A Good Tidy-Up (To Meet The Parents) : Chapter 8

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“Hello Sarah, and how are you today?”

“I’m fine thank you. And how are you?”

“I’m very well thanks, if I just take your coat for you, we’ll get you gowned up and sat down and we’ll make a start”

Sarah allowed Maureen to take her coat and to help her on with the gown and then sat down at Maureen’s station as directed. Meanwhile, Maureen excused herself as she walked over to the staircase at the rear of the salon and called up; “Audrey, my 9.30 perm has arrived, would you mind manning the phone for me and perhaps sorting out the perm and rods?”

With scissors and comb in hand, Maureen walked over to Sarah and, whilst combing her hair, commenced with the normal hairdresser’s small talk; “So I take it the set didn’t last too well?”

“It did until I went to bed, but it didn’t stand up to the rigours of a good night’s sleep I’m afraid”.

Maureen smiled; “I thought that would be the case, but not to worry, we’ll make sure that your new curls will be nice and tight so that they’ll stand up to just about anything you can throw at them”. Maureen placed a reassuring hand on Sarah’s shoulder as she continued; “Don’t worry, we’ll make sure that you’ll definitely be looking wonderfully neat and tidy with all curls intact when you wake up tomorrow”.

With that, Maureen combed out a lock of hair and started snipping; “What I’m doing now Sarah, is removing all of the style by cutting all the layers to the same length, so that once you’re permed, your curls will be uniform in both length and size. The advantage of taking away the style in favour of a head of perfectly uniformed curls, is that no style means no styling and you’ll just be short and curly.”

Although a week ago, Sarah would have been horrified to hear these words, she actually found them comforting, because they were completely in tune with what Steve had said to her the previous evening. It also meant that Maureen was being true to her word and was doing the perm, as had been discussed, ‘without question’.

“There you are, that’s taken you up nice and short and got rid of the parting and tapering. Now I have left the fringe a tad longer, just to make it easier to get the perm rods in, but don’t worry, we’ll take it off once we’ve done the perm. I must admit, I always think it’s so much nicer to see a bubblecut where the fringe has been taken completely off, it just looks so much neater with the hair taken completely off the face and it’s so much simpler for the client as it takes the need for styling completely away.”

Sarah found this last statement to be, at first, more than a little disconcerting. However, she was determined not to lose her resolve and, having hoped that Maureen would take control, she was not going to upset the applecart by saying something that might diminish Maureen’s control and helpful, if somewhat matter of fact attitude. Sarah concluded that if Maureen felt it best that she should lose her fringe, then she would be happy for her to take it away.

Having placed her scissor and comb on the shelf, Maureen proceeded to pick up a very small pair of clippers. Sarah wasn’t sure whether they were clippers or trimmers, but what she did know was that they buzzed with a high pitch as if they were going very fast and they made her jump as they touched her neck. Realising that Sarah appeared somewhat nervous, Maureen found it necessary to reassure Sarah; “Now don’t you worry Sarah, all I’m doing is evening out your hairline for you because you don’t have a uniform hairline, which isn’t unusual and I want your curls at the back to pull in evenly. And then what I’m going to do is raise the hairline a little as I think you’ll find this will look a lot smarter, especially once your hair has curled up nice and tight. I always like to give my bubblecut ladies nice high hairlines; it just looks so much nicer when they wash ‘n’ go and it looks especially smart when the hair is set; there is nothing quite like the sight of a nice formal set where the curls curl in nice and tight above the natural hairline.”

Sarah was too busy trying not to react to the tickling she was receiving to really take any notice of what Maureen was telling her; she didn’t pick-up on the fact that her hairline was being taken up in order to give a certain appearance to her curls that would normally only be seen on very old ladies with extremely traditional hairdressing preferences, nor did she realise that Maureen had really gone to town on her and had raised her hairline by a good inch and a half from its highest point. The back of Sarah’s head was, without doubt, going to look very smart, very formal and incredibly traditional, but Sarah was completely oblivious to this; Sarah, however, would soon realise the effects of this seemingly inconsequential tidying up and it would come as somewhat of a surprise!

