This story is a variation on a magazine article I read some time ago.
It is dedicated to Persis Khambatta who died in late 1998, destitute and a
a recluse, but not forgotten. She, virtually alone, made the world aware that ‘Bald is beautiful on a Woman’.
Betty’s Victory – by Theobald
The day could not turn any worse, she had just had a soul destroying session with Don and his shyster lawyer and it looked like they were not going to give an inch on what they had managed to wheedle out of her in the divorce settlement. At least she had managed to keep some of the furniture, her business and the crock of a car that had just erupted in a cloud of steam around her. Fortunately she had been cresting a hill when it happened and she knew she could coast to the service station half way down, thus preventing any further possible damage. She steered the dead car onto the forecourt, got out and slammed the door, partly out of frustration and annoyance and partly because the door sometimes did not close properly. Hot, fed up and ready to spit snakes she stormed into the office. A pleasant faced man around her own age got up to meet her. “Hello, I’m Harry and you seem to have a slight problem, judging by the water pouring out from under your car?” “Yes, this is all I need today.” Replied Betty, suppressing the urge to make a sarcastic remark in response to what was evidently an innocent attempt at a friendly greeting. “Could you please have a look at it for me, and if it is going to cost a fortune I may as well dump the heap and take to the busses.” Harry went out, opened the bonnet and looked into the motor, he called someone and the two men pushed the car into the workshop.
Betty was waiting at the door when Harry came back into the office. “Is it that serious that you had to push the car away, I did switch off as soon as I saw the steam coming out of the engine because I was afraid that running it any longer would cause more damage.” “No, it looks like it’s only a burst radiator hose, and your quick thinking probably prevented any damage being done. We also did not want to exacerbate the damage and we need the car a bit cooler to work on it. Unfortunately It will take at least half an hour as I will have to send out for spares.” Said Harry. “I was about to go out for a quick bite of lunch, why don’t you join me, it’s only on the next block?”
Betty hesitated but agreed and they walked out into the midday sun. It was only a small burger joint, so they ordered their lunch, which Betty insisted on paying for, Harry taking their tray to a vacant corner table. In the cool air-conditioned restaurant and in Harry’s pleasant company Betty started to relax. She found herself telling Harry about the morning’s meeting with her ex and his lawyer, how they had all but cleaned her out, how the divorce had eaten up her personal savings and sadly depleted her little shop’s bank account. She told him about how wonderful her assistant Dianne was, how, during the worst times, she would take her salary in dribs and drabs as the money came in. How she stood by her during the troubled times, showing a maturity far beyond her 23 years. Harry did manage to get in that he had been widowed some years earlier, ending a marriage that was heading for the divorce courts anyway. Looking at his watch Harry realised that they had been sitting there for almost an hour. He got up and guided Betty out of her seat.
When they got back to the service station the mechanic was just delivering Betty’s car to the office door. He handed Harry the worksheet and Betty and Harry went into the office. Harry looked at the worksheet, made some calculations and said “My driver was actually at the spares depot when Bill rang for the pipe and he has only booked 10 minutes labour. What I will do is charge you my full retail price for the pipe, two clamps and three bottles of anti-freeze. It seems he adjusted your door as well.” Betty paid and thanked him. Getting into the car, she noticed that the door did close better. Harry came to her window, “I think you should possibly just drop by on you way home this evening for us to check for leaks and have a quick look to see if there was any damage done, it will not take long.”
At just before five Betty again pulled into the service station. Harry came out and called Bill, who took the car away. Ten minutes later he brought it back and gave Harry a thumbs-up. Betty took out her cheque book but Harry pointed to a sign behind him. It read ‘Cheques only accepted by special arrangement with management’. “I gave you almost all the cash I had earlier, can’t you please accept a cheque from me, I promise I am good for it.” pleaded Betty, not believing that Harry could be doing this to her. “Sorry, but I do not know you well enough to do that, but I am sure we can change that at dinner on Friday night.” Smiled Harry. “What? —O what the hell, I need to get out, thanks, I would appreciate that. Eight all right? Let me give you my address. I take it you were joking about the cheque?” asked Betty. “Yes.” laughed Harry “There is no charge.”
