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For nearly a year my girlfriend had been pestering me to get my hair cut differently.  The longish style I’d worn since we first met was, in her opinion, sadly out of fashion.  “Honey, you’d look much better with a shorter haircut,” she insisted.  “It would make you look younger, not so old fashioned.” But my old style had served me well; it was comfortable, like a well worn pair of jeans.  I had no desire to change.

Sylvie has an uncanny ability to read my mind and she countered my complaints even before I had time to voice them.   “Change is good,” she said.  “Isn’t that what you’re always telling me?  ‘Don’t be afraid to change.  Don’t be afraid to try new things.’”  She used my own words to rebut my unvoiced objection.

Of course, she was correct.  That was the argument I used to persuade her to experiment with love-making techniques.  At first she resisted my proposal to enter by her back door, “It’s not right,” she said. But one night, when we both were rather stoned, she relented. Her fervent sighs in response to my well lubricated anal penetration proved I had been right.  Once she overcame her initial reluctance, she found the posterior approach pleasurable, even wickedly exciting.  The next time we slid between the sheets she crooned, “Hey, Mister Back Door Man,” as she caressed my throbbing cock with her willing buttocks. 

“Yes, but…,” I objected, weakly protesting her suggestion that I get my hair cut. 

“Yes, indeed,” she interrupted.  “You said we should change our way of doing things and you were right.  So now when I suggest a change, somehow it’s not okay.  You can’t have it both ways, Jeff.” She put her hands on her hips and drew her mouth into the little pout that I always find irresistible.  She had the advantage of initiative, but I wasn’t going to surrender without a fight.

“I thought you liked my hair like this,” I argued.  “At least that’s what you used to say.”

“That was years ago.  Styles have changed; you have changed; I have changed.  We’re not the same people we were five years ago.”  I could see the determined gleam in her eye; she was not about to give up on this one.

I thought back to the day I first spotted her in my freshman English Composition class.  “Sylvia Mancini,” I read her name from my roll and her manicured hand popped up.

“My name is Sylvie,” she corrected me.  There was something in that insistent voice that set her apart from the other first year students—a poised, confident tone not usually found among the eighteen-year-old undergraduates temporarily in my custody.  Later I learned that after high school she had worked for three years; that helped explain her evident maturity and self-assurance.   

I stole furtive glances in Sylvie’s direction all semester, growing steadily more enamored by her striking good looks.  She was not a woman most guys would consider beautiful—certainly not the wholesome cheerleader or homecoming queen type favored by the college crowd.  Rather, she possessed a sultry, exotic beauty I found provocative.  With soulful brown eyes, full red lips, and a flawless pale complexion, she faintly resembled Morticia, the campy mother of the Addams family, especially when she dressed in black, as she often did.  The other coeds couldn’t match her, none even came close.  Most of them trooped to class wearing blue jeans and sweatshirts; Sylvie always dressed with stylishness and flair, never wore sneakers or flip-flops, always wore nylon stockings.  She seemed to have an endless wardrobe—never appearing in the same outfit twice. 

Sylvie’s gleaming dark hair was another source of fascination; each day it was arranged in a different style—sometimes parted down the middle, other days with a side part; often pinned up in a twist or braided in an array of captivating designs.  Some days long bangs partially covered her eyes; other days they were swept to the side.  Even with her hair done up in Pippi Longstocking pigtails Sylvie managed to look sexy and seductive.

She wasn’t a great scholar but never missed a class, always sitting in the same seat in the second row where I could get a good view of her shapely legs.  At the end of the class period, when students clustered around my desk with questions, Sylvie occasionally lingered behind the rest.  Her queries were innocuous, usually something about the readings or the next assignment, but she stood a little closer than the other coeds—near enough so I could inhale her spicy perfume.  When our eyes met I felt an electric jolt—an undeniable hardening of my cock.  I wondered if she was deliberately trying to arouse me or if this was her manner with all men.  On the last day of the semester I received an answer when she handed me a plain white envelope.  At first glance it appeared to be an innocent Christmas card. When I opened the envelope, however, I found only an embossed card with her phone number.  There was no note or signature, only the word “call” printed in bold capitals.  It was not so much a request as a command.

I waited until January before dialing her number.  “What took you so long?” she began accusatorily.  Sylvie was not impressed when I lamely recited the college policy against fraternization with students.  “Well, I’m not your student any longer,” she replied saucily.  That was the beginning of our romance.  Despite the fourteen year difference in our ages, she never acted like my junior and quickly took charge of our social life. I gladly accepted her direction.

Sylvie was more demanding than any of the women I had dated previously.  She had expensive tastes that strained my modest budget.  She insisted we dine in the best restaurants and see every new foreign film as soon as it came to town.  I discovered that Sylvie was a member in good standing of the local art scene, a consequence of her part-time employment at a downtown gallery.  I escorted her to the opening of every new exhibition where she introduced me to her artsy friends as her “personal tutor.” Within three months she had moved into my apartment.  Soon after she transferred to the state university across town so there would be no hint of impropriety when we went out together.

From the start Sylvie seemed to regard me as a home improvement project—her own personal “fixer upper.” I felt like Henry Higgins in reverse.  Instead of the professor educating the poor working girl, it was a case of the student revamping the teacher.  “Look at your clothes,” she said one day not long after she moved in.  “You probably haven’t bought anything new for years.” I had to admit she was right.  “You’re a good looking guy; you ought to dress the part.” The next morning I searched the closet for my favorite corduroy jacket before heading off to teach my classes.  “That old thing with patches on the elbows?” she scoffed.  “I gave it to the Goodwill people.”   When I arrived home that afternoon she greeted me at the door.  “We need to go shopping,” she said.  Five hours and six stores later Sylvie had selected an entire new wardrobe for me.

My beard was the next thing to go.  “You look like Grizzly Adams,” she pointedly observed.  When she noticed a few gray strands among the brown facial hairs she was even more adamant that I trim it back.  At first she was satisfied when I clipped the beard to a modest length, but within a year I was clean
shaven and she was delighted.

“Sylvie, look at your hair,” I continued.  “It’s hardly changed at all.  It’s still the same length as the first day I saw you.”  Sylvie’s glossy mane reached half way down her back.  It was a deep, lustrous brown, so dark it was nearly black, a far cry from the fake dyed color favored by the Goth chicks who hung out in the local coffee shops.  Back when we began dating she wore long bangs that she habitually brushed out of her eyes.  Gradually she let the bangs grow out until they now hung at nearly the same length as the rest of her hair.  With a straight center part exposing her pale forehead she looked even more like Morticia, a resemblance my colleagues frequently remarked on.

“I guess you’re right,” she acknowledged with uncharacteristic reserve. She wistfully ran her fingers through her dangling locks. “If you want me to change my hair, I’ll change it,” she offered.

“Honey, that’s the last thing I want,” I emphatically declared.  “I love your hair just the way it is.  Don’t change a thing.”  Of course Sylvie knew what my response would be.  Her offer was an idle threat.  Sylvie’s lovely long hair was one of her most striking features.  She knew I would never ask her to cut it. 

That ended our debate that night, but I knew Sylvie was not about to let the subject of my outdated hair style rest.  We were watching an episode of “Prison Break,”—not my favorite series, but Sylvie found it fascinating.  “What’s so great about this show?” I asked.  “I don’t understand why you keep watching it.”

“Well, one reason is the cute guy who plays Michael Schofield,” she informed me.

“Which one is he?” I inquired.

“The guy who went to prison to save his brother,” she explained.  “The one with the short haircut.”

“You mean the guy with his head nearly shaved?” 

“Ummm,” she replied, smacking her lips.  “I think he’s yummy.  I get hot just thinking about him.” 

“And I suppose it’s his short hair that turns you on?” I asked her.

