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First Visit to Beauty School by haircoward


I had become addicted to having my hair "dusted" or micro-trimmed. It had become this fun little indulgence for me, where I could get the whole "salon treatment" without losing any length. The entire salon experience was becoming a huge turn on, I loved being shampooed, loved being "in the chair", loved the smells, the sights, the sounds… everything. Most of all, I loved the peril I’d be putting my hair in each and every visit.

"Trim" can be a subjective term for a lot of stylists. At least that’s how the rumor goes. When you ask for a "light trim", that leaves the amount to be cut up to the interpretation of the person holding the scissors. Sometimes they’d show you how much they were going to snip off before starting. That’s probably smart of them, but it robs you of the worry… of the fantasy. When a stylist doesn’t show you how much they’re going to cut… and you hear that first snip, and don’t know whether or not you just lost 1/8 of an inch… or 4 inches… that’s the sort of thrill that got me every time.

It had gotten to the point where I would visit a different salon on a weekly basis… sometimes, two or three times a week. It had become almost a sickness… but, I just couldn’t help myself. I became addicted to the experience, and the fantasy, and the ritual. I’d wake up in the morning, and knowing that by that evening, I’d have nice, thick, blunt ends… or a much shorter cut than I’d anticipated… drove me crazy.

The problem was, I was cutting myself into the poor house. Haircuts, even at a chain salon, aren’t exactly cheap… and, after so many visits, even $20 a pop (plus tip) can add up superfast. I had tried keeping myself within a budget for "hair stuff", but when I wanted it… when the urge struck me… it struck hard. I wasn’t thinking about finances… I just needed to be "in the chair".

I did manage to skip a few weeks… almost a month. I remember I’d grown so accustomed to my ends feeling and looking a certain way, that nearly every day I felt them (or imagined them) getting "rattier". I hated the feeling, but I knew I had to curb my obsessive salon visits.

One day at work, I overheard a conversation from some of the women. I heard "It’s so short!", which, as someone with a keen "interest" in hair, might as well be siren blasting in my ear. I turned my head so quickly I risked giving myself whiplash.

What I saw was, one of the women who worked with me had cut her hair from probably bra-strap length to just below her shoulders. She had thick, curly, dark hair… and so, this change in length was kind of shocking. Sure, it wasn’t necessarily "so short", but she’d definitely lost a whole lot of length.

I continued listening in on their conversation and found out that she hadn’t intended on getting so much cut off. She had popped into a student salon at a local beauty school in order to get a trim. The girl who gave her the cut, however, was new… and wound up cutting it so uneven that one of the instructors had to fix it, cutting off a good 5-6″ in the process.

Well, well, well… that might be the "roll of the dice" that I needed. I could go to a beauty school, ask for a trim… and maybe wind up with a much shorter cut than I’d expected.

Later that day, this girl and I passed each other in the hall. I complimented her haircut (the final product DID look very nice), and we stopped to chat for a bit. She told me about the student salon she went to, and how it was much more professional than she’d expected. She said that she popped in there on a whim, as she wanted a trim… and student haircuts were only $4.

I expressed surprise at the affordability and commented that I usually pay a whole lot more for just a "straight across" trim that takes two or three minutes. She told me that I should try this beauty school… but warned that the cuts take a lot longer, the salon is usually pretty crowded, and that I might wind up getting a lot more cut than I’d asked for (I’d actually have to sign a waiver acknowledging that possibility).

I didn’t let on, but these warnings were kind of exactly what I wanted. I wanted a stylist who would take their time… be meticulous about my cut. I also wanted that feeling of risk… and, the idea that there might be an audience if I wound up with (or got talked into) a more drastic cut didn’t hurt either.

Ever since the first time a stylist told me my hair was "long enough to donate", I’d started to fantasize about an assertive stylist goading me or talking me into cutting it all off. Of course, that’s highly unlikely, but it had become a major driving force for my recent string of obsessive salon visits. I kept hoping I’d find THAT stylist… sit in THAT chair. Maybe it’d happen at the beauty school? And, at four bucks a cut, I didn’t have much to lose.

