Sarah found herself daydreaming at her desk. It was now 11a.m. and although she’d started work at 9am, she had barely got half an hour’s work done. Her mind was wandering all over the place and this really wasn’t helped by the fact that she had caused such a storm of interest amongst her colleagues, many of whom seemed absolutely amazed that the “babe” of the workplace had received such a dramatic makeover.
From the moment she entered the offices, the comments came from all areas. Kevin, the less than tactful security officer who controlled the main desk asked, whilst adopting an insincere but concerned look “Are you alright Sarah? Broken up with the boyfriend I guess?” Sarah, being somewhat taken aback by this most unexpected statement simply replied “No, why? Why do you ask?”
Kevin, who had previously been turned down for a date with Sarah and was still harbouring ill-feeling towards her, couldn’t help but use this opportunity to have a sly dig, as he replied “Well, it’s just that you’ve had all your lovely long hair chopped off, and pretty girls normally have their hair cut short when they get dumped by their boyfriends. I’ve never really understood why they do it, but I guess it’s to spite her ex and to cut off the past. But never mind, I guess it will soon grow back!”
Sarah was enraged at Kevin’s cruel sniping, but was determined to not allow him to spoil what, up to now, had been a wonderfully positive experience. She took a deep breath, took control of her thoughts and, in a stern but polite manner, replied “Thank you for your concern Kevin, but I’m afraid you are wrong. The fact is I have not split with Steve and we are closer than ever. The reason I have had my hair cut short is not because my boyfriend likes long hair, it is because my boyfriend does not like long hair. You see, Kevin, not all men go for girls based on looks alone and not all men insist on having a trophy girl with the requisite long hair. Believe it or not, Kevin, some men are capable of loving their girlfriend for more than her looks and some men would prefer for their girlfriend to not to have to cope with a mop of long hair hanging half way down her back. Not that it is any of your business Kevin, but just to put the record straight, my boyfriend is the type of man who prefers short hair and once I found this out, I was more than happy to have mine cut short for him. My boyfriend is really happy that his girlfriend now has short hair, he much prefers the way I look now my hair is short and, believe it or not Kevin, I am really pleased I had all my hair cut off!”
Kevin was knocked back somewhat by Sarah’s assertive reply. All he could say in return was that Sarah’s Identity badge would have to be updated because the picture of the pretty girl with the long hair had absolutely no resemblance to the short haired girl who was wearing the badge. Sarah agreed to have a new photo taken and walked into the building with her head held high.
Although this altercation could have easily knocked Sarah’s confidence, she actually found herself being empowered by it. Her confidence increased even further when the elderly lady who ran the coffee counter gave her a look of approval and, with a big smile, commented “Hello Sarah, I hope you don’t mind me saying, but I noticed you have had your hair cut short?” Sarah, adopting a rather sweet little smile, replied “Yes, Mrs Reeves, I had it cut yesterday”. “Well Sarah,” enthused Mrs Reeves, “I think it looks very nice indeed. I hope this does not sound too forward, but it is so nice to see a young lady have the confidence to wear her hair short and in such a nice and presentable style.” Sarah, blushed a little as she replied “Thank you Mrs Reeves, that’s very kind of you to say. So would I be right in thinking that you prefer short hair on me?” With an even bigger smile, Mrs Reeves enthused: “Oh yes dear, most definitely. Please don’t get me wrong because you did look lovely when your hair was long, but I much prefer you with your new cut; It’s such a sweet little short haircut, it’s wonderfully neat and tidy and I think you look absolutely adorable.”
At this point, Sarah walked towards her office reception with confidence sky high, which was just as well as the “Barbie” type receptionist, who was all long blond hair, fashion and makeup, didn’t even acknowledge her. Stephanie always said hello to Sarah and, recognising that Sarah was proud of her sassy appearance, always had a fashion tip to share. This morning, however, Stephanie could barely manage a “hello”. Stephanie was shocked and disappointed that Sarah had obviously turned her back on fashion and clearly felt that she was no longer worthy of effort. Sarah, on the other hand, had just realised just how shallow Stephanie was and all she could think of was taking Stephanie and her crowning glory to see Maureen for a damn good tidy-up!
Sarah entered the office suite and, whilst on her way to her desk, couldn’t help but notice that she was being watched intensely by Sophie and Maria; two long haired and fashionable “girlie girls” who were best friends, as thick as thieves and more than a little jealous of Sarah. Out of the three girls, Sarah was the prettiest and, much to Sophie and Maria’s annoyance, was the one who always got all the attention. However, this morning, it was as if Christmas had come early for the two girls, when they realised that the plain looking girl, with the short haircut and the dowdy long skirt that accentuated her motherly hips and podgy bottom, was Sarah! Sarah was, without a doubt, no longer the prettiest of the three girls. The girls were completely shocked that Sarah could ever consider having her hair cut so short, were confused as to why a young and normally trendy girl would want to wear the dowdy long skirt that the older ladies normally wore, and absolutely amazed that without the disguise of her normal short skirt and high heels, Sarah was neither as tall or shapely as everyone thought. To Sophie and Maria this was a wonderful surprise and, as Sarah was clearly no longer a threat to their own popularity, their attitude towards her changed completely.
