Stephanie is a very cute girl. A natural beauty you might say and she is a recent beauty school graduate. Her look is very simple. She 22 years old, about 5 ft, 5 inches tall, deep blue eyes, slim build. She generally wears little or no makeup and her hair is very thick and healthy styled straight just down to her breasts in the front and just past her bra strap in the back. Its color is a rich honey blond, with the exception of some under layers in the back. The girls at beauty school convinced her to color the bottom layers of her hair a deep chocolate brown. It sticks out about 4 inches below the blond in the back. She also has a light pink 2 inch wide streak in the front right side of her head. She personally would have never had that done to her hair. You see, she is very shy and doesn’t like to attract any attention to herself. But, her then boyfriend, now husband talked some of her follow students into trying to convince her to do it to her hair. Finally, Stephanie stopped resisting and gave in to there request. Her hair style itself is very simple and really does look very nice on her.
So far Stephanie’s year was fantastic. First she got married in February and in June she finally graduated from Beauty School. She loved being married and really had no intention of finding a job. After all, Tom, her husband had a good job as an accountant working for the Armstead Aluminum, one of the largest employers in the state. Besides she hated the idea of going to look for a job. Her shyness overtakes any idea of meeting new people unless absolutely necessary. She couldn’t stand the thought of having to go introduce herself and ask for a job from strangers. Not that interviewing is difficult, but she would have to meet complete strangers. She tries to avoid any confrontation and really likes just keeping to herself… and Tom.
All that came to an end one day when Tom came home from work early. He explained to Stephanie that because of the bad economy he was placed on a temporary layoff for at least 3 months and with them just being married she was going to have to find a job. She was devastated. She broke into a sweat just thinking about it, but she knew she had to find one. She decided it was easier for her to call salons and ask over the phone if they were hiring instead of meeting people face to face. Well, you know that’s not going to work very well. She tried all of the exclusive salons without receiving even one offer for an interview. Then she started calling the salon chains. She did receive a couple of interviews but with no luck. With her shy personality, she doesn’t come across well at interviews even though she was one of the top student stylists in her class.
She was getting desperate. Shy or not she was going to have to find a job. She checked all the local papers daily and called. Those that interviewed her let her down gently. Telling her they already hired someone or they didn’t think she was a good fit for their salon. But after one such interview, while she was driving back home through a small town, she saw a €˜hair dresser’ wanted sing in the window of a ‘Beauty Parlor’.
She slowed down and looked at the salon as she drove by. It was a small place. Looked like someone renovated it from an old house. Not really the type of place she had in mind to be working. As she continued down the street she couldn’t help but think she had to give it a try. She turned the car around and drove into the parking lot. It was a small lot. Only enough spots for 8 or 9 cars. She was sitting in the car gathering the courage to go inside when she was startled by someone tapping on her window. She shyly rolled her window down to be greeted by a sixtyish year old woman with a white bouffant hairdo.
“Hi there, may I help you? My names Edna and I own this beauty parlor. I noticed you sitting here and thought you may be lost or something.”
“Ah ah ah… I’m Stephanie…….. Ah, I just noticed you had a stylist wanted sign in your window and I was going to come in to see if ah… ah… you still needed someone.”, Stephanie stammered.
“Sure, come on in and we can talk about it.” Edna replied. With that she opened Stephanie’s door and helped her out. The two of them then went into Edna’s beauty parlor.
The first thing Stephanie thought as they entered the salon was like they were going back in time. It was a small well lit salon. The reception area consisted of an old desk, 4 old wooden chairs and a coffee table with old hairstyle magazines on it.
The walls were white and pink and the floor was a black and white tile style. There was a curtain separating the reception area from the salon itself. And the walls were a couple of posters of old hairstyles.
“Now have a seat here and tell me about yourself, Stephanie.”
“We’ll I… ah… ah… ah… really need a job. I just got married and graduated from beauty school and Tom lost his job and I really need a job…” Stephanie was starting to tear up “I’ll really do a good job, I€¦ I€¦ I was one of the best stylists in my class…I really need a job.”
“Oh, I see. I see. You know this is not one of those new fangled salons. We cater to the needs of our clientele. Most of them are older women and prefer just a wash and set.”
“Yes maam”. Stephanie softly answers. Her voice trailing off and she gets up and starts to leave, rejected again.
“Hey, where are you going?”
Stephanie stops and looks back at Edna.
