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A Message from the Goddess

Barb and Carla have been best friends since second grade.  During high school they traveled in different crowds, but stayed in touch.  After graduation Carla went to community college and found an office job with an insurance company.  Barb earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and works as a therapist.  Most of their high school friends have married by now, but both women are still single.  Despite their different jobs and educations, Barb and Carla have remained close.  They talk by phone at least once a day, often to commiserate about men and their disappointing love lives.  Carla frequently looks to Barb for advice; Barb is happy to help her best friend.  What follows is a log of their phone conversations over two recent weeks. 

Day 1  Wednesday

Hello Barb.  I’m glad you’re home.  I need to tell you about this really strange dream I had last night.  I’d like to know what you think.

Sure, Carla, go ahead.

Well, in my dream I’m walking down Main Street on my way to get my hair cut.

What’s so strange about that?  Your salon is on Main Street if I remember correctly.

But instead of going to Hazel’s Salon to get my ends trimmed, I go into Sam’s Barber Shop.

Wow, that is weird.  Why would you do a thing like that?

I have no idea, Barb.

Are you going there to get your hair cut or are you just visiting?

It seems like I’m there to get my hair cut.

Is it a nightmare?  Is someone holding a gun to your head? 

No, it’s not like that.  It’s like I go there all by myself, voluntarily, like I want to be there.

Carla, I can’t imagine you ever doing anything like that.

Neither can I, that’s what makes it so strange.

It’s probably one of those random things, nothing to worry about.  But let me know if it comes back.

Day 2  Thursday

Hello, Barb.  Are you ready to listen some more?

Sure Carla, go ahead.

You know that dream I told you about yesterday?

You mean the one where you go into the barbershop?

Yes, that one.  Well, it happened again last night.

The same as the night before?

Not exactly.  This time I walk down the street, enter the barber shop, and take a seat like I’m waiting for a haircut.  A couple of guys are having their hair cut.  They look at me like I’m out of place, which I am, but I stay, waiting until they are done, until it’s my turn.

And what happens next?

I don’t know.  That’s when I woke up.

Carla, this is very strange.

You’re telling me?  I don’t know what’s going on inside my brain.

It could be nothing.  Then again, it could be a sign of something deeper.

Deeper?  What do you mean?

Dreams often come when we’re emotionally wrought up.  Inner problems work their way to the surface in our dreams.

But there’s nothing wrong with my emotional state.

Then it’s probably nothing, Carla.  You shouldn’t worry.

Day 3  Friday

Hey Barb, it happened again.

That dream where you’re in the barber shop?

Yup, the same one, only this time it goes on longer.

Yesterday you said you were sitting there waiting for the men to be finished.

Yes, well last night I dream that the barber finishes with one of the guys, then turns to me and says in the nicest possible way, “It’s your turn, darling.”

And what do you do?

I climb up into his big old barber chair.

Do you let him cut your hair?

I don’t know. I woke up before it went any further.

Wow, this is getting stranger and stranger.

I know.  I’ve never had a dream like this before, but I can’t seem to shake it.

You know what I learned in grad school? 

What did you learn?

That dreams are a kind of wish fulfillment.  It’s your unconscious voice talking to you, saying, “This is what I want you to do.”

That’s just crazy.  Do you believe that stuff?

I do.  A lot of very smart people believe it’s true.

Day 4  Saturday

Hey Barb, that dream came again last night—that’s four days in a row now.

Anything different this time?

Each night it progresses a little further.  This time I’m sitting in the big old barber chair.  The barber asks, “What can I do for you today, darling?”

What do you say?

I tell him I want my hair cut.  I say, “I’m here for a haircut,” just as calm and matter-of-fact like it’s my usual routine.

This is getting real spooky, Carla.  You’re not thinking about getting your hair cut, are you?

Of course not, that would be stupid.  Not after I’ve worked so hard to get it this length.  I’d never cut it.  That’s what makes this dream so peculiar.

Have you been eating anything out of the ordinary?  Any hot spicy foods?

Nope, just my normal diet. 

Anything happening at work?

Just the usual stuff, nothing unusual.

