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Some minutes ago I left "Crazy cuts" and now I regularly stop at shops with a rather dark interior to study my head using the dark windowpanes as a mirror.
I see a girl with a somewhat boring half-long haircut, the hair still reaching the shoulders.

I feel uneasy because when I left my house an hour ago I really thought that I might go for short hair.

The irritating thing was that I wanted it to be my own decision and not the decision of my sister or a group of friends at my own birthday party.

After all it’s a crazy story – a make over as a birthday present.

It started with my sister. Usually she has her hair rather short.
Almost a year ago she met that boy and like many boys he seemed to think that long hair was the ultimate. My sister liked him very much and that was how her hair was growing longer and longer.
But still she visited her expensive hairdresser and some weeks ago she came back with a nice bob meaning that all her hair had the same length, one more step on her way to long(er) hair. The crazy thing was that I always was the one with very long hair, but this time I was the one admiring the bob and wondering how such short hair might be.
I expressed my admiration and suggested that she should keep it like this saying that I was almost jealous about her haircut. I could have known her reaction: "I will give you the address of my hairdresser’.
I knew that she used to go to a, for me quite expensive hairdresser and was somewhat surprised to hear that she did not go there any more, The reason seemed that her favourite hairdresser had opened his own hairsalon in an old fashioned barbershop. It seemed to be slightly cheaper. I said that anyway I could not permit to spend those amounts of money. I fact it was only partly true, because I liked to spend my limited funds on other things.

Two weeks later it was my birthday and I invited quite a lot of friends and also my sister who knows most of them came . Of course with the usual flowers and this time her gift was an envelope.
I supposed that that she did not find time to look for a birthday present and assuming that the envelope contained some paper money I glanced inside but no money. I took out a small piece of paper and stared at a coupon for a make-over and haircuts during one year at ‘Crazy cuts"
Normally without all the birth day guests I should have told Joan that she was crazy and my hair was my own business.
Suddenly it was quite silent in the room and I heard my old friend Clara asking what was written on the coupon. And before I could make clear what I thought myself about the present I heard from all sides: ‘Pooh Ellen what a nice idea, Joan give me next time something like this…"
Before I could say anything the whole group was discussing the makeover and Joan told about my admiration of her haircut. All agreed that it was a great idea and I even heard suggestions that with my nice face something very short might be great. It was more than clear that I should have to ask advice of the well-known hairdresser, who, according to some of TV addicts, nowadays even seemed to be present on TV, for makeovers.
Anyway it was clear that my sister’s birth day present seemed to be quite a good idea but I realised that my hair was still my own property and could order a haircut that I liked myself. The whole hair discussion did not finish before it was clear when the appointment might be: "next week".
I had a nice birthday party and it was already early in the morning when the last persons left. One of the last persons, John, who gave me quite a hug, asking if he might be the first to rub my planned crewcut. I think that I blushed, and probably it was the alcohol causing the promise that I would call him to have the honour.

When the last person had left I opened all the windows blessing that nobody had been smoking, but anyway I could use some fresh air. I was extremely tired and wondered if I might leave all the dirty things till tomorrow.

Suddenly I saw the coupon and started to think about the haircut. I went to the bathroom and studied my face and tried to imagine a bob. I pulled back my long hair and even tried to imagine something extremely short. My god. Never before I tried even to imagine something like this. Anyway I was already scared about possible comments, but now I remembered all the suggestions, meaning that nobody might have an awful comment. Only compliments were possible, but people easily forget the things that they said before.

Back in the sitting room I found the energy to remove dirty glasses and bring all the other things to the kitchen and suddenly I realised that I promised to call my mum in the USA, being somewhere at the West Coast in a hotel.
I wondered if it was already too late, but soon I heard her voice wishing me all the good things and asking how I found the birthday present. I asked which one and mum explained me that the makeover gift was a combined thing together with my dear sister who totally forgot to inform me about it.
I avoided critical remarks telling that all my guests seemed to find it a marvellous idea.
I heard one time more, that her present friend John suggested that a very short haircut might be marvellous for me.
I felt some irritation but kept my mouth shut and reacted only with a mmm. And telling that I intended to ask the famous young hairdresser’s advice. We exchanged some more remarks and told my mother that it was half past 2, early in the morning. The crazy thing was that I was extremely tired but did not yet have the rest to sleep. Knowing that I might be in bed unable to sleep made that I went to my small office

