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“Welcome to the company, Miss Harris.”

Jane Harris was congratulated by the members of the selection team who had picked her out of six candidates who had applied for the position of PR officer.

“As you know you will be appointed for three months on probation during which time you will be thoroughly instructed. That’s our policy concerning all our new employees. Do you agree?’

“Of course. When shall I start?”

“Cheryll will take you to meet your boss, Mrs. Simpson. She will give you further instructions. We hope you will have a good time working for our company.”

Jane Harris, 23 years young, 5 feet and 6 inches tall, 112 pounds light, had a few weeks ago graduated from University where she had studied public relations and communication. Her boyfriend Kevin hadn’t been very happy that she immediately had applied for a job. Certainly not for one at a distance of hundreds of miles!

“It’s a big chance,” she had opposed, “but there are more candidates. Probably I won’t get it. Nevertheless I want to give it a try.”

To her own surprise she had got it! She should have to explain something to Kevin. Their planned trip together should have to be cancelled. And she should have to move! Hundreds of miles!

Mrs. Simpson was a lady in her mid-forties, rather short and plump with short bobbed black hair.

“You are Jane Harris? May I call you Jane?”

“Oh please, Mrs. Simpson.”

“Call me Liddy. Well Jane, do you know what we expect from you?”

Jane nodded: “My task will be to generate new clients by promoting the company and to maintain the relations with our existing customers.”

“That’s right, generally speaking. Well, you have learned how to do that but you lack experience. In my opinion it’s the quickest way to gain that when you are forced to take the plunge. I don’t need to tell you that you represent the company and that your appearance is of utmost importance. I don’t doubt that you will do as you already look gorgeous and that is one of the reasons why we have chosen you. I know that it’s only partly your own merit but it is important.”

She paused for a moment and resumed: “Now I have an assignment for you. Next week your first visit you’ll pay to our most important client, Mr. Eggles. I emphasize: most important and we want it to keep it like that. It would be a disaster if our relation with him would be disturbed. That is one. Second: he is a rather peculiar man. He sometimes makes strange remarks and asks you questions of which you think to be too private. Don’t lose your head; answer his questions and do what he asks without being too submissive; you shouldn’t give him the impression that you are a softy. Which you are not. But he will try to test you. Just be adroit without making him angry. Quite a test for you, isn’t it?”

“I’ll do my best, Liddy. I think I am able to manage. But could you tell me some more about his eccentricity?”

“I could tell you experiences others have had but his behavior depends on the person who is his conversation partner. So he is unpredictable. You have to cook up something and use your imagination.”

“So you are moving? And what about us?” Kevin wasn’t pleased at all.

“We can meet and be together during the weekends.”

“Yeah, and my matches? You know that I have to play baseball every Saturday.”

“Just continue doing so, it won’t make any difference.”

“I don’t like it, Jane. Not at all. I want you here, not miles and miles away.”

“Don’t you trust me? In that case it’s no use to maintain our relation. I’m not your possession, Kevin.”

“Come on, Jane, did I say that? I just can’t bear you being so far away.”

“It is not so far. Less than an hour by plane.”

“It’s not the time, it’s the distance. We are separated from each other.”

“We don’t constitute an exception, Kevin, so many couples do see each other only now and then. In any case we have to try and we can’t change it any more. I don’t withdraw from my appointment.”

“Okay, but it will put a stress on our relationship.”

“If we cannot handle this it’s no good.”

Meticulously Jane applied her make-up: blusher, mascara, eyeliner and lipstick, before she paid her first visit to Mr. Eggles. She had a pleasant face, bright blue eyes, full sensual red lips, dimpled cheeks when she laughed, a nice turned-up nose with pretty little freckles which extended around her nose and eyes. Her ears were hidden under a mass of strawberry blonde wavy hair, cascading across her shoulders and reaching her waist.

She dressed carefully; fine silk lingerie, flesh-coloured nylon stockings, garter belt, dark grey court shoes and finally a dark blue lady’s suit and a white silk blouse. A pearl necklace and one golden ring with a diamond completed her outfit.

I hope that my appearance is representative enough, she thought while entering the building in which Mr. Eggles had his office.