There is a theory that reasonably pretty girls like to be friends with plainer looking girls because the contrast makes the reasonably pretty girl look prettier and equally, the plainer looking girl ends up looking plainer. Sophie and Maria were perfectly aware of this theory and in the past had kept their distance from Sarah because the theory worked against them; they would end up looking less pretty and in turn would make Sarah look even prettier. However, looking at the new neat and tidy, homely Sarah, both girls knew that the roles were now reversed. Sophie and Maria could not resist but extract the maximum mileage out of this opportunity as they rushed over to Sarah just as if they were long lost friends.
It was immediately apparent that this theory was correct, as anyone looking across the office would see three girls; two that were really pretty and looked absolutely stunning and one who was rather plain looking with a somewhat gentle and homely demeanour.
“Hi Sarah,” gushed Sophie; “I couldn’t help but notice you’ve had all your hair cut off, it looks really nice”.
Before Sarah could reply, Maria jumped in and, whilst playing with her own long locks, enthused; “Yes! Short hair really suits you; I think you look much nicer with it short.”
Sarah couldn’t help but blush a little as she thanked the two girls for their compliments and although she realised they were gloating a little, she really didn’t mind as, deep down, she would rather be friends than enemies and this was an opportunity to put the past behind them.
“So what made you decide to have your hair cut-up short Sarah, was it a spur of the moment thing or had you been planning to do it for a while?” Asked Sophie, who was pleasantly surprised at Sarah’s welcoming and friendly attitude.
Sarah explained that it was a spur of the moment thing and that she’d cut her hair short because she wanted to make a good impression when she first met Steve’s parents as they were conservative old-fashioned church going people who were hugely protective of their son and of their reputation within the community. Sarah further explained that Steve had told her that his parents had not approved of his previous girlfriends and had made it difficult for him. So, he had suggested to her, that as he really wanted his parents to like her, that it might be an idea if she adopted a slightly more conservative appearance for when they met for the first time. Sophie and Maria were amazed that a boy would ever make such a request, but totally “gobsmacked” to hear Sarah explain that as she really liked Steve and, as a result, really wanted his parents to like her and that she had decided, therefore, that if Steve’s parents wanted to see their son with a conservative and presentable looking young lady, then a presentable looking young lady they would see.
“So you decided to have your hair cut short, ultimately as a commitment to you, Steve and his family then?” Enquired Sophie, who was clearly quite touched by Sarah’s sentiments.
Sarah, with great pride, answered, “Yes! Yes, I did, but not just for Steve’s family, but for my own as well; my mum’s been wanting me to have short hair for years”.
Sophie pulled out a section of her own long hair and, with a knowing look on her face, empathised, “I know that feeling, my Mum is desperate to see me in short hair and given half a chance she’d soon have this all chopped off. Up to now I’ve been able to avoid her suggestions but next year is her fortieth wedding anniversary, she’s going to have a really posh family party and will want me to look “presentable” so she can show-off her “respectable” daughter to the rest of the family. So, don’t be surprised if one morning I arrive at the office sporting a nice short haircut like yours Sarah”.
Sophie’s statement really surprised Sarah, but before she had a chance to think more about it, let alone reply, Maria had changed the subject; “So how did the meeting with the parents go? I should imagine there were no objections with regard to appearance this time? With Steve’s parents being respectable people and all, I should imagine they were thrilled to see a young lady sporting such a nice short haircut?”
“The meeting went really well and we really got on well.” Gushed Sarah; “And yes Steve’s mum did like my haircut, she gave me lots of compliments and said that she was really pleased that Steve had found a nice young lady who didn’t insist on having a mane of hair hanging half way down her back.”
“It’s just as well she didn’t meet you last week then.” Joked Sophie.
“Absolutely!” Laughed Sarah; “If I am going to stay with Steve and stay friends with his mum, then I think it’s a future of regular short haircuts for me.” She giggled.
Maria was absolutely amazed to hear the things Sarah was saying and although she knew that her own boyfriend would hate her to cut her hair, she was intrigued as to what Sarah’s boyfriend thought; “So what does Steve think of the fact you’ve lost your long hair? And how does he feel about you staying short?”
“He’s all for it, he prefers my hair short and was really pleased that I’d had it cut. He says it’s much easier for me to look after, that he much prefers the way I look with short hair and that this is the way he would like me to stay”. Replied Sarah in a friendly, but matter of fact manner.
Maria pondered this thought for a moment and found herself really warming to Sarah as a person and actually becoming a little jealous of her, in a positive way. Maria found herself feeling envious of Sarah not only having the ease and practicality of short hair, but having a partner who loved her with a more simple look and was supporting her to stay that way; “Well Sarah, all I can say is that I think you have done exactly the right thing, you look lovely with short hair and I think you are very lucky to have a loving and supportive boyfriend like Steve”.