I switched on the computer and soon I was playing with the computer. At a message board where all kind of macho males suggested that the only real haircut for a woman was a non-haircut i.e. long-very long hair. With a brrrr I looked for other sites and soon I tried to fit my photograph in a program where I could try all kind of haircuts. But with most of them it looked like I was having a wig. This was not satisfying at all and I looked for something new. My god ‘crops for girls’ a site of a hairdresser in New York who seemed to specialise in short haircuts.
I studied and compared the before and after pictures and had to agree that in most cases I liked the girls with the extreme short haircuts much more than with their long hair. I looked rather like one of the blonde girls and went to the bathroom to see myself again and pulling back my hair I realised that soon I might lose almost all of my hair.
I made myself one more coffee and wondered how my totally changed appreciation of short hair developed.
Suddenly I was really tired and almost ran to my bed and soon I must have been sleeping and dreaming

The crazy dream
‘It was still early Saturday morning and I wondered if I had the patience to wait till next Friday.
And then suddenly I knew that I did not want to wait. I looked at the coupon, remembering that Joan had written a telephone number on it.
Impulsively I dialled the number.

I heard a girl’s voice "Crazy cuts". I explained that I had an appointment for next Friday and asked if today was still possible. It seemed to be quiet, because the girl asked if I could be there within half an hour.
This was even quicker than I imagined and almost wanted to say that it was impossible, but at the very last moment I said: "I will be with you in 20 minutes".

I shivered took the coupon and walked in the direction of the town, looking quite regularly in the windowpanes. Seeing my ponytail and wondered I f I should return, but there was that crazy urge.
Within 20 minutes I saw the old shop, still with barberpoles originating from the time that this had been a barber.

I entered. Nobody seemed to be there till a door opened and a young man entered asking what I needed .I told about my telephone call of 20 minutes ago. And heard: Hi you are Joan’s sister"

One moment, do you like some cappuccino? I agreed.

He asked me to sit down and said Joan told that you admired her bob haircut. With a soft grin he added it was quite good, but to be honest I like her much more with short hair.

But for you such bob must be already quite a change. Suddenly I lost the courage and hardly dared to speak about those crazy short haircuts.

But Alex was a keen observer noticing that I wanted to say something and his remark that something short might be quite nice for me, made me talk about my Internet study and described the extremely short haircut. He seemed to doubt if it was okay and when I asked him about his doubts he said. I think it might be great, but I am afraid about the reactions if it’s not what you expect. In such a case all the blame is for me. At the other hand you are a mature woman and when its’ your decision I am happy to help you, even though it’s the most simple haircut that’s possible.
‘So let’s take our cappuccino, some minutes to think once more.’
I finished my cappuccino did not say anything and just nodded in the most affirmative way.
He asked if I had washed my hair, but with a grin he said that it was hardly relevant anymore.

I looked at myself in the enormous mirror and realised that I could see myself also from the back because of the big mirrors on the wall behind me.

Once more Alex asked if I was sure and once more but only at that very moment I had some minute doubts, but I did not express them.

‘Well let’s start’. Alex explained that he intended to cut my hair rather short in a rough way. It should make it easier to work more precisely afterwards.
My ponytail was opened and with a coarse comb Alex lifted strands, immediately snipping them off quite near my skull. He cut as a madman and within half a minute I looked at a kind of bewildered looking punk girl in the mirror.
"Well no way back’ was the only comment of the master, "but don’t be upset by what you see now. It will be better within some minutes"

With a shock I awoke in the middle of the night and feeling my hair I realised that it was still very long.

Suddenly I felt a lot of irritation, realising that I did not want to lose my hair because I had to use a birthday present or because some tipsy friends suggested that short hair might be the thing.

The next morning I made the appointment and indeed the hairdresser, Alex suggested a very, very short haircut, but I really did not dare to have it shorter than something reaching to my shoulders, still long enough to make a short horse tail.

Meeting my dear sister some days later only caused a lot of irritation because she did not want to accept that I did not drastically change my hair.

