this much.” She replied, grasping the ponytail in one hand and indicating the loss of the bottom four inches.

“I can’t see.” Suzanne told her, as she twisted her head to get a better view. “How much is that?”

“Oh, about three or four inches.” Answered Zoe, confident that Suzanne might consider losing such a small amount if it saved her from having it plaited up.

“Four inches? Is that all?” Suzanne asked sceptically. Zoe released the ponytail and walked back round to her chair.

“That’s all.” She confirmed. “If you have four inches cut off, then Debbie would not be able to plait it long enough to pin up.” She could see that Suzanne remained unconvinced. “Trust me.” She added. “You could always have some more off if you really want to?”

Suzanne laughed with relief. “No, believe me, four inches is more than enough for me!”

“Well then?” Pressed Zoe. “What do you think?” She was keen to hear Suzanne agree to have her hair cut. Of course, watching only four inches get cut off was never going to satisfy Zoe’s lust, but she knew her friend had to be gently pushed into submission.

“Mmmmmmm,” pondered Suzanne, holding her open palms apart by four inches, “that’s nowhere near as much as I thought you were going to say.” She declared. “Are you sure that would be enough? It doesn’t seem to be right?”

Zoe rolled her eyes. “Sure it is! Hey, if you want me to say you need seven inches cut off then I will, but you don’t need to.” She smirked. “Listen, she wants to plait your hair and coil it into a tight bun on your head? Well, she won’t be able to do that if it’s four inches shorter. So, yes, four inches is enough!” Her argument was weak, but Zoe knew what she was saying was what her friend wanted to hear and, from the look on her face, she was being won over.

“I do love my long hair.” She said, running her fingers through its length. “The thought of having four inches cut off scares me.” She admitted. “I mean, I know Debbie would cut a lot more off…”

“Yes, she would!”

Suzanne smiled. “Yeah, given the chance!” Her face took on a more thoughtful expression. Sighing heavily, she looked down at the hair she was holding in her fingers. “When I think about it, I don’t suppose four inches really is that much is it? She pondered. “My hair will still be quite long, and it would probably do it some good?” She added, gazing lovingly at her ends.

“So then?”

Suzanne continued to run her fingers down her locks, still appearing to deliberate her options. “I don’t really think I have a choice.” She concluded. “Besides, it shouldn’t take too long to grow it back should it?”

“I think you’re doing the right thing.” Zoe reassured her, now turning her attention to getting Suzanne out of the coffee shop and into a barbershop. This was going to be much trickier. Her knowledge of barbershops probably only extended as far as having seen Zoe return with her short back and sides, or possibly having accompanied her father to one when she was much younger? “Now, having made your mind up, you can’t afford to mess about. If your sister gets to hear that you’re planning on having it trimmed, she’ll want Debbie to do it for you, and then it’ll be more than just trimmed.” She advised Suzanne. “You know what you should do Suzy?” Zoe continued. “You should strike while the fire’s hot, whilst your mind is made up?”

“What do you mean?” She answered, looking slightly puzzled. “Get it cut now?” Zoe could tell the idea did not meet with warm approval, but she was intent on seeing that hair cut.

“Absolutely! If you leave it, you’re likely to get cold feet and change your mind.” Reasoned Zoe. “I could come with you, for moral support, and you could get it done right now. Your problems would be solved and, most importantly, Debbie won’t get her hands on your hair.”

“It all sounds so quick. I’ve only just come to terms with the idea of having it cut at all?”

“And that’s the problem Suzy. If you don’t do it straight away, you’ll start finding reasons not to have it cut, and you’ll be back where you started. You’ll end up running out of time and having to let Debbie do it.” Zoe was keen to get Suzanne up on her feet, out of the coffee shop, and away from her comfort zone. “Come on, we’ve got time to do this. Drink up.” She ordered. “We’re leaving.” Without another word, Zoe picked up her bag and headed for the counter to pay. Not quite sure what her friend intended, Suzanne finished her coffee, leaned down and picked up her handbag, and dutifully followed.

Once outside, Suzanne voiced her apprehension. “Zoe, I don’t know if I want it cut today. It all feels a bit rushed.”

“Look Suzy, it’s only a couple of inches. Once you’ve had it cut, you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about.”

“But where are we going? Won’t I need an appointment or something?” She fussed, hurrying to keep up with Zoe.

