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Several work colleagues and myself were due to attend a conference week in Bournemouth, Southern England. I had been informed that I was required to drive a no nonsense, middle aged woman named Linda down there with me. She’s six or seven years older than me and with a rather militant nature.

When I first got to know her three years previously, she was hardly what any man could call attractive! Just an overweight frump with an unseeingly unsociable nature. However after a week of mixing with her I felt as if I’d melted the Ice Maiden! On the last night of that particular week’s conference Linda approached me for a dance. When our hands joined there seemed to be some kind of physical attraction!

However during the next three years every time I met up with Linda her appearance seemed to have improved. When I picked her up with my car I just couldn’t get over how good she now looked in comparison with how I initially knew her. Both she and I were due to make individual speeches at this year’s conference. Linda was wearing a black trouser suit and a crisp white blouse. Compared with how I’d initially known her, she looked pencil slim! Considering how both myself and several colleagues had nick named her The Yorkshire Witch, I felt myself already beginning to take those thoughts back. I couldn’t help admitting that part of me actually desired her!

As I collected Linda from the agreed meeting place and helped her with her luggage I said to her,” well Linda Bournemouth here we come”!

She smiled and said,” well if you must know that’s on tomorrow’s agenda this afternoon and tonight are our own”! I was a little taken aback and wanted to know what she exactly meant? “We’ll take it one stage at a time Stephen”, she said. As Linda said this she rested her hand lightly on mine, which was holding the gear stick! Then she turned her head and gave me a rather determined look. As I met her glare Linda said,” right Stephen you’re getting up to speak at conference aren’t you”? As I acknowledged that I would be doing so, she didn’t beat about the bush!

“You could do with a good haircut so if you follow my directions I’ll take you to decent barbers and what’s more I’ll treat you to the cut”. Then she added,” the sooner we set off the quicker we’ll get there eh”?

I followed her directions and totally unexpectedly we arrived at a familiar Gents Salon, where she told me to pull up! I couldn’t believe that we’d arrived at Linda’s Barbers, the regular place that I normally went to. I wondered how my colleague knew that I was a regular customer here. I suspected that maybe my colleague had selected this particular barber from the yellow pages and had decided upon this salon, because the owner had the same name as her. As we both alighted from my car I just couldn’t help thinking that this was purely a strange coincidence? “This way Stephen”, said Linda as we both walked through the salon door with Linda entering first!

As we entered the salon was devoid of customers and Linda the shop owner was sitting comfortably in her salon chair, reading a magazine. When my colleague and I initially opened the door, a bell pinged. Instantly Linda stood up and looked towards the door. As she caught sight of my colleague her face lit up and so did my colleague’s! Both women greeted each other with a friendly hug and a kiss on both cheeks! “Lovely to see you again Linda”, said the lady to my colleague. “You too my friend”, my colleague Linda replied to the female barber.

Both women initially began a catch up with each others lives conversation and very soon their topic steered round to the main reason why my colleague Linda had directed me here! I assumed that the salon owner would be cutting my hair, as normal. Naturally I expected her to pick up the cutting cape from the back of the chair, unfold it and offer me a seat! However she just smiled at me! Just as I was beginning to wonder what was going on, I heard my colleague’s voice travel across the salon. “Come on Stephen this way please”, she said loudly! Linda the salon owner burst out laughing as she observed my astonished face, when I looked over to my colleague. “This appointments with my old friend not me”, said the salon owner!

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw my colleague Linda standing at the other chair in the salon. In her hands she held the familiar unfolded, black cape! “Are you going to sit down then Stephen we haven’t got all day”, she commanded? I was totally baffled so the salon owner put me out of my misery. “This was a pre arranged surprise my friend”, she said. Then she went on to say,” I don’t suppose you knew that your friend Linda is a fully trained Ladies and Gents hairstylist just like myself? She just hasn’t been in the trade for a few years. However seeing as we both used to be workmates in the same salon, I know that Linda will make a good job of your hair. Also I allowed her to use my spare barber’s chair and equipment. Therefore whatever you do please don’t worry, as I can assure you that your hair will be in good hands”.