“Well, that’s part of it,” she admitted with a sly grin.  “That’s how you should get your hair cut.”

“No way, lover,” I retorted.  “I admit he’s a first class stud, but I would look like a dork with my hair cut like that.”

“You’ll never know until you try.  Don’t be afraid to try new things,” she said with a teasing voice, using my own words to taunt me.

I resisted for as long as I could, but Sylvie was relentless.  What she could not accomplish through logic and persuasion she would achieve by guile and trickery.

We were on a shopping expedition in an older part of town that is home to antique stores and vintage clothing shops.  Sylvie wanted to redecorate the living room of our turn-of-the-century brownstone; I tagged along to see that she didn’t squander too much of my hard-earned money.  She could be impetuous; when she found something she really liked, money was no object.  I saw it as my duty to control her extravagant impulses, to be a voice of moderation and restraint. 

It was a warm afternoon in early June offering a foretaste of the sultry summer weather that was sure to follow.  Sylvie was looking especially sexy in a white sleeveless silk top and a tight navy skirt that stopped half way up her thighs.  Her hair was pulled back into high pony tail that swung rhythmically as she walked.  As we strolled along the sidewalk window shopping Sylvie shared her ideas for decorating our apartment.  I was only half-listening to her monologue.  We approached a nondescript storefront tucked between two larger buildings.  The sign out front said, “Joe’s Place.” Sylvie grabbed my hand.  “Let’s go in here,” she playfully urged me.

Before I realized what was happening, we stood inside an old-time barber shop just like the one my dad used to take me to when I was a kid.  A single large chrome and porcelain chair dominated the interior.  It was an ancient number with a steel footrest, a handle on the side to adjust the height, and a leather razor strop hanging from one arm.  A six-foot high mirror covered the wall behind the barber chair.  The air held the distinctive odor of bay rum shaving lotion.  A huge antique cash register stood against the wall near the door—the kind that goes “ka-ching” when you open the cash drawer.  The shop wasn’t even air conditioned; instead, a ceiling fan rotated overhead, barely stirring the humid air.  I felt like I had stepped into a time machine and been transported back to the 1950s.  I was amazed that such a place still existed.  How Sylvie discovered it I’ll never know.

The barber was nearly as old at the equipment in his shop.  He was dressed in a spotless smock with “Joe” stitched above his left breast pocket.  His white hair was clipped in a short military style.  He could have been sixty or seventy, it was hard to tell.  Despite his age he was alert and spry.  “Afternoon folks,” he greeted us warmly. 

“Lovely shop you’ve got here,”  Sylvie observed merrily.

“Been open for business sixty-five years,” he proudly announced.  “Took over from my father—he was Joe too.”  And no one had changed a thing in all those decades I observed.  The place really belonged in a museum exhibit.  “How can I help?” he inquired.

I was about to explain we had entered his shop by mistake, only out of curiosity, but before I could open my mouth Sylvie spoke up.  “My boyfriend needs a haircut,” she announced gaily. She answered so quickly, so decisively, it was like she had carefully planned her response, which she probably had.

“Sure thing,” the barber answered agreeably.  His place didn’t look too busy; there were no clippings on the floor and no sign that he was expecting any other customers.  I’m sure he was happy to have the business.  “Step right up,” he said, inviting me to occupy his empty chair.

I shot an irate glance at Sylvie who pretended to ignore my anger.  I wasn’t eager to have my hair cut, certainly not in this outdated location.  I preferred the trendy unisex shop near our apartment that I patronized for the past year.  When I hesitated Sylvie responded with a devious smile and none too gently nudged me toward the waiting chair. 

As much as I hated to agree with her, she was right about one thing; it had been nearly three months since my last haircut; I did need a trim.  The hair on my neck hung over my collar and I was constantly brushing long strands out of my eyes.  But I didn’t trust this elderly barber, especially not in this unfamiliar setting.  From the look of his shop, he belonged to the old school of barbering that decreed men’s hair should always be cut as short as possible.  That’s definitely not what I wanted.  If it had been up to me I would have waited a few days to book an appointment at my usual salon. 

In retrospect I realize I should have refused right then; should have told Sylvie that I wanted no part of her scheme, but she caught me by surprise.  I was still rather bewildered by this sudden turn of events.  Besides, contradicting my girlfriend in front of this stranger would have created an embarrassing scene.  I’ve always shied away from confrontation; tried to avoid arguments whenever possible.  Sylvie knew this and used my reticence to her advantage.  So, against my better judgment, I complied an
d without voicing a complaint took the seat that was offered.

Joe the barber flipped a fresh striped cape over my shoulders and fastened a stiff white tissue around my neck.  “So what are we doing today?” he casually inquired as he probably had done thousands of times before.

I was about to inform him that I only needed a trim, but Sylvie cut me off again.  “He needs a nice short haircut for the summer, something that will keep him cool in the hot weather,” she declared confidently.  We had discussed my hair on more than one occasion that spring.  Each time I told her that I detested short haircuts.  Somehow she had not been convinced.

 “Sure thing, lady,” the barber answered enthusiastically.  “What style did you have in mind?”

“I don’t really know much about men’s styles,” she replied.  “What are our choices?”  She said “our choices,” but I was left completely out of the loop.  Sylvie was calling all the shots.

“Look over here,” Joe said pointing to a yellowed poster on the wall showing sketches of a dozen men’s vintage haircuts.  Judging from the outdated styles displayed, it had been in place for at least fifty years.  “These are the basic styles we do here,” he explained.

“Hmmm,” Sylvie said as she contemplated her options.  I shifted uncomfortably.  All of the styles were shorter than the one I currently wore, several were much shorter.  Whichever one she selected, I was in for a major shearing.

She paused only a moment. “I think that would be the best haircut for summer,” she triumphantly announced, like she had just discovered the solution to a major world problem.  I was stunned.  She had selected the shortest of the twelve cuts.  Sylvie knew from our previous discussions that I hated the skinhead look she admired on the “Prison Break” actor. I couldn’t believe she was doing this to me.

 “So you want me to give your boyfriend a buzz cut,” he informed her.

“Is that what you call it?” Sylvie asked curiously.

“Yep,” the aged barber replied.  “Buzz it with the clippers short all over.  Just the thing for summer.”

“Yes, I definitely think you should give him a buzz cut,” she proclaimed delightedly.  From the gleam in her eye and the satisfied smile on her face I began to suspect that I was the victim of a carefully orchestrated scheme.  Our shopping trip into this rather funky part of town was not the casual expedition it initially appeared to be.  The decision to enter this shop was not the result of a spontaneous impulse.  The act I had just witnessed most likely was a little charade designed to create the impression that this was an unprompted, spur-of-the-moment decision on her part.  I doubted that Sylvie needed to consult with the barber to select my haircut.  She probably didn’t need to be educated about the buzz cut.  I guessed she had it picked out well in advance. I was snared in her carefully constructed trap.  I had to admire Sylvie’s cunning —I never saw it coming.

Not only had my girlfriend tricked me into getting my hair cut in this antiquated barber shop, but she was forcing me to submit to the style I detested since I was a teenager.  Sweat began dripping from my underarms, and not from the temperature.  I wasn’t panicking exactly, but I was getting very anxious.  It had been more than two decades since my last buzz cut.  Up to the age of thirteen Dad had insisted that I get my hair shorn brutally short every summer.  He was a Korean War Marine Corps veteran and in his mind he never left the Corps.  “No son of mine is going to go around looking like a sissy with long hair,” he bellowed when I questioned his dictate.  To make sure I didn’t deviate from his exacting specifications, Dad escorted me to the neighborhood barber shop at the beginning of June and told the proprietor, “Clip it good and short.” 

