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Blond, Black and Pink – A sequel Part 29

This is the last part of the story of the Crown Point community and the drive of the swim and soccer teams to achieve their goals. Those goals have never been stated explicitly, but the Moms and Dads know that they have some major goal, they’re just not quite ready to believe that the goal is as ambitious as it appears to be. Other than the swimmers themselves only Melissa knows exactly what they are determined to do.

Steffie has planned her wedding and has invited Penny to participate ( with unexpected consequences) along with Christine and Melissa, who had been her inspiration to get her own head shaved. She spoke openly at the BGMC meeting of how far she had progressed in achieving permanent baldness using laser depilation.

Now the wedding is about to take place.

In the nearly three weeks since the meeting of the BGMC Christine has met the qualifying time for the one and two hundred meter backstroke events in the Nationals and has bettered her times in the freestyle events. She is awaiting certification of her qualifying time in the two hundred free. Janet has qualified in the two hundred and hundred meter butterfly and in the two hundred freestyle. Gail swam a qualify time in the two hundred breaststroke in the meet that had occurred on Friday before the wedding. The four by two hundred medley relay team has had a time that would qualify if Jessie can qualify in either of her main events. Tess has made considerable progress and is close to qualifying in the hundred meter freestyle. They have also come close to qualifying for the four by one hundred and are qualified for the Spring and Supersectional Championship meets in all of those events. The four by one hundred freestyle team has come close to qualifying with Tess and Bridget as the two middle swimmers. All seven are qualified for one or more events in both the Spring and Supersectional Championship meets.

What happened after this episode will be told in the (one or two part) Epilogue that will appear later.

Week 18

Thursday Evening with Paula, Christine and Melissa

“Well Kate here we are,” Paula announced as she and Christine entered the shop.

“Right on time as usual. I think I can get you both done in half half an hour,” Kate said.

“I hope so,” Christine. “I’ve got quite a bit of homework to do and I barely had time to change clothes before Mom picked me up after practice. I haven’t had a minute to do any of it since my free period this morning.”

“Let’s get started. You first Christine. You can lean back in the barber chair. I’ve already got the bleach ready,” Kate told her. “Paula, you’ll have to use the shampoo chair. It reclines too.”

“Kate, you need to know that we both want to go a shade lighter this time, if that will make any difference,” Paula said.

“No problem. I think you’ll both look even better with them lighter. Christine you have a few strays that I’ll take care of after you’re toned. I like the shape that you have now. It’s just the right thickness and tapers nicely. The high arch give your eyes a wide open look too,” Kate complimented her.

“Thanks Kate. Ursula redid them last month. She made them a little thinner. I’ve learned how to do them, but I forget some times when I’m really busy,” Christine said.

Kate applied the cream bleach to their brows and set the timer for fifteen minutes. They chatted about the surprising number of women who had recently gotten buzz cuts from Kate. Although she hadn’t shaved anyone in the past week, the subject had come up several times and a couple of teenagers who had gotten short cuts had talked about the possibility of getting their heads shaved.

“Mom that reminds me. Didn’t the Amigas go to that kindergarten school that Carly attends today?” Christine asked.

“They were supposed to. It was all set. Heather was going to take them and a teacher during lunch,” Paula said. “Kate you remember little Carly from the club meeting. Well she hated wearing her wig. So the Amigas decided to see if they could go to her kindergarten school and show all the kids their bald heads so that Carly could go to school without her wig and be accepted. I don’t know if it will work, but Frances thought it was worth doing. She has finally come around to accepting the idea of girls being bald.”

“Those girls continue to amaze me. They seem to be so remarkably generous and caring, in addition to being incredibly motivated and hard working,” Kate said. “This was the shade you have now. How much lighter do you want to go? This is the next lighter shade and here is the one after that. That’s the one I think would look the best.”

“The first one would hardly be noticeable Mom,” Christine said. “I like the lighter one.”

“I think you’re right Christine. I’ll go with the lighter one too,” Paula agreed.

“You’ve got it. Let me check to see if they’re light enough yet,” Kate said as she wiped the bleach off Christine’s brow. “Good. You’re definitely a blond now! I”ll clean off the bleach and put on the toner. You’ll be done in another fifteen minutes.”

True to her word Christine and Paula were admiring their very light – almost blond – brows in the allotted time. Another five minutes was all that Kate needed to remove a few stray hairs from Christine’s brows.

“Thanks, Kate. I wanted us to look our best for Steffie’s wedding. As usual you did a terrific job,” Paula praised her.

“We need to get back home as quickly as we can so we can have a bite to eat and Christine can get to her homework,” Paula said as she paid the bill and took out her car key. “We’ll see you at the wedding.”

“I’ll be there for sure,” Kate said to their backs as they rushed out the door.

Melissa had heated the frozen veggie pizza that Paula had purchased for the occasion and had made salads as well to their delighted surprise.

“Great salad Melissa. Thanks,” Christine told her as she began working on a slice of pizza.

“How did it go at Carly’s kindergarten school today?” Paula asked.

“It was a lot of fun, Mom. The kids all wanted to feel our heads. They thought we were pretty cool. Carly’s Mom was there and the teacher at the school talked a little bit about why it’s OK to be different the way we are. Then she said that Carly was different just like us. That’s when Carly took off her wig and said that she didn’t have any hair either. Her teacher explained that she will never have any hair and that it didn’t matter, because she was just like everybody else,” Melissa described the scene.

“How did the kids react,” Christine asked.

“I think it’s going to be OK. The girls wanted to ask questions about it, but the boys were pretty nonchalant. A couple of them were almost shaved anyway. By the time we left they were already starting to go back to their usual activities. Carly’s Mom took her wig back home I think. I sure hope it works and that Carly can stop wearing that silly wig,” Melissa said.

“What was it like?” Paula inquired.

“It was really too grown up for her. If it had been a cute little bob with bangs it would have looked better. It’s almost shoulder length. It looks a lot more like something for a much older girl, sixteen or seventeen or something. A little girl doesn’t have hair like that,” Melissa explained.

“That’s what Frances told me at the club meeting. I’m sure there are wigs for kids that are more realistic, but they’re probably very expensive and you have to get a new one about every six months. It would be wonderful if Carly could just be like the Amigas and be happy with a nice bald head. I guess we’ll find out in a few years,” Paula said.

Week 19

Friday Morning at Kate’s Shop

Kate was feeling a little frustrated. O
nce again she would not be able to attend an important meet – this one against what was touted to be an excellent team from the city. It was an afternoon meet at the Forest High twenty five meter indoor pool facility. Had it been an evening meet, as sometimes happened, she would have been able to tell her evening clients well ahead of time and make arrangements to attend.

She had already taken care of several early customers and was cleaning up waiting for the next. Friday was usually quite busy with women and men wanting to look good for the weekend. The bell rang announcing another customer. She turned to greet whoever had arrived and was surprised to see that it was Heather.

“Heather! What brings you here. You got it trimmed just last Monday,” Kate exclaimed.

“I know Kate, but I’ve been thinking all week about the fact that Penny is going to be part of the wedding and I’ve been invited to come with her to the rehearsal and dinner. I talked to Chris about it and told him I didn’t want to be the only hairy woman there. He laughed and said I’d be a standout as a bald woman. He was so impressed by Paula when he first saw her shaved that he almost fell out of his chair. So I made up my mind to surprise everyone and arrive as a baldy. And here I am waiting for you to do the honors,” Heather said.

“I’m at you service. Just step into my magic chair said the sly barberess to the shy princess,” Kate joked.

“Is it really a magic chair said the shy princess to the sly barberess,” Heather responded.

“Indeed it is. Every princess who has sat in this chair has emerged transformed in remarkable ways. They always remember the experience for as long as they live. Quite often the transformation is so indelible that it remains with them for the rest of their lives and makes them memorable for all who have seen them,” Kate told her as she wrapped a strip of paper around her neck and then fastened the cape securely over it.

