Stephanie was so careful all weekend; she even sprayed it with more hairspray to keep the look. She hated the way her hair looked. So old fashioned. It made her even more self conscience, but she had to keep it looking nice. Heavens knows what they will do to it if she comes back to work on Tuesday and it’s a mess. Tom and her pretty much stayed in all weekend. Stephanie didn’t want to set foot outside the apartment. She didn’t want anyone to see her. Tuesday morning Stephanie undid her hair wrap’. “Ah, what do you think, Tom? Looks pretty good to me. Stephanie said, examining her hair in the mirror. The almost pure white, ear muff’ look still was as stiff as a board to the touch “Maybe they’ll just let it go this week.”
“Looks just the same as when you came home on Saturday. I can’t imagine them needing to change anything” Tom replied.
As Stephanie drove to work, all she could think about was if her hair was going to look good enough for Martha and Edna. If not, she didn’t know what they would do. As she walked in Edna looked up from the desk and smiled. “Oh Martha” she called. Stephanie’s heart sank for that split second. â€˜What now’, she thought.
“Oh Martha, it worked. Your style held up just fine on Stephanie” she called back to Martha again.
Martha entered the front of the shop. “Now, turn around girl, Oh yes, that looks good Edna. I think we’ve found a style for Stephanie, at least for a little while. I think we can let that go a few more days.”
Stephanie let out a huge sigh of relief. “I fixed it a little this morning, but it really held perfect all weekend” Stephanie added.
“Edna, why don’t we just block Stephanie’s and my book every Friday at 1. I’ll restyle her then so she always looks good for the weekend” Martha suggests to Edna.
“Great idea, Martha, she’ll always look fresh for when her and Tom go out.” Edna answered already marking the book.
“Oh no, you don’t have to do that. Friday’s a busy day. No reason to do my hair that oft” Stephanie was abruptly cut off.
“Nonsense” both Edna and Martha said at the same time.
“Friday’s actually sort of slow and we can move people around if we have too. And besides it also gives us a day to see if you style holds. If it doesn’t, we can fix it on Saturday. Like I said, you’ll always look good for the long weekend,” Martha adds.
“I must say Martha, that style looks great on her. You were right, at least for now. Mature and sophisticated.”
Stephanie heads back to her station wondering what Edna meant by â€˜for now’.
She was both relieved that her hair was good enough to get her through the week, but concerned that each week Martha was going to have her (Stephanie) in a chair to do god knows what to her and her hair.
The week went by very fast. Stephanie assisted Martha in all aspects of 1960’s hair design. She even rinsed a client’s hair a light pastel blue and teased another client’s hair into a huge bouffant. She was starting to have fun. She just wished they wouldn’t do those things to her hair. Friday afternoon was here before she knew it.
Stephanie noticed Edna and Martha almost getting into an argument. Finally, Edna just nodded her head and walked back to the front desk.
“Come on Stephanie, time to get to work on you. Since this lasted so good I think we’ll try and give you a little more height this time” Martha commented.
“Oh, I think it was plenty high, Martha. Why don’t we just leave the height alone and maybe flatten the sides a little.” Stephanie urged. “I won’t have a lot of time to keep it up this weekend. Tom’s parents are coming up to visit, this weekend. They haven’t seen us for a while and they’re taking us out to a very nice restaurant tonight and we’re taking them to show them around town before they head home tomorrow night.”
While Stephanie was talking, Martha turned on the water at the shampoo bowl and pointed for Stephanie to sit down. “Oh, that’s nice dear”. Seeming to not really pay any attention to what Stephanie has been saying. As Martha begins to shampoo her Stephanie is almost in a trance. Martha gives the best shampoo message Stephanie has ever had. It’s like heaven. Stephanie just closes her eyes and soaks it in. Hoping it lasts a long time. Martha just continues to message her hair and scalp. Then rinse and message repeat again. Seems like she’s done that a few times already. Finally, she leaves Stephanie there resting for about 10 minutes and finally another rinse and message. Stephanie wishes it would go on longer, but this time Martha helps her to sit up and starts to towel her. Again, Stephanie was turned away from any mirrors. Martha starts combing out any tangles in her hair. It dawns on Stephanie that she has not really seen the length of her hair or even been able to touch it other than after it was set and sprayed for over two weeks now. She can only guess at the length and what condition is it in after all the processes Martha has been doing to her.
“Yep, I’m thinking a little more height this time and something more sophisticated since Tom’s folks are taking you out.”
Martha says picking up her scissor.
“But Martha, I don’t waaant”
(Schick) Stephanie notices about 4 inches of hair from who knows where fall in onto her cape. Not just hair, but Oh my god, pale pink hair. She tinted it pink again.
