Monday only two days to get my hair sorted.
Aunt was already up and busy when I came down for breakfast.
"Now then dear I'll be telephoning the hairdressers in a moment, I need to know your sure about this, and exactly what you will want doing, as I don't want to mess Mrs Hood about if you start to change your mind. I will need to ask a favour of her to take you on as it is. She's semi retired now and only normally does her regulars." Aunt told me. This statement in its self made me wonder were exactly I would be going. But I had thought this though all night and now I was sure.
"Yes I'm sure about this, and I need my hair to be very tightly permed and cut in as short a bubble cut as possible leaving me with only just enough for a formal set, I also need to have a clean high neck line." I replied in a firm voice. If John wanted me to have a severe make over then that's exactly what I was going to give him with no holding back, I just hoped it was going to be exactly what he wanted, my hands were shaking as I said all this.
"Very well" said Aunt and went into the hall to use the phone.
When she returned a few minutes later she was smiling.
"That's arranged then, she's agreed to do your hair tomorrow at 12 o'clock we can shut the shop for the day and I will come with you. We can make an afternoon of it and get you an outfit for Wednesday s meeting."
It was arranged now, and as for what had I asked for was I really brave enough to have my hair cut that short, I hope so now it was arranged.
The rest of the day and most of the next morning were a blur, I had trouble concentrating on any thing and found my self clock watching and counting down the hours the closer it came the tighter my stomach felt and the less I found my self able to talk. I couldn't eat any breakfast and found my self staring at my Aunts shaven neck and hard set curls when she stood in front of me, was that what I really wanted as it was what I would be getting shortly.
"Right dear time to get your self ready, the taxi will be here shortly" instructed my Aunt. This was it then the time had come, I hung up my shop overall and went up stairs, I had already laid out my cloths for today, I took of my every day cloths and put on the big long line bra, the silky knickers with legs and a new open bottom white girdle that Id recently bought from a catalogue, it was tighter than the one Id borrowed from my Aunt and came up to just over my belly to meet were the bra finished, some dark tan stockings were soon attached to the suspenders I'd got used to attaching these now and could do all six up in no time at all. I stood in front of the mirror and looked my self over, then picking up a hair brush unpinned my hair and shook it out, it fell down past my cone shaped bust like a silky curtain, and I gave my long hair its last brush. To finish off, on went a navy pleated skirt that came just bellow my knees and a plain prim round collared blouse, I wouldn't wear my pearls today they would probably get in the way and so for the same reason took out the small pearl earrings I had been wearing. As I was now nearly ready I put on my flat soled lace up black shoes and navy jacket that matched my skirt, a silk scarf around my neck and I was ready. I spent a couple of minutes in front of the mirror running my fingers through my hair, my heart was starting to quicken with nerves when my Aunt called.
"Come down dear its almost time". I pulled my self together and went down stairs.
My Aunt had her camera ready. "Let's get a picture of you I'll take a couple before and then some after as a record for you" I stood in the small back garden and had front, side and back pictures taken, then heard the taxi arrive.
The drive into the town was uneventful; nerves had a hold of me so I couldn't have spoken in the taxi even if I wanted to. We were dropped off in the town centre and it was a short walk after that, there was a strong cold wind blowing and my hair was flying around, I saw my reflection in a shop window, and looked for a moment at the primly dressed lady with long hair flowing behind her in the wind. The salon was in the middle of a row of small shops it looked rather run down from the out side, there was just a glass door, a shop window with peeling paint work completely covered with net curtains with two faded pictures of old fashioned looking hair styles on either side and a small sign in the middle, Gala hair salon it announced. This was it then no turning back.
I followed Aunt in and the heavy smell hit me like a wall, "Hang you jacket over there on the rack and sit down, I will be with you presently."
Said the hair dresser in a commanding voice, I was immediately a little intimidated by her and did exactly as I was told.
"Come along now get with it" she briskly ordered. I heard and snapped out of my day dream; the hair dresser was stood straight in front of me holding out the gown that the old lady before me had just taken off waiting for me to put it on. I quickly get to my feet and slip my arms into this long nylon gown with pink printed flowers that had badly faded in places printed on it.
"Turn around" comes the next instruction. She gathers my long hair and lifts it up, the gown tightens around my neck and I can fell her knotting the strings at the back.
