There was no doubt about it. I was in a rut, and I just couldn’t stand it anymore. My hair had been the same forever. Dark blond thick straight hair, just below my shoulders, with long layers and a few side swept bangs. I needed a change desperately. I looked at tons of hair sites on the internet, and finally found the one cut made just for me. I saw an awesome haircut I simply had to have. It was a chin length inverted bob with a clippered nape. The problem was that I didn’t know where to go to get it cut. I had talked to my stylist at the snooty salon I usually go to about it, and was told that they don’t like to do cuts like that. I finally found my salvation on a Friday afternoon. I was driving home from work, and saw the sign: “Sonny’s Barber Salon -Women’s clipper cuts our specialty – Come on in – What are you waiting for?" I couldn’t answer that one. When I saw a parking spot right in front of me. I took it as a sign, and parked the car.
I love to get my hair cut, but at the same time, I am always petrified to get it cut. I am just so afraid that I won’t like it. I had to sit in the car to get up my nerve. My heart was pounding, and I felt my hands shaking. Just go do it, I told myself. You know you want to do this. Go ahead. Now! You’ll be fine!
Slowly, I got out of the car, and looked into the window. It looked just like a traditional barber shop. The bell rang as I opened the door, and a face appeared from the back of the shop. “Hi there, what can I do for you?" It was a really cute 30 something guy with a brilliant smile.
“Hi “–I stammered. “I saw your sign, and here I am. I’d like a haircut today." My heart is pounding like mad. I am so scared, but so excited at the same time.
“Sure, he said, smiling at me. “It’s been a really quiet afternoon. Just hang up your coat and come take a seat over here.". He pointed to the huge black barber chair. Off went my raincoat, and I walked over. I climbed up into the chair, and felt as small as I child. I am only 5 feet tall, and couldn’t touch the footrest. Good thing, because I feel like I am shaking from head to toe. “I’m Sonny, by the way." He said.
“I’m Stephanie", I replied.
“How do you want your hair cut?" he asked.
I took a deep breath, looked at him in the mirror, and said, “Well, I have been trying to get my hair cut in an inverted bob with a clippered nape. My usual salon doesn’t do cuts like that. Can you do that haircut for me?"
“Actually", Sonny said, “that is a cut I do all the time. Tell me more about how you want it to be cut".
“Well, I have a very round face and stylists have always told me that I need to keep some length under my chin. Can we start with the front just a little longer than my jaw and go back up at a pretty high angle to the back?"
“Sure. Usually, we stop the angle at your occipital bone. We can go there, and see if it’s enough for you. I can always angle it higher if it’s not. How short do you want the rest of the back? Do you want it all one length, or tapered, that’s shorter at the bottom and longer as it goes up?"
I replied, “I know I want it clippered, but I don’t want it shaved to the skin. I’ve never had clippers used on me before, and I don’t know how long or short they cut you. Can you help me figure out what I want? Would it look better all buzzed the same length or cut the other way?"
“Hey, I just thought of something". Sonny walked over and picked up an open notebook. It had pictures of different haircuts. He pointed to one page. “Is this what you are thinking of?"
It was perfect. “Exactly!" I said.
“Let’s get started. Here we go", Sonny said as he pumped up the chair. He put a white paper strip around my neck, and then put on a huge white cape with blue stripes. He took out a brush and some clips. He started by making a part across the back of my head, from ear to ear. He took the hair on the sides and the top and twisted it onto the top of my head. He combed out the back hair, and reached forward for his barber shears. “Are you ready?" he asked me as he pushed my head forward onto my chest. I could only look up into his hazel eyes and nod. My heart was pounding as I heard the crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch. Four cuts, and the hair on the back of my head was as short as the white strip on my neck. I couldn’t see anything, but 8 inches of hair had just fallen into a pile on the floor. No turning back now, I thought.
He put the scissors down, and picked up the heavy black clippers that were hanging on a hook on the wall. “We’ll first go with a number 4, which I think will be too long, but it’s a good place to start since it’s your first time". With this, he clicked them on, and placed it at the right side of my nape. He drove them up to my occipital bone and started again. I had never felt anything like it! It felt great. Six more swipes, and he stopped. He handed me a mirror, and turned me so I could see what it looked like. He was right. It didn’t have the crispness I wanted.
“I think you’re right. Can we take it a little shorter?" I asked.
“Absolutely". He switched the clippers to a number 3. Seven more swipes, and it was done. I was still holding onto the mirror, so I just held it up to see the back as he turned me around again.
“That’s perfect" I said.
Sonny then continued with the clippers. He switched them from a zero then a one and a two so that they would cut my hair very close to my head at the bottom of my nape, and blend into the number 3 cut about an inch up. He used the clippers over a comb to get the transition perfect. I had my mirror still, and held it up to take a peek. He pushed my head back up.
He then re-sectioned my hair, parting it on my right side. The top and the sides were put back up in their clips, but the back was dropped down. He brushed it out perfectly, and took out the barber shears again. He started at the top of my occipital bone, and made a cut across. More hair dropped to the floor. He then let down my left side hair, and slid the scissors just under my jaw line. Crunch, crunch, the scissors went all the way up my head, past my ear, up to the line in the back. As the hair fell down on the cape, I saw what I had been waiting for. All the nerves left me. I loved it, really loved it. It looked great.
