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Last Friday I got my hair cut. Usually there?s nothing remarkable about a woman getting a haircut; it happens every day. But this one was different. Not only was it an extreme change, but it marked an important transition in my life. Because so many of my friends have been asking about my haircut, I thought I should explain.

The first thing you need to understand is that my husband has a thing about short hair on women. Some guys admire women?s breasts; others are attracted by legs or buttocks. For Ted its hair?the shorter, the better. This kind of extreme erotic attachment to specific objects is known as a fetish. Usually it?s harmless, but in some cases it can become an obsession. I first became aware of Ted?s fetish a few months after we were married. At that time I wore my dark blonde hair well past my shoulders, parted down the middle in a modified version of the hippie style that was popular in those days. I let it grow longer before our wedding so I could walk down the aisle as a picture perfect bride?my long flowing mane trailing beneath a white veil. But the upkeep on my hair was a chore?it took thirty minutes each morning to wash and dry. In addition, I recently had started a new job as assistant branch manager at a bank and wanted to look more professional. I began thinking about cutting it shorter. I hesitated because I didn?t know what Ted would say. Most guys, I thought, preferred women with long hair; the longer, the better. When we were dating Ted always paid attention to my hair and frequently complimented me on it. I experimented with different styles; pinning it up with clips, pulling it back off my face, braiding it. Ted seemed to like each one better than the last. Sometimes I allowed him to brush it before we made love. I saw how aroused he became on these occasions, so I expected him to strongly object to my idea of a haircut. I was prepared for a heated argument. To my surprise, he eagerly agreed with my suggestion. It seemed that he couldn?t wait till I got my hair cut. He would point out women sporting attractive short styles whenever we went shopping. He even clipped magazine photos of short-haired models for me to consider.

I hesitated for a while. It was difficult to part with the hair I had spent so much time growing, but finally I resolved it was time to say good-bye to my long locks. Actually, it was a spur of the moment decision. Ted and I were on a camping trip in the mountains. After dinner one evening as we sat around the campfire drinking coffee I turned to him and said, ?Ted, I?d like you to cut my hair tonight.? He was momentarily speechless but quickly recovered.

?But, Emily, we don?t have a scissors or anything,? he protested.

?What about the scissors on your Swiss Army knife?? I offered, ?Wouldn?t that work??

?Sure, I could use them, but why don?t you wait till we get back to town so you can go to a salon?? he continued to object. ?You really should have a professional stylist do this.?

?No Ted, I?m ready to do this now and I want you to do it,? I insisted. I removed the brush from my backpack and gave my long tresses one last brushing. I sat on a log as he opened the small scissors from his knife.

?How would you like me to cut it?? he inquired.

?Just try to cut it straight across about here,? I directed, pointing to a spot below my ear level with my jaw. I held my breath as he closed the blades around the first lock. Ted tried to work carefully, but the small scissors didn?t cut easily through my thick hair. He had to select a small section, insert the blades, and saw at the hair till it came free in his hand. It was slow going and took nearly half an hour to complete the surgery, cutting from one side of my head to the other. When he was finished he gathered handfuls of my severed hair and tucked them away for a souvenir. I found a small pocket mirror and inspected what was left of my tresses. It was quite a shock behold my altered image. I fingered the edges of my ragged bob and wondered if I had made a mistake. It was obvious that I would need a professional trim when we returned to civilization. I missed the luxury of my long hair but knew that in time I would get used to my new short style.

There was no doubt that Ted loved the result. When the haircut was done he couldn?t wait to crawl into our sleeping bag and make love. He ran his fingers through my shortened hair as he told me how much he loved me. Never had I seen him so aroused. Sometimes I think allowing him to cut my hair that night was a serious blunder. I probably encouraged his fetish and fueled his passion for short hair by creating an expectation that he could continue selecting my hairstyle.