“So you think that if I let you shave my head I’ll keep it shaved for the rest of my life,” Heather responded with a little giggle. Well if that’s the case so be it. I’m not backing out now. Besides I’ve thought about it quite a bit and it’s pretty much like you suggested before. I can’t think of a reason to let it grow. Once I made the decision to get it shaved I had really made the decision to be a permanent baldy. I have loved the bald look from the first time I saw Melissa bald. Now that Paula and the others are bald I feel quite comfortable about being permanently bald. Besides I’ve encouraged everyone to get their heads shaved and I should be setting the example. I’ll probably get laser treatments sooner or later – probably when I decide I’m tired of having to shave every week or so,” Heather responded.”

I think Paula, Abby and Iris are definitely converted. And anyway around here women with hair are beginning to look out of place,” Kate exaggerated wildly.

“I’m sure I’ll be quite happy and comfortable with a shaved head. And with my nose stud I’ll look quite striking. I’m ready if you are,” Heather told her.

“Well, I guess you are at that. Any last wishes?” Kate asked.

“Now that you ask, I’d like a very smooth shave and a good head massage,” Heather responded.

“GED, quite easily done. My trigonometry teacher in High School said that QED which was in the margin at the end of a proof meant that. I knew he was joking though. It’s some Latin phrase that I can’t remember, but which means something like ‘there you go’,” Kate told her as she turned on the big clipper, pushed Heather’s head down and ran it up the back of her head while continuing her conversation.

“I wanted to attend the meet between Washington High and Forest this afternoon, but that’s just not possible when you have a one person barbershop like this. Gabby may make it and Gail will call me on Sunday.”

“Gail is really making progress now. Christine told Melissa who told me. And I’m sure it has a lot to do with you and Gabby taking her under your wings so to speak. She has a new level of dedication. I heard that she is doing exceptionally well academically as well as in swimming. What has she told you?” Heather asked.

“She said that she had gotten ninety or better on all her take home stuff and an A or B on all her quizzes. She was quite proud of it because she got mostly Cs last year. She said that she hadn’t been interested in doing well and almost never did more than a quick pass at her homework. She is very motivated now. It does seem to make a difference if there is someone who actually cares about how well you’re doing and says good things when you do well,” Kate said.

“Oh my yes. But even so they need a goal beyond just getting good marks. And she certainly has that,” Heather agreed.

“She’s never told me what her goal is other than to be in the spring championship meet and qualify for the Nationals,” Kate said.

“That’s it Kate. She did tell you, just not in so many words,” Heather replied.

“What do you mean?” Kate asked.

“Nationals are the last step before the Olympic trials. If they can do well in the Nationals they can qualify for the trials. That’s where they’re headed. They have a little more than a year and a half to accomplish it. My guess is that Christine and Janet will make it, but that the others may need the next couple of years to get to that level,” Heather answered.

“Oh! But that seems unbelievable for them. I thought it took many years to do anything like that? What about Gail? Could she make it?” Kate responded in astonishment.

“They are all talented Kate, and hard work and dedication are just as important as talent. Besides they’ve all been swimming competitively for years. Gail could make it. It’s just that she has a little bit farther to go than Christine and Janet. Penny relayed the information to me that those two have already qualified for Nationals. I wouldn’t count Gail out though. She just might have the motivation to do it. Ummm! That hot lather feels delightful Kate,” Heather said.

“That’s the standard response,” Kate laughed. “I’ll give you a nice close shave now.”

“I know that Paula, Abby and Iris along with the girls are pretty much committed to being permanently bald. You must know other women who have had their heads shaved. What kind of response do you get from them,” Heather asked.

“I’ve shaved maybe six women besides the swimming Moms. They all stayed bald for at least a few months and they all loved being bald. Three of them have kept their heads shaved, one for more than a year. They have stopped in now and then to show me they they’re still bald and plan to stay that way for the foreseeable future. That seems to be the reaction of everyone. Cindi and Michelle were in Wednesday afternoon for an eyebrow wax for both Cindi and Michelle and a trim for Michelle. Michelle finally decided to be browless rather than go through the bleaching and coloring process. Michelle said that she was about ready to get shaved, but she wanted to hold off a little longer because she knew that once she got it shaved she would never let it grow again. Even Gabby told me that once she gets hers shaved she expected to keep it shaved unless I objected,” Kate replied.

“That seems to be the attitude of all the women as well as the girls. Paula told me that she is very comfortable with her shaved head and has stopped wearing a wig to work. She took Christine in for a total Brazilian laser treatments last week and inquired about getting laser treatments for her head. They were astonished, but said they could do it. So she’s thinking about it too,” Heather said.

“I never imagined that I would experience women telling me that they intend to become bald for life. It’s quite amazing what is going on around here. Is it possible that it will expand beyond our little area? Anyway, I’m almost done with your first shave Heather. I’ll have to go over it again to get it smooth. In a way I can understand how they can r
eact like that. Since I got my buzz I’ve had no thoughts at all of letting it grow. All my customers seem to think that it looks quite good and several were so impressed that she decided to get a buzz cut themselves,” Kate told her. “I’m going to use gel for your second shave. That will let me get it quite smooth.”

Kate spread gel over Heather’s head and allowed it to soften the hair. She used the time to sharpen her razor to give it the keenest edge possible.

“I think there’s a little change taking place. When Demi Moore went around with her head shaved smooth all she got was admiration at how good she actually looked. And that rock singer appeared with her head bald from chemo and everyone seemed to think that appearing bald was quite OK. And of course there was Sinead O’connor and some other singers who kept their heads buzzed or shaved, so it’s not quite as radical as it used to be,” Heather suggested.

“I believe that, but somehow it has really caught on around here, if you think that fifteen or twenty bald girls or women constitutes really catching on,” Kate laughed.

“It’s growing Kate. From what I’ve heard you’ve given quite a few more shaves since the BGMC meeting,” Heather replied.

Kate was concentrating on Heather’s shave. She had finished the right side, shaving carefully around Heather’s ear. She proceeded to the back where we worked more rapidly.

“That’s true Heather. Sandy’s best friend Ruth got hers shaved and her Mom, Meredith, will keep it shaved for her. Meredith got a buzz. Then Vicki and Arlene got shaved and Joyce got a buzz cut. Deedee and Helen came in for a head shave for Deedee and a clipper shave for Helen. Oh, I forgot. Cathy and Erica, she’s one of my regular customers, came in for cuts. Cathy, who knows Deedee, got a pretty extreme flattop and Erica got a very neat little boy cut. That’s quite a few isn’t it. That’s five more shaves if I count Cathy. Wow, I hadn’t added it up before. Helen’s clipper shave should count too. Plus two more buzz cuts and a short little boy cut. I guess I’m getting so used to doing it that I hardly notice how very unusual it is,” Kate exclaimed.

Kate paused and then concentrated on shaving Heather. She had finished the back and now began on the left side. She shaved down from near the top of Heather’s head then around her ear. At the front she shaved down to the top of her ear, then pulling the skin taut, shaved from her ear toward the front to complete that side. Tilting Heather’s head to the side she began shaving the top at the crown working carefully to ensure that the crown would be smooth, then working forward careful to overlap with the previously shaved sides. Working her way upward to the middle of Heather’s head she worked forward and was soon ready to go to the opposite side where she would repeat the process. Working from the crown area she again shaved first to the side and then toward the front to achieve a very smooth result. The last area soon succumbed to her deft work with her razor. A few more strokes of the razor at the very top of Heather’s head completed the job.

“I enjoyed that Kate. I wouldn’t mind having my own personal barber who would do that for me every day. I take it you’re finished,” Kate remarked.

“You’ve got it. I’ve finished giving you a first class head shave, and you look quite marvelous. I’ll have to clean it up for you and put on some moisturizer and a little bronzer and you’ll be finished,” Kate told her.