Having turned off and put away the clippers, Maureen called over to Audrey; “Audrey love, would you mind sorting out the perm and rods for me whilst I give Sarah’s hair a quick wash?”

“No, not at all. Which rods would you like?”

“I’d like the micro rods please, you know, the really, really tiny ones. Oh, and can you lay out as many as possible for me please as we want to make sure that Sarah has a proper head full of lots and lots and lots of nice tight little curls”.

“No problem, and what about the perm kit?”

“I think we’ll have the new hard to curl one please? Although I’m pretty sure a basic perm will do, I fancy that new one not only holds on for longer, but it also gives a tighter curl to begin with.”

“Okay, no problem.”

Maureen, again placed a reassuring hand on Sarah’s shoulder as she explained to Sarah that although the harder perm solution caused a little more damage to the hair, that she shouldn’t worry because her hair is in good condition and because she will not be styling it, and will have no use for a hairdryer, as long as she conditions it regularly, it should remain nice and healthy. Sarah nodded to confirm her understanding and followed Maureen to the shampoo bowl.

No sooner had Sarah’s hair been washed and she was sat down again at Maureen’s station with perm papers in hand ready to pass to Maureen as each perm rod was wound up. It was at this point that Sarah really began to realise the benefits of using a more mature and traditional hairdresser, because Maureen worked with lightning speed and great precision and certainly didn’t hold back with regard to winding the hair as tightly as could be; Sarah was amazed at just how tight the rods were pulling against her hair, but surmised that this must be good as it would probably result in super tight curls. In what seemed like no time at all, Maureen had finished and Sarah was left looking at the mass of perfectly situated and perfectly straight rows of the tiniest little perm rods she had ever seen. Whilst Sarah found it a little strange to see herself with perm rods for the first time, she also felt a feeling of warmth and excitement with the realisation that each little perm rod was going to leave a tiny tight little curl in its place.”

The next job was to wrap a length of cotton wool around the perimeter of the perm rods to keep the solution out of Sarah’s face and off of her clothes and, once this was secured, all that was left was to apply the perm lotion.

Maureen picked up the bottle of lotion, removed the protective cap and began to carefully apply the lotion, making sure that each and every perm rod received a liberal soaking. “Right then Sarah, that’s stage one of the perm complete, now all we need to do is give it some time to do its work. So can I get you a tea or a coffee and would you like a magazine?”

“Yes please, that would be lovely”

Sarah sat back and took a moment to reflect on the events so far. Whilst the reflection she saw in the mirror was somewhat surreal, it was also somewhat comforting to know that as each minute passed, she was slowly but surely becoming the girl that her boyfriend and mother wanted her to be; a gentle looking girl with short curly hair.

This feeling of warmth was further enhanced when Sarah looked down to the floor and realised just how much hair had been sacrificed in “removing the style”. Sarah could see that some of the locks were actually quite long, which made her realise that perhaps her plain short-layered cut wasn’t perhaps quite as short as she had imagined and, perhaps not quite as plain? This of course, brought Sarah back to reality with the thought that if the style she entered with wasn’t as short or plain looking as she’d thought, how short and plain was the style going to be that she’d be leaving with? Sarah calmed her thoughts with the memory of Steve’s words of how he wanted her to be and with this, a warm feeling came over as she told herself that she wanted it to be very short and very plain so that she would look nice and presentable for him.

“There you are lovey, one nice cup of tea and a magazine. Is that ok for you?”

“Yes, that’s lovely Maureen. Thank you.”

Sarah took a sip of her tea and started to glance through the magazine. The magazine, Woman’s Realm, was a publication aimed at the more mature and homely lady and was not the kind of magazine Sarah would normally read. There was no Reality TV gossip, no sensational stories of young and famous people doing outrageous things and certainly no articles on the latest fashion and styles. There were, however, patterns to make various items of clothing and plenty of recipes for wholesome home cooked food. Sarah found herself engrossed in the various recipes and couldn’t help but imagine herself being the modest homely housewife that Steve wanted her to be and cooking him one of the scrummy casseroles from the recipes section.