Shortly after my thirteenth birthday, in my one and only act of juvenile rebellion, I told Dad I would no longer submit to the short haircuts he had been inflicting on me.  He was livid; for weeks we barely spoke. Finally Mom could stand the chill between us no longer.  “For goodness sake Jim,” she scolded, “let the boy have his way for a change.  It’s not the end of the world if he lets his hair grow longer.” How I loved my mother at that moment.  It took a lot of courage to stand up to her domineering husband.  After sulking for a few days Dad saw that he was outnumbered and reluctantly gave in.

On our first trip back to my home place, after we had been dating for six months, Mom showed Sylvie some old short-haired photos of me in the family album.  My girlfriend teased me saying, “Jeff, you looked so cute back then.  What happened?” I thought she was joking.  Surely she didn’t consider my short haircut attractive.  Little did I realize that those snapshots would come back to haunt me.

I shot Sylvie another hostile look from my seat in the big chair.  It seemed like she was finally going to have her way; I was going to have my hair cut to her liking.  I wanted her to know how angry I was; wanted her to realize there would be hell to pay when we got home.  Somehow, my displeasure didn’t faze her in the least.  She stood in front of me, crossed her arms across her chest in a satisfied way, smiled serenely, and silently dared me to countermand her instructions to the barber.

“That okay with you, mister?” the barber asked, finally acknowledging my presence.  He was offering an opportunity to countermand Sylvie’s order, a final chance to back out before my scalping commenced.

What could I say?  I didn’t want this barber to think I was afraid to get my hair cut; didn’t want to get into a big fight with my girlfriend in front of this stranger.  I should have stood up and announced that I wanted no part of this haircut; should have walked out the door and left Sylvie in the lurch.  Instead, my deep-seated dislike of controversy prevailed.  I gritted my teeth and halfheartedly agreed. “Sure, go ahead,” I said, meekly accepting defeat.

Sylvie retreated to a straight chair opposite me, a triumphant grin spread across her face.  She made no effort to disguise her glee.  Sylvie had prevailed in this contest, but I vowed I would find some way to take revenge.  She would regret ambushing me this way.

The barber reached for a large set of clippers hanging from a hook beneath the mirror.  He spread some oil on the blades, switched on the power, and approached me from behind.  I heard the unmistakable drone coming from his dreaded implement.  It brought back memories of all the awful haircuts I had endured in my youth.  With his left hand on the top of my head he firmly pushed my chin down toward my chest.  As he placed the clippers at the base of my neck a chill went down my spine.  No retreat was possible; my fate was sealed.  I tried to relax, but that was impossible.  My pulse raced and my nerves tingled as Joe guided the blades up into the thick hair on the back of my head.  The pitch of the clippers deepened as they began chewing into my shaggy mane.  Although there was no way to see what he was doing, I imagined his clippers hungrily amputating my locks.  I pictured large clumps of my severed hair falling from the blades and tumbling to the floor beneath the chair. 

Holding my head steady with one hand, he used the other to repeatedly force his clippers further up toward my crown.  Soon I felt a
faint breeze blowing where my hair had been reduced to stubble.  Instead of cooling off, I only grew warmer as perspiration covered my brow.

Sylvie sat across from me, watching my shearing with evident satisfaction.  She puckered her lips, sending me a long-distance kiss, but that only increased my aggravation.

Joe wasn’t the kind of barber who wasted a lot of time on idle chit-chat; he seemed determined to get my haircut over as quickly as possible.  His clippers angrily buzzed as he ruthlessly removed the hair from the right side of my head.  He bent back my ear, making sure he missed no long strands.  Clipping the left side took only a few minutes more.  Now the strip of shorn hair extended around the lower part of my head.  Only the scruffy mop on top remained at its original length.  The mirror was behind me so I was not able to view my altered appearance, but I could imagine what I must have looked like.  Before my hair had been slightly shabby; now it must have appeared positively ridiculous. 

Sylvie showed no sign of sympathy.  Rather, seemed to be enjoying my distress.  She smirked and blew me another lingering kiss which only fueled my anger.  If only she could feel the humiliation I was experiencing!

With both sides of my head clipped bare, Joe swiftly directed his clippers up into the last patch of long hair on my crown.  Freshly cropped locks rained down from my head, glanced across my face, and landed in a steadily growing mound of dark wool resting on my lap.  Joe doggedly passed his clippers back and forth across the top of my head, determined to leave no hair on my scalp more than half an inch long.  I couldn’t wait until he was done, but he continued buzzing the top much longer than I thought necessary. 

As the barber relentlessly sheared my head I became aware of a most peculiar sensation.  My penis was growing hard; I was becoming strangely excited.  At first I thought this was just a reaction to my growing anxiety, but then I recognized this was the same response I had while watching a porno flick.  I never had had a reaction like this during any previous haircut.  Yet, the pressure from my cock was unmistakable.  What was happening to me?  Why was getting my hair cut such a turn on?  Was I becoming some kind of pervert?

I glanced across the room at Sylvie wondering if she could detect my arousal.  Although she watched my shearing with undisguised delight, her expression hadn’t changed.  She seemed to be enjoying every moment of my transformation, blissfully unaware of the erection pressing against the stone-washed denim of my jeans.

In less than ten minutes Joe was putting the finishing touches on my haircut.  He rubbed some gel into my shortened hair and brushed until every blade stood erect.  Then he shaved my neck and brushed the loose hairs from my face.  Now that he had clipped every hair on my head to the same short length, I didn’t want him to stop.  I was savoring the sexual arousal his clipping gave me; enjoying every second. 

Too soon the barber turned the chair so I could view the finished product.  The change was dramatic and amazing.  In less than fifteen minutes Joe had transformed me from a shaggy-haired yuppie into a tough-looking stud.  I scarcely recognized myself.

Ignoring me completely, the barber asked my girlfriend, “This short enough to suit you?”

Sylvie rose from her seat and strode to my side.  She nodded approvingly as she ran her hand across the top of my head.  “Yes, I like it,” she purred in her most provocative voice.  “He looks so much better now.”  She was delighted with my new look.  Although I maintained a pained, angry expression, secretly I was thrilled that she found my new look desirable. 

“I can take it shorter if you like,”  the barber volunteered.  I glanced at Sylvie and she looked at me.  I didn’t want to let on that I wished Joe to continue, didn’t want her to know that she had prevailed in our little contest of wills, but prayed that she would tell him to clip me shorter.

It seemed that Sylvie was reading my mind.  She pasted a pensive look across her face, held her chin in her hand, and tilted her head to one side.  For a moment she pretended to ponder his offer.  Then her thoughtful scowl disappeared, replaced by a devilish grin.  “Yes, I think you should,” she excitedly answered.  “He’ll look even more handsome with his hair about this length.” This time she held her thumb and forefinger only a quarter of an inch apart.

I tried my best to look furious, but secretly I was delighted that my haircut was being prolonged.  This time Joe didn’t even to bother asking whether I approved of Sylvie’s new plan.  He simply changed the attachment on his clippers and commenced with my second shearing.  This time only tiny bits of hair flew from the blades as he passed his clippers back and forth across my head.  He continued clipping mercilessly around my ears and back down my neck until only stubble remained.  My excitement increased to an almost excruciating degree.  My balls ached and my cock throbbed; I prayed I wouldn’t explode inside my jeans. 

Finally the barber rested his clippers and stepped out of the way the so I could see myself in the mirror for a second time.  I stared at the unfamiliar image sitting in the chair.  It was a strange and disturbing vision.  I barely recognized myself with all of my hair buzzed off. My ears stood out clearly from the side of my head.  You could see my scalp glistening where my hair had been removed.  Now I resembled the nearly bald prisoner we had watched on the TV series.  Once I got over the shock I had to admit the short hair made me look younger and more athletic.  More importantly, I felt incredibly charged with sexual energy; I sensed a greater potency than I had ever felt before.  I was amazed at the effect this haircut was having on me.  I wondered if Sylvie was feeling the same erotic rush I was experiencing.