Harry picked Betty up a few minutes before eight. They had dinner at a pleasant restaurant and discovered that they had much in common, finding each other extremely easy to talk to. One thing Harry did notice was that Betty’s hair was different to what he remembered, it seemed fuller, possibly longer and with more highlights. When he remarked on it she glossed over the complement. Three hours later Harry escorted Betty to her apartment door and reached up to put his hand on the back of her head to kiss her. She caught his hand and manoeuvred it to her shoulder, turning her cheek to accept his kiss but agreeing to see him again.
The relationship progressed slowly and it was some weeks before kisses started to take on an emotional context, and even longer before Betty first showed some form of physical response. It happened after an especially pleasant evening of an early show and dinner at an intimate restaurant. Betty had brought in the coffee and was sitting on the sofa next to Harry. Soon they were in an embrace, Betty responding as she never had before. Harry’s hand slid down to her breast and gently caressed it through the material of her dress, expecting the hand to be removed at any moment. This did not happen, in fact to Harry it felt that she was pressing into his caresses. In the motion of their bodies his hand slid onto Betty’s thigh, which he pressed softly, again no resistance, but after a few minutes Betty disengaged herself, got up and went into her bedroom, dimming the lounge lights on the way.
When she returned about five minutes later she stood in front of Harry, her face in the shadow and her hair looking shorter and closer to her head than a few minutes earlier. “Harry, I have grown very fond of you in the weeks we have been together, there is however something I need to tell you now, and I do so hoping that it will not change our relationship”. Betty moved closer and sat on a chair opposite the settee, her face still in the shadows. She continued, in a subdued, almost broken voice. “I have to wear wigs, I do not know if you noticed, but if you did I thank you for not broaching the subject. I am not bald, but I also cannot go without one. At this stage I am not prepared to go into details and again rely on your understanding not to question me or try to remove my wig”. Harry reached for her hand, and nodded silently in reply. “I have changed into a sport wig, I do not enjoy wearing it as it is tight and uncomfortable, but it is not easily dislodged …………”
Betty rose from the chair, not releasing Harry’s hand. He rose and followed her into the bedroom. Their first lovemaking was tentative. Harry was unsure where he could touch and Betty was apprehensive about moving around too much, but the climax was warm and rewarding. After enjoying the closeness, the touch of their bodies and the tender caresses, Betty lifted herself onto her elbow, gave Harry a long and passionate kiss and said, “Now my love you must leave, much as I would like you to stay, this wig is killing me”. She kissed him again, slipped on her gown and went into the bathroom. Harry dressed, and as he was tying his shoelaces Betty returned to the bedroom, wearing the wig she had on earlier in the evening. The goodnight kisses were long and close, until Betty playfully pushed him out of the door.
Betty was telling Dianne the gist of the previous night’s events when a florist delivered a bunch of perfect pink roses with a card attached that read ‘I think that sometime they may become red. Thanks! Harry”. Dianne’s face lit up in a knowing smile as Betty beamed with pleasure.
Their love making grew more adventurous, but always within the bounds that Harry had agreed to. Sometimes they would go out with Dianne and her boyfriend David, the four finding a kinship unusual for people with such a large age difference. At home Betty would often change into her normal wig after love making and would climb back into the bed with Harry, but always asking him to leave before it seemed as though she could fall asleep.
The roses arrived regularly, in any colour but red, something that puzzled the two friends at the shop. The answer was soon to come, but the manner in which it came was a shock for Betty.
It was more than six months after their first meeting. Harry phoned to ensure that the Wednesday night meeting was on, quite unnecessary because that was an accepted event, the midweek meeting almost having become an institution. Suspicions slightly aroused, Betty answered the knock on her door that night to find Harry there with a dozen red roses in his hand. Stepping inside, he handed her the flowers and launched into what was evidently a well prepared speech, fumbling for words as practical men so often do when confronted with emotional situations. “I have grown to love you deeply these past months and have never felt for anyone what I feel for you now, ……”. Betty felt the hysteria rise in her chest, not really hearing what he was saying anymore. It came out as a muted, stifled scream as the bouquet dropped from her hands, “No, – no no no, stop…stop it, don’t do this to me, you don’t know what you are doing to me, you know nothing about me, how can you do this to me, I can’t ….this is not right …..”. Betty was unable to contain herself, Harry tried to put his arms around her but she stepped back avoiding any contact. “Leave me”. She cried “Please go …I need to be alone, I can’t handle this, please go now”.