Stephanie meekly asks, “Martha, my hair looks pink, did you tint my hair again.”
“Oh yes, it looks so good with that little Pink Champaign tint to it. I gave you a double tint today. It wasn’t pink enough after the first tint. That’s what took so long at the shampoo station. And you know, Tom likes it. I could see it the way he looked at you the first time we tinted you. He really likes it and with his family coming up you’ve got to look your best.”
Stephanie just sat there, numb. Numb to what Martha was saying, numb to what was happening to her hair, just numb. Wondering how she’s ever going to get out of this predicament. Tom’s family, how’s she going to be able to see Tom’s family.
Martha continued haphazardly trimming hair. An inch here, six inches there. No rime nor reason to how it’s being cut. Then the pulling and tugging began as Martha started to set Stephanie’s hair. Again, lots and lots of setting lotion pasted on. Rollers tightly pulling at her hair. It hurt, it was pulled so tight. Then Martha grabs Stephanie’s arm waking Stephanie from her trance and hurries over to the driers. Again, Stephanie sits under the dryer, sort of staring out into the salon. Looking like a wild stallion that had just been broken. Broken of her will, giving in to whatever Martha and Edna had in mind for her look or should I say looks. Stephanie just stared out from under the dryer. Stared into space for the entire time her hair was drying. Like she was in a trance.
“Stephanie, Stephanie”. Stephanie head jerked bringing her back into reality. “Come on Stephanie, time to comb you out,” Martha told her.
Stephanie slowly gets up and walks over to Martha’s chair where Martha’s eagerly waiting. She’s talking to Norma and moving her hands around her head. She moves her hands high above her head and rounds them around her face and down one side. Oh god, Stephanie realizes she’s describing what’s she’s going to do to her hair to Norma. Norma nods her head and points her hands higher to my hair.
“Norma, Tom’s family is visiting Stephanie and Tom this weekend. We want her to give a good impression.”
“Oh, most definitely and what you’ve described to me will be just perfect.” Norma answered while Martha started taking out the rollers. When the rollers were out Martha started teasing. Much more teasing and tugging. Much more than before the whole process took about her about an hour. While Martha was busy with Stephanie’s hair, Norma reapplied her makeup. “Gotta look good for those in-laws.,” she said smiling.
â€˜Why did I ever tell them about Tom’s family coming up, oh my god why’ Stephanie was thinking to herself. Totally helpless to do anything about it.
Finally, the spray. Martha started with the spray, extra hold spray I might add. “Now Stephanie, earlier you mentioned not too fancy you didn’t have time to take care of your hair with the in-laws being there and all. You should be able to wrap it in that Velcro towel just like last week and maybe just a touch of a brush. But, if that is too much then we’ll have to give in to what Edna wants.”
“Edna wants?” Stephanie asked confused.
“Yeah, but don’t worry about it. She thinks you would look great with one of those super tight â€˜poodle perms’. You know cut up around your ears, tight neck line and tight curls all over with a tuft of curls just leaning out over your forehead. Sort of like Elvis had, but tight curls. That’s what we were arguing about a before I got you. She wanted me to give you that today.”
“Yeah, but I convinced her that Tom likes your hair long and we shouldn’t do that without consulting him first. And you know we want to keep Tom happy. But, when he’s ready for a little change or â€˜you can’t maintain your longer style’, it will be time.”
“Oh no, no, like you said Tom does like longer hair. He told me just this morning, maybe we should try a little longer style down on my shoulders or something. And I’ve been getting better about being able to maintain it.” Stephanie blurted out, making up anything as to not have to get her hair cut short.
“Yes you have dear”, Martha says as she’s turned her to face the mirror. “Oh my , OHhhhh my this is umum nice. Really something special. And the height um wow and pink the tint sure took today. Um Um.” All Stephanie could think was that she looks like a fricken fool with a hairstyle from the Victorian era. What would Tom’s parents think?
Take a look ——- https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1690/23774882833_93b30ae6f3_b.jpg
“Edna she’s speechless, come and see,” Martha calls up.
“Oh my lord. Martha you’ve out done yourself. Stephanie you look like a queen. You will be the talk of the restaurant so gorgeous and all.”
“You better go so you can be ready when you in-laws arrive. Take tomorrow off so you can spend it with the family. I’ll call for you and tell him you’re on your way,” Edna volunteered.
“Oh, um really â€“ thanks. Thanks a lot Edna. See you next week. Stephanie timidly adds. Her self-esteem is gone looking as she does. She knows all eyes will be on her all weekend.
As Stephanie leaves, tears well up in her eyes. How’s she going to live like this? How long can this go on? Week after week, it just keeps getting worse. She barely can fit into the car without tilting her head. She looks in the rear view mirror in the car and bursts into tears.
