Home » Location » Barbershop » Blond, Black and Pink (Part 11)

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Beth had been complaining about her hair for weeks. The other four Amigas knew she wanted to get it cut but also knew that the Singletarys had rather tight finances. Audra had an idea followed up by Melissa that might solve the problem.

The most important event of the week involved Paula, Melissa’s Mom. She had made an appointment to get her mid-back length hair cut into a short style the day after she had ordered Kate to shave both Melissa and her older sister Christine. Friday evening was the time of her appointment at Kate’s Barber Shop.

Saturday was the fourth of July Celebration. At the last minute plans were made for the friends to get together and go to the celebration. A photographer for the local paper spots the group and is amazed to see so many women and girls with extremely short haircuts and shaved or nearly shaved heads. She takes pictures, interviews some of them and writes a story that makes the first page of the Monday morning paper.

Week Four – Tuesday

Penny, Audra and Melissa had arrived early at the rec center and were sitting at the picnic table waiting for Cindi and Beth.

“Beth was having a lot of trouble with keeping her hair back yesterday. She was very frustrated with it. I wonder why she doesn’t get it cut” Audra said.

“She told me she wanted to get it cut off. When I said short she repeated she wanted it all cut off. She didn’t say shaved though.” Penny said.

“I think that her Mom doesn’t want to spend the money. It costs a lot to get it cut at a regular shop and my Mom said they don’t have much money. Maybe we should tell her about Kate.”

“I saw a little sign in the window of Kate’s shop. It said ‘Models Wanted.’ Maybe Beth could be a model and get it cut free.” Audra offered.

“I remember seeing that sign. That’s a great idea Audra! I’m sure that Kate would love to have a model who would let Kate cut her hair very short. Let’s tell Beth about it. She can tell her Mom.”

“Here they come now. Hey Beth and Cindi over here.” Penny called.

“You want to tell her about your idea Audra?” asked Melissa.

“You go ahead Melissa” Audra said.

“Hi, guys” Melissa said. “Beth, you’ve been saying you wanted to get your hair cut. Well, Audra came up with an idea how you might get it cut the way you want and get it done free.”

“I do want to get it cut, but who’s going to do it free that knows how to do it?” she asked.

“It’s Kate. She has a sign in the window saying she needs models. She enters contests I think. I’ll bet she would like to give you a short haircut just like you want. Why don’t you ask your Mom to call her?” Melissa was enthusiastic.

“You really think she would. That would be great” Beth responded.

“I’m pretty sure she would. She likes to give people short haircuts and she’s the best. She never tries to talk you out of it.” Melissa answered.

“She wanted to know exactly how short to cut mine and even said if I keep it like this I should get the back waxed so it would stay looking good longer. She would like to do it for you, I think” Audra added.

“OK, I’ll tell Mom to call her. I’m really ready to get it cut off,” Beth said.

“You mean shaved like Melissa,” Audra asked

“I’m not sure, maybe more like Penny’s or yours Audra,” Penny answered.

“Why not let it grow long. Then you can put it in a pony tail” Cindi asked.

“Well, I had it long when I was a little kid and I didn’t like it. Mom let me get it cut when I was ten. It was short after than, but now we have to save money because my Father had to get a new job, so I can’t get it cut very often,” Beth explained.

“I’m sure Kate will cut it for you, Beth. Just ask her,” Melissa said.

“Come on. Let’s go. They’re starting practice pretty soon.”

They all raced off to soccer field. They had won all three of their games so far and had no intention of losing any. And they had a big meet on Friday. Week Four Friday Evening – Paula’s First Step

Paula was anxious to get to Kate’s shop, even though she felt a little nervous. Still it was a rather delicious kind of nervousness, a combination of eager anticipation and fright at what she was about to do. She was going to be early and would have plenty of time to look at Kate’s collection of short haircut pictures. She had only the vaguest of notions of what she wanted. Some sort of medium to short bob. She would have to consult with Kate.

She had parked almost in front of Kate’s shop. Even the short walk to the entrance had stirred some flutters in her stomach. This is silly she thought. I’m just getting my hair cut. Still it felt more like jumping off a cliff on a hang glider for the first time.

She opened the door to the tinkle of the little bell and walked in. There was another woman waiting her turn in the chair. She was Paula’s age with coppery red hair in a distinct brush cut style. It was quite dramatic and stylish Paula thought.

As Kate emerged from the back she recognized Paula who was still standing. “Hi, Paula. You’re early.”

“Yes I am. I need to look at your collection. I’m still have no idea what I want.”

“Go ahead. Why don’t you start in the short bobs section. If you don’t find anything there try some of the others. When I’ve finished with Bonnie, I’ll help you. I have a couple of ideas you might like.”

Paula sat down at the table and open the large loose leaf binder to the section on short bobs. She wanted to browse through them, but she was also curious about what was going to be done with Bonnie. She looked at a few pages and saw several interesting styles. She heard the sound of clippers and looked up to see Kate running them up the back of Bonnie’s head. At first she was surprised, then realized that there was a guide attached to the clippers. The back would be short but not extreme. She went back to the pictures. She marked a style that she liked. It was a nice bob a little shorter than chin length with what appeared to be a tapered back. She marked another one that was a little shorter, but was not tapered in the back. Just a little bit of the nape showed and it was clipped short. She wondered if Kate could do something like that, but with the back tapered like Dorothy Hamill’s wedge. She looked back to see what was happening to Bonnie. Kate was now using her fingers and scissors to shape the top into a soft brush cut. She was cutting off only a half inch. It appeared that it would be about an inch and a half long top and tapered down the sides and back to meet the clippered area that was only about an inch above her ears. It was a nice style Kate thought. She went back to browsing in the folder. She saw several other bobs, but none that she liked better than the two she had marked.