Sarah’s daydreaming came to an abrupt end as Maureen came over to check how the perm was doing. “Well that’s taking really well Sarah, and you’re already nice and curly, but I just want to leave it in for another 5 minutes or so to allow the curl to really tighten up.”

Maureen re-secured the perm rod and left Sarah to her magazine, but as hard as Sarah tried, she just couldn’t get back into the article. Her mind was all over the place, she had just been told that she was now a girl with permanently curly hair and she just wanted to see it.

The last 5 minutes dragged and dragged and Sarah thought it would never come to an end, but eventually Maureen came over to check again. “Right then, I think that’s just about it, the perm has taken really well and you are all nice and curly with lots of tight little curls. All we need to do now is get the lotion rinsed off, get you neutralised, then perm rods out, a quick shampoo and condition and you’ll be all done.” Sarah smiled and followed Maureen back to the shampoo bowl.

Whilst having her hair rinsed whilst still having her hair wound in perm rods felt more than a little strange to Sarah, this was not nearly as strange as the sensation of having the neutraliser applied. The neutraliser was not only incredibly cold, it was also incredibly smelly; the pungent odour of the ammonia was almost unbearable, bringing tears to Sarah’s eyes and leaving the most disgusting sensation to linger in her nose, mouth and throat.

Realising that Sarah was struggling a little with the smell, Maureen reassured her that it is always a shock when having your first perm neutralised, but it does get more bearable with each perm. Maureen went on to explain that the smell would linger a little for a few days until her next hair wash, but that the neutraliser was a very good thing because this was the chemical that made sure she stayed curly. Maureen further explained that the perm solution’s job was to break down the structure of the hair so that it would take the form of the perm rod and the neutraliser’s job was to effectively reconstruct the hair into the new shape, with the new shape being a very tight little curly curl.

“Right then Sarah, I know it’s a little uncomfortable to stay with your head laid back over the shampoo bowl, but I’m afraid that I’m going to have to leave you like this for a little while whilst the neutraliser does its job. Is that okay lovey?”

Sarah confirmed that she was okay, although it was a little uncomfortable, but tried to take her mind off of the nasty smell of the ammonia and the uncomfortable position she was sat in by telling herself that the neutraliser was her friend, and that a short period of discomfort was a worthy price to pay in exchange for a hairstyle that would be wonderfully practical and easy to manage, whilst being perfectly presentable and, most importantly of all, would give her the plain and gentle appearance that she wanted to adopt for her boyfriend.

Although Sarah tried her utmost to concentrate on positive thoughts, the time really seemed to drag on. It was a massive relief, therefore, when Maureen eventually came over to her and said; “Right then, let’s see how we’re doing here”.

Maureen undid one of the perm rods and, although Sarah had no way of seeing it, if she had been able to, she would have seen a perfectly formed, incredibly tight, tiny little curl. Maureen almost squealed with delight as she gushed; “Oh Sarah, your hair has taken a curl beautifully and you have definitely become wonderfully short and curly.”

Before Sarah had a chance to respond, Maureen had called Audrey over whilst she was hurriedly removing the remaining perm rods. “Look at this Audrey. These tiny little micro perm rods with that new hard to curl perm solution are incredible. I don’t remember a tight poodle perm ever coming out quite as tight and full as this; what do you think?”

“Oh Maureen, it’s taken beautifully, and no I don’t think I have ever seen anything quite so tight and full. Well, I think Sarah is a very lucky girl to have a perm take so well and with all these lovely tight little curls, she’s not just going to look like the sweetest little poodle, but it’s going to be so easy for her to look after.”

“Right then Sarah, you don’t want to hear us two prattling on; what you want is to see your curls, so we’ll quickly get you washed and conditioned and then you can see the result for yourself.”

Maureen proceeded to wash and condition Sarah’s curls with great vigour and enthusiasm and in no time at all Sarah’s hair had been towel dried and she found herself walking back towards Maureen’s station.

