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Valerie was disenchanted with her current shoulder length blond hair.  She had tried styling it different ways, but nothing seemed to suit her anymore.  The only solution was a change. And maybe a big change.  But to what?  She hadn’t seen anything in magazines she really liked.  And none of the other woman in her office, had anything she wanted to copy.  Valerie didn’t want to copy anyway.  She liked being the leader – liked trying new things.

Thenlast night after work, she had stopped at a little tavern located nearher office.  As Valerie sat waiting for a few friends to join her, she overheard a conversation between two women sitting next to her at the bar.  One was talking about how she was looking to change her style, but didn’t know what to do.  The other was telling her she should try playing “Haircut Roulette.”  You simply choose a salon you’ve never been to before, andtell the stylist you want the same cut and style as the previouscustomer.  It might be a simple trim, or it might be a drastic change. But there was no backing out if you decided to play the game. Apparently the woman making the recommendation had done it many timesand had always come away with a new and interesting new haircut.  Thissounded exactly what Valerie should do.  So she decided the next day,after work, she would stop at a salon and play “Haircut Roulette.”

The next day, after work, Valerie got in her car and drove to the mall near her home.  There were at least three hair salons she could choose from.  She could walk past each to see which one might be the best fit for her.  The first shop Valerie saw was a low budget chain.  It was inhabited by mostly young women and teenagers.  As she looked inside, she saw a young woman in the process of getting a Mohawk haircut and decided it was not really the kind of place shewas looking for.  The second shop was slightly more upscale, but itseemed to have mostly women in their 50’s and 60’s getting perms andsets.  The last place Valerie saw seemed the best fit.  While not perfect, it was more on the type she was used to and since she didn’t want to put this off another day, it seemed the best option.

It was your typical mid range mall salon called Mister Jeffrey’s.  There was a spacious waiting area, which at the moment was deserted.  And in the center, there was a large, arched foyer behind whichwere the individual styling stations.  From the lobby, it wasimpossible to see all the work being done.  But Valerie was notconcerned.  From her seat, she would be able to see the customerscoming out and could see the style done just prior.

Valerie grabbed for a magazine and flipped through the pages.  After a minute or two, she hearda stirring from beyond the foyer and then a woman of about 30 walkthrough.  She was sporting an A-Line Bob that appeared slightly shorterthan the usual cuts Valerie had seen.  It was cut to mid ear on the sides and the back was clippered short three quarters of the way up the back.  It looked very cute on the woman and Valerie thought a similar style would look good on her. A minute for so later, a young woman in her twenties came through thefoyer and approached the reception desk.  She spoke to the receptionistas a young, college age girl sporting a drastically short flat-tophaircut, walked through the foyer.  The girl had multiple piercings andtattoos across her shoulders and neck.  As Valerie looked at her, shedecided she was happy she would not be following this girl.  This lookwas a little too drastic for her.

Just then she heard her name being called andshe followed the stylist through the foyer to her styling station. Valerie sat down in the styling chair, which faced the back mirror.

“Hi, my name’s Brittany and I’ll be cutting your hair today.  What would you like me to do today?”

Valerie smiled and said, “Um-m-m.  I’d like the same style as your previous customer.”

Brittany was a little surprised by this and asked, “Are you sure you want to go that short?  It would be a big change from your current style.”

Valerie thought for moment of the woman with the short A-Line Bob.  Yes it was shorter than you would normally see, but she kind of liked the look.  “Yes, I’m sure about it.  I think it’ll be the perfect cut for me.”

Relieved that Valerie knew what she was doing, Brittany nodded, “OK.  You’re the boss.”

Brittanybegan gathering all of Valerie’s hair together into a ponytail inback.  She placed a rubber band on it and reached for a dark red cape. Brittany placed it around Valerie along with a ring of tissue paper around her neck.  Then she gathered it all together and fastened it with a Velcro tab in the back.  Brittanythen took a pair of scissors from the counter and cut the ponytail offjust above the rubber band.  She pulled the ponytail away and Valerie’sremaining hair fell into a rough, chin length Bob.  Valerie smiled atthis.  This haircut was going to be the perfect thing.

Next Brittany began to comb through Valerie’s hair.  And beginning with the right side, she created a part nearthe top right crown and began gathering the hair together.  Shecontinued the part around the back to the left side of Valerie’s head so that all the hair on top was gathered together and only the hair on sides and back of her head hung down.  Then Brittany used a large metal clip to hold all the top hair up and out of the way.

As Brittanyplaced her comb and scissors on the back counter, Valerie smiled at herreflection and thought – Next comes the undercut.  I wonder if she willuse clippers for this?  Her answer came only a few second later asValerie heard the pop of clippers springing to life.  Brittanyapproached Valerie from behind and eased her head forward until herchin was embedded in her chest.  Next Valerie felt the clippers beingeased into her hair, just behind her right ear.  As Brittanyeased the clippers up the neck and back of Valerie’s head, Valerieclosed her eyes and sighed lightly.  The vibration from the clippersfelt wonderful.

