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Yanni by Manny

The stylist brushed Yanni’s thick ebony tresses vigorously so that they gleamed under the soft glow of neon in the salon. On one side, his locks dangled loosely and cupped under several inches below the clavicle while on the other the heavy mounds rested on the caped, broad shoulder. Yanni was just beginning to wonder why he had come in for his normal appointment -- given that he was so happy with the way he looked “as is” -- when the stylist cleared his throat and commented nonchalantly, “I hope you’re not going to ask for the ‘usual trim’ today.” Yanni was taken aback! The stylist continued brushing, pulling the tresses back, tucking them behind Yanni’s ears. Surveying the cascading tresses, he continued, “I think you’re ready for a good summer crop. Nice and short. How ‘bout it?” The casual comment struck Yanni like an electrical bolt. His tongue became glued to his mouth -- dumbfounded by the suggestion that his trademark locks be shorn off. The stylist’s eyes sparkled with excitement as he stared at Yanni, impatiently awaiting a response. “Tapers are the rage these days, Yanni,” he continued. “I’ll taper it nice and tight, right up the back here.” A chill ran down Yanni’s spine as the stylist ran the back of his brush up the back of his head from nape to crown. “You’ll love the new look -- and it’ll be a cinch to care for in comparison to this white elephant.” He gathered Yanni’s long hair into a ponytail as if to indicate what he intended to shear away. Yanni was virtually apoplectic. He’d always treated his hair like a pampered, spoiled child….and now this suggestion of some painful corporal punishment was worse than a horrible heresy. The stylist dropped the tail, fairly giving Yanni a mild case of whiplash. Then he picked up a pair of shears. If Yanni didn’t speak up, he risked losing his treasured tresses. Yanni’s mind raced. His stylist had always enjoyed his confidence, but this proposed radical makeover was quite another issue. Products and layering techniques to enhance the sheen and body of his hair….these suggestions Yanni enthusiastically accepted. But a short taper?! How could he? “We’ll start with a few inches and then go from there,” the stylist announced.

Well, that sounded much better than a radical makeover. Still unable to really enunciate a reaction, Yanni nodded almost imperceptibly. But, the slight movement had the same effect as if Yanni had waved the checkered flag at the start of a Formula I race! The shears were plunged into the dense ebony locks right at the nape and a hideous chopping sound ensued. Yanni felt faint as the shears crunched through his pampered locks. Gobs of his glorious hair fell away as the shears were driven around the side of his head. Shorn mounds cascaded down onto the cape, sliding into Yanni’s quaking lap. Then the stylist tackled the other side chopping off all of Yanni’s hair at chin length. The cutting stopped just long enough for Yanni to see his hair bobbed! Instead of the flowing locks down his chest, they’d been truncated a good eight inches above the cupped tips. Yanni struggled to conceal all expressions of remorse and horror. Then, the stylist pressed one hand firmly on top of Yanni’s head and forced it forward so that his chin came nearly down to his chest. In his lap, Yanni spied an accumulation of shorn hair that provoked a sudden attack of nausea. He felt very faint. In the midst of the nightmarish haze, the sound of a click followed up a clattering hum announced the unthinkable. The stylist was not waiting for a second round of input after the “few inches” had been taken off. Instead, he was taking the liberty of pressing on towards his insane and radical idea! The tight taper was on the verge of becoming a reality. Yanni grasped the chair arms as he felt the clippers attack his nape. The hungry steel teeth were pressed tightly toward his defenseless scalp. Only a flimsy plastic guard separated the cold metal from the horrified pate. Yanni felt the stylist forcefully moving the clippers up the back of his head. He braced himself to keep from swooning. He knew the electric hair clippers were inflicting maximum damage on his once proud mane. Again and again the stylist pumped the clippers up Yanni’s increasingly denuded scalp. With each run of the instrument of torment, the piles of shorn hair on the cape increased exponentially. The clippers were given a break as the stylist combed all the remaining hair straight forward. A few remnants dangled down his face toward his chin. But not for long. The shears were taken to the top of his forehead. The bangs were as good as gone. Scrunch, scrunch. Yanni felt trance-like as the stylist forced his head first to one side and then to the other as the clippers climbed from his sideburn straight up to the temple. Then the whole top was clipped down. “You look so sexy with this brush cut!” the stylist exclaimed. Not a strand of hair longer than half an inch remained. Yanni looked like an eight year old at the start of summer after his father had given him a home-styled butch cut in the driveway….except, of course, the luxuriant mustache than was his other trademark. “And now for the taper,” the stylist announced removing the plastic guard from the clippers. His hand pressed heavily down on Yanni’s head, after a quick rub against the velvety bristles of the brush cut. Again, Yanni was forced to bow his head in anticipation of the tapering clippers. The naked teeth at the nape were used to deftly chisel the brush cut into a very tight taper that went up virtually to the crown. All away around his head the clippers were manipulated, slowly and carefully tapering the scant remains of his dark black hair. Yanni felt the rate of his heart beat beginning to slow once the haircut began nearing its final laps. A dollop of warm lather around the ears and neck followed by gentle scraping with the straight edge soothe Yanni’s frayed nerves. “Look at all that hair on your lap,” the stylist announced enthusiastically. “I’m just sorry we didn’t do this a long time ago. You look great, streamlined like this!” He held up the mirror so Yanni could see the back of his head. He was shocked. From the nape to two thirds of the way up, more scalp than hair was visible. Only at the very top did the dense, dark velvet dominate over the lily white scalp. Even the ears were jarringly white! “Just what we decided, a nice tight taper.” Then the stylist picked up a very small clipper. Yanni momentarily thought about getting nervous, but figured all the damage had been done. He probably just meant to clean up some stray hairs on the neck. The stylist stared intently before announcing, “Yes, the mustache goes too.” Yanni was too stunned to react. In any event there was no time to do a thing because the buzzing clippers were instantly peeling away the luxuriant growth. His vain mustache dispatched to the cape! Lather, scrape. The upper lip was clean as a whistle. And, Yanni now looked just like he did at the end of the third grade. The stylist vigorously rubbed the velvety patch on top with his hand. “Get used to it. The girls will be wild about your new look and find it impossible to keep their hands off this little bit up here.” Then he pulled off the hair-laden cape. Yanni gazed in shocked awe at the massive amount of shorn hair on the floor around the chair. “Great idea of yours to go short for the summer, Yanni,” chirped the stylist. My prediction is that you’ll want to keep it like this year round. Gotta hand it to you, my friend. Most longhairs wouldn’t have the courage to dispatch it all in one sitting. The stache too. Go out there now, and conquer the chicks.” Yanni left the salon in a daze, feeling his shorn head….and even believing the stylist. Yes, he’d had a great idea….the short, summer crop. He glanced back to see the stylist sweeping the ebony tresses up into a massive pile. He shuddered to think that once upon a time he thought long hair and a huge mustache was the height of sexy machismo!

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