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In part 17 Gail and Jessie have gotten their heads shaved by Kate partly in solidarity with Janet and Christine, who has become the leader and role model for them, but largely because they had discovered they liked the way the other girls looked and wanted to try it themselves. Once they have done so they liked it and their feelings of togetherness became even stronger. It seems as though it will be a rather ordinary week. The event that still dominates their conversation is the win over Wasena the previous week. The Friday meet with the Keystone Panthers will be routine for the Bulldogs, who had easily won the first meeting and has improved significantly since then Their focus is preparing for the final meet of the summer in which all the teams will participate over two days. Many of the girls look forward to the second meeting of the Bald Girls Mothers Club (BGMC), on Sunday, but there will be some interesting happenings on Friday and Saturday also.

Week 7

Tuesday

As they had agreed, Christine and Melissa did not shave on Tuesday,

“Christine, I can’t feel anything yet. How about you?” Melissa inquired.

“Maybe it’s not as soft feeling as it is just after a shave, but I can’t tell much difference. We sure don’t need to shave,” Christine replied.

“I’m just going to put on some moisturizer and I’ll be done,” Melissa said.

“Sounds good to me,” Christine agreed. “Let’s get some breakfast and go.”

The rest of the day was uneventful. Tommy told her that he might know something about tickets to the upcoming musical at the Rialto Center and would call her.

They had dinner and were cleaning up the kitchen when Christine remembered something she wanted to mention to Paula.

“Mom, you said that I might need to have my eyebrows done again pretty soon. When I looked at them yesterday I saw a lot of dark hairs growing and my brows seemed to look darker that they did. Should I have them done again,” she asked.

“You’re quite right Christine. I don’t see how we can do it this week. You have a meet on Friday, and Ursula doesn’t work in the evening on Wednesday or Thursday. How about next Monday if I can get an appointment for you?” Paula suggested.

“That’ll work Mom,” Christine responded.

“OK, I’ll call tomorrow and try to set up an appointment,” Paula agreed.

“I’ll get it,” Christine said to the sound of the phone ringing.

“Hello,”

“Hi, Christine. My Mom got tickets for Saturday.”

“That’s great Tommy. Where will we be sitting?”

“We’ll be in the balcony. You can see really well from there although it’s pretty far away.”

“I meant to look it up in the newspaper, but I forgot. Which musical is it?”

“It’s Annie. You know; that old cartoon about a little orphan kid and a really rich guy who took care of her. He was called Daddy Warbucks.”

“I’ve heard about it, but I don’t know the story at all.”

“That’s OK. It has some nice music, and the story is pretty simple. I’ll tell you about it before we get their.”

They talked quietly for another fifteen minutes before hanging up.

“Mom, Tommy has tickets to the new show at the Rialto on Saturday. I guess we’ll be a little late again,” Christine said.

“That’s OK Christine. Eleven O’clock will be just fine,” Paula reassured her.

The telephone rang again, and Melissa answered it.

“Hello”

“Well, hi Melissa or is it Christine. I can never tell your voices apart. This is Leigh Singletary. Is Paula around?”

“It’s Melissa Mrs. Singletary. She’s right here. I’ll get her.”

“Hi, Leigh. Good to hear from you.”

“Hi, Paula. I’ve been wanting to talk to you, but I’ve had so many things to do. I do have some good news though. Ray’s boss is leaving and they’re promoting Ray to take his place.”

“That’s wonderful Leigh. I know it’s been hard on him the last couple of years. Having your job yanked out from under you is tough to take.”

“He’s so capable and it was hard to get a job that was not beneath his capabilities. This job will make him feel like he’s making use of his abilities again. I wanted to tell you that, but that’s not what I really called about. You remember we talked about getting nose studs like Kate?”

“I sure do. I’ve talked to my kids about it and they understand and agree to the rules I’ve set up. I’ve just been waiting for the right time to do it.”

Well, maybe now is the right time. I’ve talked to Beth too. I’d like to do it if you and Leigh are still interested. I don’t think I can do it by myself.”

“I’m ready. I’d do it right now if we could get to Rings and Things before it closed. When do you want to go. It would have to be when June, I think her name is, is going to be there. She’s the only one who is allowed to do it.”

“Saturday afternoon would be a good time for me. Would that work for you?”

“I’m sure it would if it’s early. Why don’t you call Heather and I’ll call Michelle. Tell Heather to call Hallie and see if she and Steffie would like to go with us. I’m not sure Steffie is going to be here this weekend. Did Beth tell you about Michelle’s new short haircut? She might want to get her ears pierced again now that she’s showing them off with her new haircut. I’m going to and I think Leigh is too. Maybe Steffie will get a nose stud. Hallie is a little conservative, but Steffie might persuade her to get another piercing.” In her enthusiasm Paula had run out of breath.

Leigh burst out laughing. “Slow down Paula. I’ve never hear you so excited. It will be great fun. Since I’m the oldest I guess I’ll have to be the mother hen and keep everyone calmed down. I’ll call Heather right now. Call me back after you’ve talked to Michelle.”

“OK. I guess I did get going there didn’t I. I’ve been looking forward to getting it done for a couple of weeks. I’ll call you back. Bye.”

“I hope Michelle joins us. Beth did tell me about Michelle’s haircut. I’m eager to see it. Good luck Paula. Bye.”

Paula hung up and immediately called Michelle.

“Hi Michelle; it’s me, Paula. Melissa said that you got your haircut really short. I’m so eager to see it. How did James react?”

“Whoa Paula! I’ve never heard you so wound up. What’s going on?”

“Oh my goodness Michelle, I did it again. I got excited talking to Leigh and I haven’t gotten unwound yet. I think I’m OK now. Did Kate do your haircut for you?”

“Cindi and I went to Kate’s shop on Saturday. She was cutting the hair of a girl and I liked the way it was done. I found the same style in her scrapbook , only it was done on a woman. It’s called a geometric cut. It has bangs coming from the crown. The sides and back are short and tapered. You’ll see it next Sunday at the Herb Garden. Anyway James did like it. I may keep it like this for a while or get it cut shorter in a similar style that Kate showed me. Before you tell me what you called about, I have a question. I want to have my eyebrows redone to make them more arched and a lot lighter. I would like to see how I would look without brows like some of the pictures that Kate showed me. Anyway, Kate said that she thought that Christine’s brows had been done professionally. Is that right?”

“That’s right Michelle. I saw some pictures of women with lightened brows and no brows in a makeup book. I thought it was an interesting look. In fact that’s what gave me the idea of lightening my brows. It seems to open up my eyes. I thought Christine’s were too heavy and dark too. I showed her how to lighten them with powder which make her look softer. She liked the look so I took her to Ursula at the ‘Impressions Salon’. She did a great job shaping and lightening Christine’s brows. I’ll be taking her back on Monday for a touch up.”

“Oh, I remember seeing that salon. That’s exactly what I want to do. Thanks Paula. I’m sorry for keeping you from telling me why you called, b
ut I wanted to ask you about Christine.”

That’s OK Michelle. Now that you have a new short haircut I thought you might want to join Leigh, Heather and I on a little adventure at ‘Rings and Things.’ We’re going to get our ears pierced again and to get little nose studs like Kate’s.
We’re inviting Hallie and Steffie although Hallie may not be interested. She’s pretty conservative, but Steffie and Victor may be influencing her to loosen up.”.

You’re getting your nose pierced like Kate! I thought it looked good. And I remember that Heather’s daughter Ginny has one. James would probably like it if I had one too. I’ve already told Cindi that we’ll go and get our ears pierced again. I’ll definitely join you even if I don’t get a nose stud. Is it OK if Cindi comes along?”

“Good idea Michelle. I’ll ask my girls. I’ve already told them they could have their thirds if they wanted. I think Penny just got her seconds. I’m not sure about Beth. I know Audra has only one. Maybe Steffie can persuade Hallie to let her have her seconds. I need to call ‘Rings and Things’ to be sure June can be there on Saturday afternoon. I’ll let you know what time we’re going, but it will be between twelve and one. Bye Michelle.”

“Bye Paula. Talk to you in a little while.”

“Christine and Paula, I have something to ask you,” she called up the stairs.

“What is it Mom?” Melissa asked.