That evening after work, I checked my phone to try and track down this beauty school. I was shocked to learn that the city I live in had almost a dozen beauty schools! I realized I could "make my rounds" and not break the bank.

I found the one my coworker had gone to. It wasn’t too far a drive, less than a half hour. The student salon was in an older part of town. An area I really never hung around in. It was easy enough to find though. I pulled into the (crowded) parking lot and saw a spot right in front of the entry… which I didn’t take.

Instead, I pulled in around the side of the building so I could throw my hair in a quick braid. I had only done this once before… heading into the salon wearing a braid, but I really wanted to see if my stylist would notice or say anything about it. Like I was "baiting" them into suggesting going the hair donation route. So, I braided myself up… asked the "Magic 8 Ball" app on my phone if I should go in (something I’d taken to doing of late… another part of the "ritual") … and, when it gave me the "thumbs up", I did just that.

The place was absolutely packed. It was a Friday evening… though, I’m not sure if that matters. The front area seemed to be filled with people waiting for their stylists and people just hanging out and chatting. I’m sure nobody paid much mind to my walking in, however, being a guy with a braid hanging down to his belt, I felt like all eyes were on me. I was suddenly on pins and needles… and I loved it.

I made my way up to the counter and asked for a cut. I was told it’d be no problem, and probably just a five-minute wait. She picked up her desk phone and rang for my stylist. Then, I noticed a sign on the wall which caused my heart to sink… "Cash Only".

I never carry cash, hadn’t for years at this point. I confirmed that the place was a cash only establishment before sheepishly slinking out. I told the girl at the desk that I’d try them again next week. She gave me a "whatever" sort of shrug… and I left.

Heavyhearted, I started to drive toward the expressway. I was bummed out that I’d come so close. I considered getting my "fix" by popping into a chain salon… and even pulled into a parking lot that had one. As I went to get out of the car, I noticed a gas station with an ATM machine out of the corner of my eye. So, instead of heading into the chain salon, I withdrew $20… and decided to try my luck back at the Beauty School.

I pulled back into the Beauty School parking lot, and this time I took that parking spot right at the entry. I entered the waiting area, and this time I was pretty sure all eyes WERE on me. The girl at the front desk gave me a surprised "You’re back?!". I told her I decided to hit an ATM and lied that my upcoming week would probably be too busy for me to fit in a haircut.

She picked up her desk phone again to call my stylist at her station… and said something that both mortified and drove me crazy… "guy with the braid is back".

I was made to sign my wavier and told to take a seat… and I did. I’m sure I was imagining it, but I really felt as though everybody was looking at my braid. Maybe a couple of them were… but, I felt so many eyes on me... on it. I kept thinking about how I’d literally just signed away the rights to my hair. It was as though it was no longer mine. Anything could happen at this point. It could be chopped completely off… and there’d be nothing I could say about it. This was very exciting.

I only had to wait a couple of minutes before my stylist came for me. She was older than I’d imagined she’d be. Most of the student stylists here were in their early 20s. Mine looked to be in her late 40s… not that that mattered. She invited me back to her station and joked that she thought I’d "chickened out".

I laughed and explained my cash-fetching situation. She laughed and gave me an "uh-huh". She said the girls at the front desk said I ran out of there like a scared rabbit. Made me wonder if I DID look nervous or scared… made me wonder if this stylist was thinking I WAS considering a drastic change. My mind started going in a million directions at once. I pictured myself after my cut, walking back through the front area, carrying my cut-off braid. I imagined the reactions that might get. I imagined hearing gasps, and people asking if they can hold the cut braid. My throat had become dry… was this really about to happen?

I was seated at her station, where the first thing she did was… take down my braid. Dammit.

I wanted her to hold it, maybe nervously wrap it around her hand while we discussed what she was going to do with it. I wanted her to tease me, joke with me about cutting it off. At this point, I’d worked myself into such a lather that I’d have let her.

That didn’t happen.

I don’t even remember her asking what we were going to be doing. Maybe I’d told the girl at the front desk that I was here for a trim? My mind was so cloudy at this point that I couldn’t remember.

