Spring Styles: Short Is In (part one) by Ramsay
“She’s late again,” Jessica thought to herself, not for the first time that afternoon. Diane was always late. Late for lunch, late for dinner, late for the movies, late for anything. Late for everything. Today was a case of late for lunch. Jessica had come on time and gotten a table, as always, and had settled into waiting for Diane. On her way, Jessica had picked up the latest issue of Vogue. She was going to need something to read while she waited, after all. She flipped through the pages, past the usual articles about the usual things; the perfect wedding dress, lose 15 pounds in a month, how to communicate with your man. All the usual stuff. As she neared the back of the magazine, she came upon an article called “Spring Styles: Short Is In”. The opposite page featured a full page photo of a woman, sporting a light green dress, and almost no hair. Just maybe a quarter inch of dark brown stubble.
Jessica smiles to herself. “Bald is beautiful,” she says aloud, more than a hint of sarcasm in her voice. She glances up and sees the waiter leading Diane up to the table. 20 minutes late.
“You’re early,” Jessica says, with a smile. “You look nice today.”
Diane smiles. “Thanks! How do you like my new skirt?” Diane stands up, and models her short black miniskirt. Diane had a terrific body, and was always wearing things like that. Her long, tan legs were almost always on display, no matter what pesky old Mother Nature was making the weather like.
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“It’s beautiful, Diane. Though you would look terrific even wearing a big potato sack.”
“Oh stop it!” Diane says smiling. “And anyway, I would wear potato sacks, if it meant I could have hair like yours.”
Jessica couldn’t help but smile. Her hair was her crowning glory. A beautiful chestnut brown, and always shiny, it flowed halfway down her back in lazy curls. It was the perfect compliment to her slender, tan body, and her shimmering green eyes.
“So why were you late this time?”
“Oh, it’s my hair! It took forever to blow dry.”
“You have to stop blow drying it! It’ll get frizzy!”
Diane’s hair was blonde, curly, and fell just past her shoulders. It was always giving her problems.
“It already is all frizzy, Jess! I was trying out one of those heat activated conditioners. I just don’t know what I’m going to do with it.”
Their conversation slowly drifted away to other matters, and before they knew it, the check had arrived. They hugged, promised to call each other soon, and said goodbye. As Jessica was riding the subway home to her apartment, she noticed her Vogue was gone. She must’ve left it in the restaurant, she thought, disappointed. Now she had nothing to read.
She got a call that afternoon from Diane.
“Jess, I’m going to the salon this evening. I want to try out a new look. Can you come along, keep me company?” Diane sounded strange. Almost bubbly.
“Sure Diane…” Jess says tentatively
“Okay, it’s New Wave Hair Salon, on Tenth and Madison. Meet me there at 5:00?”
Jessica didn’t really need a trim, she had gotten one last week, but maybe she would get it highlighted.
“Sure, I’ll be there.”
“Great! See you then!” Diane hangs up, before Jess can say anything else, leaving her standing next to the phone, puzzled.
Jessica looks at the clock, and sees it’s almost 4:30. She changes into jeans and a T-shirt, pulls on a sweater, and heads out the door.
Diane is waiting outside the salon, wearing a jacket and, of course, a miniskirt. She rubs her arms against the cold. She glances inside the salon at the clock. Five till five. She turns back around and nearly jumps out of her skin, as Jessica is standing next to her.
“Is everything okay, Diane?” Jess asks, genuine concern on her face.
Diane smiles weakly. “Sure, Jess, I’m fine. I’m just a little nervous about my new look.”
“Come on, let’s go inside.”
Diane, butterflies in her stomach, follows Jess into the store, and watching Jess’ silken hair blow softly in the afternoon breeze, and glancing at her own thin, damaged blonde hair tangling gracelessly in that same wind, decides she’s about to do the right thing.
As they enter, Jess and Diane see three chairs, all occupied, but nobody waiting. They sit in the waiting area. Jess flips through a magazine, while Diane watches intently a tall, slender woman in her early 20’s, getting her bobbed blonde hair buzzed on the sides and in the back.
Jess looks up and sees Diane watching her. “Wow, can you imagine?” Jess says. “Getting your hair clipped like that?”
Diane’s face drains a little of color, and she makes no response.
“So, what’s your new style going to be?” Jess asks, smiling.
Before Diane can answer, a shortish woman with mid-back length red hair walks up. “Diane Caffey?” She asks them. Diane stands up. “Hi, I’m Debbie. I’ll be your stylist. Come with me dear, we’ll get your hair washed now.”
Jess notices that Debbie was the stylist who was working on the blonde woman with electric clippers.
“Wish me luck, Jess” Diane says, as Debbie leads her away.
Halfway to the shampooing area, Diane stops Debbie. “Debbie? Um, for the haircut I want, I won’t really be needing a shampoo.” Diane produces a picture from her pocket. The short-haired woman from Jess’ Vogue.
“Oh,” Debbie says, a little startled. “Oh, I see. Okay, well, right over here to my chair, then.”
Diane, her heart pounding in her chest, sits herself down in the soft vinyl chair. Debbie wraps a cape around her neck, and pulls the curly blonde tresses through it, so that they cascade down the back of the chair.
“You’re sure? This is a very drastic style, and will take a very, very long time to grow back out.”
“I’m sure. I’ve hated my hair for such a long time, I really should’ve thought of this sooner.”
Debbie accepts this with a sigh, goes to her drawer in front of the chair, and pulls out a pair of heavy duty electric clippers. She plugs them in, and swivels Diane’s chair around, so that her back is towards Debbie.
The clippers come to life with a pop sound that almost makes Diane’s heart stop. Diane can hear the humming sound right in her ear, as Debbie gently tilts Diane’s head sideways, sets the clippers on the back of her beck, behind her right ear, and pushes them upwards into her hair. Blonde tresses begin to fall into Diane’s lap, as Debbie makes another pass, and another, and another, before swiveling Diane’s chair around the other way. Diane passes the mirror as she does so, and sees the right side of her head reduced to blonde stubble. Diane feels a little dizzy as Debbie sets the clippers behind her left ear, and makes a quick four passes.
Diane, now sporting a mohawk, closes her eyes as Debbie presses her head forward, so that her chin is touching her chest. She sets the clippers at the nape of her neck and slowly runs them up the back of her head, in the center. Diane is completely out of breath, and awash with a strange sensation that’s almost pleasure, as the blonde hair in her lap quickly becomes a mound. The clippers climb up to the crown of her head, and make their way across the top of her head. Debbie finishes off the remaining passes, makes a few hairline touch-ups, and flips the clippers off, swiveling Diane back in front of the mirror.
Diane looks up, and doesn’t recognize herself for a moment. Her blonde waves are gone, replaced by a quarter inch of hair, except for on the top of her head, where she still has half an inch. She runs her hand across the bristles, and knows she did the right thing. The nervous smile on her face looks better without the frizzy blonde hair surrounding it.
Jessica, meanwhile, is in complete shock….
(To be continued…)