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You’re Gonna Be a Star

I arrived early for the day-long job hunting seminar at the Holiday Inn.  Local companies had laid off thousands of workers during the economic downturn.  Opportunistic entrepreneurs, always eager to profit from others’ misfortune, advertised training sessions for pink slip recipients, promising instant results and access to data banks containing thousands of employment opportunities.  One only had to shell out $100 for the service.  They were vultures preying on unemployed people desperate to find steady work.  No matter how much I disliked what they did, I couldn’t really blame them because I was doing the same thing.  I knew plenty of needy job seekers would respond to the ad and at least half of them would be female.  Among them I hoped to discover the “star” for our next movie.

I spotted her as soon as she entered to conference room.  Her name was Kathleen, I learned by reading her stick-on nametag as we stood around the coffee urn waiting for the workshop to begin.  She was not yet thirty and her ring finger was naked, a hopeful sign.  I noted these things and one more–she was by far the most attractive woman in the room. 

She stood about five foot seven, tall, but not exceptionally so, with a slim, graceful figure.  Her breasts were on the small side, but that was not my main concern.  My eyes fastened on her long, dark brown hair, parted down the middle, pulled back and gathered at her neck into a neat bundle hanging between her shoulder blades.  Barrettes on the sides of her head revealed that not too many months ago she had worn bangs.  I yearned to remove the clips and loosen the elastic band to view those raven tresses floating free, unfurled in their full glory. But that would have to wait. 

Kathleen offered other visual delights.  Her eyes were a haunting pale blue-gray and her complexion was a flawless, milky white.  Despite her obvious beauty, she did nothing to call attention to her good looks.  She wore a trace of pale pink lipstick, but no other makeup I could discern.  Her conservative business attire was identical to the outfits worn by half the women in the room.  For the film I would dress her in a form fitting cocktail dress with a plunging neckline, but that would have to wait as well.

Her manner was shy and diffident; she held back from conversation and spoke only when another registrant directly addressed her.  She tended to look away and self-consciously tuck a stray lock of hair behind her ear when speaking.  I had seen her type before—bashful and lacking in self-confidence; completely oblivious to her own considerable charms; totally unaware of the allure of her physical assets.  I had a hunch she would be vulnerable to my “sales pitch.”  I knew I couldn’t come on too strong; that would only scare her away.  But, if I played my cards right and used a more subtle approach she might be my next “discovery”. 

I took a seat in the row behind Kathleen and endured the first ninety minutes of the tedious PowerPoint presentation, sneaking occasional glances in her direction while trying not to be too obvious in my staring.  I passed the time daydreaming, imagining her wearing different hairdos, all of them much shorter than her current style.  As the scheduled coffee break approached I weighed the best way to introduce myself.  I didn’t want to come on like a stalker.  Like a “pick-up artist,” I rehearsed opening lines to strike up a conversation without appearing too forward.

When the break finally came I slipped behind her in the coffee line.  “I hope it’s good and strong,” I remarked in her general direction, “I need to stay awake.”

She stepped aside with a full steaming cup, smiled timidly, and rose to the bait.  “Yeah, I know what you mean,” she replied.  “Sometimes it’s a struggle.”

That was all the opening I needed.  I introduced myself and began chatting casually.  I kept my full attention on her, hoping to draw Kathleen out of her protective shell.  I asked what brought her to the workshop and learned she was recently let go from her job as a programmer for a well known software firm.  “The company was downsizing and I had no seniority.  I got two months’ severance pay and they paid my fee for this training session.  Sure hopes it does some good.”

I shared my story, explaining that I recently left a small CPA firm to search for a more lucrative position in sales.  It wasn’t exactly a lie.  I had quit my accounting job, though that was more than a year ago. I did not disclose my current employment as a free lance “talent scout.”  That would come later.

When we were called back for the second session I took the vacant chair on her right.  “Mind if I join you?” I asked, confident she was too polite to refuse.  Kathleen nodded her assent and I smiled inwardly; so far everything was going according to plan.

At lunch we critiqued the trainer over salad and sandwiches.  We agreed the information he presented was useful but his delivery was too repetitive and extremely boring.  Throughout our conversation Kathleen remained reserved, more than willing to let me do most of the talking.  However, I was able to coax out some helpful personal information.  Four years ago, after graduating from college, she came to the city from a small town upstate lured by a job offer from a big name corporation and the prospect of a more exciting social life,. Computer science was an unusual major for a woman, but she had a logical mind and discovered she had a talent for programming.  She located an apartment by answering a newspaper ad. Her roommate was a nurse who worked the night shift at the regional medical center.  At first everything went according to plan.  Kathleen bought a used Honda and soon had a steady boyfriend, another programmer for the same company.  However, that romance soured when he started paying too much attention to her roommate.  Kathleen then moved to her current residence–a tiny studio apartment on the third floor of an older home.  After being laid off she landed a part-time job waitressing evenings and weekends at a chain restaurant.  The work was demanding and the money she made in tips was barely enough to pay the rent.  She was dipping into her savings to make car payments and cover other expenses.  She had no health insurance and worried how much longer she would be able to make ends meet.

I listened attentively to Kathleen’s story, pretending to share her concern, but privately I was congratulating myself.  She was just the sort of young woman I hoped to find—attractive, single, alone in the city, and facing increasingly desperate financial straits.  I grew more confident that she would listen when I unveiled my proposition.

When the session was over I waited for Kathleen in the motel parking lot.  “Would you like to go someplace for a drink and a bite to eat?” I offered.  “My treat.”  I felt sure that the prospect of a free meal would overcome any reticence she might feel about going out with me.

She agreed and followed me to a quiet bar not far from the motel; a location I had scouted the day before in anticipation of meeting a lovely “prospect” like Kathleen. 

After ordering drinks—white wine for her, a local mi
crobrew for me—we resumed our lunchtime conversation.  “And what do you do, I?” she asked.  “You don’t act like you’re unemployed like the rest of us at the session.”

I briefly considered inventing a “cover story,” but decided against it; she would learn the truth soon enough.  “I’m not really unemployed,” I confessed.  “After I quit my job at the accounting firm I went to work with a friend of mine.  He’s an independent filmmaker and I work for him on a contract basis.”

“You’re not an actor, are you?” she inquired.

“Heavens no,” I chuckled.  “I guess you could call me a talent scout.”

“A talent scout?” she asked, full of curiosity.  “How does that work?”

“Well, my partner tells me who he needs for our upcoming films, and I look for people that fit the bill.”

I could tell she was intrigued—a very good sign.  “You make it sound so simple.  I’m sure it’s not as easy as that.”

“Sometimes it’s easy; sometimes it’s not,” I answered truthfully. 