At this point, the girls realised that they were being watched by the office manager and without a further word, went back to their desks in order to avoid a telling off.
This had been the first “nice” conversation the girls had ever had and all three girls came away with a completely different opinion of each other; they established that rather than be enemies, they could be friends and good friends at that.
Once they were back at their individual desks, the three girls pondered over their conversation. Sophie found herself contemplating that maybe having a short haircut for her mum’s anniversary wouldn’t be so bad after all, it would make her mum really happy and short hair would be so much easier to manage. Maria found herself actually wanting to have short hair and wishing that her boyfriend would miraculously decide that he no longer wanted her to be a “Trophy Girl” and that he would ask her to have her hair cut short, as the thought of her sitting in a chair and allowing a hairdresser to gently snip off her beloved long locks so her hair would be nice and short for the man she loved, would be such a romantic thing to do.
Sarah was also harbouring romantic thoughts, and it was at this point that she completely realised just how lucky she was to have a boyfriend that not only loved her for far more than her appearance, but was more than happy to encourage her to embrace her natural appearance and persona, even if that left her looking far short of the “trophy” type girl most men want to be seen with. With these wonderful thoughts flowing through her mind, Sarah’s thoughts turned to what she knew Steve really wanted; and that was to see her with curly hair! Having coped really well with the reactions she’d received to her toned down appearance, Sarah felt empowered to take things a little further and decided she would accept her mum’s suggestion of going for a shampoo and set. The only question now was; when, rather than, if, she should have it done. Sarah concluded that as there was no time like the present and that as she wasn’t seeing Steve tonight, maybe this afternoon would be the time to do it, as, this way, she would have a whole evening to get used to it and in the event that she may feel too uncomfortable being curly, it could be washed out and Steve wouldn’t have to see her. All she needed was a half-day off and, as she had some flexi-time owing to her, she decided to ask her manager, Wendy, for the afternoon off. Sarah decided to tell her that she needed to buy some new clothes to compliment her new image and also wanted to take some of her old clothes to the charity shop.
Wendy was clearly delighted with Sarah’s transformation, especially as Sarah had followed her suggestion to visit the hairdressers, and had not just had a little trim, but was now wearing exactly the kind of neat and tidy short haircut that she liked to see on her junior staff. Wendy told her, with great delight, that she now far better fitted the image that was preferred for young employees. Wendy, like many of the older ladies in the office, wore her hair in a sensible and practical short curly perm. Sarah had never paid much attention to this before, but she now looked at Wendy’s neat little curls with new eyes, wondering whether that really was how Steve wanted her to wear her hair, and whether she would be brave enough to adopt the same style, always assuming that this afternoon’s experiment turned out well.
Wendy continued that she had high hopes for Sarah’s career and that it was very much hoped that now Sarah had finally embraced the company’s dress standards, and opted to present herself smartly and appropriately for work, that she could be relied upon to continue to set a good example for the other young ladies in the office. Sarah reassured Wendy that she much preferred her smartened appearance, and apologised for her past dress code transgressions (she had regularly been asked to tone-down her makeup, and even told to go and tidy up her hair when Wendy felt it wasn’t meeting the company standards). She then assured Wendy that she wouldn’t be growing her hair out for the foreseeable future. Wendy, in turn, agreed to not only give Sarah the rest of the day off, but the whole of the next day too!
Sarah decided that the best person to set her hair was the person who, without having been asked, had taken it upon herself to cut her hair short in the first place. Sarah, therefore, arrived at Maureen’s salon at 2.30, explained that her family and especially her boyfriend were over the moon with her new short haircut and that having been encouraged that everyone seemed to prefer her with her more sensible and presentable appearance, she would now like to see how she would look with curly hair. Sarah further explained that it was Steve who had suggested that it would be nice to see her curly and that having thought about it, she would really like to give it a go and asked, on the off-chance, if there might be an appointment available for that afternoon. To Sarah’s surprise, not only was Maureen able to fit her in, but, by 2.40, Sarah’s hair had been washed and she was sat in front of the mirror with a very enthusiastic hairdresser standing beside her, armed with a trolley of rollers.
Maureen was really pleased to have the chance to practice her art on a younger lady but, at the same time, did not want to spoil the chance of making this a regular occurrence by making Sarah feel uneasy. So, in a caring tone, she simply asked; “Right then young lady, so you would like to see how you’d look with curly hair then and that’s not a problem, but we do need to decide exactly how we want your curls to look. Now I’m not sure that we want something too formal with the “set look” that a more mature lady would adopt, so may I suggest that we go for something a little less severe and go for a more natural short curly look or, alternatively, if you want to look nice and smart, we could go somewhere in between the two and send you home with a middle of the road plain and simple neat little head of short curly hair. So, Sarah, it’s your choice, what would you like me to do?”
Sarah thought for a moment and although her first instinct was to go all the way to formal, she decided that perhaps middle of the road would be the best bet as she replied; “Well, I would like to look smart but not too formal, so can we go for the in between option please?
