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Week 2 Sunday

Sunday morning Christine was up earlier than Melissa, which was nearly unheard of. It was Christine’s turn to fix breakfast and she decided to fix scrambled eggs, bacon and fruit bowls for everyone. She got breakfast ready and even started Paula’s coffee.

By the time Melissa came down she was almost done. She had nothing important to do so she tried to occupy herself by fixing a jug of lemonade.

“I’ve got breakfast ready Melissa but I can’t cook it until Mom comes down.”

“That’s OK Christine, I can wait. Melissa began talking about her plans for the day while nibbling at her fruit bowl.

“Well, you girl’s are up early today. I guess you both have a lot going on. What’s for breakfast?”

It’s a surprise Mom. I have to cook it now that you’re here. The coffee is ready.”

Christine had already cooked bacon. She had kept her large skillet warm and had put the bowl of scrambled eggs in the fridge. She had added chopped red and green peppers and chopped onions to the scrambled eggs based on a recipe that she had read somewhere. She poured the mixture into the skillet and soon had it cooked to her satisfaction. She spooned it onto plates and added strips of bacon.

“Wow, Christine, that looks terrific, Melissa exclaimed.

“Thanks.”

Breakfast proceeded with numerous expressions of pleasure. Finally they finished. Melissa was looking forward to her head shave, so she volunteered to clean up the kitchen even though it should have been Paula’s turn. Christine pitched in to help.

“Come on Christine, let’s get set up upstairs. Mom, can you come up in a little while. We’re going over to Audra’s house this afternoon.”

“OK, I’ll be right up, as soon as I finish this one article.”

Upstairs Melissa had everything set up in just a few minutes.

“Do, you want me to do you first Melissa. I think I need the practice. I wasn’t paying much attention yesterday. Mom can make it nice and smooth if I don’t get it right.”

“Sure. You’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly.”

“Mom I’m ready to start. Should I put on the shaving gel.” Christine had stuck her head over the railing to call down to Paula.

“Go ahead Christine, but don’t forget to make sure the shaver is clean.”

“Oh yeah. I forgot that.”

Christine smoothed the gel onto Melissa’s head and rubbed it in with her fingers. “It’s beginning to have a little tan Melissa. I think it looks good and it’s not very rough.” She wiped her hands on a towel and felt her own head, carefully exploring it. “Mine’s not very rough either. I think it was rougher than this last week.”

She popped the head off the shaver and ran it under hot water. It looked completely clean.

“Look’s like you’re ready to get started. Go ahead. Try to keep the head of the shaver flat against her scalp. That way you get the closest shave. Take your time and feel it as you go. That way you can figure out how hard to press. You need to use some pressure, but not too much.”

“OK. Should I start here?” She indicated the area in front of Melissa’s left ear.

“Sure. Go ahead. You’ll do fine.”

Christine slowly ran the shaver up to the curve of Melissa head. She felt the result and repeated the the path with a little more pressure. This time she was satisfied with the result. She began another path. The third path was right at the top of Melissa’s ear.

“How do I do this Mom. Her ear is in the way.”

“Just bend her ear down with your other hand. You’ll have to hold the shaver at an angle there, but it seem to work OK if you go over that area a couple of times from different directions.”

Several passes later the area was done satisfactorily. The area behind the ear went a little faster. Christine switched to the other side and repeated the process, this time with more confidence.

“Time to rinse off the shaver Christine. It tends to get full of gel. You’re doing fine. Just relax Melissa. She has to practice to get good at it. In a few more days it will go a lot faster.” Melissa had started to fidget in impatience at the slow progress that Christine was making.

“OK.”

Christine took the head off and rinsed it again. She saw that there was a lot of gel in the cutters, which she cleaned thoroughly. Snapping the head back on she began to shave the back of Melissa’s head. She was trying to keep the shaver perpendicular to the scalp, but she couldn’t find a comfortable way of holding it so that she could go from the neck to the crown without stopping to change her grip. She decided to go up only to the top of Melissa’s ears from one side to the other, then do a second pass. That worked better. She checked her work, went over a couple of spots and continued to the part above the top of the ears. By the time she was ready to do the top she was feeling quite confident. Another quick rinse of the shaver and she was ready to start. She hesitated a moment then quickly went to the middle of Melissa head, making a path from forehead to crown and a little beyond. Once again she realized that a long path like that was difficult to do, so she went just halfway back on the next pass. Now she felt that she had developed a good technique, but she soon discovered a rather obvious fact. The shaver’s head was straight, but Melissa’s head was curved. You had to do a lot of closely spaced passes to get a good result. A few more passes and checks with her finger and she was satisfied.

“I think I’m done Mom. Do you want to check it?”

Paula ran her fingers over Melissa’s head looking for rough spots. She found a couple that she thought could be better.

“I found only 3 spots that you didn’t do very well Christine. I’ll put gel on them and you can go over them once more. Try a different angle to see if that will help.”

“I think I’m getting the technique down. It’s sort of like the way I have to learn the technique of the backstroke. It seemed very awkward at first, but once I got comfortable it was easy.”

The final bit of shaving went quickly and Christine put the shaver aside.

“Use a damp warm cloth to wipe off the extra gel, but don’t rub it hard. It’s always sensitive after a close shave. That’s it. Then pat it dry with a dry towel.”

Christine unpinned the towel from around Melissa’s neck and she jumped out of the chair, eager to have her turn.

“Melissa, you can do Christine, and you can both put on the moisturizer afterwards.”

Christine sat down in the chair and the process was repeated. Melissa had been a careful observer of Paula for the past week. She worked quickly to apply gel to Christine head. Her practice the day before had given her some confidence and she began without any hesitation. Just as Paula and Christine had done she started with the left side. After a couple of passes and careful checking of the quality of the result, she settled in and worked steadily. Paula reminded her to rinse the shaver once. She worked with obvious concentration and in a short time all but the top of Christine’s head had been smoothly shaved. Another quick rinsing of the shaver and the top of Christine’s head was rapidly shaved. Like Christine, she discovered that the paths from front to back had to overlap if little lines of rough bristles were not to be left behind. Finally she went over Christine’s head for a final time and pronounced it done.

“I’m done Mom. Please check it.”