“No, I know a place that’ll fit you in okay. It’s only a couple of minutes walk away.” Zoe’s heart was pounding with excitement. She was steering Suzanne towards ‘Edwards’, a barbershop on the outskirts of the town centre. The shop had been there for years, and was one of the last traditional barbershops in the town. Renown for traditional barbering and short haircuts, those who knew of it also knew that you never left the shop with anything other than very short hair. Of the three barbers whom worked there, two of them were middle-aged women. Zoe had frequently visited the shop and witnessed the women in action. Men or women, it didn’t seem to matter to them. Hair was hair, and hair was for cutting! Enteri
ng the shop was like being a fly caught in a spider’s web. Your hair was going to be cut short, regardless of any request you might make. To Zoe’s delight, on one occasion she’d seen a teenage lad come into the barbershop, accompanied by his unsuspecting young girlfriend. Once her boyfriend’s haircut was in progress, one of the two barberettes masterfully enticed the young girl into having her own hair ‘trimmed’. Looking anything but confident, the girl had hesitantly walked over and sat down in the barbers’ chair. Swiftly, the barberette had swung the cape around her, and fastened it securely around her neck. Sitting there in the big, old-fashioned barbers’ chair, the young girl looked very nervous as her long blonde hair was carefully combed. She glanced across at her boyfriend, and gave him a forced smile. He looked back at her with a questioning expression. With her shimmering, blonde locks contrasting against her caped shoulders, he must have wondered what she was doing? As she faced forward again, the barbertte asked her to tilt her head forward, which she duly did. The old woman made a few more passes with the comb, and then began cutting. By the time the young girl realised how much was being cut it was too late. Her long, blonde hair rained down onto the floor.

Zoe knew that Suzanne would succumb to the same fate, providing she could get her inside.

Entering the Dragon’s Den

Aware of how Suzanne might react to the sight of the barbershop, Zoe was careful to ensure that they approached from the far end of parade. This way, upon turning the corner, the barbershop door would just be a step away. Her suspicions were correct. As they turned the corner, Suzanne looked shocked. “But that’s a barbershop?” She said nervously, as Zoe headed determinedly for the door.

“Don’t worry Suzy, they do ladies too.”

“But, but I don’t want my hair cut by a barber.” Suzanne argued, seeing the old barber busy at work through the shop window. Zoe paused at the door, sensing that her friend was on the verge of walking away.

“It’s not as bad as you think Suzy love. The old man leaves ladies’ haircuts to the two women.” Zoe assured her, desperate now to get her inside. “Listen, if it makes you feel better, then I’ll go first and get mine cut?” It was a compromise she was willing to take, if only to get Suzanne in the chair after her. Eagerly she pushed the door open and held it for Suzanne to go through. Not wanting to be seen to starting an argument on the doorstep, Suzanne reluctantly stepped through the doorway, not entirely comfortable with the situation she now found herself in. The smell of gentlemen’s aftershave and tobacco filled the girl’s nostrils as Suzanne stepped clear of the doorway allowing her jubilant friend to close the door behind them. In front of her, Suzanne could see a row of three red leather barbers’ chairs, two of which were occupied by men, almost completely enveloped by red capes. The frail-looking barber, working at the chair nearest to the door, turned and greeted the girls.

“Good morning ladies. Haircuts?” He asked, pausing with his comb and scissors poised over his customer’s head.

“Yes, me and my friend here.” Zoe immediately replied, playfully lifting Suzanne’s long hair up for the old man to admire.

The barber nodded at Suzanne, as he cast his eyes over her long hair. “Yes, I see. Very well, I’m sure my colleague will be happy to do that for you.” The old man smiled. “Please take a seat while you wait.” Zoe steered Suzanne towards a row of wooden chairs, stood in front of the shop window, making sure that she sat down on the end one, furthest away from the door as possible. She finally had Suzanne where she wanted her, and wasn’t about to let her escape now!

Now seated, Suzanne found herself directly behind the second occupied barbers’ chair. The man in it was receiving a particularly short haircut from a middle-aged barberette, whose shoes stood in a mass of hair cuttings on the floor. The woman glanced over at Suzanne a couple of times, but did not say anything.

“Are you sure about this place?” Suzanne whispered to her, increasingly nervous of her unfamiliar surroundings. Usually her mother, or her very trusted girlfriend Emily, would trim her split ends for her every six weeks. She had been to hairdressing salons in the past, but had found them to be a little scissor happy with her long hair, and had never come away feeling entirely satisfied with the end result. Now, she found herself sitting inside a barbershop, waiting for her turn in this woman’s chair. Watching the barberette at work with her clippers, Suzanne couldn’t help but worry as to whether this woman could be trusted to cut just four inches off?

