Posted by: haircutsrevisited | April 2, 2006


By Tammy

Foreword: When I was in high school I had a few friends that were figure skaters. I remember one of them had long hair and all of a sudden it had been cut short so she could focus more on her skating. I remember her upset over it after, but I thought it looked amazing on her.

The music opened up and filled the arena and I stepped out onto my left skate gliding across the ice. I flowed across the ice on my left foot gliding with my right foot up in the air behind me as I awaited my queue to the beat of the music, and….

– BOOM –

I systematically slid my back outside edge of my left foot and launched myself off my right toe pick and with every ounce of energy in my body and launched myself way up and into the air and held my arms close as I spun through the air and opened up for my landing.

All of a sudden my foot slipped out from underneath me as I tried to land and I fell hard onto the thick ice below me.

“Shit” I let out in frustration.

“Non, Non, Non.” she yelled out, “How many times I must keep telling you,” she rang out in her deep French accent.

I took in a deep breath and sighed but I held every ounce of my frustration inside of me to maintained my composure. I got up in frustration as the music finally silenced over the intercom speakers. I skated back to the start of my routine position and got back into my starting pose once again.

“Garcon, commencez de nouveau.” She yelled out and the music started once again.

Left foot, step…wait for it, wait for it. Back side edge and right foot toe pick and…I missed the landing again.

I came down really hard that time and I slid across the ice to a stop. I could feel the hard cold ice sink deeply into my badly bruised buttocks like hard cold steel. I put my head in my hands in frustration and shook my head in disbelief.

“Assez” she yelled out across the ice which I knew exactly what she meant, ‘Enough.’

I looked up into the lights above me in frustration. I have been here for three weeks already and I am beginning to think this is the biggest waste of time. I missed Boston and I wanted to go home.

I sat there on the hard cold ice and in pain and hating every minute of it. This is supposed to be my regular summer vacation with my family in Cap Code but instead I am in France for the summer to work on my ice skating routine with my new coach. I hated being here and I hated my new coach.

“Your balance is wrong,” she yelled is she walked across the ice towards me. “Something is wrong. Your stupid ponytail is whirling around like a whip and when you jump its throwing off your balance. Come, we are finished for this morning. We will go to the Villa and visit the Coiffure and come back for afternoon session.”

She walked straight passed me and opened the gate to the arena boards and stepped of the ice. I got up and skated for my towel and water bottle and left the ice out of the same gate.

I went into my change room and sat down on a bench. I was exhausted and frustrated. I reached around and pulled my hair out of its ponytail and let it fall down all around me. I felt it and it was very thick and very long. I looked at the length and the deep dark brown colour and admired it for a moment. I haven’t cut it since last fall at the start of the skate season last year and now it has been 9 months and it is too long for me. I know I need a few inches taken off however I do love this length, a lot.

I took my skates off and got out of my training outfit and stepped into the shower. I ran the hot water all over my body to try to relieve the bruises and muscle pain I had everywhere. As I ran the water I felt my long hair cascading down my back towards my waist. The sensation felt so amazing.

I got out and towel dried before getting into my jeans and a white t-shirt. I put my skates away and headed out into the front of the arena. I stepped outside into the warm summer sunlight and the view was spectacular. One thing about being here is it is a world away from Boston and Cape Cod. This mountain town is gorgeous surrounded by the French Alps. Its mountain peaks surrounding the town made for a spectacular view. That mountain breeze that constantly passes through the town smelled so sweet. The view is breathtaking and the town is so cute, a very old and traditional French Villa.

My coach, Mademoiselle Denault was outside sitting on a bench outside smoking a cigarette. I walked up towards her.

“OK,” she said and I nodded. She got up and we started walking towards the Villa. I started running my fingers through my hair as I swung it over my right shoulder and played with it down the front of me over my front right shoulder and over my breast. My hair was still soaking wet from my shower and the water was running onto my T-shirt a little. I liked the way it felt.

Mademoiselle Denault was watching me play with my hair and shook her head.

“Tsk, tsk, tsk,” she said shaking her head, “This hair it must come off.” She told me straight out.

“Why?” I asked.

“It is too distracting for you, it is too long and too heavy. You keep falling on your bottom.” She told me.

“I’m not cutting it.” I told her.

