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A number of years ago I took over a unisex hairsalon/barbershop -in fact the only one- in a small town in Texas near to the border with Mexico. Being the only hairdresser in this town I trained apprentices to help me, of course one at a time. They started with cleaning up and shampooing before I taught them to cut hair. Most of the girls lived in the small town or in the environment and disappeared after some time. But I always succeeded to find another one. As was understandable for a place near to the border a number of the inhabitants had their roots in Mexico. So this was the case with Rosita who was my trainee at that time. A 17 years old cute girl whose parents were of Mexican origin though she had been born in this town. She spoke Spanish as well as English. She had been my apprentice for about six weeks when I had to be away for an errand about noon. I had told her that I would be back in half an hour and that if a client would come in she should ask that person to wait a little while till I would be back. However it took me longer than I had expected and I wasn’t earlier back than an hour later.

When I entered my salon Rosita was busy sweeping a mass of long black tresses into a corner. I hadn’t cut such a lot of hair that morning.

“What has happened? Where does all that hair come from?” I asked suspiciously.

The way she looked at me indicated that she felt guilty.

“I…I did it. Shortly after you left a young girl entered for a haircut. I told her that she had to wait until you would be back but she said that she should be back home in time and her mother had warned her that she should have her hair cut short. She begged me to do it.”

“You cut her hair? You are not llowed to do that and you know that very well.”

“Oh, I;m very sorry ma’am. Yes, I know but she persuaded me to do it.”

“My god, what a fool you are! You should have refused and told her to come back later, no matter what she said.”

“Yes ma’am, I know, it is foolish of me. It wom’t happen again.”

“You bet! I would fire you! Well, it is lunchtime. You have better lunch now before the next clients show up.”

Rosita went to our private room behind the salon and closed the door.

About ten minutes later an angry middle-aged woman burst into the salon dragging a child with her. She was short and massive, clearly of Mexican origin, speaking a faulty English, But she didn’t need to explain much, I clearly saw what was the cause of her anger.

“Look done to my Conchita! In your salon! Want back money! And you tidy mess!”

The child was about 12 years old and she looked horrible. Her hair had been ruined. Rosetta had tried to cut a bob at earlobe-length but the result was very shaggy and uneven. The only solution was to transform it into a short pixie. I told the mother (I suppposed her to be) that I was very sorry and explained what I intended to do.

She watched me suspiciously while I was cutting but the result seemed to satisfy her. I sighed with relief but when I took away the cape Rosita opened the door of our private room. As soon as Conchita noticed the girl she pointed at her and started to speak to her mother in rapid Spanish. Rosita stood petrified while hearing the words of the girl.

“She guilty person! Cut down hair of my Conchita!” Her mother shouted.

“Rosita, come here!” I ordered.

Reluctantly she approached….The woman noticed Rosita’s plait. I had told the girl that I didn’t want her wavy black locks which ended at her hips to hang down loose during working hours and she should braid them.

“Want that plait,” the woman claimed.

“No!! Not my hair!!” Rosita cried out.

The expression on the woman’s face was full of menace, mercilessly she insisted, now louder: “Want that braid!”

What could I do? I certainly didn’t want to fire up her rage again. Besides, Rosita had been disobedient, she had messed the girl’s hair and and she had to accept the consequences. She was standing in front of me and I told her to turn around.

“You have to blame yourself, you were not allowed to cut Conchita’s hair.”

Rosita began to cry when I tied a ribbon around her plait high up near her scalp. I grabbed a pair of my biggest scissors, ready to cut but the wonan prevented me do it.

“No, no, no! Me do!”

I handed her the scissors. It took her ample time to saw through the thick braid before it came loose but that didn’t seem to bother her. She held it up with a malicious grin on her face. Then she left, taking Conchita with her and again I sighed with relief. She had got her revenge. Ironically Rosita’s hair now resembled that of Conchita before I had tidied it up.

“I can’t let you walk around with that messy hair,” I said to the still softly sobbing girl. “Sit down.”

I pointed at a barberchair. Meekly she climbed in it and I threw a cape around her shoulders and fastened it behind her neck. The remaining hair was sufficient to cut a short bob or a pixie but I decided not to do that. She should be teached a lesson and a more radical solution seemed advisable. I took my clippers and mounted a #3 attachment on it.

