Posted by: haircutsrevisited | October 21, 2005

Haircut Revisited – Melissa’s Story

Haircut Revisited – Melissa’s Story
By Tammy 

Foreword: This one is fiction, but I really enjoyed the character development of Melissa. She remind’s me a lot of some of my clients being young professionals, and in this story gets to break free from the grind of city life and rediscover her roots.

It was a very busy day at work as it was a Friday afternoon. I had a lot of last-minute items to take care of before leaving from work that afternoon. I was in a huge rush to get everything done as I had a 4:30 appointment to get my haircut and I didn’t want to be late.

I work as an art director in a down-town Manhattan marketing firm and was recently promoted to this new position. I had to work very hard to get here and I had to be very tough and aggressive to make it this far. I did a tremendous amount of hard work to get through college and had to be extremely ambitious working through the entry-level positions in the industry. It was so difficult to get noticed and now my career was finally starting to take off.

I was finally starting to make enough money to make my ends meet living in New York city and I was starting to pay off my massive student loans. New York is a very expensive city to live in and it is so easy to get caught up in its lifestyle. I had been living in Brooklyn, as the rent was far less than in Manhattan however I was tired of being one of the Bridge and Tunnel people. I couldn’t wait until I could afford to live in Manhattan.

It was getting close to 4 p.m. and I was really starting to stress out about getting out of the office for the day. My phone kept ringing and I was trying to focus on my final Emails before I left for the day. I couldn’t wait anymore and I had to run. I didn’t want to be late.

I grabbed my jacket and purse and headed out to the hallway for the elevator. It was the end of the day there was a queue for the elevator. It seemed to take forever to come. I was getting frustrated standing there and continually looked at my watch.

Finally an elevator came and it was full. “Shit!” I said out loud. I couldn’t wait anymore so I dashed for the stairs and dashed down the seven flights of stairs to the lobby. On the way down at my last few steps I slipped backwards and grabbed for the handrail to hold myself up. I slept back on my right heel and the heel broke off.

I sat down on the step in disbelief. “Shit!” I said again. I grabbed the heel and threw it in my purse.  I stumbled back up to my feet and stepped down the last few steps to the bottom. I opened the door to the lobby and hobbled my way across and out the front revolving door, out to 6th Avenue.  I made a dash for the curb and held out my hand to flag a cab.

“Taxi,” I yelled out to an approaching yellow cab. He stopped a few feet past me and I stepped for the door. A man in a business suit stepped passed me and reached for the cab door in front of me. He stole my ride from right in front of me.

“Shit,” I yelled out. “Asshole.” I looked at my watch and it was now 10 minutes after 4. I stepped off the curb in determination a hailed the next cab.

“Taxi,” I yelled out again. Another yellow cab jumped across three lanes of traffic and made a stop with the door handle right within my reach.

“Yes,” I said jumping into the cab. I gave the cabbie the directions for the salon and told him to step on it, as I didn’t want to be late. The traffic was terrible as expected as it was the Friday afternoon rush and I knew everyone was in a hurry to get out of the city for the weekend. It was a few blocks away and I probably could have walked it a lot faster if it wasn’t for my broken heel.

I was anxious sitting in the traffic and started playing with my hair. I looked at the ends and I was relieved I was getting it trimmed today. My hair is a very dark brown and is as long as my bra strap line in length. I loved it long and had it that way most of my life. I loved the light layering in my hair and the way it felt. It was like my security blanket, and my crowning glory.

We finally pulled up in front of the Salon & Spa and I took one last look at my watch and it was exactly 4:30. “Just on time.” I said as I paid the cabbie and I gave him a good tip.

I loved going to my Salon & Spa, as it was the most amazing experience for me. I loved the way they would pamper me and I loved the hair products and the smell of everything. It was an expensive salon however it was worth it. What can I say, I girl needs to treat herself sometimes. I walked into the door and was greeted by one of the frontline staff.

“Good afternoon Miss Fontaine, you’re here to see Jesse today.” Greeted the girl.
”Yes I am, is she ready for me?” I asked.

“She certainly is, come with me and I take you to get dressed.” She said. I followed her through to the change rooms.

“Can I take your jacket for you.” She asked.

