I met Joe last August. He was part of a investment company that came to the company I work for to try and buy it out. I was just a records clerk, assigned to help them look over the company books. The thing that struck me right away about Joe, was that he was the only one of the 10 executives who actually treated me like a human, not just a servant there to suit their needs. The records search went on for almost two weeks, and when they were finally wrapping it all up, I was floored when Joe asked to take me out to dinner for all the work I put in for them.
Later that evening, Joe had the company car pick me up at my place. I did not know what to expect as I had never gone out with someone who had such a high level job before. I had put on my best outfit and jewelry for the night, but was shocked when the driver pulled up in front of a little mom and pop restaurant on the outskirts of the downtown area. Joe met me at the curb, and we went inside for what turned out to be a wonderful time. I found out that Joe likes to live a normal live outside of work, even though he wears thousand dollar suits for his job. We hit it off immediately and began seeing each other on a steady basis. By next spring, our relationship was quite serious, and Joe was starting to make hints about marriage. It was early May when Joe told me that the entire family spends the month of June at their lake house, and he wanted to introduce me as the next member of the family. Surprised by Joe’s revelation, the only thing I could think to say was I wasn’t sure if I could get time off work to go with him. Joe then further shocked me when he stated that he had just completed the purchase of the company I worked for, so I would have no problems with the boss letting me have vacation.
I had no idea what to expect as we drove the 100 miles north to the lake house. Joe was like any other guy I had known, living what seemed to be just an upper middle class kind of life, but his family is loaded, and I doubted that they were anything like my Joe. When we pulled in to the lake house I could not believe what I was seeing, the lake house looked as wide as a football field. As we pulled around to the parking area, it looked like we where at a car show, there were BMW’s, Porsche’s, Mercedes, and several other exotic cars. Joe’s domestic car seemed like it should be parked with the help’s cars. The house was everything I figured it would be. I met almost 30 members of Joe’s family and the one thing that seemed odd to me was all of the adult females had terrible hair styles. It reminded me of the scene in the movie “Goodfella’s” where all the women had bad hair. I couldn’t fathom why all of these rich women, who could afford to go to the top hair salons, would look so bad. After a few hours of drinks and meeting Joe’s family, Joe must have noticed me staring at some of the girls hairstyles. He said to me that “there is one more person you still have to meet”. It was his aunt Julia, the family matriarch. Joe told me that all of the girls in the family have their hair done by Julia, and if she likes me she will insist on doing my hair too. He tells me that Julia was hair dresser when his uncle met her, and she loved it so much that even after they were married, and she never needed to work again, she kept her shop open. Julia was in her 70’s now and only did hair for the family, and had a salon set up at the lake house.
I felt my mouth go dry as Joe led me to meet Aunt Julia. I was surprised when we got to the area where Joe said she would be. It was set up just like a professional salon. There were 3 women sitting under hair dryers waiting for Julia to finish them up. Joe called his Aunt from a back room area, and as she came out her eyes lit up when she saw me, or I should say when she saw a fresh head of hair. She immediately said “Joseph, who do we have here?” Steve introduced me to his aunt as a new member of the family, and in her mind that meant I was no one of her clients. Julia now with a big smile on her face says ” Well come sit down darling. Lets see if we can make you beautiful” Before I had a chance to say anything, Joe grabs my arm and escorts me towards the styling chair. Joe says “Here she is Aunt Julia. She can’t wait to for you to work your magic.” My mind was racing. I couldn’t figure out if Joe was just trying to be nice to his elderly Aunt, or he really liked his girl friends to have bad 70’s hair. Julia starts combing through my hair and then tells me “lets start with your hair, then I’ll show you how to properly do your makeup.” None of what she said sounded good to me. I tell her that I have a stylist that I have been going to for 5 years, then Joe chimes in with “Honey, all of the ladies in the family have their hair done by Julia.” My mind again begins to wander