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Second Visit to Beauty School by haircoward
After my first visit to a Beauty School for a cut, I become kind of obsessed. It was such a fun and kind of scary experience, that I couldn’t wait for my next cut. I immediately, as in that very same night, started researching the other student salons in my city... going through their Facebook timelines and image galleries.
I quickly discovered that the student salon I had just gone to was one of the older, more run-down facilities in my area. We had some that looked positively state-of-the-art in comparison. I was becoming more and more excited about "making my rounds". I could picture myself walking in to these places with my braid hanging down my back. I could already feel my hands shaking when I’d sign my waiver, stating that I understood things could go horribly wrong. I couldn’t wait.
As I scoured Facebook, I found the Beauty School that I wanted to visit next. It was a little ways from the house, but from the pictures I saw, the aesthetic of this place was magnificent. It was modelled to look like a sort of retro/vintage beauty parlor, but with a modern twist. There were posters of women with vintage updo hairstyles on the wall. The capes were bright white, which I imagined would make my dark hair "pop", especially as it (hopefully) gathered in my lap. The floor was a black and white checkerboard pattern. All of the "hair models" they showed were women, so I hoped my going in would be kind of a "novelty". I was beginning to realize how much I wanted people to notice me in there. It looked like a really fun place to get a cut.
I worked my way through their photo album, and found myself going clear back to nearly a year earlier… when, an image caused me to stop dead in my tracks. It was a long dark braid laid out on a white countertop. The post was to let people know that they were looking for hair donations during Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October)… offering a free wash, cut, and style if you chose to donate at least eight inches of hair. The next few pictures were of posters and counter standees from Pantene Beautiful Lengths with instructions and rules about how to donate.
I was still very much interested in donating my braid. It was a regular part of my ideal haircut fantasy, as well as an opportunity to do something nice. I couldn’t think of anything I wanted more. Problem was, October was several months away at this point. Could I wait? Should I wait?
I could go in now, and likely have a fun experience… and walk out with a trim. Or, I could hold off… grow my hair out for a few more months, and go in (already braided up) during that month in hopes of being "talked into" a big chop. As I considered my options, I kept scrolling their image gallery. I discovered that they’d been sharing that cut-braid image every October for the past three years. This "donation drive" appeared to be a regular thing for them. Surely this October wouldn’t be any different.
I decided to wait. I would visit the student salon on the 1st of October. I even decided to forgo my trim-addiction until then. The summer would eventually pass… and as the day grew closer, I began to feel myself losing my nerve.
I saw it as being a near-certainty, that if I were to head in to that salon on October 1... my braid, or at least 8″ of it, was coming off. Part excited, part panicked... I waited... and became quite wishy-washy about the whole thing.
I had been lurking at a hair-related forum around this time, and decided to make my first ever post talking about this upcoming cut... and how I was beginning to lose my nerve. The community was quick to come up with some suggestions to keep me "on task". The best piece of advice was pretty simple. TELL PEOPLE I was planning to get a haircut. I didn’t have to commit to a certain cut or losing a certain amount of length, but just putting it out there that a cut was coming, should be enough to stop me from backing out. And, it DID work.
I took a few opportunities to "casually" mention that I had a haircut appointment on October 1 (it wasn’t an actual appointment, I was just planning on walking in). I didn’t dwell on it or anything, but... it was "out there". In a way, I was now "committed".
October 1 finally arrived. I had held off on running some errands across town, in the vicinity of the Beauty School, so I’d have a reason to be out that way. I woke up ridiculously early and waited until it was a reasonable time to head out. After running my errands, I found an empty-ish parking lot to pull into and give myself what I feared/kind of hoped might be my last braid for a little while.
Once I was satisfied with my braid (after several attempts), I continued my drive to the Beauty School.
When I arrived, I was surprised to see that it was up a set of stairs. Several of the student stylists were out on the steps smoking, I had to walk through them to get to the salon. Me and my braid. I imagined what they might be thinking about it.
I approached the door and opened it. The girl behind the counter gave me a surprised, almost confused look... and asked if she could help me. I told her I was there for a haircut, which I don’t think she was expecting. Her demeanor changed, and she became very warm... she told me it’d just be a minute.
I sat in the waiting area and got an eyeful of the place. There was a table in the waiting area with some magazines and coloring books on it. I guess they did a lot of kids cuts here. The table also had that Pantene Beautiful Lengths standee on it. My heart started to race. I was IN it now. I was called up to the counter to fill out my waiver, though this "contract" seemed more interested in getting my phone number and address so they could reach out to remind me when it was time for my next cut. There was a box I had to check, however, that stated that I understood that this service could go "awry".