“Very good job Melissa. Here’s one spot you should go over.”

After a quick clean up, both girls stood in front of the mirror and applied the special moisturizer.

“You did a really good job Christine. It’s really nice and smooth.”

“You did too. It’s feels soft and silky.”

“It looks great Christine. Steffie is going to love it.”

“Well, if you girls can stop admiring each other, I’ll help you put on the shiner.”

“All right! That will make us look even better.” Melissa’s infectious enthusiasm spilled out int
o the room.

They stood in front of the mirror and applied the moisturizer, a process that had become routine. Finally Melissa was done and went back to have the shiner applied. Christine continued to look at herself and applied some more moisturizer. Finished with Melissa, Paula turned to Christine.

“Are you ready for the shiner Christine?” Christine had been looking at herself in the mirror and for the first time realized she liked what she saw. The strangeness of that realization contrasted intensely with the voice in her head that told her that she was out of her mind to like being bald. The conflicting emotions were beginning to make her dizzy.

“Uh, yeah. OK.” She went back to the chair in a bit of a daze. Paula noticed her distraction.

“Are you OK Christine?”

“I feel funny, Mom. I liked how I looked, but I thought I was going crazy to like being bald. It’s really weird!”

“I think I understand Christine. It is a conflict in your mind. But it will get better. Most of your friends think you look great. Isn’t that what you told me?”

“That’s what they say, but it’s hard to believe.”

“It’s the truth. You’re different, but you’re strikingly beautiful with your bald head. They recognized it.”

“It’s still hard to believe. And I keep thinking that people are laughing at me when I’m not looking. Or saying things like Johnny did.”

“Well, I’m sure they’re not. Most people anyway. Of course there are always a few people who can’t accept anyone who is different and will make unfeeling remarks. But you’re strong and can take it. There, you’re done. And you’re gorgeous – no doubt about it. You just have to accept that as a fact.”

Paula had done a careful job of applying the shiner and buffing it a little the way the instruction suggested. The two girls had a very noticeable shine on their perfectly bare heads. Christine had completely lost the pallor of freshly exposed skin and now had a definite bit of tan. Melissa was naturally fair skinned, but her constant exposure to the sun while playing soccer had given her a distinct tan which was not yet matched by her bald head. She had to be much more careful with it than Christine in order not to get sunburned, but it now definitely exhibited a normal light skin color rather than the original pallor. Paula thought they looked both beautiful and like adorable angels at the same time. She was looking forward to the time when she could get her own head shaved as smooth as the girls. She wondered how long she was going to be able to hold out. She wanted to get her hair cut now, but knew she should wait until she had settled in to her new job.

Christine and Melissa spent part of the morning trying on different outfits. Paula read the newspaper, Christine went back to reading her novel, and Melissa went to her room to work on a handicraft project that she had brought home from the rec center.

“Come on Christine, we can go now. Audra will be back from Church.”

“OK, I coming.”

Both girls had chosen rather conservative shorts and tops, similar to the style that Audra wore. They knew that Audra’s family was more conservative than a lot of the kid’s families. Christine was curious about “Aunt Steffie.”

“Melissa, have you met Audra’s Aunt Steffie?”

“Yes. Last Christmas. She was visiting for a few days and she was there the day after Christmas when I went over.”

They told Paula, who was working at her computer, that they were going and got on their bikes for the 15 minute ride to Audra’s house on the other side of the park. When they arrived, they discovered that Penny and Cindi were there also, having been invited by Audra. They were all outside talking when Christine and Melissa arrived. After the usual exchange of greetings and exclamations of how they liked each other’s outfits they headed indoors.

“Aunt Steffie, they’re here.”

A voice came from upstairs. “I’m coming.”

A tall, very attractive woman with golden brown skin and very short clippered hair revealing a perfectly shaped head came down the stairs. Two steps from the bottom she stopped.

“Well, will you look at that. Is that you Melissa. And you must be Christine. Just look at you two! I’ve seen some beautiful girls before, but you two are at the top of the list now. Those are the two most gorgeous heads I’ve ever seen. Let me have a close look at you. Do you mind if I feel it?”

Melissa offered her head. Steffie ran her hand over it, then touched it gently with finger tips. “Girl, that is really awesome. Smooth as silk, soft as velvet and with an outstanding shine. And you too Christine. And I always thought that we black girls carried off a bald head the best. Well let me tell you that you’re making me give that idea a second thought. Audra tells me that it was you Mom’s idea for you to be shaved. Well you just tell her that I think she is a genius. Melissa, you are so beautiful I can’t resist giving you a hug. And you too Christine. I am really excited to meet you. You are fabulous!” Steffie’s enthusiasm was infectious. They all laughed and tried to talk at the same time as Steffie came into the room and gave Melissa and Christine hugs.

“You haven’t had any trouble have you? Sometimes kids can be ugly. Audra told me that you had a little problem with some kids the first day. How are things going now?”

“Oh, they’re OK. The kids on the swim team said that I got my head shaved just so I could swim faster. I wish it was true. Anyway, things have been pretty good. Most of the kids say it looks nice. I’m getting used to it and it doesn’t seem so strange now.”

“How about boys? They should all be coming around to talk to you?”

“A couple have talked to me. None of them have said anything bad.”

The rest of the girls were all looking at each other wanting to tell about Tommy. Audra put her finger to her lips. Obviously Steffie already knew.

“You mean that none of them have taken a special interest in a beautiful girl like you? They must all be blind?”

“Well there is Tommy. We kind of hang around together.”

Penny couldn’t restrain herself any longer. “He took her to the movies yesterday. He wants her to be his girlfriend for sure.”

“Does he like your bald head? Seems like he must if he has been hanging out with you all week and has taken you to a movie. He must think you’re special. Isn’t that right?”

“I don’t know. He has never said anything about me being bald.”

“Doesn’t matter. You are one lucky girl to have a guy like that. He doesn’t care if you’re bald. He likes you. I guarantee that he thinks you’re beautiful with a bald head. And of course he’s right.”

“He did say I looked nice. We don’t talk about stuff like that very much.”