“I’m going to ‘Rings and Things’ on Saturday with the gang. I’m getting my ears pierced again and I’m getting a nose stud. Cindi is coming for sure and some of the other amigas may becoming. If you want to come and get your third piercings you can.”

“Wow Mom! That’s great. I want to come,” Melissa exploded.

“I do too, Mom, if we’ll be back early enough for me to get ready to go to the show,” Christine said a little less exuberantly

“No problem Christine. We should be back by four O’clock at the latest. I’ll make sure you and I get ours done first and if it gets late I’ll bring you home. Melissa can come back with one of the others. How’s that,” Paula said with a little laugh.

“That’s great Mom. I definitely want to get a third piercing,” Christine responded enthusiastically.

“I need to call Rings and Things to make sure June is there.

A call to ‘Rings and things confirmed that June would indeed be available on Saturday beginning at Noon.

She called back to Leigh to confirm the arrangements.

“Hi, Leigh. We’re good to go with my two. Michelle is coming and will bring Cindi.”

“That’s great. I’m bringing Beth. Heather just called me back. She’s coming. She and Penny got their ears pierced just three weeks ago. She wants to be sure it’s OK for Penny to get a third piercing that soon. Steffie is visiting on Saturday with Louis. They’re still making plans for their wedding. Hallie may come. She wants to talk to Victor first. Audra can get her ears pierced again if she wants to. She can come with Steffie if Steffie wants to come. Hallie is going to call her. I think we’re going to overwhelm them at “Rings and Things,” Leigh laughed.

“You’re right Leigh. It could be ten of us all showing up together. That ought to get their attention. I forgot to tell you that Jane, the lady who does nose piercing will be there starting at noon. Christine has a big date with Tommy Saturday evening. So I hope that she and I can be one of the first few so I can get her home in plenty of time for her to get ready. If I leave early I’ll let Melissa stay with you.”

“Sure thing Paula. I’ll drop her off at your place in that case. I suppose we should think about carpooling. I’ll check on that tomorrow. Bye Paula.”

“I’ll let Michelle know about the arrangements. Bye Leigh. See you Saturday.”

Wednesday

“Melissa are you down there,” Christine called down the stairs. “Are we eating breakfast before we shave or after?”

“I have breakfast ready, but let’s shave first. I’m coming up,” she answered.

“That moisturizer is really working Melissa. I still don’t feel much. It’s just a little rough,” Christine announced sounding a little surprised.

“That’s what I thought too. By the time school starts we can shave only once a week,” Melissa replied.

“Maybe, but don’t be too sure. The effect may slow down from now on. I guess we’d better get started. Sit down and I’ll do you first,” Christine said.

“How are you guys going to handle the meet with Keystone. Our volleyball coach said we would be letting our subs play most of the game unless it looked like Keystone was getting to close to winning,” Melissa inquired.

“Pretty much the same. Coach said that our top four would only swim one race each unless Keystone looked like they have a chance of winning. I’m in the fifty meter backstroke. Janet is doing the fifty meter free. Jessie is in the fifty meter breaststroke, and Gail’s in the butterfly. If we come in first and second in those races coach said we wouldn’t enter the hundred meter races. The other kids would be swimming them all. Bridget would be doing the hundred meters free. They’ve really been improving. They could be one, two in the hundred free. OK, you’re done. Now that you have a nice tan, you look really good Melissa. You should never let your hair grow again,” Christine told her.

“I don’t think that I will, but like Mom says, we can’t help but change as we get older. I’m ready to do you,” Melissa said.

“I’ve been thinking about what Aunt Steffie said, getting laser treatment so she can be permanently bald. I would like to have my head look like yours Melissa. Mine always has that little shadow. If I stay shaved in High School, maybe I will get laser treatments. Then it will stay smooth and never show any shadow.” Christine said.

“That’s what I think I’ll do. Aunt Steffie’s head looks perfectly clean and smooth even though her hair is very dark. I guess it’s because her skin in a nice brown.
She looks so good without hair I think she should stay bald,” Melissa added.

“You’re done Christine. It almost doesn’t show. Maybe if you got a little more tan you couldn’t see it. Why don’t you try that bronzer that we used the first week. That might be enough to make it almost invisible,” Melissa suggested.

“Good idea Melissa. I’ll try it,” Christine agreed.

“Hold still and I’ll put on the moisturizer for you,” Melissa offered.

“OK, then I’ll do you,” Christine responded.

Moisturizer applied Christine got out the tube of shiny makeup that Paula had found in the back of the drawer. Christine giggled as she ran it over her head. She had chosen the darker of the three tubes. After a little experimentation she found that she could spread it evenly with a makeup sponge. She looked at it critically using a hand mirror to see the back of her head.

“That does look better Melissa. What do you think?” she asked.

“That looks a lot better. Now you don’t see any shadow at all. You really do need to get a little more suntan on your head,” Melissa reiterated her original point.

“I was so mad that first week that I didn’t look at myself. Now I feel super good about how I look. I’m definitely going to get some more sun on the weekends. I’ll need to be careful not to get burned though. OK, I’m ready to go,” Christine said.

Friday Evening at Kate’s

Christine and Melissa had told her it was OK to miss the Keystone meet. They had won the first meet easily and had improved a great deal in the intervening weeks. Their coaches said that they would play mostly the younger players and substitutes unless it looked like they might lose.

Paula opened the door to Kate’s shop to the familiar tinkling of the little bell. She was fifteen minutes early for her regular appointment. Kate was working on a woman who was considerably older than she was. Kate looked up and greeted Paula.

“Hi Paula. It’s going to be a little while. I still have a ways to go on Georgia’s bo
wl cut,” Kate advised her.

“That’s OK Kate. I’m not in any hurry,” Paula replied.

Paula had seen a few bowl cuts, mostly on young boys. She recalled seeing one on a teenage girl, but not on a woman in her forties. Kate had parted the woman’s hair in a line around her head almost two inch above her ears. She had already cut the hair hanging down to about an inch long.

“Georgia, I’m going to clipper it to a sixteenth of an inch. The picture you showed me was shorter than that, but I can always make it shorter later if you want,” Kate told her.

“OK Kate. You know what I want and what will look right. I do want the undercut to be quite close though,” Georgia answered.

Kate picked up her battery operated clipper, cleaned the teeth and added a drop of oil before she set to the number zero point on the lever. Working quickly she began clippering the left side starting at the sideburn. Folding down the top of Georgia’s ear she went up to the line of pinned up hair. She progressed quickly around her head, leaving everything below the line closely buzzed. The remaining hair was visible, but just barely enough to be noticeable. Kate let down about an inch of the hair on one side and began cutting it to the top of Georgia’s ear. She did the same on the opposite side and then the back. Using her clipper and a comb Kate worked slowly around Georgia’s head clippering the hair so that it overlapped the buzzed section by a half inch and had a little taper. Kate wanted it to have a slight rounded effect at the transition point. She would make the effect more definite later after she had established the basic shape. She would do some thinning to keep the transition from being toostarkly abrupt and to lighten the bangs a little.

As the haircut progressed Paula watched with interest as the new style emerged. She thought it was going to be quite unique. Georgia’s bangs had not been cut, but she guessed that they would match the sides and back.

Kate was using her comb to section the hair which she held between her fingers to cut. She progressed quite quickly now. She combed down the bangs and cut them to slightly below Georgia’s eyebrows. The process continued as Kate began refining the cut. It had taken on the classic bowl shape, but with the edges slighted rounded. The line was well above Georgia’s ears, exactly level with her eyebrows. Kate combed the hair first one way and then another to see how it all fit. Using her thinning shears she cut into the hair that formed the bangs moving the shears from back to front to create the effect she wanted. She used the same technique for the sides and back until she was satisfied that the weight line was not too heavy. She adjusted the bangs and a few places along the weight line then stopped.

“OK Georgia. It’s about done. See what you think and whether you want the sides and back any closer,” Kate announced.

Georgia looked at her reflection in the hand mirror that Kate held up for her and inspected the result. “That’s almost exactly how I wanted it Kate, but I do want the sides and back as close as you can buzz it.”

“I could give you a lather shave Georgia. That would be perfectly smooth for a day. Is that what you want?” Kate asked.

“No, just make it as close as you can with your clipper,” Georgia requested.

“No problem. I have a triple zero head which will make it almost smooth. Are you going to keep it like this for a while?”

