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The place was amazing; Jane had never seen anything like it. The salon was almost like a factory and a very busy one at that. She was on holiday in the West Indies and as she loved having her hair done she had already been to one salon to have her long hair braided, local style. Now, a week later they had moved to another smaller island and she had enquired at their hotel about a hairdresser. The receptionist had told her she must go to Georges’ salon; it was the best in the whole of the Caribbean. When she had asked about making an appointment the receptionist smiled and said, “Just turn up honey, and wait. He doesn’t run appointments but everyone gets their hair done eventually” Having experienced the pace of life on the islands, Jane realized that this would probably mean a long wait, but she wanted her hair done.

When she told her husband that she was going off to get her hair done and could well be gone for most of the day they ended up having quite a row. He didn’t want her to spend the time having her hair done, as there were things that he wanted them to do together. He told her that she was totally obsessed with having her hair done, which she did recognize as being true, but because her hair was so long it was much easier to have it done in a salon than do it herself. He always said he wanted her to keep her hair long and got very upset when she occasionally she would like a change and have it cut a little shorter. He stormed off in a temper and Jane took a taxi to the salon, hoping it would be worth it.

When she arrived at the salon she had asked if her hair could be braided and had been told, “No problem!” and given a small numbered disc and told to wait over in an area which had tiered seating and had about 20 people waiting, over half of them being European. It was obvious that a lot of people had been told of Georges’ high reputation. She sat down and looked down into the very large working area that seemed to be divided into a number of sections, each containing about 5 chairs. In each section a different operation was being carried out, shampooing, drying, setting and braiding and then almost alongside where she was sitting was a much smaller area with only one chair.

All of the assistants in the salon were female except for the one very large man who was working in this area. He stood near the chair as one of his young assistants ushered a young local girl into the chair and placed a large gown around her. Jane glanced away for a few minutes watching how the braiding was being done, and realized that the standard of work was extremely good. She then turned back to see what George was doing and almost gasped with surprise as she saw the young girl who had been sat in the chair was being ushered away from the chair. She looked sensational! When she had sat in the chair her hair had been 4 or 5 inches long and very bushy and now in that very short time it had been cut to a close cropped shape that looked stunning and Jane realized that Georges’ reputation was fully deserved. He really was a brilliant stylist to have achieved such a superb cut in such a short time.

She watched with great interest now as the young assistant ushered forward another young local girl to take her place inn the chair. She seemed about 12 and was accompanied by an elder woman, presumably her mother who had a few words with George and then stood back. George gave a little nod and the assistant handed him the largest pair of scissors Jane had ever seen in a hairdressing salon, they were almost the size of dressmaking scissors. The young girl in the chair had her hair in two thick plaits to just below her shoulders that were secured with two large bows and the effect looked very pretty.

To her amazement though Jane saw George grasp one of the braids still complete with the ribbon, and then a quick flourish of the scissors, aloud scrunch and the plait was lopped off at the roots! The girl rolled her eyes in fright as she saw her plait come away but within seconds the other plait was severed and tossed to join the other on the dressing table in front of her. The assistant now took the scissors from George and handed him a large black electric clippers and the young head was pushed down and he began running them up the back of the girl’s bowed head. The muffled sounds of protest were completely ignored and the clippers swiftly reduced the remaining hair to a very short covering. Despite the shortness of the cut Jane could see that again it had a beautiful shape and a few minutes later the girl was released from the chair, ruefully fingering her cropped hair, but looking quite stunning.

The girl alongside Jane had clearly noticed her interest in Georges work and said, “George does great cuts, doesn’t he.” Jane turned to her and smiled and said, “Yes, he is absolutely brilliant, and works so fast as well.” Another girl was already in the chair and the buzzing clippers were rapidly cropping her already short hair. She added with a smile, “He seems to like doing these short cuts” “Oh yes, George really loves cutting off hair and our hair grows very fast so he gets plenty of practice!” She paused and they both watched for a few moments as George rapidly and skillfully manipulated the buzzing blades and Jane was reminded of scenes of sheep being sheared as the hair tumbled in great masses down to the floor.

