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16

My Short-Haired Vixen

Half way through Professor Zimmerman’s deadly dull presentation on Neanderthal man I glanced around the lecture hall looking for Andrea.  I found her in the usual seat, on the right about three-quarters of the way toward the front.  Like most of the Anthropology students, she was dutifully taking notes. Zimmerman was a stickler for details and his exams were legendary for their difficulty.

My view was partially blocked by a large fraternity boy on my immediate right, but when he leaned back I noticed that something was different about Andrea.  At first I thought it was because she was wearing her chestnut brown locks pulled back at her neck as she occasionally did.  Then I realized her hair was shorter—much shorter.  The mid-back blunt-cut style she had worn since we first met was gone and in its place I saw a provocative pixie cut.  Short bangs, swept to the side, partially covered her forehead; her delicate ears were fully exposed; a shaggy fringe extended part way down her neck.  It was a dramatic change, a completely new look for her, one that I couldn’t wait to inspect from a closer vantage point.

You couldn’t say that Andrea and I were close friends at this point; casual acquaintances would have been a more accurate description.  We had a few friends in common and she had attended a few keg parties at my fraternity house. Whenever we were short of girls we sent out an invitation to the women’s scholarship house across the street and a bunch of unattached females was sure to show up. I knew Andrea came from a poor family and was a serious student and because financial need and a high academic average were required to live in the scholarship house. 

Andrea wasn’t unattractive, but neither was she an outstanding beauty.  Compared to a couple of her more glamorous housemates, she looked rather plain, a wallflower who did not stand out in a crowd.  Still, there was something in her earnest manner and lack of sophistication that I found refreshing.  So many coeds acted like their greatest concern was finding the ideal destination for spring break. Getting wasted at the hottest weekend party was their favorite occupation. Andrea wasn’t like that.  She was serious about her studies, worked part-time as a nurse’s aide, and planned a career as an intensive care nurse. 

As soon as Zimmerman dismissed the class I headed for the exit, nearly colliding with my hefty neighbor in our rush to escape.  I lingered near the water fountain across from the door where I knew Andrea would emerge.  Clutching her notebook and the bulky textbook, she seemed pleasantly surprised to see me.  “Hi Jim,” she called.  “I didn’t know you were taking Anthro.”

“Yeah, I need it to complete my social science requirement,” I explained.  “Just hope I survive.”

“I know what you mean,” she chuckled.  “I study more for this class than any other and still got only a B plus on his first exam.”

“That’s way better than I’m doing,” I confessed.  “I’d settle for a C minus.”  I was not exaggerating my academic woes.  The grade on the first exam was 59%–a D minus minus.  The grades in my other courses weren’t much better. I was on probation for my lousy average last semester. If I didn’t pull a C average this semester my folks promised I would soon be back home stocking shelves in the family grocery store.

“Maybe we can study together for the next exam,” she offered.  “They say that two heads are better than one.”  With most other girls an invitation to get together for a study session involved an obligation to go out the following Saturday for a movie or an evening cruising the bars on High Street.  With Andrea, however, I knew there were no ulterior motives and no hidden agenda.  She seemed genuinely altruistic in her desire to help a failing student improve his grades.

“Thanks Andrea, I sure could use some help,” I replied, accepting her offer.  “By the way, I like your haircut.  I hardly recognized you at first.  It’s quite a change.”

She blushed a bit and instinctively reached to brush her short bangs off her forehead.  It was clear that she wasn’t usually praised for her appearance.  “Yeah, I got my hair chopped off last week.  I’m still getting used to it, don’t know if I did the right thing or not.”

“You definitely did the right thing.  It’s a big improvement,” I blurted.  Now it was my turn to feel embarrassed.  I don’t usually give compliments so easily. Besides, I feared I had offended Andrea by implying that her looks needed enhancement.  “I mean your hair looks real nice like that.”

She smiled, sensing my chagrin, and gently let me off the hook.  “Thanks Jim,” she said.  “A girl always likes to hear a compliment, especially after making a big change like this.”  She shifted her books, preparing to make her departure.  “I’ve got to run to my next class.  Give me a call next week and we can study for the mid-term.”

I watched her hurry down the crowded hallway reflecting on what had just transpired.  I had made a date with one of the many “plain Janes” who populated the Ohio State campus. Granted, it was a study date, not an invitation to the senior formal, but a date nonetheless.  My frat brothers would have a field day if they learned about it.  The status system at the Delta house was based primarily on the sex appeal of the girls we dated.  The closer our female companions came to approximating the perfect 10, the brighter our reputation as a “stud.”  I dreaded thinking how the brothers would rate Andrea—a 3 or a 4, at best a 5.

Why had I done it?  What made me seek her out after class and set up the study date?  The answer was painfully obvious and had nothing to do with my precarious academic situation—it was her haircut.  For as long as I can remember I have been attracted to girls with short hair.  In sixth grade I sat behind Antoinette Russo who wore her dark curly hair in brief bob that barely touched her ears and left her lovely neck exposed.  She was just about the only girl in our class with short hair and I loved looking at it.  Every two or three months she would appear with a fresh haircut.  On those oc
casions I had to stifle the impulse to reach out and run my fingers through her locks.  She was my first schoolboy crush.  Of course, I was too shy to let her know how I felt.  That summer her family moved to Utah and I never saw Toni again, but I vividly recall her wonderfully short hair.

