Home » Language » English » A Good Tidy-Up (To meet the parents) (Part 1)

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Sarah walked out of the hairdressers feeling extremely disappointed. She had arrived on time for her 4.30 appointment, only to find that her stylist had been taken ill, nobody had phoned to warn her and there were no other stylists that could tend to her until the next day.

This would normally be no more than an inconvenience, however, on this particular day, it was a total disaster! The reason being, that Sarah was going to meet her boyfriend’s parents for the very first time that evening. Sarah was understandably nervous, as she had grown very close to Steve and really believed that he was the one! Sarah was aware that Steve’s parents were rather “well to do” people who were highly respected in the local community. Furthermore, Steve had told her that his Dad was quite old fashioned in his values and his Mum was somewhat old fashioned and rather prim and proper. Her state of nervousness hadn’t been helped by Steve saying that it might be best if she didn’t wear her trendy clothes that night, as it would probably be better if she toned down her appearance a little, just for that night, by wearing a conservative dress and subtle makeup. Sarah would normally object, strongly, at being told what to wear, but she loved Steve, was desperate to make a good impression and believed that Steve knew best. She had, therefore, happily gone shopping for a very conservative floral dress and had bought a pair of pearl earrings to wear in place of the normal sassy hoops. She had also decided that having her hair trimmed would be a good idea.

The time was now 4.35 and Sarah, being stood outside the hairdressers, was now in a state of blind panic. Her hair actually looked fine, and worn with the new floral dress, would actually have looked less sassy and more smart than usual. Sarah, however, being in such a state of flux, didn’t realise this and had convinced herself that if she didn’t get a haircut, Steve’s mum would not approve and the evening would be an absolute disaster. The problem was, that hairdressers close at 5pm and the time was now 4.37. Sarah figured that she didn’t have time to go to the other trendy salon she knew, because that was a good 10 minute walk away, but she did spy the old fashioned ladies hairdressers across the road. She took a deep breath, concluded that “needs must” and proceeded to cross the road.

Sarah entered the hairdressers and was greeted by a rather matronly looking lady who looked to be in her early sixties.

“Hello, can I help you?”

“Oh I do hope you can, I’m in a complete pickle and I’m desperate for help. I’m meeting my boyfriend’s parents for the first time tonight, I’m desperate to make a good impression, I am in dire need of a haircut and my normal hairdresser has just let me down at the very last minute.”

“I’m sorry to hear that dear, what were you looking to have done?”

“Nothing fancy, I’m just desperate for a good tidy-up. I know I shouldn’t have left it to the last minute and that I should have had it done way before today, but I’d be so grateful if you could help me?”

“OK dear, as it’s for such an important occasion, of course I’ll help, but I’m afraid it will have to be a dry cut, as I have to catch my bus at 5.05, so we’ll have to be quick”

Sarah felt the most wonderful feeling of relief come over her as she was gowned-up and told to sit in front of the mirror. The hairdresser (Maureen) grabbed scissors and comb and commenced coming through Sarah” hair.

“So just a good tidy-up then, get this neatened up for you and get you looking neat and tidy for “the parents then?”

“Yes please”

Because of the urgency, there was only 10 minutes left, the hairdresser went to work quite vigorously. Being content that her hair was in fact going to be done after all, Sarah’s panic subsided and she returned to indulging in her nervousness of the evening. She was so wrapped up in thoughts of what she should say, what she should do, and what the parents would think of her, she barely noticed what Maureen was doing.

Maureen, meanwhile, had been assessing Sarah’s current style and had concluded that although it looked like one of the new and trendy choppy layered bob’s, it also looked like it could have been a short layered style that had grown-out. Maureen decided that it was probably the grown-out layered style because Sarah obviously liked her ears to be on show and that she, therefore, would normally have her hair cut neatly over her ears. Furthermore, Maureen concluded that if Sarah were to normally wear her hair in modern bob, then she wouldn’t be so desperate to have a good tidy up. Maureen was jumping to some wrong conclusions and these were further enhanced when Maureen considered some of the things Sarah had said, such as:

She had taken Sarah’s statement of; “I know I shouldn’t have left it to the last minute and that I should have had it done way before today” to mean “I haven’t had a haircut in months and I wish I hadn’t allowed my hair to grow-out into this fussy mess”.

She had also taken Sarah’s statement of; “I’m just desperate for a good tidy-up” as meaning “Please take me back to the neat and tidy short haircut I had before”

Sarah was blissfully unaware of Maureen’s conclusions and was so wrapped up in the job of being nervous that she didn’t notice that rather than leaving her with no defined parting, as was the norm, Maureen had parted her hair to the side and now had scissors in hand.

“Right then young lady; “Is this okay for you? Just a good tidy up?”