“Just maybe we can work something out”. Edna says as she stands up and puts her arm around Stephanie.
“I think so. You know you’ll have to where a uniform. And we’ll have to do something with your look. Your style is not exactly what our clients are used to here. And your hair color, we can’t have a stylist working here with a botched up color job like that. Then of course you’ll have to learn our type of styles and sets.” Edna added. “But I think it will work out. What do you say?”
“Oh, yes maam, anything. I can change my hair and I’m a fast learner€¦” Stephanie excitedly answers.
“I’ll have you work with Martha. She’s in touch with the younger set. She’ll know just what to do. You can be her assistant until you get up to speed.
“Oh yes maam, yes whatever.” Stephanie replies as she looks through a crack in the curtain seeing someone being worked on at one of the stations.
“Now then, when can you start? I need to replace Sally Mae as soon as possible.”
“I can start now, I can start right now,” Stephanie shouts out without hesitation.
“Calm down now girl, it’s too late now. It’s after 5:00. How bout tomorrow we get you started. I’ll pay you salary plus commission until you build up a clientele. But, before you start you need to go over to Livingston’s and get a couple of uniforms. It’s just down the street here. You passed it coming to the shop. Just go there on your way home and tell them you’re going to work for me. They’ll know what to do. Then tomorrow, Martha will fix that hair. She’s the best. She’ll fix you up then I want you to shadow her for a while. How’s that sound?” Edna says.
“Oh that’s great, just great. What til Tom hears, he won’t believe it.” Stephanie says.
“Martha,” Edna calls. “Martha, come up here for a minute, I want you to meet our new employee”.
A few seconds later a taller, slender woman in her early forties comes up to the front. She’s wearing a pink and white smock and her hair styled in an updo, a pretty high updo. “Hi, I’m Martha, pleased to meet ya”.
“Martha, Stephanie here is going to fill Sally Maes spot starting tomorrow. I’m going to have her shadow you until she gets up to speed. But, before that, I need you to do something with her hair. Make her presentable,” Edna explains. With that she has Stephanie turn around and she lifts the back of Stephanie’s exposing all of the dark hair. “Look at that, those beauty students ruined her hair. Look what they’ve done. It looks like they ran out of color€¦ And look at this piece here” pulling the pink strand away from her head. “What were they trying to do here? We’ll… you’ll have to fix it tomorrow.”
“Sure can, We’ll get Stephanie all spruced up tomorrow” Martha replies.
“Now Stephanie, be here tomorrow at 9:00 sharp and remember to get your uniforms today before you go home. OK? You’ll only need to bring your scissors and license. I’ll take care of everything else you’ll need. Understand?” Edna explains.
“Ah…ah…Yes maam,” Stephanie answers with a big grin on her face and turns and leaves the salon.
Before she pulls out of the salon, she calls Tom on her cell and tells him the good news she’s so excited telling him she almost drives past Livingston’s.
As she enters Livingston’s a older woman meets her at the door and introduces herself as Victoria Livingston. “You must be Stephanie; Edna called and told us you’d be stopping in. Edna’s been doing my hair for years.” Her hair was piled high in a bouffant style.
“Four uniforms she said two of each style. Now, turn around, I’ve just got to see what those students did to your hair. Wow Edna was right; it looks like they ran out of color. Now, what size are you a five?”
“Ah…ah…ah yes.” Stephanie said wondering what she meant that Edna said about running out of color.
“Here try one of these on to be sure and then you can be on your way.”
Stephanie took the top and pants and went into the fitting room. She looked in the mirror. They fit perfect she thought, but they sure look old fashioned.
As Stephanie exited the fitting room Victoria asked her if they fit alright. Stephanie nodded as Victoria grabbed her arm and walked her to the shoe department. “Can’t leave without finishing the outfit. These are the shoes the other stylists wear at Edna’s. They’re very comfortable. And don’t worry about paying, Edna always picks up the bill for all her employees”.
Before she knew it Stephanie was leaving the store with four uniforms (with her name monogrammed on them, slacks, two white tunics and two pair of white nurses shoes.
When she got home it was late. Tom already ordered pizza so Stephanie could just rest and get ready for her first day of work. She explained to Tom how nice Edna was and she didn’t even need to take her blow dryer or anything. Edna was supplying everything.