I did not tell her that a short haircut had been staying in my mind and that I even had mentioned the advice of the master hairdresser to Mildred my oldest friend in an e-mail.
She invited me for a holiday during the period that her brand-new husband seemed to be in the USA visiting his family for all kind of family matters that seemed to be far from interesting.

It meant that I rather suddenly prepared myself for a holiday of 14 days in the country where I was born 29 years ago. I had known Mil from the age of 4 and we had been close friends since that time. Even after I moved with my mother to another part of the world when she divorced, I still returned there during the long summer holidays that I spent at my father’s home. We always had been longhaired girls and I knew that cutting off my hair ought to be discussed with my old friend.

I left our country during a period of awful weather and leaving the plane 5 hours later I experienced once again that living in the subtropics was what I often missed too much.

Passing the customs I saw the grinning face of Mil who studied my somewhat shorter hair, but did not deliver any farther comments about it.

She took over my luggage and soon she showed the brand-new car that seemed to be a gift of her father in law. She made some cynical remarks about the man and said that she was happy that he lived that far away.

Half an hour later we entered a brand new house as well and I wondered what was left of the old Mil.
Some minutes later I discovered that there was still enough to feel at home. We were gossiping about all kind of persons that we both knew.
I got the impression that Mil was staring at my hair and indeed she suddenly remarked "Ellen that t idea of a very short haircut might be great".
From under the table she took a pile of magazines and opened one that had a special edition about haircuts.
It seemed that the recent makeover of a famous pop star, Rachel, cutting off her hair had been the inspiration.
Mil showed me some of the pictures and I indicated one of the short haircuts as one that had been suggested last week by the well-known hair artist. Very short at the sides and back and somewhat longer hair on top combed forwards with bangs reaching almost to the eyebrows. The bangs could be somewhat shorter but it looked attractive enough
Mil exclaimed: ‘wow Ellen that’s really short, but might be very attractive "

My somewhat simple reaction was that I was willing to have such a haircut if she did the same thing.
But I immediately added that something like that might be too risky, because you will chicken out, whereas, to exaggerate the thing, I might be left with a partly bald head.
I said; ”No, Mil that is too risky, I know you. If I should promise something like this I should stay with my promise. I always keep my promises"
Mil was only grinning in a most vague way.
At that moment I heard the telephone elsewhere in the house and Mil hurried away.
Some minutes later she came back with a cup of coffee and a still the vague grin.
She told that she I should have to amuse myself for a short time, as she had to show somebody something that she wanted to sell.
Asking what she wanted to sell she only made an obscure remark that I had seen that object often enough and that she was bored with it.
I asked once more what she meant, but she only shrugged her shoulders.

She asked to switch on my handy in case the whole thing might take more time.

And then giving no real answer about the thing to be sold she hurried away, leaving me alone with the pile of fashion papers.

I looked once more in the fashion journal and admired some of the extremely short haircuts.
"My god hair with a length of less than one cm on top of the head and sides even shorter". What a courage!

It was maybe 10-15 minutes later when I heard my handy. It’s Mil, who sounded really excited.
"Oh Ellen … I really sold it."
"But what did you sell" is my question
"Of course my hair"

"I sold it for a lot of money and free haircuts for us.
Come as soon as possible, they are going to cut my hair right now; I am already in the chair.
It’s at the main street. You leave my house, At the main street to the right. You know the Mac Donald’s, it’s opposite. See you soon and don’t chicken out, but that’s no problem, because you never do that."

And then I hear already the no-connection sound.

I sit there almost in a shock, realising that I will be on my way to the shortest haircut ever.

But first I have to sit at the toilet because I am quite nervous. I wonder if Mil’s haircut started already.
Some minutes later I leave the house.
At the main street I hear my handy and wonder if it’s Mil again, but this time it’s my dad, asking when I will visit him. He seems to hear that I am nervous and asks if something is wrong. I only tell him that I am on my way to the hairdresser with Mil and that I will call him later.
I put away my handy and look for the Mac Donald’s sign that’s still half a km away.
I hurry and some minutes late I am looking at the other side of the street for the hairdressing salon. I remember only an old fashioned barbershop at that place, but maybe some new hair business started there.
But I see nothing else and cross the street. I look inside the barbershop and only see a boy getting a haircut by a barber "shaving’ the boy’s hair at the sides very short with clippers.
Suddenly the barber turns his head grins and winks me. The boy turns his head and suddenly sees that it is not a boy’s face, but the beautiful face of Mil. My god.
I hardly dare to enter the shop, but know that I cannot run away.

