A Proper Woman Part 1
“Alice, don’t forget you need to take your grandmother to her appointment at the stylist.”
Alice sighed as she paid more attention to her phone than her mothers comments.
“Alice?“ her mother commented again.
From the couch, Alice finally looked up from a recent TikTok to reply, “I know mom, 1:00.”
“There will be hell to pay if you don’t remember and make her late.” her mother stated as she left the house for her own job.
“Mhm,” Alice mumbled before turning on the couch to change the channel on the tv.
It had been a glorious summer from college the young adult was experiencing. The first year of college had been tough, but she had made it. Now she was looking for some part time work, though she had spent more time on her phone, playing games and hanging out with friends than look for a job.
Around half way through a tv show, Alice had fallen asleep, only to be woken up by her phone ringing in her ear.
“Shit,” she cursed as she saw her mothers name flash. When she answered the phone she heard a very unpleased voice.
“Where are you? You’re grandma is waiting for you. You were supposed to be there fifteen minutes ago.”
“I’m on my way, mom,” Alice replied, leaving the house in what she was wearing. While it may have been considered pyjamas, she was only taking her grandma to a hair appointment. How bad could it be.
Quickly, Alice sped to her grandmothers who was waiting outside of her house. The old lady with a short frizzy permed mane entered her car and sat down. If there was one thing Alice didn’t enjoy, it was her grandma’s pestering. Though her mother was mad at her, she hated angering her grandma, who was quick to punish, she remembered as a child always getting spanked, and she couldn’t forget the awful bowl cut she had given her as a 4th grader.
“I will have no fussing from you little missy. Your mother told me that you were quite awful to Marlene at her salon. If I was there, I would have strapped you down and let the barber have his way with you, then you really would have been sorry.”
Little Alice sat on a kitchen stool in the middle of the kitchen, the floor filled with newspapers and a freshly drawn sheet over her shoulders.
“So now you can sit and bare with me. And if you don’t like it I can always take you to the barbers so he can shave you clean.”
Alice cried at her predicament, her brother gleaming from the living room couch. Alice hadn’t had her hair cut since she was a baby. Her long auburn locks were nearly to her waist. She grew hair like a garden grew weeds.
“Please Nana, I like my hair long,” Alice sniffled.
“Long hair isn’t sufficient for little girls doing well in school,” her grandma replied. “Now, am I going to have any more problems, young lady?”
Alice sniffled and shook her head.
Alice’s grandmother roughly began combing out Alice’s locks. They were thick and tangled easily. Alice wasn’t even sure what her grandma was going to do, not even knowing how short it was going to be.
“Just need to get rid of this bulk,” the grandmother said with a huff.
With semi trained hands, Alice’s grandmother combed out a chunk of hair and cut it roughly, sending inches of hair to plop on the newspaper. Alice looked to the floor and lifted her had to feel that her grandma had cut her hair to shoulder length.
“Ouch,” Alice let out as her grandma swatted her hand away.
“Stay still, child.”
Tears continued to fall from Alice’s eyes as another chunk of hair was combed out and another cut was made. It was like torture for Alice to sit there as her grandma moved around her head.
Comb, snip, plop.
Comb, snip, plop.
Comb, snip, plop.
Alice’s hair had been reduced to a roughed out one length cut. She was hoping she was done and began to sit up, only to have her grandma push her back down.
“You’re not done yet, girl,” she mentioned gruffly. Alice didn’t know how short her hair was going to be, but she hoped that her grandma was just tidying the ends.
Soon a spray of water was misting over her head, soaking Alice’s hair until it was sufficiently wet enough. When it was to her grandmothers liking, the comb and scissors returned once more, this time pulling forward Alice’s hair over her eyes. She really hated that she was going to be given bangs.
From left to right, The grandmother snipped in a perfect line, just over Alice’s eyebrows, carving out a short set of bangs. “Right, now those are done, just need to make the rest of your hair match.”
