Not that she had never been here before. On the contrary, this was at least her fourth visit to the salon to have her hair done in some way, not to mention the countless times she had been here for regular trims.
Bonnie had her own web site featuring her beautiful auburn flowing tresses, which now fell in a perfect straight line almost to her knees. Her husband, an amateur photographer, had taken many series of photos of Bonnie, plus numerous short videos, which they sold on the site. Eventually requests came in for custom videos, and they obliged. After several years about a dozen hour long, or longer, custom videos were now also available to the public. Some had sold reasonably well, and others hardly at all, but any sales on the site were just a bonus. A fairly hefty sum was taken in from the person requesting the video in the first place. Bonnie made $100 per hour, plus expenses. That was good pay just to have your hair photographed. Of course most were more than that, a great deal of brushing, doing ponytails and makeshift buns, washing and drying it with a blowdryer (something she never did in real life for the potential damage, but a few times a year was tolerable). Her previous trips to the salon featured curling, and a fancy twisted updo. Some involved more exotic locations like a beach, a forest, a bedroom. But they were all PG at worst (absolutely no nudity), easy to do, and most importantly they paid some bills. Apparently she was basically the only long haired person on the internet offering this service. That monopoly had at times rewarded her quite well. She could spend more on Christmas and Birthdays, sudden bills didn’t hurt so bad, as well as the occasional impractical but fun purchase.
But lately the well seemed very dry, as purchases were few, and she was lost for anything new that she could jump start sales again. That was until this request came. It was for a video of her dressed up very elegantly getting her hair arranged in a very elaborate updo. It was from a book of long hair styles, and she was even sent pictures which showed step by step how it was created. And that was where a serious issue arose. It required teasing, and a lot of it judging from the pictures. Now Bonnie had never teased her hair to any degree before, even when it was only shoulder length as a young girl. Just the notion of doing it with hair as long as hers was preposterous. What little she knew about teasing was it was awful for your hair at any length, and potentially catastrophic for tresses as long as hers. Even the hairstyle model in the pictures she was sent had a mane that extended only to the middle of her back. Bonnie’s hair was at least double her length. This was obviously an impossible request, or so she thought.
The potential buyer was quite persistent
though, in a very polite way, so Bonnie tried to scare her off by quoting
the cost of such a video three times higher than any she had done before.
The buyer didn’t blink, offering to pay in cash. Bonnie spent several
sleepless nights pondering the problem. In fairness the style was
beautiful, at least on this model. It featured a full front combed
straight back (no part) and rose up to its zenith at the crown, the sides
also drawn up to the crown also making the ears fully visible. This
then gently arched down over the full and rounded crown to be gathered
at the nape of the neck and arranged into a very decorative version of
a bun. Although the photos showed it was clearly teased quite liberally,
the polished final style didn’t look like a creation from the 60’s or something
Dolly Parton would wear. It actually looked quite elegant.
She shared her quandary with her husband, who much to her surprise liked
the look and thought it would be fun to take her out for a nice dinner
afterwards if she decided to do the video. He didn’t understand her
misgivings until she showed him the step by step pictures of its construction,
and how tangled up her hair would become. Lacking any first hand
knowledge, he suggested she talk to her stylist, Jenna, and see what she
thought. It might just be impossible with all her length which would
make a final decision easy, or be too much of a risk.
“But what if it is possible?”
“You’ll have to cross that bridge when you get there.”
The next day Bonnie stopped by the salon, the pictures in hand, and talked to Jenna. Although she was a bit surprised by the request, she didn’t seem at all concerned about it. Furthermore, she was totally confident she could do it, even with all Bonnie’s length, and that her fears of potential harm were blown out of proportion. It would take time to do, and even more time for Bonnie to undo, but it was in no way a suicide mission for her hair. The finished style might not look exactly like the picture, since she had double the amount of hair, but it would be very close.
Somehow Jenna actually got her to reserve an afternoon the next month to do the video, and Bonnie was out the door. That evening she told her husband about it, and he supported her decision. He was actually excited about seeing his wife with her hair done so elaborately. It would be a very unique look for her. She informed the buyer it was a go, half hoping they wouldn’t follow through. But four days later an envelope arrived in the mail with her payment, all of it, in cash. It even included a $25 tip for the hairdresser. The money would definitely come in handy, but at what price!?
