Nancy had just been hired by the morning cable show that had been on for the past ten years. The cable show, called “Wake Up” had really fallen in the ratings. Nancy was one of the new members who were to boost the ratings.
Pete was the producer, he was very excited about hiring Nancy: her personality was what he thought was the best fit for the show. He also felt that Nancy’s fresh good looks would be nice for the morning: she had brown hair, big eyes, and a body that was just outstanding. When Nancy first arrived at the network, her hair had changed since the last time Pete had seen her. See, Pete knew Nancy from years ago, and when the opportunity came to hire her, he did a phone interview with her, he knew of her work, so it was just a matter of details. Nancy had always worn her hair in a bob style, but since the last time they saw each other, Nancy’s bob had gotten much longer, it was now a little past shoulder length, and since her hair was thick, Pete thought it was a little overwhelming. Pete asked Nancy to take the length up a little, which was not a problem for Nancy, so when the first show was taped, Nancy sported the normal just above the shoulder bob, slightly curled under. The first show went great, the ratings were as high as they have been in years, Pete was excited, and so were the executives. After about a month the ratings went down again. Pete was very puzzled, the format of the show had not changed, but with the ratings down again, the executives, and sponsors were starting to put some heat on Pete.
Pete decided to hire a research firm to ask watchers why they did not watch the show. After calling thousands of homes, the overwhelming response back was “why watch a show where the host looks like every other smiling big-haired woman?” Pete was shocked, but then he thought, they’re right, all hosts in a way do look alike.
Pete asked Nancy to come to his office, Nancy sat down and Peter said, “Nancy, part of the problem with our show is your looks, no it is your hair.” Nancy was puzzled, she never ever had anyone say this to her before. Pete continued, “The fans are calling you another big hair smiling host. As you know, we have invested a lot of money into this show and you, so we need to do something about this.”
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Nancy, still puzzled, said, “You can’t tell me how to look.”
“Yes I can,” said Pete. “It is right here in your contract, which says we have the right for any changed needed to improve the show, including appearance.”
Nancy was taken aback, but she knew she had to do something or lose the $150,000 a year salary. Nancy said, “OK Pete, what would you like me to do?”
Pete thought for a second. “Why don’t you make an appointment for tonight at the stylist, get something shorter, but it has to be something that is different from what you have today.” Nancy agreed.
Nancy went to a very exclusive salon near the station. She sat in the chair, and told the stylist, whos name was Louis, that she needed something shorter, but since she was on TV to make it “nice looking”. Nancy stressed that she wanted to keep length, so no little boy haircuts, or pixies. After about 15 minutes of conversation, they both agreed on a little above-chin-length bob, same length all around, and take the bangs up just a little shorter. Louis went right to work, Nancy was excited, but was also sorry about losing her hair, but she thought it was only 3-4 inches tops.
The next day Nancy got to the station, her new hairstyle looked good. She ran into Pete, who went up to her right away and said, “No, No, that is just a shorter version of what you had. I want something different, this is just a little shorter version of what every other host has, and some hosts sport this type of look.” Pete turned to Sandy, who was a makeup person for the show. Pete said, “Sandy what can we do with Nancy to make her look different from other hosts?”
Sandy looked at Nancy and told her to turn around. “Well Pete,” said Sandy. “There are a couple of options here: one we could just have her get a real short pixie cut, or we could have her get a real short bob, that is no longer than her earlobes. Or we could have her get her haircut on an angle where her hair is lip length at the longest here…” (Sandy pointed to Nancy’s lip) “…and goes up on an angle to here.” Sandy moved her hand from Nancy’s lip to almost the top of her ear. At this point Sandy had Pete’s attention. “Then,” said Sandy as she put her hands through Nancy’s hair at the nape, “have this buzzed short.”
Pete was delighted. “That is the ticket!” said Pete.
At this point Nancy was speechless, and she had no control at this point. With her contract she is doomed for the haircut of her life.
Pete rushed to his office, and came back out of breath. “Nancy,” Pete said. “I just called the salon, not the one you were at but a different one, about 10 minutes from here, they had an opening, and if you hurry, we can still make today’s taping with your new look. Ask for Elaine, I talked to her and she knows what I want as far as your look, so hurry.”
Nancy grabbed a cab and went to a place called “Hairhut”. The whole time Nancy just kept playing with her hair, she felt she had lost control, and in reality she had. Nancy walked into the salon, right there at the counter was Elaine. Nancy, in semi shock, just looked at her and said, “Are you Elaine?”
Elaine nodded and said to Nancy, “I understand we don’t have a lot of time so let’s get to work.” Nancy was instructed to sit in the chair that was open. Elaine quickly put the cape around her, and said, “We do not have time to wash your hair, so some of this I will have to do dry.”
“Hold on,” said Nancy. “We need to discuss what I want.”