Kate had applied some mousse to Bonnie’s hair and was vigorously brushing it back from her forehead while applying the heat of a blow dryer. She turned off the blow dryer and used her scissors to make a few snips here and there then picked up her large hand mirror.

“How does it look Bonnie?”

“It’s great Kate. You really do a good job. It always look good even after three weeks. I’ve been thinking Kate. I would like to try it a little shorter the next time. Do you think I would look good with it shorter?”

“Absolutely Bonnie. You could go quite a bit shorter and it would still be a very good looking and feminine brush cut. I could do it now if you want.”

“Not today, Kate. I still have to convince myself. I want to try it, but you know how I always get cold feet at the last moment.”

“Sure. Its a natural response Bonnie, but you’ll have to do it sooner or later to satisfy your curiosity. There. I’ve cleaned up your neck and around your ears. You’re all done. Paula I’ll be with you in just a couple of minutes.” Kate used her blow drier to get rid of any stray hairs and whipped off the cape.

“OK, Paula have you found anything
you like? Kate asked.

“Well I have found two that I sort of like and one that looks like it might be good, but there is no back view. See this one is good looking, but I really wanted a nicely tapered back, like a wedge. And this one is OK too, but there is something about the back that isn’t quite right. Do you have some more examples anywhere, Kate?”

“Let’s take a look in the A-line section. It has some interesting examples of angled bobs with a high tapered back.” Kate had picked up a smaller binder and opened it to the A-line section.

“These are angled bobs call A-line bobs. Some of them are quite extreme with completely shaved napes like this one. I don’t think you’re ready for something like that. But this is nice. It’s chin length from the front but angles up so that you get a very nice tapered back. And this one is one of my favorites. I would make it a little longer in front and just a little higher in back so the wedge would be very neat. She has bangs which I think would look absolutely super on you. I’ve always thought you should have bangs. Anyway, what do you think of these?”

“I like them both Kate. I think the one with bangs is better. You could do it without bangs though couldn’t you? “Oh, it looks like she has two different cuts. Is that right?”

“You’re very observant Paula. In the last picture she had a longer version. The first two show her after it had been cut shorter. I can certainly do it without bangs. I think we’re getting closer to what you want. Look at this one.”

Paula saw a pale blond with a short bob that left her earlobes exposed and angled up toward the back so that it was almost as high as the top of her ears. She was immediately caught by it.

“Kate, I like that the best of all so far. It is very neat and I like the way the back tapers up. It’s quite high isn’t it? But It doesn’t seem extreme except looking at it directly from the back.”

“It looks extreme because she is such a light blond. On your brown hair it would not look extreme at all. Wait a minute. I have some that I haven’t gotten around to putting in the binder. I remember one that I thought was quite striking. Let me get it. It in a file folder that I keep in the storage room. Be right back.”

“Here it is. What do you think of this one.”

Paula saw a woman with brunette hair that swept across her head to form a glossy drape that was lip length at the front and angled gently upwards to cover a little more than half her ear. The wedge in back seemed to begin just a little below her earlobes and was tapered upwards to where it met the line from the side and the shorter hair coming down from the crown. Paula was immediately captivated.

“I love it Kate. I think its almost perfect. What do you think?”

“Its will work extremely well with your hair. I’ll need to experiment to decide where to put the side part. And I think I would make it just a little longer in front so that only your earlobes will show and the angle would be a little bit more. I would make the shingle in back, that’s what a wedge is, be a little more defined by making it a little shorter at the hairline and a little longer at the top of the shingled area so that it blends perfectly with the top. It would be a little higher too. I think I have a picture of what I mean if you want to see it.”

“No, Kate. I know you can do it beautifully. I’m ready and I’ll leave it to you to do just what you described.”

“OK, let’s get started then. I still think you would look fabulous with bangs. Sometime during the next two or three stages, we’re going to have to get you some nice bangs before you get everything shaved off.”

Paula was in the barber chair and caped. Kate was brushing her mid-back hair into a pony tail and was tying a ribbon tightly around it near her nape. She retrieved a pair of heavy duty hair shears from her drawer, then hesitated. Her clippers would probably do it faster.

“Paula, I’m ready to do the first cut. I’m using my clippers. Is that OK with you” Kate asked.

“I’m hyperventilating Kate. Let me take a minute to get calmed down. I want to do this so much, but it’s such a new experience that it feels like I’m about to jump out of an airplane or something” she exclaimed breathlessly.

“Well, you’ve never had a real haircut in you whole life have you. No wonder it’s so scary. I can tell you without a bit of exaggeration that you will look fabulous. Heather and Jan will go ga-ga over it. Did Abby tell you that she got a buzz cut Monday? And that Tess got her head shaved smooth like Christine” Kate asked. She was trying to help Paula get herself calmed down.

“She called me Tuesday morning to find out where I purchased the shiner that Melissa and Christine use on their heads. She was very excited and thrilled. She promised me that she would get her head shaved the same day that I did if she hadn’t gotten it done earlier. She has some sort of pact with Tess for the first day of school.”

“That’s right. If Tess keeps her head shaved until schools starts and intends to keep it shaved afterwards she will get hers shaved and take Tess to school as a bald Mother/Daughter pair. I heard her make that promise to Tess. Tess was a little upset when they came in, but by the time they left she had decided that she liked her smooth head.”

“Thanks for talking with me Kate. I’m ready now, so go ahead.”