“You’re right. Lots of other things are more important than a bald head. Still it makes you quite special. Maybe you and Melissa will start a whole new look for your schools. So, Audra, now that you see how great Christine and Melissa look without any hair at all, when are you going to get yours done right. Like I told you, you would look super with it clipper cut like mine.”

“I don’t know Aunt Steffie. I’ve been thinking about it. You really think I would look good.”

“Absolutely. You really need to get rid of that hair and show off your best features. I’m coming back in two weeks. You think about it and if you’re ready I know a shop where they can give us both really good cuts. I’ll need one by then anyway.”

“OK, I’ll think about it. Maybe I will do it.”

“Yeah, Audra, you really would look neat. I saw a picture of a bald model in a magazine that my sister had. She had skin about the same color as yours and she looked super. I think you would look really great.” Penny had become a fan of the bald look on girls. The thought of getting her own hair cut kept recurring.

Cindy chimed in. “I saw a black woman on a TV show a couple of days ago. At first I didn’t realize that she
was bald, but she was really beautiful. Your Aunt Steffie looks really good too, and so would you. You should go for it.” Cindi had become so used to seeing Melissa’s bald head that she had come to admire it despite her original antipathy. She found herself being drawn to the idea.

“See Audra, It’s unanimous. Everybody thinks you would look great with a short clipper cut like mine or even shorter.”

“Maybe so, but don’t rush me Aunt Steffie.”

“OK. You guys have fun. I’ll see you later.”

There were games, snacks, talking and a lot of giggling. Christine found herself getting into the fun even though she was two years older. Even Audra’s seventeen year old sister played some games with them. The impromptu gathering broke up around five o’clock and they all headed home.

“Audra’s Aunt Steffie is pretty neat. She thought you were really good looking didn’t she?” Melissa asked Christine.

“Yeah, but it still seems pretty weird to go around bald, even if people say they like it. It’s hard to believe they actually mean it.

They rode quietly the rest of the way home, where they were recruited to help with dinner.

“Mom, Audra’s Aunt Steffie really liked our bald heads. She said that Christine was beautiful and tried to get Audra to get her hair cut off.”

“Well, you two are beautiful with your bald heads and Audra would be too. I’ve seen a few bald black girls and they are outstanding – very dramatic looking.”

Dinner proceeded as usual. It was Melissa’s turn to clean up. Afterwards they all watched TV. Melissa wasn’t very interested in the show Paula and Christine wanted to watch and started to leave just as the phone rang. She answered it expecting to hear one of her friends.

“Christine, it’s for you. It’s Tommy.”

Christine jumped up and hurried over to where Melissa held the phone out for her.

“Hi……. We were over at Audra’s place……. Yes, we did meet her Aunt Steffie…… Well, she told Audra she should get her hair cut really short……. She said she thought Melissa and I looked good……. You do? Really? You’re not just saying that are you?…….Why didn’t you say something before?…….. Oh, thanks, me too. I mean about you…… I’d like to do that. It would be fun….. I’ll ask Mom. Wait a minute.” She put the phone down and went back into the family room where Paula was still watching TV although the volume was quite low.

“Mom, Tommy wants to know if I can go with him to the band shell concert they’re having next Sunday. It’s free. I can go because the swimming meet is on Saturday.”

“I don’t see why not Christine. Will you go by bike? I could drive you if you want.”

“I’ve been there on my bike before. It’s not too far.”

“Then go ahead. It’s fine with me. Why don’t you invite Tommy to have dinner with us when you get back.” Paula couldn’t help but hear the exuberance in Christine tone of voice. She had heard most of the one sided conversation and had a good idea what Tommy had said that had caused it.

“OK.” She rushed back to the kitchen to pick up the phone.

“It’s OK. After we get back from the concert, would you like to have dinner here? It would just be the four of us. We could hang out after dinner for a while…… I’ll tell Mom. What time do we need to leave…….. OK, I’ll be ready.”

‘Mom, Tommy is going to stay for dinner.” The elation in Christine’s voice was plain to hear.

“That’s nice. You seem excited. Did something happen?”

“Oh, Mom. He really likes me. He said that he had wanted to talk to me all during school last year, but there were always a lot of kids around. I think he’s a little bit shy. Anyway he said he didn’t want to say anything about me being bald because that wasn’t why he liked me, but being bald made me especially beautiful, like a princess from some different land.”

“That’s wonderful Christine. I’m really glad he likes you for yourself and not because you look different from the other kids. He seems like a very thoughtful and grownup young man.”

Christine was exhilarated the remainder of the evening. She finally settled down a couple of hours later.

“I have to get up early to go to my new job tomorrow Christine. So it will be up to you and Melissa to take care of your shaves. I guess you’re pretty much OK with that now.”

“Sure, Mom. We can do it fine.”

Monday – Week 2

Melissa was on her way downstairs when she heard Paula on the steps behind her. Before she could turn around, Paula spoke. “Good morning Melissa. Did you sleep well?”

“Hi Mom. I guess I must have. I feel good this morning. Christine is already up too. Isn’t it great that Christine has a boyfriend like Tommy. He is really a neat guy.” Melissa was almost as excited as Christine about the development.

“You’re right. He is a neat guy. And I’m happy for Christine She deserved to have such a nice guy to be with. But remember, even though they like each other now, it might not last; they might meet other people when school starts. Still having such a nice boyfriend can make the summer really special.”

“I guess so, but I hope it lasts longer than that. I’ll go get the newspaper.”

“What were you two talking about?” Christine heard Melissa’s last remark and surmised that it had something to do with her.

“We were talking about Tommy and what a great guy he is. He’s pretty lucky to have a girlfriend like you too.” Melissa was never shy about saying what she thought.

Christine could not find anything to criticize about that, so she stammered a little in getting out, “Uh, thanks. He’s not like most of the other guys. He doesn’t try to show off and he’s really smart. He almost has an A average and its almost all advanced placement classes. He said I could come to his Tae Kwon Do and Judo class to watch him practice and work out. He’s been helping me with my work outs in the gym. He’s really strong too He said he used a Judo throw to put Johnny on the ground.”

Christine had to stop to catch her breath.

“We like him Christine. He is certainly special. I’m very happy for you. You don’t have to convince us or tell us everything you know about him all at once. You’ll have plenty of time to tell us about him as you get to know him even better.”