“I been imagining how I would look as a bald forty something Mother of two girls all summer. With Ginny practically shaved I had a good model of what I would have looked like twenty years ago, but I’ve changed a good bit since then and I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t look awful. But seeing Iris and the others I changed my mind. I couldn’t use April. She’s a special case. Not many people will look that good with a shaved head no matter what their age,” Heather suddenly paused as Kate began to massage her head with the moisturizer.

“Uh Kate, who taught you how to do that,” Heather asked in a slightly stunned voice. “You just sent shivers down my spine. Now I know what everybody was talking about during that shaveathon we had a while back. You could hypnotize a person doing that to them.”

“They taught it in barber school, but I didn’t get to use it much until this summer. I’ve gotten a lot better with all the practice. I’m thinking of getting a strap on vibrator for my hand. That makes it even better,” Kate told her. “I’ll put on a little bronzer and you’ll be done. There you go. You can now admire the new and younger Heather,” Kate told her as she removed the cape and neck paper.

“I’m impressed Kate. The lady over there in the mirror looks quite good with her head shaved. In fact I think she couldn’t be a year older than thirty nine,” Heather said laughing. “Chris is going to like this I’m sure. It’s going to be fun showing up at the rehearsal tomorrow. Don’t let anyone know that I’ve gotten shaved. I want it to be a surprise. I’ll have to give Penny an extra good shave as well as one for myself.”

“I’m sure it will be fun. You’ll have everyone, including Steffie, quite impressed. I wish I could be there. Steffie invited me, but I don’t close until six on Saturday and I just couldn’t make it even to the dinner. But I’ll definitely be at the wedding and reception,” Kate explained.

“I’m looking forward to them myself. There will certainly be a lot of beautiful bald heads there. I guess I’ll see you there Kate. And thanks for a wonderful head shave and a fantastic massage,” Heather told her as she paid her bill and headed out with her head held high and a spring in her step, ready to greet the world with renewed confidence.

Saturday – The Wedding Rehearsal

“Christine, what would you like for breakfast. I was thinking about making French toast,”
Melissa said. “And we have oranges and kiwi too.”

“Sounds great Melissa. Hot chocolate would be good too,” Christine answered enthusiastically.

Christine was almost always up before eight O’clock on Saturday and Sunday even when she didn’t have a practice session. She had two advance placement classes as well as three regular classes and she was determined to do well in all of them. She was feeling upbeat because she had improved her times in the hundred and two hundred free and was only a few hundredths of a second from qualifying for Nationals. Janet had also improved her times in both the butterfly and the free, but the most important thing was that Gail had qualified for Nationals in the breaststroke. Almost as important was that Jessie had made a substantial improvement in her time for the hundred meter backstroke and Tess was very close to qualifying for the hundred meter free.

“It’s ready Christine. Is Mom up yet,” Melissa asked.

“I think I hear her in the shower. She came in pretty late last night. We’re going to have to establish a curfew for her,” Christine giggled.

For one of the few times since Melissa was two years old, Paula had gone on a date. This was the second week in a row that she had gone out with Howard. He was a few years younger than Paula, but had made it clear that the age difference did not matter to him. Christine and Melissa had been surprised when he had shown up to cheer for them on Friday. Paula had been unable to come and he had come on his own without her knowledge. He had started to offer to take them back home, but quickly withdrew saying “that’s not a good idea on my part.”

“He knew a lot about soccer. He said he had played in college,” Melissa said.

“I know. He had looked up a lot of the records in swimming too, but he didn’t know what the qualifying times were. He said he hadn’t thought of that, but it certainly had to be the most important thing at this point,” Christine said.

“I think he likes Mom a lot,” Melissa replied.

“Well, they’ve been having lunch together for the past month and I guess Mom has gotten to know him pr
etty well. She said he’s working on his doctorate in engineering and is a lecturer at the University,” Christine said. “This French toast is scrumptious Melissa. What did you add to it?”

“I ground up some rosemary and tarragon. Mom said they are both a little bit sweet smelling,” Melissa replied. You guys did great yesterday didn’t you.”

“All the guys have been working really hard. Sometimes it seems like you work hard and you can’t make any progress, but sooner or later you get through whatever has been holding you back. We all did better that ever, especially Gail who qualified for Nations. And I’m sure that Tess and Jessie both will make nationals,” Christine told her. “You guys did great too.”

“We’re getting better, but I wish we had a few more players who really want to work hard. Arlene wants to be on our team. I think she’s a little like the amigas. She’ll work hard to be the best,” Melissa replied.

“You’ll find some more good players, don’t worry. Next year you’ll be on the varsity and some of the guys that played with you last summer will still be at Forest. So you’ll have a great team. Thanks for a great breakfast little Sis,” Christine said.

“Hi girls. Something smells good. I guess you’ve both eaten already. Anything left for me?” Paula asked, her voice unusually cheerful and animated.

“You sound very happy Mom. I guess you had a good time last night,” Christine responded.

“Oh, I did. We hit it off quite well. He thinks you two are quite the exceptional pair of girls too,” Paula answered.

“He’d better think you’re an exceptional Mom too,” Melissa responded as she dropped a slice of whole wheat bread into her rapidly disappearing egg mix, flipped it over to coat he other side and put it on the griddle that straddled two burners. “I’ve got just enough to make two slices Mom. Will that be enough?”

“Two will be just fine. I want to have a big helping of orange and kiwi slices. It looks so good,” Paula answered. “He did say that you must have learned a lot from me. I don’t know about that. I seem to be learning a lot from you two.”

“You were always a great role model Mom. I guess we’re just trying a little extra hard to live up to your example,” Christine told her.

“I suppose so, but I’m so proud of you that I could pop. Anyway when are we going to get ourselves shaved?” Paula asked.

“I think I’d like to work on my homework this morning and this afternoon until Tommy gets here. Melissa and I really don’t need to shave. We’ll do it tomorrow with you. Then we can shave each other,” Christine replied.

“I’d like to shave you today Mom. I can make it really smooth for you. Is Howard coming to the rehearsal?” Melissa added.

“No. He said he would be intruding, but he’s coming with me to the wedding and the reception,” Paula told her. “By the way girls, would it be OK with you if I invited him to a Sunday dinner here sometime in the next month or so,” Paula asked.

Melissa and Christine looked at each other, then laughed.

“We were wondering when you might do something like that. I guessed it would be in December, and Christine said November. I guess she won the contest,” Melissa replied.

“We don’t mind Mom. It will be fun, although I didn’t think you needed a couple of teen aged chaperons,” Christine giggled.

Paula laughed. “Well things might not work out and it might not happen, but I though I’d better see how you felt about things at this point,” Paula said.

“I’t’s not a problem for me. I’m glad you found someone who seems nice. I’m really glad I have Tommy to keep my spirits up. Anyway, I’ve got to get back to work. I’ll talk to you all later,” Christine said as she hurried back to her studies.

The rehearsal was to take place at four O’clock in the afternoon with dinner at about seven in the evening. Melissa’s homework load was significantly less than Christine’s so she had time to help Paula with her shave. They started to get ready at two when Paula set up their little shaving area in the main bathroom upstairs.

“I”m ready Melissa,” Paula called into Melissa room.

“OK Mom. I’m coming,” Melissa answered.

“Do you want me to give you a hot towel shave. I know how to do it,” Melissa said.

“That would be very nice Melissa. I haven’t had one since Kate shaved me and that has been two months,” Paula said.

“I’d lost track of the time Mom. It doesn’t feel very rough at all. So the new moisturizer is working a little better than the old one. Maybe in a month you can shave only once a week,” Melissa advised her.

Melissa, who would turn fourteen in December was a quick study and had become quite expert at giving a good head shave. She applied the gel and carefully massaged it to help it soften Paula’s slightly bristly head. After a couple of minutes she popped the head off the shaver and rinsed it under hot water to be sure it was clean. It was a relatively new foil and cutter. Paula had purchased a replacement head three weeks earlier. Melissa had immediately noted the improvement. She began shaving Paula’s head pressing firmly to achieve a very smooth result.