The girl spoke again, “Haircuts are quite expensive here on the island so when we come for a cut we usually want it short and George is always happy to oblige!” Jane looked at the girl’s hair closely now and could see that it looked very attractive in smooth shoulder length flick-ups. “Has he cut your hair?” The attractive girl flicked at her bouncy shoulder length hair and said, “Every year I grow my hair to this length and then I get tired with it and just let George loose on it. I reckon I am due next in his chair so you will see most of this lot come off.” Jane felt her stomach give a little lurch of excitement at the thought of watching George stripping off the pretty hair. The girl gave a little smile to herself and said, “I can remember the first time I came here a few years ago, my hair was much longer than this and I had decided just to have a few inches off.” She gave a low laugh, “Once I was in that chair George took no notice of that. Out came those big scissors and off came my long hair and then he clippered what was left to about a quarter of an inch. I nearly died of fright when he was doing it but loved it when he was finished. He is just so brilliant you let him get on with it and always come away from that chair looking great.”

She paused and looked at Jane’s beautiful waist length hair and said, “You are not thinking of letting George near that gorgeous hair, are you?” Jane gave a nervous little laugh at the thought and said, “Oh no, I have only come to have it braided. I love my hair long but it is so fascinating watching him cut hair.” “Well mind you don’t get tempted as old George would give a month’s takings to get you down in that chair!” A young girl now appeared and said, “Are you 33?” The girl nodded and gave a quick smile to Jane and said, “I hope old George is on form, I want to get rid of most of this!” She tossed her splendid mane of hair and made her way down to George’s area. Jane watched the large cape being put around her and felt excited at the thought of seeing the lovely hair being cropped.

There were a few brief words exchanged and then the large scissors were slapped into his hand, a brief flick with the comb, a click of the blades and then the assault on the hair began. The head was pushed forward and
with a look of pleasure on his face he began cutting straight across the softly gleaming curls at nape level. Handfuls of hair was severed and casually dropped to the floor and in less than a minute the shoulder length flick-ups had been reduced to a shaggy crop and now as expected he exchanged the scissors for the clippers. The back of the bowed head was swiftly cleared with four or five passes the buzzing blades and then he changed the head and cut the hair even closer to her scalp but keeping a superb shape. After running his large hand several times over her cropped nape he moved first to one side and then the other, shearing away the hair almost up to the temples. Then he took his scissors again and cut the longer top hair, leaving a four-inch swoop of gleaming hair.

With a flourish the cape was removed and the girl left the chair obviously very pleased with her new look and leaving Jane again marveling at George’s skill. The girl was led away now presumably to have her hair shampooed and dried and gave Jane a beaming smile and a wave as she passed. Jane watched two more local girls given the scissors and clippers treatment to their already short hair and then to her slight surprise she saw a young European girl of about 18 being ushered into the chair. She had a very pretty fall of sleek blonde hair to just below her shoulders and George eyed the hair with obvious enthusiasm as she settled in the chair and enveloped in the large whit e cape.

Jane heard her say to George, “Could you just neaten my hair at the back and shorten my bangs for me please.” George beamed at her as he began gently combing the sleek hair and then said,” Of course I could do that but I really would like to restyle your hair. Give you a new look to show the folks back home. Cool and short for the beach.” The girl hesitated and then said; “I don’t think I would like it too short. I have never had my hair short.” Jane smiled to herself, if she stayed in that chair much longer she soon would have! “It will look fine. Just leave it to George.” His large hand was already pushing her head down and the scissors were in his hand and probably before the girl realized what was happening, large chunks of her sleek hair were rolling down over the gown to the floor.

After an initial gasp the girl remained reasonably composed as she watched her hair being cut into a short bell-like shape with the nape hair clippered in tightly. Even before it was shampooed and dried it looked magnificent and she looked very pleased as she was ushered off to be shampooed. It really was amazing thought Jane that in this salon on a small island there was such a genius of a hairdresser who could create such a variety of cuts with such brilliance. She was fascinated at seeing how drastically and dramatically he changed a person’s appearance so rapidly and yet every cut she had seen done had made each person look more attractive.

The next girl in the chair was another local with medium length hair who seemed to be having an animated discussion which Jane couldn’t quite hear but George finally said, “It’s all got to come off honey, “and almost before she realized, the clippers were plowing up the back of her head. She gave a few little squeals of protest and then submitted with an expression of resignation on her face and Jane realized that not only was George a superb hairdresser but he also felt he knew best and would always want his own way. A few minutes later the girl was released from the chair, her hair tightly cropped and she looked resentfully at George as she ran her fingers over her cropped hair but of course thought Jane, she did look terrific with her beautifully shaped cut.