“I think so Kate. I suppose I’ll have to come in often to get it clippered, won’t I?” Georgia asked.

“You should come in every week. I can clipper it in a couple of minutes at no charge as long as you’re going to maintain it,” Kate said.

Kate had put down the mirror and picked up her big clippers. She removed the head and replaced it with the triple zero one from the drawer. A quick cleaning and was followed by two drops of oil. Kate turned on the clipper and used her comb to pick up the hair on the side of Georgia’s head. She carefully but firmly ran the clipper up to the line of demarcation stopping just before it began to cut the longer hair above. Now there was no discernible hair on that side of Georgia’s head. There was no sideburn and the side was completely bare. Kate went around Georgia’s head clippering the undercut as cleanly as possible. When she had finished she returned to the side and applying firm pressure, she clipped the sides and back from hairline to under the weight line as closely as was possible. She considered using her edger but decided there would be no significant difference. Once again she went over Georgia’s head making sure that it was even and would fall into place with little fuss. Finally she was satisfied.

“There you go Georgia. A very nice clean bowl cut.” Kate told her as she rotated the barber chair to face the mirror. “Your undercut is a lot shorter even that Elaine’s cut. By the way, what did you think of her almost shaved look?”

“I thought it was marvelous. She looked so elegant and sophisticated. You can’t imagine how lucky I feel to have a daughter-in-law like her. She is such a great Mother. We must be quite a strange looking pair when we go out shopping though,” Georgia said.

“Let me see how I look now.” Once again Georgia examined the result. This time she reached from under the cape to feel the back.

“It’s wonderful Kate, just what I wanted.” A huge smile engulfed her face as she examined the back which was quite smooth high up the back and, if anyone could have seen it, a little beyond the line where her hair ended. She continued to feel the back.

“That feels so good Kate. And it looks so outrageous. I love it. Thanks for a terrific job,” she said.

“You’re very welcome Georgia. You know how much I like giving these short haircuts. I can tell you how you could keep it shaved smooth if you want. After a while you would only need to shave it once a week.”

“How could I do that Kate?” she asked.

“It’s easy. You use a little battery powered shaver and put on some shave reducing moisturizer every day. In about three months it grows so slowly that you only need to shave once a week,” Kate explained.

“That sounds interesting Kate. Let me think about it. I just might take you up on that idea,” Georgia responded enthusiastically.

Kate removed the cape and Georgia stepped down from the chair still looking at herself. She walked over to Kate’s little counter and took out some bills.

“Keep the change Kate. You’re definitely worth every cent,” she said.

“Thanks Georgia. Enjoy you new cut,” Kate said.

“Oh, I will. You can count on it. I’ll probably have people staring at me wherever I go,” she laughed as she left.

“Oh, I forgot to mention something. You might be interested in joining the Bald Girls Mothers Club. They have a lot of women with really short haircuts and girls who are shaved like Elaine. They seem to have a lot of fun. Paula here can tell you all about it.”

Paula was caught by surprise at this and stammered a moment while she organized her thoughts. “It’s a fun group Georgia. I have two bald girls and there are at least six others as well. Three of my friends have short buzz cuts and Jill and Steffie are bald too. At least two of us are planning to get our heads shaved by spring at the latest. The next meeting of the club is next Sunday. It’s at the Herb Garden on Elm Street down town at ten O’clock in the morning,” Paula explained. You’re very welcome to join us. Just bring your bald daughter-in-law. I’m sure a daughter-in-law works perfectly.”

“What a wonderful idea. How in the world did you manage to find that many women with buzz cuts or shaved heads and all those bald girls? In fact how in the world did you ever happen to have two bald girls of your own?” Georgia asked, completely perplexed.

“It’s a long story Georgia. It all began because I wante
d to shave my own head, but thought I couldn’t, so after seeing an article from an Italian newspaper about a resort area where the kids, both boys and girls, often got their heads shaved for summer, I had Kate shave my two. They’ve decided on their own to keep their heads shaved. Things sort of escalated from there,” Paula explained.

“I’ll definitely ask Elaine if she would like to come. It’s always fun to find people who share your own ideas. I think Elaine will be delighted. Thanks for telling me Paula. I have to get going,” Georgia said.and rushed out the door.

“My goodness Kate that is a very unusual cut. I’ve seen it on young boys, but never on a woman like that,” Paula said.

“It’s pretty unusual Paula, that’s for sure. I doubt that I’ve done more than three in the last several years and none of them were clipper shaved like Georgia’s. She’s always been very adventurous – wild even, but she carries her styles off easily and is not the least self-conscious about how she looks,” Kate told her as she fastened the cape around her neck.

“I thought it looked quite good on her. Of course I might be a little biased seeing that I have two bald girls around me all the time,” Paula said with a little chuckle.

“It is an interesting look. How about you? I suppose I’m just getting this style back in shape. Is that right?” Kate asked.

“Actually Kate I’ve decided that I’m ready for you to go the next step. You said that I could go for an asymmetrical cut, maybe with some bangs. Can you show me what you have in mind?” Paula asked.

“I’ll get my book. It will be a combination of two possibilities. Here is one. I would cut the side where you part your hair like this only not so drastic. It would be tapered close up about an inch. The heavy side would go back a little and I would cut a wispy fringe of bangs sort of like this.” Kate flipped between to pages to show Paula what she had in mind.

“Isn’t there a picture that is close to the way it would look Kate?” Paula asked.

“Unfortunately, I don’t have an illustration that is very close to what I have in mind. I don’t want to scare you. It’s actually pretty conservative,” Kate told her.

“Well, I trusted you the first time, and it came out perfectly, so I shouldn’t have any qualms now. Go ahead and do what you have in mind Kate,” Paula told her.

“Are you sure you want me to do this Paula?” Kate asked.

“Yes, I’m sure. I definitely want to do something different for tomorrow and Sunday,” Paula told her.

“OK, I’ll do it. But first let me show you what I have in mind for the next step. It’s another asymmetrical cut, but with bangs coming from well back. A little bit like Michelle’s cut only more curved,” Kate explained.

“This is it. I would make it shorter than it is on this girl. The short side would be short and buzzed and the bangs would be higher and curve around your eye on the other side. And, of course the long side would only be as long as it is now. I think you would look stunning with that style,” Kate told her.

“I like that look Kate, even more than the other cut you described. I ran into Michelle at the store Monday evening on my way home. I hadn’t seen her short cut before. I thought it was fabulous. I had never realized how good bangs like that could look. Now I’m convinced. I think I would like to skip the style you suggested first and go right to this one,” Paula told her.

“Really!” Kate said a little surprised.

“You really would look great in this style, even though I think the style you have is terrific, but if you’re ready then I’ll do it,” she said as she fastened the cape around Paula’s neck.

“I’m quite ready. I’ve actually been looking forward to getting it cut again for a couple of weeks now. It really peaked when I saw Michelle. She had longer hair than I did when I got mine cut and she went for a cut even more dramatic than mine. Even this cut won’t quite catch up with her,” Paula laughed.

“I’m sure you will pass her eventually. By the way Paula, this style doesn’t have a part. It will be easier for you to maintain than the bob you have now. Shall I get started?” Kate asked.

“Absolutely! I almost forgot Kate. I have some exciting news. We’re all going to Rings and Things tomorrow to get our ears pierced and get nose studs. I haven’t been so excited since I was a little girl,” Paula said.

“That terrific Paula! Who are the “all” that you’re referring to?” Kate asked.

“Goodness I did it again – got over excited that is. Well, Leigh called me to tell me some good news about her husband, but then she said she wanted to know if I was still interested in getting my nose pierced. She wanted to, but needed a little support. Anyway she called Heather who was ready to go. I called Michelle and she’s interested but not quite sure she’s ready. She does want to get her ears pierced and wants to bring Cindi too. Heather called Hallie, who is a little conservative, and invited her and Steffie, Audra’s bald aunt. I think you met her a month ago. I’m taking my girls for their third pair of earrings. I think Beth is getting another set and Heather plans to get her third set along with Penny if it’s safe to do it so close to their last piercing,” Paula told her getting a little breathless in the process.

“My goodness! That’s quite a crowd. It’s going to take a long time to do all that many people,” Kate exclaimed.