At first I was very hesitant and wasn’t quite sure, whether I could go through with this! However a few tactful words from my colleague soon altered that. I couldn’t work out quite what was happening, but it felt as if a giant hand had guided me over to the chair where Linda was standing. I sat down in the chair and instantly Linda draped the black nylon cape around me. Swiftly she tucked it into my collar and then took a large white paper tissue out of the box in front of me and gently pushed it down my neck. Meanwhile the salon owner disappeared round the back of the shop and said,” see you in a bit Linda and I’ll have a look at the job you’ve made of that guy’s hair when you’ve finished”! Linda’s Barbers had been officially closed for the rest of the day, so no more customers could enter the premises! Therefore the world inside the barber’s shop just belonged to my colleague and I.

“Well Stephen it’s been a long time since I precision cut a man’s hair but now’s my chance”, said Linda! She removed my glasses and put them on the counter in front of me. Next she picked up the comb and thoroughly combed my hair. How funny it seemed looking at myself in the mirror in front of me and short-sightedly seeing myself sitting there with the black cape around my neck and seeing my colleague Linda ready to begin cutting my hair.

Linda removed her jacket and hung it up on the coat hook then she walked back over to me with a small plastic bag in her hand, which she placed on the counter. “What’s that for”, I asked her? “You’ll soon see”, she replied. Without another word Linda picked up the electric shears off the hook near the mirror, gave them a brush down and then clipped blade no. two onto the face.

Presently Linda clicked on the shears and picked up her comb again. “Head down Stephen”, she said as she pushed my head forward and held it there. “Right Stephen I’m doing you short and sharp”, said Linda as she began to slowly work the guarded clippers up the back of my head! However I knew that I wasn’t getting a crew cut, because she stopped at a point that would be level with the tops of my ears. Already thick clippings began to fall down onto the cape and roll onto the floor. “What lovely hair you have to cut”, said Linda. “Oh how I love to feel it all just falling away”, she added! I didn’t argue I just couldn’t work out what had compelled me to co operate and simply let my colleague just control me like this. Part of me just couldn’t believe my current situation!

Suddenly Linda switched the clippers off and asked me to hold them for her. Without a word she took the little plastic bag off the counter and said,” well Stephen I must have a sample of this to keep”. Whilst she was saying this, she picked up a handful of the hair clippings from the cape and stuffed them into the bag. “Now I’ve a souvenir of this amusing occasion to keep”
, laughed my colleague. Out of the corner of my eye I saw her putting the bag into her jacket pocket, which was on the coat hook.

“Right lets continue Stephen”, said Linda happily as she took the clippers out of my hand. Immediately she restarted them and finished shearing off all the back to the grade two length. Soon Linda slid her hand under my chin and told me to lift my head. Next she moved my head to one side. I felt her quite supple fingers holding my ear down, whilst she shaved slowly upwards with the shears. In the mirror I could see her freeing all the hair around my ear. More and more clippings fell down onto the cape and once again began to roll onto the floor. Soon the first side was finished and she moved around to the other side and repeated exactly the same procedure with that one too. Considering that Linda is middle aged I noticed that she has rather nice hands. She soon started to make me feel quite relaxed and sleepy!

Meanwhile Linda removed the no. two comb from the clippers and replaced it with no. one. “These sideburns could do with a good trimming back”, she exclaimed! Saying this Linda shaved them down to grade one length. At first I was rather gutted, because I thought she’d shaved them completely off, but as I looked closer I noticed that they were still there! She proceeded to grade one my lower neck and then held my ears down again as she sheared the hair around them even closer! Removing the guard Linda then tidied up my neck line and around my ears. Soon she switched off the clippers and returned them to the hook.