“OK, here we go.”

The big clippers came to life. Kate lifted up the pony tail and started cutting through it just above the ribbon, less than an inch from Paula’s nape. In seconds the twelve inch tail came free. Paula, who was faced away from the mirror, felt her hair released to fall into a rough bob that hung down below her jaw line. Kate dropped the tail into a basket under the counter where it would be out of sight but easily retrieved. Her previous experience told it it was always best to make the first big step as undramatic as possible.

“You told me you were going to get yours shaved as soon as possible, but would do it by going shorter in steps. Any idea when you’ll be ready” Kate asked, mostly to keep Paula distracted and relaxed.

“I can’t be sure Kate, but I want to do it by next spring” Paula answered.

“That’s good, because it gives you plenty of time to go through four or even five stages of shorter styles. I was just thinking that this style can transition to a beautiful asymmetrical style, with the side with the part being much shorter than the opposite side. You could have a little fringe along with it. I have some ideas about the next two or three steps also. You definitely need to keep a good scrapbook of the different styles. I would even like to have good views of each style for my collection. I might devote a whole section just to you.”

“Well, that would be fun to do, but I don’t think I could get pictures taken that would be good enough for your album.”

“I could take care of that. My friend Gabby is a very good photographer. She likes to do photo shoots like that. She wouldn’t mind being here in the evening when I do your cuts. If you keep this cut for at least six weeks, I can arrange for her to come by the Friday evening of your next cut.”

“OK, I’m agreeable to that.”

Kate had tried parting Paula’s hair on the left and then on the right. She concluded that on the left was best, but not too low – above the outer half of her left eye. That would give the left side enough weight to form the slight undercurl that was key to making the style so attractive.

“I think I’m ready to start the real cut Paula.” She turned to chair so that Paula could see what was happening. “I’ve parted your hair on the left. That will mean that this heavy drape will be on the right. You’ll have the same little lift in the front. If I make this part a little longer, I may make this little curve at the front a bit more so that it comes to the same height. It’s going to be very dramatic and terrifically flattering to you.”

“I
t’s hard to imagine, but I think I’m beginning to see it on me. I just hope it looks as good as the picture” Paula responded with a little concern in her voice.

“It will, no doubt about it. I’m going to create the basic line of the haircut. It will be a little longer that the final result, but you’ll be able to see it as it progresses” Kate said cheerfully.

“Thanks, Kate. I’m over the shock of having it cut off now and I do want to watch as you do it’ she said.

Kate began on the right side using her barber shears. She started a little below the lip line and cut a line that angled upwards to just above Paula’s earlobe. She repeated the process on the left side. The back hung down thickly to below the hairline. Now came the true test of her skill. She sectioned off the back hair from ear to ear. She did several adjustments so that the part duplicated the line of the sides and was in the shape of a shallow inverted “V” She snapped a No. six guide onto her clippers and in a few careful runs she had reduced the bottom half to three quarters of an inch.

“That sent shivers down my spine Kate. Do other women have that reaction” Paula asked.

“Oh, sure. Sometimes it is so strong that I can see them shiver. After the first time it just feels good. I think that if you shiver the first time you experience the feel of clippers, you’re hooked and will always want to have you hair cut with clippers,” Kate answered. She lowered a section of hair and cut it off about an inch past the approximate line made by extending the sides to the middle of the back of Paula’s head. A second section followed and finally the last. Each was cut slightly shorter than the one below, but still longer than the final result would be. She would use her fingers, comb and scissors to achieve the required transition.

“I”m going to shampoo you now. I can do the rest of the cutting best on damp hair, but you can see the basic shape already – it’s just a little too long.”

Kate held up a mirror so that Paula could see the back and both sides.

“I can really see what it’s going to be like now Kate. I’m liking it more and more. I’m still having flutters, but more in excitement than anything else.

Kate re-caped Paula The shampooed and towel dried hair was parted and pinned up so that she could begin the precision cutting that would create the lines and curves that would make it such a distinctive looking style. Once again she started on the right side and let down a narrow section which she cut at just the length needed to allow for the upper layers to turn slightly under. As each section was brought down the line became more clearly defined. Paula’s earlobe was now fully exposed. More of her ear would become exposed when Kate added some mousse and used her round brush to define the under curl. In the back the line would continue to rise and would end right at the place where Paula’s head started to curve inward toward her neck. It was slightly higher than the top of her ears. Kate turned to the left side and repeated the process, but much more quickly because there was much less hair to deal with. It was now time to do the careful tapering of the shingle up the back that would provide the last and most distinctive part of the style. She picked up her clipper and removed the guide from it’s previous use. Now she would use it without a guide, but with her comb, to carefully create the perfect taper to the thick hair high up the back of Paula’s head. The process was painstaking. The bottom inch was cut very close, from less than an eighth of an inch to a little less than a quarter of an inch. The next inch went from a quarter of an inch to a little more than half an inch. From there Kate made the taper more abrupt so that it blended with the longer hair from the crown. Kate turned off the clipper and picked up her scissors. Now she did the final bit of tapering. She also did some thinning of the under layers along the sides to encourage the slight under curl there. More thinning in the back made the transition from the clippered section to the longer hair from the crown less abrupt.

“Paula, you have a nice hairline. It doesn’t grow down you neck like it does for a lot of people. It’s only a little below your earlobes. That makes it easy to give you a look that emphasizes your neck. I think a high hairline always looks good.
Yours naturally has three little points and I can define them. It will look very sharp with the rest of this cut” Kate explained.