In the years that followed that first rough haircut I have gone through a variety of styles and lengths, but I have not let Ted cut my hair again. On two occasions I grew my hair out, but it didn?t stay that way for long. Keeping my hair long proved to be too much of a hassle. Each time I reverted to a shorter style after a few months. It seems that long hair was just not for me. Twice I decided to try a permanent, both times with disastrous results. Ted was kind, but he made it clear that he hated my curly locks and I must say that I agreed. The frequency of our lovemaking declined to a record low until the perms grew out. For the most part I have kept my hair moderately short since then, although not nearly as short as my husband would like. For the last couple of years I?ve been wearing a chin length bob with the ends blunt cut sort of like that first haircut Ted administered. The style is easy to maintain, reasonably attractive, but not very versatile. Sometimes feel a need to let it grow longer so I can experiment with a flip or a pony tail, but Ted won?t hear of it. He always reminds me when I?m overdue for a trim and badgers me till I make an appointment.

Ted?s fetish surfaces in a variety of ways. I sometimes notice him eyeing a short haired woman when we attend a concert or a play. Several years ago I found a collection of pictures he hid in a file cabinet in his home office, every one showing a different woman in a short hairstyle. When I make an appointment at the beauty salon he usually asks how I am going to get my hair cut and when I return home he carefully inspects the finished do. He tries to be inconspicuous, but I?m aware of his scrutiny. I?m afraid it?s never short enough for him. For a while we visited the same unisex salon to have our hair cut. Ted insisted that I go first so he could observe as my hair was being done. Although I welcomed his company, I never felt completely comfortable with him in the salon. I always felt a silent pressure to select a shorter style. I was relieved when he decided to go back to his old barber and I found a new salon.

A couple of years ago I started adding blonde highlights to hide the increasing amount of gray in my hair and Ted was pleased with this development. I?m sure he would have loved to see me go completely blonde, but that?s more than I wanted to do. At times it?s flattering to have him pay so much attention to my looks, but it also can be annoying, especially when he pressures me to cut my hair shorter than I want.

Ted?s fetish took a turn in a new turn a year ago. He was going out of town for a few days on a business trip. When I arrived home I found a large manila envelope that he left for me. There was a penciled note on the front. ?Emily, read this and let me know what you think. We can talk about it when I get back.? Inside was a twenty-seven page story about me getting a haircut. It started off as a factual account, describing our relationship and his fascination with short hair, but soon shifted into fantasy. In his tale the two of us visited a barber shop where I was handed over to a female barber named Crystal. I sat passively as Ted instructed her how to cut my hair cut. She proceeded to ruthlessly cut off nearly all my hair. I emerged wearing a military style flat top. When he returned home I met him at the door. ?If you think you can persuade me to get my hair cut like that you?re dreaming, mister,? I told him. ?It looks like you?ve got a serious problem, Ted. I?m afraid that you?re becoming obsessed with short hair. You need to get some professional help.? I must say that he responded to my criticism better than I had expected. Instead of defending himself, he admitted that his fetish was growing into an obsession. Within a few days had scheduled an appointment with a psychologist whom he continued to visit for several months.

That was twelve months ago. Since then Ted hasn?t said anything more about me getting my hair cut. Although I?m sure his fetish hasn?t disappeared, he appears to have it under better control. In the same time, however, my hair has turned increasingly gray. It?s gotten to the point that no amount of highlighting can hide it. Either I?ll have to dye my hair completely blonde, or let the gray take over. Lately I?ve been thinking that it?s time to stop hiding my age and abandon the highlights. This will require changing to a new, shorter hairstyle, at least as a temporary measure. I wanted to discuss it with Ted, but was reluctant to stir up his fetish. I don?t know if he still fantasizes about me with short hair, but I would be surprised if he?s stopped. If he knew I was thinking about cutting my hair I was sure he would become highly excited. I didn?t want to place myself under the pressure of his expectations. Yet, I didn?t want to shut him out entirely. I knew he would be bitterly disappointed if I went ahead without including him. For this reason, I decided my haircut would have to be a surprise. Since Ted?s birthday was approaching, I made up my mind to make this cut a birthday gift to him.

Last week I called my regular stylist at the Beauty Nook. ?Hello Terri, this is Emily,? I began. ?I?d like to make an appointment for a haircut next week.?