“And who do you look for?  I thought all the movies were made in Hollywood.” Kathleen seemed eager to learn more.  The conversation was headed in the right direction;

“Actually, a lot of independent films are shot outside of Hollywood.  It costs two or three times as much to shoot a movie in one of the established Hollywood studios.”

“But I thought that’s where all the talent is.”

“Yes, most of the big name stars work for the famous directors, but there’s lots of undiscovered talent in every community.  You’d be surprised.”

“And what kind of films does your friend make?” Kathleen asked pointedly.  I knew our conversation had reached a critical juncture.  When I revealed the nature of the films my partner made Kathleen might freak out.  It was a chance I had to take.

“My friend makes movies for a specialty market.  They are instructional films,” I replied evasively.

“Instruction in what?” she insisted.

“Instruction in haircutting.  Our films demonstrate the latest techniques for creating up-to-date hair styles for barbers and hair stylists.” Once again, I skirted the truth.

“So you aren’t looking for trained actors; you need models,” she corrected me.

“That’s right,” I confirmed, “although some acting ability is a plus.”

“And how do you spot a model for your films?”

“I look for a woman who is reasonably photogenic.  Of course, she needs to have a good head of hair.  That’s very important.”

“And she has to be willing to have her hair cut in whatever style is in fashion right now,” she added.

“Yes, that’s right.”

Kathleen paused for a long moment.  She appeared to be carefully framing her next question.  “Is that why you brought me here, Mike?  Are you trying to recruit me for one of your friend’s films?” I was surprised by her directness.  This girl caught on quickly.  If she suspected I was conning her, she might walk out the door and I’d never see her again.

“I cannot tell a lie,” I admitted.  “You caught my eye as soon as you walked into the conference room this morning.  You would be perfect for one of our instructional films.”

“Do I look like someone who needs a haircut?” she demanded testily.

“No, not at all,” I quickly responded.  “But you are a very attractive young woman, just the type who would make an excellent model.”

“I suppose I should be flattered that you consider me pretty enough to appear in one of your friend’s films.  But I thought you were interested in me.  Now I see that you’re only interested in my hair.”

“I hope you do feel flattered, Kathleen.  Yes, I think you’d make an excellent model for one of our films, but I also find you attractive, very attractive.  If you’ll hear me out, I have a proposition that may be mutually profitable.”

“Is this a proposition to appear in one of your friend’s films?”

“Yes, that’s right.”  I knew that she might well terminate their conversation any moment.  It wouldn’t be the first time a “prospect” had walked out on me.

But she stayed. 

“You said profitable?  How profitable?” Kathleen continued.

I was encouraged.  Kathleen had not rejected my proposition.  She was still talking.  Clearly, she was interested.  I felt like an angler casting into a deep mountain pool.  A prize trout had spotted my lure.  Now I had to set the hook.  “We pay our models a substantial fee,” I offered vaguely.

“How substantial?” she insisted.  I rejoiced; Kathleen was taking the bait.

“Our standard fee is a thousand dollars,” I said as I studied her reaction.  I could see that the amount definitely got her attention.

“And what happens to the film?” she inquired.  “Where is it shown?”

“After editing it’s offered for sale on our website.  We have an extensive network of clients all over the United States and in several foreign countries.”

“So you think I should cut my hair?” she challenged me, abruptly changing directions.  I had not expected our negotiation to progress this quickly.

“That’s entirely up to you.  Your hair is gorgeous, but I think you would look stunning with a shorter style.  Have you ever thought about cutting it?”

A nervous smile crossed Kathleen’s face, almost as if she had been anticipating my question.  “Of course.  I guess every girl with long hair thinks about it at one time or another.  I’m sure life would be much simpler with short hair.  Occasionally I see a girl with a really cute short cut and think some day I might try something like that.  But long hair is what I’m used to; it’s what I’m most comfortable with.”  She paused for a moment, collecting her thoughts, then announced, “And it would take more than a thousand dollars to persuade me to cut it off.”

I couldn’t believe my good fortune.  Less than thirty minutes into the conversation and I knew she was hooked.  Kathleen was dickering.  I was almost certain she would accept a higher offer.  Some of my “finds” took weeks to reach this point.  All I had to do was to reel her in very carefully.  “How much more?” I eagerly asked.

“Well, that depends.”

“Depends on what?”

“It depends on what kind of haircut you and your partner have in mind.”

“We film all kinds of haircuts, but most of them are rather short,” I revealed. “The shorter the haircut, the higher the modeling fee.”

I ordered a second round of drinks, and we continued talking about other topics.  After finishing the dinner, Kathleen concluded our conversation.  “Well, you certainly have made an interesting proposition.  As you know, right now I need some additional income, but you’ll have to make me a better offer and I’ll need some time to think it over.”

“Yes, I
understand.  I’m willing to see if my friend will to go higher.  I think he may, but I need to know how much you will need.”

“Tell you what,” Kathleen proposed.  “You give me the address for your friend’s website.  Let me check out the videos he sells.  Then I’ll get back to you.”

“Fair enough.”  I pulled out a business card and scribbled an address on the back.  “Here’s the address and my phone number.  Call me back and let me know what you think.”  It was risky, I knew.  The haircuts shown in our videos all were pretty extreme.  Each model received a radically short haircut; some had their heads shaved completely bald.  But there was no way to avoid it.  Sooner or later she had to learn the kinds of films we made.

“I’ll do that,” Kathleen said as she got up to leave.  We shook hands.  She smiled warmly, keeping my hand in hers longer than the standard business handshake.   “It’s been good getting to know you Mike, even though you had an ulterior motive.  Maybe sometime we can do this without the business agenda.” 

Late that evening I called the unlisted number of Curtis Dixon, my “silent partner” in the filmmaking enterprise.  Curtis answered in my usual brash manner.  “Hey Mikey, what you got for me?”

“Hi Curt.  Think I found a model for you.  She’s a real beauty.”

“She got big boobs?”

“No, but she’s a real looker.”

“She a blonde?”

“Brunette.”

“You sign her up?”

“Not yet.  But she’s definitely interested.”

“What’s the chance she’ll model for us?”

“Better than 50-50, I’d say.”

“Call me back when she’s ready to sit in the chair, Mikey.  Anything else?”

“That’s it, Curt.  I’ll call back when I’ve got something definite.”

“Good boy, Mikey.  Keep prospecting.  Some day you’ll hit pay dirt—blonde, good looking, with big tits—all in one perfect package.” That was Curt, always had his eyes on the bottom line when they weren’t fastened to some woman’s breasts.  Making money was his main concern, and he was good at it.  His primary business was a rather shady nightclub, but he was always looking for other ventures.  I worried that Kathleen might be repulsed when she met my sleazy partner.  If she decided to make the movie she would have to deal with Curtis and that could be a problem. 