Thus far this session hadn’t been
any different than any other session, other than the fact she was wearing
a gorgeous pink, full length evening gown that was cut low in the front
and back. To protect the dress, she wore a long frumpy plaid jacket
she used to do yard work. She didn’t mind if that got wet or covered
with hairspray residue. Plus everything was covered by the blue salon
cape. Her hair had been lovingly washed and doused in heavy conditioners
for protection, and was now almost totally detangled in preparation for
the blow dryer. It seemed almost silly to her to spend all this time when
her hair would soon have so many tangled induced into it.
On the counter in front of her lie the three pages of instructional photos showing how the hairstyle was created. The edges were a bit ruffled from the countless times she had perused them over the past week. As the blow dryer rang out and the long process of drying her long mane began, she found herself grabbing them from the counter and once more looking over them. There were about 30 step-by-step photos. The teasing started on number 6. It went on for four more photos. When done, about two-thirds of the models’ hair was fully teased out, standing almost straight up from her head in a horrible wad of tangles. Only a pony tail consisting of the hair on the lower back of her head was spared this process. Somehow the model wore a smile on her face. She must be a great actress.
The paper rustled a little bit as Bonnie’s hands were beginning to shake. Her hair was nearly dry. It would only be minutes now.
“So doing my hair like this really isn’t going to hurt it?”
Jenna responded very serenely. “It’s just a little teasing. It’s not like you do it every day or something.”
Bonnie pointed to the picture of the finished teasing process. “This model’s hair looks like a giant piece of fluff. I can’t imagine.”
Jenna laughed. “Yes, it sort of is. You should have come in earlier. I had a customer this morning fluffed up just like that.”
“I still can’t believe I’m actually doing this.”
“Well, it sure will look pretty.”
“Yeah, I guess. It sure will be different.”
The blowdryer was working almost too quickly. Much as she hated using one on her tresses, she wouldn’t mind it taking another hour or so right now.
She stared at the final style again, trying to imagine how it would be possible with all her length, and again looked at the teasing photos.
“I’m really scared. I really like it (the final style) though, so what’s a girl to do?”
“It will be fine. Just take your time taking it down and use lots of conditioner.”
“Yeah, I know. I’ll live, I’m sure.”
Two minutes later the blow dryer
was shut off. Her hair was dry. Jenna wasn’t wasting any time
either. She started by separating the front from the back, tossing it forward
of her shoulders. Then she used her styling comb to divide the back
in half, throwing the top part forward. She smoothed the lower hair
and gathered it into a ponytail. A blast of spray helped hold it
smoothly in place as an elastic band was wound around it. Bonnie
was following each step, comparing them to the photos. She knew that
all the hair not in that ponytail was about to be tortured. She also
knew that the ponytail didn’t seem like much of her hair.
Jenna drew all the free hair back and played with it a bit, doing a mental image of what she was trying to achieve. The key would be establishing pronounced height at the crown, which would be tough with all the weight of this truly impressive mane trying to pull it down. Even though this style clearly required long hair, anything longer than mid-back complicated matters. Bonnie’s knee length tresses would make this much tougher, but not impossible. Jenna opted to make a variation on the construction of the style. Once again she separated out the front hair and threw it forward. Of the remaining back hair, she again divided it in half, using a large hair clip to keep the top section out of the way and making yet another ponytail above the first one with the remaining section. Bonnie was confused, noting this was nowhere in the instructions.
“You have so much hair I need to change things a bit for it to work out right, especially at the end. Two ponytails will make it much easier.” Bonnie was hopeful this new ponytail would be spared the backcombing torture also. Unfortunately it still seemed like almost all her hair was hanging down in front of her shoulders, soon to be at the mercy of the teasing comb.
As the final touches were being
put on this new ponytail, Bonnie nervously looked down at the instructions.
This was it. It was time for step six! She looked as Jenna
unclipped that last section and let it fall. Then all the hair was
neatly drawn behind her.
“I’m going to start the teasing now,” said the hairdresser as she picked up her trusty multi-purpose comb.
If Bonnie was going to chicken out, she had only seconds to do it. Instead she muttered to herself, “I’m fine. It will be fine,” unaware she was saying it loud enough for everyone else in the salon to hear.
Jenna wasted no time. Why
should she?! There was much work to do. She gathered a good
sized section of hair from the front center of Bonnie’s head, drew it straight
up, and started backcombing close to the scalp. She did numerous
tight, short strokes, trying to make sure it was tightly packed.