I enter and even have no time to tell Mil that she is crazy, because a second barber invites me already in his chair. There is hardly any communication, The more when the barber says:"something like your friend"
Via the mirror I stare at Mil, who slightly sticks out her tongue, teasing me.
I nod and hear the middle-aged barber telling that I am already the seventh girl in two days coming for the pop star’s haircut. a la Rachel

He takes me to a barber chair at the other side of the barbershop and I almost regret that I cannot see what happens with Mil

I take a seat or better I have the feeling that I climb on the old-fashioned barber chair that must stand there since a very long time.
A tight piece of elastic? Is wrapped around my neck and there I sit my head sticking out of an enormous kind of cape.
I look at the barber and see the barber staring back.

I expect him to start, but to my surprise he asks if maybe I want the latest version of the popstar’s haircut. I am surprised because I expect him to cut my hair like Mil’s hair.

"Of course" I say, "that’s why I am here",
"Okay" he says, "you have quite a courage". I am somewhat confused because I hardly expect such a remark if already seven girls in two days before us had this haircut.

I wonder if the barber finds us totally mad, but he delivers no comments when he takes big scissors and a comb.
I am totally confused. At one hand I want to see what happens with Mil’s hair, because her barber seemed to shorten the hair at the sides of her head even more. At the other hand I want to control my own haircut. The word control is ridiculous however, because I feel myself totally lost in all kind of thoughts that I cannot express and at the same time the barber just starts his activities. I suddenly realise that Mil must have prepared the whole thing before, but I must confess that I agreed with the haircut

The barber lifts long pieces of hair with comb and at high speed most of my hair, particularly at the sides is removed, making it easier to work with the clippers, as the barber explains.
I suddenly remember the dream
After hardly a minute I stare at the ruin on my head, but remembering Mil’s head I realise that within a short time the result will be much neater, but quite extravagant.

The barber stops the rude cutting and suggests that I can cry now for some minutes because he likes to finish coffee first. Offering coffee does not seem to be in fashion in this shop.

I look aside and see how careful the barber cuts the hair at the back of Mildred’s head, moving the clippers over a small comb.
The crazy thing is that I like to talk, but the whole environment makes me as mute as possible.

To my surprise Mil seems to be quite relaxed and is even talking about her husband who seems to be a regular customer at this place.

Her barber seems to make her hair even shorter pushing the clippers again and again over a comb, leaving only the most minute bristles at the base, but also higher up the hair seems to be only some mm’s long. The hair on top is "much" longer. (I must grin about much longer because with a length of maybe 3-4 cm it’s very short and anyway much, much shorter than Mil ever had her hair
The old Mil seems to be changed in a grinning much more boyish girl.

I realise that we will need some extravagant earrings to stress our female …………

My barber has finished his coffee.

Out of drawer comes that engine. I hear a humming sound, but the barber looks somewhat worried and adds some oil on the blade of the clippers. The sound of the machine seems to be better.

I know that my hair is already extremely short, but wit a shiver I realise seeing Mil’s head that my hair will be cut even much shorter. But no way back

The barber takes the clippers and the comb.
I see him hesitating, but shrugging his shoulders he takes an attachment from the end of the clippers and I see the minute teeth of the clippers.
At the very last moment he puts the comb on the table in front of the mirror.

At the same time my head is pressed forwards and I feel the vibrating machine pushed upwards. I am almost feeling like a small boy and feeling the vibrating teeth of the clippers close on the skin of the back of my head I wonder what happens. Within seconds I realise that there is quite a difference with Mil’s haircut. It feels as if the back of my head is totally shaven. The crazy thing is that the barber presses the machine higher and higher and I realise that he is not stopping but just continues to shave the hair of my crown as well.
I am almost paralysed, not knowing what to do how to react.
I try to have a look to observe what happens, but my head is pressed again forwards and I feel a second movement. Still trying to imagine what happens several more movements are made.