Stephanie couldn’t sleep that night. She was so excited yet nervous about being with a totally new group of people. But, the thought of Edna, comforted her. She was so nice. And so was Martha. She started thinking of how Martha might be doing her hair. She liked her blond hair now and never really did like the dark in the back. And it was Tom’s idea for the pink streak. She didn’t like it either. It generated too many looks. Hopefully now they’ll make it all a nice golden blond.
Stephanie was up early to get ready for work. She really wanted to look good today. Especially she wanted her hair to look good. She liked it long and straight. It was simple, not an attention getter, but still stylish. Tom liked it too. He picked out the colors with the other beauty school students and he loved to run his hand through her hair. She took extra care drying her hair making sure it laid just right. It looked perfect. She put in a zigzag side part and it lay gently on her breast. She even slightly curled the pink stripe making it stand out ever so slightly from the golden blond. She tried to put a little curl in the back with her curling iron. This was the best her hair has looked since she graduated from beauty school.
She put on more makeup than usual. A light pink lipstick and a bronze eye shadow. She never looked so good. The uniform fit her perfectly, but it looked like she was a candy striper in the 60’s. Tom gave her a big kiss and told her how proud he was of her to come through like this when they needed it most. With that, Stephanie left for work.
Stephanie walked into Edna’s shop about 10 til 9. Edna was sitting at the desk checking today’s book. “I see Victoria took good care of you. You look perfect in that uniform. Now, let me show you around before Martha takes over. As they walk through the curtain, Stephanie gets her first real look at where she’s going to work. She sees, 4 styling chairs, 4 old fashioned hair dryers, and two washing stations. Someone was already sitting under one of the dryers.
“Over hear is your station” Edna says pointing to a chair along the wall. It has a square mirror in front with a counter full of rollers, bobby pins, combs and brushes. A trolley of perm rods was neatly parked along the wall with boxes of perms on shelves above it.
Stephanie notices she didn’t have a blow dryer. “Ah…ah…Edna… I forgot to bring my blow dryer…” she softly says.
“Oh…. Ah OK”.
Just then Martha walked over and started picking at Stephanie’s hair. “Wow girl, we’ve got our work cut out for us today”. Edna, I’ve got a 9:30 I’ve got to do, but maybe you and Norma can split my other clients this afternoon. This (holding out Stephanie’s hair) is going to take some time.
“OK Martha, we’ll cover for you” Edna and a voice from someone just coming out from the back. “Hi, I’m Norma. Welcome aboard.”
“Ah…Hi, I’m Stephanie.” Stephanie said, staring at one of the strangest hairstyles she’s seen. Right out of the sixties. Norma seemed to be fortyish with red hair and her hair looked like it was in a beehive.
While Martha was working on her 9:30 appointment, Stephanie got familiar with the rest of the shop. The back room had all the supplies needed; all the stations were clean and spacious. She had plenty of room for her tools. She then straightened her station and washed towels.
It was just after 11:00 when Martha called her over to her station.
“Have a seat. Are you ready? Edna mentioned to me we needed to make you look a little more mature” she continues.
“Ah… ah… if you say so,” Stephanie replies.
“Before we get started is there anything you like about your hair?” Martha inquires, implying that Stephanie has some say with her new style.
“Boy Edna, I think we’ll have to start that color from scratch. What do you think?” Martha continues.
“I agree, nothing with those colors salvageable,” Norma adds.
“Ah…ah…I sort of like it long and straight and Tom kinda likes the little pink stripe. It was his idea to do it, and he…” Stephanie’s voice fades as Martha interrupts.
“He does? He likes that pink? What do you think ladies?” Martha says looking at Edna and Norma.
“I think you should be able to work something out. He is her husband” Edna adds while running her fingers through Stephanie’s hair.
“Ah…ah…” Stephanie tries again.
“Martha, what do you think of …” Edna’s voice fads as the three of them head to the back room leaving Stephanie in the chair wondering what are they going to do to her.
“That color’s got to go. It’s a good thing her hair is so healthy, because I don’t know how long I’m going to have to leave that bleach on.” Martha says to Edna and Norma.
“She’s got a good head of hair, it can take a lot. So, what color are you thinking, how about a light Champaign blond” Edna suggests.
“How about a Champaign blond with just a touch of red giving it just a hint of pink. That will please her husband. It will be like pink Champaign” Norma adds.
“What have you got in mind for a style?” Edna asks while Martha starts to mix the bleach.