“That’s right Christine, but I want to know all about him.”

“I have to go girls. Are you all set for doing your shaves? Anything you need for me to pick up on my way home.”

“We’re be fine Mom. Melissa and I can take care of everything here.”

“Bye Mom.”

“I’m finished breakfast Christine. I’ll get things set up upstairs.”

“OK, I be up in ten or fifteen minutes.”

Melissa went upstairs and set up their little shaving booth. She had everything laid out and was about to go back downstairs when she remembered that that Paula had said she could practice on herself. She wanted to try it. It ought to be easy. She stood in front of the mirror and pinned the towel around her shoulders. Squeezing a glob of shaving gel into her hand she gingerly began to spread it over her head. She giggled a little at how funny it looked. This time she remembered to rinse the shaver head. Snapping it back on she pushed the button to turn it on. It seemed much louder now than it had been when she was being shaved or even when she shaved Christine. She knew what to do but it seemed difficult on herself. She carefully put the shaver on the skin in front of her ear and moved it upward. She lifted it off and felt the area. It hardly seemed to have been shaved at all. She tried again, this time with more pressure. She could tell from the sound that something different was happening. Se tried it again with even more pressure. This time it felt smooth.

“What are you doing Melissa?”

“Remember Mom said we could try shaving ourselves so we could get a good idea of how hard to press. You do have to press pretty hard to make it really smooth. But it’s har
der doing yourself that someone else.”

“I’ll have to try it. Do you want me to finish it for you?”

“Yes. It’s more fun to have someone else do it.”

“I can’t do it as quickly as Mom. And I probably won’t get it as smooth, but I think I can do it OK.”

“That OK. I can’t do it as good as she does either.”

Melissa sat down and Christine picked up the shaver. She started on the left side as she had done the two previous days. She pressed firmly trying to reproduce what she had felt when Paula shaved her and what she had done previously.

“Is that about the right amount of pressure?”

“I think so, but it’s hard to remember exactly how it felt.”

“It feels pretty smooth. I’ll keep it about like that. If it isn’t smooth enough I’ll go over it again.”

Christine worked her way around to the back where she stopped. She went to the right side and felt the area where Melissa had already shaved.
“That feels nice and smooth Melissa. I don’t need to do that again.”

She continued on the left. She could tell that Melissa had used more pressure than she had been using. She pressed a little more firmly. After working around the right side of her head she checked to see if she had gotten it smooth. She was a little frustrated to find that several areas would need to be re-shaved.

“I have to go over it again, but first I have to rinse the shaver.”

She cleaned the shaver head and applied more gel to Melissa’s head. This time she applied quite firm pressure to the shaver and made sure it was properly positioned. When she examined the area she found it was now very smooth.

“I think I’m getting it figured out Melissa. Sorry, I’m taking so long.”

“That’s OK, We have plenty of time.”

Now that she knew that firm pressure was needed to achieve the desired result, she was able to work more quickly. The back was done to her satisfaction. She re-shaved the left side quickly, then cleaned the shaver again. The top of Melissa’s head yielded to her methodical approach – the front first, then the back. She checked everywhere once more, found a rough area and re-shaved it and was finally satisfied that she had done a good job.

“I think I’ve finally gotten it done right Melissa. I hope it’s OK for you. I know you like it really smooth.”

“It will be fine Christine. No one will notice the difference unless they feel it. Anyway we’ll soon be able to do it with no problem.”

Christine had carefully wiped off excess gel and then dried Melissa head. She unpinned the towel.

“I guess it’s my turn.” She handed the towel to Melissa who had relinquished the chair. “I should have cleaned the shaver again. I forgot.”

“I’ll do it. Go ahead and sit down so I can put the towel around you.”

Now Melissa popped off the head and put it under a stream of warm water and then shook off the excess water. She put the shaver under the stream of water and flushed out the cutters. Snapping the head back in place the laid the shaver on the counter and picked up the tube of shaving gel.

“Does it still feel cold when I put the gel on you head?”

“A little bit, but not nearly as cold as it did the first time. I think my head is getting used to it.”

Christine had visibly relaxed as Melissa began spreading the gel on her head. Now that she knew that Tommy thought she was beautiful with a bald head, all her barriers had collapsed. Having finally completely accepted the idea of being bald, she could let herself enjoy the seductive pleasure of having her head shaved. The gentle vibrations of the shaver further lulled her into a dreamy state. After several minutes she realized that she had been thinking of what it would be like to have Tommy shave her head. That thought brought her out of her reverie. She had better get her mind thinking about something else.

Melissa had a pretty good idea of how much pressure to use after practicing on herself. She proceeded without hesitation and worked efficiently. She could tell that Christine was enjoying the process. She had finished the sides and back and now began on the top. Christine actually moved her head to press against the shaver. A few minutes later it was done and Melissa did a careful search and found a few rough places which she quickly cleaned up.

“I’ve finished Christine. See if you can find any places that I missed.”

Christine explored her smooth head searching for any rough spots.

“Here’s one Melissa.” She held her finger on the offending area.

Melissa promptly worked it over with the shaver. Two more spots were discovered and Melissa took care of them with considerable enthusiasm.

“Now you’re really done. Smoothest head east of the Mississippi.”

They got a little charge at the renewal of this joke.

Melissa cleaned the gel off Christine’s head and dried it.

Christine stood up and unpinned the towel from around her shoulders and stepped over to the mirror where she examined herself critically.

“It’s great. I like it a lot. I though I looked horrible at first, but I really don’t. And it feels so wild.”

“You really are beautiful Christine. I’ll never be as beautiful as you. But I like the way I look too. You know when we were over at Penny’s place, her Mom told me she was shocked at first, but the more she saw me she thought I looked like a little angel. And Penny’s Dad laughed and said that I was very cool. They didn’t have a problem with me being bald.”

“I don’t know Melissa. You’re very pretty now and you’ll probably grow up to be better looking than I am.”

“I doubt it. Here’s the moisturizer bottle. It’s almost empty. Maybe we should fill it up again.”
“You can do it. I’m going to make a lunch for Tommy and me. That’s one thing I know how to do that he doesn’t although I’m sure he could if he wanted to.”