Alice sat, petrified in horror as her grandmother continued the path around her head. Wet plops of hair fell to the floor. Her grandma cut the hair just above the tips of her ears and proceeded to do the same all the way around. She made snippets here and there to make sure the length was presentable and even.
“You’ll have no problems concentrating with a short haircut like this,” she mentioned. “I gave it to your mother growing up, and she did well for herself.”
Alice hated her grandmother in this instance. “Just need to clean up your nape.”
Alice didn’t understand what that meant, but she felt her grandma pull the top section of her hair up in clips. Few hairs remained below. “My larger guard broke for these a little while ago, so you’ll have to be fine with the next guard down,” her grandma said.
Still confused, Alice looked at her grandma who had her backed turned to her. When she turned around, she gasped and sat up from the stool.
“Alice Elizebeth Taylor, sit your but right back down or I will have kind to run these clippers right over the rest of your head,” her grandma shouted.
Alice sat right back down and shouted at her brother to stop cackling. Just previously she had watched her brother sit on the stool. Her grandma had used the same clippers on his head. She watched what happened as the clippers peeled off tufts of hair, leaving her brother with a inch of stubble all the way around.
“Make her bald grandma, like me.”
“Shut up!” Alice yelled at her brother.
“Now now,” her grandma scolded, forcing Alice’s chin down to her chest. “It will all be over soon if you just sit still.”
The whirring of the clippers were heard and the grandma slowly moved them up the nape of Alice’s neck, rising just to the line of the hair that was pinned up. Pass after pass, her grandma reduced the sides to a faint stubble, making sure to get around her ears. When the grandma was finished, she switched the clippers off and unpinned the hair on top of her head. The hair falling down to cover just some of the war path of the clippers.
With a final comb, the grandma deemed her granddaughter finished.
When Alice was allowed to stand she ran to the play room to cry.
Alice’s Grade school experience wafted back into her mind and she carefully fiddled with the ends of her hair. It was once again reaching her waist.
“Sorry, Nana,” Alice meekly said as she drove away, making her way to Style and Cut, an old fashioned salon ran by an outdated old lady. She remembered going there as a child. It always smelled strongly of something she didn’t enjoy, partly why her mother had a hard time getting her to get her haircut as a child.
Her grandma was cross with her, not only for being late, but about her appearance as well. “You won’t find a job looking like that, that’s for sure.”
Awkwardly, Alice drove her grandma to the salon and was instructed to follow her in. Her grandma is sited She needed to go into the salon and apologize herself for making her late.
Embarrassingly, Alice followed her grandma into the salon and was revisited with the same smells from her childhood, something she now knew as perming solution.
“Ah, good to see you Darla! I thought your weren’t going to make it,” a fruitful voice wafted towards the to members.
“Well, Marlene, if it were my say, we would have been here fifteen minutes early, not fifteen minutes late, but it’s this young one, mind always in the phone,” her grandma said gruffly, ushering Alice to step forward.
Alice looked at her feet, feeling incredibly small even though she was 5’9.
“What do you have to say for yourself, Alice Elizabeth?“ her grandma said strictly, adding in her middle name for an extra punch.
“So-sorry, Marlene for making my Nana late. I didn’t meant to. I hope it won’t cause any trouble….”
While she truly felt bad for the ordeal, she hated that she was being humiliated for it.
“I’ll accept your apology, but just be glad I have my entire afternoon and evening to myself as I had a couple cancellations today,” Marlene said, while inviting her grandmother to sit on a chair.
“Just a wash and set today, dear? Good for church tomorrow?” She asked.
“That sounds perfect, with a tidy collar,” her grandma added.
“Of course,” Marlene returned.
Alice went to sit on the bench to wait for her grandma. She wasn’t sure how long she was going to be there for. Once again, resorting to her phone she waited in the waiting area for her grandma to be done.
“You know Darla, I was thinking…”
End of Part 1
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