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In Part 20 the four Mothers of Janet, Jessie, Ellen and Bridget became convinced that they needed to join together in support of their daughters the way the soccer Mom’s had done for their daughters. Although they realized that none of the other women had gotten their hair buzzed for the purpose of supporting their daughters, the fact was that their haircuts had come to symbolize their commitment to be supportive as well as the bond that had joined them in that support.

Bridget’s Mom Rhonda, who had not been to the BGMC meeting was persuaded that Bridget was involved in something special and after watching Iris, Sammie and her best friend Doris get extremely short haircuts, she joined them. They all found themselves committed to doing whatever was needed to encourage and support their daughters, who were on the verge of becoming swimming prodigies along with with Christine, their role model. Bridget is awed when she returns home to find that her Mom’s nearly waist length blond hair had been cut very short in a little boy style.

Bridget had received permission to get her hair cut and in this episode she does so.

Week Eight

Thursday Evening

Rhonda was puttering around the house putting things away, straightening up things that needed no straightening, and looking in every mirror that she managed to find an excuse to pass by. She had fixed salads for their dinner already and her menu was a simple one. She decided to look over her clothes and decide which outfits would set off her new look the best. Given the extravagant praise that she had received from her friends and even a stranger at Kate’s shop, she was rapidly coming to terms with her new look. She looked at the clock on her dresser which registered four thirty. Bridget would be home in fifteen or twenty minutes. She went back to looking over and rearranging some of her summer and fall clothes. She was immersed in her thoughts when she heard Bridget.

“Mom I’m home,” Bridget called.

“I’m up here Bridget, in my bedroom,” she called back. On impulse she turned her back to the door as she heard Bridget coming down the hall.

“Mom?” Bridget asked in a tentative voice as she walked in and saw someone she didn’t recognize immediately.

Rhonda turned around. “Hi dear. How did things go today?” she asked feigning complete innocence.

Bridget stood dumbfounded with her mouth open.

“Oh my gosh, Mom! I didn’t even recognize you. Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!” Bridget repeated.

Rhonda laughed. I hope you’ll eventually find something more definitive to say, like whether or not you like it,” Rhonda teased her.

“Oh Mom you look wonderful. That is so cool. I can hardly believe it. I didn’t know you were going to get it cut. When did you do it? Did you go to Kate’s? Are you going to keep it like that? I hope you do. What is Daddy going to say? Does he know you did it. Oh my gosh.” Bridget switched abruptly from speechlessness to rapid fire exclamation and back.

“Doris, Sammie and Iris persuaded me to come with them while they got short haircuts. I think you’ve been holding back on me Bridget. I didn’t have any idea that you and Ellen were doing such great things on the swimming team. They want to be there for their kids with as much help, encouragement and applause as they can muster and to do it together just like the soccer Mom’s do. I realized that’s what I want too. So now I’m part of the booster squad. Besides which I think I always wanted to get it cut. I had no idea that I would get it cut like this, but I truly like it. I’m going to keep it cut like this as long as you keep doing what you’re doing. And I’m going to be behind you all the way. I want people to recognize me and know who I’m rooting for. We all went to Kate’s. And yes, your Father knows all about it. I called him on his lunch hour to tell him. I even tried to explain just how short it actually is. I think he’ll still be pretty surprised. There. I think I’ve answered all you questions. Now how about a hug. Then you can feel it if you like,” Rhonda said.

Bridget rushed to Rhonda who enfolded her in a bear hug. After a while Bridget reach up to rub Rhonda’s head. “I love it Mom. It’s really short isn’t it. Anyway I didn’t think you were very interested in the swimming team, so I didn’t talk about it much. Everybody wants to be as good as Christine, and she wants us to be good. It’s as though she wouldn’t mind if I could beat her. She would still try to help me get better. But none of us are going to be as good as she is. At least not for a long time,” Bridget explained.

“I understand that Bridget. Christine seems to be pretty special, but you and the others are becoming pretty special too. Being like Christine is not a bad thing to be. She’s very unselfish and works harder than anyone from what I’ve heard,” Rhonda replied.

“I think so Mom. You should see her muscles” Bridget giggled. “She’s stronger than anybody except Tommy. That’s her boyfriend. He helps us with our workout routines. Coach says that Tommy knows exactly what we should be doing, so that’s what we do, but we can’t catch up with Christine. She wants to be the best in the world.”

“That’s quite an ambition. Maybe she will be. Who can say. Christine has a younger sister doesn’t she?” Rhonda asked.

“Melissa. That’s her sister. We’re in the same classes at Elmwood. She’s bald too, and she acts just like Christine except she’s on the soccer team. Everyone says she going to be a great soccer player. She works almost as hard as Christine. They shave each other in the morning,” Rhonda offered.

“You must know most of the others too. Is that right?” Rhonda asked.

“Sure. We all attend a lot of the same classes. Audra and Penny are fourteen, but the others are only thirteen,” Bridget explained.