I can’t figure out why you keep having this dream.

Neither can I, but I hope it goes away so I can get a good night’s sleep for a change.

Day 5  Sunday

It happened again, Barb.  Five nights in a row now.

Any different than before?

This time the barber asks me how I want my hair cut.

And what do you say?

I tell him, “Cut it short.  I want a short haircut.”

No!  I can’t believe you would say something like that, Carla.  Your long hair is gorgeous.  There’s not another girl in town who can match it.  I wish mine looked so good.  You’d be crazy to cut it off.

It was in my dream, remember?  Not for real.

But does it feel real?

It does.  It feels very real.  That’s what makes it so scary.

In your dream, are you nervous or upset? 

I’m not nervous at all, calm as can be, that’s what makes it even stranger.  In fact, it’s kind of exciting, like I actually want him to cut my hair off.

And in your dream does he cut your hair like you tell him?

No, I wake up before that happens.

Just in the nick of time, I would say.

If I have this dream again, the way it’s going, I’ll probably wind up with a dreadful short haircut.

Maybe a short haircut wouldn’t be such a bad thing, Carla.

What are you saying, Barb?  Are you serious?

Now, don’t get mad at me.  I’m not recommending that you should cut your hair.  I’m just saying there are some very attractive shorter styles today.  A change might not be such a bad idea.

No way, Barb.  You remember how long it took me to grow my hair this long?  Three and a half years!  I won’t throw that away just beca
use of some crazy dream.

No, of course not, Carla.  Your hair is lovely just the way it is.

Day 6  Monday

Hi Barb, are you ready for the latest installment of my soap opera?

Are you taking about the barber shop dream?  Did it come again last night?

It did.

And what happens this time?

The barber starts cutting my hair.

How short?

Just a little below my ears, the same length all the way around.

Sounds like he gives you a bob.

I guess that’s what you’d call it.  But that’s not all.  He gives me bangs too, fairly long bangs that come down to my eyebrows.

Is it awful?

No, not really.  I kinda like the way it turns out.  My hair looks very sleek and elegant, like one of those old-time silent movie stars.

Yeah, now that you mention it, I can see how you would look really good with your hair cut like that.  Your hair is so dark and glossy, it’s well suited for a style like that.

Maybe it is, but I’m not going to do it, not because of some stupid dream.  Besides, I doubt that any barber could make my hair look that good.  I’d have to go to a salon.

Of course, you’re right, Carla.  But there’s one good thing.

What’s that?

Since in the dream you finally got your hair cut that should be the end of it.  I doubt you’ll have that dream again.

I sure hope you’re right.

Day 7  Tuesday

It happened again, Barb.

The barber shop dream?  Did it come back last night?

It did.  This time it’s even worse.

Worse in what way?  I thought you said the barber cut your long hair off.

In my dream he does.  But in last night’s version he asks me, “Do you like it?  Is it short enough, darling?”

Don’t tell me.  Do you say no?

Exactly.  I look in the mirror he holds and say, “It’s not short enough.  I’d like you to cut it shorter, please.” And he’s only too happy to do like I ask.

Now this really is beginning to sound like a nightmare.

Yeah, Barb, I know.  But the really scary thing is how certain I am; how definite I am that my hair needs to be shorter.  I’m not angry or sad, just totally convinced that he must cut my hair shorter still.

So what happens next?

I don’t know.  I woke up before I could find out.  Guess I’ll have to wait until tonight to find out.

Call me tomorrow morning; tell me if you have another dream.

You bet.

Day 8  Wednesday

Hello Barb, you wanted to know what happened in my dream, right?

Yes, tell me, did it come again?

It did.  This time the barber doesn’t fool around.  He uses his electric clippers to buzz my hair to less than an inch on the back and sides of my head.  He leaves the top a little longer, long enough to style.  He trims my bangs too; cuts them into a very short fringe that frames my face.

Sounds like a pixie cut.

I suppose you could call it a pixie, but it was more like a man’s haircut with a small concession to preserve some trace of my femininity. 

Carla, it sounds just awful; like he really butchered you.

