Chapter 95 of The Empty City

By Andrew Looney

Jim placed an ad in the 'Wanted' section of the City Paper classifieds which read:

"Amateur photographer seeks attractive woman with very long hair (waist length or longer) for photo studies. Payment in prints."

The ad also listed his name and phone number.

Jim had two goals in mind when he placed the ad. First, he was interested in shooting pictures of long haired women, because he wanted to practice taking pictures, and he considered models with long hair to be a bit more challenging to photograph than short haired women. He hoped to build up a portfolio. Secondly, he really liked long hair. He thought it looked great and also felt that he got along better with women with longer hair. It seemed to him that women with short hair were driven too much by the laws of fashion, while women who let their hair grow long were more real and less made up. So by placing the ad, Jim figured he might, just might, meet someone he could really get along with.

Three women called. The first was oriental, and had beautiful black hair, very straight and long. The second had brown hair, kind of frizzy and not quite waist length. The third, whose name was Lori, had incredible hair, a wonderful, rich blond, straight and smooth, very thick and very long, reaching down almost to her knees. Jim set up times to meet them and shot a roll of film on each. His pictures concentrated entirely on their hair; he shot pictures of their hair hanging down their backs, of them brushing their hair , of them lying on the floor with their hair brushed out in all directions, and this sort of thing.

Jim didn't seem to hit it off at all with either of the first two. With Lori, however, he appeared to have at least some slim chance, since she didn't appear to be dating anyone else and since she and Jim had gotten along well during the photo session. So, unlike with the first two, when Jim dropped off the photos from their first session, he asked if she'd be willing to pose for him again. She seemed delighted with the pictures and agreed.

So Jim met her again and shot another roll of photos. When he dropped these off, he suggested a third session... and decided to press his luck. He asked Lori if she'd be willing to pose a bit more, uh, "dramatically," than she had before. Jim had in mind a series of "Godiva" pictures, photos in which the model would be nude or semi-nude, but would be clothed, as it were, with her hair. Jim tried to make it very clear that the photos would not show any actual nudity. To his surprise and great delight, she agreed. They settled on the following Saturday, at her apartment.

At the appointed hour, Jim arrived. Lori introduced Jim to her two roommates, a couple of giggly, slightly overweight sisters, who promptly disappeared, as if on cue, to go shopping.

The apartment was very nice, a bit underfurnished perhaps, but roomy and clean. The living room had a wide, barren, light blue wall, which was a perfect neutral background to shoot against, and Jim quickly commented on this. Jim and Lori chatted awkwardly for a minute or two. She offered him a drink, and he accepted a Coke. They both tried hard to act casual and relaxed, but the tension was very thick. They both felt strange about what they were planning to do, and, while it was never discussed, the subject nevertheless loomed over them. Finally Jim said, "Well, I suppose we should get started." She nodded.

He began to busy himself with his camera equipment, and she disappeared down the hallway and into one of the bedrooms. After about a minute, she emerged again. She walked towards Jim very slowly. The dingy jeans and white T-shirt she'd been wearing before were gone. Her hair hung down in even masses on both sides of her head, neatly covering her breasts. She also had some of her hair draped over her left arm, which she held against her stomach so that the hair fell straight down, concealing her lower abdomen just so.

Jim tingled with excitement and delight. He smiled broadly at Lori and told her she looked fantastic, in fact perfect. Then he stopped talking and took some pictures. Lori walked past him to the plain living room wall to pose for a few more. Jim noticed as she turned her back to him that she had actually separated her hair into three clumps: two for either side up front, and a third which hung straight down her back, concealing her backside.

Jim shot an entire roll of film and immediately wished he'd brought another. With each shot, he worried about the flash settings, and halfway through he switched to available light photography so that if he was screwing up the flash shots the effort wouldn't be a total waste.

Each time he asked her to change to a new pose, Lori would comply very slowly. It was fascinating to watch her move. She had such grace, yet each movement she made was very slow and deliberate, calculated and exact. She was always very careful to make sure that her hair covered her where it mattered, not moving a muscle unless protected by this special shield. Jim found it fascinating and delightful, and while his male instincts hoped she would at some point goof it up, that she'd let the hair slip and permit him a glimpse of what was being kept hidden, he still had to admire her control and precision.

Finally Jim announced that he was out of film. Lori smiled, and then retreated to the room in the back, again walking with very slow and stately grace, her hair always remaining strategically placed. When the door shut behind her, Jim packed up his camera.

After a few minutes, she emerged, dressed again in the jeans and T-shirt, with her hair bound at the back in a pony tail. She and Jim both felt a rush of relief, and, for the first time, were able to talk and laugh and be relaxed in each other's company. Before long, fearing to outstay his welcome, Jim made for the door, promising to deliver a set of prints as soon as he got the film developed.

He stood in the hallway, with Lori looking out at him through the open door. "Thanks," he said, and turned to go. Then he turned back, and said, "Um, are you doing anything tonight?"

She slowly shook her head, no.

"How's about dinner?" asked Jim, trembling.

She nodded, with slow, careful grace.

Jim grinned a toothy grin and said "Great, I'll pick you up at 7:00, OK?"

She nodded again, and slowly shut the door, never taking her eyes off of Jim.

Jim went home feeling immensely happy, stopping on the way back to drop off the film at the developers.

Copyright © 1991 by Andrew Looney.

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