Changing Salons

I had been pacing meaninglessly about within the premises of the mall for awhile now. It was already nearly an hour since I arrived, but I wasn’t certain I had made up my mind. The fact is, I was actually procrastinating over whether to go into this particular hair salon or not. It was located at one of the quieter corners of the mall, but was not short of customers at all, always observing their hairstylists having a client to work on at any one time.

I’ve been letting my hair grow out for a considerable period of time, starting near four months ago, and it just seemed longee hair was not really my cup of tea. It’s a good few inches longer than the standard caesar cut many sport, but has almost gone out of control due to its texture. Tangles and kinks were aplenty due to the curliness, and I just felt that I could not live with my head of hair like this for much longer. When I first came to this conclusion, the first thing I did was to surf the net, hoping to locate someone that can salvage this mess for me. There was a website that provided reviews on many reputable salons that do fashionable cuts for men around the area, and there was this particular one caught my eye.

The reviews may be largely positive, but I was still skeptical. Reviews always weren’t the best assurance for first-timers. I wanted to take a look beforehand personally, and that was why, I had been strolling past that hair salon for several times now, attempting to disguise myself as a passer-by simply walking by, hoping to get a clear glimpse of what is going on in there each time I pass by. I try not to be too noticeable as I do so, and hopefully they had not caught on.

The hair salon was humbly decorated, simply a moderate-sized space lined with a couple of haircutting stations. Each station was a combination of an oriental-looking rectangular mirror with rounded corners, and a leathered red salon chair. There were around five stations in total, and two were occupied by a client when I last peeked. Finally, a small front desk counter sits just beside the shop entrance, overseen by a mature-looking lady whom went slightly over on her makeup.

After so many glances, I had decided that deliberating further was not an option. I was just going to head in there, and ask for a walk-in haircut, hoping for the best. After all, with clients aplenty as I observed, there was little possibility that this was a downhill trip. I took a deep breath, and made the walk towards the front desk counter. As expected, I was received by the lady behind the counter.  ‘Do you have an appointment?’ she asked. I replied with a no and she broke a smile, as if striking gold. A walk-in customer was such a steal with many in town preferring to stick to a hairdresser that they frequented. She led me to one of the vacant stations and informed me that a hairstylist will be available to serve me shortly.

While waiting, she served me some water and provided me with some magazines to read, but I was too engrossed in checking out the hair salon to bother. I had only noticed then after I sat down that the rest of the customers were all female. It made the entire ambience a little awkward personally, but that was quickly dispelled as a young man suddenly came up behind me and started shampooing my hair. I wasn’t expecting a wash-and-cut, but it was too late to refuse as he had already started lathering my hair. There was an awkward silence throughout the wash, with both of us unwilling to start a conversation. Nonetheless he was efficient jn his work, and subsequently guided me to the washing basin to get my hair all wet and clean.

I sat back at the salon chair as he took a white hairdressing cape out, and draped it over me, fastening it snuggly around my neck. Just then, he looked towards one of the hairstylists, a female in a true red blazer and skinny jeans, whom was now idling near the front desk. He had asked her if he needed to drape the haircutting collar around my neck. She replied him casually with a no and dismissed him to help another hairstylist with a perm. She walked up to me, and greeted me with a wide smile. ‘Hello, how may I help you today?’ she asked. I was usually quite shy when I switched to a new hairstylist, but her pleasant smile somehow dissipated all of the shyness in a moment of seconds. I readily opened up to her and responded. ‘I’m really tired of all my hair and I was hoping you could suggest a new hairstyle that could suit me.’

Upon understanding my request, she examined my current hair texture and length using a comb from her pouch. ‘You have really curly hair, thus the sides and back would stick up if it grows out too much. I can crop the sides and back very short to the skin, but leave the top section longer so that you can have some versatility in styling it. How is that?’ she probed.

I was expecting some length to go, but never would have thought of cropping my sides and back to the skin! I wasn’t so sure of revealing part of my scalp, but I didn’t wanted to disappoint when she seemed so keen. I decided to give leeway, and subjected to her suggestion. ‘Sounds great, but try not to go too short on the sides and back,’ I answered. She smiled at my willingness to trust her professionalism.

Just then, she excused herself for a minute, and returned shortly, holding on to a medium-sized pair of hair clippers. She unfastened the cape and tightened it to ensure loose hairs don’t fall through onto my clothes, much needed as she was about to send loads of hair raining down the cape.

She now stood beside me again, and asked once more. ‘Are you ready?’ this time still bearing that same wide smile. I wasn’t totally sure that this would work out, but found it increasingly difficult to refuse that smile of her. I gave a slight nod, amounting to approval for her to begin.

She combed my hair swiftly to get the sections nice and neat, and proceeded to run the hair clipper up my temple. Shorn locks of hair fell quickly, and gathered on my lap above the cape. She drove the hair clipper up a couple more times, and contrast quickly became prominent between both sides. On one side, my long curly hair was still there, dishevelled and scraggly, whereas on the other side, it was now shorn tight to the skin, resembling that of a ‘high and tight’ haircut the military soldiers usually get. That made me quite nervous.

The stylist moved on to crop the other side as short as the first, and finally moved to the back. She tilted my head gently forward, to a 45 degree angle, and sectioned the hair above the nape, and pinned it up with a long hairpin so that she can get a clean crop on my nape. She proceeded to push the hair clipper up my nape, and it felt lighter with each push made. I could not see what was going on behind; my head was tilted downwards and all I could see was the pile of my curly hair that gathered earlier on my lap. But I knew for sure, it was going to be really short.

Done with the nape, she unpinned both the crown area and the section above my nape. My curly hair refused to budge and stayed up even after being unpinned. The stylist did not seem annoyed by my unruly hair. Instead, she patiently combed out the tangles until it laid down nicely for the remaining cut.

She placed away the hair clipper onto a narrow table just below the mirror, and took out a pair of haircutting scissors. She proceeded, drawing section after section of hair from the top, and cropping off at least three inches of my hair with each snip. My curly hair rained everywhere, be it onto my shoulders, onto the lap or cascading down to the floor. It was only then did I notice that the female clients being served at the other stations were observing my big change. I met eyes with a young lady sat on the other side of the salon via the mirror, and she gave me a cute smile. I felt embarrassed for a moment, but I also felt good knowing that I was getting a girl’s attention for the moment.

Within minutes, she seemed done with the haircut and blow-dried my hair with a hairdryer that was attached to each station. I loved the cut; she managed to grasp the correct length such that my curly hair laid down nicely and straight, and while the super short sides and back wasn’t part of my original plan, the cut was nonetheless even and I liked it.

She smiled at me appreciating my new cut, and used some hair clay to style it into a backcomb look. ‘Theres a lot of versatility in this cut, if you don’t like to style it in a backcombing method, you can get a natural look as well by just gently pulling the top hair towards its natural growth direction.’ she advised. I nodded and thanked her for the practical advice.

She unfastened the cape gently, so that the loose hairs that had gathered around my neck would not fall onto my clothes. I stood up and admired the cut for a while longer. I touched the cropped sides and back, and somehow, mysteriously, I loved the feel of running my fingers through it. The soft, prickly feel aroused me. I was thoroughly surprised by that.

She bid me goodbye with her signature smile, and I proceeded to the front desk to make payment, elated at the fact that I made a good choice getting my haircut at this hair salon.

I’m getting my next haircut here again!

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