“Well, that very interesting. It looks like there are going to be quite a few shaved girls in both Elmwood and Forest. I wouldn’t mind at all if you joined them if you want to. I think you would look especially beautiful as a bald cherub. Maybe you could swim even faster,” Rhonda teased.

“Mom! You think I should get it shaved! I’ve thought that if I make the Forest team next year I would get it shaved. I think I’d like to get it cut like yours first,” Bridget exclaimed.

“You should get it cut just the way you want. I was just letting you know that having it shaved would be all right with me and that I would help you keep it shaved as long as you want. I’ve begun to learn how it feels to be part of a team in which everyone wants to be really close,” Rhonda explained.

“Thanks Mom. You really do want us to be the best don’t you?” Bridget said.

“Yes I do. And I believe that you will be sooner or later,” Rhonda told her.

Surprise and astonishment had greeted the other three women as they met their girls and husbands. An awareness that they were going to be part of something extraordinary had finally registered. They did not want to miss it. There was some telephoning amongst the husbands and some hurried searching on the internet to locate state high school and college records as well as US and world records. “You’re kidding”, “are you sure” and “that’s hard to believe” were among the milder statements.

Saturday at Kate’s shop.

It was half past eight and Doris had just walked into the kitchen when the phone rang.

“I’ll get it Mom. It’s probably Bridget. She said she’d call me when she was ready to leave,” Ellen said.

Ellen picked up the phone. “Hello.”

“Hi, Ellen. I’m ready to leave. Are you ready?”

“I just finished breakfast. I’ll meet you outside, OK.”

“I should be there in about ten minutes.”

“OK, I’ll be ready. Bye.”

“Bye.”

“That was Bridget. I’m going with her to Kate’s like I told you last night. I still h
aven’t gotten used to your buzz Mom. It looks so neat and you look so great. I better call Christine before Bridget gets here,” Ellen said.

She hurried back to the phone and dialed.

“Hi Melissa. I need to talk to Christine. Is she up yet?”

“Yes, she’s right here. Your Mom got a buzz cut yesterday didn’t she. That is so neat.”

“Yeah. I almost flipped. She and Dad will be at the meet next Saturday. He talked to Jessie’s dad and was doing something on the net for hours last night.”

“That’s great that they’re coming to the meet. Here’s Christine.”

“Hi, Ellen. I guess she’s on her way to your place.”

“She is Christine. We’ll be going straight to Kate’s. Can you call the others?”

“Sure Ellen. We’ll all arrive a little after you and Bridget. That way we’ll surprise her.”

“That’s great Christine. She’s really eager to get it cut after seeing how short her Mom got hers cut. Everybody is really hyped about next Saturday. I better go. She’ll be here in a couple of minutes. We should be at Kate’s about nine fifteen.”

“We’ll be there before half past. That should be in plenty of time.”

“OK, bye.”

“Bye, Ellen.”

“It’s great that the kids on the swimming team have their Mom’s all excited and doing things to boost them. They’ll work even harder now,” Christine said.

“I guess you’re right. I think that having their Mom’s get buzz cuts helped get the amigas fired up, Melissa suggested.

“I think it did. I need to call Jessie,” Christine replied.


Bridget met Ellen who was waiting out front.

“I really liked my Mom’s buzz Bridget. I’ll bet you Mom looks really good. Is it OK if I go with you back to your place after your haircut? I’d like to see what she says about yours. Have you decided how you’re going to get it cut?” Ellen asked.

“I’m not sure. I like Mom’s cut, but she thinks I would look good with it shaved like Christine. I never expected her to say anything like that. She said she would help me keep it shaved as long as I kept on swimming,” Bridget answered.

“That’s pretty wild. Maybe they want all of us to get shaved,” Ellen responded.

“I would if I could be on the team with Christine and the others, but wouldn’t it be pretty strange to be bald going to Elmwood.” Bridget asked.

“Maybe, but I think that Melissa and the rest of the Amigas are going to be practically bald. Maybe you would have company. I might get mine shaved except for the bangs.” Ellen confessed.

“Really. Like Janet. That would be cool. Anyway I think I’ll get my cut like my Mom’s, but maybe a little shorter,” Bridget said.

“That would be neat Bridget. I guess we better get going,” Ellen told her.

Bridget and Ellen walked into Kate’s shop about ten after nine. Kate had just started cutting the hair of a young woman. At the sound of the bell Kate turned to them.

“Come on in and have a seat. It’s going to be about half an hour. I have Monica here to do and then Audra. I gave you that cute chelsea last week didn’t I,” Kate told them cheerfully.

“Yes. I”m Ellen and this is Bridget. You cut her Mom’s hair on Thursday,” Ellen said.

“Glad to meet you Bridget. You can look at my scrapbooks if you like. I remember your Mom. What did you think of her cool buzz?” Kate asked her.

“She looks terrific. My Dad loves it. I don’t think I need to look at your books,” Bridget replied.

“Hi, Audra. You looked really good last Sunday. Are you going to get it shaved again,” Ellen said as she went over to sit down beside her.