She needed a good deal of lift right at the roots to pull this style off,
especially since all the length and weight would certainly try to oppose
her efforts. She gradually rose higher along the length, but when
she got about 8 inches high decided she hadn’t been thorough enough and
started back near the scalp going over the section again.
Bonnie was wide-eyed, watching her hair combed back on itself forming visible mass, visible tangles. It didn’t physically hurt, thankfully, but it was painful to watch just the same. Didn’t Jenna moments ago mention this was only ‘a little’ teasing. This looked far too aggressive to be ‘a little.’
Year’s ago Bonnie had bought several videos from another web site that offered similar video productions to her own, mostly since she was just starting out and she wanted to size up the opposition. The web site was based in Europe and frankly not very good. The productions were rushed and filled with edits and poor camera work. It was really no competition for her productions. Plus the majority of the models had hair only just past their shoulders. But she remembered one series of a woman with waist length hair getting it put up into what was supposed to be an old fashioned Beehive but ended up just a huge bun. Bonnie dug it out of her basement and watched it last week, wanting to better see what she was in for. Perhaps seeing another long haired woman having her hair teased might put her at ease. This model had her hair gathered directly on top of her head in a high ponytail. The hairdresser separated this into six pieces and backcombed each. This was done with long, slow, gentle strokes. The hairdresser totaled only about eight teasing strokes per section, even though she ran the complete length of the tresses. Bonnie knew that would be quite easy to unsnarl, no different than being caught in a wind storm. It almost seemed more for show than anything else, as the results were negligible. This comforted Bonnie. It also stopped her from backing out of her own appointment with the teasing comb, which she had been considering quite often since making it. Judging from this video, having her hair backcombed was no big deal.
But what was happening now to her
hair was far different. It was a big deal. Short harsh strokes
were packing Bonnie’s hair ever so tightly now. Higher and higher up the
strand went the teasing comb. It was clearly more than eight strokes.
“I’m not going to tease it all the way to the ends, because of how long yours is.”
That actually sounded to Bonnie like her stylist planned to downscale this whole thing, which made her momentarily wonder if it would be enough to achieve the desired conclusion. There was no way she was going to go through all this and end up with a production that would disappoint her customer, especially considering how much she was making for this particular production. Somehow her focus shifted off the potential harm to her mane and back to the mission at hand.
“Do whatever you need to get it
to look like the photo.” She almost immediately regretted saying
it, much preferring seeing only a portion of her hair mangled rather than
all of it. She quickly looked down at the photo of the model after
the first section of her hair was teased. It rose a good foot in
the air straight up, the ends trying to arch down a bit but unable to.
“Well, it won’t end up standing up like the pictures, but the final result will be the same. I will have to tease yours a bit more than hers (the lady in the photos). Your hair will need more knotting to make up for how long it is.”
Jenna had been Bonnie’s stylist for countless years and had always been honest and supportive about her efforts of growing and keeping her long mane. She should have been more trusting and thus relaxed. But as the aggressive treatment was still going a good two feet up the hair shaft it was hard to take comfort. Plus knowing now that hers was going to end up even more ‘knotted’ than the model in the picture didn’t help any. The photo taken at the conclusion of the teasing stage showed her hair grotesquely protruding in all directions. It was an absolute mess. How could hers end up worse?!
Finally done with the first section,
Jenna let go and the hair arched forward of her face. The teasing kept
it from lying flat against her face, but the weight still made it fall
to her lap. It blurred her view of the next section being separated, another
good sized section from the top almost back to the crown. The teasing
comb quickly bit in, and Bonnie saw that this one was getting at least
equal treatment as the first section had. In fact, it looked worse.
This time she was counting strokes of the teasing comb. It was already
past eight, and Jenna still had quite a ways to go.
“Oh, Boy,” she said in dread. She fought back tears. She wished she wasn’t doing this.
But she was. The comb continued ruthlessly up a good two feet of the tresses. The last time she had measured her hair a few months ago it was 49 inches. At least that meant a good portion wasn’t being damaged.
This section, now completed, was
also thrown forward of her face. The comb had bit in 20 times!
Plus, she was now in a hair blackout. She could no longer see her
reflection through her hair, and could only go by sense of feel.