Over the next weeks I anxiously waited for my phone to ring, but there was no word from Kathleen.  Each day without a message on my answering machine chipped away at my optimism.  After a month with no response I decided that the super-short haircuts depicted in Curt’s videos had scared her away.  This was not terribly surprising.  Very few young women, no matter how strapped for cash, would willingly submit to the extreme haircuts our clients preferred.  Vanity usually won out over poverty.

However, five weeks later I finally got the call I had been waiting for.  “Hello Mike, it’s Kathleen.  Remember me?”

“Of course I remember you.  I never forget a pretty face.”

“Or a head of long hair,” she pointedly added. 

“Are you calling to say yes?” I asked hopefully.

“I’m calling to say I’d like to talk with your partner.  I saw the kind of films he sells; I did some research.  Those are not instructional films.  You sell them to men with fetishes; guys who get off on seeing girls having their hair chopped off.  They’re one step removed from pornography.”

“I’m not going to argue with you, Kathleen.  Some folks find our films instructional; others consider them erotic.  It takes all kinds.”

“I’m sure it does.  If people are willing to pay, I’m sure people like your partner will make the films they want.”

“So, are you considering modeling for us?”

“I am, Mike.  The balance in my savings account is double zero.  My credit card is maxed out.  I can’t earn enough from my job to make ends meet.  I don’t see that I have many options besides moving home with mom and dad, and I’m not ready to do that.  I’d like to talk with your partner.”

“I’ll set up an appointment.  My partner will spell out all the details; the two of you can negotiate; if you agree on a price, we’ll draw up a contract.”

“Will you be involved?” she inquired hopefully.

“Oh, I’ll be there all right, but Curtis handles all the finances.  If you two agree on a number, I’ll take care of the details.  That’s me—the detail guy.”

She arrived at the nondescript office building located in a rather seedy part of town promptly at four.  I was waiting in the nearly vacant parking lot and stepped out of my Lexus as Kathleen emerged from her beat up Civic.  She was dressed to impress in a tight fitting hot pink sheath and stiletto heels.  I noticed she was wearing lip gloss, eye shadow, and mascara—much more makeup than at our previous meeting.  Her gleaming hair was pulled back into a high pony tail that swung as she walked toward me.  “Kathleen, good to see you again,” I called.  “Right on time.  I like that.  How are you?”

“Hello Mike,” she replied.  “I’m okay, I guess.”

“You’re not sure?” 

“Kinda nervous, to be perfectly honest.  This is a big step for me.  I really don’t know what to expect.”

“Look, you’ve got nothing to worry about.  Curt will explain everything; go over all the details.  If you’ve got any questions, he’ll answer them.  If you’re not completely happy with the deal you can walk away.  There’s no obligation.”

“Yes, I know that,” she told me.  “But that doesn’t make me any less nervous.  I guess I’m afraid that I may say yes.”

“And we’re hoping that you will say yes, but not unless you’re completely satisfied with the terms and conditions.”

She glanced at her watch.  “Your partner is expecting us.  Let’s go in”

We walked to the entrance together.  I held the door and ushered Kathleen into an unmarked office suite.  We walked through a deserted reception area toward a back room.  A heavyset man sporting a thin mustache rose from his desk to greet us.  With his slicked back hair and sharkskin suit he looked like a character out of “The Sopranos.”

“Hey Mikey, how you doing?” he boomed.  Then, turning to Kathleen, he extended his manicured hand.  “And you must be the lady Mike’s been telling me so much about.”  His eyes critically roamed Kathleen’s trim figure.  “I can see now why he was so hot to have you sign with us,” he leered.  “I’m Curtis Dixon, but most folks call me Curt.”

Kathleen blushed and shook his hand. “Pleased to meet you Mr. Dixon,” she said in a voice barely louder than a whisper.

“Take a seat, plea
se,” he told her without sitting himself.  When she was seated he walked behind Kathleen’s chair.  “If you don’t mind, sweetheart, undo your ponytail.  I’m sure you understand why I need to check out your hair before we go any further.”

“Of course,” Kathleen replied as she reached behind her head, removed the elastic band that bound her dark locks, and shook her head so her hair spread out around her shoulders and grown out bangs fell in her face.  The dramatic contrast with the fabric of her dress made her hair seem even more luxurious.

Curt handed her a brush.  “Now brush it out if you don’t mind.”

Kathleen did as she was told.  Curt watched intently as she groomed her shining locks, a sly smile spreading across his slightly sinister face.  “Nice, very nice,” he whistled as he stepped behind his polished oak desk.  “Mikey, you weren’t lying.  This babe is the real deal.” I was delighted; my partner didn’t usually display so much enthusiasm in front of a potential model.

“My dear, I think we can do some business,” Curtis beamed.  He then explained in detail how his films were made, marketed, and distributed.  Kathleen listened solemnly and did not interrupt.  After fifteen minutes of his non-stop sales pitch he paused.  “Now let me explain our fee structure.  Mikey tells me that you find our standard amount too low.  After seeing you in person I can assure you that we are willing to go higher.  Here’s what I’m prepared to offer.  I’d like to see a series of haircuts.  The first one would cut off about ten inches of your hair, so it just brushes your shoulders.  We would also give you bangs to complete the look.  For that we will pay you $500.  The second haircut would give you a neat little bob, about chin length.  You’d get $500 more for that one.  The third cut would be what we call a little boy’s cut—short on the back and sides, but longish on the top.  That would be worth another $500.  The fourth number would be spiky and short on top, about two inches long at most.  That would put another $500 in your pocket.  If you go from there to a buzz cut, that would be worth another $500.  If you’re willing to be shaved completely bald, you would receive a $1,000 bonus.”

Kathleen sat silent, deep in thought.  “If I consent to the first two haircuts, I’ll get $1,000, right?”

“Yes, that’s right,” Curt confirmed.

“If I go for the short and spiky cut you’ll pay me $2,000 total?”

“You got it, babe.”

“And it would be $3,500 if I let you shave my head.”

“Right again.  You’ve got a good head for figures.”

“Well, I can tell you right now that I don’t want to be shaved bald.  That’s just too extreme.”

“Okay, I understand.  What about the buzz cut?”

“How short would that be?”

“About a quarter-inch all over.”

“Still too extreme,” she declared firmly.

“What about short and spiky?” he eagerly inquired, sensing that she might be willing to go that far.

“Do you have a picture?  I’d like to see what you have in mind before I agree to anything.”

Curtis opened a folder on his desk and extended an 8 x 10 photo.