“I don’t think so, although I’m getting more used to the idea. I did like it shaved smooth. Maybe someday I’ll do it. Aunt Steffie is going to keep hers shaved smooth. Everybody things she’s beautiful with it shaved and her boyfriend loves it. She told me that she’s going to be permanently bald so she doesn’t even have to shave it,” Audra told her.

“. You look super with the short buzz that you’ve had. From a distance you can hardly tell it’s not shaved, but it’s obvious when I get close. Don’t you think Audra looks great Bridget,” Ellen said.

“You’re very beautiful Audra. I’ve always thought you had the most beautiful skin color. It’s so wonderful – almost like gold. Having your head shaved smooth would be perfect. If I looked like you I’d definitely want to be shaved smooth,” Bridget told her.

“Wow. Look at what that woman is getting,” Ellen said almost whispering. She had suddenly realized that the blond woman Kate was working on was getting something special done. Kate was buzzing the sides and back very close, but leaving the top about an inch long. They watched in fascination as she applied some stiff gel to the hair on top and brushed it back vigorously until it stood up firmly. After admonishing Monica to keep her head still, she used a long wide toothed comb to begin cutting her hair from right to left at the height of the comb. She continued from front to back getting shorter as she went. She stopped just before the crown, because the comb was already pressed against the scalp. Kate switched to the right side where she repeated the process, but with the comb nearly vertical. The left side followed. Kate picked up a different comb, a thinner one, and repeated the process on the top making it significantly shorter.

Ellen could see that the hair on top was flat and met the sides nearly squarely. Now Kate began on the sides again, near the top where the the two met. She carefully trimmed it so that there was a slight rounding, leaving as much as possible of the top flat. She adjusted her clipper and used it again on the sides and back going up even higher on the sides and all the way up to the crown in back. She adjusted her clipper once again. Commanding Monica to remain perfectly still she started at the middle front without benefit of a comb and went from front to back, going over the crown with the clipper pressed firmly against Monica’s head. She performed the same action twice more – once on the left and once on the right. Ellen was fascinated. She had never seen anything like it before, although she had seen some of the boys in her classes with a similar style haircut. She knew it was a flattop, but she didn’t know how it was done.

Kate was not yet done. Once again she adjusted her clipper to its finest setting. Using it free hand she went around Monica’s head producing a “skin fade” where her sideburns would have been, going around her ears and up to the occipital bone in back. The final step came when Kate used her edger to clean up the area of the hairline making the transition from skin to hair imperceptible, and then pushing the cape down so she could get rid of any stray hairs growing there.

“All done Monica. What do you think Hank? Come on over here and stand beside her so you can compare your flattops. You really ought to get them whitewalled next time” Kate said as she turned Monica to face the mirror.

“That’s very neat Kate. I always love the way you do my flattop and Hank’s too. Maybe we should get whitewalls next time. That would be dramatic on Hank. Remind me about that when we come in next time Kate. One of these day I’m going to have you make him a blond so we can really be twins. Right Hank?” Monica said with a little smirk.

Hank shook his head and looked at the ceiling. Monica liked her hair short and occasionally had had it shaved along with Hank. She always insisted that they have the same haircut. Hank had indulged her for the past fifteen years.

“Well Audra, I think I’m ready for you just as soon as I sweep up a bit,” Kate announced.

“It’s funny Kate. It seems as long now as it did when I came in last week and you shaved it. Everybody seemed to like it shaved, but I think I’ll keep it like this for a while,” Audra told her.

Kate had started to respond when the bell rang and the four
senior members of the swim team barged in led by Gail, laughing and in high spirits.

“There they are,” Janet cried as she spotted Ellen and Bridget.

“What are you guys doing here,” Bridget asked surprised.

“We wanted to be here when you got your haircut in case you need a little boost to get over the jitters. We have to really stick together you know,” Gail told her.

“Look here guys. Audra is getting her hair cut. Didn’t you get it shaved for the club meeting,” Christine asked.

“I did Christine, but it’s grown out a lot since then and I wouldn’t be able to stand it for another week,” Audra said with a chuckle.

Kate had been busily going over Audra head with her clipper set at zero. Hair pilled up behind the teeth, evidence that indeed Audra’s hair had grown out beyond the sixteenth of an inch specified. In just about three minutes Kate had completed the job having gone over it several times to ensure that it was absolutely even all over.

“Audra, it’s done. I don’t need to do a thing with your hairline. The outline is just as perfect as it was when you had it waxed,” Kate told her as she rotated the chair so Audra could see herself in the mirror.

“It looks great, just like always Kate. Thanks,” Audra replied.

“You’re welcome Audra. It’s a real pleasure to have a chance to work with a young champion like you,” Kate told her.

“Oh, Kate don’t say things like that. It’s way too soon. We have a lot of work to do first,” Audra responded.

“OK, I won’t say it, but I’ll still think it. I’m coming to the meet on Sunday. You kids are the closest thing I have to kids of my own,” Kate told her.

“That’s great Kate. You’ve been almost like one of the Moms,” Audra told her.

“Well Bridget, if you’re ready I’m ready,” Kate said.