In the mean time, Edna is on the phone with Tom. “Tom this is Edna, you know from Stephanie’s work. I just wanted to tell you Stephanie just left and will be home shortly. And I might add is looking really exquisite. Martha gave her a special look for you and your parents tonight.”
“Oh great, how does she like it?”
“Let me just tell you, she was speechless. I know I shouldn’t tell you, but Martha touched up her color to that pink you like sooooo much.”
“Oh wow I can’t wait to see her. Oh I’ll bet she was surprised. Ah You know Edna now that the weathers turning colder and pink really being a spring color, maybe next time for color it should be something a little darker, a little more natural.”
“Yeah sure, you work it out with Stephanie. If she likes it, I’m sure I will. I don’t want her doing something she doesn’t agree too,” Tom answered back hoping to insure the notion that Stephanie needs to agree with whatever they do to her hair.
“Tom, may I ask you a off the wall question,” Edna contrived.
“Do you like dogs?”
“Sure, don’t most people.”
“Do you like poodles?”
“Funny you ask about poodles, my mom had two miniature ones after I went away to college. They were the cutest little things. My sister used to try and comb they’re hair straight all the time. Why do you ask that?”
“Oh nothing, nothing at all just wondered if you were a dog lover or not”. We’ll like I said, Stephanie should be home shortly. Bye now.”
By now Stephanie arrives at home to be greeted by Tom and his parents. As she enters the door she’s greeted by Tom’s mom. “Oh hi Stephanie? Wow, you’ve changed your look since the last time we’ve seen you. Your hair and it’s not blond anymore.”
“Yeah Mom, her new salon styles it for her. She doesn’t have much say in what they do,” Tom buts in.
“We’ll it’s certainly um um um eloquent. Yeah, eloquent,” his mom adds.
that’s some hair and the color my.”
“Yeah the place I work at emphasizes retro and they wanted to give me a sophisticated style this time,” she self consciously comments.
“And Mom, they pay her good. Real good,” Tom adds.
“Well you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. We should get moving. I’m starving”, Tom’s mom finished. And with that they all headed to dinner.
As they walked into the restaurant all heads begin to turn looking straight at Stephanie. Stephanie feels her face turning red and feels all eyes staring at during dinner. She couldn’t get out of there quick enough. During dinner Stephanie excused herself to go to the restroom. As she entered, an old lady at least 75 years old stopped her and commented on how beautiful her hair was. “I had my like that once back in my day. It’s gorgeous, simply gorgeous. You don’t see hair like that anymore. It’s simply eloquent, soooo sophisticated looking. I didn’t know they did hair like that anymore” the woman said as she walked away.
Stephanie eyes filled with tears. What was she going to do? If she didn’t look like this on Tuesday, they would cut if off and perm her. She was stuck between a rock and a hard place. She’s simply got to quit, no matter how much money she’s making. She can’t go on like this. She’ll talk to Tom about it after his parents leave tomorrow.
Finally, dinner was over. Again, as they left the restaurant all eyes followed Stephanie. She hated it, she just hated that. Again, getting into the car she had to sit low so her hair would fit into the car.
“My you sure had a lot of admirers in that restaurant. Do you always make such a fuss when you go out.” Tom’s mom asked.
Again, Stephanie’s eyes welled up with tears. “Mom, she’s still not used to the new styles they give her. Just lay off for now,” Tom interjects.
“I didn’t mean anything I’m sorry.”
As they arrive home Stephanie heads straight to the bedroom. She starts thinking of taking Tom’s parents around town tomorrow and starts to cry again.
The weekend seemed to last forever. Everywhere they went people stared. Old women even came up to her and asked her where she got her hair done. Finally, it was over. His parents left and she could talk to Tom.
“Tom, I’ve got to quit I can’t take it anymore. People stare at me. They actually stare at me. One old lady stopped me and told me she had her hair like mine once back in her day. Tom I’ve got to quit. I don’t care how much I make, I’ve got to quit.”
“Steph, talk to Edna. Talk to Martha. Talk to somebody. Explain to them you need to style your hair your way. She’ll understand. Tell her tell her I like long straight hair and you haven’t been sleeping good because you’ve got to be so careful with your hair. She’ll understand. Tom tries to reason with her.
“I’ll try it once, but if they put me in that chair again. I’m walking out. Leaving. I don’t care how much I make. I’m quitting.” Stephanie shouted back.
Stephanie didn’t leave the house the rest of Sunday or on Monday and when Tuesday came she marched into the salon and walked right up to Edna. Her hair still acceptable, but not in the pristine condition it was in when she left on Saturday.
“Edna, we’ve got to talk,” Stephanie demanded. Stephanie heard herself and couldn’t believe what she heard. “I mean, I’d like to talk to you please.”
to be continued