As much as I had hated the styles that Edith had given me over the last four month’s, they were nothing compared to what Kathy had done to my hair. I had actually looked forward to having my hair styled by her but, in the end the results were much worse than I could ever imagine. Over the next few month’s I would get depressed every time I looked in the mirror, or every time I would run into a friend, and noticed them staring at my hair while we talked. I was still taking my mother to see Kathy every two weeks, but the only thing I was having done was more of the lifeless brown tint put in my hair and the bottom buzzed down to the skin. Each trip to Kathy was like the next, until our visit the last week of March when Kathy announced to my mother and I that Edith will be back for our next appointment.
My mind started racing thinking about what that meant. My hair was still permed quite tightly with only an inch or so of noticeable straight hair at my scalp. I could only imagine what Edith and my mom would have planned for my next visit, and none of what I was thinking was good. I tried to ask my mother about what I should expect from Edith’s return but all she would say was it would be just what I needed. I knew I couldn’t talk to my husband about it because with his new found alliance with my mother he would still get my hair just how he wanted. The Monday before my next appointment I ran into Mary, the stylist that I was seeing just before my mother took over my hair and the look on her face was one of disgust. I approached her and of course she asked why I hadn’t been to see her in the last eight month’s. The funny thing is when I told her about how my mother had gotten control of my hair styles, she knew exactly what I was going thru as her mother was a customer of Edith’s, and she had been in Edith’s chair as a teen girl. Mary went on to tell me that one of the reasons that she became as stylist was because of what Edith and her mother put her thru until she left home for college.
Mary went on to tell me that the solution to breaking free from her mother’s grasp on her hair happened the summer just before she left for college. Mary knew her social life at college would be non-existent if she arrived in her dorm with a poodle cut. While she was at the mall, school shopping with her friend she saw a shave-a-thon for cancer, and she knew it was just what she needed. Mary’s buzz cut was a hit at the dorm when she told the other girls why she had shaved her head, leaving out the part about the perm that she had until just a week before. As I took Mary’s story in I knew I too would have to sacrifice having any length at all if I wanted to be free of Edith’s plans.
I knew what I needed to do but I had to figure out how I would proceed. I wanted Mary to cut my hair but she told me she was booked solid for the next two weeks, which would put me in Edith’s chair one more time and I couldn’t allow that to happen. I was getting flustered as I called around for a salon that could get me in, none of them had available openings before I would have to go with my mother again. My feelings of dread continued to get worse as the Friday of my trip to Edith’s came. My husband even sensed that he should just stay clear of me when he saw me that morning. I slowly headed toward my mother’s house trying to think of any way I could get out of what I knew was in my future. As I sat at a red light in the middle of town, I saw the barber pole. The shop had been there my entire life, but I had never given it a second thought, now I was parked and headed towards the door.
The barber looked up as I walked in, now expecting what he was seeing. He half smiled as he got up from the chair and asked what he could do for me. I told him of my desire to have all the curls cut off, expecting some push back from him, but instead he turned the big chair towards me and asked me to have a seat. The barber caped me, then asked how I wanted it cut. My only thought before coming in here was to make sure that I would be free of Edith and my mother’s plans for me. I asked the barber to leave as much of the straight hair as he could as long as there was no way a perm rod could be put on my head. The barber said he knew what I meant and grabbed his clipper. As smile started to show up on my face as the barber sheared the back and sides of my head, leaving barely 1/8″ of hair. I started to laugh at my reflection with a ball of curls on top, and just stubble on the side. The barber put a much larger blade on his clipper, then put them right at my forehead. Less than a minute later the curls were gone, and I again had gained control of my hair. I walked out of the barbershop telling the barber I would be back in a few weeks.
I smiled all the way to my mom’s house. I knew she would be upset with what I had done, but it didn’t matter, I no longer had to submit to whatever her and Edith had planned for me. When my mother came out to the car she about fell over at what she saw. I just kept smiling as I drove her to her appointment with Edith. I held my head high as we walked inside. I couldn’t wait to see the look on Edith’s face when she realized that I was no longer a client.