“Do whatever you like Kate. You wouldn’t do anything that didn’t look good” Paula responded.

Kate made some minor adjustments to provide a clean outline along the sides and then carefully shaved the bottom to define the three points. She had tapered the hairline to only one eighth of an inch, but the three points were well defined. She combed up the back and made tiny little snips to create the perfectly calculated tapered shingle. In the front she added a small curve so that the effect was a little softer. Finally satisfied she misted Paula’s hair and applied mousse. The front was lifted somewhat and then fell softly over to the right ending just at her lip line with a slight under curl. The left side was treated similarly. Kate carefully trimmed along the edge to eliminate any unevenness. She sprayed on some hair shiner and combed it through.

It had taken more than forty five minutes to carry out the entire process. Kate examined her creation critically from every angle and went over the back once again combing it up and making certain that there was no unevenness in the taper. It was very short and any flaws would be visible. Finally she was satisfied. As the finishing touch she applied a little shaving cream to Paula’s neck and carefully shaved it smooth to leave a clean outline with the three points.

Paula had watched the process with growing anticipation. As the front took shape she was excited by her new look and found it intriguing. She thought she looked younger and much more sophisticated. The more she saw of it the better she liked it. Of course she hadn’t been able to see the sides except at an angle that didn’t do justice to it, but she could see how it angled up toward the back. She was eager to see how it looked in the back. The pictures Kate had showed her were styles with a closely tapered back – a shingle according to Kate – that went quite high before blending with the longer hair coming from the crown. Paula had never had anything like it. It was a little scary, but it was what she had wanted the moment she saw the pictures.

“Well, Paula. It’s done. You’ve already seen how it looks in the front. Any comments yet” Kate queried.

“Kate, I love the way the front looks. It’s so different from any thing I’ve ever had, but yet if seems so natural. I think my long hair actually made me look older than I am. Is that possible” she asked.

“Some older women look OK with long hair, but most don’t. It’s odd how we’re all bombarded with the idea that long hair makes you look young. For teenagers long hair makes them look younger than they are. For women our age it either makes us look older or makes us look like we are desperate to look like teenagers. At least that’s my opinion.”

“I agree Kate. Can I see it now.”

“You bet. Enough philosophy. Here’s the mirror. I’ll turn you so you can see both sides and the back.”

Paula examined herself. Even though she had been observing the entire haircut, this first full view came as a shock to be replaced quickly with the thrill of delighted discovery. Paula saw an attractive woman with a striking haircut that flattered her face. She had never seen her ears exposed except when she tied her hair back in a pony tail. The right side was awesome she thought.

“Kate it’s marvelous. It looks so good!”

Kate rotated the chair so she could see the back in a three quarters view. She could hardly think of it as herself. She thought ‘That looks so amazing, I would really like that for my
self.

Kate removed the cap. “Paula you can see it better if you stand closer to the mirror,” she said as she helped Paula out of the big barber’s chair. Kate stood up and stepped close to the big wall mirror.

“Oh my goodness Kate. It’s so beautiful. I don’t know how you could do that. The hairline is so neat. Can I feel it?”

“Of course, go right ahead. You can’t mess it up, if that’s what worrying you.”

Paula looked at the back of her head and put her hand on it feeling the short bristles at the bottom of her neck that gave way to the longer hair above. She felt her legs get a little rubbery as the look and feel penetrated. I look incredibly sexy she thought. Further examination and Paula was almost ecstatic. Despite her original desire to get her hair cut short, she had experienced considerable trepidation as the moment approached. That nervousness had now vanished to be replaced with elation at the fact that she had done it and astonishment at how good she thought she looked.

“It’s absolutely wonderful Kate. And to think I could have done this years ago. I think I look splendid. I can’t imagine ever having long hair again.”

Paula continued to examine herself in the big mirror. She was so mesmerized with her new look that she kept wanting to see her self again. Kate was sweeping up when she remembered the other thing she wanted Kate to do.

“Kate, I almost completely forgot. I have something else that I want you to do for me if you have the time.”

“I can make time for you Paula. What is it.”

Well, I was browsing through some books at the book store that were on sale. One of them was by that famous make up artist whose name I can’t remember. In the back of the book that was a whole chapter on eyebrows. He made a big point of the fact that he bleached the eyebrows of a lot of women to make them lighter than their hair. He said that it always looked better that way. He show a lot of examples and I couldn’t help but agree. And then I noticed that Heather’s brows were quite a bit lighter than her hair. She told me that she lightens them regularly. Dark eyebrows do distract from a person’s eyes and hair. So I decided to get you to lighten my brows. Can you do that,” Paula asked.

“Sure I can. I’ve done it fairly often. I agree with what’s his name too. If you really want to try it It, Paula, I can do it in about half an hour.”

“I’m so elated that I’m ready to try anything. Let’s do it. I just don’t know how light to go. A couple of his examples were a very light brown.”

“A light brown that is a lighter shade of you own hair color would be perfect. I’ll bleach them, then put on the right color. Here, get back in my barber’s chair and I’ll tilt you back so I can do it easily. I’m going to get the bleaching started then we can decide on the color. Be right back.”

Kate had tilted her well back and stared at the ceiling. It was a very comfortable chair and she felt quickly relaxed and into a happy and tranquil state.

“This is a cream bleach that is actually made for brow bleaching. It doesn’t run at all. It’s quite a stiff cream when it’s mixed with the activator. See?”

Kate showed Paula a small round bottom bowl with some stiff white cream in it.

“OK. Close your eyes while I use this spatula to put in on.”

Paula felt Kate spread it on and then work it around.