“Yes,” I said as I was taking it off, I stumbled a bit trying to balance as I swung it around and she reached her arm out to hold me up.

“Are you OK Miss Fontaine?” She asked.

“Yes, it’s the damn shoe, I stumbled down a step trying to get here and broke my heel.”
”Oh well take a seat and put on one of our spa sandals instead.”

Perfect, I was starting to feel better already. It gets so easy to get all stressed out living in this city. There always seems to be some shit to set you off.

I took the pair of sandals and the smock and got changed in the change room. I came out and was escorted to Jesse’s station.

“Would you like me to get you something to drink Miss Fontaine? Some coffee, tea or water?” the frontline girl asked me as she was sitting me in the chair.

“Just some water would be great, thank-you.” I told her.

I sat there and took a deep breath. A few minutes passed and Jesse came along and greeted me.

“Hi-ya Melissa, How’re ya today,” Jesse greeted me in her thick Australian accent as she handed me a glass of water.

“Oh, thank you very much,” I said taking the glass from her. “My day has been nuts. It took forever to get out of the office and I broke my heel on the way down here.”
”Oh No.” she said. “Well have to get you relaxed then.”

“This is why I love coming here,” I told her.

“Are we doing anything different today?” She asked.

“No, just a trim and flat-iron for me,” I told her.

“OK, well just get started then.” She said. She grabbed three little bottles of scented oils and held them under my nose to sample.

“Which one do you like best?” she asked.

“The third one.” I told her.

“That’s the relaxin’ scent,” She said as she rubbed some into her palms.

She ran her hands under my hair and rubbed the oil into my nape, around my neck, and down my upper back. I inhaled a deep breath through my nose to take in the scent and it started to completely relax me. She began massaging my upper back all the way up my spine to my nape, her hands working under my long flowing hair. This was my favorite part of coming here. They called this the stress relief. It was so relaxing and made you forget everything you were doing before you came in.

The message moved to my shoulders and then up to my nape. Her hands felt so good. She then massaged up both sides of my nape and up into my hairline above my ears.

“MMmmm, That feels so good,” I said closing my eyes.

She moved on to running her fingers through my hair rubbing my scalp all over the top of my head and I could feel the oils from her hands and the smell, so intoxicating. She began massaging my temples and that was the moment every muscle in my body completely melted. She stroked the length of my hair and finished off with pushing all the negative energy out of my back and dispersing it away into the air around me, she was done. I took a deep breath and opened my eyes.

“OK,” She said as I opened my eyes and looked up with a big smile and nodded.

“Lets go wash then,” she said and I followed her to the sinks.

I sat back and she hit the lever to raise me legs up. I settled back into the chair and put my neck back into the sink. She started the water and I closed my eyes as the water started to flow through my hair. I loved this part too. This is where I start to wander off into another world.

She applied the shampoo and lathered it running her fingers through my hair. I started breathing deeply through my nose and taking in the scent. I loved the smell of their products. They are so amazing.

The water came on and I felt it as it ran through my hair rinsing off the shampoo. She followed by applying the conditioner and running it through the length of my hair with her fingers. She rinsed that off and I sat up as she lowered my feet down again.

She towel dried me and we went back to her station. I sat down and she started combing my hair out,

“Were getting pretty long aren’t we?” Jesse asked.

“Yeah. I love the length.” I told her.

“Have you ever though about going short?” She asked.

I paused for a moment and thought about it. That brought back my memories of the one time in my life I had short hair.

“I don’t think so,” I said. “I had it short once and I didn’t like it.” I told her.

“OK.” She answered.

She finished combing my hair out and started to section the back off at the nape, she clipped the length up over my sides with hair clips and the length came down over my shoulders. I sat there with my head tilted down as she started trimming the length in the back.

“When did you have your hair short?” she asked me again.

“I was probably about 13 or 14 and my mom took me to get it cut.” I started telling her the story. “She took me to a little mall in the town I grew up in and out of the blue, she made them cut it all off really short.” I told her.

“Why did she do that?” she asked me.

“I’m not sure,” I said. “I think she was envious of my hair at that time.” I told her.

I started thinking about that time again. It had been a long time since I thought about that. I’ve been so caught up in my new life I had started a habit of leaving that old life behind back in that small up-state town.