as I try to figure out if being with Joe is worth having bad hair as long as Julia is still alive. As I sit there in deep thought I fail to notice several 6 inch clumps of hair start to fall into my lap. My nice shoulder length hair is now at my chin. I become alert as Julia says, “Time for some color.” My hair has never been colored in my life, and I certainly didn’t want it done by this old lady. As I sit there Julia places a strange cap over my head. I still don’t know what she is doing as she pulls clumps of hair through holes that are all over the cap. She then paints on some smelly liquid all over the cap and makes sure all the hair sticking out is covered with the liquid. After 15 minutes she spins the chair around then tilts me back to a sink to rinse my head. After I am rinsed she turns me to face the mirror again I still don’t know what has just happened, then she pulls the cap off my head and I see bleach blonde highlights all over my brown hair. Before I have time to react to what has just happened, Julia begins cutting my hair again. When she stopped I now sported what I would describe as a long bowl cut. Julia then starts to put rollers in my hair, and 15 minutes later I am moved to take my turn under the dryer. I again had time to think about what was happening to me, and, more importantly if my feeling fro Joe made this worth doing. I am again led to Julia’s chair where she takes the rollers out of my hair, then begins picking and prodding at my hair. When she decides it is how she wants it she blasts my head with a heavy coat of hair spray. Joe comes up to the chair with a big smile on his face and tells Julia that she is a magician and I have never looked better. I was now officially part of the family, and of course Joe tells Julia he will bring me to see her every week.
The month at the lake house seemed like a lifetime. Joe made sure I returned to Julia’s salon every week, and I was never asked what I wanted done, it was all decided between Julia and Joe. When I returned to work I noticed everyone staring at me. My co-workers were all nice to my face, but I could tell I was the joke of the office. I spoke with Joe every day, and was surprised on the following Thursday when Joe tells me that I have an appointment with Julia Friday afternoon. I assumed that once we left the lake house I wouldn’t have to see Julia again. Joe tells me that she has a salon at her house just down the street from his house. When my call with Joe ended, I again start to think if it is all worth it. I love Joe but I want a career, and doubt I can ever be taken seriously as long as Julia is doing my hair. I call my old hair stylist and ask her if she can get me in right away. I called Joe to let him know I wanted my own stylist to do my hair this time. I could tell I really upset him, and he calmly asks me to reconsider. I tell him that I want to get back to my normal hair style, and he replies with ” Julia has given you have a new style. I would really prefer that you kept your appointment with her.” I tell Joe that I will let Julia do my hair while we are at the lake house, but not when we aren’t there. The next morning I am at my old salon again. My stylist Barb laughs when I tell her what I have been through with Julia. I tell her to do what ever she needs to to get rid of the highlights and give me an up to date haircut. Barb tell me that it will have to be a really short, but I tell her I would let her give me a buzz cut so I didn’t have to see my self in the mirror with my Julia hair style. Barb pins up the hair on top of my head the pulls out her clippers. It is my turn to smile as she buzzes the back and sides of my head to 1/4″. The top is next as she cuts away leaving me with a short pixie cut. I love my new style and as I walk out of the salon I see that I missed a call from Joe. As I listen to the message, Joe asks what time I expect to arrive at Julia’s house. I return his call, and let him know what Barb has just done to my hair. I could tell he was upset, but all he said was “Julia will be upset you won’t be there” Joe was out of town on business until next Monday, so he still had not seen my new style. I was looking forward to seeing him Monday after work and I made sure to wear my best work outfit Monday. I was in the break room getting a coffee before work and several of my co-workers told me how great I looked, and it was good to have the old me back. As I made my was to my desk the office manager called me into her office and told me that due to budget cuts my position was being terminated. I was shocked and figured it was some kind of mistake. I tried to call Joe to see if he knew about this but all I got was voicemail. I tried to call him for a few more days, but he blocked my number. I knew I would never hear from Joe again.