Then, as we moved into high school, it seemed that every girl decided to grow her hair longer.  Short hair styles were definitely “out.”  The only females in the whole school with short hairdos were middle aged English teachers and cafeteria workers. For several years the only attractive haircuts I saw were the ones I found while surfing the web; the ones I looked at while I jerked off.

I don’t know why I find short hair on women so extremely sexy.  Most of my buddies go crazy for long-haired girls.  The only reason I check out a chick with flowing locks is to imagine how she would look with her hair closely cropped.  In my eyes a dramatically short haircut is enough to transform an ordinary looking coed into a highly desirable vixen.  That’s exactly what happened with Andrea.  Now I wondered if I would regret my impulsive words.  It seemed that my obsession with short hair might lead me into an ill-advised relationship and bring down my standing in the fraternity.

The Anthropology mid-term was scheduled for the Friday before Spring Break.  Zimmerman seemed to take a sadistic pleasure in setting his tests on the days we most wanted to be somewhere else.  I called Andrea on Wednesday and arranged to get together the next evening to prepare for the exam.  We sat in the rec room of the scholarship house.  She wore jeans and a sweatshirt like every other girl on campus, but she exuded a clean, wholesome aroma.  Her hair was still damp from the shower and she smelled like Ivory soap.  “I just got back from running,” she explained.

“Are you on the track team?” I asked.  Although she had an athlete’s lithe figure, she just didn’t impress me as the athletic type.

“Oh my no,” she laughed.  “I’m not fast enough to make the team.  I just run because I like it.  I’m training for a marathon in May.”

I had never known anyone who actually completed a 26 mile marathon. “That’s amazing,” I exclaimed. 

“Not really,” she modestly replied.  “I’ve done three so far.  Mostly it’s a matter of being prepared and then keeping your focus until you reach the finish.”

It turned out that Andrea was just as focused and well prepared for her studies as she was for her marathons.  She had outlined all six chapters to be covered on the test—more than 200 pages.  Her notes were carefully organized with all of the key points highlighted in yellow marker.  She even went so far as to prepare sample test questions.  “With Zimmerman it’s no use to memorize his old exams because he never repeats a question, but you can figure out the kind of question he likes to ask.  It helps to think like the professor.”  After three hours of concentrated effort I had absorbed so much anthropological knowledge that I could have delivered one of Zimmerman’s lectures if he needed a substitute.

The grandfather clock in the hall was chiming eleven as we finished reviewing the last chapter.  “That’s enough for me,” I said.  “My brain can’t absorb another factoid.”

“Me too,” she agreed.  “Would you like some cookies?”

“You bet, I’m famished,” I greedily replied.

Three minutes later she appeared with two glasses of milk on a tray with a plate of chocolate chip cookies.  “Chocolate chips,” I exclaimed, “my favorites.  They look homemade.  Where did you get them?”

“From the kitchen, silly,” she gently teased me.  “I baked them this morning.”

“Nothing better than fresh baked cookies and milk,” I told her.  I felt like I was back in grade school, eating mom’s cookies after coming home from school. I knew I couldn’t share this moment with my housemates. They would never stop razzing me about eating cookies and milk at the end of my “hot date” with Andrea.  Still, I found myself growing fond of this simple, unaffected girl.

As I polished off the last cookie I worked up the nerve to ask Andrea the question that had never been far from my mind during our study session.  “Tell me,” I said, “what made you decide to cut your hair like that?”

“Why do you ask?” she replied.  I could see that she was taken off guard by such a personal question.  Up to now our conversation had been limited to “safe” topics like our mutual dislike for Zimmerman’s pedantic orations on evolutionary theory or the fortunes of the Buckeye’s basketball team.

“Curiosity, I guess,” I answered.  “Most girls on campus wear their hair long like you used to.  You don’t see many with hair as short as yours.”

“You’re right,” she said, “and I thought about it for a long time before making up my mind.  Then I saw a film about Joan Benoit.”

“Who’s she?” I asked stupidly.

“Only one of the greatest marathon runners of all time,” Andrea promptly informed me.  “She won the gold medal in 1984, the first time women were allowed to compete in the Olympic marathon.  She’s one of my heroes.  Anyhow, Joan always wore her hair pretty short so I decided I could too.”

“So, does it help you run faster?”

“Not exactly, but it does give me more confidence and that helps,” she explained. “I realized that I never was going to model for Victoria’s Secret or be elected homecoming queen so I should let the real me show forth.”

I probed a bit further. “And the real you has short hair?”

“Yeah, I guess she does,” she said, blushing again.

“Well, I’m glad you did it,” I said.

“You’re sweet, Jimmy,” she said, giving my hand an affectionate squeeze. Usually I corrected anyone who called me Jimmy—a juvenile nickname left over from my grade school years—but coming from Andrea it didn’t sound so bad and I let it slide.

I realized Andrea was developing a liking for me. Alarm bells went off in my head. I worried that our casual relationship might develop into something more serious than studying together for exams.  Yet, I wasn’t about to break it off.  Although my reputation might suffer, I enjoyed spending time with Andrea.  I felt comfortable when we were together, kinda like putting a well-worn pair of jeans.  There was no need to impress her; no need to act like a big shot; she accepted me for who I was.