Sylvie approached the chair for the second time.  Once again she ran her hand across my newly cropped scalp.  This time she let her fingers linger around my ears.  “Very nice,” she cooed.  “Very nice, indeed.  Yes, this definitely is an improvement.  He looks like real man now.”

Sylvie was right, but I didn’t want to let her know that I shared her appraisal of my new look. I was still pissed at the sneaky way she maneuvered me into the barber’s chair.  I was thinking about some way to take revenge.  I didn’t know what form it would take, but I was determined to get even.

Joe didn’t bother to ask my opinion.  After all, there wasn’t much I could say.  After dusting the loose hairs a second time he unfastened the cape, shook the hair clippings onto the floor, and released me from his chair.  I walked to the cash register and reached into my wallet.  “That’ll be fifteen bucks,” he informed me.

I handed him a twenty and muttered, “Keep the change.”

Sylvie was preparing to head out the door when the barber unexpectedly spoke to her.  “And what about you, miss?  It can be your turn next.”  This was a teasing, playful offer, one I’m sure Joe never expected her to accept.  From the twinkle in his eye I could see he was fooling with her, but she didn’t seem to appreciate that.

Sylvie blanched and stopped dead in her tracks, completely taken aback by h
is astonishing offer.  For a moment she was speechless.  A look of panic briefly crossed her face.  Then, recovering her composure, she brusquely replied, “No, not really.”  I could see that Joe’s proposition had a profoundly unsettling effect on her. Normally so poised and confident, Sylvie was on the verge of losing her cool.

Right away I sensed the opportunity I had been waiting for.  If I could coax Sylvie into the barber’s chair perhaps I could inflict the same mortification I had felt; give her a taste of her own medicine.  “Go ahead, honey,” I urged, echoing her words with a saccharine expression.  “With summer coming, a shorter haircut will be a lot cooler.”

Sylvie instantly recognized that I was trying to turn the tables on her.  She flashed a hostile warning that said she wasn’t about to let me exact my revenge.  “You may be right,” she acknowledged frostily.  “I’ll consider it next time I visit my salon.”

I could see she was trying to slip out of the shop with her gorgeous tresses intact, but I was determined not to let her escape.  “No time like the present, honey,” I sweetly cajoled her.  “Joe doesn’t have any other customers and we don’t have any place we need to be.  You should do it now.”

“No, I don’t think so,” she insisted, more firmly this time.  As she shifted uneasily from foot to foot, I could see she was becoming more unsettled and nervous.  I sought a way to take advantage of her flustered state.

Then Joe came to my aid.  He probably sensed the changed tone of our exchange—no longer teasing, but tinged with threat and menace.  He must have figured there was a real possibility that he could have my beautiful girlfriend as his next customer.  At that moment Joe became my staunch ally.  “That’s right, lady.  It’ll only take a few minutes,” he volunteered.  “I’ll give you a nice trim and you can be on your way in ten, fifteen minutes.”

Still Sylvie resisted, and rightly so.  Her troubled expression revealed her distress.  She suspected that accepting his offer would result in more than a minor trim.  “No, I don’t think so,” she repeated more sharply than before.

 “What’s the matter?” I taunted.  “Joe can cut my hair, but he’s not good enough to touch your precious locks?  What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander.”

Sylvie flushed with anger.  “No, it’s not that,” she protested, now clearly on the defensive.  “I’m just more comfortable with my regular stylist, that’s all.” Sylvie glanced anxiously toward the door, eager to escape before the barber and I pressed her any further.  If I had not stood blocking the doorway, I’m sure she would have barged out at this point, but I wasn’t about to let her go, not after what she had done to me.

“I know what the problem is,” I said, gleefully mocking her distress and pressing harder.  “You’re scared, aren’t you?  You’re afraid to let Joe touch your precious hair.”

She glanced toward Joe as if to apologize for not accepting his offer.  “No, that’s not it, not at all,” she repeated, more fervently than before.  “I’m just not ready to have my hair cut today, some other time perhaps.”  With that she tried to push me aside and make a hurried departure, but I was not going to let that happen.

I grasped Sylvie roughly by both arms.  She squirmed to break free, but my fingers pressed into the soft flesh of her biceps, holding her firmly in place.  As she twisted I gripped more tightly.  “Jeff, you’re hurting me,” she whined.

“Sure you’re ready, honey,” I said sternly, pointedly ignoring her complaint.  “It’s high time you got your hair cut.”

Sylvie looked into my eyes with alarm and disbelief.  Never before had I been so forceful with her.  My usual mild-mannered disposition had vanished, replaced by a more domineering, unyielding personality.  I’m sure she couldn’t comprehend what had come over me; I didn’t understand it very well myself.  She started to protest again, but I cut her off.  “I got my hair cut to your specifications, now it’s your turn.”

Sylvie struggled to get away, but I held her too tightly.  I fiercely turned her around and shoved her toward the waiting chair.  She cowered like she was afraid I might strike her—something I would never do.  Nevertheless, I resolved to employ her distress to my advantage.  I wanted her to experience the same lack of control, the same powerless feeling I felt when she was in charge. 

I slammed Sylvie into the vacant seat.  She looked up at me with tear-filled eyes silently beseeching me not to discipline her, but no amount of pleading would dissuade me.  I was relishing this opportunity to settle the score; I wanted Sylvie to suffer the same humiliation that I felt a few minutes before.  Besides, the thought of Sylvie with short hair was beginning to turn me on.  In our years together I never imagined my girlfriend with a shorter hairstyle.  Now I couldn’t wait to see her gleaming dark tresses falling to the floor.

I barked instructions to the barber.  “Joe, my girlfriend needs her hair cut—something nice and short for the hot weather ahead.”

Joe placed the striped cape over Sylvie’s shoulders, the same one that lately had covered me and still held traces of my freshly clipped hair.  He pulled a fresh tissue from the dispenser and wrapped it around her lovely neck just like he did with his male customers.  Sylvie chafed at the unfamiliar texture rubbing against her tender skin, but Joe snapped it firmly in place just as he had done for me. 

With the barber’s cloth completely hiding her stylish outfit and the thick black ponytail dangling from the back of her head, Sylvie looked helpless and vulnerable.  Gone was her usual confident pose; no trace of her earlier bravado remained.  Her chin quivered as she blinked back tears.

I felt a twinge of pity—she looked so forlorn— but I steeled myself; I was not going to be moved by this display of feminine vulnerability.  Only minutes before Sylvie had shown me no mercy.  Now that I was in command, she would receive no leniency from me. 

Joe didn’t wait for instructions, but immediately seized his scissors and easily snipped the elastic band holding Sylvie’s ponytail in place.  Released from their restraint, her dark locks cascaded down around her shoulders.  Sylvie reached up instinctively to smooth them out.  She sorrowfully fingered the long silken strands, hoping against hope she might win a last minute reprieve.

 Joe exchanged his shears for a long-toothed comb and began working deliberately on the side of her head.  Sylvie closed her eyes and pressed her lips together as if she found his touch offensive.  For nearly five minutes Joe tenderly coaxed the tangles from her loosened tresses.  It was obvious that he had never handled hair as splendid as Sylvie’s; he was savoring this rare and unexpected pleasure.  Not a word was spoken as Sylvie endured his ministrations.

When Joe finally rested every hair on Sylvie’s head was flawlessly arranged.  Her glossy black mane streamed down on either side of her face, reaching to her breasts.  Seldom had I seen it look more lovely.  It seemed a shame to ruin such a perfect coiffure, but we had come too far to turn back now. 

After a brief pause Joe seized a spray bottle and began pumping a fine mist of water o
ver Sylvie’s head.  She remained rigid in her seat, making no move to wipe away the clear droplets rolling down her forehead.  It seemed she was trying to block out what Joe was doing by concentrating her thoughts someplace far away. 