"Right over here then", she points to the left hand chair. I sit down my stockings have crinkled up slightly at the back of my knee I notice so I arrange the gown so that my knees are covered and I can place my hands on the arms of the chair.
I'm gripping the arm rest and my heart is pounding in my ears. Looking straight a head into the mirror I'm looking at my long hair for the last time.
The hairdresser turns to my Aunt. "Now then Eileen remind me what is it she's having done."
"What's needed is a old style bubble cut take off as much as possible, leaving just enough for a very tight perm, finished off with a prim formal set. She needs it back off her face and don't hold back on a nice clean shaven neck line." My Aunt answers.
This seems to please the hairdresser, but hearing it spelt out like that makes me go rigid.
"Let's get started then", she picks up a brush and I get a not very gentle brushing several times my hair is pulled as she hits a wind tangled section. I can't see much now as my hair is straight down covering my face. The brushing stops I can hear her getting things of the shelf in front of me. I feel the cold steel of scissors touch me half way up my forehead there's a schussing sound and my left eye is suddenly clear and there's an eighteen inch long section of hair lying in my lap in no time my face is fully on show.
I've now got a straight high fringe. A section is combed up from the top of my head and is soon cut off and lying on my shoulder its quickly followed by a lot more, now she's working round my left ear, my hair is being hacked off in chunks, my ears now completely exposed and I can not stop the tears coming from my eyes there running down my checks and landing on the gown. She's finished on the left and starting on the right the scissors are really going fast and it feels like she's just hacking at me, my shoulders are covered and there's a large pile in my lap, suddenly my head is shoved forward and she's chopping into the back with vigour.
"There that's you roughed out" she says.
I stair into the mirror and what's left of my hair is sticking out in tufts about two inches long were the once long tresses have been hacked off, it's a good job I'm not wearing makeup as tears roll down my face. The hairdressers picking up a small brush on the shelf, now she's brushing all the hair off me on to the floor were my once beautiful hair now lies. She gives me a tissue and in a more sympathetic voice says "Dry your eyes my girl that's the worse part over, your not the first young women to cry in that chair after being parted with their excessively long hair. Many years ago it was something they all went through, part the move from there girlish past to becoming respectable ladies, doesn't happen often enough now a days."
A grey towel is rapped around my neck. "Lets have you over here then" and I'm led to the back wash. Looking down on the floor my hair is in a circular pile around the chair my head fells light and strange when I shake it nothing moves like it did before.
I lie back in the wash chair I can feel the pull of my new girdle as I lean back. On with the water and she's shampooing me, for an old lady her hands are very strong and the shampooing is quite vigorous. I'm told to sit up again I feel this tight girdle as I move, the grey towel is rapped round my head and stepping over a pile of my cut off hair its back into the chair.
The towels taken off after a short rub and draped back over my shoulders, my hairs sticking straight out and I look a bit like a punk, bet they don't get many of those in here. Now the hairdresser has picked up a comb and the scissors again, she combs my hair out straight it looks really short now wet and flat against my head, I hope she's not going to cut much more off, I was regretting now my brave statement to my Aunt when I told her that I wanted it as short as possible and now I'm worried that I've gone to far and it will be to extreme for John. But there's nothing I can do to sop it now as the hairdresser has started to cut off even more. She's combing up sections and cutting all my hair to one short length just over an inch and a half long the hair dresser works fast and soon it's all even. I think she's finished but I'm wrong she pushes my head forward so that my chin touches my chest then comes round to the front and picks up the electric clippers from there hook, there's no plastic guard on them just the shiny chrome blades the cable is draped over my shoulder then there's a pop sound followed by a low buzzing not far from my ear, with this my heart rate really picks up and my previous worries multiply. I feel the cold metal blades pressed hard at the base of my neck, now feel them rising up and the note changes at it meets my hair, they continue to rise I'm panicking now how high is she going, then the pressure goes off but is soon reapplied again and again. The clippers are turned off, the hairdresser comes round to the shelf and hangs them back on the hook I can feel a draught on my neck, while she's there I quickly feel my neck, my hair now finishes in a straight line a inch bellow were the nape of my neck begins but my hairs been undercut and I can feel very tiny bristles right up to the bone that comes out to form the top of my neck oh my god what has she done. She comes back from the shelf with a cut throat razor in her hand my chin is pushed back down the razor opened and dragged over my freshly exposed neck.