Andrea finished the test about ten minutes before I did, but she was waiting in the hallway as I left the lecture hall.  “Well, how was it?” she demanded.  “How did you do?”

“Pretty good,” I answered.  “I only had to guess at a few an
swers.”

“Me to,” she agreed.  “I wish we could get our grades right away instead of waiting until we get back from break.”

“You going any place special?” I asked.

“Nope, just sticking around campus. I’ll be working nights at the university hospital and doing some marathon training during the day.  What about you?”

“I’ll be going to Cancun with some of my frat brothers,” I told her.  Somehow I felt guilty going off to spend a week at expensive tropical resort while Andrea toiled for minimum wage at the hospital.

“Have a good time,” she said without a hint of resentment.

Professor Zimmerman handed back the exams at the end of class on the Monday after spring break.  To my amazement 85% was marked in large red numerals at the top of my paper.  It was the best grade I had received since high school.  Studying with Andrea definitely had helped.  I couldn’t wait to share the good news.

I spotted the back of her distinctive haircut in a throng of students heading away from the lecture hall and hustled to catch up with her.  “Hey Andrea,” I called as I got closer.

She turned and smiled at me.  “Hi Jimmy,” she answered.  “Have a good break?”

“Sure did—drank too much tequila, but it rained a lot so we didn’t get much beach time.”

“Yeah, I thought you’d have more of a tan,” she observed.  “How’d you do on the mid-term?”

“Got a B, an 85.  From any other professor it would have been an A.  I owe it all to you—that study session really helped.”

“That’s great.  I’m so glad.  You worked really hard,” she praised me.  “Perhaps we can do it again before the next test.”

“Sure thing.  You bet,” I readily agreed.

“Got to get to my Physiology class now,” she said as we turned the corner.  “Bye Jimmy.” 

As I stood on the sidewalk and watched her enter the Biology building I realized I hadn’t asked how she did on the exam.  I was so eager to share my good news I didn’t think about her result. Andrea’s grade certainly was higher than mine, but she was too humble to brag, preferring instead to applaud my own modest accomplishment.

Andrea sounded genuinely bewildered when I called that evening.  “Why are you calling?” she asked. That was just like her—always direct and to the point, no idle chit-chat. With the next Anthropology exam nearly four weeks away there was no need to arrange another cram session.  She couldn’t imagine any other reason I would want to talk with her.

“You never told me how you did on the Anthro exam,” I explained.

“I did pretty good,” she replied.

“Pretty good?  What does that mean?” I said, pressing for a more specific answer.

“Better than last time,” she continued evasively.

“Last time you got a B plus.  That means you aced Zimmerman’s exam and that almost never happens.  Congratulations.”

“Thanks Jimmy.  It seems that studying together helped both of us.”

“I propose that we go out to celebrate,” I impulsively suggested.

“Not tonight,” she declined, “I’ve got to work on my Physiology lab report.  Perhaps Saturday afternoon,” she suggested.

“Okay, we can get together then.”  As I put down the receiver I shook my head in amazement.  I had actually made a date with this rather mousey looking nursing student.  If my frat brothers caught wind of this they surely would taunt me for bringing down the house standards.  “Bottom trolling” was the derogatory term they applied to guys who couldn’t arrange dates with the attractive sorority girls and had to settle for dating the less appealing coeds excluded from the Greek system.

Andrea was waiting for me after Friday’s class.  “Hi Jimmy, going my way?”  I checked to see if any of my frat brothers were around before agreeing to walk to her next class.

“Where did you want to go on Saturday?” she asked.  “To celebrate our success on Zimmerman’s exam,” she reminded me when I didn’t respond immediately.

I realized that I hadn’t called back with any specifics after making our date.  Andrea obviously concluded that I had forgotten.  I felt like a louse, but tried to cover up for my error.  “I was having a hard time thinking of a place we could go on Saturday.  I wasn’t sure what you’d like to do.  I suppose we could go to a movie,” I offered lamely.

“I’ve got a better idea,” she suggested.  “Why don’t you meet me at the track?  Is three o’clock good for you?  Bring some running shoes.”

“Sure, see you there at three,” I responded although I didn’t really know why I had agreed to her unusual proposal.  What kind of girl would suggest a track workout for our first date?  More puzzling, why had I agreed to meet her there?  Hadn’t I ridiculed the distance runners who endlessly circled our high school track? Sure, we had to do sprints at the end of every basketball practice, but the thought of running more than a hundred yards at a time left me seriously fatigued.

I left the house around quarter to three wearing Air Jordans on my feet, a Kobe Bryant jersey on my back, and baggy shorts around my waist.  “Going to shoot some hoops?” Jerry asked as I headed down the steps. 

“Thought I’d see if I could find some action down at the courts,” I lied.  “You want to come along?”

I knew it was a pretty safe bet that Jerry would decline my invitation; his idea of strenuous exercise was tapping a fresh keg.  “Naw, I’ve got better things to do,” he grinned, toasting me with a can of Budweiser.  “But you keep working, son.  Some day you’ll make it to the NBA.”

I briefly considered jogging the six blocks to the university’s track, but then rejected the idea.  No need to show up for our date all sweaty and winded, I thought.

When I arrived Andrea was sitting on the sidelines of the football field doing some sort of stretching exercises.  “Hi Jimmy,” she called.  “You gonna run in those?” she asked, pointing to my basketball sneakers and baggy shorts. 