Sitting in front of Jane in the waiting area were two English girls and her interest in them was aroused when she heard one of them say, “Oh, go on Sue why don’t you have your hair cut. I am going to get mine done, I just love those short cuts he is doing.” Jane looked closely now at the girls and saw that the speaker had lovely thick chestnut softly curling hair that reached her shoulders, George would surely enjoy cutting that and it would be very exciting to watch. Then Jane saw the other girl’s hair and her heart gave a little leap as she saw how lovely it looked. It was sun streaked blonde and swept sleekly back from her face and then thickly plaited to reach more than halfway down her back. Sue raised a hand and touched her lovely hair and said, “Oh I sometimes feel like a change but even the thought of having it cut terrifies me and I do like my hair long. I will just have it braided.” Jane felt a little disappointed that she would not be seeing George working on that lovely long hair although she was not really surprised as it was such a big decision to have long hair cut.

Her friend looked a little disappointed and said, “Well it is your hair but I think you should pluck up courage and get him to cut it. He does fantastic cuts and you would look great with short hair.” A few minutes later she was led to Georges’ chair and the large white cape was placed around her and both Jane and Sue watched closely as George stroked his comb through the silken hair. “You have lovely hair, I can hardly wait to get started. Something short, yes?” Sue nodded and said excitedly, “Oh yes.! I love the way you cut hair, give me something really different.” He beamed and the scissors were placed in his hand and her head was tilted forward. With several great plunging snips he sheared the softly curling hair at the back and then the top and side hair shortened drastically and a full fringe created. Sue sat calmly watching her hair tumbling all around her and seemed eager to move her head into the clippers when he began using them.

He cut the underneath back hair skin close but only to an inch or so up from the hairline and left different lengths of hair through the top and sides. When he stepped back, releasing the gown that sent a great cloud of hair to join the hair that lay all around the chair, the expression of delight and amazement on her face indicated another superb creation. “Oh, that looks good and feels great!” She exclaimed as she stood up, fingering her cropped hair. She stepped over the piles of her own hair and was led off to be washed and blow-dried. As she passed her friend she said, “What do you think? Isn’t it fabulous!” Sue was now staring at her friend with an expression of awe and she said breathlessly, “Oh yes, you look sensational!” As Sue was led away Jane definitely agreed. It was yet another superb haircut.

An assistant now approached the waiting Sue and said, “You are next for braiding” As Sue stood up she said, “Do you think I could have my hair cut instead of braided?” George swung around as he heard these words and stopped his assistant from putting a local girl in the chair, “Just come and sit here, honey. I can do it right now.” Almost before she realized it Sue was hustled into the chair and caped, her gleaming plait almost reverently being carefully placed outside the white cape. He gently fingered the silken hair sifting it through his fingers and then he said in a soft voice, “You have made up your mind to get rid of this long hair, aint you honey.” Sue swallowed nervously and said, “Yes – no. I don’t know if I want it cut short.” He was still fingering her lovely heavy plait and said in his soft hypnotic voice, “Why don’t you let me decide on a new style for you.” Sue looked terrified and stared anxiously in the mirror and then she took a deep breath and said, “Alright, go ahead.” George gave a little nod and one of his assistants
stepped forward, handing him the scissors, and then she stepped in front of Sue and placing her hands on top of her head she tilted her head right forward so that her neck was fully exposed.

With her head bent right forward and the large figure of George behind her Sue must have felt completely trapped and had no chance of changing her mind. Jane felt tense with nervous excitement as she watched the scene unfold and she felt almost as nervous as if it were her long hair that was about to be cut. She saw George tighten his grip on the plait and saw the scissors begin moving and heard the loud scrunching noise as they bit into the silken hair. He was cutting the lovely plait off as close to the roots as possible! A loud gasp and a convulsive jerk came from Sue as she realized what was happening. She tried to lift her head but it was held firmly until George finally severed the plait and lifted it triumphantly away from her head. He held the beautiful tress of hair aloft as his assistant released Sue’s head and she slowly lifted it and stared in the mirror.

She gave a little choking sob as she saw her long heavy plait dangling from his fist and her own reflection with short bushy ends sprouting out around her head from where the plait had been severed. “O h my god!” she said in a shocked and tearful voice, “I didn’t know you were going to cut that much off.” George handed the silken tress to one of his assistants and said, ”Don’t worry, honey, you are going to look great with your hair short.” Of course Sue had no option but to let him carry on and allowed him to push her head forward again ready for the next assault on her hair. The clippers were handed to him and he held the top of her head firmly and then began running them up the back of her bowed head. Again a horrified gasp came from Sue as she felt the clippers removing her hair but she couldn’t even move her head as they were ruthlessly run up the back of her head to the crown. A broad swathe was carved through her short blonde hair and the action was repeated several times as he removed almost all the hair from the back of her head.

