Bethany was living the life, she was 21, just left uni, and was single and flirtatious. But all the partying had a toll. She was skint, not one pound to her name and no job yet. So, unfortunately, she had to move back in with her mother. Bethany’s mother Susan was an older woman, who had Bethany at an older age. Very prim, proper and conservative. And of course set in her ways.
When Bethany went on a gap year Susan wasn’t happy. Even less so when she came back. Bethany’s hair had grown to “an unacceptable length” she had called it. It was also bleached blond. Susan has always kept her daughters naturally brown and slightly curly hair at the most between her chin and shoulders, and that was only when it had been a while since she had cut it. But Bethany came back from her gap year with bleached blonde hair that was almost at her bum that she spent ages on in the morning straightening.
Susan nearly had a fit. “What would your grandmother think!” She had shouted at her and that was when Bethany moved out, going to uni and barely speaking to her mother since. Bethany loved her hair and more importantly the boys did. Bethany enjoyed flirting at bars and nightclubs being more beautiful and attractive than any girl in there. Her long blonde hair and tight clothes and short skirts made every girl jealous.
But financial independence had finished and Bethany needed to live at her mothers home for at least a few months. “Still have those rat’s tails I see” her mother said as she entered the house. Bethany shuddered, her mother had always called hair that she’s deemed “too long” to be rat’s tails, in fact it was her favourite phrase.
Bethany looked at her mothers hair. Absolutely plebeian, matronly and middle aged. It was permed and was mostly grey with a blue tint, cut short and shaved high up the neck. Now there was a look she didn’t want.
The day went on, her mother complaining about Bethany’s makeup, clothes, hair, basically the way she looked in general. When susan went to bed, Bethany grabbed a bit of money from her mothers purse and went to the closest nightclub, dressed in her shortest skirt and tightest shirt, spending the night flirting and dancing and drinking, kissing quite a few boys and drinking way too much. It didn’t matter that she had barely any money, the boys bought her drinks.
Stumbling home at 3am drunk out of her head, Bethany knocked over a vase at her mothers door. “Bethany!” Her mother screamed. “Bethany I’ve been worried sick where were you!”
“You’ve been drinking!” Susan said, catching the smell. “And look at those clothes, I wouldn’t wear them to bed!”
“Your face is absolutely plastered with makeup and look at those dirty, dirty rat’s tails!” She continued. “And you have no money! Is that where all mine in my purse went!”
Susan was furious, Bethany could tell. “I’m sorry mother” she said disheartedly.
“Right, were going to get this fixed tomorrow, I need to make some calls, you just get to bed!” Susan answered, pointing up the stairs.
When Bethany awoke to an alarm at 7am, everything was different, looking around the room all her bags which she’s hadn’t unpacked were gone, even her makeup bag she had put next to the mirror. “Mum!” She shouted, “where are my things!”
“Don’t worry darling I’ve left you some clothes in the wardrobe” her mother replied calmly. “Get changed and come down, we have an appointment today.”
“What?” Bethany thought out loud, “What appointment?”
Checking in the wardrobe revealed a skirt and blouse with a cardigan and socks and shoes. Bethany put them on and grimaced. The skirt reached below her knee and the blouse was obviously her mothers, the shoes were too.
Bethany sighed and went to straighten her hair, thankfully she had left her straighteners under her bed and her mother had the good grace to leave her a brush.
“Mum what’s all this about?” She asked as she got downstairs.
“We’ve got to hurry dear you took way too long before the appointment” she replied, dragging her out the door and into the car before rushing down the road, leaving Bethany confused rushed.
Finally they stopped, outside a non-descript building with a sign that said Karen’s. “Come on dear” Susan said, smiling broadly as she dragged Bethany into the building. Inside was a desk with a older middle aged woman behind it, who smiled as Susan entered.
“Susan, good to see you again” she said cheerfully. “And this must be Bethany.” The woman had a similar haircut to susan, Bethany noted.
“Yes this is her, thankyou for seeing us on such short notice Karen.” Susan replied
“Oh I had to, it’s not often I get such a chance as this.”
“Come come” Karen said, grabbing Bethany herself and dragging her through the curtains behind her.
Inside was terrifying to Bethany, it was a hairdressers, but not the type she would go to. The place screamed old fashioned, with ancient chairs and those massive hairdryers with helmets. There was also a terrible smell that she couldn’t place.
Bethany was in shock. “Come dear, I think this needs to be done as quickly as possible.” Karen said, dragging her to a chair. “I love the clothes deary, but this hair…”
Karen grimaced. “You definitely need a cut.”
Bethany looked terrified. “Please don’t” she said meekly.
“I’m sorry, but these rat’s tails need to come off” Karen replied indignantly.
Karen then turned to Susan. “Come over here let’s talk.” With that Karen and Susan went away and started whispering, leaving Bethany quivering in the chair. She wanted to run but there was only one door, and she seemed to be paralysed by fear.