Sarah’s heart not only began to race uncontrollably, but it had also lodged itself firmly in her throat as she sat facing the mirror studying the reflection of the nervous looking girl whose curls were completely hidden by the towel adorning her head. Sarah didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as, for the first time that day, she actually felt fearful of the result.

Noticing that Sarah was visibly troubled, Maureen decided to give her a few moments to compose herself and, with a reassuring hand on her shoulder, she told Sarah that there was no hurry and that she should tell her when to remove the towel in her own time.

Sarah was grateful for Maureen’s support and understanding and used these moments to compose herself. Sarah realised that she needed to have a harsh word with herself, because this was not the time to start worrying about what the result might be; it was too late for that, as the result had already occurred and it was too late to do anything. She told herself that she should stop being silly, that her hair was already short, it was already curly and it was already styled to look plain and conservative and that was exactly what she had wanted, what Steve had wanted and what her mum had wanted. Although still feeling incredibly frightened and nervous, Sarah found these thoughts to be of comfort and, having taken a deep breath, looked into Maureen’s eyes and said; “Could I see my curls now please?”

Without saying a word, Maureen gently pulled the towel away and stood motionless, nervously awaiting Sarah’s reaction.

Sarah, having closed her eyes just before the towel was removed, found herself in a state of near panic. Her emotions were in a state of complete turmoil as she felt the feeling of intense pressure building up inside her. Sarah knew she had to calm herself down and managed to do this, although only by a very small degree, by reminding herself of the moment when Steve had told her that he would love to see her in a nice short bubblecut just like his sister used to have. With Steve very much in her mind, Sarah took the deepest of deep breaths, slowly opened her eyes and, to her complete surprise, was met with total and absolute relief. Yes, she was incredibly curly; Yes, the curls were absolutely permanent; Yes, her hair was shockingly short; Yes, she looked incredibly prim and plain and; Yes, she most definitely did not look as pretty as she used to but, equally, she now had the hairstyle and appearance that she and her boyfriend had both wanted and it was a joyous relief to see that she had actually achieved her goal.

Sarah couldn’t help but break into a great big smile and as she made eye contact with Maureen’s reflection; Maureen also broke into a smile as, with a motherly tone, she simply said; “Hello curly”

Sarah, not knowing quite what to say, simply replied; “Hello.”

“So what do you think?” Gushed Maureen.

Although most 26 year old girls would be in a state of shock at this point, Sarah’s feeling of complete relief soon turned into the most warm feeling of gentleness and femininity as in a very sweet tone, she replied; “I can’t believe how curly my hair is; and Audrey is right, I am just like a little poodle, but I love it and it’s just what I wanted. Thank you.”

“You are very welcome. I’m delighted that you like it and I must say, my older ladies would be very jealous if they could see how well your perm has taken” Maureen gently stroked Sarah’s curls as she continued; “And you are right, your hair is really curly and you’ve become a very curly girlie, but we haven’t finished just yet as there’s still a little more work to do before we can send you home.”

It was obvious for all to see that Maureen was absolutely thrilled with the result. Less obvious, however, was that, privately, Maureen was absolutely delighted to have been given the chance to give a young trendy girl a nice and sensible, old-fashioned short curly hairstyle, just like the nice girls used to have in the good old days, and she was not prepared to stop there!

Having picked up scissors and comb from the shelf, Maureen explained; “Right then Sarah, all we need to do now is trim the ends a little and tidy up around your ears, oh, and then quickly take off the fringe and then you’ll be all done, fresh faced, and ready to go home.”

Maureen didn’t wait for a reply before she started snipping and pruning and all Sarah could do was watch and wonder as Maureen went to work with great gusto and enthusiasm. Although Sarah was pretty relaxed and was finding herself actually enjoying all the pampering and attention, she couldn’t help but give some thought to Maureen’s intention of taking off her fringe. Although her hair was already very short and could not be described as anything other than incredibly prim and plain; the thought of completely losing her fringe and leaving her face completely exposed, for some strange reason left Sarah feeling a little unnerved. Wanting to avoid the panicky feeling experienced earlier, Sarah calmed herself with the thought that when Steve’s sister, Tina, was given her bubblecut, she must have lost her fringe too and, as Steve had only yesterday said that he wanted to see Sarah with a nice little bubblecut just as Tina had had, then it was probably right that Maureen should be taking away her fringe.

