7th Shampoo and Set

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By Friday evening I was excited by thoughts of my Saturday morning salon session, heightened by the knowledge that another client would be permed while I was there.

I borrowed Jennys’ car and as usual arrived early.  Sharon was still winding in perm rods on a woman about the same age as me.  I took my usual gown and sat in the next chair as she introduced me to Diane who was having her first perm.

Sharon asked how my week was and what Jenny had been up to recently.  Once finished winding she went to get the perm solution etc.  Diane looked across and said, Sharon says she’s putting curlers in your hair. Is that the same as a shampoo and set?  I said yes, still a bit self-conscious about admitting it.  My Mum has that all the time but her hair is permed. A little defensively I said “my girlfriend wants me to get a perm but I’m not sure how it will look”.  I’ve never seen a guy in curlers, is it your first time?  “No, I’ve had several before, then admitted “I’m worried what others may think of me”.

Diane said I know how you feel, I’m very nervous today, it’s taken me weeks to finally decide.  My friends have been telling me how nice I will look and Mum has been saying it’s no big deal, everyone has a perm some time.

Sharon returned and I watched as she got Diane ready then began applying the perming solution.  The salon filled with that wonderful smell before Sharon covered her with a processing cap.  I sat quietly enjoying it all until Sharon put her hands on my shoulders and said let’s get you washed.

As I lay back into the basin she said, “that could be you sitting there next Saturday morning”.  I went a bit red in the face at that thought and weakly said “maybe”.

Back in the chair after a fast wash Sharon said “how about loose wavy curls just like your first set”.  I nodded and said, whatever you suggest.  Most of my rollers were in when the timer buzzed and Sharon removed the cap and checked Diane’s curls.  Then back to me for the last of the rollers, hairnet and my dryer time.  I watched in the mirror as Diane underwent the next few steps in the process.  My dryer switched off just as Sharon begun the last rinse stage.   I lifted the dryer up and away and Sharon said from the basin “thanks hun, I’ll be back with you in a few minutes”.

She removed Diane’s’ perm rods before returning to the chair with a lovely mass of wet curly hair.  Diane smiled and said “you look cute but kind of funny with those curlers”.   I felt self-conscious but thought she meant it in a nice way.  I asked if she was having a set, “no way, I don’t want to look like my Mum”.

Sharon untied my hair net, removed the rollers and with a few deft movements of her brush and comb had my hair shaped into loose wavy curls.   Diane gave a soft giggle as Sharon sprayed me and said “you are having the works just like my Mum, I hope your girlfriend likes it”.

As I moved to the counter to pay, the salon door opened and a woman in her 60’s came in wearing a headscarf.  She announced to the salon it was a bad day for hair, very windy and about to rain.  Sharon asked me, are you parked close by?  I said round the corner but it’s ok I have my rain hood.  I pulled it out of my coat pocket, unfolded it and tied it over my freshly set hair.  Shall I book you in for next Saturday she asked.  I said, sadly it was lunch with my family so I’ll call another time.

I did not remove my rain hood until I was home.   Hun, that set looks wonderful on you, I really love those loose curls.  Teasingly, Jen added “Maybe you should have taken your headscarf to wear home”.

Can I ask a big favour, Dawn and David have asked us over for dinner tonight and I would love to see them before they go on their summer holiday.  I’m sure you would rather not show them your curls but it would be a waste to wash them out so soon.  Would you be super brave so we can see them.

Jenny’s’ friends Dawn and David were older than us but always so relaxed and welcoming whenever we visited.  After the last couple of sessions at the salon where I felt accepted by the other clients, I was becoming less self-conscious about my strange desires.  I also started to realised many people did not judge or comment.

Jen said, I’ll tell them I sent you to my hairdresser to get some advice about changing your style.  I thought they will probably be cool about it and may not even realise it was a set.  OK let’s see how it goes and she called them back to confirm.

As we walked into their place that evening Dawn said “you look very nice, must have been a lot of time blow drying”.  I mumbled yes and said thank you for the compliment.   I did not feel like explaining that I had my hair set in curlers.   David said nothing at all and in fact did not seem to notice my new wavy hairstyle.

As we drove home Jenny said that Dawn again commented how nice I looked and asked if it was a perm.   Jen admitted she had told Dawn it was just a set and that she had suggested I get a perm.  What did Dawn say to that I asked.  “She said, that will be an interesting change”.  I was a bit embarrassed that someone else knew that I had my hair set in rollers but it felt sort of ok too.

Sunday morning, I came out of the bathroom wearing my shower cap and a towel wrapped in the, now, usual way at my chest.  Jenny was sitting in the hall on the phone.  So, I went into the kitchen and made us tea. I took hers in then returned to read the paper.

It was another 30 minutes before she finished and came back to the kitchen.  Aren’t you a patient soul waiting for me to come and do your hair.  I thought you would have been dressed by know.   I said “it felt comfortable sitting here like this.   She smiled and we walked into the bedroom and I sat down at her mirror as usual.

Jen surprised me by saying, “rather than wear your damp towel all that time why didn’t you put on my dressing gown, it was just there on the bed”. I was not sure how to respond and mumbled “but that’s yours”.

In her usual way she took charge.  Stand up, give me that towel and put this on.  It was a light weight cotton ¾ length gown in white with small pink floral detailing on the sleeves and collar. It was of course a little tight in the shoulder but felt nice against my skin.

I sat down again, she removed my plastic shower cap and brushed and sprayed my hair into place.  That all looks very nice doesn’t it, she said with a giggle.  Have a look in the other mirror.

I stood up and walked over to the full-length mirror to see myself in Jennys’ feminine dressing gown.  I was enjoying looking at myself and did a couple of sways so the fabric floated across my body.

Still feeling a bit surprised I said, it’s yours though.  She countered, how many times have I worn one of your T-Shirts and remember that camping trip when it was really hot last summer.  I wore your shorts for a couple of days.

Feeling a bit braver I asked, how do I look?   It’s nice on you, especially with your lovely curls.  I then spent the rest of the morning wearing her dressing gown.  Until Jen said, let’s have lunch so it’s time to get dressed.

That evening as we readied for bed, her dressing gown was where I left it on my side of the bed.  I undressed and slipped it on again then walked through to the bathroom.  Jen was just emerging after brushing her teeth and give me one of her checky smiles.

Monday morning, I washed my hair, wrapped it in a towel then slipped on that lovely dressing gown.  I made tea and toast for Jen before she dried and brushed my hair into my normal boring male style.  That evening the gown was no longer on the bed and Jen must have noted my glance around the room.  It’s in the cupboard was her reply to my silent question. You will feel more comfortable wearing it after your next appointment she added.

The implication was that I could wear it whenever I had curls.

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