When I lost Miss Arkansas, my stepmother, who was my coach (AKA the person to force me to participate in that pageant and all the other ones that I did), was furious. I wasn’t going to be Miss America. We had spent all this money, which was, as she liked to remind me, her money, to get me prepared, and I still only came in third. She blamed me for losing, and, due to that, ordered me to repay her. I had nothing since my father died, which she knew. So, she told that we’d be selling my only asset – my waist length chestnut brown hair. At her insistence, I’ve been growing it out for the last ten years. Frankly, as we drove to the wig shop in down Little Rock, I thought, I’m tired of my hair anyways. It might be nice to get a pixie or a bob.
Yeah, that didn’t happen. When we arrived at the shop, the woman who ran it brought me to her backroom. Then she told me to strip. Before I could refuse, my stepmother slapped me.
Looking me in the eyes, she said, “You’re here as punishment. Don’t forget that. And, if you don’t accept that punishment, that’s fine. You can find somewhere else to live.” Then she kissed me on the lips.
Yeah, I should explain that. We have an interesting relationship. My stepmother is only about ten years older than me. She married my dad at 25. When he died five years later, she inherited everything. Not a cent was left to me, his only daughter, due to me being a lesbian. She came to me and said that she’d care for me always, despite what his will said. And, yes, she has. I actually like her dominate ways. While I could have left that shop and stayed with any number of friends, I chose to strip naked and sit on the stool waiting in the center of the room.
My stepmother watched closely as the wig-shop owner brushed out my hair and sectioned it off in ponytails close to my scalp. Tears started to flow down my cheeks when I realized that I wouldn’t be leaving there with a pixie or a bob. I would be losing it all. Sure enough, the wig-shop pulled out a pair of clippers and started her harvest. As the clippers roared, my tears intensified.
“Well, bitch, this wouldn’t be happening if you won,” hollered my stepmother.
When the wig-shop owner took the last ponytail, she gave my head another pass with the clippers. Then she squirted shaving cream on my scalp. The blue kind that men use. It tingled as she spread it across. I managed to calm myself enough to stay very, very still as she shaved me with a vibrating blue safety razor. She even took my eyebrows. Laughing, my step-mother ran her nails down my scalp, which make me exhale deeply.
She said, “Definitely not a beauty queen anymore.” That seemed to please her, despite all those years of coaching me.
She put a high slave collar on me. From her purse, she took out a marker and wrote something on my forehead. Then she showed me my reflection in her blue compact, which made me start crying again. Mainly because I hated how big my ears looked exposed. She had also written “loser” on my forehead. Because that’s what I was. A loser. While she had punished me before in extreme ways, this was the most severe. She knew this. Sticking her hand between my legs and feeling my wetness, she whispered in my ear that I faced one last punishment. She pulled me off the stool and gave me 40 whacks with an old-fashioned hairbrush. When we finished, the wig-shop owner gave my stepmother a wad of bills. I still have no idea if they filmed what happened. We left before I could ask. I barely had time to dress. My stepmother insisted that I leave the slave collar on. Everyone stared at my bald head, held high by the collar, and the degrading message written across my forehead as we walked to the car. It’s Little Rock, not NYC. People don’t normally behave that way.
I am still with my stepmother. She’s letting my hair grow again to my relief. Again, I wasn’t a fan of the cueball look on me. It’s currently pixie length. Though I am worried that she wants to shave it again. She seemed to prefer me ugly. Some clippers recently arrived from Amazon.