“Sure, if they’re good enough for Michael Jordan they’re good enough for me.” 

She smiled at my curious running outfit. Andrea also wore Nikes, but her trainers were much lighter than my basketball shoes. I noticed that her shorts barely covered her compact butt while mine reached nearly to my knees. While fine for the basketball court, my attire was definitely out of place on the track.  “You want to do some stretching?” she inquired.

“Don’t think so. I warmed up on the walk over here.”

“So let’s get started then,” she said as she got up off the grass and headed for the track.  The first circuit was fairly easy.  Andrea started at a moderate pace and I had no difficulty keeping up.  T
he second quarter mile was harder and I struggled to stay with her.  By the third lap I was gasping for breath.  She, on the other hand, didn’t seem to be breathing hard at all.

“That’s good for the first day,” she said as we came to a halt after three-quarters of a mile.  “Why don’t you be my timer for a while?”

“How do I do that?” I asked.

“Just start my watch and call out the split each time I come around.”

“Sure, I can do that,” I replied.  Andrea started off at a brisk pace, much faster than she had been running with me.  As she came around the first time I called out, “One twenty.”  She nodded and kept going.  She covered the second lap at the same pace, and the third. Her time each lap never varied by more than a second or two. I wondered how long she could keep it up.  Finally, after eight laps, she sprinted to the finish.  I glanced down at the watch.  “Ten thirty-five,” I shouted.

“Thanks, that’s just where I wanted to be.”  Andrea bent at the waist with her hands on her hips.  She was sweating and breathing hard, but didn’t appear badly winded; she was speaking in her normal voice, not in the breathless gasps I had uttered at the end of my short run.

I couldn’t believe that she had just run two miles in ten and a half minutes.  It didn’t seem possible that this unimposing little coed could outrun all of the jocks in my fraternity.  I was astounded.  “Wow, that’s really awesome,” I marveled.

“That was my speed workout for the week,” she explained.  “Training for the marathon mostly involves distance work—long runs of fifteen or twenty miles.  But every so often you have to run at a faster pace so your body remembers what if feels like to go all out.”

“And you’re going to run that fast for twenty-six miles?” I marveled as we walked around the oval while she cooled down.

“Well, no.  I plan to start at six minutes per mile and then see what happens.  If my training is right and the weather cooperates I should finish in around two hours and forty minutes.  That’s my goal.”

“My god, that’s amazing!” I exclaimed.  “You could run in the Olympics like Joan Benoit.”

“I don’t know about the Olympics, but if I go under two-forty-seven I’ll qualify for the Olympic trials next year.  That would be fantastic.”

As we walked back to the scholarship house I was forced to reassess this petite, unassuming woman.  Not only was she a top-notch student, but she was a phenomenal athlete.  I felt guilty that I had been ashamed to be seen with her.

“I don’t suppose you’d be interested in coming to the frat party tonight?” I asked.

“Thanks, Jimmy, but that’s off limits right now.  Can’t break training, you understand.  I’ve got a twenty mile run scheduled for tomorrow morning.” 

Before long Andrea was helping me with English and History as well as Anthropology.  We studied together two or three nights a week—sometimes in the library, sometimes at the scholarship house.  If any of my brothers spotted us together I would explain that she was my “tutor.”  George, the vice-president of the Deltas had perfected this technique.  At the beginning of each semester he picked out the smartest girl in his most difficult classes.  Usually they were quite ordinary-looking, bordering on ugly.  In fact, he claimed that homely girls made the best tutors.  They were flattered to think he was interested in them, a notion he did nothing to discourage.  In return for his attention, they would do almost anything, including ghost writing his research papers.  He managed to make the dean’s list every semester while doing very little of his own work.  Then, after he aced the finals, he would dump the unfortunate girls.  Sometimes they called the house trying to find George but he ignored their calls.  I never took part in his cynical game, but had seen firsthand how it worked.  Now I used it as my alibi. 

“Saw you with a real dog at the library last night,” Harry needled me.

“Yeah, she’s a dog, but I’m getting a B in Anthro,” I replied.

“That’s my boy,” George chimed in.  “Easiest way to get good grades—let the dog do all the work.”

It took four weeks before I asked Andrea for a “real” date.  At the end of a library study session, as she was packing up her books, I said, “There’s a new movie at the Varsity.  Would you like to go see it on Saturday?”

Andrea look stunned. The thought of us going on a serious date apparently had never crossed her mind; she was my study partner, I was the timer for her workouts, nothing more.  “Yeah, sure, I guess,” she stammered like it was the first time a guy had ever asked her out.

“Great, I’ll come by at seven,” I told her.

Andrea was wearing a skirt and blouse when I picked her up.  I had never seen her in anything other than blue jeans and sweatshirts.  In place of her usual Reeboks she wore sandals. She even put on lipstick and eye shadow—something I had never seen on her face before.  She looked appealing in a wholesome, well scrubbed, Midwestern way.

As we walked back to the scholarship house after the show I held her hand.  When we reached the steps of the house she told me, “Thanks Jimmy, I had a really good time tonight.” She spoke with such touching sincerity that I almost felt sorry for her.  Instead, I put my hand behind her head and gently pulled her lips toward mine.  Andrea buried her head in my chest and clung to me for a moment, then turned and dashed inside the house.  It took a while to figure out that she didn’t want me to see her crying. It was then that I realized I probably was the first guy to kiss her.