“I remember I always had very long hair growing up,” I started saying again, “My mom always had very long hair too. I remember people always complimenting her on her hair. When I turned about 13 I think it was she finally cut her hair off. She was getting older and her hair was changing. People stopped giving her the compliments on her hair. As I was maturing I think I started to get all of the compliments about mine, and mine was very long. I don’t think she liked that very much, and I remember out of the blue she walked me into a little hair salon in the mini mall in our town and had them cut all of my hair off, really short, like a boy. I was devastated by it.”

Jesse gave a bit of a laugh, “Yeah we’ve all had our moments with our moms haven’t we,” She said.

“Tell me about it,” I said. “So I desperately grew my hair out after that and I never really thought about cutting it ever since.”

Jesse was now almost finished cutting through the sections in the back and was now evening out the sides and layering it a bit. I sat there reflecting on that haircut again for a moment. I remembered the experience of it and the feelings it stirred up inside of me. It changed me in a lot of ways and it helped shaped the person I am today, its funny what I haircut can do to a person.

Jesse was finished the haircut and started to blow-dry my hair. She finger dried it and took a round brush to smooth out my hair. She used straightening serum in my hair and I loved the smell. She completed the style with a ceramic flat-iron making it pin straight. I loved the way my hair looked when it was straightened.

She finished up and I loved my hair. I stood up and reached around to feel the length and I could barely tell it was any shorter. I stroked my hair and I couldn’t believe how soft it felt and how amazing it smelled and looked.

I gave Jesse a big hug and thanked her. I got changed and paid the $120 dollars for the haircut and left her a $20 tip in a tip envelope, writing Thanks Jesse on the envelope for her. I loved getting my haircut in there and the treatment they would give me was worth every penny.

That night I went home to Brooklyn and rented DVD and ordered in Chinese food for the night. I couldn’t watch the movie as I was way to restless. I lied in bed thinking. I couldn’t stop thinking about that haircut I had when I was a kid since Jesse brought it up. It had been a few years since my mom passed away now so I couldn’t talk to her but Thanksgiving was coming in a week so I was going to go home to see my dad.

It had been over two years since I have been home. I grew up in a small town in Up-State New York and I was so happy to get out of that town. It was always my dream to go to New York and make something of myself. Now that I was on that road I was beginning to reflect on that past that I left behind on that small town many year ago. I am 26 years old now and I am an only child, I think I’ve started to suppress my past too much rather than dealing with some of my issues from it head on. It was going to be a good thing to go back this weekend and spend some time there again. I missed home and needed to go back.

Thanksgiving was on the Tuesday next week so I decided to take the rest of that week off. I would come back to Brooklyn later in the week and have some fun for the weekend. I left work on Monday and made my way to 8th Ave Port Authority bus terminal to take the Buffalo, New York Greyhound bus to get off in Syracuse

I fell asleep on the bus and had mixed feelings about going home. I made it into Syracuse and my dad picked me up from the bus terminal. It was strange to see him again after all of this time. We were quiet for the drive home other than him filling me in on some of the small town gossip. I had mixed feelings about coming home.

The next day for Thanksgiving I slept in until 2 pm. I was so tired and the sleep did me a lot of good. I woke up and went to the kitchen. Dad left a note on the table ‘be home at 4’.

I got changed and went for a walk. I walked down to my old high school and around the town a bit. Everything was closed for Thanksgiving and there was not much to do. I made my way home and my dad was home already. We went for dinner at hour Neighbors, The Smiths who I hadn’t seen since my mothers funeral. It was a nice dinner and great to catch up with them again.

We went home and I didn’t feel much like chatting so I went off to bed early. The next morning I woke up in the mid morning to find my dad was gone again. I felt we were both playing the avoidance game with each other. I didn’t mind and I really wanted to do something today. I started snooping through the house and found some old photo albums. I went through my childhood pictures and it brought back so many memories for me. There were all of the pictures of when I grew up and all of my school photos in there. My mom did a great job organizing everything.

I started going through the years in order. Grade 1, 2, 3, and so on. I was a very cute little girl growing up with my long dark colour hair. I always had a smile and looked so happy. I got to grade 6 and then grade 7. I paused for a moment at grade 7. My hair in that school picture was cut so short. I remembered that haircut all over again. I wondered why my mother made me do that, and I was so mad at her at the time. It was a hard time for a girl to deal with something like that as there was a lot of peer pressure at the time.