?Sure, Emily, I can do that. Do you want me to schedule coloring in addition to the cut? It?s about time,? she reminded me.

?Well, Terri. I?ve decided it?s time to stop coloring my hair,? I explained. ?It?s getting to be a losing battle. I?d like you to cut out the highlights and let the gray take over.?

?You know that means a pretty short haircut, Emily,? she cautioned. ?Are you ready for that??

?Yes, I think I can handle it,? I told her.

?Okay. When would you like to come in?? she continued.

?How about Friday at five?? I said.

?That?s good. I?ll put you down for a haircut on Friday,? she announced.

?Terri, there?s one other thing,? I interjected before she could hang up. ?I?d like to bring my husband along so he can watch me get my haircut. It?s kind of a surprise for him.?

?Sure Emily. I?ve got no problem with that,? she assured me. ?Bring him along.?

The next day I approached my husband. ?Ted, I?d like to make a date with you for Friday.?

?Sure, what?s up?? he replied.

?Well, your birthday?s coming up and I?d like to do something special,? I told him.

?That sounds good,? he agreed. ?Are you going to tell me what you?re planning??

?No, it?s going to be a surprise,? I insisted.

?Okay. I like surprises, but can you give me a hint?? he asked.

?Nope, I don?t want to give anything away,? I declared. ?All I can say is that I think you?re going to enjoy it.?

?And what time on Friday am I going to get this surprise?? he continued.

?I?d like you to meet me here at quarter to five.? I said.

?You?ve got a date,? he eagerly declared.

The rest of the week Ted pestered me, trying to find out where we would be going on Friday. I was determined to keep him in the dark. He was curious about our destination, but didn?t have a clue about what I was planning. On Thursday evening, while he was out at a business meeting, I visited Ted?s secret cache of photos. I opened the folder and looked though the pictures of short-haired women. There I found women sporting nearly every type of short hairstyle imaginable, from rather conservative bobs to radical crew cuts. Some were nearly bald. I was looking for a style that would look good without being too bizarre. I wanted to show Terri exactly how I wanted my hair cut. I quickly dismissed most of the photos as being too extreme for my taste, but I kept coming back to one photo. Perhaps I was drawn to it because this was the only one where model was nearly my age. Her silver-gray hair was cut in a very flattering style–parted on the side and brushed across her head. It formed a smooth cap around her head. The length was quite short–about an inch and a half all over except around her ears where it was shorter. Her bangs were quite brief and were rounded rather than cut straight across her forehead. The back was slightly longer with a feathered fringe partially covering her neck. ?Now that?s a style I could wear,? I said to myself. ?If Terri can cut my hair like this I?ll be a happy woman.? Because it was suitably short, I was sure Ted would be delighted too. I folded the photo and tucked it in my purse before returning the folder to its hiding place in Ted?s file cabinet.

Friday afternoon finally rolled around and when I arrived home Ted was already there, brimming with anticipation. ?Okay, now you can tell me where we?re going,? he pleaded.

?Sorry, Ted. It would spoil the surprise,? I answered. ?Get in the car and I?ll drive.? On the way to the plaza he peppered me with questions about our destination, but I refused to give him any satisfaction. When I pulled into the parking lot he still was baffled. The strip mall contained a hardware store, a chain drug store, and several smaller businesses, but not the restaurant he was expecting. ?I?d like you to follow me, Ted,? I commanded as we got out of the car and walked across the parking lot toward the Beauty Nook. ?Here we are,? I announced, opening the door of the salon for him.

?What?s going on?? he stammered as we entered.

?You?ll find out soon enough,? I replied with a smile.

Terri was waiting for us at the front desk. ?Hi, Emily, good to see you,? she said. ?And this must be your husband,? she said extending her hand in greeting. ?I?m Terri, Nice to meet you.?

?Okay, guys,? he demanded, ?would you please explain what?s going on.?