“OK.” Bridget stood up and took a tentative step forward.

“You can do it Bridget. You’re look super,” Gail encouraged her.

“We’re all rooting for you Bridget. Just do exactly what you really want. We’re with you no matter what you do,” Christine told her.

“That’s right Bridget. It’s your call. Whatever you do is fine with us,” Janet reinforced what Christine had said.

“And I’m your best friend no matter what,” Ellen told her.

“I’m going to get it cut. I just had the jitters all of a sudden. I’m OK now.” She took the four steps to get to the barber chair and sat down without hesitation.

Kate proceeded to apply a paper strip and then to cape her. “Well your Mom said you can get your hair cut any way you want, even shaved like Christine. So it’s your call. I guess you know how you want it cut. Can you tell me,” Kate asked.

“I was thinking back there that I would really feel bad if I didn’t get my hair cut after my Mom did because she wanted to be part of the swimming Mom’s just like the soccer Mom’s. I was going to get it cut just like hers, but now I’ve decided to get it cut even shorter than hers. She would like it if I got it shaved, but I’m going to wait till later to do that. So cut it like Mom’s only a lot shorter,” Bridget said.

“Hum. We need to figure out what a lot shorter is. Half as long would be pretty short. How about as short as Audra’s,” Kate suggested.

“Well, I didn’t mean that short. A little bit longer than Audra’s,” Bridget said.

“I think I have the idea. I’ll make it quite a bit shorter than your Mom’s and if that’s not short enough I’ll just have to work on it until I get it right,” Kate said with a little laugh.

“OK,” Bridged agreed her voice exhibiting the nervousness that had made her legs weak a moment before.

“This is a wonderful pony tail Bridget. How would it be if I donate it to locks of love on your behalf. It will be used for young girls who have lost their hair because of cancer. They haven’t learned that they’re beautiful without their hair so having a wig makes them feel better,” Kate explained.

“Sure Kate. That sounds like a nice thing to do,” Bridget responded having momentarily forgotten about her jitters.

Kate immediately began to braid Bridget’s hair. It was a loose braid – just enough to keep the thick pony tail together. Just as she had done to Rhonda, she snapped a clip around it close to Bridget’s head. The braid was a good eighteen inches long of beautiful wheat blond hair. Of course its quality was not quite the best because of the constant exposure to chlorinated water, but Bridget took good care of it for the most part. Kate retrieved the big shears that she had used to cut Rhonda’s braid.

“I’m going to cut it now Bridget,” Kate said. “Are you going to be OK?”

“I’m fine Kate. Go ahead.” Bridget said, but the quaver in her voice belied her statement.

Ellen jumped up and rushed to the chair, reached under the cape and grabbed her hand. Christine was close behind and took her other hand.

A few tears ran down Bridget’s cheek. “Thanks, guys. It’s just some hair isn’t it. I’ve wanted to get it cut for a long time. And I’m acting like a baby,” she said laughing. “Do it Kate, get it over with.”

Kate hesitated a moment then, as she saw that Bridget was composed, began cutting though the thick braid. A few “crunches” later it came free in Kate’s hand.

“Let me see it Kate,” Bridget requested. Kate handed it too her.

“It’s pretty long isn’t is. I hope it makes some little kid happy, because I’m happy to finally have it off,” Bridget said with conviction as she handed it back to Kate.

‘Is it OK if I use clippers, or would you like me to do it with scissors. I’ll have to use clippers later anyway,” Kate told her.

“Clippers are faster aren’t they. I want it done fast not slow,” Bridget informed her.

“You’ve got it Bridget,” Kate told her as she picked up her battery powered clipper and attached a number two guard.

Kate hesitated. She had planned to go half as long as Rhonda and that would be a one and a half guard. After a brief mental debate she decided to keep the number two. But first she should section off the front part that would become the whiff. A quick action with her comb and a couple of snips with her scissors and a three inch wide section had been defined. Now she could clipper Bridget entire head. She wasted no time with being methodical. Moving the clipper as quickly as it could cut through Bridget’s hair Kate rapidly and efficiently reduced Bridget’s head to a uniform one quarter inch. She had encountered no bumps or depressions. She would not need to make any significant adjustments in that regard. Changing the number two for a number one guard, she quickly clippered the sides and back to an eighth of an inch.

“Bridget, I’ve done a quick cut that’s just a little longer than I had planned, but it looks quite good. You can take a look and decide if you want it any shorter or I can just finish it as it is and you can decide next time.” Kate told her.

Bridget looked over to the five girls who were sitting and smiling expectantly. “What do you guys think? Should it be shorter?” she asked.

“It looks good the way it is, but you would look good with it even shorter, Jessie said.

“I like it the way it is Bridget,” Janet said.

“Definitely shorter,” Gail told her.

“I think you would look great with it really short Bridget,” Audra weighed in. She had stayed in order to witness Bridget’s transformation.

“You should decide Bridget. I think you will look great however you get it cut,” Ellen said.

“Bridget, you looked good with it long and you’ll look good with it short. You should do it just exactly like you want it,” Christine said.