“There, that’s the easy part. That will take ten to fifteen minutes. It’s a fairly strong bleach, because brow hairs are courser than regular hair. I’ll get my color samples and we can come up with an appropriate light brown.”

Paula had an urge to giggle. She felt almost like she did as a teenager when she had finally gotten up the courage to do something daring. She was sure she was going to like the result. All the old restraints seemed to have fallen away. Still she kept feeling fluttery in her middle.

“Here we go Paula. I only brought out the browns. You have medium to dark brown without any noticeable red in it. This one is just about your hair color. And these are progressively lighter versions of the same hue. I have only the lightest and the darkest, but any shade in between is made by mixing.”

Paula looked at the series of hair swatches. There were six all together. The second was noticeably lighter than the darkest.

“Would this one work, do you think.?”

“It would, but I think the next one would be better to produce the effect you’re after. You could even go as light as the next lighter and it still would not look outlandish and would dramatize your hair and eyes.”

“You really think I should go that light? I would like to but I’m a little hesitant.”

“It absolutely will work quite well for you. You can use a little more eye shadow and your eyes will really stand out.”

“OK, I’m feeling adventurous. Do it that way, Kate. I trust your judgment.”

“You will look great. I did one girl with brunette hair. She wanted hers bleached out completely and toned white. I almost refused to do, but she said she knew it would look very exotic, but that’s the look she wanted. So I did it. It did look strangely dramatic. You couldn’t help but notice it. I certainly would never recommend anything like that. On the other hand, I think that no brows at all like Whoppie Goldberg, actually looks quite good on some women and I have shaved a few. The effect is to make your eyes the absolute focus of your face. It’s very interesting. There used to be a web site in which there were lots of pictures that had been altered to remove the eyebrows. The effect is quite surprising” Kate said.

“Actually, that makeup book that I was looking at had a couple of examples of the no brow look. I was struck by the effect also. I’m not ready to take that step any time soon” Paula replied.

“I would think not. But there was a brief fad a few years ago in which several models had made a name for themselves by having no brows. Some teenagers copied them. Whoppie Goldberg didn’t start a fad with hers though” Kate continued.

“I think I vaguely remember that. Most people don’t even notice that Whoppie has no eyebrows.” Paula responded. “A couple of the pictures of bald women showed them with no eyebrows. I think it would take a lot of makeup to keep them from looking too ghostly.”

“I’ve seen that too. You’re probably right. That seems to go a little too far. I need to check your brows. It’s been ten minutes” Kate said.

Kate wiped off one brow with a damp cloth and dried it.

“It needs a few more minutes” Kate said. She reapplied the bleach to both brows while they continued to chat.

“That should do it Paula,” Kate said. She wiped the bleach from both brows, then cleaned them thoroughly with a cloth moistened with a little mild shampoo. She had already prepared the color toner that she would use.

“Yes it’s definitely ready. You have quite blond brows now,” she laughed.

“Here. I want you to cover your eyes for the next ten minutes with this cloth just in case. This is a gel type toner, so it doesn’t run much, but I want to be safe” Kate explained as she applied it to both brows with a small brush.

The ten minutes passed and once again Kate checked the result.

“I think about two more minutes will do it Paula. Can you hold on that much longer, She asked.

“I’m doing fine Kate. I’m just eager to see the result.”

“You know Paula, you should get you ears pierced again. With this haircut, and the others that you plan to get before next spring you should have three or even four.”

“You really think so. I never thought of having even two until Christine mentioned it. She wants to get three.”

“Ginny came in Monday while Abby and Tess were here. She has three and a cute little nose stud besides. I’ve decided that I’m going to get a nose stud like that. I like the look. Maybe I’ll get a fourth piercing too. I’ve seen those cartilage piercings here, and I like that look,” she said. Kate had indicat
ed the thick projection of cartilage that partly covers the ear canal.

“OK, time to clean to clean up everything and reveal the new look. I’ll put on a little ointment to soothe your skin. My goodness, it looks good. I’ll raise you up and touch up your hair. Then I’ll let you see yourself,” Kate teased.

She did a quick brushing of Paula’s hair to put it back in place, even though her cut made it fall in place naturally.

“OK, here’s the new Paula,” she said.

After that first shock of discovery she began to see the rest of what had been accomplished. She observed that her brows were quite a bit lighter than her hair – a soft ash brown that complemented her eyes without drawing attention to themselves. She stared at herself for a long moment. This is the real me she thought. I wonder why I could never do something like this before.

“I love it Kate. It’s terrific. It’s just what I wanted. I want to see it all again” Paula reached up to feel the back of her head again. It felt so erotic. She had never experienced anything like it before.

She stood up, walked around and shook her head. Her hair fell back into place easily. Kate handed her the hand mirror. She looked at herself in a side view. The thick sheaf of hair that fell almost to her lip line and angled upward to a place high up the back of her head was arresting. The two studs in her ear were attractive but she thought that a big hoop would be much better, maybe three hoops graduated in size. Did I think three she thought. She could see how a rounded shape had been achieved because the hair from the crown curved to meet the top of the tapered nape which continued the curve all the way to her hairline. She thought the result was quite striking. It was so different from her old straight to the middle of her back style. That was so boring she thought. She looked at the left side and admired the way it matched the right

“Kate, it’s absolutely wonderful. Do I really look as good as I think I do. Maybe
I’m kidding myself,” she questioned her own sanity.

“Don’t even think about it. You are one great looking woman. You always looked good, but it was such a plain look. It was time to do something to make yourself elegantly exciting, instead of frumpy,” Kate encouraged her.