Terri looked at me and said, ?I see you haven?t told him. Let me enlighten him.? Then, addressing my husband, she said, ?Ted, Emily has asked me to cut her hair today and you?re going to be the guest of honor. You sit right here while we get ready.? She pointed to an overstuffed couch in the reception area. Ted?s face was full of questions, but Terri took me by the arm and escorted me to the back room before he could say anything more.

When we reached the shampoo station Terri asked, ?Emily, he really doesn?t have a clue does he? Are you sure he?s going to like you getting your hair cut short? Don?t you think you should have prepared him??

?No, I didn?t tell him, but that was on purpose. And yes, I?m sure he?ll like it,? I replied.

When Terri finished my shampoo she wrapped my head in a soft white towel and asked, ?Did you bring a picture of the style you?d like, Emily??

?Yes, it?s right here,? I said reaching in my purse and unfolding the photo for her.

?Wow,? she exclaimed. ?This is going to be quite a change, Emily. But the style you have chosen is very flattering. It will be fun to see how your husband reacts.?

We marched back into the main salon and Terri seated me in an empty chair in front of a large mirror and motioned to Ted to join us. She pulled up a folding chair to her right and directed him to take a seat. ?You can get a good view of all the action from right here,? she said. Terri then opened the photo and set it on the counter in front of the mirror.

I could see Ted straining to see the picture, but Terri blocked his view. I hoped he didn?t realize I had swiped it from his collection. He started to say something, but I hushed him. ?Ted, right now you should sit and watch. I?ll explain things later if you like.?

With that, Terri said, ?Well, Emily, let?s get to work.? She removed the towel, spread a cape around my shoulders, and began combing my damp hair. It had been three months since my last trim and on the sides my hair hung past my jaw and well down my neck in the back. The wet bangs hung in my eyes. Terri drew a sharp part on the right side and combed the hair across my head, exposing an abundance of gray roots. Then she picked up her scissors and approached the chair. Standing in front of me, she announced, ?We?ll begin by cutting your bangs. The style you?ve chosen really doesn?t require much in the way of bangs.? She lifted one section of my bangs away from my face and placed her scissors about three-quarters of an inch from my scalp. She cut the first section, exposing a patch of bare skin on my forehead. She continued cutting in the same fashion until the bangs were nearly gone. A brief fringe following my hairline was all that remained. I looked at my exposed forehead in the mirror and realized that the last time my bangs were this length was as a little girl many years ago. I glanced over at Ted and saw him intently gazing at me, an astonished smile plastered across his face. I could see he was enjoying my surprise.

Terri turned to the right side of the chair and lifted a section of my hair above the part. She placed her scissors about an inch and a half from my scalp. My heart fluttered when I realized how much she was going to amputate. I wanted to protest she was cutting it too short, but before I could speak she chopped off nearly five inches of my highlights. She dropped the severed hair to the floor and resumed her work. I closed my eyes, not wanting to witness the shearing that would follow. I felt her skilled fingers as they probed my head for another lock to remove. Terri continued cutting, first along the part, and then working her way across the top of my head. When I opened my eyes I was shocked to see how the gray patch on my head had expanded and the blonde area was greatly reduced. I looked a little like a tonsured monk with short hair on top and longer hair on the sides. I prayed that she would quickly remove the rest of my hair and rescue me from this ridiculous look.

I was relieved when Terri turned her attention to the sides. She lifted the hair in front of my right ear and sliced diagonally. The outline of my ear soon emerged. Next she pulled the hair out from around my temple and trimmed it shorter than the hair on top. She worked up to the part and followed it to the back of my head. I couldn?t see how she was cutting the back, but I felt her comb lifting my hair and heard her scissors as they snipped it shorter and shorter. Soon I felt a cool breeze blowing against my neck. Never in my life had my hair been this short. Terri continued cutting around the side of my head till she reached my left ear. Again she cut up at a 45 degree angle, revealing my other ear and continued cutting till the side blended in with the top.

When the last lock of long hair was removed from my head she stepped back and examined her work. ?Well, Emily, what do you think?? she asked.

?It?s so short,? I gasped, ?and there?s so much gray. It?s going to take a while to get used to it.?

