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author: bc
time for a change – true – salon – pg

I dated Pam for several years. When I first met her she had straight dark brown hair to her waist. By the time we were dating she’d cut it to mid-back and had wiispy bangs. When we’d been together for six months she got a bob, but that’s a different story. I convinced her to try shorter styles, but those are different stories, too.

She didn’t like having short hair, but had cut it… kind of short… a couple times at my suggestion, and hated it. They were the ugly haircuts of a woman who wanted a short haircut that wasn’t really short. She always went to the same stylist, Anna, who was aware before long that I wanted Pam to cut her hair short.

One time, in winter, when Pam was dead set on growing her hair long again, Anna gave her a horrible feathered shoulder-length cut that Pam couldn’t style to look right. She raged and wept and fussed with it for a day, but hated it. I made suggestions, but the only one that made sense to her was going back to Anna to either learn how to style her hair or re-cut it.

To make matters worse, I didn’t have a car and Pam’s was in the shop, but her desparation was such that we took off to the salon by bus in a blizzard. When we were sitting at a bus stop, waiting for the connecting bus, I told her again that I wished she would cut her hair very short – shorter than she had cut it before. Surprisingly, she accepted the idea and agreed that she should.

When we got to the salon, I assumed she would forget about our discussion… but, to my surprise, she started looking through short haircut books in earnest. We looked at the styles together while she waited for her after-hours consultation, and she didn’t shy away from the very short ones that I thought would freak her out. We picked several and marked the pages, but I was sure she was just toying with me.

They were closing the shop when it was Pam’s turn. Anna was clearly burnt from a day at work and asked her, “so, Pam, you want me to show you how to style this again?” It was pitch black outside and most of the salon staff was either cleaning up or leaving.

“Actually, Anna,” Pam said with her vioce cracking, “I want you to cut my hair very short.” She showed her one of the pictures we’d marked, very short on the sides and back and sculpted on top with goo. I couldn’t have been happier.

“That’s very short,” Anna said, obviously surprised by the photo. “We’ve tried to go short before and you didn’t like it. This is much shorter. Are you sure?” Pam nodded confidently as the cape fastened around her neck. “It’s a cute cut. Let’s do it, then.”

Anna spent forever on the back of Pam’s head, and while I could see lots of hair falling there wasn’t a dramatic change that I could see until Anna stepped away and Pam felt the back of her head, mouthing to me in the mirror “it’s sooo short” as if in shock and I could see that it was. There were great gobs of black wet hair on the floor and her hair was stubble at her nape. Pam maintained an open-mouthed expression of amused but tragic disbelief after feeling her nape.

Anna looked straight at me when she cut Pam’s hair above the ear on the left. Pam gasped – it was all the way above her ear, and the next followed. Anna cut her hair shorter and shorter and shorter even than the picture Pam had shown her.

Anna applied product to what was left of Pam’s hair then put small rollers in the short hair left on top and made her sit under a heat lamp for what seemed too long.

I don’t remember much about leaving, but when we were outside in the wind Pam’s hair didn’t move a bit, being a beautiful, shiny skullcap of plastic with hints of white scalp showing through the stubble on the sides. I felt it once, hard and crackling, when I kissed her, but she was upset and could barely talk to me.

We stayed together another year until she moved away. She kept her hair cut short, even shorter, knowing that I liked it. I saw her five years later and her hair was shoulder length and very curly.

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