"There young lady nothing looks better than a nice clean neck line, now were ready to sort you out some curls, I'm going to use a strong lotion on you as I want to make sure this thick hair of yours takes" and with that she went off into a store cupboard at the rear of the salon. This gave me chance to feel my now shaven neck it was strange reaching up and finding just cold skin that felt a little sore after a dry razors strokes, I ran my fingers through my short one length hair and struggled to stop my self from crying again at the thought of all that I'd just lost.
"This lotion is getting hard to get hold of now
that there all going for those soft natural perms, the suppliers tell me there's not a great deal of demand for traditional extra firm perming products now a days but luckily I've still enough stock to last for a while yet so you're in luck today" the hairdresser informed me as she wheeled over a trolley with perm rods on top.
She started winding at the front with a small pink rod that are recessed in the centre to make it an even tighter curl her touch was quite rough and the rods are very tight, her fingers move quickly after years of doing these perms, securing the rubber strap hanging from the rods end I soon have a complete row running from the middle of my forehead back to my now shaven neck, I could feel every one of them pull. My left hand side quickly receives the same treatment with horizontal rows wound closely together around my temple and ear she places even smaller rods, the rest of my hair now gets the same treatment and my scalps being tugged all over now. Looking in the mirror I look strange with all these small perm rods clinging to my head.
A line of cotton wool is stuck around my hair line I can feel it high on my sensitive neck. She's got the perm lotion now and the smell of rotten eggs is over powering, the rods are soaking now at first it felt really cold but now its getting warm, the hairdressers putting a pink plastic cap over me now and secures it around the cotton wool. "Right young lady that's you ready to cook, lets get some heat on then". She walks over to one of the hood dryers and lifts the glass visor "over here then and sit you're self down", I'm instructed. I get up and go over to the dryer and sit in the well worn chair placing my head inside this contraption, the visor is lowered then she adjusts the height of the hood lowering it slightly. The fan starts, its quite noisy and I can't hear any of the conversation going on between Aunt and the hairdresser the airs not to hot but after a while the perm lotion is beginning to feel very uncomfortable and as the rollers dry out slightly they seem to tighten even more till it feels like my hairs being pulled, the smell of the lotion is all around it seems to be getting worse and now I've got a burning sensation all over my head. When will this ordeal end?
The hairdressers sweeping up and now my beautiful long hair is in one big pile, she gets down and scoops it up in her hands and dumps it in the bin, it takes three big handfuls to get it all.
Now she comes over to me and turns off the dryer the visor lifts and it's off to the sink. I'm not sorry to feel the cap being removed and the cotton wool peeled away, the luke warm water is a welcome relief from the burning of the lotion and she's spraying it over the rods. Another solutions being applied and this feels ice cold, I lay back here for a wile the cold on my scalp now feels quite a relief. "Lets see what we've got then", she announces and the rods are being pulled from my hair, she's soon got them all out in to the sink and now there's a lot of rinsing going on, "Sit your self up then" and I get my self up as quickly as my girdle will allow, a fresh towel is wrapped round my hair and the old one removed from my shoulders.
"Let's have you back over here then young lady." And it's back to the cutting chair for a third time.
I haven't seen my curls yet as I'm looking at my head covered in a towel, the towels removed and I gasp at what I see, this is a real shock, my face looks completely different it's exposed and I've no fringe just really tight curls at the top of my forehead, they're small and tight just like a poodles they skim the top of my ears and pull back exposing my temples. The curls are not completely level especially around the edges but that's about to be sorted as the hairdresser reaches for her scissors again.
My hair is being cut for the third time luckily she's not taking a lot off this time, just trimming the ends level now she's putting down the scissors that's strange I think because the edge around my ears still look a little uneven, oh no now the hairdressers picked up those clippers again and a comb. My heads being pushed over to the side and there's the pop sound followed by the low buzz, the pitch and volume change as she clips around my ear, I watch in the mirror as the curls are tapered up then she's finished one side and the other gets the same treatment. I look down and she some full tight curls lying in my lap. As she hangs the clippers back on there hook I have a full look in the mirror, oh my god my ears are completely exposed and there's white skin showing around them were the hairs been clipped away.
"Let's get you set then" she announces "I do like to see a young lady properly turned out, a good firm set will really finish you off well"
My hairs dripping now, she soaks me in setting lotion from a plastic bottle.