I pushed Rosita’s head to her chest and holding her hair up with a comb at the back of her head I switched on the clippers and drove then into the thick hair up to her crown. I made pass after pass until all the hair on the backside had been reduced to a length of 3/8 inch, then turned to the right side, put the clippers before her right ear and moved them to her temple. Rosita didn’t more cry and was intently looking at her image in the mirror how locks tumbled down. The right side being shorn I repeated the procedure on the left side and at last on the top of her head. Taking off the attachment I used the clippers over comb to make the back and sides shorter, blending them nicely into the somewhat longer hair higher up.

Rosita really looked cute with those short erect bristles covering her scalp, so different from her appearance before with her luscious mane.

“That’s a lot better,” I stated, “What do you think?”

Sadly she looked at her image but surprised me to thank me.

“Why do you thank me?”

“I deserved to be punished. I had feared that you would fire me and I’m graceful that you let me stay.”

In spite of all I felt sorry for her.

“I hope you’ve learned your lesson.”

“Oh yes, ma’am, I’ll never more do anything I’m not allowed to.”

When Rosita had gone home I closed the shop but was still busy arranging some things for the next day when another angry woman apppeared: Rosita’s mother. I let her enter and she immediately started to scream.

“How could you do this !? Cut off all those lovely locks of my daughter! You had no right to do that!”

It took me some time to make her willing to listen to me. I told her the course of events and said that she should be glad that I hadn’t fired Rosita.

“She had brought me in an awkward position. Conchita’s mother could have sued me.”

Rosita’s mother calmed down and apologized for her daughter’s behaviour. And her own!

The next day I experienced a real surprise: in the afternoon Conchita’s mother marched in with three girls in tow,clearly her daughters too. Two of them were younger than Conchita, about six and eight years and one was older, fourteen or fifteen. All had long black hair, cascading to their hips.

“Want them get haircut as Conchita,” she stated.

I didn’t ask anything but started to give the two youngest ones short pixies. They didn’t seem to care that their long locks were severed from their heads and ultimately landed on the floor.

The older girl however resisted, she refused to sit in the barberchair. This caused a furious dispute in the Spanish language between mother and daughter whose name was Consuela. But this didn’t last long, her mother grabbed her and shoved her on the chair. She slapped the girl from both sides in her face so that her head bobbed from left to right and back shoutlng in English: “You get haircut or shaved bald!” Looking at me.

Consuela began to cry and I turned to her: “Consuela, don’t be foolish. When your mother asks me to shave you bald I have to do that.”

When the reality of my words sank in her resistance faded. Meekly and sobbing she was sitting in the chair and let herself being caped. And her long locks cut off. I had intended to give her a somewhat longer pixie but her mother who was watching closely didn’t agree.

“Shorter,” she said, “as the others.”

I had no choice. This time she paid for the haircuts and left, on both sides holding a hand of her youngest daughters and followed by a sobbing Consuela.

Two weeks after those events I asked Rosita if she intended to grow her hair back.

“Oh no ma’am, I like it short and I did never before realize that it is a lot cooler in the hot summer days.”

“But it has grown out, I think it is time for a tidying-up.”

“Oh, that would be very wellcome, ma’am.”

“Why didn’t you ask me then?”

“I was afraid to bother you, ma’am”

“No trouble at all, silly. Just sit down, there are no customers at this moment.”

This time I decided to go shorter and mounted a #1 on the clippers without telling Rosita. I gently pushed her head to her chest and moved the clippers from her nape upward to her crown. The girl noticed short pieces of hair falling in her lap but had no idea that only very short stubble remained in the wake of my clippers. Only when the backside had been reduced to 1/8 inch and I turned to the right side starting in front of her ear she could observe the seriousness of the cut. A broad smile appeared on her face! The girl clearly liked the sensation of the clippers running across her scalp. Maybe she would like more to feel the unguarded clippers or even the razor sliding across her scalp! But not for now, I finished the right side and then repeated the procedure on the left. I rinsed her head in the washbasin with water only to get rid of snippets of hair and dried it with a towel.

Rosita thanked me exuberantly while looking at he new image in the mirror and rubbing her freshly shorn head with both hands. She looked so cute with those very short bristles on the clearly visible skin of her scalp!