She reported at the receptionist: “Mr. Eggles expects me.”

The girl had a good look at Jane and smiled significantly: “Take a seat, please. Mr. Eggles will be available soon.”

Jane waited rather nervously. She didn’t know what to expect and she didn’t want to blow her first enterprise.

“You may enter that door,” she heard the receptionist say, pointing to it, “Mr. Eggles will receive you.”

He was younger than Jane had thought, about mid-thirty. He rose when she entered, a tall man, definitely slim, a face with sharply defined features. She couldn’t see his eyes as he wore spectacles with dark glasses. Thinning dark hair, falling back at the hairline.

He stretched out his right hand: “Miss Harris, enchanted to meet you. I hope we’ll continue the good relations with your company but I’m sure we will.”

“Very nice of you, Mr Eggles.”

They talked about this, that and the other; he wanted to know from where she came, where she had studied and so on.

“Well, miss Harris, your first name is Jane, isn’t it? May I call you Jane?”

“Of course, Mr Eggles.”

“Do you have any new products to offer, Jane?”

“I’m sorry to have to say no, Mr Eggles. I was sent to introduce myself to you.”

“Yes, I appreciate that of course. Nevertheless, it’s a pity. What I need are new products from your company which I can sell. But I don’t blame you,” he hastened to say.

“Tell me, Jane, do you have a husband or a fiancĂ©?

“I have a boyfriend, Mr. Eggles.”

“Jane, please, call me Eric, my first name. Do you live together?”

“No Eric, he doesn’t live here; we meet each other only during the weekends.”

“Doesn’t he consider to look for a job in this city?”

“Oh no, he loves his job. He wouldn’t dream of a change.”

“I can’t understand that. If I had such a lovely girlfriend I would follow her wherever she went.”

Jane laughed: “He doesn’t like it at all that I moved. I shouldn’t have applied for my present job.”

Eric shook his head; “Unbelievable. What does he admire most about you?”

“I assume that he loves me but there is one item that he worships very much: my hair.”

“Your hair? In what respect, Jane? To see, to feel it?”

“Yes, he likes to touch and brush my locks.”

“He thinks it has an erotic aspect, beautiful hair? Does he especially like it when you are making love together?”

Jane blushed but answered: “Indeed, that’s true. He says that the tickling of his skin excites him.”

“That means your hair is hanging down, so you are on top?”

Jane’s colour intensified: “I think this to be a very intimate question, Eric.”

“I’m sorry, yes it is. But it is nothing to be ashamed of, is it?”

“No. Well, Kevin, my boyfriend, likes it this way.”

“You see! Jane, would you do something for me?”

“When you tell me what you want I’ll tell you if I’m able to do it.”

“You are a cute girl, Jane! Do you have a hairbrush in your purse? Or otherwise a comb?”

“To be sure I have a brush.”

“Would you do me the favor of brushing your hair back,
out of your face?”

Jane hesitated but decided to submit to his question though feeling somewhat odd. What if his secretary would enter and saw her brushing her hair in Eric’s office?

“That’s much better, your features were half hidden behind your hair,” Eric said. “I would like you to coil it and wear your hair in a bun.”

“I’ve never done that,” Jane was embarrassed, “Besides I have no pins.”

“Well, practice at home. Perhaps you know someone who could help you.”

“What!!? He asked you to wear your hair in a bun? What has that weirdo to do with your hair?” Kevin was furious.

It was Friday night and Jane had flown home to him.

“Of course I had to report to Liddy, my boss, and I told her everything, also his remarks about my hairstyle. She said that it sounded good to her and she asked me to wear it like that in the office too.”

“I cannot understand that you let yourself manipulate like this.”

“It is said in my contract that my appearance should be in accordance with the dignity of the company.”

“Does that mean that they have the power to prescribe you how to wear your hair?”

“Must we quarrel about this, Kevin? At home I’ll wear my hair just as you like. Come on, it’s not such a big issue.”

“Okay, but I don’t like it that that weirdo tells you what to do.”

“He is not a weirdo, he is a nice man. And an important client of our company. So, please darling, don’t make too much of it.”