“Let me see it Kate,” Bridget requested.

She examined the result. “I’ve changed my mind Kate. I want it a lot shorter. I want it just as short as Audra’s, maybe shorter,” Bridget said with conviction. Having successfully made it through the most traumatic step in her goal of getting her hair cut short, taking it even farther was almost a foregone conclusion.

“You’ve got it Bridget. I’ll do it
all over just the way the sides are now and make the sides shorter by half. That should do it I expect,” Kate explained.

Putting her words into action she began clippering Bridget’s head methodically. As she always did, she went over it several times making sure that it was even. With hair as light as Bridget’s cut to only an eighth of an inch it was going to look almost as though she was bald and she was going to look very good, just like her Mother Rhonda, Kate thought. Removing the number one guide, she adjusted the clipper to its sixteenth of an inch setting.

“Wow, Bridget, that looks super good. I can’t wait until Kate’s finished,” Jessie exclaimed.

“Not done yet Bridget. I’m making the sides and back a lot shorter,” Kate told her.

Wasting no time, Kate started in front of Bridget’s right ear and went up a full two inches before the curve of Bridget head was encountered. She went around her ear from back to front then made a second upward pass making the taper start as the same point. Continuing, she went behind the ear and went up to the same height. Switching to the left side she repeated the process. She checked to make sure both side began to taper at the same height. She had decided to create the taper line at the same height completely around Bridget’s head rather than the usual practice of allowing it to dip in the back. That would result in the bald look that Bridget was looking for. It was going to be a near replica of April’s cut, she thought. As that thought occurred, she made a spur of the moment decision. She would reduce the side and back even further, almost duplicating the cut that she had given April. She readjusted her clipper to the double zero setting. That would leave only a thirty second of an inch on the sides and back. She didn’t hesitate. It was a very rare instance in which Kate had thrown caution to the winds and took her customer at her word. In a few quick passes she had reduced the right side of Bridget’s head to a state that differed from being shaved only if you felt it with your fingers. The left side followed quickly. She did not go up quite as high, so there was a taper being produced about a half inch lower than the first one. She would carefully blend the two. In the back she did allow the taper to dip down a bit, about an inch.

The five other girls looked at each other but said nothing. It was not the time to say anything that might make Bridget anxious. Bridget’s statement about having her head shaved in the future and her statement about wanting it a lot shorter seemed to validate the haircut she was getting.

Kate continued with the haircut. Now she concentrated on eliminating the slight line of demarkation between the double zero clippered sides and back and the zero clippered part above it. Kate did this freehand with her clipper set at a thirty second of an inch. For the part with the transition between a sixteenth of an inch and an eighth of an inch she used a very thin comb with her clipper set at it closest setting. The final step was to trim the front whiff to make it stand up and blend with the hair behind it. She trimmed it to about three eighths of an inch. She had held back a good half inch behind the front which she trimmed and tapered so that it blended into the eighth inch hair behind it. A little mouse and the use of her brush and blow drier had it standing at attention. As a final finishing touch she went quickly around Bridget’s head using her edger to produce a short skin fade at her hairline and up about an inch in the back.

“Well Bridget, I did make it a little shorter. I think you’ll be satisfied, but if you want to go even shorter I can do that too,” Kate said with a little laugh. She rotated the chair so that Bridget could see herself.

Bridget’s eyes got wide as she looked at the girl in the mirror. She saw the little whiff in front, but there appeared to be no hair on the sides of her head. There did seem to be a little on the top. She took her hand out from under the cape and put it up to her head where she tentatively touched the side of her head. She moved it to the top and then ran it all the way to the back where she ran it up and down a few times feeling the tiny bristles that was all that remained of her former long blond hair. The other five girls were holding their collective breath while they waited for Bridget to respond.

“I guess you did make it a little shorter,” Bridget said with a serious tone of voice. “I suppose it might even be shorter than Mom’s.” She could not hold herself back any longer and broke into a laugh.

“It feels awesome Kate. Mom is going to love it and I love it. What do you guys think?” she asked.

“It’s fantastic Bridget. You are one brave dude. If my hair had been as long as yours I would never have had the courage to get it all cut off like that – not for a million dollars. Well maybe not for less than a thousand dollars anyway,” Gail laughed.

“It’s really great Bridget. You look wonderful,” Ellen told her.

“I’m really glad you like it Bridget. I’m glad we all share something that makes us distinctive, but it’s even more important that we all do things because we really want to for ourselves and not because we feel pressured by anybody or anything. And you do look fabulous. I guess I’m biased because I really like the way bald girls look. I’m more determined than ever for us to be the best swimming team Forest has ever had and I guess our haircuts says that we are all just as determined,” Christine told them.

“It’s not just Forest Christine. We’re going to do a lot more than that. You just keep leading the way. We’re going to be as close behind you as we possibly can be,” Jessie said.

They all quieted down at this statement except for a “right on,” from Janet and “damn right,” from Gail, the most outspoken of the gang.

“And that absolutely includes you two,” Jessie said indicating Bridget and Ellen.