She's picked up a roller it's a lot smaller than the one's Aunt put in my hair when it was long, it's got small plastic spikes sticking out. A section on hair in the centre of forehead is combed up and the rollers tightly wound in, a metal pin is then stuck in to hold it in place. The rest of the row is soon in place going back to my tender neck.
Instead of the rollers at the side going in horizontally as my Aunt always did for me these were going in vertically so I had rows going over my head from side to side around the edges she used tiny rollers and my head was quickly covered. The hairdresser wasn't finished yet as even more setting lotion went onto the rollers.
I looked different in these rollers to the rollers I'd come to quite like at Aunts these look much more severe. A nets going over my head now and she's tying it at the back of my neck, this net is a lot tighter than the one I wore regularly to bed, pads are inserted over my ears, then it's back under that dryer.
The dryer's a more pleasant affair second time around I haven't got the perm solution burning my head this time, although the rollers are very tight I'm quite excited at being given a real old ladies style now I'm more used to all my hair having been cut off. I'm finding this time under the dryer quite relaxing. The hairdresser and my Aunt are sat talking I cannot hear what there talking about under here, looking round the salon again I'm amazed that I'm sat here and that I've agreed to the treatment that my once beautiful long hair has been subjected to, what will people think of me a young twenty three year old facing the world with a old ladies hair do?
Before I can think any more about this, she's coming over and turns off the dryer, up comes the visor and I'm led back to the chair.
The net is removed "we need these to cool down a little, before we finish you of." She informs me. Sitting looking at my hair in curlers it looks a lot darker now than when it was long may be its just because its rolled. I've sat for a few minutes now and she's taking the rollers out, there unwound from my hair then the curls spring back as if the rollers still in, it doesn't take long before I'm looking at my head covered in small tight dark barrels, oh this doesn't look at all good she seems to read my mind and in her commanding voice tells me "don't worry you still need to be combed out."
She picks up a long tail comb and expertly works the curls using just the tail, she teases the curls so they flow into one another I can still make out were each rollers been but the effect is very neat. When she finishes I look totally different to when I came in then I was young and attractive, now with my hair curled completely off my face and my ears very exposed I look severe and a little plain, I've aged by at least ten years this gives me a shock as I hadn't thought off this aspect when deciding on a very short bubble.
The plastic bottles picked up the same one that the old lady who was in this chair before me was sprayed from I've now got the same sort of style as her so its appropriate to be using the same lacquer, "close your eyes" comes the instruction, I do as I'm told then the lacquering starts, she really coats my hair and I can feel over spray landing on my fore head and neck. I open my eyes and my hair looks damp with lacquer and the air is full of its smell. "We'll let that go off them give you a finish coat" she says.
The bottles but down and she picks up a hand mirror and shows me the back, if the front view shocked me then I really wasn't ready for the rear view. It looked a little like a shaven bowl cut with my ears totally exposed and a step of very tight small curls forming a step running round my ears and blending at the back to be come a straight under curl running around the back of my head. My pale white neck looked very long with not a trace of hair left on it, the effect was a like my Aunts but a little more severe.
I'm a little shocked at just how the hairdresser has gone to town on me but before I can say any thing I'm getting a second coat of lacquer.
"There we are then all done" she says and gestures for me to get up. I rise up and she unties the gown and I slip it off no need to move my hair to get to the cords this time as I've none left at the back. "You look lovely dear a real lady now" my Aunt tells me. There's a full length mirror on the back wall and I look a my self in it starting with my lace up flat shoes, the dark tan stockings, the prim skirt and sensible blouse all topped of with a head a very tight short curls set and lacquered like a hard helmet, I just hope I've done the right thing and this is what John really wanted me to have done, because I was stuck with this now for a long time to come.
I paid the hairdresser and was told I would need a regular appointment for a shampoo set and neck shave just like my Aunt did.
I put my silk scarf on first, the silk felt really sensuous against my shaven neck and I found my self quite liking the feeling.
Jacket on, then we left the salon, this was a real shock and I'm not prepared for the cold blast round my tingling neck and ears my whole head feels light and cold, I've nothing to worry about from the wind as the thick layers of lacquer have set hard and not a single hair can move out of place. I touch my curls for the first time there still a little sticky from the lacquer but feel very hard and springy like a shell over my head. What on earth have I done to myself.
"Come along then dear" said Aunt and we walk off down the street.
To be continued.
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