Sarah’s concerns with regard to the fate of her fringe soon came to an end when Maureen decided to update her on progress; “Right then Sarah, as you can see, I’ve taken you nice and tight around the ears and I’ve clipped away your sideburns; I really don’t like seeing women with fussy little sideburns and I think it’s much smarter if they are taken off nice and clean.”

Sarah could do nothing but agree with Maureen as she pensively replied; “Yes, I see; it does look much smarter. Thank you”

“You’re most welcome lovey” Maureen replied, as she continued; “Now I’ve also taken another half an inch or so off the length all over which has really tightened up the curl and has left you with a wonderfully simple uniform length all over. Now all that’s left to do is take this fussy little fringe off and you’ll be all done; so if you wouldn’t mind closing your eyes for me for a moment?”

Sarah obligingly closed her eyes and, whilst Maureen quickly snipped at her fringe, couldn’t help but wonder not only how she was going to look without a fringe, but also what the effect of having had another inch or so off all over would be. The effect of this most recent “trim”, of course, had been hidden as a result of the fringe having been left longer.

Sarah’s wonderment soon ended when, after a few short moments of frantic snipping, Maureen gloriously announced; “You can open your eyes now, you’re all done.”

Sarah tentatively opened her eyes and her curiosity, with regard to the effect of the “trim”, came to an immediate end as discovered that her mass of already tight little curls had indeed pulled in far tighter and much more closely to her head and this, together with the severity of having completely lost her fringe, left Sarah looking remarkably plain and modest in appearance. There was absolutely no style whatsoever; just an incredibly simple, wonderfully modest, neat little head of no-nonsense short tight curly hair.

“Right then Sarah, that’s all the cutting done and although your hair is nearly dry already, we’ll just give it a quick blast with the drier to make sure you’re nice and dry so you don’t catch a chill.”

Maureen placed a diffuser onto her hairdryer, turned it on and within no longer than a minute had turned it off. A quick blast proved to be just that and Sarah’s hair was perfectly dry and perfectly curly.

“There you are lovey, all done. Now that’s what I call a proper bubblecut and I think you look absolutely delightful, especially now you’ve lost that fringe of yours. Yes, I must say that losing the fringe has made all the difference; whilst some hairdressers are happy to leave their bubblecut ladies with a fringe, I guess they think it looks softer and leaves the client with some options, because they’re left with a little something to tease and hide behind, I believe it’s important to commit properly to a style, so I prefer to send my ladies out extra smart with their fringes taken off. Now then, let me go and fetch another mirror so that you can have a good look at the back.” Maureen pulled out a hand mirror from under the shelf and positioned it so that Sarah had a perfect view of both the front and the back. “There you are dear, and as you can see, your curls are lovely and tight and I’ve trimmed them up nice and short leaving you with a nice uniform length all over.”

Sarah was amazed to see just how short and tight her curls had become and it seemed a little strange to see her two little ears sticking out and a great expanse of newly exposed neck; it was evident that Maureen had taken away any hair that she had deemed to be anything other than absolutely necessary and had left nothing but pale skin between her collar and hairline. However, before she could give too much thought to this, Maureen continued; “And as you’ll be pleased to see, your curls have pulled up beautifully into your raised hairline at the back so there’s lots of clean space between your collar and curls and, thanks to having lost your fringe, your curls have pulled up perfectly back from your hairline at the front leaving a nice clean forehead”. With pride in her voice, Maureen continued; “I must say, you do look very smart and it is so nice to see a young lady with such a sensible and modest little hairstyle; Yes, I must say dear, it really does make a nice change to see a young lady place modesty and decency in front of vanity. So, is that ok for you?”