Kevin still muttered some time but at last he gave in, took her in his arms, lifted her up and carried her to his bed. After some foreplay Jane pushed her lover to his back and straddled him. When they climaxed Jane let herself down on him and her long locks covered his face………..

“Jane! I’m glad that you followed my advice. Your pretty features are showing now in full extent. It’s such an improvement! But…I’m sorry to say that you shouldn’t always wear those lady’s suits. They are so formal. Very neat and they suit you well but….it’s summer, the sun shines, you should wear a flowered dress.”

This time Jane had chosen a deep red suit and matching high heels.

“Well, I have some and I’ll put on one when I come again.”

“I hope that will be soon. But for now, what news did you bring with you?”

Jane told him and they went to speak about business affairs.

Indeed he hadn’t to wait long. Liddy sent Jane to him although she had nothing news to report and she said that to Liddy.

“Oh, he seems to be charmed with you. And it is your task to maintain good relations with our customers. So go! He craves to see you.”

The girl at the reception desk smiled conspiringly seeing Jane again: “Mr. Eggles is already awaiting you,” she said.

“Ah Jane, you look gorgeous with that colourful dress.”

“Thank you Eric. But I know you better now and I can see that you are not fully satisfied.”

“Indeed, it’s that bun, too formal for such a gay dress.”

“Shall I take out the pins?”

“I don’t want your hair to fall into your face. Perhaps you could braid it. That would be more appropriate.”


“Why not?”

Jane meanwhile wasn’t any more taken by surprise by his requests and complied with this one.

“He told you to braid your hair? And you did it? Jane, why do you do everything he wants? Would you cut your hair short if he told you?”

For the sixth time Jane had undertaken the passage to Kevin’s and her earlier hometown. He again had refused to visit her and he wasn’t in a good temper. It was Saturday morning and they had breakfast together.

“Maybe I would consider that. But of course I would inform you.”

“You would inform me!” he said in a sarcastic voice. “And if it was me to ask you that, what would you say?”

“You would never do that, you love my hair. Even this night you told me when we made love.”

“That’s not an answer to my question. What would you do if I asked you to shave your head?”

“Kevin, this is ridiculous. You know that is impossible, I could lose my job.”

“So what? Moreover you could buy a wig.”

“This is silly talk, Kevin.”

“Would you shave your head if that weirdo asked you to do so?”

Jane got annoyed. “He is a nice man and I don’t want to answer such absurd suppositions.”

“So you don’t deny it. He really has got hold on you.”

Now really angry Jane lashed out: “Isn’t it about time for your precious baseball game?”

“Yeah, let’s go,” Kevin grinned.

“I’m not coming with you.”

“Why not?” Kevin was amazed. “You are always coming………..wait a minute, you are upset.”

“I’m fed up with that baseball business and I’m fed up with your insulting way of speaking about Eric.”

“Oh, it is Eric already. Well, go to him.”

“I will. Go to your baseball mates. You are only interested in them and in my hair. You don’t even try to understand me.”

“I understand that your moving to that other town has had a negative effect on you and our relationship. You are totally under the influence of them there and especially that Eric.”

“This discussion leads to nothing, Kevin. I’m going now. When you have changed your mind, call me.”

“You are the only one who has to change, Jane.”

So they parted.

Jane had expected him to call her but he didn’t let her hear from him. At last she called him at Thursday evening.

“What do you want from me, Jane. I told you that you have to change. Did you?”

Acting on impulse Jane said: “Yes, I cut my hair.”

“What!? That’s the limit! It’s over, Jane.”

He flung down the telephone.

“Now I know that I’m right: my hair and sex, that’s all he is interested in,” Jane concluded sadly.

Friday afternoon Jane had an appointment with Eric.

“What is the matter, Jane? You seem to be downhearted.”

“I had a quarrel with my boyfriend or better to say ex.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. How distressing for you.”

“Maybe better this way. We didn’t accord very well since I moved. He never visited me here; his baseball matches always took precedence, though he only got in for it as an amateur. The only thing that went well was sex but you can’t build a relationship only on that.”

“You are right. I’m sure you will get over it. And I see that you have followed my advice. Your plait matches much better your gay summer dress.”

They talked about business.

When Jane rose to leave Eric surprised her by asking: “May I hold your plait for a moment?”