“Well, I’m really happy and excited. I can hardly wait to show off to my kids. Please show me how you did the front so that I can get the same effect,” Paula requested.

“Right, it’s quite easy. I put a little extra mousse here in front. You could use gel as well. Then I lifted it with my brush and blow dried it while directing it over to the right. It takes almost no time. Do the sides the same way with your round brush. Just lift it up a little and twirl the brush while you dry it. It will fall into place in a jiffy.”

“It looks easy Kate, but I’ve had that center parted style for so long that I never learned to use a brush and blow dryer like that. I’ll practice over the weekend. Thanks Kate you did a great job. I guess I’ll need another appointment in three weeks. No, wait. I think I would like to have a regular appointment on Fridays at six. Can I do that, at least until I become more skilled?”

“Sure Paula. I’ll keep it looking sharp for you.”

Paula gave Kate a hug, paid her and left, eager to get home and see the reaction of Christine and Melissa.

Driving into the garage, she tried to think of a way to stage a dramatic entrance, but then decided to act completely nonchalant as though nothing had changed. It was almost eight o’clock when she walked from the garage into the family room and on into the kitchen. The girls had already eaten. They had prepared spaghetti and a mushroom tomato sauce with veggie crumbles. She turned on the stove to heat up the sauce. Opening the fridge she saw a salad waiting for her. She wasn’t surprised, but still it was a gratifying to know that her girls were both capable and responsible. She went down the hall to the foot of the stairs and called.

“Hi, girls I’m home. Thanks for fixing dinner. I’ll clean up after I’ve eaten.”

“Mom, wait! I’m coming down. I want to see you!” Melissa shouted excitedly.

Melissa came running down the stairs followed closely by Christine. Paula smiled at them as they stopped and stared at her.

Christine was the first to speak. “Mom, you look absolutely fabulous. That is a fantastic haircut.”

“Turn around Mom, I want to see the back.” Melissa requested.

“That is so neat Mom. I love the way it is buzzed way up the back and those three points are really cute.” Melissa said.

Christine had stepped around so that she could get a better look at the sides and and a view of the front.

“It’s really great Mom. I love the way the sides curl under and the way they angle up toward the back. It makes your eyes seem bigger somehow.” Christine said.

Paula stood patiently and smiling, still a little giddy with pleasure and the release of the apprehension that she had felt during her dramatic makeover.

She turned back to face Melissa.

“Hey Christine, look, she made her eyebrows a lot lighter. That’s what makes her eyes look so big” Melissa exclaimed. “You’re really beautiful Mom!”

“Wow, Mom, that is really interesting. You told me that you were going to lighten them and I completely forgot. I love the way it looks. I liked it the way you made mine a little lighter last Sunday. Can I do mine like that” Christine asked.

“I don’t see why not. Christine. I have an appointment for you on Monday evening at six for you to get your brows shaped. If you don’t have a meet on Friday, you can come over to Kate’s at six and Kate can do it for you” Paula answered.

They continued to talk while Paula ate her dinner.

“You two had big games today didn’t you,” Paula asked.

“We sure did. It was an important meet with the Fox Run Park teams,” Christine said.

We won them all too,” Melissa exclaimed.

They both started to talk at once.

“OK, one at a time here. Who’s going first,” Paula asked.

“Christine was fantastic. You tell her Christine” Melissa said.

“Everybody on the team is getting a lot better. Tommy’s really helping. Anyway the swim team cheered the volleyball and soccer teams, and they came and cheered the swimming team. It was great. We did better than we’ve ever done before. Janet got two firsts in the butterfly and came in second in both freestyle races, but she was a lot closer to me than the last time even though I had my best times. Gail is getting a lot better too. She was second in both breaststroke races and had her best times. And she had a second and a third in the butterfly races too. Jessie has improved the most of all. She stayed really close to me in the backstroke races. I had to do my best times to beat her. She got third in both breaststroke races. She did a lot better than she did just last week. Our coach was really proud of the team. We have a great team and they are working hard to get better. Tell her about the volleyball and soccer games, Melissa.”

“We did great Mom. The volleyball team is good. Audra and Cindi are really good spikers. And Penny is a great digger,” Melissa said.

“Wait a minute. What’s a digger,” Paula wanted to know.

“Oh, that means she can dive under a ball and keep it from hitting the floor. Penny saved six or seven points digging them. She’s our best back line player and usually plays the whole game. Beth is getting good at it too. I getting better as a setter. That’s when you take the second hit and put the ball in the air close to the net so that a spiker like Audra can really smash it. Audra is the best on our team – she can really jump high. Cindi and Janice are about the same, although I think Cindi is getting better a lot faster, and and she almost never makes a mistake. She is good at disguising where she’s going to hit the ball.” Melissa explained.

“So you have a good volleyball team. W
hat about the soccer team?” Paula asked.

“It’s even better. Cindi and Beth are fantastic. They are so fast nobody can catch them if they get ahead. Audra is a terrific goal tender. She stopped four or five shots from going in. And Penny is really good on defense. You can’t get past her and she messes up the other guys all the time She stole the ball three times and twice we scored afterwards. They should give some kind of assist for that. Anyway, Cindi had two goals and an assist, and Beth had a goal and two assists. Edie had a breakaway goal, and I had a goal and an assist.,” The pride that Melissa felt about her two teams was plain to hear in her voice.

“It sounds like you have some very good teams that work hard and well together. I’m proud of both of you” Paula said.