Realising that Maureen’s last statement about modesty and decency meant that she had jumped off of the “I must make myself look as trendy and attractive as is possible regardless of cost or effort” treadmill in favour of a more modest and simple life, where looking presentable is more important than looking pretty; where the acceptance of a plain and simple appearance is a fair price to pay, in return for the release from the responsibilities of having to maintain fussy and fashionable hair, the endless sacrifices required for a size zero figure and the open ended budget and the endless effort of chasing the latest trendy wardrobes.

Realising that, in short, this effectively meant that she had given up her trendy and attractive looks in return for becoming the person that she, Steve, and her mother, wanted her to be; a gentle, modest and unassuming looking plain Jane; Sarah couldn’t help but break into a really sweet and somewhat innocent looking smile as, with the most incredibly warm feeling of acceptance, gentleness and femininity flowing through her body, she answered; “Oh yes, it’s perfect, thank you so much for helping me.”

“You are most welcome sweetie.” Maureen gushed; “Now then, let me help you off with this gown and then I’ll leave you for a minute or two so that you can get used to your new curls.” Maureen helped Sarah off with the gown and then left her sat in front of the mirror.

Sarah sat motionless for a moment whilst she took a long hard look in the mirror. Whilst she couldn’t help but think that this was the most unflattering hairstyle she had ever worn which, without doubt, left her looking and feeling every inch the sweet and homely plain Jane; equally, and for some strange reason, this just felt so right. Having gained an element of composure and acceptance of the situation, Sarah slowly moved her hand to her head and ever so gently began to touch her curls and, in doing so, felt this even greater rush of warmth flowing through her heart. The reason for this added injection of emotion was that the curls felt wonderful to touch; they were so soft, so gentle, so springy and they brought the most wonderful memories flooding back of when Sarah used to touch her Nan’s curly hair when she was still a little girl.

Sarah couldn’t help but chuckle to herself with the thought that her own hair was now as short and as tightly curled as she had remembered her Nan’s hair to be; but this brought with it a very happy feeling because her Nan had always been a warm and loving, modest and gentle person, and this was exactly how Sarah wanted to be. Sarah took a deeper look into the mirror and couldn’t help but break into a sweet little smile with the realisation that the plain and conservative looking girl staring back at her was projecting exactly the same kind of modesty and gentleness, as she had so adored in her Nan. This smile grew even greater when Sarah’s thoughts turned to the reaction she would receive from her Nan when she saw her next.

With thoughts of what was sure to be a very positive reaction from her Nan firmly in her mind, Sarah found the strength to take a closer look at the two aspects of her makeover that she had struggled to completely come to terms with; her raised hairline at the nape of her neck and, more importantly, the loss of her fringe. Staring ever more intensely into the mirror, Sarah couldn’t help but think that, prior to having been removed, the fringe had not only complimented the short curly style but it had also softened the whole effect of the perm. However, with the loss of her fringe resulting in a far more basic hairstyle that left her face completely exposed and looking somewhat pale and ordinary due to the now permanent absence of makeup, Sarah began to realise that this was not only far more sensible and no-nonsense; it was also a statement, it was a statement of her commitment to modesty and decency.

With these thoughts, Sarah soon became more settled with the loss of her fringe and she began to further realise that the lack of fringe not only represented her commitment to modesty and straightforwardness, but also meant the style overall, being far more plain and simple, would be far easier to look after, as the loss of fringe meant the complete loss of styling choices. This last thought was the final piece of the jigsaw of acceptance for Sarah, as she realised that with no styling choices, there would be no temptation to go back to her old habits of spending hours trying to make herself look as trendy and attractive as possible. Breaking into a knowing smile, Sarah concluded that there was logic and motive to Maureen’s decision to take away her fringe, with the result being that whatever she did and wherever she went, Sarah would always look the same; whether she was busy at work, playing sport, dancing at the disco, eating at a fancy restaurant, making love to Steve or simply doing some housework; she would always look the same, and would always have the exactly the same plain and simple, no-nonsense, wash ‘n’ go short curly hairstyle.

Having concluded that less is indeed more, that the loss of her fringe was actually a very good thing, not only from the practicalities, but also from the appearance; Sarah had now decided that she did look extra smart and certainly more modest without it; and that, subject to Steve and her mother accepting her new appearance, from now her fringe would remain a thing of the past.