Harry stood dumbfounded, deflated and defeated, looking at the woman he had grown so attached to standing in front of him sobbing hysterically. He tried to approach her but she retreated further from him, holding up her hands to ward him off, shaking her head and mouthing to him to leave. Not able to comprehend the situation or knowing what to do, he walked backwards towards the door. Reaching for the door handle he again looked at Betty, now having sunk onto her settee, her head shaking in disbelief and her body wracked by uncontrolled sobbing. Harry made to go to her but thought better of it and quietly closed the door behind himself, bewildered and dejected.
Betty crawled into the corner of the settee, remaining there for almost an hour until there were no more tears left in her. It was the first time in almost six months that she had to take a tablet to be able to sleep that night.
The next morning Betty arrived at the shop after Dianne, who immediately detected that something was wrong. She tried to coax the problem out of Betty after the usual greetings had been exchanged, only to be told “I don’t want to talk about it yet”. Dianne used all her wiles to try to cheer the dejected woman up enough for her to be willing to discuss her problem, and it was only by by lunch time that bits of the previous evening’s events started to come out. Dianne, knowing the difficult times Betty had been through with her ex-husband, was able to relate to her dilemma. Betty eventually relaxed a little, having obtained some relief by relating the story to a sympathetic listener. Dianne asked Betty to give her and hour. A short while later Betty smelled the faint odour of incense coming from their little back room and realised that Dianne had gone to meditate. Some years previously Dianne had asked to be excused at such a time, and Betty, looking for the origin of the strange smell in the shop, had found her assistant in the Lotus Position in the corner of the storeroom, unaware that anyone had come into the room. Any advice that Dianne subsequently gave after these sessions invariably solved the problem in question.
In just under an hour Dianne returned, the look of serenity was evident in her face and she gave Betty a reassuring smile and nod, unable to do more as a customer was in the shop. Once it was quiet again Dianne passed her advice on to the older woman. Betty listened, the relief spreading through her as the words calmed her. She nodded in agreement from time to time, finally phoning Harry to ask him to come around after supper that evening.
On arriving, Betty seated Harry at the dining room table and offered him tea – which he politely declined, unable to completely hide his apprehension and discomfort. Betty seated herself across the table from him.
“Harry, I want to apologise for last night, can we try to forget what was said, that it ever happened, what we both said and start with a clean slate?” Harry agreed that he would prefer to forget the events of that evening and start afresh. Betty continued, “I will try to make this as brief as possible but I need to tell you the whole story to make you understand my position and why I reacted as I did. Please do not interrupt me, do not say anything until I am completely finished, please?” To this Harry agreed as well.
“I am 43 years old, I was widowed at 30 and married again at 33, a marriage that turned into a living hell a few years later. This you already know, but I have never given you any details. Don turned out to be a different person to the one that had charmed me and spoilt me so terribly in the early part of our relationship, thinking back over those times later I realised that I had done most of the paying anyway. Three years into the marriage I started to develop a hormonal problem. The condition is hereditary and comes through my father’s side of the family. My one aunt has it and my youngest sister is starting to develop the symptoms. We suffer from an excessive production of male hormones, which amongst other things results in masculine indications and symptoms. It struck me with typical male baldness, a receding hairline and thinning of hair on the top. My sister is the same but she is responding to the treatment without ill effects. My aunt only started showing the signs much later in life and settled for wearing an ill fitting toupee. I developed a reaction to the treatment and had to stop it, hence the wigs”.
Betty paused her narrative, looking at Harry to try to gauge his reaction but he sat there not showing any emotion. She continued, “I also never told you the whole truth about my shop, my main line is wigs, not hairdressing accessories, as Dianne and I led you to believe. I can tell you it was a mad rush to change our displays whenever you were expected in the shop”. A half smile found its way onto Betty’s face, but disappeared again immediately.
