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Classified Cuts, Part One by haircoward


This true story takes place only a couple of months after my Second Visit to Beauty School. I had gotten a few very small trims in the meantime.

***

I remember the first time my wife showed me the online classifieds site, Craigslist.

She was in the market for a new purse, and a friend of hers suggested she check out Craigslist to see if anybody was selling any in our area. What little I knew of the site, I didn’t like. It sounded sketchy, and dirty, and dangerous. She did find someone selling the exact purse she wanted, and so, she asked me to take a look at the ad to see if I thought it was legit.

I checked it out, and thought everything looked on the up and up. The purse wasn’t priced so low that it seemed like a scam or some sort of "trap", and it wasn’t ridiculously overpriced either. I sent the seller an email, and we arranged to meet up for conduct business. It all went off without a hitch… but, really has nothing to do with the experience I’m going to share.

When I was "vetting" this seller, I got my first good look at Craigslist. What immediately caught my eye was the fact that there was a section dedicated to Beauty Services. I took a mental note, and figured I’d dig a little bit deeper another time.

And I did.

It was like a whole new world had opened up before me. People offering cheap, and sometimes even free haircuts. New stylists looking to build their portfolios and clientele seemed to be the most prevalent. Stylists working out of salons, out of their homes, some were even mobile… as in, they could come to my house and give me a cut. Of course, there were a few listings that made me feel kind of uncomfortable, but for the most part, the good seemed to outweigh the bad. I saw a lot of interesting opportunities. I also realized that, like so many of us, I’m far braver behind a keyboard. I might be able to be a bit more adventurous when explaining my cut to a stylist via email rather than in person. I might be able to find that perfect stylist to finally take me short.

At the time, my hair was just a little longer than waist length. I would get trims every now and again (sometimes very often), but I was definitely "holding onto" my length, until such a time where I could experience the perfect "big" haircut.

I opened a new email account for my "Craigslist Cuts", and started my search.

The first one I decided to respond to seemed very interesting. Actually, too good to be true… probably because it was. It was a female stylist who was looking to expand her male clientele. It specifically asked for men with longer than shoulder length hair to reply… cuts would be done for free and there was even a suggestion there might be compensation if she could take pictures before, during, and after the cut and post them online.

I wrote in and explained my situation. I didn’t mention my desire to "go short" or have my braid cut off. I just said I was looking to find a new regular hairstylist… and that I had waist length hair.

Not a minute later, there was a reply. A phone number, and a note to "call her".

I wrote back, saying I didn’t feel comfortable calling. Got another, near immediate reply. Asking how much I’d be willing to cut. Asking if it could be filmed. Asking for my address, saying they wanted to come over and give me a cut that very same day. I was more than a bit overwhelmed… and responded by saying just that.

They wrote back again with a "price list". It wasn’t how much "her" services cost, it was how much they were willing to pay me to cut my hair. For waist length, there were prices for neck length, short, buzzcut, and complete head shave. I noped out right then. They kept emailing me for days.

This wasn’t exactly going the way I expected.

Another stylist caught my eye. A braider… basically just looking for someone to practice her braiding on. They wanted to practice on people of all races, said they’d do the service for free (pictures would be taken), and she even offered free trims. This stylist responded pretty quickly, but didn’t seem too interested. She already had all her slots filled… told me she’d keep my email just incase anything opened up.

Okay, strike two.

The search continued… and, was mostly disappointing. Most posters didn’t even reply. The few that did would basically just tell me what they’d charge for a haircut. It was still kind of fun to reach out and, especially, to get responses. I had never inquired about having my hair cut online before. It was exciting. I kept waiting for that one perfect reply though.

And, it finally came. It was another "free haircut" post for a stylist looking to expand her clientele. I wasn’t too worried about this one, as her ad had pictures of her working in an actual, sort of upscale, salon. She looked cute and quirky, and had very short messy hair herself. I wrote to her to see about making an appointment. I also confirmed that she cut men’s hair (a lot of the ads I saw specifically said they didn’t), and casually mentioned how long it was.

I received a reply the next day. The first word of it was "Wow". She said she’d be more than happy to have me in, and gave me a few availability options. I chose one and the appointment was set. I didn’t go into this one with any delusions of her coaxing, bullying, or shaming me into cutting all my hair off… though, I didn’t think it was completely off the table either. It was definitely a possibility. It was ALWAYS a possibility.

My main goal here though, was to actually establish a rapport with a stylist. Maybe finally "settle down" with one. Get comfortable… allow her to get comfortable with me. Maybe even comfortable enough to make drastic style change suggestions. Sure, I was still going to go in there with my braid, in hopes that it’ll get me some attention and some comments, but I wasn’t getting my hopes up.

The day of my appointment finally came. This time I decided to braid it before I left the house. I knew I was going straight to the salon, so I didn’t have to worry about anybody seeing me wearing it. I’d have been mortified to be seen in a braid anywhere outside of a salon. This time, I searched online for the easiest way to do an intricate braid on myself. I’d already done the normal three-strand braid salon visits… this time I wanted to try something different.