“Yes.” Zoe replied. “I come here quite often.” That much was true, but it was because she was guaranteed a no-nonsense short haircut, without the fuss and fretting of a modern salon. Zoe realised that only one of the two women were working in the shop today, but was pleased to see that it was Joan. Of the two barberettes, Joan was the more severe when it came to cutting hair, and seemed to take great joy in despatching long hair to the floor. There was no doubt in Zoe’s mind that once Suzanne was sat in Joan’s chair, then her longhaired days would be over. The thought of it made Zoe smile wickedly at her friend. “You’d be surprised how many girls come here to get their hair cut.” She added, trying to reassure her friend, but her words did little to comfort her. Zoe always kept her hair short, with the back and sides regularly sheared, and so a visit to the barbers was very much in keeping with her style. Suzanne’s hair, however, required more skill and finesse than just being buzzed with some clippers.

Just then, the old man pulled the cape away from his customer who, in turn, stood up from the chair and admired his reflection in the mirror.

“That’s much better John, thank you.” He said to the barber, before heading over to the cash register to pay. As the man closed the shop door behind him, John returned to his barbers’ chair and gave the floor a quick sweep with his broom. He glanced down the shop at the two girls waiting, but turned and headed for a door into a back room, presumably going for a short break.

Sensing that Joan was finishing her client’s haircut, Suzanne began to get restless at the thought of soon being in the chair. “Zoe, I really don’t know about this.” She said.

“That’s last minute nerves. You’ll be fine.” Zoe persisted, placing her open palm on Suzanne’s thigh. “Look, I’ll have mine tidied up and then you can get yours done, okay?” She had cajoled her this far, and there was no way that Suzanne was evading that barbers’ chair now.

“I suppose so.” She conceded, still not convinced. Watching Zoe receive her regular short back and sides was hardly likely to give Suzanne any indication as to whether the old woman would trim her hair as she wanted? Despite this, she could see that her friend was doing everything possible to allay her concerns and help her get through this. If Zoe could be that supportive of her, then surely she could be brave enough to face her fears?

The barbertte observed their exchange as she held the mirror for her customer to view his haircut. Placing it back on its hook, she returned and began to remove the cape from around the gentleman. As he stepped out of the chair, she turned to face Suzanne.

“Here you go dear, come and make yourself comfortable and I’ll be with you in a second.” She turned the barbers’ chair round to face Suzanne, and stood there waiting for her to accept her invitation. There was a pause whilst Suzanne told herself to be strong, get up and go and sit in that chair. Just as she went to stand up, Zoe rose from her chair and stepped forward.

“I said that I would go first.” She told the woman, as she walked over to the waiting chair. “She’s agreed to go next.” Zoe lowered herself into the barbers’ chair and smiled over to Suzanne. The barbertte turned the chair back round to face the wall mirror. “I’ll j
ust get this young lady ready and then I’ll be with you sir.” She called after her customer. With a flick of her wrists, the cape ballooned over Zoe, settling down to cover her and the chair completely. The barberette wasted no time in gathering it tightly around Zoe’s neck, before walking away to attend to her previous customer at the cash register.

Sitting there, behind her caped friend, Suzanne couldn’t help feeling increasingly nervous about following her into the chair and letting this woman loose with her treasured locks. As she looked across at the barbertte handing the gentleman his change, the shop door opened and in walked two more girls. They exchanged pleasantries with the barberette, and the three of them walked back together. The two girls, both with reasonably short hair already, smiled politely at Suzanne as they sat down next to her.

“Right then my dear.” The barberette declared, as she brushed past Zoe to pick up her scissors and comb from the countertop. She paused and took a second to realign the row of clipper guard attachments, sat on a piece of towelling by the side of the washbasin. “General tidy up is it?” She asked, as she ran her comb through Zoe’s hair. “Quite short already isn’t it?” She added.

“Yes,” smirked Zoe, “I’m really here to give my friend some moral support. She wants hers cutting a little shorter.” The barbertte look a long look at Suzanne, through the wall mirror, clearly viewing her long hair in anticipation of getting her hands on it.

“So I see.” She replied. The old woman adjusted her stance behind the chair. “So, shall we say a no.3 on the back and sides, and a little off the top?” She asked, turning her attention back to Zoe’s hair.