In the small town most people knew each other and everything that happened was soon known by most of them. They constituted a rather conservatiae commmunity with distinct traditions. One of those traditions involved the hairstyle of women and girls: inevitably it should be long. But since the events in my salon a fresh wind seemed to blow from another direction. Several young women and girls (not the older ones) asked me to cut their hair shorter though not too extreme. Ironically Rosita had intiated this with her failed haircut of Conchita. And now she was a propagandist of an extremely short buzzcut!

A few days after Rosita’s latest shearing Consuela walked into my salon.

“Well Consuela, I hadn’t expected you back so soon, you could have waited six weeks to come for your follow-up.”

“Yes ma’am but this is different, I want a very short buzzcut like Rosita.”

“So you have changed a lot since your earlier visit here. You were very sad when I cut off your long locks.”

“Oh, I was a very silly girl then. What is the use of long locks? I’m glad that I’ve got rid of them.”

“But tell me, does your mom approve that you go so short?”

“Yes ma’am, I have a message from her for you.”

She handed me a letter and I read:

“Ma’am Dobson,¬†Okay Consuela get short haircut,¬†Juanita Guterriez”

“Are you sure that your mother wrote this or did someone else it?”

Rosita who had beeen listening, interrupted.

“It’s okay ma’am, I watched her write the message.”

“You were there?”

“Yes ma’am, we have got friends.”

Consuela chuckled: “We just had viewed some vids in which girls had their heads shaved. Some looked very cute with bald heads.”

“And you wanted to know if you would look good without hair? And decided to cut your hair so short that you could estimate the shape of your skull?”

Amazed the girl looked up at me.

“No, I didn’t think of that, I just like Rosita’s short style.”

“Maybe you are not conscious of it but I think that subconsciously you and Rosita too want to experience and feel how it ie to be bald,”

” Why do you think that?” both girls called in unison.

I smiled: ” A hairdresser has to be a sort of psychologist. But don’t worry, without consent of your mothers I won’t urge you to shave off all your hair. Shall we start with the buzzcut?”

“Yes ma’am, but I have a request before you start.”

“Well, what is it? Tell me.”

“Could I assist you in the salon during the summer holidays as an unpaid volunteer?”

“Certainly, you are welcome! That will enhance my possibilities to teach Rosita haircutting,” I chuckled.

I used my clippers to create Consuela’s buzzcut in the same way as Rosita’s. When I had finished it I asked Rosita to show her friend the salon and all utensils we use

While I was arranging something at my station a young woman entered the salon, assompanied by a young girl, on estimation ten or eleven years old. I greeted them and invited them to take a seat, saying that Iwould be ready for them in a few minutes.

They were looking around and suddenly the young girl exclaimed: “This is the right place, I’m convinced of it! Look at those girls!”

She pointed at Rosita and Consuela who were examening some objects on the other side of the salon.

The elder girl asked doubtfully: “Do you think so?”

“Sure I do! Fate has brought us here.””

I turned to the two girls: “Well, what can I do for you?”

The elder girl replied: “I have to explain some things to you. Do you know the fairy tale Alice in Wonderland?”

“Of course, who wouldn’t?

“Well, my little cousin’s name is Alice and she is fascinated by the book of Lewis Carroll. By the way my name is Caroline but most people call me Carol. My parennts are living a few miles outside this town in one of the rural estates in a country house with a big garden. Alice, whose parents live in Connecticut, is for the first time staying with us and she imagines that this is Wonderland. Of course she realizes that she has to make up for all those strange figures which appear in the story but she wants to play the role of Alice in it and to act as and be the look-alike of her illustrious example. An important role in the story is that of the Red Queen. She is fond of chopping off heads but fortunately it doesn’t happen in the story. My cousin has another view. Will you explain that, Alice?”

“Sure, there is doubt whether the Alice who has entered Wonderland is the real Alice, she has to change, her measures but also her appearance. It’s my conviction that the Queen is not calling: “Chop off her head!” but: “Chop off her hair!” And that’s what is done.”

Carol shook her head: “It’s not described in the book.”

I interrupted: “It’s not impossible. Ther maybe other versions.”

“You see!” Alice exclaimed, “I’m sure that this is what happened. So she became the real Alice.”

“Wait a minute,” I said, “The real Alice doesn’t exist, it is a fairy tale.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Alice replied pugnacariously, “She could have been real and Lewis Carroll could have used her to write an imaginitory story. In any case she now is accepted in Wonderland.”

“So you want me to chop off your hair?”