“Mom, I’m haven’t been practicing the clarinet as much as I would like. With all the practices and games I just don’t have enough time it seems,” Melissa confessed.

“I thought you really liked playing it Melissa. Are you thinking of giving it up?”

“I love being able to play it, but I want to be a good soccer player too. I’m not sure what I should do,” Melissa answered.

“Your doing very well in you classes so far and I know you haven’t neglected your homework. I’ll make a deal with you. You and Christine are working harder than anyone now, so I’ll take over fixing the food and doing the laundry. That will give you a little more time. The fall soccer season will be over soon won’t it?” Paula asked.

“In two weeks, but we’ll still be working out inside, just not quite as much. I guess I should be able to find more time to practice. Christine is working a lot harder than I am and she’s taking harder classes too. I’m not going to quit,” Melissa said firmly.

“Good. I know you can do it. It will be hard, but you can do it. You like your music too much to give it up, even though you’re putting most of your effort into school and soccer. I’ll help any way I can,” Paula encouraged her.

“I have some CDs that have instructions that I’m supposed to work on, but we only have that little boom box and it doesn’t sound like a clarinet at all. Back in the summer you said we might get that nice system that they had at the Emporium. Can we get it,” Melissa asked.

“Absolutely Melissa. I had completely forgotten about that. I would love to hear some of my Mozart on a nice stereo like that,” Paula assured her.

Melissa had been over Paula’s head once and now was feeling it the way she and Christine had done it since they first shaved each other. There was only one place where she needed to shave again.

“It’s done Mom and it’s pretty smooth. You look really wonderful with your head shaved,” Melissa said as she carefully wiped off any remaining gel and patted Paula’s head dry. Then on impulse she leaned down and planted a kiss on the top of Paula’s head.

Paula gave a little giggle at this show of affection. Thank you Melissa. That felt just great. I’ll put on the moisturizer and clean up, but first I need to give you a big hug,” Paula said as she stood up.

“You’re the best, Mom,” Melissa said as she and Paula embraced. Melissa had grown more than an inch and a half in the four and a half months since her first shave and was now only two inches shorter than Paula. Paula patted her head before they parted.

Paula had made a point of going outside on the weekends to get a little sun on her head. She now had a light tan which disguised the slight shadow that would otherwise be visible. As the weeks had passed she had become more and more convinced that she would never have hair again. Sh
e felt almost regal in her confidence as she walked from from the parking lot to the office and from her office to one of the small eateries near her office. Her conversations with Iris and Abby had revealed that they felt the same way. They felt liberated and more feminine than at any time in their life. The husbands of Abby and Iris treated them with new respect and showered attention on them. Even their energy level seemed to have moved to a higher plane and they were all engaged in new community projects.

It was much the same with Hallie, as Paula found out from a conversation she had with Steffie. Hallie had discovered a new level of self-assurance that was noted by her friends in their church. Despite the fact that she had an excellent singing voice and had studied for years, she had never sung solo despite the best efforts of her friends to persuade her to do so. Two weeks earlier she had stepped forward from her place in the choir and sang a spiritual that had the congregation rocking.

Musing over these thoughts Paula had carefully applied moisturizer to her head. She noted with pleasure that indeed Melissa had achieved a very smooth result. Now she made the decision to give her head a nice polish with the shiner that she had discovered and that the girls used regularly. She went back to her room and carefully applied her makeup. A delicate line of eyeliner, ivory and pale rose eye shadow and
a modest amount of mascara. Kate had lightened her brows on Thursday. At Paula’s request she had made them lighter than they had been – not quite blond, but a rather light brown. She was happy with the resulting look and chose to do nothing more than apply a little discrete blusher and the shiner over her head and face. She went over her head twice to achieve the shiny effect that she wanted. She looked at herself and smiled. She told herself she should do the same thing on her next date with Howard.

Christine and Melissa would be wearing new outfits that had had been purchased for the occasion. Paula would be helping Melissa with the discrete eye shadow that she had suggested Melissa wear along with the new lipstick they had chosen. It would be the first time for Melissa to wear any makeup other than lipstick and a little blusher. Christine would do her own makeup, but she was very good at it now and used it with a very light hand.

At three thirty, the door bell rang and Christine quickly went down the stairs to invite Tommy in after a warm kiss of greeting.

‘You look terrific Christine,” Tommy told her.

“Thanks. You look really good yourself,” Christine responded. “Come on in. We’ll be ready to leave in a few minutes. I have to go back upstairs for a minute to help Melissa. I’ll be right back.”

Christine hastened back upstairs to assist Melissa with her earrings. She had decided to wear two pairs of gold hoops – one medium sized and the second pair smaller along with an emerald green and gold stud. She was having trouble with the small hoop on her right ear which she had to put in with her left hand. The hoop wire was the curved style and she couldn’t quite get the angle right.

“This is ridiculous Christine. Why won’t it go through?” Melissa said in frustration.

“That kind can be hard to get through when you have to look in a mirror and do it with the wrong hand,” Christine laughed. “You should probably put it in first, but it can still be a pain.”

“Youch!” Melissa yelped. “There! I got it,” Christine exclaimed almost simultaneously.

“You look super good Melissa. Did Mom do your head shiner?” Christine asked.

“She said she would do it a little shinier than usual. How does it look?” Melissa asked.

“It’s great and your eye shadow looks terrific. It’s been a week and you still can’t see any hair. Is it still smooth?” Christine asked.

“You can hardly feel anything. In another month we can shave only once every too weeks,” Melissa suggested.

“That’s what I thought also. I have to go. Tommy is downstairs. We should be leaving pretty soon,” Christine said. She hurried back to sit with Tommy on the family room sofa for a few minutes.

“Hi. I’m back,” Christine said as she sat down beside Tommy.

“And I’m glad. You sound pretty relaxed. You were worried last night about getting all your work done this weekend,” Tommy said.

“It’s not quite as bad as I thought. I got through the hard stuff, algebra and biology, this morning and I got through my history and most of the English assignment after lunch. I think I’ll be able to finish that in an hour and still have a couple of hours to work on my French tomorrow morning,” Christine said. “I’ll get up early so I’ll have plenty of time. But we hardly ever get to go out.”

Tommy squeezed her hand. “I know and I miss it as much as you. But you can’t give up your dreams because of that. You know I’ll be nearby and when you’ve achieved one dream the other ones will still be there waiting for you,” Tommy told her.

“You guys ready to go,” Melissa said as she raced down the stairs in her new low heeled white dress shoes apparently as fast as she did in her sneakers.

“I’m finally ready,” Paula announced.

“Let’s go,” Melissa said, eager for them to be on their way.

They arrived at the modest church a few minutes after four. The went through the vestibule to be greeted immediately by Hallie.

“Hello, Paula. You look terrific. And Christine and Melissa you’re still the most amazing two girls around. Let me introduce you to some of the others. Steffie is still getting a few last minute things arranged and Audra is with her. This is Doreen Washington, Steffie’s best friend. Doreen This Paula Jenner and her two girls Christine and Melissa. That terrific young man beside Christine is her boyfriend Tommy Williams.” Hallie said.

“I glad to meet you all. Steffie has told me about you and that seeing you two girls was what inspired here to go completely bald. In a way you’re responsible for me being bald too. After Steffie shaved her head I though she looked terrific and you all are even better looking that Steffie said you were. When she asked me to be her maid of honor I had a perfect excuse to get mine shaved. I’ve kept it shaved for almost two months now. I think I’ve been converted,” Doreen told them.

“You look really fabulous Doreen,” Paula complemented her.

At that moment Melissa spotted Penny coming through the doors from the vestibule. “Hey there’s Penny! Oh my gosh, look at Mrs. Brower! She shaved her head! She looks incredible!” Melissa was bouncing in excitement.