Well, yes and no.  I mean it is way shorter than any haircut you see around town, except maybe on some of the lezzies, but it looks good, really attractive.  In my dream I thank the barber, nearly hug him.  I am deliriously happy.

Reminds me of a commercial I saw years ago when I was in middle school.

What commercial?

I think it was for Diet Coke.  This girl with lots of dark hair like yours, but not nearly as lovely, is walking past a barber shop sipping a can of Diet Coke.  She stops to look in the picture window and decides to go inside.  You never hear any dialogue but you see her gesturing, telling the barber she wants her hair cut very short.  He’s skeptical, but does as she says.  You see piles of hair falling to the floor.  In the last frames she walks out the door with a very short, very sexy haircut and a big satisfied grin on her face.  The whole time she’s sipping on her Diet Coke.

I never saw that commercial, but that’s kinda like in my dream.  I am extremely happy with my short haircut, it’s like having my hair cut is liberating somehow; like he’s doing me a big favor; relieving me of a burden that I’ve carried around all these years.

Maybe that’s what you should do, Carla.  Maybe you’re ready for a major makeover.

I don’t think so, Barb.  You know me, I’m basically a chicken.  I would never do anything that crazy.

Day 9  Thursday

Hi Carla, you didn’t call.  Does that mean no dream last night?

You’re right.  Last night a slept like a baby for the first time in a week.

That must have been a relief.

It was, but something very strange happened this afternoon.

What was that?

I’m coming back from lunch. Some girls from the office took me to a new deli and on the way back we’re walking past Sam’s Barber Shop on Main Street.

The same one in your dream?

Yup, the same.  The place is nearly empty, no customers, just one very bored looking barber.  He sees me looking at him and waves.  I swear he’s inviting me to come in and get my hair cut.

Is this the barber from your dream, the one who cuts your hair?

No, the one in my dream is older.  This guy is younger and kinda cute.

You didn’t go in, did you?

No, of course not.  But the place looks just like in my dream.  This idea of getting my hair cut short is haunting me.

I think it’s an omen, Carla.  Could be it’s a message from Aphrodite.

Afro who?  You know I only took business courses at the community college, none of those fancy liberal arts classes where you learned so much useless stuff.

Aphrodite is the goddess of love and beauty. 

You mean Venus, don’t you?

No, Venus is the name the Romans gave her; the Greeks called her Aphrodite.  Maybe she’s telling you it’s time to change your look.  Perhaps a new hairstyle is just what the doctor ordered to spice up your love life.

No way, Barb.  My love life is just fine.

Is that so?  Come on, girlfriend.  When was the last time you went on a real date?  I’m not talking about hanging out with some guys in a bar, but a serious date, just you and one fellow.  How long has it been?

Just because I’m not seeing anyone right now is no reason to run out and get my hair chopped off.

Carla, honey, I can’t think of a better reason.

Day 10  Friday

Hi, Barb.  I’ve been thinking about what you said yesterday.  Maybe it is time to make a few changes.

That’s the spirit, Carla.  You gonna get your hair cut?

I can’t say for sure, but I’ve been looking at hairstyles in fashion magazines.

See anything you like?

There are lots of attractive s
tyles, but it’s hard to say which one would look good on me.

Carla, with your bone structure and coloring, nearly any style would look good.  Personally, I think you should try something much shorter.

Since when did you become such a big fan of short hair?

After listening to you talk about your dream for the last week.  I think you need to try a short haircut so you can get this idea out of your head.

Barb, I don’t know.  You may be right, but I’m a big chicken, especially when it comes to my hair.

Day 11  Saturday

Hi Carla.  So, how was your day?  Are you still being bothered by the haircut dream?

It was another strange day, Barb.  What started out as a dream has turned into something else.

I don’t understand.  What do you mean?

Until a couple days ago it was a dream that only came at night.  Now it keeps interrupting my days.  It’s become more like an overpowering urge; you probably would call it an obsession.

That bad?

I’ll let you be the judge, Barb.  Today at lunch time I went for a walk; I didn’t go out to eat with the girls like I usually do.

Let me guess.  You walked to the barber shop again?

Right.  I don’t know what came over me.  I just had to visit that place again.