On our second date I drove in my beat-up old Honda to an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord in an old inn a couple of miles from campus.  This time Andrea wore a dress and I put on a tie. It was more than just a casual evening together; this was a serious date. All through dinner I studied her hair.  It was now considerably longer.  Her ears were nearly hidden by new growth and she frequently shoved her bangs out of her eyes.  In my opinion, she badly needed a trim. As we finished our apple pie I popped the question that had been bugging me all evening.  “Are you letting your hair grow?” I asked. 

“I don’t know,” she answered pensively.  “I’ve been thinking about it.  What do you think?”

I searched for an argument that would persuade An
drea to keep her hair short. “What about letting the real you show?” I replied, referring to our conversation two months earlier.  “Have you changed?”

“No, but I’m the only girl in our house with short hair.  My roommates keep hinting that this haircut is unfeminine. They say it makes me look like a boy.”

“That’s just plain nonsense,” I shot back.  Andrea looked startled at my impassioned response.  “I mean, they’re entitled to their opinion, but I don’t agree.  You shouldn’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd.  If short hair feels right, then you should stick with it.”

“You don’t think I look like a boy?” she asked hopefully.

“Not at all,” I assured her. “You look much more attractive with short hair—cute and kinda sexy.”

Andrea beamed; I doubt that anyone had ever called her sexy before. I knew I had come up with the right answer. “Do you really think so?” she asked innocently.

“You bet,” I assured her with all the conviction I could muster.  “Short hair looks great on you.”

“And you think I should keep it short?” she persisted, as if my opinion really mattered.

“Yes, short is sexy,” I repeated.

“Well, that settles it then,” she announced.

“Settles what?” I asked, slightly confused.

“I’m going to keep my hair short.  In fact, I may get it cut tomorrow.”  I was elated to see how easily she was swayed by my opinion.  It seemed she would do almost anything I suggested.

I understood that guys usually didn’t show much interest in the details of women’s haircuts, but this opportunity was too great to pass up. Curiosity was getting the better of me. “Where will you go?” I asked. Fortunately, Andrea didn’t seem put off by my obsessive curiosity.

“Probably the same place I went last time, the Clip Joint on High Street.”

I recognized the name of an inexpensive unisex shop in the heart of the student ghetto.  It provided low cost cuts to cash-strapped college students and counted on a high volume to offset their discounted rates.  “Would you mind if I came along?” I asked, suddenly feeling bold.

“Why would you want to do that?” she asked, genuinely surprised. 

“Well, I enjoy spending time with you,” I told her, “and I’d like to make sure you get a really good cut this time.”

“You didn’t like my last haircut?”

“No, there was nothing wrong with it,” I quickly explained. “You looked great.  I just thought you could have got a better cut, that’s all.”

“And what makes you such an expert on haircutting?” she asked rather testily. 

“My mom is a hairdresser,” I answered. “When I was younger she operated her own shop in our home.  I kinda grew up with haircutting in my blood.” Eventually I persuaded Andrea to let me accompany her the next day. 

On the drive home I stopped on a deserted dead end road and we necked in the back seat.  I instructed Andrea in the art of French kissing and she proved a willing pupil. After dropping Andrea off I returned to the frat house.  George was watching TV in the living room.  “Heard you went out with the dog tonight,” he observed.  I hadn’t mentioned our date to anyone; how he discovered that piece of information I’ll never know.  “Better watch out,” he cautioned, “next thing you know she’ll want to wear your ring.”

I felt obliged to stick up for Andrea, “She’s not such a dog,” I responded. 

“Careful son,” he warned, “sounds like she’s got her hooks in you already.”

I had a hard time falling asleep that night.  On the one hand, I couldn’t wait to see Andrea’s haircut the next day; I was delighted that she was allowing me to accompany her.  On the other hand, George’s warning bothered me.  If I continued seeing Andrea my frat brothers undoubtedly would give me a hard time.  No matter how much I enjoyed her company, my status in the house would surely drop.

I arrived at the scholarship house promptly at 10 and walked with Andrea toward High Street.  “Thanks for coming to get me Jimmy,” she said amiably.  “If it was up to me, I probably would have put it off.  Getting a haircut is not my idea of a fun time.  I’d rather be doing almost anything else.”  For me it was just the opposite.  There was nothing I would rather do than watch a girl getting her hair cut, but I would never let Andrea know that.

Soon after we turned up High Street we approached Razor Ron’s Barber Shop.  It was a place known for sharp cuts and was popular with a lot of the jocks and some of frat boys. I started patronizing Ron’s soon after I arrived on campus in my freshman year.  On my first visit I discovered that Ron and his barbers believed in short haircuts. Unless you gave explicit instructions to the contrary, they cut your hair as close to the scalp as possible. 

I noticed Andrea peering through the big picture window as we passed in front of the shop. Inside were three chairs and two barbers, only one of whom was busy.  The other was lounging around, looking bored, waiting for his next customer. The idea of Andrea having her hair cut by one of Ron’s barbers sprang to mind as an intriguing possibility; one that gave me an instant hard on. I had a sudden impulse to test her courage.  “Are you feeling brave?” I asked.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, if you’re feeling really brave you’ll get your hair cut in there,” I said, gesturing toward the nearly vacant shop.

“But isn’t that a men’s barber shop?” she objected.

