17-year-old Susan Anderson had long, wavy brown hair that reached down to just below her shoulders. She had grown it for about 5 years and loved her long, silky locks but sometimes wondered about cutting it off. One day as she passed by a local barber shop coming home from school, she saw a 12-year-old girl climb into the barber's chair for her haircut. Susan stopped her bike to watch for a couple of minutes as the barber draped his young client with a dark green hair cape. He then pulled the girl's long, straight blonde locks out & placed them in a ponytail before folding a large piece of tissue into her collar. The tissue was then folded around the front of her neck and the cape fastened at the back. Susan had never had that done at the salon she had visited as a little girl, but the thought interested her. She kept watching as the barber turned the girl to face the mirror and snipped away her ponytail. He then began spraying down her hair with water, and taking scissors to the shoulder-length hair & start snipping away. Susan rode away to the convenience store 2 doors down for a drink, then decided to ride back to the barber's and see how the girl's cut was progressing.
When she arrived the barber was just finishing taking up the length of the girl's hair. Her new style was taking the form of a cute neck-length bob cut. The thought of cutting her long hair that had been a part of Susan's life for 5 years terrified her, but she couldn't get the thought of getting her hair cut in a barber shop out of her mind. Having seen the young girl's haircut, Susan thought a bob might look good on her in preparation for her summer prom that was only 4 weeks away. She rode home, excited at the prospect.
"Mom, I want to cut my hair shorter", Susan told her mother, Pamela, at dinner that night. Pamela was a single mother to Susan and her 14-year brother, James. Susan's mother, just home from her job as a legal secretary, was taken by surprise at her daughter's suggestion.
"Why do you want to cut your hair short, sweetheart? It's gorgeous. You've loved it this way for so long - why do you want to change it?" her mother asked.
"As much as I love it, I saw a girl getting her hair cut in a bob today - it looked SOOOO cute!" Susan answered. "There's a barber who cuts girls' hair about 3 blocks from school and I watched him cutting her hair. He did a wonderful job!" Susan said.
Her brother laughed. "Sis, why would you cut your hair at a barber shop? They smell, they never cut it right - they just do what they want", James told her.
"Mom, please - it will look great for the prom." Susan pleaded.
"Well, sweetie, seeing as you have a job - you pay for your hair cut and I will help pay for your dress. But don't come crying to me if the cut doesn't come out the way you want it to. I still think you should go to my stylist - Bernard has been doing it for years."
"Thank you, Mom - I think you'll love what it looks like!" Susan said, overjoyed. She could hardly sleep that night, so excited at her upcoming haircut.
Next day, Susan dressed in a pretty green top, jeans, white athletic socks, and her favorite white & black Adidas Superstar runners, which so many of her classmates wore. Riding past the barber shop on her way to school, she glanced in to see the shop was just opening. She stopped her bike and walked into the shop.
"Can I help you, miss?" the barber asked. Susan glanced at the mirror behind the chair to see a nameplate that read BARRY in bold letters.
"Yes - I saw you cutting a young girl's hair yesterday, and was wondering if you would cut my hair just like that?" Susan asked nervously.
"Oh yes - I think you were the one who was outside yesterday", he said. Susan blushed nervously and looked down at the tops of her runners.
"I find I'm cutting more young ladies' hair these days, have to in order to stay in business." He walked towards the counter & began setting up his tools. "So, you were planning to come after school?"
"Yes - I finish at about 2:45, I should be here by about 3 or just after", Susan answered.
"Sure, the shop usually isn't too busy by then," he replied. "I should be able to take you right away. Just so you know, the shop usually gets busy by 3:30 or 4 with all the men coming after work & the boys after school."
"You'll see me around 3." Susan told him.
"Good, see you then, Miss," the barber said as he went back to getting his shop ready. Susan jumped on her bike and headed back towards school.
Arriving at school at 8:45, Susan locked up her bike & walked confidently up to her prom date, Jake. Jake was 17, an honor student and involved in drama & soccer at school. He was a little surprised when Susan walked up and grabbed him on the neck from behind.
"Susan, you spooked me! I didn't expect to see you until 4th period!" he said as she placed a kiss on his cheek.
"Jake, when you see me on Saturday you'll have a big surprise - I'm losing this mop this afternoon!" she told him.
"I'm getting my hair cut today - when you pick me up on Saturday I'll look like a new girl! I can't wait for you to see what I look like!" she told him.
"In that case, you'd better keep the details to yourself - then it'll be a bigger surprise", Jake said. "Have to hit math class now - see you later", he told her as he headed into his class. Susan turned away & headed towards her home economics room, 3 doors down.
During 4th period English, Susan was shooting Jake smiles from across the room as the teacher droned on about Hamlet's downfall. Susan wasn't paying a lot of attention to what he was saying - she couldn't get the thought of her imminent haircut out of her head.