Maureen smiled as she replied; “I think that’s a very good choice and I think a neat little head of curls will look really nice on you. So, shall we get started and get you nice and curly?”
With butterflies now energetically flying in her tummy, Sarah simply replied: “Yes please.”
With that, Maureen began quickly and expertly rolling Sarah’s hair and within ten minutes or so all the rollers were in, setting lotion had been applied, and Sarah had been sat under the hood dryer. Sarah sat under the drier, armed with a magazine and a cup of tea, and tried to imagine just how she was going to look with curly hair and to how people would react to her.
Although Sarah was only sat under the drier for twenty-five minutes or so the time really dragged, but eventually Maureen came and fetched her.
Sarah now found herself sitting in front of the mirror, waiting for Maureen to remove the rollers from her hair. Sarah was feeling unbelievably nervous, but at the same time incredibly excited at the prospect of being introduced to her new curls and to seeing herself with, as Maureen had described, a neat little head of short curly hair.
Maureen, meanwhile, was also somewhat nervous. Although she was convinced that Sarah would look delightful, she was brutally aware that when Sarah took her first look in the mirror, she was going to receive quite a shock. Maureen feared that the initial shock may frighten Sarah to the extent that, without giving herself the chance to adjust to the benefits and delights that her new style would afford her, she would simply dismiss her new style as too alien and would immediately want to get rid of the curls. So, before removing the rollers, Maureen explained to Sarah that whilst seeing herself with curly hair for the first time might be a little strange, it was important that she should give herself a little time to get used to it before deciding whether or not she liked it. Maureen further reassured Sarah that if she really didn’t like it, it would be easy to wash out and that if Sarah was really uncomfortable, she would wash it out for her immediately.
Sarah was extremely grateful to hear these words of encouragement as, although she was quite determined to give her curls a chance, the fact that Maureen had given her an escape route had immediately relieved some of the pressure. Sarah’s thoughts immediately went to her Mum and Steve, both of whom wanted to see her curly, and this strengthened her resolve to give her curls a chance. Sensing that Maureen also needed a little reassurance, she reassured her that although she understood it may feel a little strange at first, she fully intended to give herself a little time to get used to her new look. With conviction in her voice and in an extremely matter of fact manner, Sarah continued that although she didn’t expect her new hairstyle to make her look young, trendy or sassy, it was important to her that it should make her look neat, tidy, smart and feminine and, furthermore, she hoped that the style would be extremely easy to manage and would be consistent in its appearance.
Maureen was delighted and more than a little relieved to hear that Sarah had adopted such a positive attitude, but was slightly concerned with Sarah’s final statement because, as the curls were not permanent, they would neither be easy to manage nor consistent. With a reassuring smile Maureen enthused “There is nothing more feminine than a young lady presenting herself to the world with a neat little head of short curly hair, and that is exactly what you are going to have once we’ve removed these rollers! Furthermore, I have absolutely no doubt that when you leave here you will be looking every inch a respectable, neat and tidy, smart young lady; your curls are going to give you everything you have said you want.”
Sarah couldn’t help but break into a big smile in response to these reassuring words and whilst doing so, she caught a reflection of herself in the mirror and this time, it didn’t look so silly or unnatural seeing the reflection of the girl with her hair in rollers. For some reason having her hair set had, all of a sudden, begun to feel natural; it no longer felt alien, like she was pretending to be an old lady. It now felt quite pleasant and Sarah concluded that perhaps this was a sign that she was beginning to accept that for some girls, it is quite natural to want curly hair.
Sarah’s positive thoughts, however, were soon brought back down to earth when Maureen warned her that if, once the curlers were removed, she found that she did like seeing herself with curly hair; there would be a problem. Maureen continued that as her hair was not permed, the curls would soon fall out and the short curly style would, therefore, be neither easy to manage or be consistent.
This last statement turned Sarah’s mind to meeting Steve’s family on Saturday and to how proud Steve would be if his girlfriend was seen to be sporting a neat little head of short curly hair when she was introduced to his Grandmother. With an element of concern in her voice, Sarah asked Maureen if the set would last until Saturday . Maureen replied that as today was Tuesday, it was unlikely that the set would last that long, but suggested that Sarah see the finished style before worrying about that.
With that, Maureen began removing the rollers with expert speed, and in less than 2 minutes Sarah was left looking at lots of uniformed little barrels all over her head. At this point, Sarah’s heart was really racing with fear and anticipation and although the barrels did not look very attractive, Sarah decided to reserve judgement.
Maureen picked up her comb and started gently teasing the barrels into the sweetest little curls. Whilst teasing the curls, Maureen took the opportunity to discuss the options Sarah had if she decided that she did like having curly hair. Maureen explained that she could come in for regular sets or, if she wanted to enjoy the long-term practical benefits, as well as the visual delights of having curly hair, then maybe she should consider a perm.