I went on to the grade 8 pictures and my hair had grown out into a bob with bangs by then. That haircut was very cute on me as well and I liked that one. Grade 9 and now my hair was past my shoulders. I was a very popular teenager and well liked in my school. By this time I had started to rebel a lot against my parents, particularly my mother. So many things I said then that I couldn’t take back now. I went all the way through to the last pictures of me at the Prom. I looked so beautiful that night and my mom was so proud of me. That was the end of the pictures as it was a year later when she passed away.

I rummaged through the house more and found the car keys for my mother’s car in a kitchen drawer. I couldn’t believe they were still there. I was wondering if it was still in the garage. I ran out and opened the door and it was, low and behold it was her 1990 Ford Probe. She loved that car. I had to take it out for a spin.

I got dressed and jumped into the car. I turned the key and it spun very slowly. Vroomp…..Vroomp…..Vroomp…..VrVrVrVroom it started up. I couldn’t believe it, that car was 14 years old now and I wasn’t sure the last time it started. I backed it out and took it out on the road. I turned the radio on and it was still tuned to her favorite country music station. “WooHooo.” I yelled out as I listened to it.

I drove aimlessly around town laughing and didn’t know were to go. I thought were does one go on the day after Thanksgiving…Oh Yea, The mall.

I drove into our local mini mall, the same one I spent shopping in and hanging out in all of my youth. I was rather excited at being back there. I parked and walked into the mall. I went inside and wandered around. The mall wasn’t very big at all. It had only one floor and one corridor with a few short corridors leading off to the sides that lead to the parking lot.

It used to have a Kmart at one end that was now a Wal-Mart and a grocery store at the other end with all the shops in the mall between the two. I walked through to see what was different and what was the same. I walked towards the Wal-Mart end of the mall and I came across that little hair salon that my mom took me to all those years ago. I stopped and stood outside in front of it for a moment. It looked exactly the same way it did all those years ago.

All of a sudden the most overwhelming feelings came over me. I felt a huge sense of butterflies in the pit of my stomach and goose bumps all over my body. The site of that little salon mesmerized me. I took a seat outside of it on a bench and watched inside.

There was an older teenage girl inside having a haircut and I watched as the stylist was cutting her hair. Her hair was short already though but I sat there and watched as he was trimming her hair over her ears and cleaning it up short in the back. I continued to watch as he blow-dried her hair and styled it with a side part. He finished it with trimming clippers neatening it up around her ears and on her nape. He finished it with a touch of hairspray and neatly combed it for her. I was in aw watching all of this as it was bringing back so many old feelings from my past.

I watched her get her jacket on and pay the stylist and I watched her as she walked out. I got up and followed her towards the Wal-Mart. I was mesmerized with the look of her fresh new haircut. I just wanted one last closer look at it. Her hair is exactly how mine was when it was cut when I was 13. I stopped and let her go on her way. I had no idea why I was fascinated by all of this but it was amazing to me. I never felt these feelings before and I wanted to explore them further.

I turned and walked back to the salon. It was like there was magnetism in the air pulling me back in that direction. I was getting closer and I started to slow my pace. As I got closer I was able to see into the salon and I found I was walking very slowly approaching the threshold to the entrance of the salon. I stopped right in front taking one good look inside.

It was exactly as I remembered it. The three brown vinyl covered stylist chairs on the left side of the shop in front of a large wooden paneled monstrosity of a shelving unit with mirrors on it, and drawers that was mounted on the wall in front of the stylist chairs. The two brown vinyl covered hair wash stations sitting in front of the sinks on the back wall of the shop that had wood-paneled cabinets mounted above them with a wooden shelf and shampoo’s and conditioners setting on top of it. And the six waiting chairs on the right side of the shop opposite of the stylist chairs with a small wood-paneled reception area towards the front on the left.

There was no one in the shop at that moment as the stylist must have went to the back or something so I just stood there in the doorway taking it all in. I stood there and let in all of the feelings that had just intoxicated me. I let all of my memories of this place as a child sink in and pondered how I felt about it now. I closed my eyes and inhaled a deep breath through my nose to take in the smells of the place.