The Point of No Return

Having been distracted, watching her friend, Suzanne hadn’t noticed the old man return from his break. Upon seeing three girls now waiting for haircuts, he lifted the cape off the back off his chair and shook it loose. “Next please.” he called out. Suzanne glanced over at him but failed to register what he’d said.

“He’s calling you.” One of the two girls told her.

“Oh, right.” Suzanne replied somewhat confused. Hadn’t Zoe said that the old man didn’t cut ladies’ hair? So why was he calling her now?

“Miss?” He called out once more, holding his cape ready for her. Suzanne dreamily stood up and looked over at Zoe through the wall mirror. She just gave Suzanne a shrug of her shoulders. Both of them had expected for Suzanne to follow her into the barberette’s chair.

One of the two girls let out a snigger, obviously realising that Suzanne wasn’t too keen on accepting the barber’s invitation. “Go on, it’s your turn.” She grinned, nudging her friend and looking up at Suzanne. Her friend smiled, adding. “He’s waiting to cut that hair of yours.” The old man turned the chair round slightly and beckoned her over. Feeling compelled to oblige, Suzanne walked towards the barber with great trepidation. As she approached, he gave her an unsettling smile and guided her into his chair with his open hand. No sooner had she sat down, the barber turned the chair round to face the front, and flung his red cape over her. Watching it billow around her and then slowly settle across her lap, it felt as though it bound her into the chair, without any chance of escape. Suzanne began to seriously question why she was doing this.

“Strange to have so many ladies in all at once.” He remarked, tightly fastening the cape around her neck and pulling her long hair free. Suzanne could smell the strong odour of cigarettes on his breath as he spoke. “My, you do have a lot of hair miss?” He uttered. “Normally I would leave you for the girls to sort out, but seeing how there’s three of you waiting.” He continued. Suzanne cringed as, watching through the mirror, she saw him repeatedly run his wrinkled hands slowly through her long locks, admiring her head of hair. Finally, he brushed past her to pick up his comb and scissors from the countertop. She could hear him breathing heavily, as if the prospect of cutting her hair excited him. Slowly, he passed the comb through her long tresses. He seemed to pay particular attention to getting her parting completely straight, smoothing down the hair on both sides with his open palm, before moving round to stand behind her again. “Could you tilt your head down then Miss?” He instructed, gently pushing her head forward with his hand. Suzanne was now concerned that he’d not asked how she wanted it cut. She had patiently waited for some kind of consultation to take place, but it hadn’t happened?

“I only want the ends trimmed.” She advised him. “No more than about four inches, okay?” He pushed her head forward even more, so that her chin was almost touching her caped chest. She felt him run his hands through her locks once again, this time fanning them out across her shoulders. “Okay?” She repeated, anxious to hear him confirm that he’d heard her instruction. There was no reply. Instead, she felt his comb run down the back of her head, as if on one last pass.

She went to lift her head slightly, but his open palm swiftly pushed it back down. “Keep still, please Miss!” He ordered her sternly. Suzanne was taken aback by his tone. His comb made several more passes through her hair before he paused. Schnick! The cut was sudden and defining. Suzanne could tell that he’d made it quite high up her neck. Schnick! Another cut was made. Schnick………..schnick………….schnick! The old man cut straight across the cascading mane without any further hesitation. That was not just four inches being trimmed off. Suzanne knew this was bad and that she needed to get out of that chair there and then, but her fear took a hold of her.

“Please, not too short.” She said, seemingly unable to muster up any kind of protest other than a pitiful plea, despite realising that the old barber was about to cut it considerably shorter than she wanted.

“Don’t worry dear,” the barber replied, “I’ll make sure you still look like a girl, but you’re definitely overdue a decent haircut.” His cutting intensified, as he lifted the shortened locks with his comb and began cutting into them with earnest. Schnick-schnick, schnick-schnick, schnick-schnick. Suzanne could feel his comb being pushed up her nape as he frantically cut away at her hair. “My, you’ll certainly feel lighter after this.” He chuckled. Schnick-schnick, schnick-schncik. Suzanne could only imagine what damage he was doing. Part of her wished that she could gather the strength to get up and run out of the shop but deep down she knew it was already too late for that. With her head still pushed down, she began to see cuttings of her cherished hair fall down the cape and onto her lap. She was shocked by just how long they were. Inches of her beautiful mane tumbled down around her, as the barber moved to stand to her side. Finally, she was allowed to upright her head and catch a glimpse of her reflection. At first, all she could see was that he’d roughly cut five or six inches off the sides. Then, having adjusted his stance, he resumed his cutting. Schnick-schnick, schnick-schnick, schnick-schnick.