And what happened?  Did you go in?

No, nothing like that.  But as I walk past the barber is sitting there like he’s waiting for me.  He waves and points to a sign in the window.

A sign?

Yes, it says, “We Do Ladies Haircuts Too.” I swear that sign wasn’t there yesterday.

So he knew you were coming?

I think so.  That’s the way he acted.

And what did you do?

I keep walking, of course.  By the time I get back to the office I’m in a nervous state.  I’m so agitated I can hardly concentrate on my work.

Carla, this sounds serious.  What are you going to do?

I don’t know, Barb.  Thank goodness it’s Saturday and I don’t have to go in to the office so I don’t have to go anywhere near that barber shop.

You want me to come over?  We could go out tonight, drink some beers, check out the guys.

I don’t think so.  I’m just going to spend a quiet evening at home, do my laundry, go to bed early, get a good night’s sleep and try to get rid of this haircut thing that’s bugging me.

Day 12  Sunday

Hey Carla, how was your day.  Did you get some rest?

I planned to, but it didn’t work out that way.  I go to bed at a reasonable hour, but can’t get to sleep.  I just lie there, my mind racing a hundred miles an hour.

You were thinking about the haircut, right?

You guessed it.  Finally I get up and start surfing the web.  Do you know how many videos and websites are devoted to haircuts and makeovers?

I never checked, but I imagine there are hundreds.

Probably thousands.  Remember the commercial?  The one for Diet Coke you told me about where the girl goes into an old-time barbershop.

Don’t tell me you found it.

I find it and watch it over and over.  Barb, I’m worried this haircut bug has got hold of me and won’t let go.

Sounds like there’s only one thing for you to do, Carla.

What’s that?

You’ve got to get your hair cut.  It’s that simple.

In the barbershop?

No way. You shouldn’t go near that place.  I bet if you get a nice moderately short cut in a salon this obsession of yours will fade away. 

Barb, do you really think so?

I can’t say for sure, but I think it might work.  And it would be way cheaper than therapy.

Thanks, Barb.  That’s a great idea.  I’m going to make an appointment for next week.

Day 13 Monday

Hello Barb.  Well, I did it.  I call Hazel’s Salon this morning and make an appointment for tomorrow after work.  I tell them I’m considering a major makeover.

Good girl, Carla.  Good for you.  I hope this cures you of the haircut bug once and for all.

Yes, I certainly hope so.

So, how are you going to get it cut?  Have you decided?

I really don’t know.  I’ll probably talk it over with Theresa, my stylist, see what she recommends.

Yeah, that sounds good.  Would you like me to come along for moral support?

Thanks Barb, but I don’t think that’s necessary.

Well, call me as soon as you’re done.  Take a picture and send it to me so I can see what you look like with your new hairstyle.

Sure, I’ll do that.  Thanks for your support, Barb.  I really appreciate it.  It’s great to have a friend like you at a time like this.

Day 14  Tuesday

Hi Carla, this is Barb.  I got the picture you sent.  Call me as soon as you can.  We’ve got to talk.

Hello Barb.  I got your message.  You sounded upset.  Are you okay?

Are you okay?  That’s the question, Carla.  Are you out of your mind?  I saw the haircut you got.  I can’t believe it.  Why would you ever let anyone cut your hair so short?  What stylist in her right mind would give you a haircut like that?

Barb, take it easy.  It’s a long story.

Let me guess, Carla.  You didn’t keep your appointment at the salon did you?  You went to that damn barbershop to get your hair cut didn’t you?

I did, Barb.  I don’t understand what came over me.  All day long I’m sitting at my desk thinking about my haircut.  I hardly get any work done at all.  My appointment is for five-thirty so that gives me an hour after I get off work.  I decide to stop at a bar near the salon to get a drink, to steady my nerves.

I’m sure you were nervous about such a big change.

All day I’m thinking about different styles, different lengths, trying to make up my mind.  I can’t really decide.

I know, it’s a big decision.

Anyhow, as I’m driving to the bar I pass the barber shop.  I notice it’s open but not very busy.