“Yes, but they cut women’s hair too,” I informed her. Actually, I had never seen a female patron in Ron’s shop, but I suspected he would never turn a paying customer away. “It’s the best place in town for a short haircut, besides there’s no line today.  You can get your hair cut in 15-20 minutes.”

“No thanks.  Not today,” she answered firmly and began walking more briskly.  I could see that she was not ready to act out the barbershop fantasy I envisioned.

Two blocks farther down the street, the Clip Joint was packed. Half a dozen coeds were waiting to be served. “How long will I have to wait?” Andrea asked the perky blonde receptionist.

“Sorry. Without an appointment, it will be at least an hour, maybe an hour and a half,” the young woman informed her.  “Two of our operators are out sick and you see how backed up we are. You might want to come back next week.  I can make an appointment if you like.”

Andrea’s shoulders sagged and her usually cheerful
smile turned to a frown.  She was visibly distraught at the news. “What do you want to do?” I asked.

“Well, I can’t wait here.  I have to be to work by noon,” she remarked, dejectedly.  “I guess I’ll have to come back next week.”

As we strolled back down High Street I could see that Andrea was feeling blue.  “Sorry I dragged you along on this wild goose chase, Jimmy,” she apologized. “This has just been a big waste of your time.”

“Hey, it’s not your fault,” I consoled her.  “It’s not like this is a life or death emergency.”

As we passed Razor Ron’s for the second time I noticed Andrea again peering through the large plate glass window. The younger barber was still unoccupied.  He noticed us and gestured for us to come in. Andrea paused for a moment before the front door.  “Do you need an appointment to get your hair cut here?” she asked.

“Not for barbershops; it’s first come, first served in there.”

“Do you think they would cut my hair?” she asked timidly, almost fearfully.

“So you are feeling brave,” I exclaimed, barely able to conceal my excitement.

“I don’t know whether it’s bravery or frustration, but I definitely want to get my hair cut today. I guess I’ll give it a try.  But I’ll need your support.” 

“You can count on me,” I announced, holding the door open for her.  I could hardly believe my good luck.  Andrea was going to get a barbershop haircut and I was going to be present to observe every thrilling detail.  It was a scenario I had imagined for years, never actually expecting that my fantasy would one day come true.

Andrea entered hesitantly. Ron was running his clippers over the head of a college guy, shearing his dark hair, leaving only a brief stubble. Tony, the younger, Latin-looking barber rose out of his chair. “Can I help you folks?” he welcomed us, obviously assuming I would be the one receiving the haircut.

“Yes, my girlfriend here needs a haircut,” I said.  Andrea looked at me tenderly—this was the first time I had acknowledged that she was more than just my study partner.  Now I was confident she would do whatever I wanted.

“Sure, step right up,” the young barber directed.  Andrea glanced at me, obviously looking for reassurance.  I gave her an encouraging smile and gestured toward the vacant chair.  She climbed up and cautiously lowered herself onto the red leather seat.  The barber promptly flipped a striped cape over her shoulders and fastened it behind her neck.  He stepped on a pedal at the base of the chair and Andrea rose two feet in the air. 

“So what are we doing today?” the young barber asked in a crisp business-like fashion.

Andrea said nothing, just looked in my direction, imploring me to take charge of her haircut. Although she never indicated she wanted anything more than a replica of the pixie cut she received last time, I yearned to see her hair much shorter.  I decided to risk her displeasure and described the kind of haircut I had imagined in my dreams. “She needs a good trim,” I volunteered. “Short on the back and sides; leave it a bit longer on top.  You know, a nice summer haircut.” 

“You bet,” the barber answered as he busied himself with the instruments spread out on a shelf behind the chair.  He selected a large silver clipper and fastened a metal guard over the blades.  “Is a three and a half okay?” he checked.

Andrea gazed at me with concern.  Obviously, she didn’t have a clue what we were talking about. She couldn’t see what Tony was doing, but she could view the buzz cut Ron was administering to the guy in the next chair and that was cause for alarm.  She was begging for more information, but I didn’t have time to explain things to her.  Besides, I was certain she would balk if she knew how short Tony was planning to cut her hair. 

I ignored her silent entreaties and went ahead giving orders.  “Yes, three and a half will be fine,” I told the eager barber.

Andrea grew more apprehensive.  She squirmed nervously in the big chair as Tony finished his preparations.  I should have reached out to comfort her, should have told her that everything would be alright, but I didn’t want to have that conversation in front of the barbers.  Instead, I just smiled and patted her on the shoulder.

There had been no consultation about possible alternatives, no discussion of what was about to happen, no conversation with Andrea at all.  She never had an opportunity to express a preference or say a word on her behalf.  She was entirely at my mercy.  Watching this vulnerable young woman being shorn like a sheep was an instant turn-on.  My rock-hard cock pressed against my jeans; I hoped no one would notice.

The barber approached the chair with his clippers in hand, switched on the power, and placed his left hand on top of Andrea’s head, abruptly pushing her chin down toward her chest.  He positioned the clippers at the base of her neck and ran them up into her shaggy brown mane.  Large clumps of hair fell to the floor as he drove the blades up toward her crown. I thought to myself, “This guy doesn’t mess around, he gets right to work.”  I admired the way he took charge without asking for Andrea’s permission. 