“We all get a little excited when another of our group gets her head shaved,” Paula said laughing.

Soon Heather and Penny were surrounded by everyone present as introductions were make.

“Heather, you look just marvelous. I didn’t expect you to go bald for a while, Hallie said.

“Well, after Penny got invited to be in the wedding and I got invited to bring her to the rehearsal, I simply couldn’t imagine being the only hairy woman here. So after a little consultation with Chris, we decided that the only proper thing to do was for me to get rid of my hair. So it’s gone and good riddance,” Heather said bursting into laughter.

“Congratulations, Mrs. Brower. You do look really good,” Melissa told her.

“Thank you Melissa. You’ve been a great example for all of us – you and Christine,” Heather responded

“I had just introduced Doreen to Paula and the Girls. Doreen is Steffie’s Maid of Honor. Doreen this is Heather Brower. Heather, Doreen Williams. Come in closer Shawna. This is Shawna Elder. She’s Steffie’s other bridesmaid. You and Steffie have been friends for a long time haven’t you? How did you meet. I don’t think Steffie ever told me,” Hallie said.

“It was Doreen. We’ve been friends since high school and she invited me to go to a show with her and Steffie the summer that we all graduated. I guess we hit it off well and we’ve been doing things together ever si
nce. At first I was not going to get shaved. Steffie had said I didn’t have to and I wouldn’t have until one day when I was talking to my boyfriend about the wedding he said some stupid things about women who shave their heads. The upshot was that I told him I was going to shave my head and if he didn’t like it he had better leave right then. So he stomped out. I got it shaved the next day even though it was Sunday. I found a barbershop that was open in a mall. Anyway, I’ve kept it shaved for more than a month now and I’m almost convinced that I should keep it shaved,” Shawna told them.

“You really should Shawna. I’ve told you that you look fabulous with it shaved,” Doreen told her.

“Anyone as good looking as you should never even consider having hair,” Heather added.

“They’re all correct Shawna. I think I look pretty good with my head shaved and I don’t think Victor would take kindly to the idea of me letting it grow again,” Hallie laughed. “While I’m doing the introductions you should all meet these two girls from Steffie’s office. Althena works for Steffie who says that she’s a whiz at computer graphics design. And Nadeah is her office manager, and keeps the wheels from falling off the bus according to Steffie.”

“It’s really Steffie and Louis who are always coming up with the ideas.” Althena said. “I get to help make their ideas look good. It was kind of funny how we decided to get our heads shaved. Steffie came in that first Monday and didn’t even mention it, so we kept quiet also. After three days we couldn’t hold it in anymore and that’s when she told us she wasn’t going to let it grow out ‘ever’ and that she and Louis were getting married. I figured if Louis liked it, maybe I could attract a guy like him if I shaved my head. Anyway, I was getting tired of all the hassle of having it relaxed.”

Althena continued. “About a month later I was at the mall and walked past one of those unisex shops. I glanced in and saw that they had a bald black guy as one of the operators. I walked on by, got to the shop where I had intended to buy some things and stopped. On impulse I turned around walked back to the shop, went in, asked for the name of the black guy and signed up to have him cut my hair. He finished his customer, a teen who had gotten a bob with a tapered undercut in the back, and came out to take me back to his station. He asked me what I had in mind and I asked him how I would look with a shaved head. He was surprised, but finally responded that I would look quite good. I don’t think he expected me to tell him to shave it, but that’s what I did. I had to tell him twice that I wanted it shaved smooth. Forty five minutes later it was done. I must admit that when I looked at myself I was astonished. I really couldn’t believe how good I looked. So I’ve been bald ever since.”

“What’s even funnier is that this guy started calling me at work. He works for one of our clients. I thought he was a white guy, but he told me that his great-grandmother was black. He even had a picture of her. Anyway we had lunch a few times and we’ve been dating for a couple of months now. He’ll be at the wedding tomorrow,” Althena told them.

“And after Althena got shaved I kept seeing her and Steffie together working on the latest ad campaign,” Nadeah said. “So I couldn’t help getting brainwashed about good looking women with bald heads”.

“What really persuaded me was when Tony, my boyfriend, came in one day to take me to lunch and saw them together. At lunch he asked me when I was going to get mine shaved. I thought he was kidding. I said ‘You think I should get my head shaved? You’re kidding, right?’ He said ‘No, I’m serious. You would look great with it shaved.’ He didn’t say anything more about it, but it sure got me thinking. A couple of weeks later I asked him again and he had the same answer. Finally I asked Althena where she got hers shaved. She said I would look really good with it shaved and told me where to go. I thought about it for a week and finally decided to do it. Tony was ecstatic. He said I had never looked better. Now I’ve gotten so used to it that it seems perfectly normal, even if it is a hassle to keep it shaved. I’ve been shaving it practically every day, because I like it to look good for Tony and he really loves it when it’s smooth,” Nadeah said.

“That’s right. I didn’t shave today and you can tell. The rest of you look a lot better than I do right now. I’ll certainly shave it tomorrow before the wedding,” Althena agreed.

“Didn’t Steffie tell you about the shave reducing moisturizer that we all use?” Heather asked. “If you had been using it you could be shaving only twice a week or even less.”

“Really? Where do you get something like that?” Althena asked, surprise in her voice.

“Kate’s Barbershop has it,” Paula interjected. “My girls shave only once a week now and they’ll be shaving only once every two weeks pretty soon. It really works. And we all use a little battery run shaver and a gel that Kate recommends. It works great. Hallie you need to help these girls. They’re such great looking baldies and staying smooth shouldn’t be a hassle.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll make sure they know where to get the shaver and moisturizer. There must be some places in the city that sells it. I’ll get you the name of the shaver, gel and moisturizer and you can check around to find somebody that has them,” Hallie said.

“Here they come!” Melissa said as Steffie and Louis walked in through a door at the front followed by the preacher.

“And there’s Audra too,” Penny added.

“Wow. Steffie looks gorgeous doesn’t she?” Christine exclaimed.

“Oh my goodness. She’s radiant. She positively glows or am I just imagining it,” Heather said.

“You’re not imagining it. She’s absolutely stunning,” Paula said. “There’s Louis’ best man and I guess the others are ushers.”

“Steffie, you look so beautiful!” Doreen exclaimed. “You just glow. This is going to be a wonderful wedding.”

“I hope so Doreen. I’ve been looking forward to it for months. The closer it got, the more excited I got. Louis has been great with helping me do all the work of planning and managing it. So now that’s its all done I can turn everything over to Nadeah and Althena so that Louis and I can enjoy the occasion and our honeymoon,” Steffie told them.

OK everyone. Let’s see if we can get this organized so that everyone will know their places and what they should do. Where are our flower girls and the ring bearer?” The preacher asked.

“Damian come on over here,” Hallie said.

Penny and Melissa had quickly stepped forward, as alert to what they should be doing in the wedding as they would have been in a soccer game. In short order the basic instructions had be issued to everyone and a few trial runs had been made. Finally the organist played a few bars of music as the ushers escorted first Louis’s parents and then Steffie’s parents down the aisle. After various false starts and adjustments, there was a complete run through that satisfied everyone.

“That’s it folks. Are there any questions? Does everyone know where they should be tomorrow?” the preacher asked. “I think it will go perfectly”.

After working out the logistics of getting everyone to the restaurant, they all headed out to the Indian restaurant where a room had been reserved for them.

Heather had volunteered to take Paula, Christine and Melissa because she was familiar with the restaurant. As the transportation arrangements were made, she invited Nadeah and Althea to join them in her minivan. They were the first to arrive.

“We’re with the Stephanie Thomas party,” Heather said.

Their greeter, a very polite young man who was obviously of Indian origin, looked at Heather and his eyes opened wide as he took in the fact that she was quite bald. A few seconds later he realized that the entire group of women and girls standing in front of him consisted entirely of bald women and girls. A
look of astonishment flashed over his face, but he recovered quickly.