What she felt was most of her crown had been gathered up and was being
teased now. What she couldn’t see, thankfully, was that this was
being teased a bit more thoroughly than the rest, since the crown was the
high point of the finished style and demanded the most lift. But
it was immediately obvious to Bonnie that Jenna was spending a bit longer
on this section than on previous ones. She discovered she could feel
each stroke of the teasing comb even though she couldn’t see it and would
make a point of counting the next section. This finished one was
then thrown forward making her blackout even darker.
“How am I ever going to get these tangles out?”
“Just take each section piece by piece, be patient, and use plenty of conditioner.”
With that she felt the rest of her crown hair gathered up and the comb begin. Her head bobbed up and down a bit to the rhythm of the procedure. Bonnie was almost beside herself as she counted the strokes.
Finally she felt this section thrown forward, free at last from the teasing comb. She had counted 37 strokes! The rest of the back hair not in one of the two ponytails was now gathered up and teased. She was very thankful she couldn’t watch now, because this one got 38 strokes. It must be an absolute mess.
Jenna lifted the mass that had now been backcombed and blasted it with hairspray. The spray made the wad of hair seem even larger. Then she started in on the left side, taking the section in front of the ear, pulling it straight out to the side, and started packing it in against itself. Bonnie relaxed a bit as she counted only 9 quite firm strokes, but it was short lived. When Jenna let it go she could catch a slight glimpse of it with her peripheral vision and see that it was sticking straight out sideways a good four inches before slowly arching toward the floor. It seemed very much like the woman in the photos. The next section seemed to be even more harshly packed in at the scalp, and the count was back up to 16. Two more sections finished the left side, both with counts near 20. The last section seemed to be teased much further down its total length than the others. The entire side was then blasted with spray. It was then thrown forward of her shoulder, but it wasn’t touching the part of her shoulder it normally should. By how far out it was on her arm she knew the entire left side was definitely doing its best to defy gravity.
The right side was next. It
was done in only three sections, but all seemed very aggressively done,
and the last got nearly 30 strokes of the comb. This side was then
sprayed too. Bonnie let out a sigh of relief. She knew those
pictures by heart. The teasing portion of this style was done. Somehow
she had summoned the courage to do it.
“That was probably the worst part,” said Jenna. “From here on out it shouldn’t need much more teasing.” Bonnie was speechless, not at all prepared for even the possibility of any more back-combing.
She knew she must look quite ridiculous right now, as all the teased hair was now falling forward of her face. But she also knew she didn’t look like the pictures, with her teased hair standing straight up. Bonnie was certain her length and weight would surely make her finished version of this style less gravity defying than the pictured model. That was all right with her too. She had no desire to be a ‘bouffant queen.” Still she did expect to see at least some lift. She’d hate to think she’d just tortured her precious long tresses for nothing.
Jenna grabbed the rear teased section and drew it straight back, letting a little light peak through. Then another was drawn back, allowing Bonnie to get a little peek at what had become of her hair. But it was hard to make things out. However the last sections covering her face were then drawn back and she could clearly now see the results. What first struck her were the sides, which stuck straight out even more than she anticipated before arching to her lap. They were huge almost to the point of being humorous. Their shape reminded her of big floppy dog ears. Somehow she was able to let out a fairly sizeable grin at the absurdity of the picture. Then she noticed the top. Even though she normally had a pronounced center part, there wasn’t even a hint of one now. The front was a solid wall, like a giant wave, rising straight up about 2 inches before heading back. This was not something she was prepared to see. What’s more, as Jenna started drawing up the right side tight to her head toward the crown the front began to rise even more, almost doubling in height. She looked at the photo. The front seemed almost too high now. It was supposed to gradually get higher reaching its peak at the crown. The front was clearly higher than the crown right now. To make matters worse, Jenna was teasing areas on the right side a bit more. Bonnie got to see it this time, and shuddered as she watched the procedure. It looked ruthless. She had hoped all the teasing was done. How much more was in store?