‘Strange,’ she thought, ‘just like Kevin he seems to have some obsession about hair. But in a totally different way. What is the difference? Kevin’s obsession is explicitly connected with sex, Eric’s implicitly?’

She agreed.

“Good heavens, it is heavy!” he said, “doesn’t it give you a sensation that something is pulling at your head?”

“Indeed it does but I’m accustomed to that.”

“It is beautiful,” he said in a low voice, “I wish you could give it to me.”

Jane was dumbstruck. As if struck by lightning she suddenly realized that Eric was in love with her! This was his way of declaring his love! She had no rational explanation but she knew by instinct.

She was so embarrassed that she turned and left without saying a word. She got into her car and drove away without realizing the route she had taken. Driving through a street she noticed the red and white striped rotating pole at the front of a barbershop and in an impulse she pulled up her car, got out and strolled towards the door. Inadvertently she opened it and entered the shop. There were no customers inside and a barber was sitting in one of the chairs reading a newspaper. He looked up when Jane walked in.

“Can I help you, miss?”

As in a trance Jane heard herself say: “Will you cut off my plait, please?”

The barber rose. “Two questions first. Why do you want it and why did you come to a barbershop?”

Jane knew one thing: it had to happen here and now or she wouldn’t have the courage to carry through.

lease, do it,” she said in a begging voice.

He saw her desperate look and said; “Okay, sit down.”

He shook out a cape. “Will you please lift your plait.”

Jane held the plait above her head while the barber fixed the cape at her neck.

‘I can’t cut this plait with scissors.’ he was thinking, ‘her hair is so thick, the diameter of the plait is at least 2 1/2 inches. I’ll use the clippers.’

Jane was startled when she heard the plop when he flicked on the clippers. Inverted he put them at the base of the plait sawed it off. Tears welled up in Jane’s eyes when the barber placed it at the counter.

“What do you want me to do now, miss?”

The freed and shortened hair fluttered around her head.

“My god, it looks terrible. Are you able to tidy it up?”

“I’m not a hairstylist, miss. At a beauty salon they certainly will be able to help you better than I can do.”

“No!” Jane almost shrieked, “Please, I’m sure you can,” she begged. “I can’t go anywhere with such ragged hair.”

“Well miss, I’ve a problem. Where I cut off your plait is a patch with very short hair. I can even it out but that means that I have to cut your hair short, very short indeed.”

“My long hair has gone, so I don’t bother about the length of the remainder.”

“In that case, I could give you a crew cut.”

“Oh, isn’t that a men’s cut?”

“It is, yeah. But sometimes girls come to me and ask me to give them one.”

“Well, I’ll be one of them.”

“Just as you want, miss.”

He turned the chair 180* which made Jane face the waiting area. She had not noticed before the young girl sitting on a chair and intently looking at the barber’s activities. But the barber pushed Jane’s head gently towards her chest making her look to her lap.

Jane felt the clippers at her nape running up to her crown. Hair rained down when the action was repeated several times, shearing the backside of her head. Then the chair was turned 90*. Jane looked at the front window, the barber pushed her head slightly to the left. The clippers were running in front of her right ear to her temple, above her ear, leaving the right side of her head covered with short wisps and setting her ear free. After another turn of the chair by 180* the same process was repeated on the left side. The barber used the clipper over comb technique to reduce the hair on top of her head and at last he used smaller clippers to adjust her hairline at her nape and sides and turned the chair so that Jane could see her reflection in the mirror.

The face was familiar to her but most of her hair had gone. The sides measured 1/8 inch, the hair on top, standing erect, 1/4 inch.

“What do you think, miss?”

“It’s short indeed.”

In the mirror Jane saw the girl coming up next to her.

“May I touch it?” she asked saucily. Jane nodded.

“Wow, cool man!” she exclaimed, “I want my hair cut like this too.”

The barber smiled: “Just a minute, Heidi, I’m not sure if your mother will approve.”

“Oh, she will. She told me to get rid of this long hair so I will surprise her. Call her if you don’t believe me.”

Meanwhile the barber had carefully taken the cape from Jane’s shoulders and brushed off her head.

“Better take a shower when you are at home, miss, to get rid of all the short hairs.”