Once I was caped, she sprayed my hair down getting it (and me) quite wet. She then proceeded to give me a "zero degree" trim, basically a blunt cut. It was the first time my hair would be separated into like a dozen sections prior to a cut. I really enjoyed how this felt. I liked having my hair "up"… pinned, clipped, tied.

She chuckled and told me that this was the first time she’d given a man a zero-degree cut… and said she hoped I didn’t mind having a dozen pink clips and claw clips in my hair. Oh, she had no idea how much this added to my experience. The cape was pink too, which… capes never really did much for me, but today… well, I liked it. Seeing my reflection, all done up in pink… with wet waves of my dark hair coiled up, spilling over my shoulder and down my chest. It was quite the striking image.

My coworker wasn’t kidding when she said how long student cuts take. She spent the better part of five minutes on each little section she was working on. She warned that this blunt cut was going to cost me about an inch of length. I told her that was fine, not wanting to look scared… and maybe even looking like it "didn’t matter" to me if she wound up getting adventurous and chopping a bit more.

She worked her way through the sections, however, when she unpinned the final top section… she started to look a bit nervous. She told me she’d be right back with her instructor.

Jackpot!

I sat there, hoping that she’d really goofed up. Hoping that the instructor would have to take off a few more inches. I started to squirm. I adjusted myself in the chair and looked at the floor around me… there was SO much of my hair laying there. All very short bits, but just so much of it. I began to worry… but, it was the good kind of worry that I’d hungered for for so long. I resisted the temptation to try and get a good look at what was going on with my length… and also stopped myself from reaching back to feel it.

A couple of minutes later she returned with her instructor. The instructor got behind me and started investigating my length. Then, I heard it…

"Uh-oh."

A chill ran up my spine. A good chill. I tried not to freak out. I tried not to lose myself in the moment. I kept my composure and just asked what was up.

The instructor put her hands on my shoulders and reminded me that I’m at a student salon… that all of the stylists here are still learning, and all that. I told her I understood and asked what was wrong.

She told me that my cut went a bit "askew". I vividly remember her using this word. Anytime I think of the word "askew", I’m always brought back to this moment. She told me it wasn’t "that bad"… which, in my experience, is usually what people say to soften the blow of something that IS quite bad.

She grabbed some length from the left side of my hair and draped it down my chest. It ended just above my belly button. Then, as she went to grab a bit from the right side, I started to worry. I pictured it ending just below my shoulders or something. Panic was starting to set in. This was only like 2 seconds, but it felt like I was sitting there waiting for hours. Waiting to see the extent of the "askew-ness" of my cut.

When she draped the lock from the right side of my hair down my chest it ended… just above my belly button. I didn’t know how I was supposed to react. The instructor then ran her comb all the way down the length, which revealed that, yes… the right side was a little bit shorter than the left. We’re talking less than a half-inch here. I doubt I’d have even noticed it had they not told me.

She explained that they’d have to take another half-inch or so to even things out. The instructor was very apologetic, offering not to charge me for the cut, offering to perform the rest of the cut herself. I told her not to worry about it. It was okay. She didn’t know that I’d secretly been wishing for a FAR more drastic cut… I was hoping for (and banking on) the student stylist messing up and having to take me shorter than expected. An hour ago, I was prepared to chop off my entire braid had she suggested it. If anything, ONLY losing this extra half-inch was a disappointment.

Once the instructor left, my nearly-in-tears student stylist kept apologizing. I assured her it was okay. I told her I signed my waiver and understood that she was still learning. She thanked me, and finally, after calming herself down, finished my trim. The instructor came back to resurvey the job she’d done… and signed off on the cut.

Before I could get up, the stylist stopped me… and offered to put my braid back in. Well, naturally I let her. She mentioned how much she enjoyed braiding, and how she braids her daughter’s hair every night. I was the first man she’d ever braided… which excited me for some reason. She complimented the thickness of my hair and went on to give me probably the tightest braid I’d ever worn to that point. Once done, she held it out to show me how healthy it looked at the ends. And it really did.

I gave her the $20… and told her to keep the change. It wasn’t much of a cut, as far as drastic change is concerned (nobody would notice it had been cut at all), but it was an experience like I’d never had before.



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