“Can I help you?” a voice rang out. I jumped as I was startled and I opened up my eyes. It was the stylist who was entering back into the salon from the backroom.

“Oh…a…I was just a…having a look.” I responded.

“Where you looking for a haircut today?” he asked.

“Oh…a…I think…I don’t know.” I answered.

“Well why don’t you take your jacket off and come in, you can take a seat right here and let me know what was on your mind?” he asked me again as he walked towards the first stylist chair.

I slipped my jacket off and hung it on the coat rack and I found myself walking towards that chair. It was an indescribable feeling, as I felt as if I had no control over what I was doing, nothing cognitive about anything I was doing that moment. I felt as if I was outside of myself looking in. I walked over to the chair and took a seat facing myself in the mirror. The stylist was standing behind me.  

“My name is John.” He told me. John was an older looking gentleman who looked maybe in his 40’s, balding with dark hair and some grays and he had a mustache. He was dressed in a white t-shirt and black dress pants.

“Hi John,” I said with a nod of my head.

“What were you looking for today?” He asked.

“I don’t know,” I said. “I was thinking of going short.”

“OK,” he responded.

Did I just say that? What was I thinking? I was completely numb. I sat there staring at myself. My long straight hair, what was I doing?

I sat and watched as John grabbed a red cape and swung it around me. It was as if I was a spectator watching all of this from the outside. He picked up a brush and started brushing out my long hair. It felt so good as I watched him brushing it. The brushing was bringing out a shine in my hair and it looked amazing. I started to relax from the sensation and tilted my head down a bit. I felt as he was pulling my hair back over me and gathering it behind me. It felt so good as he was handling my hair and I felt intoxicated from this sensation.

Schnick…Schnick…Schnick…I tensed up and looked up really fast. What was happening? I looked in the mirror and could see him behind me with his left arm holding my hair in a ponytail and his right arm motioning through to the sound of scissors closing in on my hair. I completely froze up and my face turned completely white.

I watched as the hair over on the right side slowly fell loose from the cutting and shorter jagged locks fell loose towards my jaw. I watched as the scissors made their way all the way through releasing all of the rest of my hair to fall out around my head into a jagged shorn bob in length.

John came around my left side with my ponytail in his left hand and held it up for me to see.

“Holy Shit,” I said out loud. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do that.” I told him.

“You looked like you wanted to.” He told me.

I was shaking nervously. He opened his hand and my ponytail slipped out and fell to the floor beside me. He placed his left hand on my left shoulder softly.

“Come with me and will wash your hair.” He told me.

I got up and followed him to the back of the salon and took a seat at a wash station. I leaned back in the chair as the water came on and I closed my eyes as I felt the water flush through my hair.

I started to pretend that this wasn’t really happening. I started to pretend that I wasn’t here and I was back in Manhattan and this was Jesse shampooing my hair and not John. What have I done? What could I do to get out of this? I just sat there helplessly as there was nothing I could do. It was as if I was 13 all over again.

John finished washing my hair and I sat up as he towel dried it. I got up and followed him back to the chair and took my seat. I was tense all over and fear was overcoming me. It was so overwhelming. I just sat there in fear as I did all those years before and felt so defenseless.

John came around behind me holding his scissors and comb and started combing my hair straight back. My eyes were locked on my reflection in front of me and I watched as John sectioned off the first section on my right side over my right ear and hold it between his fingers close to my scalp. Schnip… Schnip… Schnip…I watched as the first lock of hair fell to my right shoulder and slid down the cape into my lap.

John continued combing out sections on my right side and cutting it off between his fingers.  I watched as lock after lock rained down from the sound of the scissors and onto my shoulder sliding into my lap. I felt him tilt my head forward and I took a glance at the pile of hair gathered up in my lap.

I felt as he combed out sections in the back and heard the scissors closing rapidly. I could feel the weight of hair getting lighter in the back of my head as he worked fast snipping my hair off to the floor behind me.

He came around my left side combing out sections and holding them between his fingers, cutting it and releasing on to my left shoulder and into my lap. I just sat there gazing at my reflection in aw of what was happening to me.