Karen returned with Susan. “We’ve had a chat and decided on what to do” she declared, smiling widely. “So let’s get started.”
Karen deftly and quickly started brushing Bethany’s hair. “You use straighteners on your hair don’t you?”
Bethany nodded in response. “Damn machines, who would want to get rid of curls?” Obviously she hadn’t read any recent fashion articles Bethany though.
“Right then” Karen said as she finished the plait. She quickly picked up some scissors and dove right into the hair, cutting it off above her neck, almost a foot long lock fell to the floor. Bethany almost screamed as she looked on in horror.
“Finally getting rid of those rat’s tails” her mother said, smiling widely as Karen continued cutting.
Soon all of Bethany’s long hair was on the floor, lying there flatly no longer to playfully decorate her head. There was no hair longer than 3 inches on her head.
“Right now just relax dear” Karen said as she picked up a bowl. “We won’t go back to your natural colour, we’ve decided on something else.”
Karen then started pasting bleach over Bethany’s hair, leaving no part untouched. “But I’ve already bleached my hair!” Bethany shouted.
“Yes we’re just taking it a bit lighter for you” Karen replied, finishing.
After leaving the bleach for a while Karen took Bethany over to a sink and started washing it off, rinsing her hair thoroughly. She then picked up another bottle and opened the top, rinsing her hair again with whatever liquid was in it.
Soon finished, Bethany was led back to the chair on her weak legs before being roughly towelled dry, which took almost no time at all.
“There’s your new colour darling” Karen said, turning Bethany towards the mirror. Bethany jumped. Her hair was the same colour as her mothers!
“It’s called a blue rinse, usually used to get rid of greys but since I bleached your hair white it also works here.”
“Right then, next part quickly” Karen continued, picking up a tray. As quickly and deftly as ever she started rolling Bethany’s hair in tiny pink rollers, not even stopping for a breath. Soon Bethany’s head was filled with dozens of tiny pink rollers.
Karen then picked up a bottle and started squirting it on Bethany’s hair, saturating each rod with the liquid. Bethany recognised the smell from when she entered.
Karen quickly finished and dragged Bethany over to the hair drying chair and folder her to sit. She then turned on the machine over Bethany’s head. It was so loud in there that Bethany couldn’t hear a word.
She could see her mum smiling brightly and talking to Karen, pointing at some products on the bench. She then picked up a lock of Bethany’s severed hair and grimaced. Even without hearing her Bethany knew what her mother was saying. “Rat’s tails.”
Karen eventually came back to Bethany and poked the rollers in her hair. “It’s done” she proclaimed, dragging Bethany back to the styling chair.
With her signature speed she began unraveling the pink rods, revealing curls where previously straight hair had been. She then with a 4 pronged type comb started shaping and moving Bethany’s hair into a ball shape.
“What have you done!” Bethany shouted staring at her reflection.
“It’s called a perm dear” Karen replied calmly. “It’s very neat and tidy and requires no styling in the morning. It’s a real wash and go style.”
“You can wake up and wash and do whatever and it’ll stay exactly like that, all the time!” She said grinning widely. “The older girls love it, and over time you will too just wait.”
Bethany was in shock. A perm! That meant permanent! She had permanent curls!
“Almost done dear” Karen said, picking up some clippers. Bethany nearly wet herself when they were turned on.
Karen quickly put the clippers on Bethany’s neck, pushing them up until her occipital bone and tracing a line around from there. As soon as she was done Karen picked up a straight razor and a mug of soap.
Covering the freshly bare areas with the soap she then shaved with the straight razor so that all that was left was pale skin, no stubble.
Finally she reached for a spray bottle. “This is hair lacquer Bethany. You won’t need this most days, but I like to have my girls leave with a healthy sheen to their curls.”
Liberally spraying Bethany’s hair she stood back at shook her head, going in for a second coating. “There we go, a nice, neat, sensible, easy to style, curly bubble cut perm.”
“What more could you want!”
Susan smiles widely at her daughter. “Oh it’s wonderful Karen! All those nasty rat’s tails on the floor and a nice neat head of short curly hair!”
“And a nice high neckline too!” Susan continued. “It always looks so dirty when girls with short hair have their natural hairlines.”
Bethany looked in the mirror, not seeing herself look back. This woman was in her 30’s at least! Not 21! She reached up and touched her hair, it was extremely stiff. The blue curls moving almost as if one object. Next she touched her nape, shivering when she felt bare skin with not even a trace of hair.
“Come dear” Susan said, holding Bethany’s phone. “I need to take some pictures for all your new profile pictures, on Facebook and what’s this one, tinder!”
Susan took some photos of the extremely unhappy looking Bethany, putting it on all her social media with the caption.
“Finally cut off my dirty rat’s tails, loving my new ‘do. Booked in for a trim, shampoo and set next week at Karen’s!”