“Right this way Ma’am,” he said as he quickly turned to lead them to the private room.

“He handled it better than most of them didn’t he,” Melissa said.

“I suppose he did, but not until he managed to get his eyeballs back inside his head,” Heather laughed. “How is it for you in the city Althena?”

“Oh, we get plenty of shocked looks almost anywhere we go, especially if there are two or three of us. One time Stephanie’s two girlfriends came by and all five of us went out to lunch. Now that got a lot of attention. Actually now that I’ve been bald for a while, I’ve actually seen a few other black women with their heads shaved. I sort of never noticed it before. I’ve only seen one other white woman with a shaved head and that was from a distance. It’s really different to see you close up. I think you look amazingly good with shaved heads. Stephanie told us about the amigas and how they all work together and all have their heads shaved. I think that’s pretty cool too,” Althena said.

“They’ve been showing us a lot more than just being cool. Confidence and determination are a couple of words that fit. Those of us in the older generation are learning a lot from them. I actually feel more self-confident and even more of a woman now. That’s pretty strange, because I just got it shaved yesterday morning and I’ve only shaved twice,” Heather said. “Of course it helps that my husband likes it.”

“Here come some more of the gang,” Paula said as Hallie, Victor, Damian and Audra arrived. Soon the entire wedding party and invited quests were seated and talking about a dozen different things, but mostly about bald women, how great Steffie looked and how wonderful the wedding was going to be.

Week 20 Sunday – Steffie’s Wedding.

“I think we’d better start getting ready”, Paula said. “It’s almost one O’clock.

“I had a shower when I got up this morning Mom. It doesn’t take me long to get ready and I want to get in some more practice on my French. Can we shave now and then I can get back to it for a while”, Christine said.

“Mom, I’ll shave Christine and you, then you can shave me,” Melissa offered. “That should be OK. I’ve finished my homework and I even did my clarinet practice.”

Paula laughed. “You girls are something else. You’re always a step ahead of me. Come on Melissa, I’ll help set up and we can shave each other and I’ll shave Christine. After all I don’t even have to fix dinner tonight.”

“You barely need to shave Melissa. I can’t see a thing and I can hardly feel anything. Will you start shaving only every other week pretty soon?” Paula asked.

“I think we’ll shave every week for a while longer – about another month probably. Then we’ll decide,” Melissa told her. But we’re pretty sure we’ll start shaving only once every two weeks.”

“It’s strange how things just kept speeding up after you got your first shave. I thought then that by now you would have grown out your hair. I certainly didn’t expect that I would be bald myself and quite happy with it,” Paula told her.

“I’m glad you had me shaved Mom. I liked it the first time I saw myself in the mirror. All the kids like having their heads shaved smooth. I’m pretty sure that next summer there are going to be a lot more bald girls around, although I guess a lot of Mom’s are not going to let girls get their heads shaved even if they really want to,” Melissa said.

“You’ve got that right Melissa. Most Mothers are going to be horrified at the idea of their daughters wanting to get their heads shaved. You know how difficult it was for Sandy because her Dad was upset with her. Jan had to work hard to convince him it was all right for Sandy to be bald and for her to have a buzz cut,” Paula related the story that Melissa knew well.

“I guess all the amigas were lucky that their Dads didn’t get really mad when they wanted to get their heads shaved,” Melissa said.

“That’s absolutely right Melissa. Maybe in years to come things will change some, but for sure right now, most parents are going to be upset if a girl wants to get a buzz cut, much less have a shaved head, unless they do it for a cause such as raising money for cancer research. You saw what Carly’s Mom thought about her going anywhere without her wig. Most people are able to accept something like that, although they will still think she’s strange not to wear a wig. So you and Christine broke some new ground around here. And Steffie did too for the adults,” Paula replied.

“Well the kids in school mostly think it’s cool. Some of the girls won’t have anything to do with us, but a lot of them wanted to feel our heads and talk about what it’s like to go everywhere with a bald head. Some of them said they wished they could do that, or that they were going to do it next summer,” Melissa told her.

“That’s interesting Melissa, but I doubt that many of them will. There, I’m about finished. It’s quite amazingly soft and smooth. You’ll be one of the two most beautiful bald flower girls ever,” Paula said laughing.

“I hope they get a lot of pictures of the wedding so I can have one of Penny and me scattering rose petals down the aisle,” Melissa giggled.

“Absolutely Melissa. That will be quite unique. Here, I’ll put on your moisturizer. Do you know if Penny is going to use the shiner? I don’t want you to have a shiny head if she doesn’t,” Paula explained.

“She’s been keeping it shiny like yesterday most of the time, but maybe you should call Mrs. Brower,” Melissa answered.

“I’ll do that right after I shave Christine. Hey, Christine I’m ready for you,” Paula called down the hall in the general direction of Christine’s room.

During breaks in her conversation with Melissa, Paula could hear the sound of Christine reciting back the French phrases coming out of the little boom box that was playing the practice CD.

“OK, I’ll be there in a minute,” she called back.

“This is going to be a really wild wedding Mom. There are going to be so many women and girls with shaved heads there. Most of the guys are bald and Audra said that her Mom is going to shave Damian for the wedding. Her Dad is going to be shaved too, although he already keeps his hair clipper shaved. I think that only the preacher and the organist are going to have much hair,” Melissa laughed.

“Well there will be a few of Louis’s relatives including his Mother and Father and a few of Steffie’s relatives beside Victor. I think that Hallie’s Mom and Dad will be there as well. I doubt if any of them have joined the bald movement,” Paula laughed.

“OK, I’m ready Mom. Make it as smooth as you can, although there’s not very much to feel,” Christine told Paula.

“I’ll do my best. You’ll look fabulous no matter what I do. I heard you practicing your French,” Paula replied.

“I like learning French. It doesn’t seem very hard although getting the pronunciation right takes a lot of practice. I’ve only gotten an hour of practice in so far this weekend. I want to do another hour. I think I’ll be able to do it before I get ready for the wedding,” Christine responded.

“I’m almost done here. I just have to check it,” Paula said running her fingers over Christine’s head. “Here’s a spot that needs redoing. OK, it’s done. I’ll clean it up and put on the moisturizer for you.”

“Thanks Mom. That feels good. I’ll bet it’s as good as Kate, although I’ve never had her give me a head massage,” Christine answered.

“I’m nowhere near her when it comes to a head massage. She practically hypnotizes you. I’ll bet Gail gets to have one pretty frequently. How are things working out with her at home. I probably shouldn’t stick my nose in it, but maybe I could help somehow,” Paula inquired.

“It’s OK Mom. She’s doing well in her classes. Her Mom knows that Kate is her sponsor and that Gail is doing super at swimming. Her Mom still isn’t much interested, but she does ask about i
t and told Gail she’s glad that she’s doing well and is happy. Her Dad even patted her on the head and congratulated her on getting such good grades. He doesn’t seem to be upset that she’s bald. Anyway, either Kate or Gabby is almost always there for a meet, so she doesn’t feel so bad about her parents never coming to a meet. And Jeremy is with her a lot. He makes it to almost every meet. He’s not athletic, but he sure knows a lot about all the important swimmers like Mark Spitz and Janet Evans. He can tell you how they did at the Olympics and all the International championship meets and what the qualifying times are for every event. He’s getting straight A’s for all his classes and he’s taking all the AP math and chemistry classes,” Christine said.

“I’m so glad that things are a little less traumatic for her. It still must be hard, but with a lot of supportive people behind her she’ll get through it. Sometimes that kind of adversity makes people work even harder to achieve their goals. There, you’re done. You look wonderful, but then you looked wonderful before I gave you this shave,” Paula laughed.