For the first time, she witnessed her beautiful tresses cascade down from her head as the old man cut, scissor-over-comb, up around her right ear. His technique was swift and effective, leaving her hair just over an inch long as he went. Schnick-schnick, schnick-schnick. Suzanne could not comprehend what was happening to her, and just stared at her reflection in the mirror. Her glorious long mane, so often teased into soft, rolling curls, had gone! On one side, she now sported a hastily cut, chin-length bob. On the other side, her hair had been cut so short that the shape of her head was now clearly defined and visible. Her shoulder was covered in a mass of her brown hair, some sliding effortlessly down onto her lap.

Stepping in front of her, the barber blocked her view as he began to work on her crown. Schnick-schnick. With her eyes beginning to water, Suzanne could feel the old man cutting away at h
er precious bangs without any regard for her feelings. Schnick-schnick, schnick-schnick, those worshipped strands of hair dropped down before her eyes. As he moved to her left-hand side, her reflection came back into view. It was crushing for her. That sexy, wispy fringe had been cut away, exposing a vast expanse of forehead. Emotion took over, and Suzanne was unable to prevent tears from running down her cheeks as she watched the barber hack away at the only length she had left. Within seconds, exposed and naked for the first time in years, Suzanne’s ears protruded from the sides of her head. She sat there in silence, unable to come to terms with her transformation. The barber dusted off her shoulders with his hand, before returning to his countertop.

He placed down his comb and scissors, and then reached over and unhooked his electric clippers. With his back to Suzanne, he selected a guide and snapped it on. As he turned around to face her, he blew the clipper head clean and switched the clippers on with a loud ‘POP’. He smiled at her, admiring her shortened locks, and then stepped round to the back of the chair. “Right then Miss, could you lean your head forward again please.” He asked.

Suzanne turned her head slightly to the side. “Do you have to use them?” She asked, her eyes reddened with tears. “Isn’t my hair short enough now?” The barber was taken aback by the young girl’s remarks, and frowned back at her.

“Young lady, I’ll be the judge of that.” He snarled, placing his open palm firmly against the back of her head. “Now, will you please tilt your head forward?” His reaction extinguished any fight Suzanne had left in her, and she resigned herself to her fate, obediently lowering her chin submissively. “Better!” He grumbled, bringing the humming clippers up to Suzanne’s head.

She braced herself as she heard the approaching clippers. In trying to avoid having her hair cut short by her sister’s friend, she’d ended up in a barbers’ chair having her hair shorn off in any case! She flinched as she felt the clipper head press against her nape, its massaging vibrations resonating into her skin. The old man slowly pushed the clippers up her slender neck, and Suzanne could hear the distinctive scrunching sound of the blades harvesting her remaining hair. It was the final confirmation, if it was needed, that her days of having long hair were well and truly over. Yet, despite this, Suzanne took strange pleasure from the sensation of being sheared. The droning hum and soft vibrations of the clippers, combined with the sight of being shorn by an old barber in the masculine environment of a barbershop, made Suzanne positively tingle. As the clippers made pass after pass, Suzanne relaxed into the chair for the first time since getting into it. She stared at the girl in the mirror, caped and at the mercy of the frail old barber. She watched him rest his hand on the young girl’s head as he pushed those clippers high up the side of her head. For those few minutes, Suzanne revelled in the feeling of those clippers against her skin, alienating herself from the reality of her reflection. That wasn’t her in the mirror. That girl was somebody else. That girl was at the callous mercy of the old man, who was shearing her hair high and tight. Suzanne, on the other hand, was immersed in a wonderfully sensual experience. She could have easily closed her eyes, and allowed the humming clippers to massage her scalp for some time to come.

“All done!” The barber announced, switching the clippers off again, and hanging them back on the hook. “Doesn’t that feel better?” He asked, standing alongside Suzanne and looking into the mirror with her.

Suzanne didn’t answer. She raised her hand to feel her pampered scalp, but felt only the bristle-like texture of her hair. The girl in the mirror did likewise. Her dreamlike state had could to an abrupt end. The girl in the mirror and the girl in the chair were the same. The gravity of the situation dawned on Suzanne as she realised just how short her hair now was.