“Don took great delight in my affliction, teasing I might have been able to handle, but he made it malicious and hurtful. Initially I was able to cover my receding hairline by hiding it under a fringe which I cultivated for the purpose, but I was not able to do that for ever, and eventually had to revert
to wigs. Don’s treatment of me got worse, he would make fun of me in front of his friends, often removing my wig to the amusement of those present. I stopped going out with him after several such treatments, probably much to his relief because I heard from friends that he was often seen out with young girls, bimbos with masses of hair. It was at about this time that I decided to open a wig shop. I noticed a void in the market and grasped the opportunity, after all I had some experience and had done a lot of research in the field. I still had a bit of my insurance pay-out left from what had been squandered for me and I needed to get some form of income”.
Betty brought in some soft drinks and resumed her tale. “Don and I held out a while longer, the eventual divorce being dragged out endlessly as it seemed Don wanted to milk the situation as long as possible. It cost me almost all I had, much of my furniture and just about everything that had been acquired after the wedding date, including the BMW. Don had talked me into marrying in community of property”.
“I have seen Don a few times since the divorce, twice while I was out with you. He always somehow managed to make some reference to my hair, scratching his forehead, pulling the top of his hair or whispering to his companion and then both laughing while he pulled her hair, I was so upset on those two occasions I was with you I insisted on going home, do you remember?” “Anyway, I do not need to remind you how sensitive I am about my hair, you have never seen just how terrible I look, and I thank you for your consideration, the other side effects of my hormonal imbalance I would never let you find out about!”
Betty sat back, letting her narrative sink into Harry, although making it obvious that she was not ready to let him respond yet. After a while Betty continued. “What I have just told you only those very close to me have been privy to. I have tried to convey to you my fears and phobias, most of which I would not have had if I had not been so abominably treated by someone I once loved and trusted. I am now going to turn the tables on you, you do not need to answer now, and if you get up and walk out, I will try to understand that too”.
Betty moved to the chair next to Harry, took his hands in hers and said, looking directly into his eyes, “Harry dearest, will you marry me?”
Taken aback by the suddenness of the proposal, Harry was unable to answer immediately, he nodded his head slowly and eventually said to Betty “If you can learn to trust me I am sure that with love and patience we can overcome any problems that there may be, yes, I want to marry you, I want you to be my wife. There is something I must fetch, give me half an hour to get back”.
True to his word, Harry was back in exactly half an hour, and as he slipped the ring onto Betty’s finger he saw that she was wearing the sports wig. The bottle of champagne was warm when they opened it much later.
Betty had phoned Dianne while Harry was out, but still had to retell the whole story the next day and naturally had to proffer her hand for a minute inspection of the ring. The two friends hugged each other warmly, congratulations, relief and joy all wrapped into one.
During the next two months Dianne and Betty developed a wig that had adhesive stripe which attached behind the ears, at the neck and onto the forehead. It could withstand almost any ‘manhandling’. Harry moved in with Betty one month later.
Four month after the engagement Betty and Harry were married. Dianne was naturally bridesmaid and Bill from the garage was best man. The honeymoon was only for a week, and afterwards all Dianne could get out of Betty about it was a sly smile. Life returned to normal, until Betty started to develop a rash from the adhesive on her wig. Different types of glue only brought temporary relief and the old sports wig was brought back into use, Harry agreeing to sleep in the spare bedroom. They were almost back to where they were at the time of their engagement.
Several nights later Harry brought home a video movie. They flopped onto the settee, she snuggling up to him as he started ‘Star Trek – The Movie’. Betty settled into the movie with mild interest until Illia appeared on the bridge of the Enterprise. She caught her breath with a start and turned to her husband with a look of abject terror and hurt in her eyes, unable to say anything. Harry, pausing the tape, was quick to respond, “I said at the time of our engagement that with trust and patience we could work anything out, we even had the word ‘trust’ incorporated into our marriage vows. This is not intended to hurt you in any way, please bear with me. We can talk about it after the end of the film if you like”.