When Sylvie’s locks were thoroughly soaked Joe ran his comb through her hair once again.  This time its teeth left distinct tracks, separating the seamless dark curtain into hundreds of distinct narrow strands.

At last Joe seemed satisfied.  He put down his comb and asked, “So what are we doing today?” using the same simple question he asked Sylvie at the beginning of my haircut, only this time he was looking in my direction.  Just as he had only consulted her about my shearing, he understood I was the one he should speak with about her haircut.

Sylvie looked at me making one last earnest plea to preserve her crowning glory, but I was determined. No matter what she said or did, I would remain hard-hearted and follow this course to its inescapable conclusion.  She had set this spectacle in motion, now she would reap what she had sown.

“I think you should cut right about here,” I told Joe, pointing about half way between Sylvie’s jaw and shoulder.  “That would be a good length for summer.

Sylvie saw where I had pointed and suddenly became more agitated.  She probably hoped I might let her escape without a major alteration, perhaps leaving her with a shoulder length do.  “No,” she gasped with her eyes wide in horror.  “Not there.”

I paused, thoughtfully holding my chin in my hand, and momentarily pretended to consider her appeal.  I nodded.  “Yes, you’re right,” I smiled.  “That’s too long for summer.  Joe, you should cut it here,” I said, indicating a spot near the bottom of her ear lobe.  “That will be a great length.”

Sylvie released a long, low moan.  “No, Jeff, that’s too short,” she said tearfully.

“Nonsense,” I responded with counterfeit concern.  “You’re going to look really great with your hair that length.”

I summoned my cruelest, most cold-blooded look as I stared into her eyes.  I wanted Sylvie to see that I meant business; that it would be useless to resist.  Finally she seemed to get my message.  Her shoulders slumped as she swallowed hard and blinked back her tears. My despondent lover sat perfectly still as if frozen in place.  No more protests came from her lips; no more struggle against the fate I had decreed.  She wore a doomed expression on her face, like an old movie I had once seen when Joan of Arc prayed as the cruel executioner lit the pyre of tinder piled at her feet. 

“So why don’t we get started?”  I nonchalantly instructed the barber. 

Joe picked up his scissors and held them level with Sylvie’s scarlet lips.  He looked to me for confirmation.  “Here?” he asked.  Cutting at this spot would remove a foot and a half of her dark tresses, leaving her with the briefest of bobs.  I was certain Sylvie would look smashing with her hair cut to that length.  That she didn’t share my opinion was of no great concern, this was the haircut she was going to receive.

“Yes, that’s it,” I confirmed. 

Joe inserted the opened scissors and thrust them into the hair covering Sylvie’s left ear. Slowly the barber closed the silver blades.  I watched in awe as a lustrous eighteen inch lock silently slid down her shoulder and floated to the floor.  Now there could be no turning back.  Like it or not, Sylvie was going to wind up with a short haircut.  A tear rolled down her cheek as the inevitability of her transformation sunk in.

Joe held the next lock of Sylvie’s dark hair in place with his comb and cut again.  His third cut revealed the lower half of her ear.  He unhurriedly worked his way around Sylvie’s head, deliberately snipping one long piece at a time, making sure to keep an even line.  Unlike my haircut, which was finished in record speed, the elderly barber took his time and that was just fine with me.  I was relishing every second and wanted him to prolong Sylvie’s shearing as long as possible. 

Not a word was uttered as Joe concentrated on the task at hand.  For five minutes the only sounds in the shop were the steady whirring of the ceiling fan and the metallic grinding of the scissors’ sharp blades as they steadily obliterated Sylvie’s flowing mane.  I glanced at the white tile floor where foot long remnants of her crowning glory now mingled with my severed locks.

Finally, Joe reached the right side of Sylvie’s head and clipped off the last long strand.  He recombed her shortened tresses and trimmed a few uneven spots.  He turned to me and asked, “So what do you think?” While he had faithfully followed my instructions, something was missing; something was not quite right with Sylvie’s new bob.  Then it came to me; bangs would fit perfectly with this abbreviated bob.  “I think she needs bangs,” I told the barber, “bangs would look good.”

Sylvie looked at me fiercely.  I’m sure she was recalling the painful months she spent growing her bangs out when we first started living together.  She said then that bangs were childish; that she never wanted to wear them again.  And that’s exactly why I gave Joe this order.  He eagerly complied with my request.  He placed his comb about half way back on her crown and pulled a veil of dark hair down across her eyes.  His scissors slid into the side of this mass, slightly above Sylvie’s eyebrow and cut away three more inches.  She squeezed her eyes tightly shut until Joe had reached the other side of her head.  This was not a wispy little fringe, but a full, luscious version, reaching around Sylvie’s face, almost to her ears.

“What’s next?” Joe inquired, sensing that I was not yet satisfied.

“Can you clip the back?” I asked. 

“You bet,” he eagerly replied as he reached for an impressive looking electric clipper hanging from a hook beneath the mirror.

Sylvie began to protest but a stern look from me silenced her cry.  Joe switched on the power and stationed himself behind the chair.  First he carefully removed the fine hairs from the back of her neck.  Then he continued guiding his clippers upward, creating an undercut patch that sharply contrasted with the longer lengths hanging down. I thought it was a classy finishing touch.

Finally Joe took a blow dryer and round brush and began styling her shortened hairdo.  I watched in absolute fascination as he added volume to Sylvie’s brief bob.  Now her hair no longer was draped straight down her head, but curved provocatively around her face. 

Sylvie watched intently in the mirror as Joe worked; her spirits seemed to rise as she viewed the stylish new hairdo that he was fashioning.  It was a classic look. Most women could not have pulled it off, but on Sylvie it looked totally amazing.  Before she had been attractive; now she was stunning.  With her eyes peering out from beneath her new bangs and the tips of her newly shortened hair revealing more than a hint of her ears—it was a look well suited to Sylvie’s symmetrical oval face.  The cut called attention to her sad brown eyes and juicy red lips.  She was more dazzling than ever. 

Joe held a small mirror so Sylvie could inspect the back.  She slowly turned her head to check the sides, reaching her hand out from beneath the cape to tentatively play with the blunt ends that grazed her cheek.  Her fingers moved to he
r neck as she nervously felt the newly clippered region.  She gazed thoughtfully as if trying to make up her mind.  Although she tried to hide it, I saw a hint of a smile crease her lips.  She wasn’t exactly beaming—she didn’t want to give me that satisfaction—but I could see that she was pleasantly surprised, maybe even delighted, with the way her haircut had turned out.  It was not at all the masculine cut she had expected.  Joe had demonstrated far more skill as a hair stylist than either one of us suspected.

While Sylvie appeared satisfied, I was deeply conflicted.  I shared her assessment of the short bob.  It was a great look, one that imparted a pert, contemporary air.  But my original objective had been to reprimand her for tricking me into getting my hair cut.  Her new hairdo seemed more like an unexpected reward than a punishment.

Joe looked in my direction to see if I approved.  “Is this what you had in mind?” he asked.

“It looks very nice,” I said, faking lukewarm enthusiasm, “but it’s not exactly what I had pictured.”

“I can take it shorter if you like,” the barber offered helpfully, using the same fateful words he had addressed to Sylvie half an hour earlier.

I saw the look of complete terror return to my girlfriend’s face and instantly knew what I would do next.  At nearly the same time she realized how I intended to respond to Joe’s offer.

 “No, Jeff,” she groaned.  “Not any shorter.  This is short enough.” 

I paused, ignoring Sylvie’s fervent entreaty while pretending to thoughtfully ponder Joe’s proposal.  I delighted in the feeling of power, knowing her fate rested entirely in my hands.  I turned to Joe and gravely intoned, “Yes, I think that would be a good idea—shorter would be better.”