Sarah taking this as one question and believing Maureen was asking “Can I start?” smiled and said “Yes please”. Maureen, however, was asking 2 questions, with the other question meaning; “Are you happy for me to part your hair here?” Maureen took Sarah’s answer to mean; “Yes I would like a side parting please.”

At this point there’s barely 10 minutes left before Maureen has to leave, so quick-fast action was required. With scissors in hand, a lock of hair is combed up, scissors opened and………………SNIP! This was followed by a quick succession of further vigorous snips and, in no time, large clumps of hair were beginning to gather in Sarah’s lap. Maureen, with no regard for Sarah’s “trendy” image, continued snipping away in a determined and super quick fashion and although Sarah would normally be horrified, I guess because of the nerves or because she was flustered and in a strange situation, took no notice of what was happening, it was as if she was in a dream state. At 4.58, and just in the nick of time the hairdresser put down her scissors and proclaimed “There you are, you’re all tidied up, I’ve taken you back to a nice neat and tidy short haircut that is sure to impress the parents”. It wasn’t until this point that Sarah really took notice of what had been happening and there, staring back at her from the reflection of the mirror was a very different looking girl to the one who walked in no longer than 15 minutes beforehand. This young lady no longer had the young and trendy/fashionable hairstyle that made her look and feel so perky and attractive, but in it’s place was an extremely neat and tidy, plain and simple short layered haircut. It was a haircut that would normally be worn by a much older lady and, in fact, she now looked just like her Mum! Maureen had certainly given Sarah a good “tidying-up” and had left her with a very basic short layered haircut, neatly trimmed around her ears and cleanly cut up to her hairline. To finish off this new “neat & tidy” look, Sarah had been given an extremely precise side parting that Sarah, at this point, didn’t realise would be a permanent fixture. Maureen had layered Sarah’s hair in such a way, that the parting was permanent, Sarah may have been given neat and tidy hair, but from now on, her styling options were zero; whether she was at work, at play, in the disco or making mad passionate love, she would have no choice but to wear her hair in the same, plain old neat and tidy side part. Sarah, whether she liked it or not, would be wearing h
er hair just like this, for a very long time, until the layers had grown out, regardless of any effort with gels and the such. What made the contrast even more severe, was the fact that the blond hilites that had brought real life to Sarah’s hair had been foresaken and were now lying in her lap. Sarah had been returned to her natural colour, she was now the owner of a very neat little head of short mousie brown hair. Before Sarah had fully taken in the full effect of her new appearance, Maureen had placed a mirror behind Sarah’s head and was showing off more of her handy work.

“There you are my dear, you can see I’ve taken it up nice and short for you and thanks to losing the length, we’ve taken you back to your natural colour. I think it’s nice for ladies with short hair to show off their collars, I think that’s very neat and tidy and looks much better, don’t you?”

Sarah could see that not only was her collar showing, but for the first time her neck and ears were completely naked of hair and were on full view for the whole world to see. To emphasize this point all the more, Sarah discovered that although they looked quite sweet, she had “sticky-out” ears. Although Sarah was completely shocked at what she saw, she could do nothing but agree that YES it was much more neat and tidy than before. However, before, she had a fashionable hairstyle that made her look young, confident and attractive, but now she had a sensible “old fashioned” haircut that made her look rather prim and proper and gave her the appearance of an unassuming, quiet and gentle girl rather than the perky fun loving girl that everyone knew her to be. Maureen put down the mirror and started to remove the gown and Sarah could do nothing but watch as her beautiful discarded locks fell limply to the floor. Sarah walked towards the counter and asked how much she needed to pay, Maureen who was now looking somewhat flustered said there was no charge, but asked that as she was now running really late and she was frightened that she’d miss her bus, would Sarah mind sweeping up the discarded hair and put it in the bin. Sarah couldn’t turn down such a reasonable request, but it did feel mighty strange as she leant down, swept up her pretty blond locks and through them away in the bin. Sarah left the hairdressers in a state of shock and numbness. She couldn’t help but run her fingers though her hair, it felt really strange, but at the same time rather nice. Nice that she could feel the tingling sensation of her neck and ears, nice that it was now easier to run her fingers through her hair and nice that what ever she did, her hair felt that it was falling back into place all by itself. To prove this point, she stared at her reflection in a shop window and received her confirmation, her hair had in fact fallen completely back into place and was still looking wonderfully neat and tidy, all be it somewhat plain.

The word PLAIN began to float around in her mind and the more she stared at her reflection, the stronger this word became as the realisation set in that she really had become a very plain and sedate looking girl! Half an hour earlier she had been a very confident “Sexy Sarah”, but that was history! Now she was, without a doubt, a somewhat shy looking “Plain Jane”! This realisation filled her mind with fear and an endless stream of questions; What had she just done? How had she allowed it to happen? Had she asked for this hairstyle or had it been chosen for her? Why didn’t she pay attention to what was happening? Why didn’t she say something and stop it from happening? Did she, deep down, want this to happen? Was this a good thing to have happened?