Sarah was intrigued as to what the practical benefits of a perm may be and, with great enthusiasm, Maureen informed her that depending on the perm, Sarah could effectively have the option of three styles in one; She could have a dead easy wash & go style where, with absolutely no effort, her hair would dry into a wonderfully neat and tidy mass of perfectly uniform tight little curls; For the more formal appearance she could still have her hair set, with the advantage being that the set would last for longer as it would be on permed and, therefore, already curly hair, or finally, she could even blow dry it straighter which would look similar to her normal style but it would be lovely and wavy and would have a lot more body. Maureen sensing that these suggestions were being well received, added a warning that once she had been permed, there would be no going back and like it or not, Sarah would have to remain curly until the perm grew out.
Sarah found herself feeling quite drawn by the appeal of these suggestions and also strangely excited by the thought that there would be no going back; it would be like she was a girl with naturally curly hair and even if that made her feel plain and dull, she’d just have to accept it. With more than a little enthusiasm, Sarah asked what the ideal perm would be. Maureen enthused that in her opinion the most sensible option would be to go really tight, as this would give both the shampoo and set and blow-drying options but, at the same time, it would also give her the easiest of styles if she was short of time. Maureen, sensing that Sarah was becoming ever more receptive to her suggestions, herself grew in confidence as she recommended that if Sarah was to have the tightest of perms and was prepared to have her hair trimmed to the same length all over, although she would lose her natural side parting, she would gain the sweetest and most practical little bubble-cut.
Although, less than a week ago, Sarah would have been shocked and maybe even a little insulted had a hairdresser dared to have made such a suggestion to her, she now found her views to be completely different. The idea of having permanently curly hair was growing on her by the minute and she was even quite excited by the thought of losing her side parting and having her hair cut even shorter; it was as if the parting was the last remnant of her old style and that by having the parting removed it would be like having the last of her style taken away. What she was unsure of though, was what a bubble-cut was and although she didn’t want to appear ignorant, she didn’t hold back in asking.
Maureen replied that the phrase “bubble-cut” was an old description for a hairstyle that is now more often called a poodle cut and that although this style is now normally worn by ladies who are middle aged and above, in years gone by, the style used to be worn by young housewives and busy young Mums who, although being too busy looking after their husbands, children and home to spend time on their own appearance, still wanted to look neat, tidy and feminine for their families. Maureen continued that out of pure convenience and absolute practicality a busy young mum would often decide that it was time for her to say goodbye to the fussy long hair she enjoyed during her single years and to opt for a plain and simple short curly poodle-cut in its place as this would allow her to look neat and tidy at all times and that even if she had to wash her hair within a half hour of her husband being due to arrive home from work, she knew she could allow it to dry completely naturally and be safe in the knowledge that without any effort or choice, her hair could do nothing other than dry into a neat little head of perfectly uniformed curls.
Deciding to go a little deeper, Maureen further explained that the ladies didn’t only opt for a poodle-cut for convenience, it was a sign of contentment where the wife would show the world that she was now completely contented with her man and was quite happy to turn her back on fashion and vanity and to adopt an appearance that was more appropriate to her position as a devoted and homely wife. Of course, she continued, the benefits were just as clear for a busy career woman too, who would likely have even less time to spend fussing with her long hair.
These last statements struck more than a chord with Sarah, as this kind of mirrored the way she felt about being with Steve. She did feel devoted to him, she was happy to have toned down her appearance for him and in return he seemed far more accepting of her new appearance than he ever did her fashionable look. She concluded that she had already said goodbye to her long hair, she had already been happy to have all the style removed and all she wanted now, deep down, was to adopt an appearance that was not only neat and tidy, but was also practical, simple and consistent.
Maureen sensing that Sarah was becoming ever more inspired by these words, became a little concerned that if Sarah decided to take the plunge, she should jump into it with eyes wide open. Maureen, therefore, felt obliged to discuss some of the potential drawbacks; she continued that for some people, a poodle or bubble cut, could be considered plain, ordinary and somewhat sedate, as, for all intents and purposes, any young lady who opted for a poodle cut would have swapped all of her previous style, flair and individuality for an appearance that was extremely basic, selfless and ordinary.
With greater conviction to her tone, Maureen continued; that once the lady has allowed her style to be taken from her, she will often find herself stuck in a rut of being stuck with short curly hair for ever more, as not only is it extremely difficult to grow it out again, but her loved ones might think it a little strange that she wants to go back to her old look. Before Sarah could answer, Maureen adopted a more positive tone, as she asserted that in her opinion, it was not a rut at all, but it was simply that once they’d opted for a poodle-cut, the ladies found the simplicity of the style so beneficial that they were no longer prepared to spend time fussing on fashionable styles and furthermore, that they were quite happy to show the world that they were completely content at home and were happy to retain an appearance that was representative of that fact.
Not wishing to dwell too much on the negatives, Maureen found herself brimming with enthusiasm as she began listing the positives. As well as reiterating the benefits she had already given, Maureen added that because the poodle-cut was so convenient, it was likely that Sarah would quite quickly start allowing her hair to dry naturally because it would be; easy, all she need do is shower and wash her hair in the morning, do nothing other than allow her hair to dry naturally and by the time she arrived at work she would be looking perfectly presentable; it would guarantee no more bad hair days, as on wet and windy days Sarah would not have to worry as she’d have no hair to blow in her face and she wouldn’t have to worry about her hair looking scruffy as her curls would simply spring back and dry into their normal neat and tidy appearance.
