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It's Time... by haircoward
This story takes place only a few days after "Layered: My Second (Real) Self Haircut"… and, is the result OF that choppy layered cut I’d given myself. At this point, I had been growing my hair out for 7-8 years.
After giving myself a long "Rachel" cut, the state of my hair was very unfortunate. My ponytail still had ridiculous length, but almost no volume. It wasn’t unusual for me to wear it in kind of a folded bun around the house, basically a ponytail where I don’t pull all the hair through, and it kind of just hangs there, folded over on itself. I took to keeping my hair this way, out of fear and embarrassment. I still hadn’t told my wife that I’d succumbed to the cutting urge and had done something so stupid.
My wife had been after me to cut my hair shorter for some time… but I’d resisted up to this point. I couldn’t imagine how humiliated I would feel when she discovered how badly I mangled it.
The time finally came when she realized something was up, and she asked to see my hair. It didn’t take long, only a few days, though my harboring this "secret" felt like it went on far longer than that. When she saw the choppy bits running all the way down my length, she was surprised that it didn’t look TOO bad. She asked how I did it… and how I found out HOW to do it.
I couldn’t tell her that I’d found myself stumbling down the rabbit hole of women cutting off their ponytails, so I lied and said that I saw someone get their hair cut this way the last time I was in the salon, and got curious about how it worked.
She kind of dismissed me. Told me if that’s how I wanted my hair to look, it was fine with her. I was part relieved and part disappointed. As I went to tie it back up she commented that it looked a bit scraggly. I couldn’t argue.
Over the course of the next few nights, I hinted very heavily that I wanted a "hair play session". It had been a long time since I’d had one… and I missed being brushed out and braided. So many of my braids of late had been by my own hand. She wasn’t really into it. She runs kind of hot and cold when it comes to indulging my "hair stuff".
Finally, a couple nights later, she called me over for a comb out. It’d been so long. I sat in front of her fully prepared to melt. She removed my hair elastic, which always gave the most wonderful tingly sensation, and started to go to work with the usual wide-toothed comb.
This was a very different experience though. Used to be that, while she combed, I’d only feel my hair being gently tugged as she worked her way down the length. This time, I actually felt the teeth of the comb digging into my back. My hair was so much thinner.
Then, as she worked on the bottom foot or so of my hair, it was a mess of scraggly tangles. It hurt. I heard hair snapping left and right. There was nothing to enjoy about this.
She stopped combing, put her hand on my shoulder and said the two words that still ring in my ear today. "It’s time…"
I couldn’t even argue. My hair was a wreck.
She asked if I heard what she said. I didn’t react. I couldn’t.
She could have been doing a victory lap here, after all, she was NOT a fan of how long my hair had gotten. Instead though, she was very gentle. She knew all about my "hair stuff", and was aware of what my long hair meant to me. She said, she knew I didn’t want to hear this… but, my hair was beyond saving.
She suggested taking the length up to around my shoulders, which surprised me. I had assumed she would insist on me going "short-short". Still though, I didn’t react.
She wrapped her hands around me and told me she knew how hard this was going to be. Finally, I nodded. Knowing me like only she does, she asked me if I wanted a braid. I froze up a bit… scared that the cut was coming right then and there. I nodded.
She braided me up, and it was the most pitiful looking braid I’d ever worn. It made the braid she cut off when she gave me my undercut look thick and full. After tying me off, she told me we’d cut my hair that weekend. She told me we’d make it "special", and for the next few nights, she’d do different fun things with it.
And so, each night leading up to the cut, she’d sit me down and try and give me some of the best hair play sessions ever. Problem was, my hair was a disaster. No matter how much care she put into styling it, it always wound up looking terrible. If I still had my thickness and fullness, these looks would have been amazing. Instead, my braids looked nasty and thin, curls looked gross, crimps looked see-through, and my buns were teeny tiny. I felt so stupid for having succumbed to the urge.
Finally, Saturday came. That morning she asked if I was ready to do it then, or if I’d rather wait until that night. I decided I wanted to take one more shower with my long hair. I wanted to feel the ends, as thin as they were, resting on my butt as I leaned back to rinse out the shampoo one last time.