I was immediately drawn to the fishtail braid. There’s something VERY special about that one. Try as I may, however, my clumsy fingers just couldn’t figure it out. Then, I found a video of a woman putting her hair up in a "folded braid"… which is basically a normal three-strand braid folded on top of itself two or three times. The video I saw featured a woman with hair to her knees, but I was sure I could apply the same idea to my own. I braided myself up, tied it off, and managed to fold it twice before wrapping a looser hair elastic around the folded bundle. It would’ve been better to use a scrunchie, and while I’d wear those around the house, it would be far too embarrassing to wear one in public.

My folded braid looked insanely thick, and made my hair feel heavier than it ever had before. Since it was folded, it looked like it only hung down a bit passed my shoulders. I loved how it felt and I couldn’t wait for my "bun drop" at the salon, revealing its full length.

I headed out to the salon, and the place was absolutely packed. It was a pretty popular place downtown, there wasn’t even a free seat in the waiting area. I walked in, and immediately felt out of place, I was the only man in the entire building. I checked in, and was told that I had a little bit of a wait. Five minutes in, I was able to find an empty seat to sit in while I continued to wait. As luck would have it, the woman sitting next to me had an amazing long braid as well.

I sat down, and she immediately instigated a bit of small talk. Just some basic "first time here?" sort of stuff. She mentioned that I looked nervous… and I admitted that I was… a little bit. She smiled, gasped, and said "Please tell me you’re not cutting that off", motioning to my bundled braid. I wanted to play along. I wanted to say I WAS, just to see her reaction. Just her asking the question made me want to run to the nearest stylist station and jam the scissors into it myself.

I told her I wasn’t. I was just here for a trim. She playfully wiped her brow as though she was relieved. She got a good look at the bundle, and said it must be pretty long. I told her it was to my waist. She asked if she could see it… and I kind of shrugged. I had wanted to save this moment for "the chair", but I don’t think I’d ever met another random person who took such an interest in my hair.

Before I knew it, she removed the loose elastic, and my braid unrolled to its full length. She was surprised that it was longer than hers. A few of the other ladies waiting wanted to see as well. It’s not like they had anything else to do besides wait.

The woman told me that she was here for highlights. She’d always toyed with the idea of losing some length, but would never go through with it. I mentioned that I thought about donating it. She told me all of those organizations were scams. We talked for a bit longer, and our stylists came to fetch us at right about the same time.

My stylist brought me back to her station and we chatted a bit about what we were going to do. She thanked me for "taking a chance" on her, and told me she wanted this to be a "getting to know you" type of visit. It was a free haircut… no pressure… she just wanted to see if we "clicked". She wanted to make this as inviting a visit as possible. I liked that.

She mentioned that she overheard me talking with the woman in the waiting area, so she knew I was only looking for a trim. Dammit. Maybe next time.

She undid my braid and brushed me out. She dampened my hair, and got to work. She took her time, and definitely wasn’t rushing me out of her chair. Initially, it seemed like just a basic long haircut experience. An inch off the bottom.

As we continued chatting, she moved around to my side. She took a large section from the front of my hair, held it out, and started cutting. I didn’t think anything of it, it was just like the "zero-degree" cut I’d gotten at a Beauty School the year prior. As the hair fell down at my side, she stopped… her eyes kind of bugged out and she covered her mouth.

I asked what was wrong, and she nervously started laughing. She told me that she’d just given me the start of "face-framing layers". She went into autopilot, and was cutting my hair like a lady’s. I didn’t mind this at all. She asked what I wanted her to do. I told her it wasn’t a problem. She asked if I was sure as she began to spin my chair around.

She handed me a hand mirror and told me to take a look at the back. It had been cut into a "V", the back of my hair was still very long, but it crept up a bit on both sides. I looked at the floor, and sure enough, among the one inch clumps of my hair were a smattering of longer locks. I could only muster a "wow". It wasn’t something I expected, or even wanted… but, sitting here with it, made me very excited.

She told me she could fix it. She could cut it straight across. But I’d lose a couple more inches. She then remembered the face framing layers she’d cut in… and realized that I’d have to lose a lot more inches to even that up.

I told her I thought it looked good… hoping to calm her down and maybe give her the hint that I was open to femme cuts and styles. She seemed quite relieved… and joked a bit about it being a free haircut.

She got back into position, and proceeded to cut in the other half of my face framing layers. Once she was satisfied, she used her round brush to blow out and style my hair. When she was done, I was shocked. It was an actual long layered woman’s haircut. She apologized again, and we both laughed. She tied my hair back in a ponytail, which wasn’t much shorter in length, but felt like a whole lot less hair. I couldn’t wait to get home to take a better look at it.

I gave her a bit of cash as a tip, and told her that I was pretty sure we’d be seeing each other again down the line.

I got home, and immediately rushed to the bathroom to check out my cut. I’d never been layered before, not like this anyway. I enjoyed how it felt, adored how it looked, but knew it was going to be very annoying to grow out.



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