“Whose next,” Kate asked. She had been so engrossed in Bridget’s haircut that she hadn’t realized who had come in or in what order.

Ellen looked around then spoke up. “I think I am,” she said quietly.

“You just had it cut last Saturday wasn’t it?” Kate asked.

“Yes it was, but now I want to do something more,” Ellen responded.

“OK. Might as well have a seat,” Kate invited her.

Ellen quickly sat in the barber chair. “I want to have the buzzed part shaved just like you did Bridget and cut my bangs shorter and make them thinner – more wispy.”

“Well that’s easy to do. Are you sure you want it buzzed that close Ellen,” Kate asked.

“I’m sure. I’ve been thinking about it all week, but I couldn’t decide how short it should be until Bridget got hers cut really close on the sides. That’s how I want mine to be all over.” Ellen explained.

“I can definitely do it like that Ellen,” Kate said as she fastened the cape around her.

Kate had swept up and cleaned and oiled her clipper while the swim team had their impromptu team meeting. She reset the clipper to one thirty second of an inch.

“I’m ready if you are Ellen,” she said reverting to her normal careful approach.

“Go ahead Kate. I can hardly wait to be able to feel it,” Ellen said.

“Right,” Kate said and with no further ado she began to push the clipper up the side of Ellen’s head. It took very little time to revise a short buzz to almost clipper shaved. She went over Ellen head thoroughly and carefully making sure she got as close as possible to her bangs.

“How short do you want the bangs Ellen?” Kate asked rotating the chair to face the mirror.

“About to here,” Ellen responded with her finger about half an inch above where her bangs stopped.

“Easily done Ellen,” Kate told her.

She quickly shortened the bangs to the specified position, then retrieved her razor taperer and water spritzer. She dampened the bangs and thinned them so
that they were significantly more wispy. After a bit more inspection and some tiny adjustments, she added a little mousse, then used her round brush and blow dryer to finish the job. She used the blow drier to get rid of as many of the tiny hair clippings on Ellen’s head as she could.

“There you go Ellen. Looks good, I must say. You should give yourself a good shampoo tonight to get rid of the little hairs that always stick to you scalp and itch,” Kate told her.

“Wow, that was fast Kate,” Ellen said as she inspected herself in the mirror.
“It feels great. I really like the way it looks too.”

“I like that look a lot Ellen,” Audra chimed in. She had remained in order to watch Bridget’s haircut, and decided to stay when Ellen said she wanted to have hers cut.

“That’s very cool Ellen,” Bridget told her.

Ellen grinned. “I knew I wanted to get it buzzed even shorter. I like the way you got yours done, so I decided to do mine the same. It’s neat.” Ellen said.

“Christine, can I see how you did your brows,” Kate asked.

“Sure Kate. I went in Monday to have them touched up. They’re a little thinner and a little lighter this time. I like the way they look,” Christine said.

“They are very nice. They make your eyes look bigger and more open, and they definitely go well with a bald head,” Kate said.

“Someday I may have them redone with that permanent makeup technique so that I have them exactly the way I want and with the color that looks best with a bald head. It’s a pain to have to keep going in to have them colored,” Christine told her.

The team was milling around waiting to leave.

“I owe you some money don’t I,” Ellen said.

“It’s on the house Ellen. It took almost no time. Next time you get charged,” she laughed.

“I have an idea,” Janet said. “Why don’t we all go to Bridget’s house for a while. I want to see what her Mom thinks of her haircut.”

“Good idea Janet. I’d like to see her Mom’s haircut too. My Mom said she looked fantastic,” Jessie said.

They hustled out of the door, retrieved their bikes from two different lamp poles and were on their way.

Week 9

Friday Evening at Kate’s shop

Paula was scheduled to have her hair trimmed by Kate as well as get her brows redone. She had been thinking about it all week, after hearing that the other Mom’s had all gotten their hair cut short or buzzed as a show of support and solidarity with their girls. As much as she supported Christine and Melissa, she felt a little left out. A plan had slowly taken shape in her mind and she was ready to implement it. Like the other women the realization was dawning on her that something special was taking place around her. It was time for her to make a statement she thought. Tomorrow was going to be important – maybe the most important day in Christine’s life up to now. She wanted them to know how much she supported them. She entered the shop.

“Hi, Paula. You’re right on time. I just opened up,” Kate greeted her. Mondays were usually slow and some days she didn’t open at all until about five in the afternoon. A few of her regulars appreciated the opportunity to have an evening appointment even if it was Monday. Evenings were the only time that she had actual appointments.

Hi, Kate. It must have been a slow day,” Paula said.

“I took the whole day off. It gave me time to take care of a lot of stuff at home. I only have three appointments this evening including you. You wanted me to redo your brows. Anything else besides a shampoo and blow dry? Kate asked.

“As a matter of fact there is. I’ve decided it’s time for me to join the buzzed set. I have a picture of how I want it. See, like that. It’s not quite as short as Leigh’s or Heather’s, but it’s still pretty short. I think it will look good on me. Besides, It’s time for me to join up with the rest of the swim team Moms who’ve all gotten those fabulous buzzes. I really want to be ready for tomorrow. I had intended to keep this style for a month at least, but I think I had better get with the program so to speak,” Paula told her.