Having completely accepted her fringeless self, the only area of uncertainty remaining was that of the raised hairline. Having asked Maureen to hold up the hand mirror again so that she could take a closer look at the back, Sarah now found herself looking at the neatest little head of short tight curly hair and although her intention was to study her raised hairline, Sarah couldn’t help but notice that, from the back, it was impossible to distinguish her age. Sarah concluded that when her hair had been long and, even when it was shorter but had been cut into a trendy style, it was easy to tell that she was a young trendy girl, however, looking at the neat short curls, it was now impossible to tell if she was an old lady, a modest middle aged housewife or even one of those plain looking young girls with naturally curly hair who choose to keep their curls cropped short because they either do not have the skill or knowledge to look after their curls in anything but a short style or just find it easier to keep it cropped short. Although this realisation would normally shock a young lady of 26 years of age, Sarah actually found comfort in the fact that her life had become so much simpler and that she would, without doubt, be blending in with the crowd from now on.

Focusing now on the raised hairline, Sarah remembered what Maureen had said about her having an uneven hairline and thought back to when she used to wear a ponytail and how the hair from the nape seemed to be all over the place when it was pulled taut. This recollection was enough to put Sarah’s mind at rest and, she had to admit, the fact that Maureen had clipped the hairline so that it curved gently from the centre of her nape up towards each ear certainly did look jolly smart. Raising her hand up to her freshly clipped nape, Sarah gingerly ran her fingers over the newly clipped area whilst she listened to Maureen explaining that in addition to evening up the hairline, she had clipped it up another inch or so and that the reason for this was that even if she were to wear a polo neck jumper, because the hairline has been taken up further, there would always be the sight of exposed skin between collar and curls. Maureen reaffirmed that it always looks smarter if curls don’t touch collar and, of course, much much cleaner. Taking one final look in the mirror, Sarah concluded that she did indeed look wonderfully smart and the sight of so much exposed skin between collar and curls did look remarkably clean and certainly felt wonderfully fresh and free.

With that the job was done, Sarah’s insecurities had been covered and it was time to vacate the seat in order to allow another needy head to benefit from Maureen’s authoritative skills.

Sarah arose from the chair, turned around and started to walk towards the counter. Before reaching the counter, she couldn’t help but notice, from the corner of her eye, the reflection of what appeared to be a very plain looking lady with short curly hair. Stopping in her tracks, Sarah swivelled to the right and found herself looking face to face into a full length dressing mirror; she could barely believe her eyes as there, looking back at her, was a very plain and modest looking young woman with incredibly prim short tight curly hair, who looked to be in her early to mid thirties (not 26), was wearing a very conservative below the knee pleated skirt that, thanks to the cut, ensured the world could see her slightly chubby tummy and her somewhat homely child bearing hips, a pair of one inch heeled court shoes, a cream blouse and a cardigan and no makeup or earrings.

Sarah’s knees nearly buckled with the realisation that the plain and gentle lady was in fact her very own reflection and that this was how she now looked and this was how the world would see her from now on. Although Sarah had been doing really well up until this point, her resolve now completely crumbled as she found herself uncontrollably reminiscing on how she used to look and especially to how she looked just a few days ago when she’d entered the salon as a complete stranger in a blind panic, desperately wanting Maureen to tidy her up. Staring intently at the mirror, it was obvious to Sarah that Maureen had indeed tidied her up; she had also completely toned her down and had changed her life by transforming her from sassy Sarah the trendy trophy girl to modest Sarah the prim plain Jane. This final thought, rather than cause further upset, actually brought Sarah to her senses as it made her realise that if it hadn’t been for Maureen giving her a good tidy up, which had led to the wonderfully frank and open conversations with Steve that had resulted from her haircut, which had further led to them becoming much closer which, in turn, had led to Steve finding the confidence to tell Sarah that he wanted her to have short curly hair, then she wouldn’t now be staring at a reflection of herself with the appearance as had been requested and encouraged by both the man she loved and her mother. Pulling herself together by telling herself that this is the way she is meant to be, Sarah proceeded to the counter.