In the shower, I spent a ridiculous amount of time tending to my hair. Shampooed it twice, conditioned it at least four times. I realized it was unlikely my hair would ever be this long again. Lathering it up was such a sad event. Used to be that it was so thick that it felt like it weighed several pounds. Now, I barely felt any weight at all. I finally rinsed off and got out. My wife was there waiting for me with the blow dryer.
I sat down on the edge of the tub with my back to her, and she gave me a wonderful blowout. Once I was dry, she used her flat iron to straighten my length. Once straight, my hair just about reached my butt. She asked it I was ready… or if I needed a few more hours. Or, even one more night.
By this point, I was kind of already in "the zone". I’d already sort of mourned my hair, and pretty much just wanted it over with. I told her it was up to her.
She came up close and whispered in my ear that she was going to give me a braid. It dawned on me that, the braid cut I’d been dreaming of most of my life was about to happen. I did my best to relax while she pulled my stick-straight hair into a ponytail, and braided it all the way to the bottom. I watched her the entire time in the mirror.
When she was done, she laid the braid over my right shoulder… and, it was pathetic. There was barely any hair in it. it was thinner than my pinky finger. I felt so ashamed… so embarrassed.
She pulled the scissors out a drawer and, again, asked if I was ready.
This time I stopped her. She knew all about my braid cutting fascination and how much I’d fantasized about it. I told her that I didn’t want my first "big" braid cut to go this way. I didn’t want to "waste it" on such a scrawny braid. I almost couldn’t believe what I was saying. I didn’t realize I’d still have such clarity at this point.
She was a bit surprised too. But, she understood. She unbraided me and asked if there was anything special she could do before cutting. I flashed back to how, years earlier, I’d sleep with my ponytail wound up in a "cinnamon bun" to make it curly. My ponytail would be one fat, heavy, glossy corkscrew curl. I asked if she’d curl my ponytail into a spiral, in the hopes that maybe it would look a bit thicker and less scrawny when it was cut.
She didn’t have a problem with this request, and plugged in her smallest-barreled curling iron on the spot. It felt like time stood still waiting for it to heat up. As it did, she continued combing me out, and twisting my length between her fingers.
Finally, the iron was ready.
It took her several minutes to curl my entire length. She did it in sections, curling individual tight spirals as she worked her way across my back. When she was done, my length had sprung up to the middle of my back. It wasn’t often she used the small-barrel iron on me, but it was always my favorite. I always preferred dramatic tight curls to waves.
She next tied me back up in a ponytail, and arranged the mass of curls into one corkscrew spiral. I checked myself out in the mirror, and for the first time in a number of days, my hair actually looked nice.
My ponytail was tied off at the nape. She tugged the elastic down to a couple of inches below my shoulders. This forced the curl to tighten a bit, making it look a bit thicker. I was suddenly getting very excited for this, and was actually starting to look forward to my shorter cut.
She asked again if I was ready to go. I nodded.
She slid the scissors in above the rubber band, and after a few moments of lingering, did a little snip. Just the outer hair had been cut. She ruffled the top of my head a bit, and my new length, now free from the hair tie, spilled forward. It was such a strange sensation. Having hair to my shoulders, while at the same time, having a long ponytail running down my back. I almost wished I could have kept it this way for a little while.
She continued to cut. Little snip after little snip. She made this experience last as long as she could for me. Finally, my ringlet was gone. She handed it to me, and it coiled up neatly in my palm like a spring. It actually looked kind of adorable. I was so mesmerized by it that I forgot she was still wielding the scissors.
It took a few minutes, but she finished evening me out. The resulting cut was really nice, what would probably be referred to as a "lob". It was beautifully rounded, and ended in a sharp line almost exactly where my neck met my shoulders. It was long enough for a thick stub of a ponytail, but it would be a several months before I could ever think of braiding it again.
This would be another short-stint with "short" hair, as I immediately went back on the regrow. Realizing I’d come so close to the braid cut I always dreamt of made me want it more then ever. It was just going to take time.