He delivered Jane her plait and she paid him and went to her car. She stopped in front of a florist, asked and got a long box as used for long-stemmed flowers. At home she wrapped the plait in tissue-paper, put it into the box and tied a red ribbon around it. Then she called Eric at his cell phone.

“I have a present for you. When could I deliver it to you?”

“Jane, I’m surprised. Come to my house at about eight. We can have dinner together.”

Jane was nervous when she approached Eric’s house. She had never been there and she didn’t know what to expect. How would he react to her radical make-over? The spell had weakened and she realized now that she had lost not only her plait but most of her hair. She hadn’t had any idea that the cutting of her plait would lead to such a radical change of her appearance.

Eric opened the door himself and Jane looked at him, her heart pounding. For a few moments he was dumbfounded, then a broad smile spread over his face while he exclaimed: “Oh my goodness! Jane, you are looking absolutely stunning!”

Jane heaved a sight of delight.

“Do you like it? I was afraid that you would think me to be hideous.”

“Oh Jane, don’t you understand?”

Embarrassed Jane asked: “Don’t you ask me to come in?”

“Oh yes, of course, I’m sorry but I’m so enchanted that I cannot think of anything else.”

She gave him the box. “This is my present to you.”

He put it on a little table in the hallway. “I know what is in it. Thank you Jane, but first I wish to touch your hair.”

Standing near to her he rubbed one hand across her head.

“I have wanted to do so for such along time. I fell in love with you from the first moment I saw you, Jane.”

“Why didn’t you say anything?”

“You had a boyfriend. Today you told me that you did break up with him.”

Suddenly he pulled her head towards his and passionately kissed her. Jane got aroused by his passion and when he started to pull off her clothes she didn’t resist him.

They didn’t bother to go elsewhere and he screwed her on the thick carpet in the hallway…………….,

Afterwards Eric said: “I invited you for dinner. I’m sorry darling, are you hungry?”

Jane, lying naked, except for her wrinkled stockings, replied: “No, I’m not. But perhaps we could find a more pleasant underground.

“You are right. I’m such a bungler.”

With unsuspected strength he lifted her and carried her to his bedroom and to his bed…………

Surprised and also confused Jane noticed how the otherwise correct and self-restrained man turned into a passionate lover who knew the ropes of love-making perfectly. He stimulated her erogenous zones in such a way that her sexual arousal reached summits and left her puffed-out.

‘Weird,’ she thought, ‘one lover wanted my hair long and the other likes short hair and in both cases it has to do with sex. And where am I myself? Just a sex object?’

Next morning, Saturday, when they were sitting at the breakfast table, Jane remarked: “I wonder what Liddy will say about my new appearance when I enter the office Monday.”

“Are you afraid that she will disapprove it? I’ll call her and tell her that you look gorgeous. She won’t make any critical remarks.”

“So you like short hair on women?”

“Jane, let me tell you: the shorter the better.”

Jane laughed: “If I would go still shorter I wouldn’t have any hair left on my head.”

Suddenly a suspicion struck her: “Is that what you want, seeing me bald?”

Eric looked at her enigmatically: “Maybe……well, we’ll discuss that later. Listen, maybe we could make a trip together about Christmas. I know an island where we won’t be disturbed. Perhaps there I would shave your head for once.”

“For once only?”

“We’ll see.”

“I’ve warned you, Jane, that Eric is a peculiar man and I told you to do what he asks for. But it wouldn’t have been necessary to go that far and cut off most of your beautiful hair.”

“That’s not all of it, Liddy. I seduced him and spent the weekend with him. And he mentioned that he might ask me to shave my head. I hope the company will appreciate that I make so many sacrifices for the benefit of it .”

“Oh Jane, you are the best PR officer we’ve ever had! You needn’t make more sacrifices! I’ll ask the Board of Directors to double your salary and of course you get your permanent appointment.”

Jane smiled proudly. The money was welcome but more important would be the growth of her influence inside the company.

On the twenty first of December Eric and Jane traveled to the little island in the Pacific. Jane had kept her hair short but three weeks before their departure
Eric had asked her to let it grow out.