Another benefit, she continued, was consistency. Sarah would ALWAYS look neat and tidy for Steve, even if they were out together, on a day when she had decided to wear her hair in a blow-dried or set style, and they were caught in a massive rain storm which resulted in her hair becoming absolutely soaked, although for most girls this would ruin the style and, therefore the day, for Sarah the very worst that would happen is that although the style she chose for the day would be ruined, she would at least have the confidence that, with absolutely no effort, her hair would be guaranteed to dry into it’s natural poodle look, meaning like unlike most other girls, she would at least look neat and tidy. And finally, variety. Most young ladies spend huge amounts of time everyday styling their hair to look its best and more often than not, the style they wear everyday will be very similar to the style they wear to social functions, unless they are prepared to spend even more time trying to achieve something complicated and glamorous.
A girl with a poodle-cut, on the other hand, even if she does not have the time to style her hair at all, will be left with absolutely no choice but to look her neat and tidy best every day. However, on special occasions, all she need do is blow dry or set her hair and with no more effort than most girls put in on a day to day basis, she will look wonderfully presentable; she will look completely different to her normal look and, with the minimum effort, she will have adopted either a more glamorous or formal appearance that totally compliments the mood and occasion. Maureen, sensing that Sarah was pretty much sold on the idea decided to finish her pitch by saying that as Steve obviously preferred her hair now it was short, he was obviously a gentleman who prefers his lady to look neat, tidy and presentable, and as a result of this, she was quite sure that if Sarah decided to surprise her man by arriving home sporting a sweet little poodle-cut, Steve would not only adore her for how she looked, but would be so proud of her for having had it done.
By now, Sarah was in dreamland, she had been completely swept along by Maureen’s ideas and words of encouragement and completely wrapped up in thoughts of Steve and her Mum and how pleased they would be to discover she had become curly. In fact, Sarah had become so deeply immersed in the thoughts of poodle cuts that she had allowed herself to become completely distracted from what Maureen was doing. She refocused her mind to the present and discovered that Maureen was now standing in front of her and was tending to her fringe. This meant that Sarah’s view of the mirror was completely blocked and she had absolutely no idea as to how her hair was turning out. There was no need for impatience, however, because Maureen was actually finishing off the last few curls that needed her attention and in only a few further seconds she was standing in front of the mirror with a huge, approving, smile on her face. Sarah could still not see her reflection and was extremely pleased when, with great glee, Maureen announced; “Well, there we are young lady, we’re all finished and you have become wonderfully short and curly.
Sarah couldn’t help but break into a nervous smile as her heart began to race and the butterflies started to fly around her tummy.
Maureen, being most anxious that Sarah should be prepared for a little shock explained, “Now, before I let you have a look, I just want to remind you that it might seem a little strange at first and that it is important that you give it a chance and that I forewarn you of what you are going to see. Now then, what you are going to see is the reflection of a very nice looking young lady who has the most wonderful head of neat and tidy short curly hair. Please don’t expect to see the reflection of a girl who looks like she is still 21 and looks younger than her years because of a fussy and fashionable hairstyle, but do expect to see the reflection of a respectable and presentable young lady who looks completely contented and absolutely delightful. So Sarah, are you happy to meet the new you?”
Sarah, with a huge lump in her throat simply nodded; “Yes please”.
Maureen then simply moved to one side, allowing Sarah full view of the mirror. Sarah peered nervously at her reflection and her heart began to race as she saw herself with short curly hair for the very first time. She couldn’t believe how neat and tidy she looked and just how curly her hair had become. It was evident that Maureen had not held back and although she hadn’t styled Sarah to look like an old lady, she had been more than happy to ensure that Sarah had been left with an extremely plain and simple head of hair that had become very, very curly! Sarah couldn’t believe just how different she looked and was quite taken aback at just how sweet and sedate she looked with her hair so neatly curled away from her face.
Before she had sufficient chance to take it all in, Maureen had placed a mirror behind Sarah so she could study the back. Sarah was amazed at the difference, as the back of her head was now a mass of tight little curls, it looked much shorter and this was further enhanced by the fact that her hair had been curled completely into her hairline. Sarah’s attention returned to the main reflection, the reflection of the extremely gentle and sedate older looking woman who was staring back at her. Although she could accept and was actually quite happy with the fact she looked gentle and sedate, Sarah was really shocked and somewhat disturbed that she now looked so much older; admittedly her long hair did at times make her look like a young girl but with curly hair, there was no mistaking she was every one of her 26 years and some. She really wasn’t sure if she could cope with her curls making her look older but did, however, take heed of Maureen’s request that she should give it a little time to get used to it.