Sarah was greeted at the counter by Audrey with “Hello curly! Look at all of your lovely tight little curls, they look so sweet”

Sarah, not knowing quite what to say, smiled sweetly as she replied “Thank you”.

“I hope you don’t mind me saying Sarah,” gushed Audrey, “but it’s amazing how different you look with your neat little curly top.” She continued; “It looks so much nicer than your old haircut and I definitely prefer your hair curly rather than straight; you’re just like a cute and curly little poodle.” With Sarah struggling to get a word in edgeways, Audrey continued; “Yes, I think it is much nicer for you to have short curly hair, you look far more presentable, it will be much easier to look after and it will stay neat and tidy all on it’s own.” Barely taking a moment to catch her breath, Audrey enthused; “I really hope you don’t me saying this, but it really is nice to see a nice young lady leave our salon with such a simple and modest traditional short curly style; you do know that everyone’s going to think that you’ve become a nice and respectable young lady with your neat little head of curls don’t you?”

Sarah, feeling a little embarrassed upon hearing such gushing praise, instinctively patted her curls, smiled, and replied: “Well I do feel very neat, tidy and far more respectable with my hair like this and although I do think that I look like a little poodle, I am glad I’ve had it done. I’ve just got to pluck up the courage to show-off the new me to the world now.”

“Oh you’ll be fine. It might take people a little while to get used to seeing you with your hair like this as, after all, it is a very big change and people may be a little surprised to see a young woman with such a plain and modest hairstyle, but once they get over the initial surprise I’m sure they’ll all love it; you’ll probably find that people will call refer to you affectionately as their little poodle”.

Being not quite sure what to make of these last comments; Sarah, whilst struggling a little to retain her composure, again touched her curls and forced a gentle little smile as she replied; “Yes, I’m sure they will. Or curly top, or curly girly maybe? Anyway, let me settle up with you. How much do I owe?”

“Well for the cut it is £7.50 and for a full perm on short hair that will be a further £20, so that will be £27.50 please?” Audrey answered in a very matter of fact tone.

Sarah was absolutely astonished to hear the cost of a cut and perm that took in excess of two and a half hours to do was less than a trim at her old salon (£45) and colour (an additional £85). Sarah found herself doing a quick calculation and worked out that, assuming that Steve wanted her to remain short and curly, that she would probably require monthly trims and even if she needed a fresh perm every three months or so, she would still be saving a lot. Sarah pulled out £30 and happily left the change as a tip.

Having placed her purse back in her bag, Sarah broached the subject of her still requiring a shampoo and set on the Saturday and nervously enquired as to whether with her hair now being so much shorter, if it was still possible to have a set. At this point Maureen came over and said that the 8.30 appointment was already in the book and reassured Sarah that although her hair was indeed much shorter, it was still just about long enough to be set. Maureen did add, however, that because the hair was so short now, that she would have to use the smallest setting rollers, which meant that there would be no option for anything other than a more formal and somewhat traditional style. Maureen ended this statement with a big smile as she reassured Sarah that she would have no choice but to spend the weekend looking really smart with a nice conservative hairstyle and that after her last gentle and informal set, it would be a nice change for her.

Having been told that she should not wash or get her hair wet until Saturday, Sarah said goodbye to the hairdressers, walked over to the door and took a deep breath as she mustered the courage to leave the safe surroundings of the salon, and to face the world and its reactions to seeing her with her plain and conservative, neat little head of short curly hair.  



This is the last chapter from the original story written by hairscribe, and published in 2004/5. Brand new chapters to continue and conclude the story will be published soon, both here and at: https://f35hstories.wordpress.com

2 responses to “A Good Tidy-Up (To Meet The Parents) : Chapter 8

  1. Bubblecut … This is a real make over and a girl wearing tight little curls or barrels, looking divine ….. a raised hairline is the next which looks extraordinary and the slender neck is now exposed, a lovely picture ….. all in all perfection ….. miss prim and proper it is …. A wonderful chapter

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