Kathleen studied the photo intently, saying nothing for two minutes.  The two of us waited anxiously for her reply.  Finally she broke the silence.  “I could do it, but not for $2,000.”

“How much would it take?”

“I’d be willing to do it for $3000.  That will pay my rent for six months.  I can’t take a penny less.”

Curtis sat with his arms folded across his chest.  I sensed they had reached an impasse.  He had only paid that much once before and it was to a very well endowed blonde who left our studio with her head bare as a cue ball.  “Kathleen, why don’t you step outside for a moment?” I said.  “Curt and I need a little privacy.” She rose silently, went into the outer office, shutting the door behind her.

“Are you crazy, Curt?  You can’t let this chick get away.” I argued passionately.  “The video of her short haircut will sell a thousand units easy.  You’re going to make bundle of money with that girl.  Give her what she wants.”

“I dunno Mikey.  You know the only time I went that high was for that blonde who shaved her head.  You remember that sexy babe?  This chick is cute, I’ll grant you that, but she’s hardly got any boobs.  She doesn’t rate high on my sex meter”

“Curt, you’ve got to realize that 99% of our customers don’t give a damn about boobs,” I pleaded.  “All they want to see is hair falling on the floor, lots of it.  Our guys will love seeing Kathleen getting her hair cut; they’ll go crazy, I guarantee it.  So she’s not real sexy, so what?  She’s the sweet, innocent, girl next door type.  Lots of guys dig that.”

“Lots of guys like you, Mikey, ain’t that what you mean?  I think you’re sweet on this broad.  You’re letting your cock mess with your brain.  I’m the one putting up the bucks here and I don’t want to wind up in the red if her video don’t sell.”

“Tell you what, Curt,” I countered, “if you’re so concerned about losing money, I’ll take half my usual commission.  If her video sells more than a thousand units in the first year, then you’ll give me the full amount.  How does that sound?”

“Sounds like you’re thinking with your cock, Mikey,” my partner sneered.

“So what if I am?” I countered.  “It won’t cost you a dime.  Do we have a deal?”

“Yeah, sure, it’s a deal.  You go ahead and take care of the details with the broad.  Set up the shoot for next Friday—6 PM in the usual place.  Call Della to do the haircut.  She’ll add some sex appeal for guys like me who like big boobs.  I‘m outta here.  Gotta get back to the club before those lousy bartenders rob me blind.”

After Curtis disappeared out the back entrance I opened the office door and saw Kathleen seated on a couch looking slightly apprehensive. “Kathleen, can you come in?” I called.

As soon as she saw Curtis was gone Kathleen’s face grew more concerned.  “Where did he go, your partner, I mean?”

“He had to get back to his club.  That’s his main job; making movies is just a sideline.”

“He doesn’t want to film me, does he?  I could see it in his eyes as soon as I said my price was $3,000.  Your partner doesn’t like me.  He thinks I’m a greedy bitch.  But I’m not being greedy, Mike, that’s what I need to get by on until I find a steady job.”

“Relax, honey.  It’s nothing personal.  Curtis is a businessman from start to finish.  He’s only concerned about making a buck.  But we were able to work something out.”

“You were?” Kathleen asked hopefully.  “It doesn’t involve shaving my head, does it?  You know I won’t stand for that.”

“Relax, honey,” I assured
her.  “Curt agreed to pay you the full amount—$3,000—and you won’t have to cut your hair any shorter than the spiky cut he showed you.”

“How did you manage that?  I could see he didn’t want to pay that much.”

“Let’s just say I can be very persuasive when I want to be.”

“I suppose I should thank you, I, but I’m not sure.  Now I’ll have to get my hair cut and that’s going to be traumatic.  I’ll probably start blubbering like a baby and ruin your film.”

“Nonsense, you’re gonna be great, Kathleen. There’s nothing wrong with a few tears.  It makes the film more realistic.  Now there are a few details we have to go over.”

I handed her a contract and showed her where to sign.  I wrote out a check for $500.  “This is a down payment,” he explained.  “You’ll get the remaining $2,500 when we finish shooting.”

“What shall I wear?” she asked.

“Something pretty; something sexy and revealing.  You got anything like that?”

“Last summer I bought a short red dress.  It’s got spaghetti straps and a neckline that’s cut pretty low.”

“Sounds like just the number,” I declared.  “Don’t worry about makeup; we’ll have someone to take care of that.  Wash your hair in the morning; use plenty of conditioner.  Just show up at this address at 6 PM on Friday and we’ll take it from there.”

“I wish I could be as confident as you are.  I’m just afraid that I’ll do or say something stupid to ruin your film.  Then Curtis won’t want to pay me.  He’s not a nice man, I can tell.”

“Curt’s no boy scout, you’re right about that, but you’ll be fine.  If you like, I can tell him to stay away when we’re shooting.”

“That would be good,” she said.

“Sure, no problem,” I assured her.  “He doesn’t need to be there.  I’ll take care of it.”

“Yes, I would prefer if you were in charge; I’d feel much better that way,” she told me gratefully.

“Well, that takes care of it,” I informed her.  “Show up at six o’clock sharp and you’ll have your money by eight.  If anything comes up, you have my number, just call.”

I walked Kathleen to the door.  “I can’t wait to see you with short hair,” I told her as she prepared to leave.  She surprised me with a hug that was more than businesslike.  “I hope you like me with my hair cut short,” she whispered in my ear.  I watched Kathleen cross the parking lot and get into her old car.  I stood in the doorway until she was out of sight.  Usually I don’t get emotionally involved with the girls I recruit for Curt’s films, but Kathleen was different.  She seemed so innocent and vulnerable.  She reminded me of my kid sister who was about the same age.  I felt the need to protect her.  Yet, at the same time, I was getting seriously turned on by the thought of her impending haircut. 

I’ve nursed a fetish for short hair for as long as I can remember.  I was the one who told Curt there was money to be made shooting young girls getting their hair cut.  “You’re joshing me, ain’t you Mikey?” Curt had said when I first proposed that we become partners.  “You mean straight guys gonna pay good money to watch stupid haircut videos?  No sex or nothing?” I assured him that if he found attractive models, used high quality cameras and sound equipment, and hired an experienced film editor it would be easy money.  Curtis already had some experience making porno films, but found it hard to compete with bigger commercial operations.  Shooting haircut videos was an appealing alternative.  “You sure this is legit?” he asked.  I assured him that the only way we could get in trouble was if the girls were underage.  As long as the models were old enough and signed the proper releases there would be no problems.  There were other firms producing similar films, but they were low quality amateur outfits.  They couldn’t compete with a professional company.  I introduced Curt to the hair fetish world and acted as his technical consultant as we got established in the business.  Brisk sales of our first videos quickly covered production costs.  After that Curt was sold.