Carla, it wasn’t random chance that you drove in that direction.  Sigmund Freud said there are no accidents in life.  Your subconscious was steering you there.

I don’t know about that, Barb.  You may be right.  But I’m sitting in the bar waiting for the hour to pass.  I start thinking more and more about going back to the barber shop, just checking it out.  So around five I leave the bar and start walking back the way I just came.  It’s like I’m being pulled by a powerful magnet; like I’m no longer in control.

Carla, this sounds like a classic case of obsession—the domination of your thoughts by a persistent idea, in this case a haircut.

Please, Barb, don’t treat me like a case from one of your psychology textbooks. &
amp;nbsp;This is real life, my life.

Sorry, Carla.  Go on, tell me what happened.

When I get to the shop there’s one customer, an older gentleman getting his hair cut.  The barber points to a new sign in his window.  It says, “Special Today.  Ladies Haircuts Free.”

It’s like he knew you were coming, Carla.

Yes, I swear he did.  Anyhow, the barber puts down his scissors and comes out on the sidewalk to greet me.  He says, “I’m so glad you came back.  Come in.  I’ll be done with Harry in a few minutes.” He takes me by the hand and leads me to a chair where I can wait.

He didn’t force you, did he?

No, nothing like that.  He’s so polite.  I can’t refuse.  He just escorts me into his shop. He’s not holding me against my will.  I can leave at any time.

But you don’t.

No.  I sit there totally spellbound.  I take in every detail of the shop.  It looks and smells so different from Hazel’s Salon.  I watch the barber as he trims the old man’s hair.  He seems kind and considerate, very good looking too, did I mention that?  He and the old man chat about baseball and the weather.  After a few minutes he’s done.  Now it’s just me and the barber alone in his shop.  I hear the clock ticking.  He looks at me and I look at him.  It’s my turn to sit in his chair.

Were you scared?

Not really.  Excited is a better way to describe how I feel.  I want my haircut to begin, want him to chop my hair off, want to see how it will turn out.  My anticipation is growing; I feel like I’m going to explode. 

So what did he do?

He says, “Now it’s your turn,” and brushes some stray hairs off his chair.  I climb up and am swallowed up in the huge barber chair.  He takes a white cape and fastens it around my neck so all you can see of me is my head and my long hair hanging down over my shoulders.  Then he takes a comb and begins running it through my hair.  He does this for several minutes.

What did he say to you?

He isn’t saying anything, just humming a little tune.  Just the two of us together without saying a word.  I think he’s giving me time to say good-bye to my long hair.  Finally I say, “I guess we should get started.”

Did he ask how you wanted your hair cut?

Sort of.  He says, “Show me where to cut.” That’s all.  I point to a spot just below my ear.

Just like in your dream.

Exactly.  It’s like every step has already been scripted out for me in that crazy dream.

And then he started cutting?

Yes.  I sit there watching in the mirror as he holds his scissors at chin level.  I nod and he slowly closes the blades.  I see a long strand of my hair slide down the cape and fall to the floor.  There’s a big gap on the side of my head where there used to be hair.

Did you cry?

Nope.  It’s kinda sad seeing my beautiful hair lying there on the barber shop floor, especially since I worked so hard to grow it that long, but at the same time I’m glad that he soon will turn me into a short-haired woman.  For better or worse, I have made my decision.  There can be no turning back now.

So he gave you the bob?

Yes, almost exactly like in my dream.  He carefully cuts around my head making sure that everything is the same length.  During the whole time he never says a word.  All I hear is the scrunching sound of his scissors cutting through my hair.  My heart is beating so loud I’m sure you can hear it across the room. The only thing different from my dream is that he doesn’t give me bangs.  When he finishes with his scissors he takes a small clippers and shaves the fine hairs on the back of my neck.  That really makes me shiver.

So he gave you the bob.  How did it look?

It looks really cute, better than I expected.  I reach up to check the length with my fingers.  My bare neck feels so strange.  I shake my head, enjoying the feeling of short hair brushing against my face.

You could have stopped him there, Carla.  Why didn’t you?

You should have been there, Barb.  The barber is standing with his arms folded, watching me playing with my hair.  He’s giving me a chance to appreciate this new sensation.  But all the time he has this expression on his face.