“That’s a small picture Paula, but I get the idea. I think it’s probably a number four buzz with the sides a number two mostly with a number one a little above the ears and at for the nape. That’s going to look quite good on you. You know I can keep the three points in the back too,” Kate told her.

“That’s great Kate. I may want it shorter when I see it, if that’s OK,” Paula responded.

“Not a problem Paula. I wish I could go to the meet tomorrow. The four other swimming team Mom’s told me a good bit about what they thought was happening. I read an interesting article in the paper this morning. Apparently several college coaches had been alerted by the Forest High coach. They came to see them in the last meet. They’ve decided to make this a sanctioned meet. There are four or five extra people coming to help so they can meet all the requirements. Apparently they will even collect urine samples. It’s just for the swimming, because the Crown Point kids are swimming a lot faster than anyone expected. The Forest coach said that several of the kids, he didn’t say who, have had times that put them in the top hundred swimmers in the country. They can’t get recognized unless they do it in a sanctioned meet. Anyway I am definitely going to be there all day Sunday. I’ve really gotten to know them. They come trouping in here for someone’s haircut like Bridget last Saturday. They seem to do everything together and keep pushing and encouraging each other,” Kate told her.

“This is getting serious isn’t it. Sammie called me a couple of days ago to tell me what she and some of the others had found out about their times. She said the kids know what is happening, but they never talk about it even among themselves. They won’t talk about it until they’ve done something more than just win some recreational meets in the summer. Christine goes out with Tommy on the weekends, and wanted to get her brows redone on Monday. It seems so normal, but apparently what goes on when they get to the rec center is quite out of the ordinary,” Paula said.

“Well, if you’re going to get with the program, I’d better get with this haircut for you. I’m going to buzz it all over with a number four, OK?” Kate asked.

“Sure thing Kate,” Paula responded.

Kate proceeded to clipper Paula’s head in a no nonsense fashion. She started on the left and ran the clipper back over her head almost to the crown. One pass higher than the first was followed by a third pass lower than the first. The hair at the temple fell next followed by a run from front to back on the left side. Another run from front to back left only a narrow line of Paula’s previous cut visible. Kate folded her ear down and ran her clipper around the ear removing the last vestige of the bob look on that side of her head. Kate ran the clippers up behind Paula’s ear taking off the last of the longer hair that had defined the rapidly vanishing asymmetrical style. She lifted up the bangs with her comb, inserted the clipper and ran it back to the crown. Walking around the back of the barber chair she switched hands and proceeded to run the clipper from front to back over what remained of the hair on the top of Paula head. The left side followed quickly. Front to back, up the side and it was done except for a little in the back. In the space of five minutes Paula had a slightly irregular half inch buzz.

“I’m quite sure that a half inch buzz is what is shown in the picture. I’m going to go over it again a little more slowly so that I’ve got it right. Then I’ll do the sides and back. I agree with you Paula. You’ll look very good with this type of crewcut. Did you know that it’s really a crewcut or maybe a burr. Everyone seems to call it a buzz cut when it’s done on a
girl or woman. I guess that distinguishes it from the same cut done on a boy or man,” Kate laughed.

“Well, I really don’t care what it’s called. I just know that I think that Leigh, Heather and Abby look wonderful with their buzz cuts, and I pretty sure I will too when you’re done,” Paula responded.

Kate continued her careful traversal of Paula’s head with the number four guide until she was satisfied.

“Well, that part’s done. Now I can use a number two on the sides and back. It won’t take long,” Kate advised Paula.

Kate began running the clipper up the side of Paula’s head, carefully pulling it away at the exact point where she would do the taper from the sides and back to the top. Once again it did not take long for Kate to achieve the professional precision that was her hallmark. Without any further commentary, she changed the guide to a number one and proceeded to clipper the lower inch and produce the transition from the lower eighth inch hair to the quarter inch length hair above it. In the back the quarter inch part went down lower, but the eighth inch extended up to the occipital bone. This was not much different from the wedge that Paula had just a half hour earlier.

“I’m getting there Paula. I just have to taper the transitions so it looks good,” Kate told Paula as she hung up the clipper and retrieved her scissors and a comb. It was this meticulous final finishing that turned an ordinary, but serviceable, buzz cut into a work of art that truly flattered the wearer. Her professional pride would let her do no less, especially for those like Paula who relied on her for advise on their styles and its precise achievement. Kate combed and snipped first on one side then the other and the back. She went over it a second time combing and snipping again before she did one final comb through looking for any point of imperfection. The final step was to edge around Paula’s ears with the small edger, and outline the sideburns, down the side behind the ear and the three points that were the highlight of the nape.

“There it is Paula. I just need to clean up your neck and you’re done,” Kate told her as she turned her to face the mirror. “Now’s your chance to tell me it’s too long.”