Finally 2:45 came, and Susan ran for her bike. She pulled her helmet from her backpack, put it on, unlocked her bike & began cycling towards the shop. When she arrived there was a man in the chair, just as the barber was finishing. Susan removed her helmet, locked up her bike & walked into the shop, carrying her backpack.
"Well hello, young lady," Barry said as he finished dusting the man's neck and removed the dark green cape.
"Hi," Susan said cheerfully as the client stepped out of the chair & handed Barry his payment. Barry walked over to the register & handed the man his change, and the man left the shop. He then walked back to his chair & began sweeping up the clippings from around the chair. "I'll be with you in just a minute Miss," he said as he cleaned up the floor. Just then, a woman and her 10-year-old son walked into the shop. As they took a seat Barry emerged from the back.
"Just one ahead of you Mrs. Baldwin," Barry told her and her son. "No problem," she answered.
"OK Miss - you are next," Barry told her. Susan stepped up & walked over to the large steel & black leather barber's chair. She stepped into it and sank down into the seat - it felt so comfortable, she thought to herself. "How are you Miss? My name's Barry," he said, as he boosted the chair up several times. Susan felt herself rising up in the chair. "I'm Susan," she told him, "and this is a haircut for my prom tomorrow."
"In that case, I have my work cut out for me - pun not intended," the barber said, as he gathered Susan's shoulder-length hair into a ponytail. He fastened it with two rubber bands and then picked up & unfolded the large dark green cape. Moving to Susan's right, he draped the large cape over her top & jeans, bringing it back around her neck. Susan looked down to see the huge dark green cape covering her down to the ankles. All she could see were the bottoms of her jeans and the tops of her Adidas runners on the steel footrest. The barber then folded the large piece of tissue into her collar and brought it round the front of her neck, just like he did with the boys. She then felt the cape tighten at the back of her neck, and the barber spun her round so she faced the mirror.
"Now, Susan - I understand you wanted a cut like that one I gave yesterday?" Barry asked. "Yes - a nice bob was kind of what I had in mind."
"Just out of curiosity - how long have you grown it for?" he asked. "About 5 years" Susan replied, smiling at herself in the mirror.
"OK - say goodbye to 5 years!" he said, as he applied the shears to Susan's ponytail and with several snips cut through her locks. Susan watched in stunned silence as 6 inches of hair disappeared from the back of her head. Next, the barber picked up a spray bottle & began to wet down her hair, combing it down as he sprayed. Soon Susan could no longer see her face, as it was hidden behind her bangs.
"Now the real work starts," Barry said, as he began snipping away Susan's hair from the perimeter, around her neckline. A little at a time he worked up the length until it was about even with her jawline. Then he began to remove some of the bulk from the back of her head using a set of thinning shears. Susan watched in the mirror as her brown locks dropped to the cape and slid down to her feet and the floor. The young boy and his mother watched in amazement as Barry worked on Susan's hairstyle, seemingly without effort. "He's giving her a bob haircut - it's a very nice girls' style," the woman told her son. Susan smiled at the reflection of herself in the mirror, and began to think to herself, "Jake will love my new haircut..."
"Let's get rid of those bangs, shall we?" he said as he ran the scissors across the front of Susan's forehead, just above her eyebrows. Her wet bangs dropped to the cape & she looked in the mirror to see her pretty blue eyes staring back at her. Then he turned the chair away from the mirror, so Susan faced the front of the shop. "Now put your head down dear," Barry said as he pressed Susan's head forward so that her chin touched the cape. He then brought a set of clippers to the back of Susan's neck and with a CLICK they whirred to life. A tingle of pleasure went down Susan's spine as he applied the clippers to the back of her neck, gently trimming away the tiny hairs near the nape of her neck and up to her hairline.
He then spun Susan around so that she could see her new look in the mirror. A brilliant smile spread across Susan's sweet face as she looked. She had a beautiful, chin-length bob that met her jawline with a short fringe at the back of her head, and her bangs reached to her eyebrows. "It's GORGEOUS!" she told Barry ecstatically as he spun her around to face the front of the shop again. He took a large neck duster & began to dust off her neck, getting rid of all the little loose hairs and removing the tissue from her collar. Moving to the side of the chair, he pulled the cape away from her and she watched her hair drop to the shop floor.
"What do I owe you?" Susan asked as she picked up her backpack & bike helmet.
"Miss, I am only going to charge you as much as I would the boys - $16 - cause it's for a very special occasion for you," he said. Susan paid him and left him a tip of $8, and gave him a hug before leaving the shop.
When Susan got home that night, her mother was stunned by Susan's new haircut. She asked Susan for the barber shop's name, then told Susan she planned to have her own hair cut there! And when Jake picked up Susan for their prom the following night, he was thrilled - Susan looked so beautiful in her elegant peach-colored dress and her stunning new haircut. They had a wonderful time together.and Susan began thinking about her next visit to the barbers when it came time for school again in September..
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