“Thanks Mom. It feels smooth and soft, just the way I like it. I’d better get back to my French. Oh, there is something I wanted to tell you. Debbie Reger, the assistant swimming coach told us she was considering an offer to start a private swimming club for top swimmers. She would be over at the Amberleigh Swim and Tennis Club. She’s really good and a lot of her swimmers have gotten scholarships to college. I think I would like to be in a program like that.”

“I sort of expected something along those lines Christine. I know it will be expensive, but we’ll see if we can work it out. We’ll find a way I’m sure. We’ll discuss it some more when things get a little more firm” Paula told her.

Christine had showered and put on her makeup and shiner. She liked the way her face had a soft glow and her head had a more noticeable glow. She and Paula had gone to Kate’s shop on Thursday evening to have their brows colored. Like Paula, Christine now had light brown brows. She thought they looked very good with her ivory and pale peach eye shadow. She dressed in the new outfit that had been purchased for the occasion. Since she was not involved in the wedding ceremony itself her gown did not have to match the others. She and Paula had found a beautiful, but simple, full length dress in off white with apricot colored flowers embroidered on it. Christine had loved it at first sight. She put on her new dangle earrings with the rose colored studs and fine chains with slightly larger rose colored stones at their ends. Two cubic zirconia stones completed her look.

Melissa wore a lovely pale blue dress that matched the bridesmaids’ dresses. After talking with Heather, she had carefully polished Melissa’s head to give it a quite definite gloss. Heather would do the same for Penny using the identical product. Their faces would also glow.

At two thirty the door bell rang and Christine went to answer it knowing that it would be Tommy. With her two inch heel pumps she walked quite a bit more slowly than usual. Tommy having passed his sixteenth birthday was now allowed to drive and had done so for the occasion.

“Hi Tommy. You look really elegant”, Christine said with a giggle.

“And you look like a princess out of a fairy tale. And you’ve gotten a lot taller too,” he smiled. “Can I kiss you without turning myself into a frog?”

“Christine laughed. “I haven’t put on any lipstick yet and these shoes make me almost as tall as you. You can kiss me, but please don’t mess up my hair.”

They both broke up at this remark.

“I shouldn’t have said that. I could have laughed so hard I would have ruined my makeup,” Christine said as she leaned forward to be gently embraced by Tommy who kissed her warmly.

“I didn’t know that one of your talents was comedy. I’ll bet that there are dozens of girls saying those words somewhere today,” Tommy said, still laughing.

“I think we’re ready to go. Is everyone ready?” Paula asked as she walked into the living room.

“We’re all ready,” Christine said.

An hour later everyone was in their place. Guests were arriving, among them nearly all of the women and girls from the BGMC.

Christine had been greeting them and making sure they signed the guest register. She was surprised at the frequency that she received extravagant praise for how she looked.

“Hello young lady. You must be the Christine that I’ve heard Stephanie speak of. Well, I have to admit that she was not exaggerating about you. I can see how you might influence a grown women to want to get her head shaved,” she laughed. “I’m Pat Franklin, Louis’ Mother.

“I’m very glad to meet you Mrs. Franklin. I never intended to influence anyone, although I do like being bald and I think Aunt Steffie looks quite beautiful,” Christine replied.

“She does, at least after you get over the surprise. And I’m quite struck at seeing so many bald women and girls here. Did they all shave their heads just for this wedding,” Pat asked.

“No Ma’am. Only Mrs. Brower did, but she was intending to get her head shaved anyway. She just did it a little sooner than expected,” Christine explained.

“That’s quite remarkable, but I assume they all like it, even those young girls,” Pat said.

“Yes Ma’am. They all wanted to have their heads shaved and some had to convince their Moms and Dads to let them do it. Now most of the Moms and Dads like it,” Christine replied.

“I’d better finish her and let some others sign in. It looks like I’ve caused quite a line,” Pat said as she finished signing in and moved away.

When a tall and quite bald lady stepped up to the register and greeted her, Christine was momentarily at a loss. “Mrs. Barkas. I almost didn’t recognize you. You look terrific!”

“Well, I agree with you Christine, I do look good don’t I. I just couldn’t imagine coming to this wedding without getting my head shaved first. I never knew what I was missing until now. I love it shaved. But I must say you are even more beautiful than ever,” Georgia told her.

“Thanks Mrs. Barkas, but my feet aren’t happy in these shoes,” Christine complained.

“Oh dear. I know that feeling. Take them off and go barefoot as soon as you can. Shoes like that should be illegal,” Georgia told her.

“Good idea. I’ll take them off at the reception,” Christine responded.

Most of the guests were present. Louis’s parents and grandparents were about to be escorted to their places when several last minute stragglers showed up. After a brief delay they were escorted to their seats. Finally Christine was escorted to her place. Melissa and Penny came slowly down the aisle scattering flower petals as they progressed. The preacher nodded and the organist began the wedding march. Everyone stood to watch Steffie come slowly forward on the arm of her older brother Victor.

The bride’s attendants were a remarkable sight to those who were unaware of the fact that all of the women in the wedding party were bald. Standing beside Steffie, whose head was still covered by her veil, were; Hallie, her Matron of honor; Doreen, her maid of honor; Shawna, her other bridesmaid; and Audra, her junior bridesmaid. Off to the side stood Melissa and Penny. All were bald. In the audience there were a number of bald women, and an even larger number of bald girls, more than enough to have other guests surprised and perplexed. When Louis lifted her veil they would be even more surprised.

It was a traditional wedding in most respects although Steffie and Louis had composed their own wedding vows, and Steffie had flatly rejected the idea that anyone was going to give her away. She said she and Louis would be giving themselves to each other.

When the ceremony was over and Christine went back to the vestibule she was surrounded by the other six bald swimmers.

“You look so fabulous Christine,” Jessie told her.

Thanks, but you guys all look great yourselves. I really like your no hair styles. You must all have the same stylist,” Christine joked.

“You’re funny Christine. When did you get to be a comedian,” Gail laughed.

“I guess I’ve just been feeling good about us ever since the meet on Friday. Everybody did so great. I know that we’re going to do what we wanted. I can just feel it,” Christine said with a big smile on her face.

“We all can Christine. It feels like we’re right on the edge of taking the next big step,” Jessie said.

“That’s how I feel too. It’s as though I’m almost ready to really break through. I can feel myself getting stronger and stronger. I know I’m going to get psyched up and really go into overdrive pretty soon,” Tess told her.

“Are all of you going to the reception? I have to go back in so we can get lined up. I’ll be in the reception line so I won’t be able to talk much, but I’ll see you tomorrow.

Most of the members of the wedding party had retired to the large hall attached to the church where the many activities of the church members were held. They were roughly lined up waiting for the Bride and Groom to reappear so that the guests could be welcomed. “There’s Stephanie” somebody said.

Steffie, along with Hallie, Doreen, Shawna and Audra emerged from the wide hallway connecting the two buildings.

“Steffie, you’re just radiant,” Hallie told her.

“I feel wonderful Hallie. I never imagined having such a terrific wedding. When I saw all those bald women and girls it was just overwhelming. And you’re just simply the most wonderful Matron of Honor that I could ever have wished for. You look quite a bit like the Queen of Sheba you know. And you are wise like her too,” Steffie said.

Finally everyone was present and accounted for and the guests began to arrive. Some came immediately to walk down the reception line and speak to Steffie and the other. Some went immediately to the tables where hors d’oerves were prominently displayed.

At another table Althena and Nadeah were serving punch and wine. In the middle of the room on a table of its own, a multi-tiered wedding cake waited. On its top there was the traditional bride and groom.

Paula had arrived and walked by it. With a small start, she registered that fact that both figures were bald. Now where did Steffie come up with that she thought as she headed over to Althena and Nadeah to get a glass of punch.

“Did you notice that the the figures on top of the cake are both bald. Do you know where she found a bald female figure,” Paula asked.

“She mentioned that she wanted something like that and was having a hard time finding it. I think she finally found somebody who actually made a clay model of a bald bride and then painted it,” Althena told her.