You’re right Kate. I’ve already arranged to have Christine and I be early on the lineup. Tommy is taking Christine to see ‘Annie’ at the Rialto tomorrow evening and she didn’t want to risk being late getting back home to get ready,” Paula replied.

Kate had combed Paula’s hair into a rough approximation of the style that she was going to create. Now she combed up all but two inches on the left side and began cutting the remainder using her comb and clipper to reduce the hair to a workable length around Paula’s ear.

“There. No going back now Paula. I’ll use my clipper to redo the back and to do the left side. The back will be the same as it was the first cut, but I’ll clipper the left side to match,” Kate told her.

Putting words into action she began much as she had three weeks earlier using the clipper with a number four half inch guide to go up the back of Paula’s head. This time she continued around to the left side and applied the same technique there, creating the same taper that had been produced in the back The number four guide was replaced with a number two and the process repeated so that there was a gradual transition from one quarter of an inch to the half inch long hair above. Finally she used a number one guide from the hairline up about an inch to provide the transition near the hairline. She would refine the result using comb and clipper technique and finally comb and scissors. She would left the sideburn an eighth of an inch long and outline it almost square later.

“That’s looking quite good Paula. I’ll have to do some more work to get it just right, but now I can begin cutting your bangs,” Kate explained.

Kate parted off a section of hair in the front and combed it forward. All of the top would be combed forward, but would sweep toward the right where it would blend with the heavy drape that was the main feature of the original cut. Now it would be less heavy, but still a definite bob shape. The bangs would be relatively light on the left and would be progressively heavier as they got cut in a curve around Paula’s right eye, covering her brow, and then blending with the short bob on the right. The difference between the left and right sides would be quite dramatic and the bangs would form a transition from one side to the other. Kate began combing up small sections and cutting them to blend with the line of bangs that she had already cut. Later she would do some judicious thinning to reduce the weight. As she worked her way to the right and back the hair got progressively longer, but still quite a bit shorter than it had bee
n.

“I like the way this is shaping up Paula. You’re going to like it,” Kate told her.

“I’m sure I will. Can I see the front yet,” Paula asked.

“Well, there’s a lot more to do but here, have a quick peek,” Kate said as she swung the chair around to face the mirror.

“My, that does look interesting. The left side is going to be really short, isn’t it?” Paula observed.

“Yes it is, but that’s one of the features that makes it interesting, don’t you think?” Kate responded as she rotated the chair back to the position she used so she could check her progress in the mirror.

She realized that she had about reached the stage where she could begin the final stage of judicious trimming and thinning that would produce the result that she was aiming for.

“Paula I need to give you a shampoo so it will be easier to get the shape just right,” she said.

Shampoo done and towel dried, Kate re-combed Paula’s emerging style back into it desired shape and began the process of blending and tapering that would see the final result appear. With comb and scissors she tapered the left side and back to produce the perfect taper that was the hallmark of her meticulous work. Now instead of producing the dramatic high flip of hair draping on the right side that characterized the front of the original style, there was only the smooth curve of the bangs blending with the bob shape on the right side. The top began at the crown and came forward, but also swirled to the right where it blended with the hair on the right side that angled upward toward the back from her cheek. Kate checked, combed and snipped. Returning to the bangs and top she used a razor to reduce the weight and make the final result a little lighter. The final step was to use her edger to define the sideburn on the left side, outline around the ear and then edge the back so that the three points that had been created by waxing Paula’s hairline would stand out.

“Paula, you don’t need to have your hairline waxed yet. I’ve edged it and it should be fine for at least another week. I’m just about done. I’ll use some mousse to give it a little more shape,” she said.

She rubbed in a modest amount of mousse and used her blow dryer to give Paula’s new hair style a bit more softness and lift.

“OK, here you go,” Kate said as she turned Paula around to face the mirror.

Paula examined the result critically. “Kate it’s great. I like it a lot. I love the way I seem to be peeking out from behind the right side. Now I definitely have to get more earrings in order to show it off. Let me see the way it looks from the sides.”

Once again she examined the result. “It’s a lot like it was before on the right side, but just doesn’t stand out so much. I like the way the bangs just sort of turn into the side without any definite point of transition. It’s really cute to have that little pointy sideburn on the left. I definitely want to get a nose stud on the left side. That would be dramatic. Can I see the back now?” Paula asked.

Kate swung the chair around and handed Paula the hand mirror. “I really like the back Kate. When I finally get it shaved completely, I think I will actually miss the beautiful and striking look of having those three distinct points back there. I’m very happy with the result Kate. It’s quite a dramatic change even if it’s not quite the huge change that I had the last time. It is quite different and very attractive. I believe I may have lost another couple of years. I was going to ask you to redo my eyebrows, but it is rather late isn’t it. I guess I’ll just wait until next week. I’m sure I’ll get the gang’s attention tomorrow,” Paula said.

“I think you probably will. When you come in next week I think I would like to modify it just a little. I want to make the left side a little shorter and maybe clipper it up and around your ear. I think you will like that even more than the way it is now. Sometimes it takes a little adjustment to get a new style just right,” Kate told her.

“You are a real perfectionist aren’t you. Just because I didn’t go ga-ga over it doesn’t mean I don’t like it a lot, but I’ll be happy to let you adjust it as much as you want. I don’t think you could do a bad job if you tried,” Paula laughed.

“Maybe not, but I want all my clients to really love their haircuts. So I want yours especially to be so good that you love it. We’ll get everything exactly right next week.

Saturday Morning

Kate had barely unlocked the door and flipped the sign around to announce that her shop was open when the door opened and a teenage girl with shoulder length dark brown hair stepped in to the merry jingling of the little bell.

“Hello, I’m Kate. Are you here for a haircut? Kate asked.

“Yes I am. My name is Ellen. I’m on the swim team with Christine and Janet and the other girls that came in to get haircuts and get their heads shaved,” Ellen announced.

“Well. That’s very interesting. They never said anything about anyone else on the team,” Kate responded.

“That’s because the other four of us aren’t as good yet as they are. They’re the best in the whole County now. Our Coach said that they’re almost as good as the best swimmers in the State. But the other four of us are getting better. Next year I’m going to be on the Forest High team,” Ellen explained.

“So what kind of haircut do you want Ellen? You aren’t planning to get your head shaved like Christine, are you?” Kate asked with a smile.

“I don’t think so. Maybe if I’m on the team with them next year I will. But I want to be part of the team. Christine helps all of us a lot. She’s always trying to get us to be better. Anyway I like Janet’s haircut and I found a picture of one like it that’s not shaved. That’s what I want,” Ellen told her.

“Could I see it? Hum, I think I have a little problem Ellen. The other girls were a little older and I was assured that their parents were OK with them getting short haircuts or shaves. I’m afraid I couldn’t give you this haircut unless I had assurance that it would be OK,” Kate told her.

“I know. My Mom said the same thing and she wrote this note for you. It has our telephone number on it. She said you would probably want to call her,” Ellen said as she handed the folded paper to Kate.

Kate unfolded it and saw that it was stationary with name, address and telephone number at the top. There was a brief note saying that Ellen could get her hair cut the way she wanted. The name was Frank and Doris Hardy.

“I’m sure everything is OK, but I need to call just to be sure that she hasn’t changed her mind,” Kate said with a little laugh.

Kate went over to her little counter, picked up the receiver and dialed the number.

“Hello.”

“Hello. This is Kate from Kate’s Barber shop.”

“Oh hi. I’m glad you called. Ellen must be there. I’m Doris, her Mother. I guess she told you about being on the swim team with Christine. I was at the meet last night and got to see all those crazy girls with their heads shaved,” Doris said.

“I know them pretty well by now. Two of them came in to get shaved last Monday,” Kate replied.

“From what I heard people saying and after talking with Janet’s Mother, it seems that those four are pretty special swimmers. The may be the best in the whole state. Ellen absolutely wants to be one of them and she’s working incredibly hard to try to catch up with what they’ve been doing. She told me how they do everything together and support each other. So she wants to get a crazy haircut too. I finally said that she could. I was going to come with her, but I have to stay home with her sister who’s not feeling well. Anyway she has my permission to get her hair cut in that style – a chelsea I think it’s called. It has cute bangs but everything else is supposed to be buzzed off really short – shorter than the
picture according to Ellen,” Doris told her.