“No we don’t,” said Elaine. “I was given instructions by Pete. What he described to me is a very short version of a Dutch boy look, with a buzzed back, and he said if you leave the chair, you’re fired.” Quickly Nancy’s hair was pinned up, as Elaine was pinning up the back she said, “This nape part looks great, you have the perfect hairline for the short clippered look.”
Nancy was scared now. “What do you mean by clippered look?” she asked.
Elaine said as she was plugging in the clippers, “Pete said, ‘Buzzed back with a short angle look on the sides.’ To me, buzzed is clippered and short. Head down please.”
Nancy was in shock now, her thick hair was being clippered short. Plus her hair was dry, so clumps were falling everywhere. Up and down went Elaine with the clippers, Nancy could tell that the base of her nape was almost shaved. Elaine finally turned the clippers off, and then said, “Now the best part,” and turned the clippers back on again and took Nancy’s hair right off her hairline. “Nothing like a good peeled look,” said Elaine. Nancy felt the razor burn at her nape as she looked up to see the side of her hair falling to chin length.
Quickly, Elaine took a bottle and sprayed Nancy’s hair, and starting on the left side cut it at earlobe length. This was different to what Nancy thought, but it was too late now and Nancy was tired. After both sides were cut to earlobe length, Elaine then angled the cut up her ear, so part of Nancy’s ears were exposed. The angle blended in well with the very tapered look in the back. After the sides were done, Elaine then cut Nancy’s bangs one inch above her eyebrows.
“All done,” said Elaine. “That’s a good looking cut.” She quickly turned the chair around to show Nancy the back. “Nice short and clean,” said Elaine.
Nancy was in shock, she could see the scalp at the base of her neck. She took her hand back to grab some hair, but it was useless. All Nancy could say was, “This is what a clipper cut feels like, wow!” As Nancy was being released from the cape, Elaine told her that it would be a great idea if she got a trim every two weeks, “This look can get messy.” Nancy left thinking, well I’m stuck with short hair.
When Nancy got back to the station Pete was excited. “Yes!” said Pete. “Now let’s go tape.”
The show went on for weeks, yet the ratings were not improving. So Pete did the research again. This time the results came back that the host was a little too out there. A lot of complaints were, “What’s with the hair, is this lost in space?” or some people called her the “Dutch Boy”. Pete was flabbergasted. He ordered Nancy to his office again.
“Nancy,” said Pete. “I’m sorry, but this is not working, the fans hate your look.” Nancy was pissed: she had sacrificed her looks for this show. Pete was confused. “We need to do something, something basic with you hair,” said Pete. Pete quickly called Elaine.
Elaine said to Pete, “The only basic thing you can do is blend the sides with the back as far as length, it will be short, but it will be basic.”
“Great,” said Pete, “when can she come over?”
“I can’t,” said Elaine. “I’m booked. Send her to a barbershop, they will do it right. Anyhow, it’s real easy, just a short clipper cut.”
Pete got off the phone and said to Nancy, “I want you to go to the barbershop down the road and get a real short haircut. We need to get you back to a basic look, so just tell the barber to blend the sides in with the back.”
Nancy had no choice, she just left the office and walked to the barbers down the road. The place was empty. Nancy walked right up to the chair, sat down and said, “Match the sides with the back and hurry, keep some length on top.” The barber just nodded and asked her if she wanted the back cleaned up a little. Nancy just said, “I don’t give a shit at this point!”
Within five minutes Nancy’s hair was in a very short clipper cut style, the sides were clipped high above her ears. The top still was a few inches long, but her hair that was once shoulder-length had now been reduced to a clipper cut just for a stupid TV show.
Pete was shocked when he saw Nancy, she looked so different. He told her he was sorry, but they needed the ratings if they wanted to keep their jobs. They both walked into Nancy’s dressing room. As Nancy looked at herself in the mirror, all she said was, “I look like a little boy.”
As she said that, Beth the show’s director came by and she agreed with Nancy. Beth then said, “If we perm the top it will give you that woman’s look again.”
Pete agreed and said, “Let’s do it.” Nancy just started to cry, but Beth and Pete were now on a mission. Beth said she could give the perm, she just needed to go get the stuff from the store to do it.
One hour later Nancy was sitting in a chair as Beth was giving her a home perm. Nancy asked Beth if she knew what she was doing. Beth said, “Yeah, I’ve done this once before.”
After some time all the rods were put in, and Nancy just sat there, remembering just a few months ago doing her newscasts and her flowing bob that she wanted to try to grow out. Beth came back and took all the rods out. As they came out, little tiny curls sat on Nancy’s head, tight to her head. She just looked at herself, she looked ten years older. Soon the rods were out, and Nancy was alone, just running her hands through her clippered back and then through her curled head. Nancy began to cry harder and harder.
Just as she got her composure again, Pete came running into her dressing room. “We have all been fired, the show is cancelled!”
Nancy just laughed, who was going to hire her now?