Sarah began to calm herself down and started to focus on this last question, “Was this a good thing to have happened?” She concluded, that in lots of ways, maybe it was, as, after all;-

She always spent too much time on her hair and now it was nice and short, it would take a third of the time it used too.

She’d often wondered how it would feel to have a really short haircut and now she had one, she could begin, hopefully, to enjoy the experience.

Her Mum had often said that she’d like to see her “baby girl” in a nice plain and simple short haircut. This thought brought a smile to Sarah’s face as in a short while, her Mum would realise that her desire had come true and that she’d be thrilled to see that her daughter had finally said goodbye to her fussy funky haircut and hello to sensible short hair.

Sarah’s positive thoughts continued:-

She was trying for promotion at work and now that she had “sensible hair” perhaps her chances would increase.

Last of all, her thoughts went to “meeting the parents”. Her boyfriend, Steve, had described his parents as being rather old fashioned and conservative and this actually filled her with confidence as this sounded as if they would approve of Steve’s prim and proper plain and sedate looking girlfriend. Her confidence, however, soon waned and turned to pure panic! Steve! What would he think? What would he say? He wouldn’t be happy, as after all, when he’d see the picture of Sarah with her hair half way down her back, he said he loved it and gave the impression that he wanted her to grow it back to that length again. What if he only liked her for her hair? What if he only liked trendy “girlie” girls with sexy long hair and trendy clothes?

Again, Sarah tried to calm herself down and to start thinking more rationally, she asked herself the same question again: Was this a good thing to have happened? She repeated the positive points as before but then, when she thought about work, this time she focused on the fact that she was going to have to present herself with her new image at work. Her thoughts went to what people would think when they saw her new toned down image; How could she walk into work knowing that everyone would be looking at her, knowing that she used to be the “pretty one” and now, without giving anybody any prior warning, she had voluntarily transformed herself into the plain looking one? She quickly nipped that in bud by thinking of all the jealousy between the “girly” girls in the office and concluded that now the hair and the image have gone, they would no longer have anything to be jealous of! She then turned her thoughts to Steve and to why she’d actually had her hair cut. She’d had it cut because she wanted to make a good impression on his parents! She, had, therefore, had her hair cut short for him, for a very good reason and as a result, whether he liked it or not, he now had a short haired girlfriend. Feeling reassured by this last thought, Sarah concluded that rather than give him the shock of his life she’d best phone him and give him a warning. She nervously dialed his number and when he answered she asked him what time he was picking her up and then immediately said; “Babe, when you pick me up, your going to be in for a bit of a surprise” She continued; “Well, you know you said that your parents were old fashioned and rather conservative” “Well, I wanted to look my best for them and although I know you wanted me with long hair, I thought it better if your parents saw me with short hair” “Yes, I’ve got short hair, I had it all cut-up this afternoon” “It’s just a plain and simple short layered haircut, it’s nothing fancy and to be honest it is rather conservative, but you did say that your parents liked people to look smart, and now I do!

Sarah arrived home, let herself in and as she closed the door she heard her mum shout “hello” from upstairs. Sarah called back and suggested that her mum come down stairs as she had a surprise for her. Sarah went into the kitchen and whilst she was filling the kettle with water, her Mum walked in. The first thing her mum saw was the back of a girl who had a very neat and tidy short haircut. Initially she couldn’t believe her eyes, but very quickly the realization that at last, her baby girl had opted for a sensible, smart, short haircut. Sarah’s mum could contain her enthusiasm no longer as she gushed; “Hello you. What have you been up to?” Sarah slowly tur
ned around and broke into a coy little smile. Her Mum, now having full view of the effects of Maureen’s scissors, gushed further “Oh look at you, Look at you! You’ve had all your hair cut off! Oh yes, that’s much better! Much neater! Now, then, you must let me have a closer look, do a twirl for me and let me see how nice you look with your hair all nice and short”

Although Sarah was feeling a little silly complying with her Mum’s request, she dutifully commenced twirling, just like she did when she was little and was modeling new clothes or a haircut. Her Mum looked intently at her new neat and tidy daughter and couldn’t help feel that she had become a very respectable looking young woman, if not a little prim and proper in appearance. She gave Sarah a big smile, followed by a big hug and whilst she ran her fingers through her daughters neatly cropped hair, she whispered “I’m really proud of you, I knew you’d look nice in short hair.

With that, the kettle boiled and Sarah’s Mum sat at the table and watched as Sarah made the coffee. “So, my neat and tidy short haired one, tell me all about it? What made you cut all your hair off?

Sarah recounted the story and by the time she’d finished, it was time to go upstairs and get herself ready for the evening ahead….

To be continued……..

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