What kind of expression?

A patient expression, an understanding look, like he’s saying, “You know this haircut isn’t done yet.  I know you want to go shorter and I can take you there.”  It’s like he’s waiting for me to give him permission to continue.

So what did you do?

After a minute or two I stop fussing with my hair.  I look at the barber and say, “Shorter, it needs to be much shorter.” I’m not asking him to do this; I’m ordering him to continue.  He smiles and says, “I thought so.” He points to a chart on the wall.  “These are the haircuts I do,” he explains.  “Pick the one you like best.”

So he let you decide?

Yes, he wants me to decide, wants me to choose the haircut he will give me next.

That must have been difficult.

It was.  I study the chart.  All of the men’s styles are pretty short.  There really isn’t that much difference between them unless you look real close.  I ponder for a long minute, then point to one that’s about half way between the shortest and the longest.  “That one,” I say, pointing to the style I have selected.  “That’s a traditional businessmen’s cut,” he informs me.  “It’s a good choice.  It will look good on you.” Of course, I think he would have said that regardless of the cut I chose.

What were you thinking?  Why did you choose that one?

I don’t know.  Because I have to choose something, I suppose.  I really don’t have a specific style in mind.  I’m just acting impulsively, going with the flow.

Carla, that’s not like you.  In the twenty years we’ve known each other, I’ve never seen you act impulsively.

Yes, I know.  That’s why this whole experience has been so strange.  It’s like some unknown force has hacked into my brain; like I’ve given control of my body over to an alien power.  But the funny thing is, I don’t mind.  I’m enjoying the sensation, loving the feeling of giving in to my obsession.

That sounds like Aphrodite at work.  She loves to intervene in human affairs.

I wouldn’t know about that, Barb.  All I can say for sure is that I am no longer in control.

So, tell me, what did he do next?

Now it’s time for the clippers.  He doesn’t have to warn me; I know they’re coming; I’ve learned it’s a standard part of m
en’s haircuts.  The barber switches on the power.  The buzzing sound of the clippers sends chills down my spine, kinda like being at the top of the rollercoaster, just before the steepest drop.  You’re scared silly, but you can’t wait for the bottom to fall out.  He places his hand on top of my head and gently pushes down.  He positions his clippers on my bare neck and drives them up into the hair on the back of my head.  I can’t see what’s happening, but I hear the clippers chewing through my hair.  He does this again and again.  I know that when he’s finished it will be seriously short, shorter than I ever imagined. 

I don’t see how you endured it, Carla.  I would have been freaking out.

You know, Barb, I was surprised.  Getting clipped so short is kinda scary, but at the same time it’s exhilarating.  It’s kind of a turn on, an erotic experience.  Isn’t that weird?

Actually, it’s not so unusual, Carla.  Some people get sexually aroused by things that aren’t usually considered sexual.  It sounds like you may have a fetish.

I don’t know about that, Barb.  I’m just telling you what it felt like.

I didn’t mean to interrupt; continue with your story.  He used the clippers on your back and sides?

Yes.  When he does the sides I can see everything that’s happening.  It’s like peeling the skin off a piece of fruit.  He’s taking off a whole layer of my hair, leaving only about half an inch behind.

That short?

Yup, and that’s exactly what I want him to do.  By the time he finishes with the clippers only the hair on top of my head has any length to it.

And I’m sure he took care of that too.

He does, Barb.  When he finishes buzzing the sides he puts down his clippers and spritzes the top until it’s thoroughly soaked.  Then he starts taking sections of hair between his fingers and uses his scissors to slice off everything longer than two inches.

Oh my God!  That must have been terrifying.

Not really.  I know he’s nearing the end of my haircut.  I can’t wait to see how I will look with my seriously short haircut; can’t wait to see the new me. 

So how did he finish it?

Well, he continues working for a long time, cutting very carefully so the shortened sides blend in with the longer hair on top.  There are little clumps of wet hair scattered all over the white cape, on my nose and forehead.  I see that he is leaving the front a little bit longer so I have something to style. 

And this went on for how long?