Maureen, appreciating that it must be quite an ordeal for a young girl, who was used to wearing her hair in fashionable up to date styles, to suddenly see herself in a non fashionable short curly style, decided it was time for a little encouragement; “I know it will take a bit of getting used to Sarah, but I must say that I really do think it suits you and you wear a curl beautifully.
These words pretty much fell on deaf ears as Sarah continued staring into the mirror. After a few more moments, Sarah took a deep breath and went to touch her curls. She gingerly placed her fingers to her hair and was greeted by the softest, springiest, short little curls. It felt unfamiliar but, at the same time, really nice.
Maureen, sensing that Sarah was still more than a little unsure, decided to remove the gown and suggested that Sarah take a look at herself in the full-length mirror that was beside her. Sarah stood up, walked over to the mirror and the moment she saw her conservative uniform, complemented by the neat little head of short curly hair that was so sweetly framing a face, things suddenly felt a whole lot better. Everything matched and although without a doubt she did feel every inch the “Plain Jane”, at the same time she felt incredibly gentle and feminine.
Maureen, sensing that Sarah was beginning to accept her curls, walked over to her side and in a very reassuring tone, enthused; “I must say Sarah, it is so nice to see a young lady with such a neat little head of short curly hair, it really, really, suits you and I’m sure that Steve is going to be over the moon when he sees you and your curls. The thing is though, you now have to make a decision; Are we going to wash this out for you and say goodbye to your curls? Or are we going to let Steve see you all nice and curly? In which case we need to put some lacquer on and try and make your curls last as long as we can?”
Sarah paused for a very brief moment; her thoughts went to Steve wanting to see her curly and his comments that he really liked his sister’s hair when it was permed because although it was an unusual style for a young woman to have, he really liked the plainness and simplicity of the style, and how it left her looking so wonderfully sweet, gentle, and unassuming. Sarah took a final look in the mirror, and as a wonderfully warm feeling began to run through her body with the realisation that her new appearance definitely matched Steve’s description, her mind was made up. “I’d like some lacquer please”.
Maureen was thrilled to hear that Sarah had accepted her curls, sat Sarah down and applied plenty of lacquer. She then broached the subject of what Sarah wanted to do next, as it was most unlikely that the curls would last until Saturday . Sarah pondered this for a moment, but she really wasn’t sure and found herself in a complete quandary. At this precise moment in time, she knew that she definitely wanted to be curly for Steve and his family but was not sure whether to stay with the set or to go for the perm. Although she was really tempted to go for the perm, at the same time she thought it would be wise to have some breathing space and to give herself some time to really get used to the idea.
Maureen sensing Sarah’s indecision, and not wanting her to be disappointed with any decision she made, regardless of which way she decided to go, came up with an ideal solution. Maureen explained that she had had two appointments cancel for later that week; one was for a perm at 9.30 tomorrow morning and the other was for a shampoo and set on Saturday morning. Maureen explained that it was far too late to fill the cancelled perm appointment and suggested that if she kept the appointment open for Sarah, on a just in case basis, if Sarah did decide that she wanted to become permanently curly, then all she had to do was arrive at 9.30. With regard to the shampoo and set, Maureen offered to pencil this in for Sarah, again so that she could have some time to think, and all she asked in return was that Sarah either arrived or phoned by 9.30am tomorrow morning with her decision.
Sarah thought about this for a brief moment, peered again at the presentable looking lady in the mirror, found the warm feeling begin to flow through her body and gladly accepted Maureen’s kind offer. At this point, a strong feeling of conviction came over Sarah as she asked if she wouldn’t mind doing her one extra little favour. Sarah explained that if she arrived at 9.30 tomorrow, it would be because she wanted the poodle perm and cut, and she would be grateful if once she’d arrived, she was asked no questions and was given no choices, she just wanted to be sat down and without another word be given a tight perm, a sensible haircut and sent home with nothing other than a sweet little poodle cut as they had been discussing. The reason for this strange request was not only because Sarah didn’t want to be given the chance to change her mind but also because she’d remembered something. Many years ago, she had been staying with her Nan during the summer holidays and had accompanied her to the hairdressers. Sarah had been sat down in the corner to read her book, but had been intrigued by what was going on around her. She had noticed that with many of the ladies, the hairdresser had gone straight to work trimming and rolling their hair, without any discussion of what her customer wanted. Having her own hair rolled up had brought this memory back, and Sarah for some reason felt an urge to experience this feeling, submitting herself to the authority of a strict, old-fashioned hairdresser.
Maureen gladly agreed to this request and assured Sarah that if she arrived tomorrow morning, that she would be given no choices and that by the time she was sent home, she would have become the most darling little poodle.
The time was now 3.30 and Sarah left the hairdressers to face the world for the first time as a girl with short curly hair. She had to admit that she did feel a little self-conscious as she walked down the road and the first thing she noticed was when she walked past the construction site where the workers had blown her wolf-whistles everyday for the last 3 weeks, this time there was total silence. It was apparent that young ladies, with conservative skirts and neat little heads of short curly hair, were not worthy of the attention afforded to the pretty girls. Sarah just shrugged her shoulders; she was not bothered as she had her man and she was very very happy. What Sarah did notice, however, was that although she was no longer a girl who stood out in a crowd, it appeared that older people seemed to be acknowledging her in an approving kind of way.