After her initial reaction Sue kept her head perfectly still and the watching Jane wondered what thoughts sue was having as her once long and beautiful hair was being reduced to a stubble. When her head was once more allowed to be lifted, she stared at herself in the mirror with an almost dazed expression as though she couldn’t believe what was happening to her. Now the clippers removed the hair at both sides of her head right up to her temples but he left the top hair quite long, shaping it with his scissors, shredding and slicing the hair so that it fell in soft fronds on to her face. By now it seemed that Sue had regained her composure and was staring at her reflection with interest and didn’t even flinch as he picked up the clippers again and took the side hair even shorter.

Finally he decided he had removed enough hair and whisked away the enveloping cape and ushered Sue from the chair. Yet again Jane saw that George had created another superb hairstyle, as Sue looked stunningly attractive with her dramatic new cut and Jane suddenly made the decision which had hovered at the back of her mind since she had watched George at work. She would have her long hair cut! She wanted this genius with his scissors and clippers to create for her a completely new image. She could no longer resist the exciting and a little frightening thought of sitting down in that large chair and surrendering her long treasured tresses.

Her hair was of a particularly heavy texture and was in beautiful condition and ever since she was a child she had worn it in virtually the same style – a very heavy full fringe and then the rest of the gleaming dark blonde silken hair streamed down her back to reach her waist. Many hairdressers over the years had tried to persuade her to let them cut off her long tresses but she had always resisted. She loved her hair long and couldn’t imagine how she would look and feel without it. Occasionally she fleetingly thought about having a change and cutting her hair shorter but had always postponed the idea. When she had met and married her husband he too encouraged her to keep her hair long but he had irritated her on this holiday by complaining about the time she spent on it. At least if her hair was short it would need far less time spent on it but she knew that he would be horror stricken if her long hair was cropped. However she didn’t care as she was now quite determined to have it cut although she could hardly believe that she had reached the decision so easily and quickly. Less than an hour ago she had been wondering how her long hair would look when braided and now she was looking forward to seeing it cut off!

Whilst these thoughts were going through her mind she suddenly saw that Sue’s friend had come over to her and seen that she had been cropped. She gave a squeal of delight and said, “I can’t believe you changed your mind. Oh Sue, you look fabulous!” “Do you really like it?” asked Sue a little anxiously, “It feels so strange but I think it suits me.” “Oh it looks absolutely wonderful, and I think you are so brave having it cut so short. What made you change your mind?” “Well I was very nervous about having a change but when I saw how super your hair looked when it was cut I decided to take the plunge.” Jane smiled to herself; she had been having exactly the same thoughts! Sue continued, “ I was very nervous when I sat in the chair and almost before I realized what was happening he had cut my plait off at the roots!” Her friend gave a little gasp and a smile, “Gosh all that hair.” Sue nodded and said, “Yes that was quite a shock, but I nearly died of fright when he began using the clippers on me. I could see all my hair coming off and yet the feel of the clippers on your head is so exciting and quite irresistible. It felt fabulous to have my hair cropped and I am really pleased he has cut it really short.” Her friend nodded and said, “Yes it is amazing really. I would never before have let a hairdresser start cutting my hair without knowing how it was going to be done but this guy is so good that I just felt whatever he did would look good.”

Hearing these words and agreeing fully with them increased Jane’s anticipation for her opportunity to allow him to work on her hair. She watched him working on a local girl’s hair and she wondered how long it would be before she could ask for him to cut her hair. George saw her watching him and gave her a smile and she could see him eyeing her long hair and she remembered what the girl had said earlier about her hair and Georges’ pleasure if he had the opportunity to cut it. Well hopefully it would not be long. A few minutes later Jane saw one of the assistants approaching her and she experienced a lurch of nervous excitement in her stomach as the girl said, “You are next for braiding.” Jane swallowed nervously and said, “Can I have my hair cut instead?” The girl eyed Jane’s beautiful long hair with a smile and said, “I am sure George will be delighted to cut it for you!” She called over to Georges assistant, “This one is for you.”

George looked up from the cut he was doing and his face creased in a large smile as he realized Jane was coming to have her hair cut. A few minutes later Jane was being led over to the vacant chair and her legs felt weak and her heart was pounding as she sank down in the chair and was enveloped in the cape. George already had a brush in his hand and he lifted her hair free outside the cape and then very gently and skillfully began to brush her long gleaming fall
of hair. Jane tried to let the soothing feel of the brush in her hair to soothe her jangling nerves but she felt very tense as George said, “I am so glad you have come for a haircut. I have been admiring your hair ever since you came in.” He continued to brush her hair for a few moments more, smoothing down the heavy fringe and then lifting all the back hair up to check her hairline. Finally he allowed the hair to spread out over the cape like a silken blanket and he said, more as a statement than a question, “You are ready to get rid of your long hair.”