“Figure skaters don’t have long hair like this.” She responded. “Figure skaters have nice haircuts that is not distracting, you are not a figure skater like this, and you keep falling on your ass. You are becoming a waste of time.”

I was starting to get really furious with her. Its enough I am missing my entire summer to be here with her. Live with her and be coached by her. I kept my mouth shut as I always did and we continued to walk into the center of the villa. I decided to put it out of my head.

I loved the villa. It has very narrow streets that wind up and down the hillside of the edge of a mountain. There are tiny shops along the streets inside of century old buildings that have the most amazing charm about them. They have simple names like ‘Delicatessen’, ‘Boulangerie’, and ‘Coiffure’.

We continued to walk up the winding street and Mademoiselle Denault started walking towards the shop with the sign that said ‘Coiffure’. She opened the door and turned and looked at me.

“Lets Go Emily.” She said nodding at the entrance to the doorway of the shop. I tensed up at the sight of the place. It was a very old-looking hairdresser shop and I was petrified from the site of it. Mademoiselle Denault reached over and grabbed me by the arm and squeezed it tight as she pulled me towards the door and into the shop.

I found myself inside of the shop and it was not like anything I had ever seen before. It was very small and painted white. There was one chair with a barberette working over a young boy sitting in the chair with a white cape draped over him.

“Bonjour Mademoiselle Denault.” The barberette announced to my coach as she entered behind me.

“Bonjour Natalie,” She answered back. “C’est Emilie mon apprenti.”

“Bonjour Emilie,” The barberette said to me and I responded “Bonjour.”

One of the other things I found so difficult with being in France is I didn’t understand a word of French. It was very frustrating at times. We took a seat in the waiting chairs and I watched as the barberette continued cutting the young boys hair.

The boy was very cute and well-behaved as he sat there. The barberette was a middle-aged woman with long blond hair tied up in a bun. She was a slightly heavyset woman and was dressed all in white with her blouse slightly unbuttoned. The boy seemed very shy as she cut his hair and seemed to peer over at her blouse from time to time to take a good peak at her. It was kind of cute to watch.

She finished up, removed the white cape from him as she dusted off his neck with a brush.

“Fini.” She said and the boy smiled as he got up and handed her some money. “Merci.” She told him as he turned and ran out of the shop with a huge smile on his face, I watched as he skipped his way up the street.

“Après,” The barberette called out as she spun the chair around and Mademoiselle Denault nudged me in the shoulder. I got up and stepped towards the chair. I did want a few inches taken off and I found I was quite intrigued by the shop. I slid slowly back into the chair and let my bruises settle in slowly as I sat and I squinted just a little. The chair seemed comfortable and I settled into it easily.

“Ce qui peut je faire pour vous.” She said to me and I looked to Mademoiselle Denault for help.

“She is asking what she can do for you today.” Mademoiselle Denault told me.

“Oh, Ok.” I responded. “Tell her I would like a few inches taken off the back.”

“Elle a besoin de sa coupe sous très peu.” Mademoiselle Denault told her. “Ses cheveux sont trop longs et distraient de son patinage de glace”

I couldn’t understand any of the conversation however I smiled and nodded, as I was happy to be getting a few inches taken off.

“Ok Emilie, I will go off to the shops. Natalie will take care of you. I explained to her exactly how to cut your hair for you.” Mademoiselle Denault told me and I smiled at her and said, “Merci.”

“Ne laissez pas son élasticité vous un moment difficile.” Mademoiselle Denault told the barberette as she walked out the door.

I sat there more relaxed now as I was happy about having my haircut now. Natalie gathered the cape and held it in front of me. I was puzzled to see that you needed to slide you arms into it frontward. I slid my right arm in and than my left as she slid it over me and gathered it behind me. She pulled my long and still wet hair out from under it as she fastened it behind me. I was amazed at the weight of the cape. It was a heavy white cotton material and the design of it was amazing. Nothing like what we have back in America. I glanced around and everything seemed so different then in America. It seems every moment here I am intrigued by the charm and simplicity of everything.

Natalie picked up a comb and a huge pair of scissors and came around behind me. She started combing out my hair combing it back. She started sectioning off a lock of hair of hair on the top of my head and held it between her fingers. I watched her move in with the scissors.