It was ten o’clock Thursday night when my cell phone rang, the one I use for business calls.  Right away I sensed trouble.

“Mike, it’s Kathleen.  I hope you don’t mind me calling so late.”

“Not at all.  Is there a problem?”

“Mike, I can’t do it.  All week long I’ve been thinking about the haircut.  I don’t think I can go through with it.  I’m going to panic; I do that sometimes.  I’m going to freak out.  I’ll start screaming or go completely hysterical.  I’ll ruin the video and Curtis won’t pay me.”

I tried to assure her.  “Kathleen, you’re gonna be great.  You’re gonna be a star.  Nothing will happen, believe me.”

“You don’t know me, I.  It’s happened before.  In high school I had a part in the senior musical, not a big part, just a few lines, but I froze.  I was standing in the middle of the stage on opening night; my family was in the audience, so proud of me, and I forgot my lines.  Everyone was waiting for me to say something, but I couldn’t get a word out.  Finally, another girl said my lines and then they pushed me off the stage. Needless to say, I was replaced for the rest of the performances.”

“Okay, Kathleen.  I’ve got a solution for your stage fright.”

“What is it?”

“You just sit tight.  I’ll be there in 15 minutes.”

Kathleen opened her apartment door as soon as I knocked.  “You got here fast,” she observed.

“I got here as fast as I could.  It sounded like an emergency.” 

“It is an emergency,” she agreed.  “Mike, I don’t think I can go through with it.  I don’t want to get my hair cut tomorrow.  Will Curtis be angry?”

“You bet he’ll be angry.  But it’s happened before.  He’ll get over it.  Just give him back the five hundred bucks and he’ll be okay.”

“I can’t do that, Mike.  I already spent the money.  My rent was two weeks late.  I just signed the check over to my landlady.  I’m flat broke.”

I was tempted to loan her the money.  That would have been the gentlemanly thing to do, but I wanted to see Kathleen with short hair.  I wanted to witness her transformation into a short-haired beauty.  Instead, I told her, “Then you really do have a problem.  Curt has some nasty guys working for him.  You don’t want to be home when they come looking for his five hundred bucks.”

“Oh Mike, what am I going to do?” she sobbed.

 “There’s one possible solution.”

“What’s that?” she asked hopefully.

“You’re gonna take one of these little pills tonight and another one tomorrow before you come to the studio.”

“What are
they?” she asked hesitantly.  “I don’t do drugs.”

“These are just tranquillizers,” I explained.  “One will help you sleep tonight.  The other will calm you down before the shoot tomorrow.”

“What’s in them?  They’re not addictive, are they?”

“No, they’re not addictive like pain pills.  These are perfectly safe.  Millions of ordinary people take them every day with no ill effects.  Get a glass of water and take one now. But don’t drink any alcohol.  That’s not a good idea.”

Kathleen did as she was told, swallowed the pill, stepped closer, and kissed me on the cheek.  “Thanks, Mike.  You’re the best.  See you tomorrow.”

“You sure you’re going to be okay?  I can stay here if you like.”

“No.  I think I’ll be all right,” she assured me.  “I feel better already.”

“Get a good night’s sleep.  I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Kathleen arrived at the studio at the appointed hour wearing the revealing red dress she had described.  I greeted her at the door.  “You look lovely, my dear.  Your dress is just perfect.  How do you feel?”

“I’m nervous as can be.  The butterflies in my stomach are having a convention.  I’m just barely holding together.”

“Did you take the pill?” I whispered.

“Yes, and it helped.  Let’s get started before it wears off.”

I took her by the hand and led her inside the studio.  There was a simple salon chair sitting in front of a blue canvas backdrop.  Two large cameras were positioned on either side of the chair.  An array of spotlights illuminated the set.  A busty blonde woman wearing a white barber’s smock approached us and extended her hand.  “Hi, I’m Della,” she said warmly, “and you must be Kathleen.  Mike said you were attractive; he didn’t tell me you were so beautiful.  Your skin is so clear and lovely; your eyes are haunting; your lips need a little color and they’ll be luscious.”  Turning to me, Della said, “Mike, you better get your vision checked.  This girl is drop dead gorgeous.” Kathleen blushed at the unexpected compliment.  I could see that Della was beginning to put her at ease.

Della took her client by the hand.  “Come over here with me, honey, we’re going to give you the works, not that you need it, but because that’s what we do around here.”

The barber led Kathleen off to the side, seated her in a tall chair and went to work applying foundation, blush, lipstick and gloss, eye shadow, mascara, and eyeliner.  Kathleen patiently endured the beauty treatment.  When Della was done she held up a mirror so her client could observe the finished product.  “So, what do you think, honey?”

“Wow!” she exclaimed.  “Who is this girl?  She looks so glamorous.”

“It’s you, honey; the new you,” I offered.  “When we’re done with the haircut perhaps Della can give you some pointers on applying the makeup.”

“Sure, Mike,” Della replied.  “Be happy to give Kathleen a little clinic.  But first we need to do her hair.  You ready honey?”

“I guess so,” Kathleen replied, still sounding unsure of herself.

Della had plenty of experience dealing with uneasy models.  She took Kathleen by the hand, led her over to the vacant salon chair, and gently steered her into the seat.  “We’ll get the cameras rolling in just a minute.  You just sit there, look pretty, and let me do all the work.  Before you know it, your big haircut will be done and you’ll look even more beautiful.

“I think I will cry,” Kathleen said, her voice quaking with emotion.

“You go right ahead and cry if that’s what you need to do.  Lots of girls cry when I start cutting.  It’s a perfectly natural reaction.  I’ll work as quickly as possible, but if you need a break, just say so and we’ll turn off the cameras.”

Kathleen sat quietly as Della busied herself preparing the instruments she would need.  Some women chattered compulsively while being sheared, making jokes and random observations as a diversion from their ordeal.  Kathleen’s reaction was the opposite; she scarcely said a word.  I recognized her silence as a defense mechanism; a method to hold her emotions in check.  I realized that she feared conversation would betray the grief she felt over her decision to submit to this haircut.  It was a dignified response to a very stressful situation, consistent with everything I had observed about her shy and unassuming character.

Joe, the chief cameraman, switched on the powerful lights and took his position behind the big camera. His assistant stood ready next to the second camera. He nodded to the two women as he began filming.  Della approached from the rear with a white tissue in her hand.  She pulled Kathleen’s long locks out of the way as she fastened the wide strip around her client’s exposed neck.  Kathleen bit her lip and blinked back her tears.  The tissue was followed by a maroon cape that completely shielded her dress and bare shoulders.  The blonde barber carefully arranged the cloth over the tissue, leaving a two-inch white collar between the protective cape and Kathleen’s head.  Our model looked vulnerable and helpless.  I suspected she was having second thoughts; I could see the anxiety and regret written on her face.  Yet, she had signed the contract and willingly climbed into the chair.  She had gone too far to back out now.