The barber shrugged at her lack of response, and proceeded to remove the cape. Suzanne watched as the mass of cut hair tumbled off the cape and over the floor. There seemed so much of it! She looked back into the mirror. Now her clothing was visible again, and she was able to make a direct comparison between how she’d looked before and how she looked now. She was unrecognisable! Rising from the chair, she rubbed her hand over her hair once again, disbelieving that it was her prized long locks lying there on the floor. There could be no more denial.

“Oh, Suzanne, you look amazing!” Zoe gasped, sitting on one of the wooden chairs, as her friend turned to face her. Her own haircut had finished a while ago, allowing her to take up a prime spectator position. “I can’t believe you’ve had it cut so short. It looks fantastic!” She added, raising her hand up to Suzanne’s hair. Gently, she ran her fingers through the cropped locks, before letting her open palm repeatedly caress her friend’s scalp in circular motions. “Doesn’t that feel wonderful Suzy? It really suits you.” She purred, overjoyed to finally see her friend shorn of her long hair. “Do you like it?”

Suzanne didn’t answer at first. She was still in shock at having willingly lost her long hair, and upset for having been too nervous to protest more strongly. Even now, she could not believe she’d sat there and let the barber cut her hair so short without putting up some kind of resistance. Zoe guided her to the cash register, still running her hand through Suzanne’s sheared locks, and appreciatively paid the barber. If Suzanne was honest, then the sensation of Zoe rubbing her hand through her short hair did feel extremely nice and, having her friend do it so lovingly, she did find it mildly arousing. There was no hiding that fact from Zoe. She knew exactly how Suzanne felt, as she’d found the sensation equally stimulating when hers had been cut that first time.

“It’s so short.” Suzanne finally spoke, as Zoe held the door open for her to leave. “What have I done?”

“Oh, but it looks so much better!” Zoe reassured her, running her hand over her friend’s hair some more. “Mmmmmmmmmm, that feels lovely!” She told her, appealing to Suzanne’s sensual side rather than allow her to focus on her appearance. Zoe could hardly believe that her goal had been achieved. Suzanne’s long, brown locks, for so long pampered and teased lovingly, now lay on the floor for the barber to sweep up and put in his bin.

Walking away from the shop, in the bright, warm sunshine, Zoe continued to compliment Suzanne on her new look and dispel any of her misgivings. In contrast to Suzanne, who remained very quiet, Zoe positively beamed with satisfaction as she looked at how short the old man had sheared her. It would take her years to grow all of that length back! Zoe could not stop herself from touching Suzanne’s cropped head, aroused by the fact that she’d been the one to who had forced Suzanne into the barbershop, and watched gleefully as the barber had taken his clippers to her precious hair. The sight of the old man shearing Suzanne’s hair off had made Zoe feel so horny, and it was all that she could do not to masturbate there and then in the shop.

Now short of time, regrettably needing to get back to work, Zoe pressed Suzanne to meet up with her after work and go back to her flat that evening. Having successfully manipulating her into having her hair cut short, Zoe was now contemplating the chances of getting Suzanne to agree to have it dyed. For Zoe, it would be the icing on the cake and, as far as she could see, not beyond the realms of possibility. Suzanne was clearly feeling deflated and vulnerable after her barbershop experience, and may therefore go for it. Of course, Zoe being Zoe, she would suggest a subtle shade change, but she was determined to dye it a really vibrant colour, like an orange or a red. Once she had Suzanne’s head bent over her washbasin, Zoe could easily switch the colours without her friend realising. Once applied, it would
be too late for Suzanne to do anything about it, and her transformation would be complete.

“Okay.” Agreed Suzanne. “I think I’ll need some sanctuary tonight. Josie will be livid when she sees this.” She added, fearing her sister’s reaction to her dramatic change of hairstyle.

“Tell you what then, why don’t you sleep over?” Suggested Zoe. She knew that if Suzanne was stopping the night, it would make it so much easier to bully her into having her hair dyed and, equally, much more difficult for Suzanne to refuse. “You can come and escape from it all?”

“Yeah, I’d like that.”

“That’s a deal then. Meet me outside my offices at five, and I’ll even make you dinner!” Zoe enthused, relishing the prospect of Suzanne returning home with her.

The two of them parted company, to go their separate ways. As Suzanne walked away, Zoe turned and admired the view. The absence of those familiar flowing, long locks brought a smile to her face. It would be a long time before Suzanne’s hair would ever grow to that length again.

“Just wait until tonight Suzy.” She uttered to herself, turning to walk back to work.

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