“That’s interesting. I’ll be happy to cut her hair exactly the way she wants it. I didn’t know they were so good. I just thought they were good friends who wanted to do stuff together. So Ellen wants to be part of it and show her solidarity with them. That sounds like a pretty good idea,” Kate said.

“Ellen told me that Christine is always helping her and the others, showing them how she does things and encouraging them to go to the gym for extra workouts. Ellen seems to admire her a lot,” Doris said.

“Everything I’ve heard seems to say that Christine is pretty special. So for Ellen to want to be part of that group is probably a good thing. I’ll get Ellen taken care of. You shouldn’t worry about her having an unusual haircut. Being around Christine seems to boost the other kids’ self confidence al lot. That’s what will happen with Ellen,” Kate told her.

“I expect you’re right. I look forward to seeing the result when she returns. I enjoyed talking with you Kate. Bye” Doris said.

“It was good to talk to you to Doris. I learned a few things. Bye,” Kate said and hung up. She turned to Ellen.

“Everything is OK Ellen. Why don’t you get in my chair and we’ll get right to it. Could I see your picture again?” Kate asked.

“Sure, here it is. I like the bangs, but the buzzed part is too long. I think I want that part shorter,” Ellen told her.

“Why don’t we do it like the picture shows and then you can tell me if you want it shorter. I’ll keep making it shorter until you’re satisfied, right down to copying Janet,” Kate laughed.

“I don’t think I’ll want it that short,” Ellen said seriously.

“I was just kidding. Your bangs are not enough for this chelsea. I’ll part off a larger section, then I can begin cutting the rest. There,” Kate told her.

Kate picked up her battery operated clipper and set it to the closest setting. She dropped a little oil on the head popped it on briefly and picked up a large comb. Starting on the right side she combed up the hair and clippered it off to about an inch long at the bottom. She continued the process around Ellen head to the opposite temple. Ellen now had a roughly bowl shaped cut, but Kate wasn’t done. She started over going up higher and repeating the process. In less than five minutes Ellen’s hair had been reduced to an uneven shaggy crop that varied from one to two inches in crude semicircles around her head.

“I’m going to trim your new bangs now. They’ll be a little longer than the final result, but I’ll get them exactly right after I’ve given you a good buzzing,” Kate laughed.

The picture looked like it might have been buzzed with a number four or even a six. It was the type of cut that wouldn’t freak out most parents into accusing their kids of trying to look like punks or skinheads. Christine and Melissa seemed to have changed a lot of minds in that regard. Kate decided to use a number three, which would still be somewhat conservative but would be more like what she thought Ellen wanted. Kate proceeded without hesitation. Up the right side in front of Ellen’s ear to the top of her head, carefully avoiding the newly trimmed bangs. The back was quickly buzzed up to the crown. The left side followed. Kate went over her head a second time to make it even. If it met Ellen expectation she would taper the hairline and remove any unevenness with her comb and scissors.

“OK Ellen. Here’s what we have so far,” Kate said as she turned Ellen to face the mirror.

Ellen turned her head trying to see how it looked. “I can’t see it well enough,” she said.

“Here, use this mirror and I’ll turn you to the side to get a better view.

Ellen looked closely at it and felt it with her fingers.

“I would like it shorter please,” she requested.

“Sure thing Ellen,” Kate said. She took the mirror and turned her away from the mirror.

Snapping on a number two guide, she quickly began to buzz Ellen chelsea down to a quarter inch. The process was even quicker this time – no more than three minutes.

“How about this Ellen? I can still go quite a bit shorter if you want and it would still look like you have some hair,” Kate said now willing to do a little subtle encouragement for an even shorter version.

Again Ellen looked at it carefully and felt it. “Cut it a little shorter Kate,” she said.

“OK. Here goes,” Kate said. She hesitated. She was going to go with a number one buzz, but changed her mind at the last moment, deciding on a number one and a half. She left the number one guide on and adjusted the clipper head to the one sixteenth setting. This would result in a number one and a half buzz, about three sixteenths of an inch. She buzzed Ellen’s head once again. This time she was careful to do it very thoroughly, making sure it was even all over. She would still needed to taper the hairline, but she thought it would satisfy Ellen.

“I think I’ve finally gotten it right Ellen,” she said swinging the chair around. “What do you think?”

Ellen accepted the mirror and looked at it closely, then felt it with her fingers.

“It looks nice Kate, but I may want it even shorter the next time I get it cut,” Ellen told her.

“It does look good Ellen. It’s a big change, so it’s a good idea to take it easy the first time,” Kate told her.

Now Kate set the clipper to it’s number zero setting and did a quick short taper around her head. The next step was to complete the cutting of the bangs. She dampened them and made a very precise cut at the top of Ellen’s eyebrows – just long enough that they would be above her eyebrows when they dried and were fluffed up a bit. Next she used her comb and scissors to make sure that the entire cut was perfectly even over Ellen’s head. She had noticed a slight bump at the top which she accounted for with some judicious trimming. Finally she used the edger to outline the hairline neatly. In the back, Ellen’s hairline was almost rounded, so Kate simply finished it off that way. A quick tousling of Ellen’s bangs with her fingers and her blow dryer followed by a touch up with her comb and she was finished.

“There you go Ellen. A very cute looking chelsea if I do say so myself. It suits you very well I must say,” Kate told her. She was actually a little surprised herself at just how cute Ellen looked with her buzzed head and full bangs.

She sung the chair around once again and offered Ellen the mirror.

Ellen looked at herself from the front and from the side as Kate slowly rotated the chair. “Wow, it is so neat! I love it! I really love it!” she exclaimed. As Kate rotated her so she could see the back, she reached up to feel it. A big smile broke out on her face.

“It feels so awesome! The rest of the team is going to flip!” she exclaimed.

“And well they should. I can’t remember seeing a chelsea that looks as good as yours. It’s just perfect for you,” Kate told her.

“I can’t wait ’till Monday to show the other kids. Thanks a lot for cutting it for me,” Ellen exclaimed as she stepped down from the chair.

Ellen had paid and left, and Kate was tidying up around her chair when the bell rang announcing a customer.

“Hello Kate. I’m back,” April announced.

“Hi April! You got here just before the rush,” she laughed. I just finished giving my first customer a very neat chelsea cut. It looked extremely cute on her. I guess you want me to touch up your clipper shave,” Kate said.

“I most certainly do. It’s amazing how much it seems to grow in a week when it’s as short as it was last week. After a week it seems quite long, although I expect no one else notices it,” April said as she made herself comfortable in Kate’s chair.

“Well, it won’t take long to make it right. Zero on the top and double zero on the sides will get you back in shape.” Kate said.

“whatever you say
Kate, just so it’s nicely clipper shaved. You can do it even shorter than last time if you like,” April responded.

“My, you are being adventurous. How about an all over double zero? That’s as close as I can go and still leave you with a hint of hair. Your beautiful white hair should be visible a little bit,” Kate told her.

“That sound good. Do it like that. It will be grown out in a few days anyway. Jill and I will be attending the Bald Girls Mothers Club meeting tomorrow in matching outfits. I had to have mine altered a bit, but Jill’s fit perfectly. I’ll pick it up this afternoon. They’re one piece outfits in a black and light gray pattern that have loose flared legs that make them look like long skirts. The top is fitted with wide sleeves. They look almost like cocktail dresses. They’re very soft and silky. I thought they looked very elegant and set off our bald and almost bald heads perfectly,” April described the outfits enthusiastically.

“They sound terrific. You two should make quite an impression. I’m going to give you a nice clean taper on the sides and back,” Kate told her.

“Do whatever you want Kate. I’m going to get it shaved one of these days anyway,” April said.

“Goodness, I’ve been itching to give you white walls. I guess I’ll just have to do it,” Kate replied.

“What in the world are whitewalls? I thought they were tires for cars,” April said.

“They are, but in a barbershop it means shaving the sides and back of your head smooth, leaving just the top with a little hair. That’s all you need actually and you’ll be close to matching Jill,” Kate told her.

“Well what the heck. Let’s go for it,” April responded.

“One whitewall buzz cut coming up. I’m going to clean up the sides and back before I shave it clean,” Kate said as she picked up her large black clipper and snapped on the triple zero head.

Kate started on the right side and pushed the clipper up about two inches above the top of April’s ear. She folded her ear down and repeated the action. She continued the process completely around April’s head leaving a noticeable line of demarcation. Next she carefully made a short taper around April’s head that made the line disappear. She went back and adjusted it in a few spots.