“Nooooo.” I cried out. I tried to squirm out of it but her grasp was too tight and she moved too fast. Schnip. My eyes popped wide open as I saw the scissors close into my lock of hair and releasing a huge lock of hair from the top of my head and into my lap in front of me.

“What are you doing?” I yelled out. I reached up and felt the shorn lock of hair and it was only a few inches long on top of my head. I grabbed the lock of hair that fell into my lap and squeezed it in disbelief.

“I told you I only wanted a few inches taken off the back.” I was yelling at her.

“Pardon Moi.” She responded.

“Why did you do this?” I snapped at her again.

“Shhh, Shhh, Shhh,” She let out as she put her hand softly on my shoulder. “Mademoiselle Denault, say to me to…how do you say…short,” she told me.

I started shaking my head no in disbelief and let out a huge sigh. “Shit,” I said out loud. I realized I had been set-up.

I felt as she started combing my hair quickly again up on top and into another section and held it between her fingers and, Schnip, another massive lock of hair was released into my lap. I started to turn completely numb. I just put my head down in defeat. There was nothing I could do about it now.

This all felt far too surreal to me and didn’t feel like anything was real anymore. I was so tired and fatigued from my training and my entire body ached in pain. I sat there and zoned out as I was being cropped by this barberette. She worked mercilessly grabbing section after section of my hair and chopping it off all around my head. I just put my head down and let at all happen.

I glanced as lock after lock fell to my lap and fell to the floor around me. The sound of the scissors filled the shop as she snipped away at my hair. I fell into another world for a moment, my life back home, my family vacation at cape cod, all that I was missing by being here.

She stopped the cutting and I looked up at my reflection. My hair was short, it was cut clear around my ears and I could tell the back was short but there was some length left on top with some bangs above my eyebrows. She grabbed a hairdryer and came around behind me.

I closed my eyes as she dried my hair and zoned out once again. I felt the heat from the dryer and the stroking from the hairbrush and the sensation was mesmerizing. It felt almost comforting to feel it. She stopped again and I opened my eyes to see my hair as it looked dry.

It looked so different on me. I looked like a different person staring at myself in the mirror. I felt beside myself, my body ached so much that I felt out of touch with myself inside and now looking at myself I felt out of touch with myself outside as well.

I heard the door to the shop open and I looked over to see my coach walking in.

“Très bon, très bon, Merci beaucoup Natalie,” She said to the barberette. “How do you like it,” she asked me as she walked and stood behind me.

I looked back at my reflection and I was at a loss for words.

“Don’t worry sweetheart, you will thank me for this later,” she told me.

The barberette unfastened the cape and pulled it forward, I slid my arms out of the sleeves and got up and headed towards the door.

I waited at the door as Mademoiselle Denault paid Natalie for my haircut, They were chatting in French so I tuned out of the conversation.

“OK, let’s go.” Mademoiselle Denault told me. And we walked out of the shop and back towards the arena complex.

She handed me a sandwich as we walked. It was ham and swiss cheese on French bread with mustard. It was good. The food here was really good. As we walked I got shivers from the mountain air blowing through in my newly exposed nape. I reached up to feel it and it felt really neat to me. I never felt short hair before and it was very different.

We got back to the arena and I was back in my change room again. I stood there in front of my mirror looking at myself for a moment before I started to get ready for afternoon session. I didn’t hate my haircut it was just so different. I never would have done this in a million years.

I got changed and put my skates back on. I was feeling better from the walk and my muscles were more relaxed. I grabbed my water bottle and towel and went back out onto the ice again.

“Voila” Mademoiselle Denault yelled out as I entered the ice. “You look fantastique, like a world-class figure skater now.” I smiled as she gave the compliment. I skated a few turns and skated over into my start position again.

“Garcon, jouez la musique.” She yelled out and the music started once again.

I started my routine once again. Left foot, step…wait for it, wait for it. The music hit and…Back side edge and right foot toe pick and…I flew through the air and I nailed the landing right on queue. I landed perfectly and I held my pose strong and hard as I skated into my next move.

“Très bon Emilie,” she called out, “Très bon,”.

I felt so much better now and I was skating so much better now. Just another sacrifice for me as I work towards my goals, and they are worth it.

Thanks for reading,



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