“Leave it to Steffie to make sure that every little detail is right,” Paula said.

Helen and Deedee along with Joyce, Vicki and Arlene as well as Frances and Carly had been given last minute invitations to the wedding and reception. At Deedee’s insistence Helen had brought her. Deedee wanted to let the other girls know that she had joined the baldy set and wanted to have a chance to talk to them. So Helen had acquiesced.

Helen had reached the point in the reception line where Christine stood in her bare feet talking to people as they reached the end of the line.

“Christine, I’m really impressed with how beautiful all these bald women and girls look. It’s quite amazing. It takes a while to get your mind adjusted, but when you do they all seem to have a really special beauty and you’re right at the top of the list. I think I’m going to have to have my head shaved smooth like that. Anyway, do you see that young woman over there. I don’t remember seeing anyone like that at the club meeting. Do you know who she is?” Helen asked.

“Oh sure. That Jill Douglas. Her Mother is April Douglas. You remember her. She has white hair that she keeps cut very short, shaved almost. She was at the meeting,” Christine replied. “Jill went bald only a little while after Melissa and I did. She’s a college senoir. When she signed the guest book she told me that she loves being bald and is not going to let her hair grow. She looks really good. She looks like she’s a natural baldy doesn’t she,” Christine answered.

“Indeed she does. The number of bald women here really surprised me. I had no idea there were so many who feel quite comfortable with no hair. I’d better be moving along. I think some others are eager to get through the line and enjoy the food,” Helen said.

“Hum, you’ve gotten a little shorter since the last time I stood beside you,” Tommy observed with a laugh.

“I didn’t realize how awful those fancy shoes are. I couldn’t wait until I got here and could take them off. If I am ever in another wedding I’m definitely going to find low heeled shoes that are comfortable. I can’t imagine women actually wearing these things all day long,” Christine replied in exasperation.

“Well, you already know about society expecting you to look a certain way. So giving up high heels should be easy compared with giving up having hair,” Tommy said with a grin.

Christine laughed. “I think you’ve got that right. I guess being bald was about the most outrageous thing I could possibly do.”

In another part of the room Iris and Georgia were having an animated discussion. “Iris I’ve been hearing more and more about those bald swimmers. Tell me a little about what they are doing.”

“Well, it’s hard to explain Georgia. They keep improving quite rapidly, but they say very little about it except that they’re determined to do even better. I do know that they intend to qualify for an important national meet that occurs in late summer, and that Christine and Janet are already qualified in two events each. I think that Gail may have qualified for the breaststroke on Friday. And all of them have qualified for some other meets that they seem to be treating as just practice for the big meet. They seem to have some agreement among themselves to not talk about it. Janet tells me when she’s improved her time, but that’s about it.”

“By big meet do you mean the Nationals? Have they already met the qualifying times for Nationals?” Georgia asked sounding somewhat incredulous.

“I think that’s it Georgia. I still haven’t gotten the names straight. I think they’re all qualified for the East Sectionals and something called the Supersectional, but they seem to consider them just warm ups or something,” Iris replied.

“I think I’m beginning to understand. I was on my college swimming team. I worked hard to qualify for the Southern Sectionals. I would have given my eye teeth to have been able to qualify for the Nationals. I never got close. So that’s what they’re all about. They have their eyes on going to the Olympics,” Georgia said.

“The Olympics!” Iris said aghast. “You can’t be serious. I know people say they’re good, but isn’t that premature?” Iris replied.

“I don’t think so Iris. If they’re swimming Nationals qualifying times now and they keep improving through next summer, they’ll be serious contenders by the time of the Nationals. I need to start keeping a closer eye on what they’re doing. They could really put our town on the map if they keep it up. Excuse me Iris. I’ve got to get in line and congratulate that beautiful bald bride and have a little chat with Christine,” Georgia told her.

“Let me know what you find out, Georgia. I’d really like to be enlightened,” Iris told her.

“Hi Mrs. Barkas. I think you look very striking and elegant as a bald lady,” Christine said to her.

“Well thank you Christine. I feel quite good with it shaved. My husband has always found my penchant for unusual hairstyles somewhat amusing. He said that this one takes the cake, but he thinks that I look good and he would like to be seen with such an interesting woman. I’ve been talking with Iris about the swimming team. She tells
me that you and Janet and possibly Gail have all qualified for Nationals. Is that right?” Georgia asked.

“That’s right, except that Gail’s time in the two hundred breaststroke hasn’t been certified yet, but it will be in a week,” Christine told her.

“I was on my college swimming team, Christine. I once got to swim in the southern Sectional meet. We all dreamed about being able to swim in Nationals, but none of us ever got close to qualifying. What did you qualify in may I ask?” Georgia queried her.

“Well, I’m qualified for the hundred and two hundred back and the two hundred free,” Christine answered.

“Three events already. That’s remarkable. What about the others?” Georgia asked.

“Janet is qualified in the hundred and two hundred fly and the two hundred free. Gail swam a qualifying time in the two hundred breast. Jessie and Tess are only a couple of hundredths short of qualifying in their main events. The team has a qualifying time in the medley, but Jessie needs to qualify before we can enter,” Christine said.

“I think I understand now. You kids are quite remarkable. You and Janet and maybe one or two more are going to make it to the next Olympics, but you don’t want to talk about it yet,” Georgia said matter-of-factly. “You know that other people are going to figure it out pretty soon.”

“I know Mrs. Barkas, but we didn’t want anyone making a fuss about us until we had all qualified. Our coaches know, but they don’t mention it. Besides, we have to get a lot better than just being qualified for Nationals, and we’re not there yet. A lot of kids are already qualified and have better times than we do. Still, I suppose more people will notice us when the next rankings are posted,” Christine said.

“I’m sure they will, but I’ll keep quiet about what you’re doing until it becomes obvious. I’m certainly going to try to make some of your meets in the future. You’re way beyond High School level already. Are you going to continue to swim in those meets?” Georgia asked.

“We think that we will at least for this season. I don’t quite know what will happen after next summer,” Christine told her.

“Well, I won’t bug you any more Christine. I just might want to attend the next Olympics, and I’m sure I can get my husband to go with me. If I do go I’ll be bald. Heck, I think I’m going to stay bald regardless. Keep up the great work Christine. It’s kind of a thrill to meet a future Olympian. Where are the rest of them. I want to meet them face to face so I’ll remember,” Georgia said.

“They’re right over there,” Christine said pointing toward a corner of the room where a group of bald girls were talking and giggling. “The girl with the buzz cut is Ginny, Penny’s older sister. She had a clipper shave, but she let it grow out for college so she wouldn’t draw so much attention.”

A dozen more people greeted Christine and she responded somewhat distractedly. She was still pondering what Georgia had told her a little while after the last guest had been through the reception line, when Paula spoke to her. “Christine. I think it’s about time for us to get Melissa and the others that are going with us to the dinner. Are you ready?”

“Sorry, Mom. I was just thinking about something,” Christine answered.

“About what Georgia talked to you about, I suspect. Don’t worry. We had already figured it out for the most part. It has gotten pretty obvious now, but we won’t talk about it. We’ll just continue to be your biggest fans and supporters,” Paula told her.

Thanks Mom. We still have a lot of work to do, but we’re going to make it, I’m sure of that. I’ll get my shoes and we can go,” Christine replied quietly.

Summer had passed and Autumn had arrived. And with its arrival seven quite bald teen aged girl swimmers have also passed over the threshold that separates those who merely aspire to greatness from those who have the unquenchable thirst and the fiery determination to make it happen. The five equally bald amigas have also crossed a threshold. They have learned from the example of the swimmers that fierce determination and hard work are the major ingredients of success, but their time would not come for a few more years.

Here ends the Summer Saga of the Crown Point Swimmers, the amigas, their parents and numerous acquaintances. The Bald Girls’ Mothers Club will continue and grow. It’s story and that of the girls will be the subject of an epilogue in the future.

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