“You’re going to get a nice hot lather shave just like the one I gave Jill early this summer. From what you said I assume she’s still shaved,” Kate said.

“Oh my yes. She’s very enthusiastic about it. She told me she only has to shave it twice a week to keep it nice and smooth. She’s looking forward to the time when she can go for a whole week without shaving. She seems likely to keep it shaved for quite a while – maybe forever,” April told her.

“That’s great. There can never be too many happy bald girls and women strutting their stuff,” Kate laughed.

She had wrapped a hot towel around April’s head. Now she removed it and spread hot lather on the sides and back of her head. Taking her time she stropped her straight razor to renew its keen edge. With a towel draped across April’s shoulder she began shaving the right side of April’s head starting at her temple. With firm confident strokes she worked her way to the back of April’s head which she shaved in two stages, first the lower half and then the upper half. Continuing on to the left side she shaved it clean in a matter of a few minutes. She did not consider doing a second shave of the area. It was, after all, strictly temporary. She knew April was unlikely to be interested in shaving herself every day or even every two days. She cleaned off the remaining shave foam with a warm damp towel and then dried it. She applied some of the shave reducing moisturizer that she had acquired knowing that a single application would have no detectible effect.

“All done April. You’re going to cut quite the figure when you walk into the Herb Garden tomorrow,” Kate said.

“I hope so Kate. Let me see what you’ve done to me this time,” April said laughing.

Kate turned her to face the mirror and reached for the hand mirror so she could inspect the back and sides.

“It’s perfect Kate – just the thing for a lady with white hair, like mine. Oh my, the back feels luxuriously soft. Too bad it won’t stay this way for a while. Still, I don’t suppose I could get any more attention than I did last week. Even some men half my age, boys really, showed some interest. They were a little embarrassed when they realized that I was old enough to be their Mother. I did meet one nice man my age who complimented me. He even wanted to know if I was married and asked for my phone number. Thank you Kate for an outstanding job. How much do I owe you for all this work,” April asked.

“I’m glad you like it April. It’s just seven fifty. The shave is on the house,” Kate responded.

“You’re too generous Kate. I have to run. I see you have several customers waiting. I’d better let you get to them. I’ll be back Thursday or Friday if someone calls me and asks me out,” April said with a twinkle in her eye.

“Hi Mrs. Douglas; I didn’t expect to meet you here again,” Audra said.

“My goodness Audra; I didn’t realize you had come in,” April responded.

“I’ve been watching you get shaved. You really got it short didn’t you?” Audra said.

“I did indeed Audra. It’s special for tomorrow. I’ll see you there won’t I?”

“I’ll be there with my Mamma and Aunt Steffie. I wonder if I should do something special for tomorrow too?” Audra said pondering.

“Of course you should Audra. It’s fun and makes you feel good. Think of all the compliments you will get,” April laughed. “I have to go. Bye all.”

“Who’s next,” Kate asked. She had been so intent on April’s shave that she had missed seeing who had come in.

“I guess it me Kate,” Audra told her as she got into the chair. “What can I do that’s special for tomorrow Kate?”

“That’s an easy one. I’ll shave it smooth for you. You were going to do that one of these days anyway. Why not today? After all it will have grown back almost to where it is now by next Saturday,” Kate replied enthusiastically.

“But if it’s shaved won’t it be hard to get it back the same as it was,” Audra asked a little hesitantly.

“Not in the least Audra. I’ve done it too many times for that to be a problem. Besides, I waxed it for you on Thursday and it will be quite clean for a month. I won’t even have to think about it,” Kate assured her.

“That’s right. I had forgotten that. OK, please shave it. I want to have a special look for tomorrow. Aunt Steffie has been bugging me to get it shaved anyway,” Audra told her.”Terrific Audra; you’ll be a hit. Let’s get right too it,” Kate responded


Paula and Christine were watching in amusement as Melissa struggled to get the hang of flipping pancakes on the griddle that spanned two burners on the gas stove. Flit it too slowly and it just slid off the spatula. Too fast and it threatened to land on the floor. Waffles were easy by comparison and Melissa had made them many times.

“This is crazy. How do you do this Mom,” Melissa complained.

“Don’t worry. You’ll get the hang of it in a bit. You can dribble a soccer ball while running full speed. I’m sure flipping a pancake will be easier,” Paula encouraged her.

She flipped one accurately, but a little too vigorously and batter splattered onto the stove. Christine couldn’t help but laugh. Melissa frowned at her.

“I’m sorry Melissa it was just funny seeing it splatter like that. But you’re catching on faster than I did. I nearly missed the griddle completely the first time I tried,” Christine told her.

Eight flipped pancakes later she brought the stack to the table where they retrieved what they wanted.

“How did the meet go yesterday? You were so excited about my new haircut that we never got around to talking about it,” Paula inquired.

“Well, your new haircut is so cool, we completely forgot about the meet. Keystone doesn’t have very ma
ny really good players, so we tried to just make it fun for everybody. We won the volleyball match pretty easily. Keystone got ten points in the first game, but only six in the second. Penny, Beth and I played most of both games. Audra and Cindy and some of the other older girls played only enough to give the rest of us a break. Sarah was the only tall girl who played most of the two games. She made a bunch of kills. Coach said she needed to have some game experience. She’s getting a lot better,” Melissa replied.

“How about you Christine?” How did the swimming team do? Paula asked.

“About like the volleyball team. We did fine. Like Melissa said, Keystone doesn’t have swimmers who are competitive with our four best swimmers. We all swam in just one fifty meter event. I did OK in the backstroke, but without Jessie to push me I didn’t get very close to my best time. Dana almost took second place. She would have if she had not taken her last stroke and just reached for the wall instead. Janet and Bridget came in first and second in the free. Jessie and Ellen did the same in the breaststroke. Gail took first in the butterfly and Sharon was third. In the hundred meter events Bridget and Ellen were one, two in the free. Dana and Sharon were second and third in the backstroke. Dana actually had her best time and was only a little behind the Keystone swimmer. Ellen took the breaststroke and Dana was third. Bridget and Sharon were second and third in the butterfly, but they both had personal best times. We’re working hard to prepare for the tournament. This meet was a good chance for the other swimmers to show what they could do. They did well. Tommy won the hundred meter free. I’m really proud of him,” Christine told her.

“We won the soccer game too. The Amigas only played a little bit at the beginning of the second half when the score was two to one. Beth and Cindi scored. Penny and Audra stayed in a little longer, then coach took them out. The final score was six to two, Melissa related.

“You’ve put Crown Hill on the map, that’s for sure,” Paula praised them.

“Those were good pancakes Melissa. You should do it again soon so you can practice your flipping,” Christine teased her.

“I might flip one on top of your head. You never know what a bad flitter might do,” Melissa retorted in mock seriousness.

“Maybe you should stick with waffles. I don’t look forward to scraping pancake splatter off my head.

The banter went on for a while, each girl trying to top the other. Finally Paula broke in.

“Thanks for making the pancakes Melissa, They were delicious. Let’s get cleaned up here. I want to call around and make arrangements for getting to Rings and Things, Paula said.

“She’s right Melissa. They were good. Thanks for making them,” Christine told her.

Melissa stuck her tongue out at her and giggled. They both laughed while they put plates, bowl and utensils into the dishwasher.

“I’m excited about getting my third set of earrings Christine. What kind do you think you’ll get?” Melissa asked.

“I’m pretty sure I’ll get a pair of those fake diamonds. They go with everything,” Christine answered.

“That’s a good idea. I think I’ll do the same. I can wear pairs of big and small silver hoops with them. That would look good,” Melissa agreed.

“I’ve seen kids with three diamonds of different sizes – big, medium and small. That looks really good. I think I would like to have four at the bottom and two more up here someday,” Christine said indicating the top of her ear.

Melissa fingered her earlobe and then explored around the edge about halfway up. “I wonder how many I could actually have. It feels like it could work all the way up here,” She said, indicating a point halfway up her ear.

“You might be able to have five, maybe even six. I don’t think I could do that many. It would be pretty cool though. If you can you should do it. That would be very neat when you go to the Olympics as captain of the soccer team,” Christine said casually.

“Oh sure. You’re crazy. You’re making fun of me aren’t you?” Melissa said.