With her heart pounding and her mouth dry Jane knew that the moment of absolute decision had arrived. There could be no change of mind once she allowed him the freedom to cut her hair. She hesitated fractionally and then took a deep breath and said in a very quiet voice the one word she knew would mean her most treasured possession being removed and her whole appearance being altered. “Yes.” He smiled his huge smile and said, “Wonderful! Now you just relax and let George give you a new look.” The brush was exchanged for his scissors and comb and he said softly, “Head right forward, honey,” and she allowed her head to be positioned. She was so tense she could hardly breathe as she felt his hands move from the top of her head and begin lifting and spreading her hair behind her. A voice in her brain was screaming, “What am I doing!” and desperately she tried to relax and breathe normally.

Suddenly she felt a slight tugging on her hair and then the sharp shearing sound of the scissors as they cut into her great mane of hair. She tensed her body and let her breath out in shuddering gasps as she could feel the base of her neck being exposed as the severed hair began slipping away and rolling down her back to the floor. He was cutting straight across her fall of hair and although she had seen it happen to others, she could hardly believe at the speed her long tresses were removed. A final scrunching snip and she heard the last great lock of her long hair hitting the floor with a soft thud. It was gone! The magnificent long hair, which had been her great pride and many others envy, was now lying on the floor of a salon on a small island in the Caribbean!

Her head felt light and her neck bare and vulnerable as her head was straightened and as George moved in front of her she only had a brief glimpse of herself with short ends bushing out where previously her hair had swept sleekly down to her waist. She could still hardly believe her long hair was no more and the enormity of her decision to part with it was beginning to overwhelm her. His comb was lifting and sifting her heavy fringe and he murmured, “Fringe far too long.” Before Jane realized what was happening there came the soft deadly hum of the clippers and she saw them brought close to her head. “Oh no!” She gasped, “I must keep my fringe.” She hardly felt them touching her hair but suddenly clouds of hair were falling down past her eyes and unbelievably George was running them back from her forehead almost to the crown of her head. He smiled at her gasps and said, “ Much better without it.” Further great sweeps of the clippers swiftly removed all traces of her fringe and Jane felt totally devastated and helpless. She had always worn a fringe for as long as she could remember and at times it was almost a defense to hide under and now it was gone. The removal of her fringe was a more traumatic experience than feeling her long hair coming off as it had been so unexpected and now he seemed intent on cutting most of her remaining hair down to the scalp.

She could feel herself going hot and cold at the thought and couldn’t understand after all the superb cuts she had watched George do why he appeared to be butchering her hair. He stepped back behind her now and she could see her reflection in the mirror as he said, “I think you have hidden behind your fringe for too long. Now everyone can see your full beauty.” A stab of fear hit her as saw that her fringe had been cut back to her hairline and the top hair was cropped down to half an inch or less. He smiled at her obvious shock and said, “Just relax. You are going to look sensational. You know George does the best cuts!” She knew she had no option but to let him continue but felt sick with fear and disappointment as he began using the clippers again. She watched numbly as they were run up the side of her head and she closed her eyes to shut out the sight of the hair tumbling away as he ran them right up to her temples. She remembered how Sue had said about the feel of the clippers and despite her distress and knowing what they were doing she too found the feel of the blades extremely arousing.

Over and around her ears the clippers were run and several times the head was changed which she knew would be taking the hair even shorter. She heard the clippers switched off and taking a deep breath she opened her eyes again and her stomach lurched as she saw the frightened reflection that stared back at her. A crew cut on top with near shaven sides and now he was about to continue cutting the longer back hair. To her relief he was only trimming this hair slightly with his scissors, at least she would have some hair left! She stared hard at her reflection in the mirror, hardly able to recognize herself and yet now she was over the shock she suddenly realized that the very short top hair greatly emphasized her features. Her eyes looked bigger and her cheekbones more defined. The comforting feel of the slightly longer hair at the back and the feeling of freedom and lightness of her head after the removal of her heavy long hair were wonderful. Incredibly, despite her earlier fears and alarms, she was thrilled with her haircut and its dramatic effect on her appearance.

George released her from the cape and with confidence, “It looks good short – yes,” and Jane totally agreed. It was the perfect style for a holiday and all she had to do now was face her husband without the yard of hair he had last seen her with! Yet another triumph for George.

The End

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