When Tony withdrew his clippers I saw the deep path he had carved up the back of Andrea’s head. This haircut would be much more severe than the pixie she received eight weeks before.  When Tony finished her hair would be shorter than any other girl on our campus. I prayed Andrea wouldn’t hate me for maneuvering her into this super-short haircut, but at the moment I really didn’t care.  I was locked in the embrace of my obsession. 

I worried that Andrea might freak out; creating a scene that would embarrass both of us. Of course, she couldn’t see the damage Tony was doing to her locks, but she certainly could feel the clippers pressing against her scalp. It didn’t take much imagination to picture what he was doing. Andrea must have been s
tunned by this sudden assault. I studied her face for a clue to her reaction. Her eyes were focused straight ahead, her lips were pressed together, her hands tightly gripped the arms of the chair. She was trying to maintain her composure; hanging on for dear life.

The barber ran the clippers up her head a second time, then a third.  More hair rained down to the floor.  After his fifth pass the back of Andrea’s head was shorn as cleanly as a guy’s.  Tony put his fingers under her jaw and raised her head to its normal position, then directed his hungry clippers into the hair on the left side of her head.  Within seconds he had peeled away the layer that covered her ear.  He expertly guided the clippers around her temple until the clippered side merged with the short hairs on the back of her head. 

The barber spun the chair around and commenced ruthlessly clipping the right side of Andrea’s head.  Using the same swift strokes, he quickly sheared around her right ear.  In less than five minutes the first stage of Andrea’s transformation was complete. She came into the shop with a shaggy mop covering her head, sort of resembling one of the early Beatles.  Now only the hair on top of her head retained any length and that would go next.

Tony silenced his clippers and exchanged them for a spray bottle.  He aimed a fine mist of water over Andrea’s head, thoroughly soaking her remaining hair.  He put the bottle back on the counter and selected a pair of silver scissors.  The barber seized her bangs between his fingers and swiftly sliced them off, leaving only two inches above her forehead.  He casually tossed the severed hair aside and quickly selected another lock.

Andrea could now observe Tony’s actions reflected in the big mirror on the wall. He attacked her hair with ruthless determination, chopping away the last longer strands. She watched in horror as the barber systematically reduced the top of her head to little more than a furry pelt. Within five minutes Andrea’s crown was completely cropped, short tufts of damp brown hair sprouted in all directions and small clumps of clipped hair clung to the cape that covered her shoulders. Tony wasted no time cleaning up the mess. He drew a neat part down the left side of her head and briskly brushed her shortened hair until it lay plastered across her scalp.  The drastically shortened bangs were combed back off her face, completely exposing her forehead. 

The final touch involved shaving her neck.  No customer escaped Razor Ron’s without feeling a keen blade against his neck and Andrea would be no exception.  The barber applied a coating of warm lather and used a straight razor to carve her sideburns into sharp points and define the hairline down the back of her head.  Finally, he shaved a straight line across the back of her neck, adding a squared off look to complete this decidedly mannish haircut.

The whole thing took little more than fifteen minutes from start to finish. In that short time Tony had drastically altered Andrea’s appearance.  Her new look was decidedly butch.  If not for her small breasts and the gold studs in her ears, she could easily pass for a teenage boy.  She stared at her new image as if she didn’t recognize the woman who sat in the chair.  I thought she looked terrific, but it was clear that she didn’t share my rather unconventional preference.

Tony held a mirror behind her head so Andrea could inspect the back.  She said nothing, just continued gazing at her unfamiliar likeness. She was in a state of shock.  I couldn’t much blame her; it had been an abrupt and unexpected conversion from moderately short to super-short, from feminine to masculine, from normal to extreme. 

Finally Tony asked, “Well, what do you think?” 

“It’s so short,” she blurted out.  “Why did you cut it so short?”

The barber recoiled defensively. “Look, lady, I cut it exactly like your boyfriend told me—short on the back and sides and a little length on top.  You got a good summer haircut just like he said.”  In other words, I was the culprit; I was the one to blame.

With that, Tony removed the cape so Andrea could escape from his chair. She glanced down in dismay at the piles of brown hair covering the floor; she reached up to feel the bristles on the back of her head. She climbed down a little unsteadily as I reached for my wallet to pay the barber.

When we emerged Andrea didn’t say a word.  She just turned and began swiftly marching back to the scholarship house.  I had to hustle to keep up with her.  After walking two blocks in silence I stopped her and asked, “Andrea, are you okay?”

As she turned to face me I saw that her cheeks were streaked with tears. Her eyes were red and swollen from crying. “Andrea, I’m sorry.  I didn’t know he was going to cut your hair so short,” I told her. 

“I think you did, Jimmy,” she sobbed.  “I think you knew exactly what he was going to do.  Why did you do it, Jimmy? I thought you liked me. Why did you trick me like that?”

She had me dead to rights. I couldn’t lie my way out of this fix. I had to come up with a satisfactory explanation or our relationship would be over; I didn’t want that to happen.  What could I possibly say to pacify her anger?  Would she be able to accept the truth?

“Andrea, honey, I’m sorry. I was being selfish. Your haircut was something to satisfy my needs,” I confessed.

“I don’t understand,” she said.  “What do you mean?”

I tried to find the words to adequately describe the fascination short hair held for me; to explain why I had ordered Tony to give her such a severe haircut.  I told her truthfully how I found short hair on women to be an absolute turn-on; how I thought she looked incredibly sexy with her new haircut; how I hoped she didn’t hate me; how I prayed we could still be friends.