It’s hard to say.  I sorta lost track of time.  I’m liking it so much I don’t want him to stop, but finally he does.  He puts down his scissors and takes up a brush.  “There’s two ways to style this haircut,” he tells me, “down and up.”

What in the world did he mean by that?

I had no idea until he demonstrated.  “Down” means parted on the side and brushed across the scalp, lying flat, with the hair in front pushed up off my face.  It’s a very masculine look, but I like it.  Then he rubs some gel into my hair, takes his blow dryer, uses it to wipe out the part and give my hair more volume.  Then he pulls down little feathery bangs just like in my dream.  This one is a more feminine, pixyish look, kinda like Halle Berry.  That’s what he means by “up.”

You had your hair in the “up” position in the photo you sent me.

Right.  I think it looks sexy and carefree, a complete change from the old boring, predictable me.

It’s such a distinctive look.  At first I hardly recognized you.  Once I got over the shock of seeing you with such short hair, I thought it doesn’t look so bad.  Is that the way you’re going to wear it all the time?

I’ll probably alternate between “up” and “down,” depending on my mood, at least for now.

Carla, that’s a truly amazing story.  If I didn’t see the evidence with my own eyes I never would have believed this tale.

But wait, Barb, there’s more.  When he’s done styling the top he steps back to give me a clear view of my new image.  “Well, what do you think?” he asks.  I tell him it looks fantastic, that I’m very pleased; that he’s a genius among hairdressers.  “You’ll have to come back in four or five weeks to keep it looking sharp,” he tells me.  I assure him that I will be a regular customer from now on.  Then he says, “Next time we’ll take it shorter.”

You’re kidding, Carla.  Shorter than this super-short cut?  What did you say to that?

I say I’ll be looking forward to it; tell him I want to make my next appointment right away. 

Girl, what could possibly be shorter than the haircut he gave you?  Have you totally lost your mind?

I don’t know what he has in mind, but I can’t wait to find out.

Carla, I’m worried about you.  I think you’ve flipped out, gone off the deep end into this short hair business.  I’d like to meet this scissor-happy barber and give him a piece of my mind.

Most likely you’ll get that chance.

What do you mean?

I meant to tell you that Philip, that’s his name, and I are going together now. 

That was fast!  Carla, you always take your time when it comes to men.  How did that happen?

When I got down out of the chair I walk up to the big mirror the wall so I can inspect my haircut more closely.  I see that he’s standing behind me so I turn around, put my arms around his neck, and give him a big kiss.  “It’s perfect,” I say.  “Thanks for making my dream come true.” He kisses me back and says, “I’m the one who should be thanking you.  You made one of my fondest dreams come true.”  Then he says, “I think we should go somewhere to celebrate.” Well, I definitely feel like celebrating, so I wait while he sweeps up all of my long hair and closes the shop.  Because I don’t have anything decent to wear our first stop is Nordstrom’s where I buy a new dress, a black slinky number, cut low enough so you can see a lot of cleavage.  Next comes new heels and a pair of dangling earrings—I don’t want anyone mistaking me for a guy.  Then he takes me to a fancy restaurant.  We drink champagne, lots of champagne, and afterwards we talk for hours.  When I wake up this morning he’s in bed next to me.  “Did we make love?” I ask him.  “Several times,” he tells me.  “You looked so sexy I couldn’t resist.”

Carla, I don’t know what to say.  You sound like a completely different person.

In a way, I guess I am.  Philip calls me Carly and I like my new name.  I
t sorta goes with my new haircut and my new image.

Well Carly, I’m heading for my car as we speak.  You get some clothes on.  I’ll be over at your place in fifteen minutes.  I’ve got to see this new haircut up close and meet this new lover man if he’s still around.

Oh, he’s around, Barb.  I expect I’ll keep him around for a long time so I can keep getting free haircuts.  Hey, maybe Philip will cut your hair too.

Hold on, girlfriend.  Since you’ve decided to go crazy, I guess I’ll have to be the sensible one. 

But wouldn’t it be fun if we both got super-short haircuts?  That would really blow people’s minds.

That’s your idea of fun, Carla, not mine.

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