Sonny stepped around me, and took down the other side. He combed it carefully and once again, I felt the scissors under my jaw, cutting a sharp precise angle, traveling towards my ear and back towards the back of my head. He started working on my bangs. “I think these would look better a bit shorter now. I’d like to cut them just at your eyebrows and make them wispy, okay?" I nodded yes as he took out his thinning shears.
“Hmmm, “I was a little afraid of that". Sonny said. Your hair is really, really thick. At this point, I started to notice that my thick hair was making the sides a little bushy. My hair looked a little bit like a triangle on my shoulders.
“Can you do something to fix this?" I asked.
“Well, I have thinning shears, but they can only do so much. I know I can fix it and make it look great, but you have to trust me a little."
All of a sudden, my heart dropped into my chest. I was petrified again. I got up my nerve, looked into his hazel eyes once again, and asked, “What do you need to do?"
“I really think it would look best if we undercut it a little. The back will lie better, and the side hair will fall straight, closer to your head, which is great for your face shape."
“What’s an undercut?" I asked with my heart pounding.
He lifted up the hair on the back of my head, as he turned me around to look again with the mirror. He replied, “I’d use the clippers to go under the weight line here, that’s where your hair falls in the back. I’d keep the length the same as the back is now. Then, we would also clip around and above each ear probably about an inch to an inch and a half."
“Really?" I said, “ I’ve never thought about having this done. Do you really think it will help? Will it look okay?"
“No one will see it, and without a doubt. it will make this haircut perfect". I nodded, and said, “Go ahead, I’m a little scared, but let’s do it". A little scared? What an understatement!
Sonny smiled, looked again in my eyes, and squeezed my shoulders to give me support. He took out the hair clips, and started to section my hair once again. The clippers came on and pretty soon, the back of my head had another inch and one-half buzzed to a number three. He then let down my back hair and let me see in the mirror how flat it laid down.
It made all the difference. The butterflies went away. I loved it. “That looks incredible", I said, as he started working on my side hair. This time, I was able to see what he was doing. He made a part equal with my eyebrows back to the hair he had just clipped, and pinned up all the hair above it. Once again, the clippers came on, and I saw the hair falling down as I felt them cut from my sideburn up my head. He moved back and repeated this over and over. He folded down my ears, and continued to clipper the hair around them. Short on the sides, just like my Dad gets, I thought, and couldn’t help smiling..
“What’s funny?" Sonny asked.
“I never thought I’d have my hair cut just like my Dad!" I said.
“Now for the amazing part", Sonny said. After he finished brushing me off, he released the clip holding all the rest of my hair. As my hair fell back into place, he asked, “You like?"
I could barely breathe, as he combed my hair sleekly down my head. It looked like I still had all my hair. No one would ever know it was clippered underneath. It was simply incredible! “Wow. You are right! It is completely amazing! I love it!"
Sonny smiled again, and said, well. Just a bit more, and we’ll be done. He pinned my hair up one more time, then took a towel and put it on my shoulders. He turned to the counter and filled his palm with some shaving cream. He ran this along the edges of my nape, around my ears and my sideburns. He then took a straight razor and ran it along a piece of leather to sharpen it. “Now this is the difference between getting your hair cut in a salon, and by someone who really knows what they are doing".
I sat completely still, almost afraid to breathe, for fear I would make him nick me. With about 20 small scrapes of the razor on my head, he considered me finished. Even my sideburns were sculpted into the cutest little sharp points. He brushed every hair precisely into place. “Now for the finale." He walked over to his counter and took out a camera. “Smile for me?" he asked.
I beamed and smiled from ear to ear. He took pictures of me from all angles. “Are those for the book?" I asked.
“Yup, if you don’t mind, that is. I like to take a picture after I give an amazing haircut like this." Sonny looked at me, and said “You really do look great". My heart started to pound again, but in a really good way. He swung the chair around again, and had me lift the mirror to see how the side was perfectly blunt cut at a sharp angle up to the back. Then he showed me the back again, and the other side. I couldn’t get over it. I had never felt so beautiful and sexy in my life. My heart was pounding again.
“Wow, Sonny," I said. “Thank you so much! When do I need to come back?"
“Well", he said, “I’d recommend that you have the back and undercut done at least every two weeks to keep it looking sharp. Does that work for you?"
“To look this good, I’ll be back in two weeks. Is this a good time for you?" I asked.
“Sure. Friday afternoons are usually a bit slow. We can make it a date", he said with a smile.
With that, he dusted my neck off once again, and took off the cape and tissue strip. I stood up, climbed out of the chair, and looked again in the mirror. I still couldn’t believe it was me! It was exactly what I needed. It was the perfect haircut! I paid Sonny and gave him a great tip. It still cost less than half of what a salon haircut would. As I walked out the door, I said, “Thank you so much! I’ll see you in two weeks". Sonny looked me in the eye, smiled and said “You are so welcome. I’m glad you like it". I walked out of the shop with a smile on my face. There was a breeze blowing, and it struck me how great my new haircut felt as I walked towards the car. I reached up to feel my velvety clippered nape and undercut once again. As I did this, I turned to look at the shop window. Sonny was turning the sign over to closed, and caught me feeling my undercut. He smiled, started to laugh, and waved goodbye. Sonny smiled again as he thought to himself, I’ve converted another one. She’ll never go back to the salon again. Add her picture to my book.
He was right. I never did.
Stay tuned for more adventures.
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