On the day before Christmas he took her to the only village on the island. On the marketplace the greater part of the local population had gathered. Twelve or thirteen young girls, aging between 14 and 16 years, were sitting on rough wooden benches in the centre of the place, nervously chatting and grinning. They apparently wore their prettiest dresses and had flowers in their long locks.

“What is going on?” Jane asked.

“This is the marriage market. Those girls are presented by their fathers to potential wedding candidates, that is to say to the fathers of them.”

“It sounds like a cattle market.”

“So is the usage here.”

“So, the parents…..no, the fathers, decide who marries who? Poor children.”

“Jane, marriages are arranged here in these regions. So is the tradition. And the mothers are involved too; they have indicated to their husbands which girl he should choose.”

“Maybe but it should be time to change the tradition.”

“Ah Jane, never belying your nature! Always private relations officer!”

“Public relations, Eric.”

“Never mind. It’s your opinion that a relation shouldn’t be object of bargaining.”

It sounded like a conclusion, not a question. Jane remained silent: Was her relation to Eric not object of her ambition?

“What is happening now?” she asked when a woman took one of the girls and escorted her to a chair in front of the others.

“That is her mother,” Eric responded. “It means that the bargain has been struck.”

“Who is that man? Oh my god!” Jane exclaimed when she saw that the man had a straight razor in his right hand and prepared to shave off the girls hair.

“Just look,” Eric said, “It’s the local barber.”

“Why? Why is her head shaved?”

“To show that she is going to be married, so she is no more available. Today is the last day that the girls which have been chosen, are seen with long hair. Never they will have long hair anymore. As you might have noticed only young girls have long locks, the elder women all have short hair. With a possible exception for those who were never married. This is tradition too.”

“Those girls indeed are to be pitied.”

“Not at all. When they are fourteen they are looking out for this day, hoping that they will be that lucky to be chosen.”

“Sold you mean.”

“Jane, this is their way of hooking a husband and they are happy. There is no need to pity them.”

Jane looked on in horror how nine girls were shaved, dry shaved with a razor, but she didn’t say anything. For the remaining three the bargaining apparently hadn’t been successful. Though the skincolour of the girls was a rather dark brown the colour of her scalps was a little lighter but this was partly masked by a dark shadow caused by the black hair roots. After finishing the shaving the barber rubbed their bared heads with an aromatic oil making them beaming in the sun. Their mothers escorted them back to the bench and the other girls hugged the returning victim. Not all of them were looking cheerfully, some shed some tears but once taken into the circle they soon were cheered up and chatted and grinned with the others.

When apparently the last girl had been sheared Eric took Jane’s hand and ushered her to the barber. Jane was not surprised, she had suspected that he had shown her those events as a preparation to what he had in reserve for her. But she hadn’t expected that this would take place in the presence of the local population. Nevertheless she submitted and was surprised that the barber produced a pair of handclippers and buzzed off her short hair that had grown 1/2 inch in the past weeks. Then he covered her head with shaving foam and used his straight razor to shave her bald. He repeated the procedure and then rubbed the aromatic oil into her scalp. During the shaving not a word was spoken but now the barber pointed to the sun and said: “You very white, sun bites.”

Jane nodded: “Thank you, I’ll be careful.” She smiled to him.

The crowd cheered just as they had done when again a girl had been released from her locks. Probably they had never seen a white woman’s head shaved bald and many of them tried to touch that very white scalp!

Eric saved her and brought her back to their bungalow. He didn’t waste any time, tore off her scarcy clothes and screwed her like hell…………………

Jane kept her head shaved till the autumn of the next year. The company did accept it though not everyone was pleased. But Mr. Eggles was their most important client and that prevailed over the rules. The spell gradually faded and Jane had soon noticed that Eric couldn’t be faithful. He had had more affairs in the past and he would have more in the future.

When he confessed that he had found another favourite they split up but remained friends. Their private relation had come to an end but not their public one! Jane kept visiting him professionally.

She liked him but she had never loved him. Oh yes, sex had been formidable! But another point was that their relation had brought her luck, her position in the company was secured and her prospects were favourable. When Liddy was taken into partnership as a member of the Board of Directors Jane got her position being the youngest who ever had been appointed in this rank.

What a personal relation could bring about!

The end.

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