They watched the rest of the film, Betty slowly accepting subsequent scenes showing the bald Illia. After the film Betty again asked Harry to assure her that making her watch the film had not been to hurt her in any way. She told Harry that she had always seen herself as ugly since her problem started and that women who came into the shop suffering from the after effects of chemotherapy or from alopecia were to be pitied. A few women had been into the shop for wigs when their husbands had cut their hair as punishment or out of pure abuse, making baldness even more repugnant. She had to date not been able to understand the few women who seemed comfortable with their hairless state, for whatever reason, and Dianne usually served them anyway. Somewhat relieved, she said good night to Harry and went to her bedroom, leaving Harry to go to bed alone.
Then next day Betty and Dianne discussed the events at length. Dianne could not accept that any humiliation had been intended, having the video herself at home and having seen it at least six times with David. She persuaded Betty to review the film with an open mind, managing to eventually get Betty to agree that Persis (you know, the bald actress in the film) really did not look all that bad. Perhaps Harry was trying to make her see herself in a different light.
Two days later Dianne loaned Betty her tape, suggesting they watch it again, discussing it more openly. Betty steeled herself to watch it again on Friday night, this time relying on her husband for support and comfort when close-up scenes of Illia loomed too vividly. After the end of the film Betty sat silent for a while. She eventually turned to Harry and said, “You know, I think that Illia looks better than I do without my wig”. Harry replied softly, “You could look even better than Illia, your jaw is more rounded than Illia’s and your features are softer”. He left it at that, knowing that anything more said would ruin the moment, and as proof Betty came back to him a few minutes later wearing her sports wig.
Naturally Betty and Dianne discussed the conversation the next morning. Dianne wanted Betty to describe Harry’s reactions and speech infliction’s exactly. She also probed Betty for her feelings at the moment of that short but pointed interchange. “Do you think that Harry could possibly be suggesting that you come to grips with yourself and by removing what hair you have left, which you admit does not look too good anyway, you could meet each other on neutral ground? Think of it like that”. Think about it she did, asking Dianne some hours later what she suggested she do next. Dianne dropped a bombshell, “Strike while the iron is hot, and that is now. If you decide that this is the solution to your problem, and it will mean that Harry will be able to fulfil his full role as your husband, I suggest that you let me clip the hair you have down to about 1/4 of an inch and then you take it from there with him”. “I don’t know”. Stammered Betty “Let me think about it first”. “You do not have much time, it is after 12 already and we close at 1”. replied Dianne.
“What if Harry was only joking and tells me I am crazy for even suggesting such a thing – what if bald women completely turn him off – what if he leaves me?” asked Betty of her friend. “Look at it this way, he has never seen you without a wig, and you can gauge his feeling before you uncover yourself, but I am sure your fears are unfounded. At the very worst you will have a manageable hairstyle that he will never know about and nothing else will be different, on the other hand, your whole life could take on a dramatic change”. answered the young girl.
“Of course you are right as ever, this hair is unmanageable and I do have nothing to lose, except perhaps a bit of false pride. Let’s take it down to about 1/4 inch and then find me the sexiest short wig we have in the shop”.
Betty arrived home a little late, to be welcomed by a startled Harry who gave several approving nods to the new wig. After lunch they settled down to what was usually a quiet Saturday afternoon, half heatedly watching some sport on the TV. Betty casually said to Harry “Do you really think that a bald woman can be beautiful?” “Yes, a beautiful woman can be just as beautiful with hair as without hair, some women can even be more beautiful bald, if they are confident in themselves and with their look, and refuse to be intimidated”. he replied. Pursuing the point Betty continued, “Can a bald woman be considered sexy or erotic?” Harry was a bit startled by this line of talk, “I don’t want to incriminate myself here, but truthfully, a beautifully confident bald woman is probably one of the most erotic sights conceivable, she can ooze so much sex appeal that …….., need I continue?” “Do you truly and honestly think that I could look more beautiful than Illia, or Persis?” asked Betty, as much with her eyes as with her words. “I can only repeat what I said last night, “Yes, a thousand times yes!”