“What do you think of one of those big sassy flips? You know where it flips on one side and curls under on the other. Piled real high too. I think they call it a tube.”
“And give her a big bang. Something like this” Norma says showing Martha and Edna a picture from one of the magazines.
“She really needs a perm to help it hold, but I’m afraid it will ruin her hair after all that bleach. If it doesn’t hold, I’ll just perm her next week” Martha adds.
A few minutes later Martha emerges from the back with a big bowl of blue bleach. “This should be enough to get us started. We’ve got to strip it first” she adds while she starts sectioning Stephanie’s hair and applying the bleach.
Stephanie just nods and lowers her head. Her hair’s in great condition but she’s concerned about stripping it with bleach. ‘Oh god, what is she going to do to me.’ she thinks. About a half hour later, her hair is completely covered with bleach. While she’s waiting for the bleach to process, Martha gives her a couple magazines to pass the time.
After about 40 minutes, Martha hurries Stephanie over to the sink and washes out the bleach. When Stephanie returns to the chair Martha calls Edna over, “Edna, look here in the back do you think I should put a little more on here to try to even it out.”
“I think you should dear, the rest is perfect. But, it will be uneven if you don’t get that lighter. Don’t leave it on too long now”
That being said Martha adds another coat of bleach to the back of Stephanie’s head and then all over just to make sure it all is lifted enough. After about 15 minutes Martha washes it out again.
“Awe, perfect. Edna this is perfect” she yells over to give Edna an update. She then raps Stephanie’s hair in a towel and says, “Now we can really get to work. Go on back to my chair while I get the toner.”
Stephanie walks meagerly back to Martha’s chair and takes a seat. As she looks in the mirror, she looks drained. The excitement of her new job has already worn off. When Martha gets back she takes the towel off and Stephanie stairs at a big glob of cottony looking tangles on top of her head. Her hair, her gorgeous hair looks like a big glob. Martha turns the chair away from the mirror saying, “now the fun begins, no more peaking.”
Stephanie just nods as Martha combs the tangles out of her hair and applies the light pink Champaign toner. “Your husbands just going to love this color. Edna and I mixed it special.”
About 25 minutes later Stephanie was back at the shampoo area getting her hair rinsed out again. Edna came back over to see the results. “Oh my god, this is gorgeous, I can’t wait to see it when it’s dry” she exclaims.
Martha again raps the hair in a towel and escorts Stephanie back to her styling chair. Again, she turns the chair away from any mirrors and combs her hair out. The next thing Stephanie feels is a tug and then a ‘schnick’. Stephanie’s head jerks. “Oh, don’t worry honey; I just need to shorten it just up a bit, not too much.”
The next cut Stephanie felt is across her neck – ‘schnick’. Her eyes start to well up with tears as she continues to sit still. This cutting – schnick – went on, – schnick -, for about, – schnick -, forty minutes. All the time, Martha was being careful not to allow any of the clippings fall in front where Stephanie could see the color.
“All done, now let’s get you set. Oh I thinned it out a bit at the base of the crown to help give it lift.” Martha proclaimed. Again she combs out Stephanie’s hair and starts combing and setting it in BIG rollers. Before each roller is rolled the hair is heavily coated with a setting gel.
Stephanie never had her hair set before and really didn’t know what the process was. Another 30 or 40 minutes go by when Martha puts a net over Stephanie’s rollers and walks her over to the dryers. Have a seat my dear, we’re almost done now.
” Oh ya, Edna said Tom called and your supposed to meet him at Walker’s (a very exclusive restaurant) for dinner tonight. Victoria was here when he called and mentioned she didn’t want you going out with your uniform on and was coming back with some clothes for you to wear tonight. That Victoria, she’s such a sweat person.” Martha informs Stephanie.
As Stephanie sits under the dryer she looks at two clients that were in the shop. Edna was just finishing up an older lady who had a curly old ladies do with a light blue tint. The other client was in her 40’s had a high bouffant with bangs, very 60’s. Actually it looked very nice on her.
Finally Martha came over and walked Stephanie to the backroom. “Here Victoria brought you this sweater, skirt and loafers. She also brought this padded brazier. She thought it might help you fill out that sweater better. And at no charge! She’s coming back to see the finished look when we’re done.”
“Here I’ll help you” Martha interrupted and she started to help her with her clothes. “First the brazier€¦, Boy, that really fills you out”, Martha said as she fastened it in the back.