Some girls in our films were happy to have their hair cut; they smiled for the camera and acted like they couldn’t wait for the barber to begin cutting.  Kathleen definitely wasn’t one of these willing victims.  She bit her lip and blinked back her tears as Della began spraying and combing her abundant tresses, a picture of sadness as she contemplated the haircut that was only moments from beginning.  I felt a surge of sympathy for the beautiful young woman whose long hair would soon lie scattered on the floor.  At the same time, I knew Kathleen’s silent struggle to maintain her composure would enhance the commercial value of the film we were shooting.  Many customers wanted to see more than a simple haircut.  Adding a layer of drama on top of the actual hair cutting promised to make this video a more poignant spectacle.

Kathleen held her head erect, projecting an air of dignified resignation.  She reminded me of an English noblewoman like Anne Boleyn or Mary Queen of Scots bravely putting her head on the executioner’s block.  I admired her courage.  This was the point of no return when some of our models changed their minds, throwing up their hands, bolting from the chair, and sobbing hysterically that they could not go through with the haircut. It was evident that this dark-haired beauty was not going to back out.  For better or worse, she was committed.

Joe rolled his camera in for a close-up.  A pensive Kathleen appeared lost in thought.  No doubt she was contemplating her impending conversion to short hair.  Would she regret her decision?  Would she still look attractive with a short haircut?  Before long she would
find out.

Della circled the chair, spraying Kathleen’s dark hair and combing the luxurious locks that hung almost to her bra strap. She neatly sectioned her hair, pinning half to the top of Kathleen’s head while the bottom section remained spread across her shoulder blades.  Kathleen’s expression never changed, but I imagined the heightened anxiety she must be feeling as her shearing approached.

The blonde barber finished the preparations, took her scissors in hand, and carefully cut a ten-inch piece from Kathleen’s dampened mane.  I watched with rising excitement as each ribbon of severed hair slid down the cape and came to rest on the floor.  Della deliberately cut a straight line from right to left so the tips of Kathleen’s hair now stopped just at shoulder level.  After the bottom section was cut to the desired length, Della released the clips, combed the remaining long hair, and resumed cutting just as she had done the first time.  She worked slowly and precisely, making sure every lock was cut to exactly the same length.

When the back was done Della sifted to the left side and continued cutting at the same length.  Within minutes Kathleen’s hair was cut all the way around.  She didn’t cry as she had predicted, but she didn’t smile either.  The same solemn expression was plastered across her face while her hair was being snipped away.

Next came the bangs.  Della placed her comb half way up Kathleen’s crown and pulled a mass of raven hair down over her forehead.  She blinked and peered through the dark veil now covering her face.  Della placed her scissors at the bridge of Kathleen’s nose and began cutting.  These would not be brief, mini-bangs. She was creating longish bangs that would completely cover her customer’s pale brow.

Kathleen did not flinch as bits of hair fell from the scissors and landed in her lap.  She stoically endured repeated snipping as Della extended the bangs beyond her forehead and angled them slightly downward toward each ear.  It was clear that our barber was a perfectionist; she recombed the newly outlined bangs and continued making minor adjustments until they were perfectly even.

Our model appeared to breathe a sigh of relief when Della exchanged her comb and scissors for a round styling brush and blow dryer.  She directed a blast of hot air at Kathleen’s shoulder length hair and began shaping the new haircut so it no longer hung straight, but curved slightly inward.  For five minutes the drone of the dryer was the only sound in the studio as the barber put the finishing touches on her creation.  When at last Della was satisfied she shut off the dryer and removed the cape and tissue that had shielded Kathleen’s clothing. 

Della held a mirror so her client could see the marvelous haircut she had fashioned.  For the first time since her haircut began Kathleen displayed some emotion.  “I love it!” she exclaimed as a broad smile lit up her face.  I had to agree.  It was a perfect page boy style that reminded me of Prince Valiant from the Sunday comic strips of my youth.   Kathleen playfully tossed her glossy locks from side to side, obviously enjoying the novel sensation of shortened hair flipping across her face.

Della signaled to Joe who switched off the lights.  We would take a break before progressing to the next stage of Kathleen’s haircut.  If there was a next stage.  I worried that Kathleen might be so enchanted with this superb new style and that she would decide to stop here.

“You were great!” I told her as I walked up to the chair.

“Oh Mike, I love this look.  My hair has never looked so wonderful.  Della certainly is a marvelous stylist.”

“It’s going to be a shame to ruin it, but you know that this is only temporary,” I reminded her.

“Mike, do we have to?” she pleaded.

“You can stop at any time, you know that, but you will leave without the money we agreed on.”

“Yes, I know,” she sighed.  “But give me just a minute more to enjoy this look.”

I let Kathleen have another minute to inspect her first haircut before ordering the resumption of filming.  As a confirmed connoisseur of women’s haircuts I had to agree that desecrating Della’s masterpiece would be criminal, but that’s exactly what was going to happen.  Della would use her demonstrated talent to create another, dramatically shorter, hair style for Kathleen.  No doubt she would be sad to part with more of her raven tresses, but my excitement was mounting.  Her first haircut was thrilling, but the next one promised to be even better.

I motioned to Joe and the bright lights came back on.  Della resumed her position behind the chair with the cape draped over her arm.  Kathleen understood that we were ready to begin filming and took her seat once again.  The smile had disappeared from her face, but she appeared calm and ready to continue.  Della wound a second wide band of tissue around her neck, only this time there was no long hair to lift out of the way.  Once more she fastened the cape around Kathleen’s shoulders, completely engulfing her sexy little dress.  Our beautiful model again resembled a sheep waiting to be shorn.

Della sprayed a fine mist of water over Kathleen’s marvelous page boy and began combing her locks although they really didn’t need it.  She sectioned the dark brown hair and again clipped the upper portion atop Kathleen’s head.  Her look grew more solemn as Della took up her scissors and placed them at Kathleen’s neck.  She bowed her head to accept her fate as her barber grasped the damp hair between the fingers of her left hand and began cutting with her right.  This time the amputation was less drastic as she nearly removed only three inches from the back of Kathleen’s head.  Della then released the longer hair and repeated the process, leaving a straight line that left Kathleen’s shortened hair at collar length, exposing her lovely neck.