“Yes please, that is the consequence of the role-playing.”

I looked at Carol and she shrugged. Her young cousin was very selfconfident at his age and vigorous. She won’t be contradicted!

I had no choice, the younger girl wanted it and the elder one didn’t stop me.

“Okay, sit down on this chair.”

I threw a cape around her shoulders and combed and brushed her long blonde tresses, then tied them into a ponytail. Originally I had the intention to cut it off but I changed my mind. I could use the ponytail as a handle to move the girl’s head in all directions I wanted to. With the shock of hair in my left hand I wielded the guardless clippers in my right one. I pulled her head forward with her chin to her chest and let the clippers make a number of passes from nape to the base of the tail on her crown, baring the backside of the girl’1s head. Then I pulled her head to the left and right to clipper off the hair on the sides. I pulled the ponytail backward and moved my clippers from the hairline to the base several times until all of the girl’s hair was only attached to her scalp at the base of the ponytail, Easily I severed it from her head and laid it down onthe counter before Alice. I had the clippers make a number of turns criss-cross over her scalp to remove any stray hair that might have escaped from the demolition and then switched them off.

“Do you want to keep your ponytail?” I asked Alice.

“Oh yes, please, it reminds me of the time I had long hair.”

She raised both hands to rub her bare scalp.

“It feels bristly,” she remarked.

Enthralled my assistants had closely watched my activities but now Consuela suddenly jumped in.

“Why don’t you go all the way?”

“What do you mean?” Alice queried, clearly not understanding.

“A wet razorshave,” I explained.

“Oh, cool!” the girl ethousiastically exclaimed, “Will you do that, madam?”

“Of course,” I confirmed her.

I lathered and shaved her head twice, rubbed a lotion into her scalp and polished it with a woollen cloth to a shining chrome dome.

“Are you happy now?” I asked the girl.

“Oh yes, very, thank you so much, madam.”

“She looks awfully good, don’t you think so?” I asked Carol.

“Damned good, I hardly can believe it. I hope my parents will appreciate it.”

Again my two helpers had followed my activities closely and I remarked: “You like to see a girl’s head being shaved, don’t you? But I think you would love to sit in the chair in
her place.”

,It wasn’t a question and the girls didn’t say anything, only looked into each others eyes.

“How often should I shave?” Alice asked.

“You want to keep it like this?”

“Yes, certainly as long as I am in Wonderland.”

”Well, when you feel the need to do it. You needn’t come to me for a reshave, you can do it yourself with a safety razor and maybe Carol will help you.”

“It will be my pleasure,” Carol affirmed.

“About you, Carol. Can I do something for you? Your Louise Brooks style is nice but it is growing out,” I remarked.

“Yes, I know but I have to think. I’m studying at a university and member of a sorority. At the start of a new semester we have a meeting and discuss our hairstyles during the new semester, Last one it was a bob in a number of variations of our choice. So my hair should be long enough for a new style.”

“Okay, but it is in the beginning of the summer. The new semester will start after two months or so. That’s a long time.”

“Yes, I’ll consider that. Maybe I’ll come back later.”

Surprisingly she entered my salon already the next morning.

“Good morning! I hadn’t expected you back so soon.”

“I’m angry, very angry. My mom wasn’t amused at all, on the contrary, she was mad, not with Alice but with me as I had agreed to shave her hair off. She literally said: ‘Why didn’t you ask for a haircut? It’s much too long! Go back tomorrow and don’t come back without a real short cut.’ Well, if she wants to take revenge on me I’ll show up with a real .”short haircut. Please. buzz it off!”

“That’s awkwardly short! and how about your sorority?”

“Oh, I’ll won’t have much to choice, have I? But I don’t care.”

“Shouldn’t you give it some thought? You are very upset now.”

“No!! I want it now! I won’t change my mind.”

“Okay, just as you wish. Do you agree that Rosita will do it? It is an easy cut.”

“Of course, that’s okay.”

Rosita was surprised: “Me? I should do that?”

“Yes, you made a false start but now you can rehabilitate yourself.”

In a low voice which Carol couln’t hear I told Rosita to use the clippers without a guard.

Because of the lightblonde colour of her hair the girl looked virtually bald. But she seemed to be satisfied! Would her mother appreciate that too?

And would Rita and Consuela succeed in getting their mothers consents? I could only wait and see!

The End.

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