“That’s funny. Does his Mom always do it for him?”

“He said that they always gave him money to buy a school lunch and now he has an allowance so he can buy lunch when he’s at the park or the gym. Anyway his Mom works, so I guess she doesn’t want to take the time to do it.”

“His family must have a lot of money. Would you make me a lunch too while I refill this bottle?

” Sure. I guess they do, but Tommy never acts like they’re rich or anything. His bicycle is kind of old looking and he fixes it himself when something breaks.”

The disperser refilled and lunches made they headed to the rec center in the park where Christine met Tommy and Melissa found some of her friends waiting for her, Cindy and Beth to show up.

Melissa and her friends along with Beth, who seemed to have become attached to the group, had developed a rapport on the soccer field that made the five of them the nucleus of Crown Park Bulldogs junior soccer team. Audra was becoming an outstanding goal tender while the other four seemed to have a natural ability to work together and were going to be good defenders and scorers.

They all played on the volleyball team as well, but only Audra and Cindi, the tallest of the amigas had played much and were well skilled. Melissa, Penny and Beth were working hard on alternate mornings to improve their skills.

It was Tuesday afternoon and the soccer practice and pickup soccer had ended. Audra, Cindy and Beth had already left. Melissa was sitting a picnic bench waiting for Christine to change from her swimming suit and talking to Penny who had lingered behind.

“I’m going to Kate’s barber shop to get my hair cut on Saturday” Penny announced during a lull. “Do you want to come with me? I’m riding my bike there.”

“You are? I thought you always got it cut at the shop where your Mom goes. Didn’t you got it cut just a little while ago.”

“Mom said she didn’t have time to take me to her regular shop. I told her that your Mom went to Kate’s shop. She looked it up and called her. They talked for a long time. Mom told me I could go there and have it cut it however I wanted it. It was almost a mo
nth ago, and it has grown out. I want it shorter. Mom likes it short and Daddy laughed and said I could get it cut any way I liked, but he hoped I wouldn’t get it shaved like yours. I think he likes girls with short hair. Mom said she might get hers cut for the summer too and he said he thought that was a good idea. I think when Kate told her it was only $15 for a regular cut she was convinced.”

“That would be fun to see Kate cut your hair. How short are you going to get it cut?”

“I don’t know exactly. Really short. Ginny found a picture on the internet of a girl with a very short pixie. It’s like mine when I first got it cut only a lot shorter. Ginny said it was about a half inch all over. I’m going to bring that picture with me. But I would like to have a clipper cut too, so I’ll ask Kate what to do.”

“Are you telling any of the other kids?”

“No, I wanted it to be a surprise. Besides, if I told them they would want to know how I’m getting it cut, and I’m not sure yet.”

“Yeah, I guess they would. Anyway, I’d like to go with you. I think Kate would like to see me too. I’ll check with Mom. It should be OK, because we can get to Kate’s barber shop without using any busy streets and we can use the sidewalk that last block.”

Week 2 Saturday – Penny’s Special Day

Saturday morning Melissa woke up earlier than usual and fixed scrambled eggs for herself. She was hoping that Paula would get up early enough to shave her. She didn’t want to rush Christine who had her first swim meet of the summer that day. She was to meet Penny at 9:30 am to ride to Kate’s shop where Penny had an appointment at 10:00 am. By 8:30 am she decided that she had better go ahead and shave herself. She felt her head and realized that she could feel only a little roughness. It seemed like it was getting easier and easier to keep it shaved smooth. Looking at herself in the mirror, she could see no hint of hair on her head. It appeared completely smooth. Of course she had light colored hair and with the tan that she had acquired she could have had quite a bit of growth and it would have been invisible. She went ahead anyway. She enjoyed the sensation of being shaved and of shaving herself. By now with a week of practice shaving Christine she proceeded confidently. The gel was applied and spread over her head. She used her fingers to work it in. She thought about using the hot towel to make the shave even smoother, but decided against it. The shaver was cleaned and the right side of her head was quickly shaved smooth. She had never tried to do the left side before, and that seemed very awkward. She tried it with her left hand which was a little better. She finally got it done by using both hands. She could almost reach all of the back of her head with her right hand but it was easier if she switched to her left. Finally she started on the top. That proved to be no problem. She slowly and carefully went over it twice after doing the crown area in several direction as she had found necessary on Christine’s head. Checking carefully she realized that the left side had several rough spots. Spreading on more gel she shaved it again, mostly with her left had which proved to be the answer after she got over the initial feeling of clumsiness.

“Melissa, what’s going on?” Christine had gotten up and was standing in the doorway of the bathroom that they shared.

“Hi, Christine. I didn’t want to wake you up, so I went ahead and shaved myself. Maybe you can get Mom to do you when she gets up. I have to meet Penny at nine thirty. That’s why I did myself.” Melissa continued to wipe excess gel from her head. “I think I can do a pretty good job on myself, but not as good as you do it.”

“OK. Thanks for not waking me. You said something about meeting Penny last night Didn’t you? Can I get in to the shower?” Christine had her undies in her hand and was wearing only a light night shirt.

“Sure, come on in. I’m just going to put on the moisturizer, and I’ll be done.”

She finished applying moisturizer, and started cleaning up. She cleaned the shaver and started to put away the gel and moisturizer, then thought better of it. She picked up the two towels that she had used and closed the bathroom door as she left. She went back to her room to get dressed tossing the towel into the cloths basket in the hall closet on the way. She knew she wanted to wear her “skort” and a nice top. After trying on a couple of different ones she found one she liked and put it on. looking in the mirror she judged she looked satisfactory. As she opened the door and stepped out Paula was just coming out of her bedroom across the hall.

“Good Morning Melissa. I guess you got up early so you could meet Penny. It looks like your head is already done, although it’s hard to tell now that you are nicely tanned.”

“Morning Mom. I did get up early. I didn’t want to wake up you or Christine. So I shaved myself.”

“No wonder it looks so good. You must have done a very good job.”

Melissa rubbed her head with her hand. “It’s pretty good, but you and Christine do a better job. I’ll need some more practice to get it perfectly smooth. Can you shave Christine this morning. Unless she wants to do it herself. She should probably practice doing it herself.”