“Mom, all the teams are going over to Cloverdale next Friday. It will be a big deal because they have a good team. They almost beat Wasena last week. I think we can beat them – we have better times and we’ve been getting better. How about their volleyball and soccer teams.” Christine asked Melissa.
?”Yeah, coach said we should be able to beat them especially in soccer. They have some tall kids on the volleyball team though,” Melissa responded.

“I just thought of something Mom. I don’t know if I can make it to Kate’s at six the way you said. Today the meet lasted past five o’clock and it was almost six before we got home. It would be even later coming from Cloverdale.” Christine said.

“You’re right Christine. What about the next Friday? She asked.

“That meet will be on Saturday for the swim team, but the volleyball and soccer teams will meet on Friday afternoon,” Christine told her.

“That’s right, but we finish by four, so it shouldn’t interfere,” Melissa responded.

“OK, I’ll tell Kate to expect you. I should get to some of your games. I have a day off coming, because I didn’t take off Friday before the fourth,” Paula added.

You should come to the Wasena meet. It will be the biggest meet so far this summer. It’s even more important than Cloverdale,” Christine offered.

“That”s a good idea Christine. I’ll see if I can arrange it. What about this weekend. I haven’t heard anything about you and Tommy all week Christine. Do you have something planned for this weekend” Paula asked.

“I forgot to mention it Mom, but we’re just going to the July fourth parade and the fireworks at the stadium tomorrow. The will have a lot of booths set up in the parking lot and some marching bands before the fireworks. It will be kind of fun to see all the exhibits and stuff to buy. There will be several music groups playing under a big tent with a stage and chairs set up for the audience.” We’ll take the bus over there. Will it be OK if we don’t get back until late? The fireworks last until ten.” Christine asked with a note of concern in her voice.

“It will be OK Christine. It’s a special event and there will be lots of people. Just keep away from the rowdy kids as much as you can. I’m sure Tommy knows how to handle things.”

Paula stood up. “I think I’ll come to the Cloverdale meet. Will there be soccer and volleyball Melissa,” Paula inquired.

“No, Mom, all our games are on either Thursday or Friday until the tournament at the end of Summer. But you could take a bunch of us there so we can cheer for the swim team.” she offered expectantly.

“Well I can certainly do that. Give me a hug girls and then I think I’ll relax and watch a TV show or two.”

Melissa hugged her and Paula held her tightly for a moment while she gently caressed her head. Melissa responded by putting her head on Paula’s breast. After a moment they separated. Paula reached out to Christine who hugged her tightly. As she had with Melissa she put her hand on Christine’s head and caressed it softly, slowly bringing it to her shoulder where Christine rested it briefly as Paula kissed it. They released each other and Christine stood without moving.

Christine was surprised at this unusual show of affection by Paula. “Mom, why did you do that?” She asked.

“Do what” Paula responded.

“Hold my head and pat it” Christine explained.

“I’m not sure I can explain it very well. I saw Abby patting Sandy’s head last Sunday and I did the same to Melissa and it just triggered a good feeling in me. When I do it I feel like I did when I held you as little girls. I think I held your heads then when you were crying and you were comforted. It just makes me feel close to you. And for some crazy reason I feel like we’re expressing our love for each other that way. I won’t do it if you’re bothered by it.” Paula tried to express how it made her feel.

“I understand now, Mom. It seemed strange at first, but it is a nice feeling.” She hugged Paula again and put her head on Paula shoulder. Paula patted it and then rubbed it briefly as she held Christine tightly. She kissed Christine’s head again. They separated.

“I really liked it when you patted my head, Mom. It made me feel good.” Melissa added. Week 4 Saturday – Fourth of July Celebration with the Gang

Saturday morning Christine was up early. She and Melissa had agreed that they would not shave Saturday. They wanted to see if they could switch to every other day. Christine was now reluctant to skip this particular day because of her planned outing with Tommy. She didn’t want to have any bristles in the evening, not that she had noticed anything like that for the past week or more. She realized that she had been completely bald for more than four weeks. It felt perfectly normal now. Tomorrow she would not shave.

By the time Melissa and Paula had gotten up she had showered, shaved her head, dressed and eaten breakfast. Tommy had said that he would be there by two o’clock in the afternoon, so she had a lot of time to kill. She wanted to practice doing her eye makeup the way Paula had taught her. Paula would help her get it just right. She already knew how to lighten her brows. She looked forward to when they would be done like Paula’s. She wondered if Tommy would notice. She suspected that he would.

A couple of hours later she heard Melissa talking excitedly on the phone. There were two more calls in rapid sequence. Then Melissa ran excitedly to find Paula’s who was outside taking care of her carefully tended flower beds.

“Mom, please come and talk to Penny’s Mom. We’re all going to the stadium to the fair and the fireworks!”

“My goodness Melissa. That’s pretty short notice. Well I guess I don’t have anything important to do. It could be a lot of fun.” She hurried in to talk to Heather. After some animated discussion Paula called Abby.

Almost everyone had planned to go to the fireworks, but the idea of them all getting together to tour the exhibits and share rides was appealing. In short order there were seven families sorting themselves out to ride in three vans and a station wagon to the parking garage downtown where busses would be leaving every ten minutes to go to the stadium. They were determined to go on the same bus – all twenty five of them. Ginny and Jill were working, and Beth’s older brother Brian had other plans with his friends or there would be three more.
Christine and Tommy were invited to go with them, but declined. She knew she wanted to be alone with Tommy. All of their other activities together were with the swim team or other groups. Having him all to herself, even if it was in public was important.

Leigh, Ray and Beth arrived in their station wagon just as Tommy and Christine were leaving. There was some quick discussion about where they might all meet at the fair, but it was left largely to chance.