“No I’m not Melissa. You’re really good. If you keep getting better you could make it easily. I’m not kidding. When we were at Wasena, the Forest High Coach was watching. I heard him tell somebody that you could make their team right now,” Christine told her.

“I’m not going to think about that. I’m just going to keep playing as hard as I can. Anyway, today I going to get my ears pierced again and watch Mom get her little nose stud,” Melissa said.

“Good idea Melissa, but I’m sure glad you’re my sister even if you can’t flip pancakes,” Christine said.

Paula came into the family room where the girls were lounging. “We’ll be leaving about Noon girls. I guess you’re ready,” she said.

“We’re ready Mom. Melissa wants to get four more in each ear,” Christine joked.

“She can want as much as she likes, but I can’t count higher than three today, Paula responded laughing.

“Steffie is going to come and I think she’s persuaded Hallie to come to. Of course Audra will be with them. This outing certainly did get big in a short time. I guess we can go ahead. We may be there a little earlier than the others, but we can get our ears pierced while we’re waiting,” Paula told them.

Less than twenty minutes later they were in the store talking to the same clerk that had given them their second piercing two months earlier.

“I certainly remember you. It’s hard to forget having two bald girls as customers. But your Mom doesn’t look familiar. Didn’t you have long hair then?” she asked somewhat perplexed. “By the way I’m Fae.”

Paula laughed. “Well Fae, I’m still the same old Paula, although I do look quite different now. I had my long straight hair cut off three weeks ago. I got this cut with my new peek-a-boo bangs just last night. The first cut was quite dramatic, but I like this one a lot. I’ve never had bangs before so having thick bangs like this takes a little getting used to. Anyway, we’re hear to get our ears pierced again. I hope that you have some more help coming, because we have a lot of people showing up in a little while. Will June be here soon?” Paula asked.

“June is supposed to be here now, but she called and said she would be half an hour late. There’s another girl coming at one. I think we’ll be able to accommodate everyone. How many will there be?” she asked.

Another eight or nine I think. Heather and Penny got their ears pierced only three weeks ago and I don’t know if they will be ready to get another so soon,” Paula explained. “Anyway maybe we should get started. Christine you can go first.”

“OK. I want to look at those fake diamonds. That’s what I want.” Christine responded.

“I’ll get out all the trays. I think they may be needed,” Fae replied.

Christine looked at the tray containing mostly zircon and sapphire stones. “This is what I would like Mom,” she said pointing out a pair of medium sized zircons studs in a white gold setting. “They’re a little more expensive than the first ones. I hope that’s OK.”

Paula looked at the price tag and saw that they were almost fifty dollars. Her normal response would have been to say they were too expensive, but this time she didn’t. She was already excited about what she was going to do, and the first check from her Mother’s estate had just arrived. It was substantial. When the house sold she would have more cash in the bank than she had ever imagined. She would have to invest it.

The check was from the sale of the furniture and other items from the house where Paula had grown up. She had saved a few things that were special, but she did not have the room in her house to keep much. The beautiful walnut bedroom set that had been handed down from her grandmother was the prize. She kept it and sold her own quite nice set to make room for it.

“It’s OK Christine. I think we can splurge a little,” she said laughing
.

The clerk cleaned Christine’s ears and marked the positions of the new piercings with a red dot. She examined them critically, making sure that the two sides were identical. “How does that look Christine,” she asked.

Christine looked at the too dots. “The left one may be a little bit higher than the right. Mom could you look at them please?” she asked.

After a small adjustment by the clerk, everyone was satisfied. In a few minutes Christine was looking in the mirror and admiring her new “diamond” earrings.

“Thanks, Mom. They looks good,” she told her enthusiastically.

“You’re welcome Christine. They do look very attractive. I’m going to get a set just like those only a little smaller,” she responded.

“Here comes Alesha,” Fae said. “Jane should be here any minute now. Alesha, I’m glad you’re here. Would you like to take care of Melissa while I do her Mom? We’re going to have a crowd pretty soon.”

“Hi, Fae. What do you mean – a crowd?” she asked still trying to adjust to seeing two perfectly bald girls talking casually with each other.

“Paula just told me that at least seven more are on the way,” she said. “I think I see some of them coming now.”

“That’s Penny and Beth and their Mom’s,” Melissa said.

“I guess I had better get started. Are you ready Melissa?” Alesha asked.

“Yes. I want these,” Melissa said, pointing to studs almost identical to the ones chosen by Christine.

“OK. Those will look nice with the hoops you’re wearing. I don’t often get to help a bald girl,” she said.

“You mean I’m not the first?” Melissa joked with her.

“You’re the first actually. We had another bald girl here once, but June helped her. She had shaved her head because her Mother had breast cancer and she was helping to raise money as well as to be supportive. She said she was going to keep it shaved as long as her Mom had no hair. Is that why you’re bald?” Alesha asked.

“That’s a great idea, but it’s not why Christine and I are bald. We just like the bald look. We’re going to stay bald I think. I want to get laser treatments so I don’t have to shave,” Melissa said to the incredulous Alesha.

“I can hardly believe you would actually do that,” Alesha exclaimed. “You want to be permanently bald?”

“Yes, I do. I think I would hate to have hair any more,” Melissa answered.

“Well, that’s different. Most girls are always worrying about how their hair looks, while you worry about making sure that there’s none to be seen. Actually I think you look quite nice – sort of angelic or something like that. I’m ready to put in your earrings. Do you want to check it out before I do?” Alesha asked.

“I want Christine to make sure it’s right. She’s over there with Beth and Penny,” Melissa told her.

Christine arrived and inspected the location critically, finally pronouncing it acceptable. “She’s got it just right Melissa.”

Two quick stabs and Melissa had her new “diamond” earrings. “There you go Melissa. You look good with those hoops and a nice diamond. I’m beginning to see how being bald could be an interesting look, especially with some earrings to show off,” Alesha said as she carefully cleaned around the newly inserted earrings.

“Thanks Alesha. You should try it sometimes. You’ll like it,” Melissa told her.

Alesha’s eyes and mouth opened in surprise, but she didn’t respond

Melissa inspected the result carefully. “That looks really nice Christine. I think three diamonds would look even better. Three hoops would look good too.”

“Maybe we could share hoops and diamonds Melissa. I have two diamonds you could borrow, and you have two hoops that I could borrow,” Christine said.

“Good idea Christine. Hey! Here comes the rest of the gang. There’s Aunt Steffie.” Melissa jumped off the stool and ran to greet her as well as Audra and Cindi.

Meanwhile Fae had finished installing Paula’s third pair of earrings – a pair of nice “diamond” studs a little smaller than the ones Christine had chosen – and had turned her over to June who was preparing to pierce her nose.

Melissa had rushed up to Steffie and given her a big hug. “Hurry up everybody. Mom’s about to get her nose stud done.” Melissa exclaimed.

The three girls ran back to get a front row view. The others walked a little more briskly. They arrived in time to see that June had placed a red mark on Paula’s right nostril right at the middle of the crease. She cleaned both inside and outside of Paula’s nostril with an antiseptic and put on a clean pair of surgical gloves. Paula was sitting in a reclining chair with a headrest and a foot rest. It was tilted back at almost forty five degrees. June was sitting on a stool that could be raised and lowered.

“OK, Paula, I’m ready to put the needle through. It’s a little hard to push it through, so I have to put this receiver tube inside your nose to stop the needle from hitting the other side. Close your eyes. Now take a couple of deep breaths. One, two, there, it’s done,” June said. “I’ll leave it in for a moment which makes it easier to put in the stud.”

When Paula had taken the second deep breath June had pushed the needle firmly through her left nostril and into the receiving tube. Paula immediately exhaled at the “pinch” feeling of the needle, but otherwise seemed unaffected.

“That didn’t hurt as much as I thought it might June,” Paula said.

“It usually doesn’t, but sometimes getting the stud in can hurt some. I’m ready to put it in now,” June explained. She opened the sealed package and took out the little CZ nose screw then removed the needle and discarded it. With a quick twist followed by a little grunt of pain by Paula, the deed was done.

“There you go Paula. All done. How do you feel. I’ll get you upright so you can see it better,” June told her.

Five minutes later having looked at her new nose jewel, and listened to June’s careful and thorough instructions about keeping it clean, Paula stood up to a round of applause from the assembled gang.