“I think you may be right. She should practice. She has a meet at seven O’clock this evening. Will you be around to see it?”

“I think so. We may all be there to cheer. They all came to cheer for use yesterday at our first game. Anyway I have to go to meet Penny. Bye Mom. We’ll be back about noon. We’re all going over to Beth’s house this afternoon. She has a croquet set in her back yard. She said that it’s a fun game.” Melissa was down the stairs and out the door as she finished this last.

“Be careful on Melrose Street. Have fun.” Paula call out this last as Melissa shot through the door onto the back porch.

She met Penny at 36th and Elm as they had planned. Elm had a bike lane that they could use all the way to 25th st. where they would have to use the side walk to get to Melrose St., crossing a couple of small side streets along the way. Then it was about half a block on Melrose Street to Kate’s shop. They would have to walk their bikes there because there was usually quite a bit of foot traffic.

“Hi Penny. How long have you been waiting?” Melissa thought she had left in plenty of time so she was surprised that Penny was already there.

“Just a couple of minutes. I didn’t want to be late so I left early.”

“I’m sure we have plenty of time. Did you bring the picture? Can I see it?” Melissa was eager to get an idea of what Penny planned for herself.

“Sure. I didn’t want to fold it so it’s in my saddle bag.” Penny had a little waterproof pouch with a flap that hung from the back of her bike seat. She reached in and pulled out a carefully rolled up piece of paper. She unrolled it and handed it to Melissa. “I like it except that I would like to get the sides and back a little shorter – buzzed maybe.”

“It’s cute Penny I’ll bet you will look great. Your hair is a little bit curly just like hers and lies flat just like that.” She handed it back to Penny who rolled it up and put it back in her saddle bag.

Fifteen minutes later they were pushing their bikes on Melrose Street. Their bikes secured to a nearby light pole they walked into Kate’s Barber Shop. The little bell on the door jingled.

Kate had her back to the door showing a young blond woman her new asymmetrical bob – clippered around her left ear, but with a thick drape of hair on the right that was lip length in the front angling upwards toward the back to blend with the closely tapered wedge from nape to almost the top of her ears. There was a fringe of bangs that was also asymmetrical – shorter on the left than on the right.

Penny and Melissa sat down in the nearest chairs. Two seats over there was a young boy with a thick shock of brown hair reading a comic book.

As they waited, the women in the chair inspected her new style and spoke “I love it Kate! It is so neat the way the two sides are so different. And the back is great. It’s the best cut I’ve ever had. How often should I get it cut to keep it looking right”

“If you want to keep it looking like it is now you’ll need to come in every three weeks, but you could wait four weeks and it would still look good, just not as sharp.”

“OK, I’ll be sure to come back in three weeks then. Thanks for doing such a great job and suggesting this style.”

Melissa leaned over to Penny and said in a soft voice, “Isn’t that a cool style? Kate is really good isn’t she?”

Kate, finishing up with her customer, had released the cape so that she could use her edging clipper to remove any stray hairs on her nape. She spun the chair away from the mirror and removed the cape being careful to keep the mass of hair that was still on it from getting on her customer.

“Hello girls,” she said. “Melissa! You look super. What brings you here. Come over her and let me take a good look at you.”

“Hi, Kate.” Melissa stood up and walked over to Kate’s chair.

“You look great.” She repeated as she ran her fingers over Melissa’s head. “I see you got your ears pierced again. I thought you had to wait. Paula is doing a very good job. You’ve gotten a little tan too.”

“Mom took us in two weeks ago. She agree that if we had to have our heads shaved we should get something we wanted for ourselves. And she decided to get hers pierced again too. Anyway, it wasn’t Mom who did it. I shaved it myself this morning. Most of the time Christine and I shave each other.”

“You mean that Christine isn’t upset anymore?” Kate was surprised.

“No, she likes the way she looks now and is going to keep it shaved. She has a boyfriend who really likes her and says she is beautiful bald. Oh, this is my friend Penny. You talked to her Mom didn’t you?”

“Well, Hi Penny Yes, I did talk to her. Your Mom told me to cut your hair however you wanted it. You’ll have to wait until I do Jason though.”

Kate was intrigued by the idea of Melissa and Christine shaving each other. “So you and Christine shave each other every day?”

“That’s right. We can do it really fast too. It takes a lot less time than shampooing and blow drying it every day. Sometimes Mom does it on Saturday or Sunday and puts on a shiner. I like it when it’s really shiny, but when we get all sweaty playing soccer it doesn’t work. I want to keep it shaved after school starts too. I like it a lot. A lot of the kids like it too. Christine says it helps her swim faster. I think she might keep hers shaved too.”

“Well that’s an interesting idea. I never would have thought of that possibility.” Kate was amused at this unlikely notion, but she knew that swimmers sometimes shaved their whole bodies because they thought it helped a tiny bit.
Kate’s customer had taken her wallet out of her jeans pocket and pulled out a bill which she handed to Kate. She turned toward Melissa. “You have a beautiful head, my dear. I think your shaved head makes you look like an angel.”

“Thanks. Another lady told me that last week. I don’t think I’m much of an angel though. I do like the way it looks.

“Jason, it’s your turn.” Kate had given her customer her change and had cleaned up around the chair while she talked with Melissa. Now she beckoned
for Jason to climb into the chair. He was just tall enough not to need a booster.

“Well Jason, your Mom said that you were to have a mushroom cut so you’ll have to sit quite still when I ask you. OK.” Jason nodded his understanding. Kate had put a paper around his neck, and fastened the velcro tabs that kept the cape in place. She combed Jason’s hair neatly around his head so that she could judge exactly how high up the sides she should go to form the desired mushroom shape. Jason’s hair was thick and she thought the shape would be quite well defined. She turned on her clippers and proceeded to define the line around his head where sharp demarcation from the top to the closely clipped sides would appear.

Melissa and Penny watched in fascination as Jason was quickly transformed. Kate used the same clippers to shear the back and sides, but had snapped on a number 1 attachment. With one hand she held up the top hair and pushed the clippers up an additional three quarters of an inch. She continued this process around his head, then carefully surveyed the result. With the basic shape defined she used her scissors to trim the bangs which were left quite thick, almost to Jason’s eyebrows, and to do a lot of trimming all around his head, a process that Melissa and Penny observed but didn’t know what it was accomplishing.