“Oh my Kate. It looks just right. I think you have a great sense of how to do these cuts to make them flattering. Is it my imagination or do I actually look rather elegant. I think it’s because I don’t have a lot of hair framing my face. Goodness I’m running on about it aren’t I. You did a wonderful job Kate. I think you’ve just converted me. I’m going to have a crewcut for the rest of my life I think, except for those times when I have my head shaved. Now I’m quite sure I’ll look very elegant with a shaved head,” Paula said, obviously completely taken by her new look.

“You certainly will be beautiful and elegant with it shaved Paula. I look forward to introducing you to that wonderful state when you’re ready,” Kate told her.

“I suppose it’s time to redo my brows. Having them light will work well with this style, won’t it,” she inquired.

“It certainly worked with your old styles, and it works beautifully with Christine’s bald head, so why wouldn’t it work with a nice buzz cut?” Kate asked rhetorically.

“Of course. I wasn’t thinking very well. Obviously I shouldn’t let my brows dominate my face. I had completely forgotten that Heather keeps hers lightened with her buzz cut,” Paula reminded herself.

“OK. Let’s get right to it. I’ll recline you and we’ll get it started as soon as l mix the bleach. Be back in a jiffy,” Kate said.

“OK,” Kate said.

Fifteen minutes later Kate wiped of the bleaching paste. “It’s done. Do you want the same shade that we used before,” Kate asked.

“I think so Kate. I was thinking of going lighter, but with this new cut I think I’ll stick to the original. Just one thing at a time to get used to, even though I like the way I look,” Paula answered.

“It was a good choice the first time Paula. No need to do anything different now,” Kate agreed.

Another twelve minutes and Kate checked the color. “That’s it Paula. It looks quite good. A little light shadow and you’ll be a knockout at the party,” Kate told her.

“Yeah, right. Which party is that?” Paula laughed.

“Bound to be a party for you just around the corner, so to speak,” Kate answered.

“I’ll look. If I find one I’ll let you know. I need to get home. The girls were responsible for fixing dinner and besides I want to show off my new style,” Paula told her.


“Hi girls. I’m back,” Paula called up the stairs.

“Did you get your brows done again?” Melissa asked.

“That and a little bit more,” Paula answered.

“What?” Melissa asked.

“A little surprise,” Paula answered.

Melissa appeared at the top of the stairs and looked down to see Paula at the bottom.

“Oh my gosh! You got it buzzed! Wow! You look great!” Melissa shouted.

Christine raced down the stairs behind Melissa to see Paula’s new cut.

“Mom, that is fabulous! You really stand out with that cut. You’ll certainly fit in with the gang now. Especially now that Jessie’s Mom and the rest have all gotten buzz cuts. I love it. You’re really special Mom,” Christine said.

“Well, I couldn’t be the last one to join the buzzed Moms set. After all you and Melissa sort of got this all started and have kept it going all summer. I want you to know I’m with you all the way – both of you,” Paula told them emphatically.

“Thanks Mom. We know you’re with us. You’ve always been our biggest supporter,” Christine said as they shared a group hug.

“So what’s happening tomorrow?” Paula asked.

“I have the schedule. The soccer team and the volleyball team have to play tomorrow. If we win we play again on Sunday. There’s a playoff for the fourth spot. We play the winner of the volleyball playoff in the afternoon. We have to play a soccer prelim against Cloverdale in the morning,” Melissa explained.

“They’ve really changed thing for swimming. It’s going to be a real meet. So all our times will be recorded. We even have to provide urine samples to be sure we haven’t been taking stuff that’s not allowed,” Christine said a little huffily.

“Anyway I have to be there early because the fifty meter free starts at nine thirty. They’re trying to keep most of the events from overlapping. They have a bunch of rules about who can compete. They’re letting the top swimmer from each team compete in every event. That leaves three lanes open, so they go to the three swimmers with the best times in the event, except that no more than three swimmers can be from one team. Janet and Bridget are way ahead of the others although Ellen is just a little bit slower than Bridget. That means that Ellen can’t compete in the free even though she has a lot better time than the next best swimmer. I thought that was al little bit unfair, but I guess it would have looked funny to see four Crown Point swimmers in a race,” Christine said.

“For certain I’ll be there both days along with all the other soccer and swimming Moms and most of the Dads. Even Kate is going to be there on Sunday,” Paula told them.

“That’s great Mom. She knows everybody now,” Melissa said.

“Well, I guess we have to get up early tomorrow. I’ll take care of warming up my dinner and cleaning up. You two can do whatever you like and get a good night’s sleep. It will be exciting tomorrow. What time should we leave?” Paula asked them.

“I want to go with the other amigas Mom. So I’ll get up early and bike over to Penny’s,” Melissa said.

“That’s fine. What about you Christine,” Paula asked.

“Coach wants us to be there by eight thirty, so I guess we had better leave by eight,” Christine told her.

“I’ll set my alarm for seven. That should give me time to get ready and have some breakfast,” Paula
said.

“That what I’m doing too,” Christine replied.

To be continued in Part 22.

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