“Then make me that beautiful”. whispered Betty, slowly drawing the wig from her head. Harry looked up and gingerly touched the short hair on his wife’s head. “No, it was not like that before today, my hair was about three inches long before I had Dianne clip it in case you were serious about me being bald. With it like this you can get an impression of how I really looked, but now you are committed to removing what she has left”. she smiled. Harry led Betty to the bathroom, not believing what was transpiring. He had her sit on the make up chair while he filled the basin with hot water. Harry spread shaving gel onto the clipped hair, massaging it into a rich lather, he then soaked a towel in the hot water and, after it had cooled a bit, wrapped it around Betty’s head. Sitting on the edge of the bath, all he could do was shake his head, smiling back weakly as Betty gave him an encouraging look from under the wet towel turban.
After a while the towel came off and another coat of lather was applied to the softened hair and scalp. Harry fitted a new blade to his razor and showed it to Betty who nodded for him to proceed. Warning her that the hair was a bit too long for shaving and that it could be a little uncomfortable. Harry placed the razor on Betty’s forehead and started shaving with short, tender strokes, rinsing the razor off often. When all the lather had been removed he felt the newly shaved scalp, but it was rough, in spite of having changed the blade twice during the process. Harry explained to Betty that he would have to shave her at least once more to achieve a perfect result. Betty understood this and told him to proceed. To make the procedure easier he again applied the warm towel over a sheet of lather, and lathered up again before taking up the newly rebladed razor. The final shave was much faster than the first, the results now being to Harry’s satisfaction. Betty felt her scalp after Harry had wiped it down and applied a moisturiser, she seemed impressed with the strange smooth feel of it. Slowly standing up, she turned to face the mirror, apprehensive of the image that was about to face her. She looked at the new her for a long while and slowly moved back to get a general impression of her appearance. She turned her head from side to side, rubbing her scalp, first with one hand, then the other and then both hands together, glad that she had dark red nail polish on because her finger tips contrasted so vividly with her white scalp. Eventually she remembered that her husband was also in the room. She turned to him to see his response to this ‘new’ wife. The look on his face was one of indescribable joy and admiration, “You are stunningly beautiful, your transformation surpasses even my wildest imagination”. Betty came into his arms and kissed him, for the first time in their relationship he was able to properly touch and caress her head. Betty leaned on his chest and quietly started to sob, pure tears of relief, “If only I had been able to do this a long time ago, if only I had had somebody who could have shown enough consideration to lead me through to this release”.
They went through to the bedroom and enjoyed each other with complete abandon, Harry making Betty blatantly aware of her smooth scalp and the affect it was having on him. The remainder of the weekend was much the same and it was a rather weary couple that returned to their respective jobs on Monday morning. Dianne was greeted by Betty wearing the same wig she had taken home on Saturday afternoon. “I take it nothing much happened, otherwise you would have phoned me?” “No, everything happened”. replied Betty, taken off her wig to show Dianne her shaven head. Dianne let out a scream and ran to embrace her friend, stroking her now slightly stubbly scalp. “You look absolutely fabulous, stunning, stupendous, I can’t believe how gorgeous you look ……Wow!” They spent most of the day discussing the less intimate events of the weekend.
The next day Dianne told Betty that she had told David about her transformed boss and David had asked if he could come in to see for himself. As Betty and David had been friends for several years, she reluctantly agreed. As arranged, David came in just after 9 on his way to see a client or something. Betty and Dianne took him into the office and Betty took off her wig. The young man let out a low whistle, shook his head and said “Stunning, you really look magnificent, may I feel it?” Betty looked at Dianne who enthusiastically nodded her head. Betty leaned forward, glad that Harry had shaved her that morning. David passed his hand over the smooth skin several times muttering “Fantastic, really fantastic”, before collecting himself and pulling his hand away self continuously. After David left Dianne grew quite, Betty asked her what the trouble was, receiving the reply that Dianne thought that she was in for a major problem.
On Tuesday morning Dianne came in a little late and took Betty straight into the office. “Remember I said yesterday that I was in for a major problem, I was right, look…..”. Dianne reached up and removed a wig. She was completely shaved, as smooth as Betty had been the day before. “David has been on at me for a while to allow me to let him shave me, but I have always managed to wangle my way out of it, with you having done it I now had virtually no leg to stand on, he having a counter argument for every argument I raised, and as he repeated so many times, you really do look stunning. At around midnight I gave in and now I look as good as you do”. beamed the beautiful hairless girl.
