Many months passed and on those rare occasions we had a free weekend where I could hide at home Sharon was fully booked on Friday evening. I did manage another Thursday evening cut and conditioner treatment but it was never as exciting as having the full shampoo and set experience. Jenny continued to keep my eyebrows tidy.
One Thursday, everything aligned for the weekend at home with my curls. I telephoned Sharon but this late in the week her Friday was fully booked. She said one of her Saturday morning regulars had cancelled and she could do a shampoo and set at 11.30. She explained that there would be one or two other clients coming and going, all were regulars and would I like the appointment?
I was in that dilemma of desperately wanting to indulge my passion but knowing I would be in full view with a head full of curlers and worried what others might think of me. Then I thought, if they are regulars, they are probably having their weekly set. After a few seconds I nervously said yes please.
Arriving at Sharons’ there was one woman under the dryer and another having rollers wound in, both seemed to be 50’ish. I began to wonder if I should really be doing this. A shampoo and set in full view of other clients. Before I could change my mind Sharon looked over and smiled. Slip on a gown and come and join us. I sat between the two clients, all 3 of us in peach coloured gowns. I watched as the last of the rollers were pinned in place and client two was netted. She gave me a nod and said “busy today, isn’t it”.
Sharon motioned me to the basin and began washing my hair. I heard the distinctive ping of the dryer timer and Sharon walked over, lifted it off the first lady and pulled it down over the second. She finished rinsing my hair, wrapped it in a towel and I returned to my chair. Sharon moved to the first lady and began chatting while removing her net and rollers. Her hair was quite short and fine so there wasn’t much styling before she was sprayed. It was all done in a few minutes and she was at the counter paying.
Sharon returned, removed my towel and began combing through the setting lotion. I assumed she had told the other client that I was there for a set as she did not show any surprise when the first roller was wound in.
Most of my rollers were in place when the next client walked in. She was in her 40’s I guess and had a long look at me with rollers as she sat down in the empty third chair. She smiled and asked “are you one of Sharon’s regulars?” “Sort of” I replied. “Not often we have men on Saturday morning, makes a nice change” she responded.
A few minutes later I was netted and waiting my turn under the dryer while Sharon washed the other client’s hair. I felt quite relaxed sitting there in curlers and a hair net amongst woman undergoing the same process. It seemed so normal and soon I would walk out with a beautiful style and compliments from Jen.
The dryer pinged again and Sharon lifted it up and away from the second lady. She looked across at me, smiled and said “I was starting to nod off there”. I agreed “it’s quite relaxing” as Sharon pulled the dryer down over me. She untied the clients’ net and began to unwind the rollers.
The other woman, her hair now wrapped in a towel leaned across to me and asked “Would you like me to get you a magazine while you dry?” I smiled and said yes please over the hum. Back in her chair she handed me a hairstyle magazine, adding. “I like browsing through these to get ideas for different styles but never do any of them. Have a look and see what you find”. I thanked her and opened it at a random page to enjoy looking at images of attractive woman with gorgeous styles.
The comb out on the second client took longer but her style, when Sharon had finished, looked great. Lots of volume, less curl and swept back. It reminded me of the comb out Mrs “not so happy” gave me but so much more stylish. After she left, Sharon begun cutting the third lady’s hair and then my dryer pinged off. It was lifted away and I sat there in my rollers and net cooling.
She asked how long had I been getting my hair set and I replied over a year but just at random times not weekly. “Does your wife like it?” I nodded and explained that it was her original suggestion. “What’s her hairstyle” she asked and I described the length colour and cut as best I could. Oh, I assumed she was a regular setter or at least a wash and go perm. I said Sharon had given Jenny perms before but she likes it straight at the moment.
Sharon added, “and now she wants her man to get a perm”. Nice that she cares about your appearance, the other client added. When you get a perm will you get it set as well? I can’t imagine many men going to the salon every week. I blushed a little and mumbled I’m not sure what style to choose.
“Let’s do your comb out” and Sharon quickly worked her magic on my hair. I sat there thinking this seems all so normal even with the other client closely watching me. As the hairspray was settling, she said “you look very handsome with those curls” and I thanked her.
I paid and Sharon asked “Any more thoughts on that perm?” and said I was still not sure. Sharon said “I understand but feel free to book for a set any time. If you don’t mind the bustle of Saturday morning, I can make a weekly appointment for you”. Today felt so relaxed and normal I thought ok let’s book for next week. Sharon said, I have a perm at 8:30 and if you don’t mind a bit of back and forth again could you come in at 9.45?
At home, Jen liked my new “Do” and asked how I felt being seen in rollers by other clients? I said I was a bit nervous walking in but soon relaxed and even had a nice chat with one woman.
I spent the rest of the weekend at home feeling very relaxed, and knowing I could enjoy it all again next Saturday. Often checking my hair in the mirror and of course covered it with my scarf before going to bed that night.
Jen touched up my hair on Sunday morning when I returned from my shower. After breakfast, she insisted on a walk which I knew meant stopping somewhere for a mid-morning cuppa. I did not feel quite so anxious about being seen in public with my curls. At least by people I did not know. I still dreaded bumping into friends but thankfully nothing happened.
Monday morning it was back to straight hair again.