I strode along the streets, looking for my destination. Alice had told me it was a 100 year old warehouse building, so it must look pretty antique. Nevertheless, the street was filled with century-old buildings and it took some effort before finding the correct one.
I walked through the entrance and entered the salon. There was no reception counter, but a long row of stools lay along one side of the salon. There seemed to be a long queue as many people sat on these stools, seemingly waiting for their haircut. The other side was filled with salon chairs, mostly with clients on them. What sent a shiver down my neck were the unusual looks most of the stylists sported. Nevertheless, since Alice personally introduced it, I tried not to let it get to me.
I took a seat at the end of the queue on the stools, and waited patiently for my turn. Unpredictably, the queue actually cleared up pretty quickly as there were quite a few stylists working and they were pretty efficient in their work. Each client only took approximately ten minutes to finish before they are up and gone.
Not long after, I was already on the stool at the very front of the queue, meaning I was next. Not far off at the corner, I saw a lady dressed in a purple top and jeans finishing up her client. Chances are I’m going to get my haircut by her. While she was dressed appropriately, her bob had a purple streak dyed in and it reflected on her negatively.
As she brushed the loose hairs off her client and unfastened the cape, I prepared myself, breathing in and out continuously. Changing stylists are never easy for girls.
Thereafter, the client got up, paid the stylist and left. The stylist then turned and exchanged looks with me. She smiled and gestured for me to take a seat. I stood up and went over to take a seat.
As I sat down, I spoke up to her. ‘Hi, I’m introduced by Alice?’ I said.
‘Ah, I see you’re a friend of Alice. Don’t worry, you’ll be in good hands!’ she replied.
She dialogued further, ‘I’m Sheila, nice to meet you. Just to clarify, the norm here is that the stylists give their clients the cut they think best suits them. The client has no say here, and that’s what makes us unique. You don’t know what you’re going to look like until the stylist finishes the cut!’
‘What?’ I thought. Now that really got me. Alice didn’t mention this part to me! I can’t get to choose how I want my haircut? That affected me greatly, so much I momentarily wanted to stand up and leave.
However, just as I wanted to stand up, Sheila pinned me down by the shoulders, forcing me back on the chair. ‘Come on, you’ll look great!’ she exclaimed. I stared in disbelief as she covered my neck firmly with a neck strip, and draped a large white hairdressing cape over me, fastening it tightly around my neck. ‘Too late now,’ I guessed.
Before commencing the cut, Sheila placed an oversized haircutting collar around my shoulders, and it weighed down on me. ‘It’s to help keep the client sitting up and straight,’ Sheila explained.
I clenched my fists tightly onto the arms of the salon chair, horrified at the thought of not knowing how Sheila is going to cut my hair. Sheila was then picking up a pair of electric clippers, and that really brought me to the extremity, almost breaking down in tears for fear of losing my long locks.
Sheila attached a long blade to the clippers, and then repositioned herself on my right. The clippers turned on with a thud, and as the clippers came close to my scalp, I closed my eyes as the machine changed tunes while shearing through my blonde locks. My eyes got wet as I thought, ‘Alright, a pixie cut for me. That’s not too bad,’ consoling myself psychologically.
Sheila continued pushing the clippers from front to back, starting from the sideburn area. As the clippers severed off my tresses, a small, thin sideburn was left in place. Things turned bad when I noticed Sheila wasn’t working around my back and sides, but over the top! She continued combing down sections from the top of my head and shaving it off with the clippers!
As she reached the centre point of my head, I stared in horror at my reflection in the mirror. I looked like a freak! One side was still full of my long luscious hair, whereas the other side was shaved down to less than in inch. Sheila reached for a brush to clean off any loose hairs around my face.
She then moved to my left, and started from the sideburn area again. The clippers tore through my hair, and the sheared locks slid down the large cape, resting in my lap above the cape or on the salon floor. More and more locks tumbled down the cape as she worked her way up the head, depriving me of all my long locks soon after.
Tears slid down my face as I saw the last lock shorn off my head, and all I was left in place was super-short hair all over. Sheila tried to console me that it looked great and accentuated my features, but to no avail. I was convinced it looked terrible, and told myself I will never return to Sheila again.