Then the skirt and sweater. It was a pleated straight black skirt that hung just below the knees. The sweater was cashmere and a soft pink color. The loafers were a plain black.
Stephanie looked at the skirt and started to say something, but Martha grabbed her and took her back to her chair. Again the chair was facing away from any mirrors. “Honey we better do it up right for you today. I better touch up that make-up and fix those eyebrows too.”
Before Stephanie could acknowledge, Martha had smeared a cream on her face and started removing her makeup. Then she went to work applying the new makeup. First lets get rid of those bushy eyebrows. The pain of her plucking went on for what seemed like forever. Finally, she declaired them done. Now lets got on with the makeup. First the foundation then a light pink lipstick, eyebrows and finally the eyes. “Have you ever worn eye liner, Stephanie,” Martha asked.
“Ah…eye liner… ah… no. I don’t really wear a lot of make-up at all,” Stephanie replied.
“Well we want to emphasis the eyes, so you’re going to wear some tonight. Oh my, where has the time gone? It’s almost 5:00. We’ve got to get a move on. Edna, would you start taking out the rollers while I finish her makeup”.
“Sure Martha, Oh my, she is soooo cute. She looks a little more mature too. Very nice.”
Edna finishes taking out the rollers about the same time Martha finishes with Stephanie’s make-up. Martha then starts brushing out Stephanie’s hair. Then the spraying, combing, teasing, lots of teasing and more spraying. She must have used a whole can of hairspray. After about 45 minutes, she takes a can of hairspray and empties it on Stephanie’s hair. “What do ya think, Edna,” Martha asks.
“It’s gorgeous, just gorgeous. She’s gorgeous. Are you ready Stephanie?”
Martha takes off the cape and turns the chair to face the mirror. Stephanie’s mouth drops open. What she see’s is not the 22 year old, shy yet stylish young woman. But, what appears to be a 35 year old, 1960s whore. White…no light blond… no light pink hair. High hair, super high hair with a flip, a big flip on one side. Dark eye makeup, dark pencil thin high arched eyebrows, pink lips and breasts that look like torpedoes sticking out of a pink sweater. “Oh my god?” we’re the only works that could come out of Stephanie’s mouth.
“Edna and I mixed the color special. Champaign blond with just a hint of pink. See how you really don’t see pink until the light hits it just right. Then it shimmers. We did it thinking of your husband. Sexy, just a hint of pink. You did say he liked that pink streak you had. And the makeup. Now, now you’ve got just enough. You’ve got such pretty eyes we wanted to give them the focus.
And it was Victoria’s idea for the clothes. She heard what we were doing and thought you needed an outfit to accentuate your shape. I can’t believe how gorgeous you look.” Martha gushed.
“Gorgeous, I haven’t seen anyone look so good in years. It’s an honor to have you working in our little shop. You’re a model. We’ve got our very own model,” Edna added.
“I can believe she’s the same girl, or should I say woman. She certainly doesn’t look like a child anymore.” Victoria claimed.
“I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it’s me, how can I….” Stephanie meekly said.
“Come on, you’ve gotta go. You’ve gotta meet Tom. Walker’s, you’ve got to be at Walker’s by 6:30. Come on, let’s get you moving” and all three of them hurried Stephanie out to her car. Edna then hands Stephanie $80 and tells her dinner is on her and to have a good time. “You can tell us all about it tomorrow and don’t worry about coming in until late.” Edna says.
Stephanie just sat in the car a few minutes. She had to sit low in the seat because her hair was touching the ceiling of the car. She touched her hair. It was stiff. It wouldn’t move. It was like touching hard plastic. She just wanted to go home. She certainly didn’t want to be seen in public, not at Walker’s looking like this. But, she had no choice. She left her cell phone at home, because Edna has a rule of no cell phones so she had no way to contact Tom.
She drove slow, just wondering what she could do. She really didn’t want to be seen in public. But, could think of nothing. Finally, she arrived at Walker’s. As she walk toward the hostess. All heads turned to look at her. She feels everyone staring at her. She hates the feeling. The hostess points her in Tom’s direction and she heads towards him. She feels she has to walk carefully. The height and weight of her high hair seem to make her head feel heavy. Again, she feels the eyes everyone in the restaurant following her every move. Finally, she stops at Tom’s table. He doesn’t recognize her at all.
“Hi Tom” she says.
“STEPHANIE?… … … Is that you???”
To be continued