As Brittanymoved the clippers more to the center and moved them up, Valerie couldfeel that she was moving the clippers much higher than she expected. But she wasn’t really alarmed since she knew this cut was going to be shorter than the usual bob haircut. 

After Brittany finished clippering the back of Valerie’s head, she moved around to the left side.  Valerie opened her eyes and watched as Brittany moved the clippers into her hair in front of her left ear, and brought them gently up the side of her head, right up to the crown.  She watched as a large section of her golden hair fell into her lap.  It was a good six inches that fell.  And Valerie also noticed that the clippers had sheared her hair right down to the skin.

As Brittany finished the left side and moved around to tackle the right side, Valerie told herself to relax a little.  It was just the undercut and once Brittany finished with the top hair, things would look entirely different.  There was nothing to get excited about.  Brittany then brought the clippers up the right side of Valerie’s head and more of her golden hair rained down into her lap. 

When she was finished, Brittanyturned the clippers off and focused her attention to the top hair.  Sheundid the clip and all the top hair on Valerie’s head fell into place,covering most of the exposed skin on th
e sides and back of her head. Valerie smiled a little and told herself – See, it’s looking better already!

But Brittany was fiddling with the clippers again.  Then Valerie’s eyes popped wide open as she heard them come to life and she saw Brittany approaching the front center of her head.  Brittany eased the clippers straight back, down the center of Valerie’s head.  The guard was set to leave a quarter inch of hair.  Valerie watched horrified as more of her golden locks fell to her lap.

As Brittanymoved the clippers to back of Valerie’s head, she finally worked up thenerve to say something.  “Um, I’m not sure if you’re cutting thisright.”

Brittany pulled the clippers away and responded, “Cutting it right – What do you mean?”

“I mean, isn’t this a little too short for a bob?

“A bob?  But you said to cut your hair like my previous customer.  And I cut her hair in a high and tight flattop.  Didn’t you see her walk out behind me?”

“Behind you?  I thought your customer was the woman with the short bob who walked out before you!”

“Oh No.  That was Jenny’s customer.  She did the bob.  I did the flattop.  And you said that’s what you wanted.”

Valerie sat open mouthed and stared into the mirror.

Brittany waved herhand holding the clippers and said, “Well at this point there’s reallynothing I can do about it.  We’ve passed the point of no return.  Doyou want me to continue?  I mean really, the cut is going to lookpretty good once I’m done.  It seems to fit your facial features. That’s why I didn’t really question your decision too closely.”

Valerie nodded, “Fine, go ahead and finish what you’ve started.”

So Brittanybrought the clippers to the top right front of Valerie’s head andswiftly drove them back through her blond hair, leaving another swathof short hair behind.  With about four quick swipes, she had cut all ofValerie’s top hair down to a quarter inch.  Again Brittanyturned the clippers off and removed the guard.  Then once more sheturned them back on and using the clipper over comb technique, began tocarefully cut the top hair straight across the top of Valerie’s head. Where before Valerie saw a rounded top, now she was seeing the start ofa very short, severe flat top.  And with her light blond hair,Valerie’s head appeared completely shaved except for a very short bristle fringe on the top sides of her head.

Then Brittanyspoke again.  “Normally I would use a straight edge razor to shave thesides and back of your head, but because your hair is so light, I thinkit best to skip that step – unless of course you want me to shave it.”

Valerie sat stunned for a second, then replied, “No, it’s fine as it is.  I guess.”

Brittanyreplaced the clippers to the back counter and returned with anothersmaller pair that she used to shave where Valerie’s sideburns hadbeen.  Then Brittany opened the Velcro in back and began to shave along Valerie’s neck.  Next Brittany held up a mirror so Valerie could see the back.

Thetransformation was amazing.  Here she had come in as a well dressed andgroomed 35 year old professional woman, she’d now be leaving with an ultra short hair style.  Valerie was going to look very out of place inthe office where she worked.  Maybe she could wear a hat or somethinguntil it started to grow out.  Making it look decent was going to be achallenge.  And wasn’t that why she got her hair cut in the firstplace?  That we was tired of the challenge of making her hair look decent?  This whole experiment had turned into a disaster.

Then Brittanywas using a small handbrush to remove any stray hairs from Valerie’sface, around her ears and inside the collar of her blouse.  After that,Brittanypulled the cape from around Valerie and a load of golden locks tumbledto the floor with the other cut hairs.  As Valerie stood and looked inthe mirror, she rubbed her hand along the top of her head and felt theshort, cropped bristles.  Then she rubbed her hand along the back ofher head and felt smooth, bare skin.  It felt as smooth as a baby’sbottom.

“I’m so sorry for the confusion m’am.  But I have to say the cut does look really good on you.”

Valerie wasn’tsure if she was in shock or if this was all just a bad dream.  As shepaid for the haircut, she felt very conspicuous with the eyes of everywaiting customer staring at her.  What was everyone thinking – that I’ve gone crazy?  And what are all my friends going to say?

Valeriethen walked out of the salon and made her way through the mall to hercar.  She had been expecting to walk out of the salon with a great newhairstyle and feeling excited and rejuvenated.  Instead she only feltembarrassed and humiliated.  And she wondered how long it would takefor her hair to grow out.

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