Soon enough Kate had achieved the result she sought. Jason’s hair was cut evenly around his head with a very slight taper at the line of demarcation. Below that line the hair was very short – about 1/8th inch and even shorter near the hairline. It was cleanly outlined around his ears and along the nape. The result was that a distinct mushroom shape had been created. Jason would be able to shake his head and his hair would fall back into place almost exactly as it had been cut.

“Almost done Jason. I just need to clean up your neck.” Kate undid the cape, removed the paper and quickly removed the few stray hairs below the hairline that she had outlined. A dusting of powder followed by a quick brushing and she was done.

“There you go Jason” she told him as she whipped off the cape.

“OK, thanks.” Jason climbed out of the chair and went back to where he had placed his comic book and sat down. Kate swept up a lot of hair once again, made sure there was no hair in the chair and turned toward Melissa and Penny.

“Are you ready Penny” she asked.

Penny stood up and walked over to the chair. She had never been in one like it. It seemed quite large compared to the styling chairs that she had sat in at her Mom’s salon. She stepped onto the foot rest, turned and sat in it. Kate made some adjustments and she found a comfortable position.

“Someone gave you a very nice pixie cut the last time didn’t they. So what are you thinking about this time Penny?” Just as with Jason, Kate put a paper around her neck and proceeded to cover her with a cape.

“Melissa, I left the picture on the chair. Can you bring it over?”

“Here it is Kate.” Melissa had removed the rubber band and unrolled it.

Kate inspected the picture for a moment. “That’s a very short cut Penny. Are you sure you want it that short”

“Yes, I really like it, but I want the sides and back even shorter. I think I want it buzzed. Can you do that?”

“Sure, Penny. I can do that. Do you have an idea how short you want the sides and back? I could go a little shorter than the top or a lot shorter, or even to almost shaved.”

“I want it to feel sort of rough when you rub it the wrong way and you shouldn’t be able to grab it with your fingers!”

“OK, I’ll go with a number one, and if you want it shorter I’ll use a zero part way up. I think your hair will lay flat like the girl in the picture, but hers was probably gelled. I’m sure it was cut with a razor tapering technique. I can do that for you and it will look almost exactly like the picture, at least on the top. Are you ready for me to start?”

“Yes, I’m ready.”

I’m going to cut the top to one inch and then do the rest of the cutting. This is the easy part.” Kate put a one inch guide on her clippers and proceeded to run them from front to back over Penny’s head.

Jenny’s hair, still quite short from her previous haircut three and a half weeks earlier, was reduced from a little more than two inches to one inch in four quick passes. The next step was to replace the one inch guide with a half inch guide. Kate proceeded to reduce the sides and back to half an inch, but with a taper as she reached the curve of Penny’s head. At this point
Penny had a relatively normal looking pixie like haircut that was very short. Now came the difficult and critical part. Kate open a drawer and searched briefly for a special tool. It looked something like a razor, but had a guard like structure over the blade. It allowed her to razor taper a strand of hair and cut it to the length she wanted.

“This is going to take a bit longer than usual Penny. But I know you want me to do it right.”

She had spritzed Penny’s hair and combed it to the side so that she could pick up small strands and razor taper them. It was meticulous work. Each strand was razor cut from very near the scalp out to the end, leaving it with many varied length which she reduced to less than three quarters of an inch. This process continued in a diagonal pattern from right to left, as she worked her way to the crown of Penny’s head. She combed it up to make sure that the effect was nearly uniform. Occasionally she found a bit that needed shortening and used her little razor tool to make the adjustment. Satisfied she spun the chair around so that she could work on the back. Only a small section would be needed to be tapered there. She was pleased with the result. Penny’s hair had a natural curl and lay close to her head. The result was a very short cap with a lot of texture and a hint of waviness. Now it was time to reduce the sides and back to the one eight inch length that Penny had requested and then to blend it in to the longer lengths above. She snapped a number 1 guide onto her clippers. She began the process and decided to go only about an inch and a half above the ears. She thought that would give a better transition than going higher as she had originally planned. She did both sides before starting on the back which she did in a few upward strokes, being careful to provide a taper at the exact height as the sides. The next step was important. She wanted to make the transition from the top, which was between one half and three quarters of an inch long, to the one eight inch of the clippered sides. For this she use her thin comb and scissors. Once again she worked around Penny’s head. When she had finished she was not quite satisfied. The side and back hair was cut to all one length, whereas the top was cut so there were many different lengths – in effect a very short strong layering. She went back to her drawer and removed another small device. Once again it was some sort of razor tapering device, but this one allowed the user to simply comb through the hair in the direction of growth and it would do the thinning and tapering. One side was designed to leave the hair about one quarter inch long while the other side would cut as short as one eight inch. She dampened Penny’s hair once again and worked her way around Penny’s head, first with the longer side of the razor device and then with the short side. The result was that the sides took on some of the softness that characterized the top. The transition from the longer hair on top to the very short hair on the sides was much less severe. Kate went over it once again making sure that the blending made the transition very gradual. Finally satisfied with the overall effect, she decided to further reduce the length of the top with her little razor device. Now she used it very lightly. When she was finished Penny’s hair was little more than one half an inch long on top except at the front where she left it a little longer. She liked the result but decided that a little gel would make it work even better.

“Penny, I’m going to use a little gel so it will lie down better. It will be easy to do at home. I’ll give you a small tube. When your hair is wet just put a little in your hand and rub it into your hair, then comb it forward and let it dry naturally.” She had proceeded to do exactly what she explained to Penny, rubbing a little gel into her hair and then smoothing it forward with a wide toothed comb.

“OK, I’m about done. I just need to clip your neckline and around your ears.” First she applied some powder to her round brush and dusted Penny’s neck to remove any loose hairs. Unsnapping the cape she draped it around Penny’s shoulders and used her edging clippers to clean up the stray hairs that grew below the hairline. Finally she was finished.

“Well, Penny, it’s short. Even shorter than the girl in your picture. What do you think.” She had swung the chair back around so that Penny could see herself.