Now Sylvie was frantic to get away before Joe had a chance to cut her hair any shorter.  She started to rise up out of the chair.  Before she could escape I grabbed her by the shoulders and slammed her hard back into the seat.  She struggled to break free of my grasp, but I held her in place.  “Where do you think you’re going?” I growled.

Never before had I treated my girlfriend so roughly.  Until that day I had been a model of kindness and consideration, but in the last half hour things had changed.  Sylvie looked up at me with a bewildered expression, half unbelieving and half afraid.  I sensed a strength that I had never before experienced.  My usual easy-going disposition had been jettisoned, replaced by an unfamiliar domineering attitude.  Somehow I knew that Sylvie would not resist.  She would submit to my commands because she was intimidated by the fierce new person I had become. 

Could it be that my haircut had produced this alteration in my personality?  It seemed that my shearing had unlocked a previously repressed aspect of my character. Unlike Samson in the Bible, whose strength disappeared when Delilah trimmed his locks, the buzz cut had imparted a newfound potency.  I’m sure Sylvie never suspected what she was starting when she lured me into Joe’s barber chair.  Later in the day I might regret my heartless behavior, but I was living entirely in the moment and was not prepared to stop.

Once more Sylvie wordlessly pleaded for mercy.  Her mournful eyes brimmed with tears as she begged me to spare her hair from further ruin.  I set my jaw and resolved not to waver.  Without consulting me, Sylvie had decided a short haircut would improve my appearance, now she would get a second taste of her own medicine. She had shown me no mercy and she would receive none from me. 

If Joe was aware of the silent conversation occurring between Sylvie and me, he pretended not to notice.  If he observed our exchange, he was unaffected.  The only thing he seemed to care about was moving ahead with her haircut.  “So how short you want to go?” he asked impatiently.

I really had no idea what the next step should be.  Ordering Joe to give Sylvie a buzz cut would have been a fitting payback, but that would be too extreme, even considering my vengeful state of mind.  I searched the small shop looking for inspiration.  My eyes fastened on the same poster that Sylvie consulted when choosing my hairstyle.  There were a dozen different styles to choose from.  I selected one I was certain that Sylvie would not like.  “What’s this one called?” I asked Joe. 

“That’s the Princeton,” he said.  “Real popular with the college boys back in the day.”

 “Jeff, that’s just too short,”  Sylvie whined immediately as I knew she would.  “I’d look like a guy with that cut.”

“Okay,” I announced in an insincerely agreeable tone.  “Let’s see what else we can find.”

Once again I examined the poster.  After a moment of contemplation I pointed out another abbreviated style.  “What about this one, Joe?” I inquired.  “What do you call this one?”

“We call that the high and tight,” the barber helpfully informed me.  “See how it’s cut tight against the skin and high up on the sides.”

This time I didn’t have to ask Sylvie’s opinion.  She shuddered and cried, “No way, Jeff.  That’s even worse.  I’d look like a G.I.”

 “Sweetheart, Joe doesn’t have all day,” I replied testily, although there were no other customers in his shop.  “There must be one of these styles that suits you.”

“Really Jeff, none of them are suitable.  These all are men’s styles,” she complained.  “Let’s just go home.”

“That’s not an option, honey.  If you can’t make up your mind, I’ll just have to pick one of these styles for you,” I threatened ominously.

Sylvie studied the poster for a long time, her eyes darting back and forth, desperately searching for a style that would not be too extreme.  I stood to the side, impatiently tapping my foot to let her know she didn’t have much time.  Finally she reluctantly pointed to the longest of the dozen styles—one that featured slicked back hair and long sideburns reminiscent of the early Elvis.  “That one?” she tentatively said, her voice barely a whisper. 

Joe smiled broadly like he was greeting an old friend when he saw which haircut Sylvie had chosen.  “We call that the D.A.,” he informed her.  “Haven’t done that one in years.”

Sylvie looked puzzled.  “Why do you call it a D.A.?” she asked.

“D.A. is the abbreviation for ‘duck’s ass,’” he informed her.  “You can’t see it from this front view, but the sides are combed around in back so they resemble the rear end of a duck.  Used to be real popular with the rock ‘n roll crowd.”

Sylvie‘s face clouded as she digested the information Joe obligingly provided.  I could see the prospect of having her hair shaped to resemble a duck’s ass was not something she cared to contemplate.  “No Jeff,” she begged, “not that.”

For me, however, it was a delicious prospect—a fitting form of revenge.  “Gee, honey, I think you’d look real cute with your hair cut like that.”

“Jeff, please,” she pleaded earnestly.

 I was moved by the sincerity of Sylvie’s appeal, but not enough to relent. This was my opportunity to increase her penalty.  While pretending to speak to the barber, my words really were intended for my terrified girlfriend.  “Joe, it seems Sylvie doesn’t like the D.A.  I guess she’d rather ha
ve a buzz cut,” I said, “just like mine.” 

At this point, Joe was my willing co-conspirator.  “Sure thing,” he chimed.  “Another buzz cut coming right up.” He picked up his clippers and ran a few drops of oil across the blades, before switching on the power and approaching the chair.

Sylvie’s eyes grew wider as she realized Joe wasn’t bluffing.  She was convinced that even without her consent, this barber was prepared to cut her hair as short as he had cut mine.

At the last possible moment Sylvie threw her hands up over her head.  “No,” she screamed.  Joe paused.  Sorrowfully beseeching him, she cried, “Not the buzz cut, anything but the buzz cut.”

I smiled heartlessly and prodded her further.  “Do you really mean that?  Anything but the buzz cut?”

She nodded her assent, but that wasn’t enough to satisfy me.  “Does that mean you’ll let me pick any haircut for you as long as it’s not a buzz cut?”

Again she nodded.  “Okay, let me think,” I said.  I turned my attention back to the poster, deliberately scanning the different styles.  I lingered, pretending to consider each one although I had already made my selection.

“Okay,” I announced in an insincerely agreeable tone.  “Let’s see what else we can find.”

Once again I examined the poster.  After a moment of contemplation I pointed out another abbreviated style.  “What about this one, Joe?” I inquired.  “What do you call this one?”

“Oh that’s the flattop,” he informed us.  “See how it’s cut perfectly flat across the top?  That one’s a real challenge; tough to get the hair to stand straight up like that.” 

Turning back to Sylvie, I cruelly teased, “What do you think, honey?  A flattop would be real cool for summer.”

“No Jeff, no,” she pleaded. 

Finally I turned to Joe.  “Sylvia needs a flattop,” I announced.  “You should give her a flattop.”

“Oh my God!” Sylvie gasped.  “Not the flattop, Jeff.”

I deliberately ignored her plea and repeated my verdict.  “She needs a flattop, Joe—just the ticket for the warm weather ahead.”

Sylvie choked back a sob and glared at me without speaking.  There could be no doubt that she was furious with me for the way I had treated her, yet I sensed that she would submit to the second haircut I had ordered. 

For the first time Joe expressed some concern about the disturbing direction in which our little game had turned.  “You sure about that boss?” he asked.

“Yep, that’s what I want,” I assured him.  “You don’t have a problem with that, do you?”

“No problem, as long as the little lady says it’s okay,” he answered.

The barber shifted his attention to my girlfriend, waiting for her consent.  This would be her last chance to back out.  I glared at her, mutely daring her to contradict my command.  For a long moment Sylvie said nothing.  She appeared to be weighing her options—either submit to my edict or suffer my wrath.  She opened her mouth, ready to tell Joe that she was done.  I put my hands on my hips and glared at her.  She saw that I was not going to take no for an answer.  Sylvie closed her mouth and slowly nodded her head, granting her reluctant consent to the short haircut I had ordered. She was defeated, my will had prevailed.