I waited for a few minutes before my stylist came for me. As she walked me to her station, she actually reached out and ran her hand down the entire length of my braid... causing me to shiver. She laughed and said that when she heard it was a man’s haircut, she’d dug out and cleaned off her clippers. She said she was looking forward to using them, as she never really gets the chance to. I tilted my head and smiled.
I was directed into her chair and caped. This wasn’t one of the white capes I saw online, but a bright teal one. I was fine with any color so long as it wasn’t so dark that my hair would blend into it. I noticed that there was another Pantene Beautiful Lengths standee at her station. There was one at every station, actually. My heart went from racing to absolutely pounding.
She was a very new student, and kind of walked me through her entire process. She said something along the lines of "Okay, we’re going to start with a consultation". I didn’t mind, in fact, this was the first time I’d ever gotten an "official" consultation. She told me the steps she was going to take... first we’re going to talk about the service I wanted, second we’ll go over to the basin for a shampoo, scalp massage, and conditioning. Then, we’ll come back for a towel dry, then the cut, then the blowdry and style. She was playing with my braid the entire time. This was going exactly as I hoped it would.
Then, she started to undo my braid. Dammit.
She brushed me out and made eye contact with me in the mirror. She held her fingers about an inch apart and said that she recommends we taking off about an inch. Dammit.
I stammered for a bit, almost trying to get her to notice the Pantene standee that was less than two feet away from her, before ultimately agreeing. I think at this point, she thought I was scared to cut an entire inch... when in actuality, I was hoping she’d have suggested ten! She kind of backpedaled suggesting that we could try a half-inch and see how that looks. Dammit.
I told her that she could take off whatever she thought needed to come off. She smiled and joked that I shouldn’t give her that much freedom. Oh, how I wish she’d have taken me up on it. I smiled back, hoping she’d become a bit more assertive with me. She did not.
From here, I was shampooed... and trimmed. The entire process took less than 15 minutes. It was basically a straight across dusting. Barely any hair on the floor. Definitely none in my lap. I was so disappointed. After having built this up the way I had, anything less than her handing me my cut off braid was going to be a massive let down. After the blowdry, she called over an instructor who signed off on the cut.
Before I got up, she asked if I wanted my braid put back in. At this point I was so bummed out it didn’t really matter, but at the same time I certainly wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity.
While she was braiding me, I noticed that someone was trying to get her attention. She kept looking to her side. It was her instructor. She tied off my braid and asked me to sit tight for a minute while she checked to see what was up.
She spoke with her instructor for a couple of minutes. They were far enough away where I couldn’t tell what they were talking about. For all I knew, they were planning what they wanted brought in for lunch, and not the waist-length braid currently sitting at her station.
When she returned she sheepishly asked if I had to be anywhere right away... or, if I had about a half hour to spare. She was playing with my braid again. I told her I had all day, and asked what was up.
She became kind of awkward here, and said that it’d really help her out if I’d do something for her. I tried to track what her eyes were looking at... hoping that she was focused on the Pantene standee. I asked her what she needed.
She expressed that it’s kind of a weird request... and, it was okay if I didn’t want to.
At this point, I was all but convinced that I was finally about to have my braid cut off. After all these years, I was only moments away from the haircut experience of a lifetime. The way she was fondling my braid, running her hands up and down its length. It was going to happen. Right here. Right now. I was in the chair... still caped... tightly and neatly braided. I couldn’t believe it.
Time went into slow motion. I was scared, I was excited... I ached for this to happen. I pictured her fellow stylists gathering around to watch and cheer while she sawed her way through my braid. Maybe she’d use this as an opportunity to break in her clippers? Where would she cut? Just eight inches? The whole thing? I was getting dizzy. I started to squirm.
Finally, I was snapped back to reality.
She explained that she was short a few "floor hours" that week, and it’d really help her out if I let her blow my hair straight. She told me there’d be no charge for it, and it’d be a really huge favor.
The fantasy that I’d built up in my head just shattered in front of me. Defeated, I told her that I’d be happy to help her out... and so, she undid my braid... again, grabbed her big round brush, and gave me a (admittedly amazing) blowout. I’d never had my hair blown out when it was this long. It was almost an out of body experience. She was standing a good two feet behind me when she blew out the ends. People were watching. Other student stylists, a handful of older female clients. They all watched me getting my waist length hair blown out. I tried not to make eye contact with anybody, and I’m sure I was blushing the entire time. I was so embarrassed... but, I loved it.
When she was all done, she re did my braid for a second time… I paid, and left.
As I headed down the stairway to my car, I felt my braid tassel slapping against my butt. When I entered the student salon, the tassel was barely to the top of my pants. Even in my disappointment, I had to laugh at the irony here. I went in fully expecting to walk out without my braid (at least not still attached)… and, here I was, leaving with a longer one than I entered with.