Kathleen sat quietly with longer hair still hanging on the sides of her head and covering her ears.  I wondered what Della would do with these sections, but didn’t have to wait long.  She began slicing upward at an angle, removing considerably more hair than she had from the back.  With a few snips she exposed half of Kathleen’s delicate ear.  I saw now that Della planned to continue the line from Kathleen’s bangs so it extended down to connect with the shortened hair at her neckline.  The remarkable page boy style was being jettisoned in favor of a delightful cap of dark brown hair.  To my relief, Della kept Kathleen’s lush bangs at the same length, still covering her forehead and eyebrows.

After finishing both sides our barber exchanged her scissors for the blow dryer and styled Kathleen’s shortened locks for a second time.  The whole time Kathleen’s expression never varied.  I could see that she was troubled, obviously concerned about the outcome of this haircut.  Before we began filming she confided that her hair had never been shorter than shoulder length.  I thought this new haircut was charming, perhaps not as elegant as the first one, but a look that most women would love to wear.  Nevertheless, I worried that our model would call a halt to the shoot if she was displeased with this creation.

Della removed the cape and tissue and
then slowly turned the chair so the camera could capture the new cut from every angle.  The sight of Kathleen’s bare neck and shoulders sent a thrill through my body.  This new style was considerably more sophisticated than the rather adolescent look of her longer mane.  She looked more mature and professional and less like a schoolgirl.  But my opinion was not the one that counted.  Kathleen managed a weak smile when Della held the mirror, but it was clear that she did not share my enthusiasm.

“Darling, you look marvelous,” I told her, doing my best imitation of Billy Crystal as Fernando.

“Do you really think so, Mike?” she plaintively asked.  “It’s so short.  My hair’s never been this short before.”

“Short hair really suits you,” I said, trying to boost her sagging morale.  “You have a lovely neck and this style really draws attention to your beautiful eyes.”

“I bet you say that to all of the girls who get their hair cut,” she said, gamely trying to make a joke of it.

“Of course, I do,” I acknowledged, “but this time I really mean it.”

After a few minutes Della chimed in.  “Okay, ready to get started again?”

I feared that Kathleen might call it quits, but she reluctantly resumed her position in the chair.  I realized that she was someone who took her commitments seriously.  Once she had agreed to do something, it was unlikely she would renege, no matter how difficult or unpleasant.

Della covered Kathleen with the tissue and cape for the third time as she swallow hard in anticipation of the next state of her transformation.  The blonde barber combed her hair and pinned the longer hair on top once again leaving a section above her neck exposed.  Instead of using scissors, she powered up a set of clippers with a long guard over the blades.  This was the moment where some models flipped out; the thought of having their hair cut with clippers was more than they could bear.  To her credit, Kathleen did not try to escape when she heard the ominous buzzing in her ear.  The tranquilizer she swallowed earlier had had the desired effect.  Della placed her hand on Kathleen’s head and the uncomplaining victim meekly bowed her head to accept the next haircut.

Della placed the clippers at the base of Kathleen’s neck and guided them upward into her dark hair.  I watched with growing arousal as she repeatedly sent the blades part way up the back of her head.  It was not a drastic change because the guide was a large one, but after a few passes the glossy patch of longish hair was replaced by a neatly clippered dark brown carpet ending in a short feathery fringe.  Della then removed the guide and used the clippers’ inverted blades to remove a few fine hairs and carve a clean straight line across Kathleen’s neck.

The blonde barber let down the hair pinned atop Kathleen’s head, sprayed and combed it, and took up her scissors.  She used them to trim some of the length from the back of her head, adding some layers.  Then she used a razor to fashion a more graduated, tapered look.  Della did not touch the sides or the top.  Her only other change was to draw a part down the left side of Kathleen’s head, brushing her bangs to the side across her forehead instead of straight down. 

This third haircut was not a radical alteration like the other two, but the shortened back gave a hint of what was to come.  I must admit that I was not thrilled with this style.  Kathleen appeared relived that there was little visible change from her previous look.  When Della offered her the chance to take another break she declined.

“No, let’s go ahead and get this over with,” she replied. 

She seemed almost impatient to continue.  Having seen the results of several other of Della’s haircuts, I knew this next one would be considerably shorter and involve more extensive clipper work.  I was delighted that we had reached this stage without incident, but feared Kathleen’s reaction when Della resumed.  Still, I couldn’t wait to see her with the short spiked style she had agreed to.

Della held the tissue for the final time.  Kathleen tilted her chin upward so the white collar could be attached around her neck.  Then came the cape for the final time.  I watched her eyes for tears, but none appeared.  As Della approached from behind with her clippers humming, Kathleen gave no hint of the emotion she must have been feeling.  I thought she was incredibly brave.

This time Della pushed the clippers higher up Kathleen’s head.  Each upward thrust ended with a flick of the wrist sending a thick clump of dark hair tumbling toward the floor.  The unfeeling blades did the job they were designed to do, mowing Kathleen’s gleaming locks into a shortened pelt that extended half way to her crown. 

Next Della aimed her clippers at the sides of Kathleen’s head.  Here the change was more revealing as the hungry blades stripped away all of the hair covering her ears, imparting a decidedly masculine image.  The sophistication of her previous cut was gone; replaced by an innocent, boyish look, one that I found far more exciting than any of her previous styles.  Only Kathleen’s bangs and the hair on top of her head retained any length and I knew this would not last for long.

Our barber sprayed and combed Kathleen’s remaining long hair in preparation for the final assault.  Working methodically, Della seized a section from the top between her fingers and sliced away three inches before moving on to the next piece.  Stopping regularly to check the length, she systematically reduced the top until no hair was more than two inches long.  Random tufts stood straight up, giving a hint of the finished look.

Della trimmed around Kathleen’s ears and up the side of her face until her forehead was the only place where her hair retained any length.  She combed Kathleen’s bangs to the front and drew a horizontal part across the front of her head.  The section behind the part was cut as short as the rest of the top.  My heart was racing raced as the single-minded barber lopped off three-inch pieces that fell past Kathleen’s face.

Now it was time to reduce the bangs to a length consistent with the rest of the style.  Della wetted the front of Kathleen’s head and took up a silver razor.  Holding the bangs between her fingers, the barber cut about half of their length.  Bangs that had been thick and hanging below her eyebrows became a jagged, feathery fringe that that bared a wide swath across her pale forehead.   This was far more than I had expected, but it created a signature look totally different from any of the previous haircuts.

I thought she was finished, but Della took up her scissors again and, apparently not yet satisfied, resumed cutting the hair on top of Kathleen’s head shorter still.  I wondered how much more our model could stand, but she silently endured these final cuts. 

One last time Della turned on the blow dryer and aimed a blast of hot hair at the radically shortened hair on top of Kathleen’s head, coaxing it upward with her fingers until it was standing upright in a thicket of dramatic spikes, none of them longer than two inches.  Then Della worked a handful of gel into Kathleen’s shortened hair, teasing and pulling individua
l strands until at last she was done.