That’s all it took.  “One flat top coming up,” Joe sang out.  He immediately busied himself with the implements spread out on the shelf beneath the big mirror.  He picked up the same clippers he had used to buzz my head and changed the guard that governed the length of the cut. 

While the barber readied his tools, Sylvie plucked a long lock from her lap and wistfully twisted it around her fingers.  It would take years to grow back the length she had lost in the past few minutes and more cutting was just ahead.  I felt a twinge of compassion as she sadly contemplated a short-haired future, but that was not enough to make me abandon my plan.  She had tricked me into an unwanted haircut and now she was going to suffer the same fate.

Joe stood directly behind my girlfriend, poised to continue her transformation.  Sylvie sat perfectly still, her hands tightly gripping the arms of the big barber chair, trying to mentally prepare herself for the next stage of her ordeal.  He placed his hand on top of her head, just as he had done with me, and slowly pushed it down.  Sylvie meekly complied as the barber switched on the power to his clippers.  Their insistent drone filled the small shop while Joe guided the blades up into the thick dark hair at the base of her neck.

Thick clumps of Sylvie’s dark hair fell to the floor as the clippers hungrily chewed a path up the back of her head.  At first no change was evident as longer hair hung down, shielding the blades, but when Joe withdrew his instrument after that first pass I saw that he had carved a deep two-inch furrow into her locks.  On either side Sylvie’s bob was undisturbed, but the clippered strip offered an exciting preview of what was to come. 

By this time tears were freely flowing down Sylvie’s cheeks.  Somehow Joe didn’t seem to notice.  He continued her shearingey see as if it were the most normal thing in the world.  A second upward pass followed the first, then a third and a fourth.  The shortened section on the back of her head grew wider as he reduced her blunt-cut locks to a smooth dark pelt.  He pushed the clippers nearly to her crown, creating a stark contrast between the furry texture below and the gleaming locks above.  I noticed that Joe was using a different attachment than he had employed on my buzz cut, one that left her hair about half an inch long. He was showing her some consideration by not buzzing her hair as closely as he had mine.  As he reached the side of her head the clipped hair began to accumulate on the cape covering her shoulders.  A few errant clumps of severed hair tumbled to her lap where she could contemplate the extent of the destruction.

When Joe lifted Sylvie’s chin she could not yet see the damage.  Looking straight ahead into the mirror on the wall the front and sides of her hair were untouched; the ruin of her bob was not yet evident.  That soon changed, however, as Joe placed his clippers in front of her ear and guided them up toward her temple.  Sylvie gasped when she saw how short he was cropping her hair, but Joe didn’t seem to notice.  Just as he had done with me, he bent Sylvie’s ear out of the way and clipped all of the hair surrounding it.  After buzzing the left side, he turned his attention to the right side of her head and repeated his procedure.  Within minutes the right side matched the left; both were reduced to a uniform length of one-half inch.

Joe switched off the power, silencing his clippers, and set them on the counter beneath the mirror.  Sylvie took advantage of the respite to reach her fingers out from the cape and tentatively explore the cropped region of her head.  By this time her tears had ceased although she still seemed despondent about the fate of her hair.  She didn’t have long to contemplate her altered appearance as Joe returned with his scissors and began systematically trimming the longer hair on top of her head.  Running his hand into her hair, he grasped a lock between two fingers and cut off everything protruding above his knuckles.  Working his way back from the front of her head, he snipped each lock to abou
t two inches in length, without making much effort to cut evenly.  The dark hair that formerly curved around her face now sprouted toward the ceiling.  Sylvie intently followed Joe’s progress and I watched her expression darken as the top of her head began to resemble a ragged patch of overgrown lawn.

Joe exchanged his scissors for the spray bottle and began squirting a second mist of water over the top of Sylvie’s head.  When her hair was thoroughly soaked he gently massaged her scalp, messing her damp hair while trying to erase the part that had run down the center of her head for so many years.  Then he grabbed a brush and began attacking her shortened hair, brushing it off her face.  The grooming continued for minutes as he forced her hair to stand erect. 

My girlfriend’s appearance had been totally transformed.  Her mournful brown eyes were much more prominent; her fully exposed ears were small and delicate; her pale brow was flecked with small clumps of severed hair.  She now resembled a young boy undergoing a summer shearing.  I was reminded of my own barbershop encounters many years ago. 

Joe prepared for the final stage of Sylvie’s haircut by removing the guard from his clippers and selecting a long-toothed comb.  He approached the right side of the chair and switched on the power.  “You need to sit real still,” he cautioned her.  “Otherwise it won’t come out even.” Sylvie swallowed hard and braced herself for the next assault on her hair.

Joe inserted his comb into the hair above her forehead, holding it steady so that about an inch of her dark hair stood up above the teeth.  He guided his clippers into the hair and deliberately steered it across the level comb, chopping off everything in its path.  The barber sent the severed hair flying toward the floor with a casual flick of his wrist and selected a second row of upright hair directly behind the first.  Once again the clippers glided across the comb as more of Sylvie’s raven tresses fell to the floor.  By the time Joe completed his third pass across her head the distinctive outline of her new hairstyle was clearly evident.

Sylvie remained perfectly still as if frozen in place as Joe methodically continued mowing the top of her head. I feared that she might resume sobbing, but she stayed strangely silent.  Her eyes were fastened on the mirror on the wall where she could study every step of her transformation.

As Joe neared the back of Sylvie’s head I could see that he was carving her flattop considerably longer than the picture on the poster—nearly an inch long instead of the quarter or half-inch I had expected.  Apparently this was a concession to his female customer and I can’t say that I objected. 

Next Joe held the comb perpendicularly along the right side of her head and carved a straight wall that met the top at a ninety degree angle.  By the time he finished trimming the left side of her head the white cape covering her shoulders was littered with a fine layer of dark fuzz.  The floor beneath the chair was carpeted with mounds of hair that only a short time ago hung from Sylvie’s head.

Joe switched off his clippers and Sylvie started to rise from the chair, but Joe placed a restraining hand on her shoulder.  “We’re not done just yet, missy,” he informed her.  “Got a little more touching up to do.”

The barber reached into a blue jar on the counter and rubbed some gel into his hands.  With both hands he began to massage the gel into her shortened hair.  “This will help your hair stand up nice and straight,” he informed her.  When Joe finished Sylvie’s neat haircut was a messy thatch, but he soon fixed that with a few swift strokes of his stiff brush.

“Now, just a bit of touch up,” he said as he returned with his clippers buzzing and skimmed them lightly over the top, this time without benefit of the comb.  Joe’s steady hand never wavered as he made sure every hair was standing at precisely the same height. 

“Just one more thing,” he said as he neatly trimmed the hair down her neck and straight across the back.  Joe clipped Sylvie’s sideburns into neat points and proclaimed, “There, we’re done.”

My girlfriend sat staring at herself in the mirror.  It was clear that she didn’t recognize the dark-haired beauty who stared back at her.  Joe held a mirror behind her head so she could inspect the back.  Sylvie slowly slipped her hand out from under the cape and tentatively fingered the short hairs around her ear as if she couldn’t believe what had happened to her.  “Go ahead, feel the top,” Joe encouraged her.  Sylvie did as he suggested and hesitantly passed her open palm across the flattened hair on top of her head.  She seemed to be in a state of shock, not speaking, just staring at her radically altered image.

Joe unsnapped the cape from around her neck and dumped to pile of clippings onto the floor.  Sylvie slowly rose from the big barber chair and walked up to the mirror on the wall so she could inspect her haircut more closely.

I handed the barber two twenty dollar bills in payment for our haircuts.  You do good work,” I complimented him.

“You two come back any time,” he beamed.

When we walked out the door of Joe’s barbershop I was concerned about the future of our relationship.  I had treated Sylvie roughly for the first time in our years together and I wasn’t certain how she would react.