Although Sarah was feeling somewhat exposed and a tiny bit self-conscious about her new prim and proper appearance and her first instinct was to go home, hide and get used to it; She decided that the most sensible thing to do was to face the world so, having taken a very deep breath, she headed for the High Street where all the clothes shops were. The first thing she noticed was the number of trendy looking girls there were, most of whom had short, tight fitting skirts and sexy long hair hanging half way down their backs; there was one girl in particular who was walking towards Sarah and she could have been Sarah’s sister, they were the spitting image, well, that is before Maureen had spread her magic, the girl, with her long hair looked so so pretty.
Sarah found herself initially feeling a little sorry for herself when she considered that up until this afternoon she had looked just the same, and for a brief moment she really did wish that she still had her mane of luxurious long hair, the sexy appearance that went with it and the air of confidence it afforded. However, with that, a big gust of wind blew and the girls luxurious locks were blown all over the place. Sarah’s curls, however, remained firmly in place. Sarah looked at the now scruffy looking girl with her luxurious long hair now no more than a tangled mess and then at her own reflection in the shop window which confirmed that despite the gusts of wind, she was still a perfectly neat, tidy and presentable looking young woman. Sarah’s curls had stayed in place, as had her resolve, as she concluded that her trendy, long haired appearance reflected the time when she was single and mostly unhappy, whereas her conservative, short haired, appearance reflected the present and her hopes for the future which was a much happier place to be.
Sarah walked past numerous clothes shops and many of the trendy ones where she always used to go. She decided that it would be silly going to her usual fashion shops as, with her current hairstyle, short skirts and cropped tops would probably look more than a little silly. She did, however, decide to pop into the clothes shop where she’d purchased her conservative dress the previous weekend, as she had remembered seeing an outfit that had strangely taken her eye. The outfit in question was a pale pink toweling sweat top and pants. It wasn’t a trendy outfit that you would wear for sports, but more an easy, comfortable and presentable outfit that a busy mum would wear around the house. Sarah had considered it to be incredibly sweet and homely and although she had absolutely no use for it, she had been strangely drawn to it.
Sarah found the garment in question and although, without doubt, she would never have worn it when her hair and nails were long and her face was regularly adorned with makeup, now was different, because whilst spying the reflection of her new self in the changing room mirror, she decided, without doubt that this was the ideal outfit for a girl like her; whilst it was definitely plain and homely, it felt wonderfully comfortable, both physically and mentally. Without a second thought, Sarah purchased the outfit together with another extremely conservative dress to wear when meeting the Grandparents. At this point it was as if she had already accepted her curls because she then continued on a mission of buying clothes that would be appropriate for a plain and unassuming short curly haired girl. She purchased several knee length pleated skirts, some blouses, several cardigans and a few roll-neck tops. She also purchased several pairs of ladies’ trouser pants with elasticated waists; it was apparent that these trousers made her bottom and thighs look even bigger than ever, but they were really comfortable, looked extremely presentable and worn with a nice blouse, they really complimented her curly hair. Sarah left the shop with bags and bags of clothes; clothes that she’d never have dreamt of wearing before, but felt completely comfortable wearing now.
Sarah arrived home to an empty house as her Mum had already left to visit her sister, Sarah’s Aunty. Sarah, expecting no visitors, immediately ran upstairs and changed into her new pink sweat top and pants. She took a long look in the mirror and was shocked but, at the same time, absolutely thrilled at the reflection staring back at her. It was the reflection of a really sweet and homely looking girl, her sweet little pink little outfit really suited her and thanks to this, together with her neat little head of short curly hair and her face devoid of makeup, she was certainly left looking more than a little plain but, at the same time, she had become somewhat endearing in a sweet, gentle and sedate kind of way. A feeling of warmth and absolute contentment came all over Sarah, as for the first time properly, she’d accepted that she’d said goodbye to her old sassy and trendy self and had not only said hello to, but had completely embraced and become the kind of girl she really wanted to be.
Sarah went downstairs, made a cup of coffee and settled herself on the couch with a nice hot drink and a copy of ‘Cosmopolitan’ magazine. She felt completely contented as she flicked through her magazine and had to chuckle to herself when she came to the hairstyles section with the heading “The Sexy Styles Every Young Gal Should Be Seen In” as regardless of how hard she looked, although she could see several styles like her old style, she was damned if she could find a nice young model with short curly hair!
With a wry smile, she ran her fingers through her wonderfully soft springy little curls and said to herself; “Oh well, I guess I’m not at the forefront of fashion then! I suppose I’d better start reading “Good Housekeeping” from now on.”
Before Sarah could flick through any more pages, there was a ring at the door.
This story was originally written by hairscribe, and published in 2004. We have now collaborated to continue and finish the story. This story is also published at: https://f35hstories.wordpress.com