?I?ve still got a bit of work to do, but I think you?ll be happy with the finished product,? Terri reassured me. Then she went back to the counter and selected a strange pair of scissors with blades resembling the teeth of a comb. ?These are thinning shears,? she explained. ?I?ll use them to thin your hair a bit. That will help it to lie flat. Otherwise your hair is liable to be standing up all over the place.? She then began to attack my head, plunging the shears into my hair, seemingly at random. Although I could hear the scissors cutting, at first I didn?t notice any change in my appearance, but when she set the shears aside and began combing my hair I saw she was removing clumps of short gray hair. A second round of thinning followed and another combing out. Then she applied the shears to the hair hanging down the back of my neck. When she had finished, my shortened hair was neatly plastered across my scalp. Not a hair was out place. I looked a bit like a flapper out of the Roaring Twenties.

Terri placed the comb and thinning shears on the counter and seized a small silver clipper. ?This is the last stage,? she informed me. ?I?m going to use the clippers to clean up the sides and back.? This was something new. Never before had she used clippers on my hair. Terri flicked the switch and the clippers began to hum. She approached the right side of my head and buzzed my sideburn into a neat V. Then she guided the clippers around my ear and down my neck. She ran the clippers along the sides of my neck, removing the fine hairs that grew there. She continued clipping around the left side and finished by trimming my other sideburn. When she was done with the clippers she took up a blow dryer and round styling brush. She worked intently, fluffing and twirling my hair so it gained volume and no longer clung to my scalp. The flapper look disappeared, replaced by a more contemporary image.

At last she stepped back and spoke to me, ?Well, Emily, what do you think?? ?Terri, it looks great,? I replied. I raised my hand and explored the unfamiliar shortness of the hairs at the back of my head. Then I ran my fingers through the brief hair on top. I gazed into the big mirror and was thrilled at what I saw. The gray haired woman sitting in the chair in front of me definitely was more ?mature? looking than the blonde who entered the shop half an hour before, but she appeared very stylish and sophisticated. I knew then I had made the right decision. ?I look almost exactly like the woman in the picture,? I exclaimed. ?Terri, you?re a genius.?

Then she turned to my beaming husband. ?And what do you think, Ted?? she asked. ?Do you like your wife?s new hairdo??

Ted had been sitting quietly throughout my ordeal, but his delight was obvious. ?Terri, I think it?s the best haircut she?s ever had,? he enthused. ?You definitely know how to handle those scissors.?

Terri removed the cape from my shoulders and dumped a large pile of severed hair from my lap to the floor. I shuddered to think that only a short time ago all that hair had been attached to my head. As I rose from the chair she said, ?I suppose you won?t be coming in for highlights any longer, but you should come back more often for trims.?

?I?ll make an appointment for four weeks from now,? I assured her.

Ted paid the receptionist for my haircut and included a generous tip for Terri. As we walked out of the salon Ted held my hand. He was bursting with enthusiasm. ?Emily, I can hardly believe that you did this for me,? he exclaimed. ?It?s the best birthday present I could imagine.?

?Ted, you need to understand one thing,? I cautioned. ?I did this for me. It was my decision. Your present was coming along to watch.?

?It?s just that after our conversation last year I thought you were dead set against short hair,? he explained. ?I never expected you to adopt one of the styles I preferred.?

?You still don?t get it, do you, Ted?? I continued. ?It?s not that I was opposed to short hair, I just didn?t want you pressuring me to cut my hair. This was a big change for me and you know how insecure I am about my looks. It took a long time for me to reach this decision and I wanted to be sure it was right for me. Now that I see how it turned out, I?m glad I did it. I?m glad you like it too. Now, let?s go get something to eat.?

Ted followed me to the car. I knew what would come next?dinner at our favorite restaurant followed by some passionate lovemaking at home. I congratulated myself for having the courage to go through with the haircut and for helping my husband enjoy his fantasy at the same time. I was pleased with my new look and he was beside himself with joy. It was a win-win situation if I ever saw one.

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