Sylvie sat against the door, as far away from me as possible, as we drove back to the apartment.  Repeatedly she ran her hand up the back of her head, fingering the unfamiliar length.  She seemed to be pouting and I feared the worst.  As I pulled up in front of our building Sylvie practically sprinted up the steps as if she couldn’t wait to get away from me.  When I entered the apartment I found her in the bathroom, staring into the mirror above the sink.  She said nothing to me, just continued to solemnly inspect her new haircut.

Finally, I could stand the suspense no longer.  “Sylvie, are you alright?” I asked, fearful of her reply.

She maintained a stony silence as she took up a brush and began to drag it through the radically shortened patch on top of her head.

“Don’t be angry,” I begged.

“How should I feel?” she asked as she turned in my direction.  “Should I feel happy now that I look like a boy?  Is that what you wanted?”

I didn’t know how to respond.  “Look Sylvie, I don’t know what came over me back there.  It’s like I couldn’t help myself.  I wanted you to experience what I had felt.”

“Come here, you son of a bitch,” she demanded.  Although she sounded angry, I detected something else in her insistent tone, an urgent need to physically confront me.

As I walked slowly toward her, Sylvie retreated into our bedroom.  “Come here you son of a bitch,”  she kept repeating like a dare, a challenge I could not resist.  Soon we were standing face to face.  Without warning she slapped me across the cheek.  “You son of a bitch,” she kept repeating.  “Son of a bitch, son of a bitch.”  Her open palm smacked my face again and again in a sudden flurry of blows.  I backed away until I was standing at the edge of our queen sized bed.  With a sudden motion she shoved both hands into my chest, sending me sprawling back onto the mattress.  In an instant she pounced on top of me, still muttering, “You son of a bitch.  You want to play rough; I’ll show you rough.” Sylvie ya
nked at my shirt, pulling it off my body without bothering to undo the buttons.  She released my belt and pulled my slacks down around my knees. 

I stared up at Sylvie who now straddled my prone body, one knee firmly planted on either side of my hips.  “Son of a bitch,” she chanted over and over as she continued hitting me.  I watched in amazement as she jerked the blouse over her head and tossed it across the room.  Her bra came next followed by her short summer skirt which she managed to shed in a remarkable display of gymnastic agility.  Now she looked me in the eye.  “You want to fuck me, you son of a bitch?” she taunted.  “You want to fuck your short-haired bitch?” It was a dare, a challenge, and an invitation.  Sylvie glared at me with an animal passion I had never witnessed before.  She glanced down at my hardened cock straining against the cotton fabric of my jockey shorts.  “Of course you want to fuck me, you horny son of a bitch,” she observed.  Sylvie tore away my undershorts leaving my stiff penis fully exposed.  “Well, what the fuck are you waiting for?” she insisted as she removed her stockings and panties. 

Sylvie deftly inserted my throbbing cock into her dripping slot.  She slid up and down on my fully erect shaft, ramming her body into mine as if she was punishing me for cutting off her hair. She continued chanting, “Son of a bitch,” but her tone had changed.  Now she was crooning a love song and “son of a bitch” was her term of fondest endearment.

Then it was my turn.  I flipped Sylvie on her back and pinned her arms so she could no longer slap me.  I jammed my dick deep into her juicy vagina, deeper than I had ever penetrated before.  She continued taunting me.  “Do you love your short haired bitch?” she demanded.  “Does it turn you on now that I look like a boy?” Of course, there was no need to answer.  Our frenzied love-making was proof of our newly discovered obsession. 

Never in our five years together had Sylvie been so vocal, so insistent, so completely uninhibited.  She was begging me to ravish her, pleading that I take her by force, at the same time she was attacking me.  Our love-making became a contest to see which one of us could dominate the other.  She clawed at my back; I shoved my tongue so far down her throat I thought she might choke; she bit my lip; I rammed harder; she bucked and I held on.

At last she closed her eyes and began moaning.  “Fuck me, fuck your short-haired bitch,” she cried.  As I reached my climax she shuddered beneath me in the most intense orgasm I had witnessed.

We collapsed, our fury completely spent.  We cuddled together on disheveled sheets, our bodies glistening with sweat, both of us temporarily speechless.  Sylvie began slowly rubbing her hand across the top of my head, like the bristles of my buzz cut were now her favorite plaything.  I stroked her shortened hair, outlining her exposed ears and fondling her naked nape, all the time marveling at the change that had come over us.

“What was that all about?” I finally asked in amazement and wonder.

“Damned if I know,” she answered.  “All I know is that when I watched Joe buzzing your hair, I started getting turned on.  I knew you would look sexier with short hair, but this was more than that.  I felt a strange primitive urge.  Something stirred deep inside me, something I never felt before.  As he cut your hair I got hornier and hornier.  I wanted to fuck you so bad I almost jumped you right there in the chair.”

“That’s not how I was feeling just then,” I confided.

“Yeah, I could see that you were angry,” she said, “but at that moment it didn’t matter.  I was determined to see you buzzed as close as possible.”

“And then I turned the tables on you,” I continued.

“Yes, that was something I never expected, but I guess I had it coming,” she admitted.

“I wanted you to feel what I had felt,” I explained.

“I could see that you were getting turned on just like I had been.  The bulge in your pants was unmistakable.  You couldn’t hide your reaction.”

“I hope you won’t hate me for cutting your hair off.  I know the change will be harder for you than it will be for me.”

“I’m sure there will be days when I will miss my long hair,” she admitted.  “After all, I was rather attached to it.  But change is good.  Isn’t that what I’m always saying?”

“Yes, change is good,” I agreed.

In the months since our fateful visit to Joe’s barber shop Sylvie has kept her hair in the same basic configuration.  After some searching she discovered Julie, a stylist at one of the hip downtown salons, who took on the maintenance of Sylvie’s flattop as an intriguing professional challenge.  She doesn’t clip the back and sides as short as Joe did and has let the top grow to about two inches in length while still keeping the unmistakable flattened profile.  It’s a softer, more feminine version of the classic male cut.  Julie’s most original contribution was fashioning a quiff above Sylvie’s forehead—a lock extending two inches longer than the rest of her hair.  Sometimes it is brushed back off her face; other times she lets it flop provocatively across her brow.  After her second appointment with Julie, Sylvie came home with the quiff dyed a near-white platinum, a startling contrast to the dark pelt that covered the rest of her head.  Two months later it was a rich golden blonde; eight weeks after that a bright fire engine red. 

Each morning it takes Sylvie early half an hour and tons of hairspray to get her hair standing straight up, but she never complains.  When she catches me watching her hair brushing and softly purrs, “You son of a bitch,” it’s music to my ears.

Hers is a completely unique look, one that she wears well.  It never fails to stimulate comments.  When she’s asked about the origins of her one-of-a-kind hairstyle Sylvie smiles coyly and says, “I owe it all to Joe.  He’s my inspiration.”  Of course, she never bothers to reveal Joe’s identity or to disclose his role in her transformation.  It remains our secret.

My hair has remained in the same close-to-the scalp crop that Joe had first administered; only now Sylvie is my barber.  Every two weeks she sits me down in our kitchen and ruthlessly runs a newly acquired clipper over my head until she is satisfied that none of my hair is more than a quarter-inch long.

The one year anniversary of our unforgettable afternoon in Joe’s shop is coming up next week and we are planning a return visit.  In anticipation, both Sylvie and I have skipped our regular hair appointments; we want to give Joe more raw material to work with.  Sylvie has hinted that she’d like to see me with a high and tight flat top.  I’m considering ordering a Mohawk when her turn comes.  Whatever we decide, I’m certain it will be followed by some of the most energetic sex either of us has ever experienced. 

Change is good—both Sylvie and I believe that fore firmly than ever.

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