When my left side was shorn John stepped around behind me again and started combing out section on the crown of my head and held it between his fingers 2” off of my scalp. Schnip, I watched as a massive amount of hair fell over the top of my head and tumbled down the front of my face and into my lap. I watched as he worked from my crown to my bangs combing very fast and holding out each section at 2” and – Schnip, another mass of hair would release and fall right before my eyes. He combed the last section out at my bangs held it – Schnip, the last of my longer hair fell to my lap. I took a deep breath.

John tilted my head forward and started combing very fast in the back and I heard the scissors opening and closing very rapidly. I could feel as he was combing and snipping my hair being cut shorter and shorter in the back and he continued this over my right ear and then my left. He continued holding out sections over through the crown of my head and the sides tapering it with the sides and back and the haircut was starting to look complete.

The haircut was looking exactly the same as the one I had when I was 13 and I was rather intrigued at looking at myself with it again. It felt very strange and oddly comforting to see it. I started to relax and breathe a lot easier now that my hair was pretty much finished.

John picked up his hair-dryer and a hairbrush and dried my hair with a part over my right. My bangs where cut fairly short so my hair was sitting towards that direction. He finished drying it and grabbed a set of finishing clippers and a comb and tilted my head forward. The clippers grazed their way up and down my nape and the sensation gave me shivers. He continued with the clippers cleaning around both of my ears and up to my temples.

He put the clippers down and dusted me off releasing the cape of my neck. He gave the cape a flick and my hair fell to the floor in front of me and I sat there in my reflection for a moment. He took his hand mirror and showed me the back and I gave a little smile looking at the reflection.

“Thank-you,” I said as I got up and gave my head a little shake.

“It was my pleasure Melissa,” John said.

I got up and started walking towards the coat rack and reached for my coat. Did he just call me Melissa? I put my jacket and walked towards the reception desk to pay.

“That will be twelve dollars,” He said. I reached in my pocket and pulled out my wallet and gave him fifteen.

“How did you know my name is Melissa?” I asked him.

“My son Michael was in your grade in school,” He said. “I remember you kids growing up.”

“Oh yeah,” I said. “I remember him.”

“I also remember your mother. She used to bring you in here when you where younger.” He said as he was handing me three one-dollar bills in change.

“Yes, I remember.” I said.

“I am sorry for your loss, your mother was a wonderful person and she loved you very much.” He said.

“Thank-you so much,” I said.

I opened my wallet and took out a twenty-dollar bill and handed it to him.

“I usually tip my stylist in New York twenty bucks and I would be more than happy to give this to you.” I told him.

“No I couldn’t.” He said.

“No really, I am so glad I did this and it is the least I can do,” I told him.

He took the bill. “Michael lives in New York now,” He said. “You should give him a call, he would love to hear from you. I’ll give you his number.”

He wrote down Michael’s phone number on a scrap piece of paper and handed to me.

“Thank-you,” I told him.

“Happy Thanksgiving,” he said.

“Happy Thanksgiving,” I answered.

I walked straight out of the mall and back to the Ford Probe. I got in it and sat down and looked at myself in the rear view mirror. “Holy Shit.” I said looking at my reflection and I started laughing. I started playing with my hair and I liked it a lot. I was so glad that I did that. It felt like the most liberating thing I had ever done. “This is all your fault mother,” I yelled out loud staring at myself with a huge smile.

I turned the keys in the ignition. Vrmp…..Vrmp…..Vrmp…..VrVrVrVroom it started up again and the country music came back on. “WoooHooo,” I yelled out as I shifted to drive and pulled out of the parking spot.

I came home and my dad was there. He was shocked at what I did with my hair at first but gave a good chuckle at it. I gave him a huge hug that was way overdue and he started crying. That night we sat down and had our long overdue talk with each other.

The next day I woke up and told Dad I was going back to Brooklyn. He gave me the keys to mom’s car and wanted me to have it. I thanked him for it and promised to come back for Christmas.

I made it back to Brooklyn and hooked up with my friends for the weekend. No one could believe what I did to my hair. I was on such a huge natural high as well and everyone noticed it. They all loved my hair so much and couldn’t believe my new-found energy. We all went out to the bars and some night clubbing. It was a great weekend in the end.



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