“Wow, I like it! It’s really short. I’m going to keep it like this all summer.” She reached up to feel the back of her head. “That feels neat.”

“If you want to keep it like that you’ll have to get it cut quite often you know. It would need to be done every two or three weeks.”

Melissa had watched in fascination as Kate had progressed. She had never watched anyone use so many tools before. She had liked Penny’s previous pixie, but this version was very much shorter. She liked it.

“That is really cool Penny. I hope your Mom let’s you keep it cut like that.”

During Penny’s haircut some more customers had arrived and taken a seat. The first was a Mother with two kids, a daughter about eleven or twelve and a boy six or seven. Their Mother had a short bob with a slightly tapered neckline. The girl’s hair had probably once been a short style that was now grown out to an undefined shaggy something. The boys hair was a good bit longer than his sister’s and also lacking in any defined shape.

“Mom, can I get my hair cut like hers, please? I like it when it’s really short.” Sandy was immediately taken by Penny’s very short haircut. She was almost dancing in excitement.

“It is quite nice, even if it is extremely short. You might look quite cute with it cut like that, Sandra (Sandy’s Mom called her Sandra even though her Dad and everyone else called her Sandy). I know you like it short. Your Father might be a little upset if you got it that short, but I’m sure I could make it OK with him. Timmy, you can be first. Kate, I want him to have a longish Buster Brown cut. Chin length would be nice. Maybe angled up with a little wedge in back, and bangs. He has always wanted his hair long, but it needs to be easy to maintain and not get in his eyes.”

Kate had returned from the register where Penny had paid for her haircut. Penny was ready to go but Melissa wanted to see what these two haircuts were going to be like. She was sitting at the end of the room and had been unnoticed by the women and her two children. Reluctantly she got up and headed toward the door. She stopped at the chair where Kate had put on the booster seat across the arms and had lifted Timmy onto it.

“Bye Kate. I hope you give Mom a really short haircut when she comes in. She said she’s going to get her head shaved just like Christine and me as soon as she can.”

“Well she will look good, and I’ll do what I can Melissa. I have a couple of ideas she might like. I’m glad that you and Christine are enjoying your new looks.”

Melissa turned away to go, only to hear the woman with the two kids, say “Miss, Melissa is it? Can I ask you something?”

Melissa was surprised. She stopped and turned toward the woman. “Oh, It’s Melissa. Sure.”

“I think your shaved head looks wonderful, but why did you decide to have it shaved. Didn’t your parents object?”

“No. Actually my Mom had me and my sister shaved. She wanted us to be shaved for the summer. I liked it right away. My sister was really mad, but now she likes it too. Mom works, so now Christine, that’s my sister, and I shave each other every morning. It’s easy and we can do it fast. Almost everybody thinks Christine is really beautiful with her head shaved – sort of like some princess from somewhere. Mom loves it. She wants to get her head shaved too.”

“Don’t you have trouble with other kids”?

“Not much. The kids on my soccer and volleyball teams think it’s cool. Some of them talk about getting shaved, but their folks probably won’t let them. They get mad if anyone says
something mean. One kid said a lot of stupid things, and got in trouble with Tommy. That’s Christine’s boyfriend. He hasn’t bothered us again. Christine is the best swimmer on the team and some of the kids are thinking they should get shaved to keep up with her.”

“Well, Sandra what do you think about Melissa’s haircut. Would you like it like that.”

“Could I really have it like that Mom. Wouldn’t Dad be really mad. I would love it like that. It would be really cool!” Ginny was very excited about the prospect.

“Let me think about it. Your Father will be upset, but I think I can persuade him to let you keep it shaved, at least for for a little while, but you’ll have to help convince him that you want to stay shaved.”

She turned back to Melissa. “What do you use to shave yourself? A regular razor.”

“No, it’s an electric shaver. Kate, told Mom what to buy. We use a gel and then put on a moisturizer. Kate knows all about it. She shaved me the first time.”

“I’m very tempted Kate. Sandra can never get her hair cut short enough. But she ought to be able to do something she really wants and there’s no harm in it. If she doesn’t like it, it will always grow out in a few months. I like the way Melissa looks – cherubic or something like that. Can you tell me what I need to get and where to get it?”

“Sure can. They have all the things you need at the wholesale barber supply store over on Colfax. You just pay me and go over and pick it up. The moisturizer is special. It makes shaving become less frequent as long as you use it. So after a while you only need to shave her two times a week to keep it smooth like Melissa.”

“That sounds great, and really easy. Sandra, if you get it shaved you know that some kids will make fun of you, and say mean things. If you’re absolutely sure you want to to do it, if it’s what you truly want, then I’ll let Kate shave you and we’ll buy the things you need to keep it smooth. You can just get a nice short cut if you want. That would be OK too.”

“Mom, I love the way Melissa looks. That’s exactly what I want.” Ginny’s voice was high with excitement. “I don’t care if some kids do make fun of me. I’ll just laugh back at them. Please tell Kate to shave me just like Melissa. I truly want to be like that.” Sandy was almost bouncing with anticipation.

“OK, Sandra. I guess we’ve decided Kate.”

During this exchange Kate had capped Timmy and combed out his hair. “It looks like I have two very interesting haircuts to do here. How do you want Timmy’s hair parted. It will probably work best if he has a center part, although I see it was side parted before?”

“I think you’re right. A center part makes it work better doesn’t it?”

“Yes it does. You know this is going to turn out to be a very cute bob – that’s really what a Buster Brown is anyway. Timmy is going to look very sharp. His hair isn’t long enough yet to be chin length. It will have to be a little shorter until the rest grows out some.”

Melissa had turned to talk to Penny and realized that she had already left the shop. She rushed out the door and saw that Penny had her bike ready to go and was waiting for Melissa.

“Penny, wait. Do you have to go? That girl who came in is going to get her head shaved just like mine, and I want to see how Kate shaves her and how she looks.”

“She is! I wanted to get back to show Mom and Daddy my new haircut, but I can stay a little while. I’d like to see that too.” Penny got out her bike cable and secured her bike to the lamp post.

“There’s no rush though. Kate’s cutting that little boy’s hair. He’s getting a bob. I’ve never seen that on a boy.”

They reentered Kate’s shop and sat down.

To be continued in Part 5

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