Andrea solemnly listened to my confession, but said nothing to indicate her reaction.&a
mp;nbsp;When I was done she simply continued walking back to the scholarship house. When we finally reached the door of the house she informed me brusquely, “I don’t want to see you again.”

“Andrea, please,” I pleaded.  “I really like you.  Can’t we still be friends?  Can I call you?”

“The way you treated me is not the way you treat your friend.  You said I was your girlfriend but you don’t care about my feelings.  You were sneaky and underhanded.  I trusted you and you deceived me.  Is this the thanks I get for helping you?” she rebuked me.  “Don’t call me; I’ll call you.”  I had never seen her angry like this.  Usually she was cheerful and upbeat, but I couldn’t blame her for being mad at me.  I had treated her shamefully.

I waited for Andrea’s call for three days, wondering whether I would ever hear from her again.  Finally, on Wednesday evening, the phone rang.  “Jimmy, can you come over?  We need to talk,” was all she said. She didn’t sound angry. I took that as a hopeful sign and hurried over to her place. Right away I saw that she had styled her hair differently.  Instead of being parted and brushed to the side as Tony had arranged it, her hair was tossed into wild disarray that suggested a spontaneous, carefree attitude.  A short feathery fringe framed her face in a flattering, decidedly feminine fashion.  I thought she looked fantastic, much more attractive than the last time I saw her but hesitated to tell her so.

Andrea seemed fully composed.  I studied her face for some hint of her disposition.  Was she still angry?  Was she going to read me the riot act?  I couldn’t tell.  She showed me into the study and closed the door for privacy.

“Jimmy, on Saturday I was very angry with you and said some things I regret,” she began.  “I hope we can still be friends.”

It was a good opening and I grew more hopeful. “Yes, I’d like that very much,” I agreed. 

“When I saw how that barber cut my hair I was in shock.  I couldn’t believe you let him do that to me. I trusted you and you let me down. Then you admitted that you told him to cut it that short and I exploded.  It was a sneaky, underhanded thing to do and I hated you for it.”

I tried to offer a word in my defense, but she wouldn’t allow any interruption.  “At first I thought this was the worst thing that ever happened to me.  Then I changed my mind.”

“Why?” I asked.  “What happened?”

“Well, my roommates had something to do with that.  At first, when they saw my haircut, they were shocked like I was, but when they got over their initial reaction they showed me how to use gel and the blow dryer to style my hair like this.  We agreed this was a good look for me. Now I actually like it this way.  So, you’re forgiven.”

“I’m glad.  I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

“Yes, I know that,” she told me.  “Remember when I said the real me was short-haired?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Well, now I’m more sure of it than ever,” she announced proudly.  “I want to thank you for helping me discover this.  I never would have reached this point without your assistance.”

Her unexpectedly kind words came as a huge relief. “So you’re not mad at me anymore?”

“Nope, I got over that.”

“And we can still be friends?” I asked.

“Yes, I’d like that very much,” she smiled.  “But I have one question.  On Saturday, in the barbershop, you said I was your girlfriend.  Did you really mean that?”

“Yes, I did.  I’d be delighted if you’d be my girlfriend.”

“Oh Jimmy, that would make me very happy,” she said.  “I’ve never had a boyfriend before.  For the longest time I thought I was going to be an old maid.”  She threw her arms around my neck and practically knocked me over.  We embraced and kissed for a long minute, more passionately than we ever had before. 

When we came up for air, I asked, “Now that we’re friends again I wonder if you’d let me feel your hair?”

“That would turn you on wouldn’t it?” she inquired, although she already knew the answer. I nodded and she continued.  “Go ahead. I know some girls who use their long hair to attract guys; in my case I guess it’s the opposite.”

I reached up and stroked the short hair on the back of her head, then moved my fingers around her exposed ears. She bent her head and allowed me to run my fingers through the tousled hair on top of her head. We kissed again and after a moment I felt her hand tentatively exploring my lower regions. Andrea had never been so forward, but I did nothing to discourage her attention.

“What do we have here?” she said, seemingly delighted to discover the power she held over me.

I held my breath as she unbuttoned my jeans and lowered my zipper.  She extracted my throbbing penis and caressed it gently.  “To think that a simple thing like a haircut can produce such a big reaction,” she observed coyly. Andrea eased herself down between my legs and took my cock in her mouth. I knew she was inexperienced, but she performed like a veteran. I closed my eyes and fondled her fuzzy head.  It was only a minute before I came.

Andrea excused herself for a minute.  She returned with a wicked grin spread across her face and sat on my lap.  “I hope you enjoyed that,” she whispered in my ear.

“Where did you learn that?” I asked.

“Well, I read a lot of books,” she shyly told me.  “Plus, I got some coaching from my roommates.”

“So you planned this ambush?”

“Let’s just say I was prepared for any eventuality,” she smirked. Never had I seen her so confident. Andrea had discovered my weakness and was willing to fully exploit it.  When we first began studying together she was shy and unsure of herself.  Now she was bold and daring.  I was amazed at how the haircut had changed more than just her appearance. She seemed like an entirely new person, someone I could easily grow to love. Andrea had taken charge of our relationship. Now she was calling the shots and I was happy to go along with my short-haired vixen.

 

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