Della removed the cape and brushed a few stray bits of hair from Kathleen’s neck and shoulders.  Our model sat still as Della slowly rotated the chair, displaying her creation from every angle.  Kathleen peered into the camera, her icy blue eyes revealing none of the ordeal she had just endured.  Her gaze was cool, almost haughty, as if to say she was impervious to any criticism from those might ask why she sacrificed her crowning glory.

I was stunned by her transformation.  I knew Della was a skilled barber, but this was her best work by far.  Where Kathleen’s gorgeous dark mane had once hung in a satiny curtain nearly to the middle of her back, a profusion of short spikes now sprouted in every direction from her scalp.  Her neck and ears, once hidden, were now boldly exposed.  Except for her piercing eyes and flawless complexion, I would not have recognized her as the same young woman who entered the studio two hours earlier.  Before she was attractive, but her beauty was buried beneath a thick layer of hair.  Now she looked confident and daring, no longer a timid wallflower.  I only hoped she wouldn’t hate me for engineering her remarkable makeover.

Della held a mirror so Kathleen could see the finished work. “Is that me?” she asked, spellbound by her new look. 

She reached her hand up to feel the clippered hair on the side of her head.  “It’s so short,” she murmured.  “I didn’t think it would be this short.”

“Honey, you look absolutely spectacular.  You’re gonna stop traffic when you go out in public,” Della said, trying to cheer her up.

“But I’m not sure I want to stop traffic,” Kathleen complained.  “I’d rather not stand out.”

“That’s not going to happen, honey.  You’re a natural born beauty.  You’re gonna have to get used to it.”

At last Kathleen rose from the chair.  It had been a difficult couple of hours and I could see she was emotionally spent.  I held out the check for her modeling fee.  “Here’s the rest.  You earned every penny of it.”

She said nothing as the folded the check, tucked it into her purse, and started for the door.  “I thought I was going to show you some makeup tricks,” Della called to her.

“Some other time, perhaps.  I’ve got to go home now,” she called over her shoulder as she hurried out into the night.

“That was an incredible haircut, Della, your best work by far,” I told the blonde barber.

“Yeah, I thought so too, Mike.  That girl was a real knockout.  You’re gonna make a lot of money selling that video.”

“Yes, I think you’re right.  I just wish Kathleen wasn’t so emotional.”

“She’ll get over it, Mike,” Della assured me.  “Sometimes it takes a while to get used to a big change like that one.  You gotta get acquainted with a completely different person.”

“Della, you’re the best.  It was a pleasure watching you work.”

“Yeah, I could see you were enjoying yourself,” she said with a knowing wink as she reached down to pat my rock-hard cock.

Curtis was pleased when I showed him the edited video three weeks later.  Though he tried to hide his enthusiasm, he knew the film of Kathleen’s haircut would be a best seller.  “You done good, Mikey boy,” he said in rare praise.  “Now see if you can find a blonde with big boobs.”

While I was delighted with the finished product, I was disappointed that I had heard nothing further from Kathleen.  I called her after the shooting and each following day for a week, but she didn’t return the messages I left on her machine.  I chalked it up to post-traumatic shock and tried to forget about the dark haired beauty, but it wasn’t easy.

Then, late one evening, about six weeks after filming Kathleen’s haircut, I got an unexpected call.  On the caller ID he recognized Kathleen’s number.  I grabbed the phone immediately.  “Kathleen, this is a surprise.  How are you?”

“I’m doing well, Mike.  Much better than the last time you saw me.”

“Have you found a job yet?  Are you still working at the restaurant?”

“That’s why I called.  I’ve got a job interview on Friday.”

“That’s great news,” I exclaimed.  “Good luck.”

“Mike, do you happen to have Della’s number?”

“Sure, it should be around here somewhere.  Are you going to her for another haircut?”

“Yes.  My hair’s looking kinda shaggy and I want to look my best for the interview.”

“I thought you would grow it long again.”

“Well, that was my original plan, but I’m getting used to me with short hair. I kinda like it now.”

“I thought you looked marvelous when Della was done.  I’ve never seen such a dramatic change.  The video is amazing.  We should begin shipping the first orders in a week or so.  I’ll send the first one to you.”

“My customers at the restaurant certainly agree with you.  The women all said my haircut is a radical fashion statement and most of the guys said I look really hot with short hair.  I never expected this reaction.  My tips have never been so good.”

“I’m glad to hear that.  I was afraid you might hate me for talking you into that haircut.  When you left the studio I wasn’t sure how you felt about it.”

“When I left I was in a state of shock.  It was a couple of weeks before I recovered, but I’m fine now.”

“Glad to hear that,”  I repeated.  “Here’s the number.”

Saturday afternoon Kathleen called again.  “Mike, I just wanted to tell you that I got the job,” she gushed.

“That’s wonderful, Kathleen.  I’m so happy for you.  Tell me about it.”

“Well, I’ll be doing web design and coordinating corporate communications for a small beauty supply company.  It’s a big switch from my programming job, but I think it will be fun.  It’s a rather hip place to work; nearly all of the employees are under thirty.  They’ve only been in business for five years and already they’re one of the top firms in the field.  I won’t be making as much as I did in my old job, but I can wait tables on the weekends until I pay off my credit card and build up my savings.”

“That’s really great.  I’m very happy for you.  You deserve it.”

“Mike, I owe it all to you and Della.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Well, when I went for the interview I was afraid the interviewer would take one look at my hair and start scheduling the next interview.  Then I saw that all of the women working there had rather edgy, trendy haircuts.  The interviewer asked me where I got my hair done.  She recognized Della’s name right away.  Apparently she’s got quite a reputation.  It seems that having an extreme haircut is a plus with this firm.  They want their workers to create a contemporary image.  If I went there with my old long-haired l
ook I doubt I would have been called back.”

“I never saw that coming.  Congratulations.  When do you start?”

“Right away, on Monday.”

“You waitressing tonight?”

“Nope, only Friday and Sunday.”

“So why don’t you and I go someplace to celebrate?”

“Mike, are you asking me out on a date?”

“I guess you could call it a date.  Is that a problem?”

“No, not at all.  I’d love to go on a date with you, but on one condition.”

“What’s that?”

“You have to leave your business at home.  I don’t want you scouting long-haired girls for your next video.”

“Okay, if you insist.  Tonight I’ll only have eyes for you.”

“That’s just the way I want it.”

I hung up with a feeling of satisfaction.  I had a date with the most beautiful model I had ever recruited.  She was grateful for my role in her dramatic transformation.  Curtis always cautioned me about mixing business with pleasure, but I was convinced this was a winning combination.

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