The wig was replaced and the normal duties of the day were resumed, although the talk was anything but normal. Late that afternoon David phoned to tell Dianne that they were having a party on Saturday night and that Harry and Betty were to be there. Later that week Dianne phoned Harry and asked him to ensure that Betty was shaved just prior to the party, she would explain later but that there was nothing untoward to worry about.
Harry did manage to persuade Betty to submit to a shaving just before the party and they went as arranged, the guests being mostly people that they already knew, plus a few they were introduced to and liked. At about ten David called for attention from the top of the patio. “Tonight is not just an ordinary party, it is in a form, a coming out party”. Betty started feeling uncomfortable and looked around for Dianne, but did not see her. David continued, “Earlier this week Dianne took a major step, both for herself and for our relationship. We have decided to share this monumentous event with you all, please accept and welcome my new Dianne..” Dianne stepped out of the house from behind David. She stood there smiling radiantly, without her wig. There was a stunned silence, and then slowly applause broke out, until everyone was clapping and cheering her. She came down the steps and moved among the guests, receiving congratulations and kisses from everybody. Betty listened to the remarks she heard, words she had heard uttered about herself by the three people who had seen her bared.
The hosts eventually came around to Harry and Betty. Betty could not believe what Dianne had done, and Harry, being close to the bald Dianne for the first time, hugged and complemented her on her courage and looks. David and Dianne asked Harry and Betty to come into the house, they had something to put to them. Once alone David explained why they had presented Dianne to the party, saying that it was an important step in accepting herself and gaining the confidence needed to carry off her new image, even though she had no intention of flaunting it in public. Harry could understand this but Betty was not too sure she agreed. David reminded Betty of the dramatic step she had taken, far more emotional than that taken by his girlfriend. Strictly speaking, Betty needed to take that one more step to complete her mission, and that was to do what Dianne had done, doing it at a small party of friends and acquaintances just to give her that extra little confidence to make her feel more comfortable with herself. Betty lamely tried to argue that she did not require any more self esteem or confidence, but realised that they were right. Harry agreed and Betty slowly removed her wig. David was about to go to make the announcement when Dianne stopped him. “There is something not quite right”. She looked at Betty’s face but was not able to work out what it was. Harry looked too but could see nothing. David turned back and said “Eyebrows, the eyebrows are too faint and do not do enough to enhance the eyes”. All agreed that David was right although Betty was again not too sure. Dianne brought an eyebrow pencil and said to Betty. “We can always take it off again if it does not look right or you are unhappy with it”. She darkened the natural brow line slightly and stepped back. The degree of pencil applied was almost unnoticeable but it made a marked improvement to Betty’s appearance, she having to agree that it leant the finishing touch.
David again appeared on the patio step. “Friends, as Dianne’s unveiling to you tonight was a step in coming face to face with herself, we have someone else here who has taken a similar step, but for her it was a leap of faith, an adventure in trust and a break with a dark past into a world of acceptance and love. It is a victory over fear and ridicule. Please show Betty the acceptance you have given Dianne…” . Not prepared to take such a step alone, Betty came out on Harry’s arm, trying to smile bravely, unsure of the reception that would afforded her. She need not have worried, the acceptance was complete and she was overcome by the well-wishers and their complements, not only on her looks, but also her courage. The step out had been worth the boldness it took to make it.
Betty and Harry were the last to leave the party. Dianne and David saw them off at the door exchanging kisses and embraces. As they walked out Harry handed Betty her wig. She looked at Dianne and then back at Harry, shaking her head she said that she did not need it for the ride home, as long as they avoided the centre of town.
About halfway home Betty, her head on Harry’s shoulder, said with deep feeling, “I feel completely liberated now, I have not felt this good about myself for at least seven years, I do not know how to thank you ……..no wait, I do know how to thank you, but only after you correct a small something you overlooked last Saturday afternoon, so step on it buddy!”