During the bus ride there was much laughing and discussion of both Abby’s and Paula’s new haircuts. Tess found herself reveling in the attention that she received from the other girls even though they were all younger than her. Audra explained that her Momma had suggested that she should call Kate’s shop befor
e she went there. Sure enough it was closed for the holiday.

The rest of the day was entertaining and fun for the group. About six o’clock they appropriated three picnic tables in the food service area. Christine and Tommy had joined them a little earlier. There was much giggling as the girls watched people staring at this unmistakable group of bald and very short haired women and girls. They saw any number of people with cameras taking pictures. Finally a photographer from the local paper looking for some human interest pictures spotted them. She was a little wary at first thinking that some of the girls might be on chemotherapy. When she found out that everyone was bald by choice, and that two others had been unable to be with them, she was eager to get them all together for some pictures. She got their names and addresses, and assured them that their names would not be published without their permission. She also interviewed them, asking them questions such as why they did it, how long they had been bald, whether they would keep their heads shaved. When she got the answer from Steffie that she was sure that she was going to stay bald, and was thinking about having it made permanent, and when Sandy answered enthusiastically that she wanted to keep her hair cut “like this forever,” she was even more intrigued. When Tess, Christine and Melissa said that they had no intention of letting their hair grow, even for school, she was astounded. She queried several others, including Abby and Paula who informed her that they intended to get their heads shaved and might keep them shaved indefinitely. That led her to talk to Chris and James. Chris told her he liked Heather’s buzz cut a great deal and that he would like her bald equally well if not more so. Michelle was flabbergasted when James responded that he was impressed with Steffie and thought the other women with buzz cuts looked quite good. He wouldn’t object if Michelle decided to do something like that. Even Cindi told her that while she intended to keep her own hair long, she liked the way the other girls looked and admired their daring. Someone mentioned the ‘Bald Girls’ Mothers Club, which fascinated the young photographer.

The girls looked forward to seeing themselves in the newspaper. None of them had any idea that they would receive so much attention in the future.

The fireworks were a great success. The troupe thoroughly enjoyed itself. They were exhilarated by the attention they had received and the trip back home was a riot of hyperactive teenagers and their indulgent parents.

Tommy knew few of the adults. He was greeted enthusiastically by everyone. They all knew about Christine’s boyfriend and the story of Tommy and Johnny. He impressed them with his quiet self assurance and friendliness.

Christine’s belief that Tommy was someone special grew. She was determined to be equally special in Tommy’s eyes. Their ride home was quiet. They talked about the fireworks a little, and about some of the more impressive exhibits. The walk down 36th St. with the moon just rising seemed quite romantic for Christine.

“The sky is pretty impressive tonight, isn’t it,” Tommy said.

“I wondered if you noticed. The moon is very nice too.” Christine responded.

“I noticed. It’s nice to be walking with you like this Christine.”

“You made it a wonderful day for me Tommy.”

They walked in silence for a while.

“You and your Mom have a lot of very nice friends.”

“I didn’t realize how many of them there were until we got together last Sunday and then today. Of course I knew Tess, but today was the first time I have seen her since she got her head shaved. She’s enthusiastic about it too. It was funny to hear her talk about us being on the swim team together. She’ll be in Forest High this fall, I think but I’ll still be going to Elmwood.” She paused. Then she spoke softly. “you’ll be at Forest High too.”

“Yeah, but it won’t change much. We’ll be able to spend time together on weekends just like now. I like you too much to have anything change.” he reassured her.

They had reached the little short cut path behind the houses. Tommy opened the gate that let them into the back yard. Lights were on letting them know that Paula and Melissa were home ahead of them. Christine let them in to the kitchen and announced their presence.

“Hi, Mom. We’re back.”

“Well, you made it before eleven. That was a big crowd. I guess you didn’t have to wait long for a bus. Tommy, I hope we didn’t overwhelm you with all those people.”

“I liked them Mrs. Jenner. I don’t think I can remember all their names though.”

“No need. Christine can cover for you. How was your day?”

“We had a great time Mom. It was a lot of fun to see all our friends at once. An the newspaper reporter was pretty funny too. I think she was kind of shocked to see so many bald girls and women all at one place.”

“It was quite a sight. I’m glad you had fun. It’s getting late so I guess we had all better call it a day.”

“Good night Mrs. Jenner. Thanks for letting me go out with Christine.”

“Tommy, I think Christine is fortunate to have a boy friend like you. And I guess we’re both fortunate to have someone like Christine. Good night Tommy.” She stood up and headed upstairs.

Tommy and Christine went back out to the back yard and stood quietly for a moment. Tommy put one hand around her waist and cupped her head with the other. They kissed a little more warmly than the first time, but still with restraint. Christine had pushed her head into his hand.

“It feels really good to hold you like that Christine.”

“It feels really good to be held like that.”

Tommy took both her hands. “We have lots of time to get to know each other and lots of things to do before we get too serious with each other, but I’m sure I want to get very serious with you when the time comes. I had better get going Christine.”

“I know. I don’t want to mess things up either. Do you think you’ll want to get serious with a bald woman when you finish college?”

“If she’s named Christine Jenner, yes. She doesn’t absolutely have to be bald, but it might help.”

Christine laughed. “I’ll take that as an incentive. I think I’ll want a judo black belt and swimming champion named Tommy Williams if he’ll have me.”

The walked around the house to the front pushing Tommy’s bike.

They kissed again, a quick almost chaste touching of the lips.

“Bye, see you Monday.”

“Bye, Monday.”

To be continued in Part 12

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