Crazier however, I feel the cool stream of air from the air condition on the ‘shaven’ part of my head. More and more movements are made at the back

The pressure on my head is released I am allowed to sit with my face in a more upright position. Looking in the mirror nothing seems to be changed, but suddenly I realise that I see the reflection of the backside of my head in the mirror behind me. And see that my head at the back seems to be totally bald.
The crazy thing that I seem to be totally mute.
With two steps the barber stands at my left side and this time I see and feel the clippers in front of my ears going upwards and locks falling on the cape. The movement ends high up. The barber moves his hand with the clippers aside and I now really see that the place where the clippers did their work is totally free of hair No words are spoken and with a second movement hair above my hair is removed as well Some more movements above and behind my ears and my left ear is totally exposed. In fact I am not shocked to see my ear like that because I am used to it when, as often, I wear my hair in a tight horsetail. Th barber ‘walks ‘to the other side. I make a quick movement with my head trying to see Mil.
However the barber repeats the same activities now at the right side leaving a cap of hair on top of my head. This is certainly not the same haircut Mil is having right now. .
What to say. I stammer: "what are you doing?"
The barber just simply says; "giving you the flattop that you wished", but I am wondering how long we will make the hair on top. For a moment I am in a total confusion.
The barber walks to the waiting area and takes a weekly from the pile on the table comes back and points at a glossy photograph: The newest short haircut variation’ of Rachel. A real flattop. Hair at the sides and back incl. the crown totally shaven and all the hair that’s still present on top exactly pointing upward. The whole haircut totally flat on top.

It seems that the barber does not want to hear that there might be a misunderstanding and I have no courage to utter that myself.
The barber explains that my face is a little bit narrower than Rachel’s face, meaning that it might be better to make all those bristles much shorter. I sigh and hardly want to hear his remark: "trust me it will look much better with your beautiful face" ‘you are anyway much more beautiful than she is..

Almost in a dream I follow the following activities, wondering if Mils’haircut is finished already.
The barber takes a fan and a brush.
and I feel the extreme hot air while he is brushing al my hair upward. I look at the punky girl and almost start to cry, because this is horrible, giving my face a crazy form.

The fan is switched of; the clippers are humming again and this time the barber has a big comb. Warns me to sit as quiet as possible with my head.
He is totally concentrated and I see how he puts the comb in the hair in a horizontal position and starts to shave away all the hair that sticks out above the comb. Quite a lot of hair is removed, but gradually the flattop appears.
Two times the hair is put again in perfect position and the whole action continues, with a barber controlling and controlling. It looks weird but I feel more and more relaxed because it does not look bad. I hear the barber sigh and he confesses that he often cut those flattops but never with a lady as a customer.

We both look at the result and now I suddenly see Mil standing there with her mouth open.
She has a nice haircut, very short sides and the hair on top very much shorter than I expected combed forwards her face with a nice short fringe, I hear her gasp.

I look at the flattop and suddenly realise that with my form of my face the hair on top should be even shorter to give the optimal effect.
I realise that the barber thinks the same. He hesitates and almost at the same moment we start to mention the same.
However he warns me that making it shorter will mean that most of the hair on top will be extremely short. But there seems to be no way back and being in this position I am not going to chicken out.

I hear the clippers again and realise that now a major part of the hair on top of my head in the region of the crown and even more forwards is totally shaven leaving a relatively small part of flat-topped hair in front, but it looks very cute.
I suddenly must think about the face of my father when I will enter the village and the house tomorrow and suddenly start to laugh. Oh, oh how could you do that and………..
T o my surprise I see that the barber takes a big old-fashioned razorknife that he uses to clean my nape.
It’s finished and I feel very, very tired, make some compliments about Mil’s hair and ask what"chicken out" means.

We leave the barbershop and we decide to have a good cup of coffee.
I keep my mouth shut about the misunderstanding while I just feel those strange feeling minute hairs. Mil is almost annoyed that her hair is cut in such a way that she cannot imitate me, but I assure her that within some weeks the hair on top will be long enough.

We hear the ringing of my telephone and I explain my father that I look now like very attractive boy and mention Rachel’s name.

Oh how………………..

I switch off the handy and greet a boy who stares with his mouth open at my………. 

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