“Thanks, everybody. It was easy. I love it,” Paula exclaimed.

“I love your new haircut Paula. And your new earrings and nose stud look absolutely super,” Heather exclaimed. The others agreed. More compliments followed on her haircut and piercings.

Michelle’s new haircut received even more oohs and aahs because it was such a dramatic change, and looked so good on her. Heather, Hallie and Steffie had not seen her since it was done.

“Any other takers for a nose piercing,” June asked.

“Looks like I’m next,” Heather responded as she stepped forward to the chair. “I want the same little stud that Paula got but on the right side.”

Audra had chosen turquoise studs, while Cindi had chosen rose colored studs. They stepped down from their respective chairs with big smiles and more applause. The other amigas and Christine surrounded them offering compliments and congratulations.

Paula was surrounded in turn by Steffie, Leigh, Michelle and Hallie

“That looks really nice Paula. I can’t wait to get mine done,” Leigh said. What about you Michelle. That is such a great looking hairstyle. You should get one to complement it.”

“She’s right Michelle. You would look great with one. I think a pale blue one would be perfect,” Steffie said. “I’m getting a ruby one myself. I think Leigh and I are going to have to play scissors, paper and rock to see who goes first. Now if we could only get my beautiful sister-in-law to give in and get one we would be a perfect set of sisters. Hallie you know that Victor would like it. And I know that some of the ladies in your church already have them, so you’re not doing something that would be frowned on,” Steffie said.

“Now Steffie, don’t go on about it like that. I’m still thinking about it. I’ll get my ears pierced again though,” Hallie said with a little laugh. “We better see how Heather is doing first.”

Heather’s nose had been thoroughly cleaned and June had p
ut on a new pair of gloves. She tore open the sterile package containing the hollow needle and the receiver tube.

“OK, Heather just relax. Close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths.” June told her. She waited a moment then pushed the needle firmly through Heather’s nostril and into the receiver tube.

“Done!” she announced. Discarding the receiver tube she opened the package with the little stud.

“I’m ready to put it in now,” June announced.

“I’m ready,” Heather responded quietly.

Once again June removed the needle and deftly inserted the end of the twisted post into the hole and through, then quickly rotated it so that only the jewel at the end was visible.

“Well, that looks quite nice Heather. How do you feel?”

“It didn’t hurt much at all. Getting it in was the worst part. I can sit up fine,” Heather announced.

The chair was returned to upright. June handed her a hand mirror to see the result.

Heather inspected her new look with a big smile. “I like it,” she declared.

Heather stood up to a round of applause. They all gathered around her chattering, telling her how good it looked. Finally June got their attention, and Leigh stepped forward.

“I guess I’m the oldest so I’ll go next unless, of course, Hallie wants to go ahead of me,” Leigh laughed.

“Just how old do you think I am girl,” Hallie said with pretended anger. “I guess if you think I’m too old to have one like Heather I’ll just have to show you differently,” Hallie said with steel in her voice but a smile on her face.

“Go for it sister,” Steffie told her.

“If you get one Hallie, I’m definitely going to get one too,” Michelle jumped in.

The others chimed in to encourage her. Finally Audra spoke up. “Mama, I think you will look very wonderful with a nice blue one and Daddy would like it too.”

“Do you now. Well maybe that’s what I should do. My birthstone is blue,” Hallie responded.

“I’m sure I have one in blue. Is your birth month March. Here’s an aquamarine one,” June offered.

“That’s it. March. Can I see it?” Hallie asked.

“I can’t take it out of the sterilized package, but you can see it pretty well,” June said.

“I like the color. I guess I’ve made up my mind. I’ll just get in that chair if my little sister will move aside,” Hallie said and stepped forward.

Heather was still standing beside the chair. She could sense that Hallie was nervous. She put her arm around her, stood up on her tiptoes and kissed her on the cheek. “Just for good luck,” she said.

Hallie seemed surprised. She nodded and took Heather’s hand and squeezed it. She was barely in the chair when Michelle walked around the chair and took her other hand.

“You don’t have to fuss over me like that,” she protested.

“Yes we do. We wouldn’t feel right if we didn’t. You’re special Hallie,” Leigh responded.

Ten minutes later they were crowded around her, telling her how brave she was, complimenting her new nose stud, and generally making a fuss over her. Hallie accepted their attention and laughed.

“You girls are something else. It would be hard to find people better than you,” she told them.

Leigh was next in the chair. She had chosen a CZ “diamond” identical to the one Paula now sported. Meanwhile Heather had conferred with Fae and had been assured it would be OK for her and Penny to get another piercing.

The other girls had been busily getting their ears pierced again. Audra and Cindi had occupied the other two chairs while Heather had been getting her nose stud. Audra had chosen emerald green stones, while Cindi had picked out CZ diamond hearts for her new piercings. They were being watched over by Steffie and Michelle. In a few minutes they were done and vacated the two stools.

Beth climbed onto Fae’s stool and requested pale blue studs. Christine volunteered to oversee when she noticed that Leigh was watching Heather intently.

By two thirty the five women all had their new nose studs and were admiring themselves and each other. All but Steffie had gotten an additional ear piercing. Steffie already had three and had decided to hold off getting another although she was tempted. What she was most tempted to do was get another nose piercing on the other side.

“This looks so good,” Steffie said. “I think it would look very cool to have one on the other side too.”

“I’ve never seen that Steffie. But it might look good.” Paula responded. “Let me know if you decide to get it done. I might just join you.”

“Paula. I just had a thought. We should have asked Abby and Jan. Why didn’t I think of them?” Heather asked.

“Well, they haven’t been as close as the five of us and we were so excited that it was easy to forget,” Paula explained. I wouldn’t be surprised if they decided to get it done after they see us, especially Abby.”

“This has been so much fun. I would never have done it on my own, but having all of you here made it seem really special. I’m so glad we all did it. I think you all look wonderful. I’m going to buy several more so that I can change them once in a while after it has healed,” Michelle exclaimed.

The Amigas had been so excited getting their new earrings that they had not noticed Audra’s shaved head. Finally Melissa had calmed down enough to notice that Audra looked a little different. She got closer to inspect her.

“Audra, you shaved your head! You weren’t shaved yesterday. Did you do it this morning?” Melissa asked.

“Hey, let me see it,” Cindy shouted.

“That’s right. Kate did it this morning. I wanted to do something special for tomorrow. I’m not going to keep it shaved though. It will grow out by Saturday,” Audra said.

Beth and Leigh rushed up to look and feel. “That looks great Audra. You should keep it shaved,” Cindy told her.

“She’s right Audra. Keeping it shaved is easy and you look so great,” Beth said.

“It looks super to me Audra. If you like it and its not too much hassle you should keep it shaved,” Penny agreed.

“Maybe I will decide to keep it shaved. But I’m not ready yet. I think Mamma is getting ready to go. I’ll see you tomorrow,” Audra told them.

“Well, we have to go. Christine is going to see Annie tonight. We’ll see you all at the Herb Garden tomorrow,” Paula announced.

Goodbye’s said they all headed out in three groups to the cars they came in.

“That was so much fun Mom. And your nose stud looks great. I want to get one too, but I’ve decided that I’ll wait until next summer even though you said we could get them when we go to high school,” Christine said as they headed home behind Heather’s van.

“That’s a good idea Christine. Maybe you should tell Tommy what you have in mind. It’s always a good idea to talk things like that over so it’s not a shock,” Paula said.

“I hadn’t thought of that Mom. Thanks for reminding me. I told Tommy about getting another set of earrings. He said that he thought that three would be nice looking. I’m eager for him to see them,” Christine responded.

“He wouldn’t mind if you had a nose stud Christine. He likes you so much you could do just about anything,” Melissa said.

“Maybe so Melissa, but I’m not about to do anything stupid,” Christine said.

“Mom, could we have dinner a little earlier tonight. Tommy is coming at six thirty. I’ll need a little extra time to change clothes after we eat and make sure I’m ready,”

“Of course Christine. Maybe you can help make the salads early so I can do the rest,” Paula said.

“OK, Mom. I’ll do that. This show should be fun. Tommy told me about it. It has that cute song about Tomorrow, It’s only a day away,” Christine said, her voice bubbling with happy anticipation.

To be continued in Part 19

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