As I looked at my reflection in the mirror I saw an unfinished looking mushroom cut! “Don’t worry Stephen”, laughed Linda,” I’ll soon sort you out I’m doing the top with scissors”. As she said this Linda picked up the water spray canister and proceeded to wet down my hair. The spray wet inside my ears and I could also feel it wet the skin under my clippered hair. It actually felt rather refreshing! Presently my colleague measured an inch or so piece to be cut off the first layer, which she held between her fingers. Without my consent she snipped off this length with her scissors and then did the same with the rest. In next to no time I hadn’t anymore than an inch length anywhere, but at least the layers were still there. Her expertise was demonstrated, when she blended in the long and short hair with grades four and three. I now realised that when Linda said she was doing me short and sharp that was exactly what she meant!

“Right Stephen there’s one thing you must understand,” said Linda. She continued,” before I started your hair I checked through it to ensure you weren’t concealing any baldness by combing strands of long hair over it. If you were I’d have had the pleasure of shaving it all down to your scalp, to match the baldness. I may have even given you a complete head shave! Regardless of what you wanted you’d have left here with an honest bald man’s cut understand”? Then Linda dissolved into hysterics.

“Oh your face”, she giggled and I could feel my cheeks burning! Then she went on to say,” but because you’ve still plenty of hair I’ve spared you that”! Then she affectionately stroked my cheek with the palm of her hand.

Initially I thought Linda had finished when I heard her say,” yes Stephen I think that that’s sharp enough”! She began to undo the cape at my neck, but suddenly her hand reached for something else. Linda clicked on the small object in her hand and then said once again,” head down please”. I allowed her to push my head forward, whilst she cleaned my neck free of stubble with the small object that she was holding. I could feel it gently vibrating against my skin and then she moved to around my ears once more. Up to present Linda had been very gentle, but suddenly that changed! Linda started getting carried away tidying around my ears and she began to firmly pull them down. It almost felt as if she was going to pull them off! I almost begged her to stop as she continued to firmly tug on them. This discomfort lasted around five minutes, before she switched the tiny clippers off! As she returned it to its rechargeable holder, I was convinced that she’d finally finished. However there was still more to come!

“Right Stephen I’ll finish off your neckline with this razor”, said Linda as she picked up a pearl handled cut throat razor and opened the blade! I could hardly believe what was happening as Linda held my head forwards and gently shaved the skin of my neck smooth. She gently stroked the skin for smoothness and then playfully manipulated my neck with her index finger and thumb. I quite enjoyed the experience actually, but felt a little too coy to tell my colleague!

However she put me out of my misery as she was putting the finishing touches to my haircut. “Right Stephen”, she said,” I’ve got your haircut because at conference you’ll look much more the part when you get up to speak with a nice short haircut”. Linda continued to groom me and then she picked up a talcum powder canister. She sprinkled a handful of powder into the palm of her hand and massaged it into the skin, which she’d just shaved clean! Then my colleague dropped the bombshell!

“Right Stephen I’m going to be a little forward now”, said Linda. She explained that she’d always been determined to cut me down to size, when I’d once beaten her in quite an intense argument. She made it clear that I wasn’t the kind of guy, which she would allow to overpower her.

Therefore she’d needed to choose the right moment, in which to act.” By getting you in the barber’s chair and having the pleasure of doing you short and sharp was the best method which I knew of to cut you down to size”, she explained! Then Linda added,” however I’m not done yet as I’ve pre booked us into a double room at a nearby hotel. Hopefully you’ll honour this offer and let me cut you down to size even further”?

“Right love I must show you your hair”, said Linda with a gleam in her eye. She ignored my obviously blushing cheeks and removed the salon mirror from its hook. As she showed me the back and sides in the mirror, I gave her my approval. I had to agree she’d done me an excellent job. Finally Linda dusted my neck and ears down with the neck brush, removed the cape from around me and shook all the clipping all over the salon floor. As I got out of the chair Linda folded up the black cape and draped it over the back of the barber’s chair once more.

“Linda I’m finished and thank you very much”, called my colleague to the salon owner. The lady came round from the back of the shop and inspected the job, which my colleague had done on my barnet. Of course it met her approval and as my colleague and I left the premises hand in hand she gave her friend a sly wink!

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