Jenna started drawing the left side up too, trying to create the basic shape of the top and to see how this long hair responded to the backcombing. The mass of the sides, smashed next to the mass from the top and crown, pushed the front hair even higher. Now it rose nearly 8 inches into a giant pompadour. It looked absolutely wrong yet Jenna seemed unconcerned. In fact she was busy teasing one of the side sections even more. Then, as the hairdresser fiddled with pins trying to get the sides up in place Bonnie cautiously touched the front wave of hair. It felt totally unreal. It was a bit stiff, but in reality it only had a bit of hairspray on it. Mostly it felt like hair mixed with some type of padding. It was very unsettling that the padding was really tangles piled upon tangles. A teenage girl in the chair next to her, getting blonde highlights put in her shoulder length tresses, gave her a somewhat shocked look. Even though she had been informed this was a paid custom video production, she still thought this woman with amazing long hair crazy to do it. Bonnie forced herself to meet the stare with a look of someone actually enjoying herself right now. She even forced a bit of a giggle. It took all of her acting talents, because she was not enjoying herself at all. If she had known how savagely her hair would be treated she never would have agreed to this video. The hell with the money! She obviously knew her hair would be teased, but not like this. It wasn’t supposed to end up this gruesome mass of snarls. Plus the picture showed a very refined looking style. Right now she looked like an absolute bouffant queen. She wondered what Jenna was thinking.
What Jenna was thinking was total surprise.
It was a total surprise that this extremely long hair could respond so well to backcombing despite its length. Its weight alone should be making the front wall barely rise up, which is why she had attacked the roots fairly aggressively. All along she believed she would have to be very lucky to approach the dimensions of the shorter haired model in the photos. Even as she had been backcombing each section she was concerned how little lift was noticeable once she set each section down. Yet here it was: the front rising several inches higher than expected. This presented an unforeseen problem, because for this style to come out right the crown had to clearly rise higher than the front. Several inches higher at least. If she couldn’t reduce the mass of the front, which she now doubted she could do without undoing her backcombing and redoing it again to a lesser degree, then she would have to find a way to make the crown rise even higher. She didn’t even want to try the first option. It would take quite some time to undo what she had done, and she was sure Bonnie wouldn’t want to see this process repeated again. So she had to find a way to enlarge the crown, and at the same time not alert her client that this style wasn’t going exactly as planned.
To buy her time she fiddled with the sides a bit more, smoothing them a bit and locking them in place with hairspray. They actually came out right. Perhaps a bit fuller than expected, but well within acceptable limits. Jenna had her assistant Carol come over to hold the mass of hair gathered at the crown so she could focus her attention on the front. To Bonnie it would look like she was simply smoothing it, but she was actually also trying to get it to lie down a bit. Jenna got a bit frustrated with herself that she had underestimated how much she had backcombed the front hair. Try as she could it wasn’t going to be any less full. She smoothed it perfectly and liberally sprayed it. Even the weight of the spray couldn’t bring it down. It was going to stay as it was, towering a good four inches above her scalp. That meant she had to find a way to make the crown rise up about six inches. Unfortunately right now all the teasing she had done thus far would only provided about two inches of lift.
She decided she would try to utilize the remaining two feet or more of length from the drawn up side hair and make it into a large padded bun, hopefully making a foundation the other hair could then rest on to the desired height. Jenna had Carol hold the smoothed front section straight up just in front of the crown, giving her access to this area and at the same time hiding what was happening to her client.
Bonnie noted the progress of her style right now. The sides looked right though perhaps a bit fuller than the model in the pictures. The front smoothed out beautifully, though it still looked much too big. She thought, if things went well, it would be only about half as ‘bouffant’ as it was. Plus, what was happening now with two stylists working was nowhere in the pictures of this style. Carol was holding a huge mass of hair straight up while Jenna was fiddling around at her crown. She was dying to ask what was going on but just tried to remain passive and calm. One thing was for sure, her hair was a virtual rat’s nest. The mass that Carol was holding up, which represented just the front and top portion of her head, was thicker in mass than all her normally silky hair combined. It was actually quite amazing to look at, but she was quickly returned to reality as she felt Jenna doing more teasing.
Jenna had over two feet of hair to work with to form a large base to create height, but most of it hadn’t been teased. She had no choice, she had to create a great deal of volume with something, and so she started backcombing the remaining length from the side sections into one big wad. She knew Bonnie could feel what was happening. She didn’t want to let her see it though, as she really had to be quite thorough on the entire mass. When she finally dared tease no more, she coated it with hairspray, folded it upon itself, and proceeded to pin it at the crown. It took a dozen pins to get it to sit just right, but finally there was a nice mound shaped like a loaf of bread to bring the rest of the hair over.
Bonnie had no idea what exactly was going on back there. She had felt a fair amount of teasing, and now she was handing hairpin after hairpin to her hairdresser, and she felt something big being positioned at her crown. She just couldn’t see it, so she looked at the pictures. The crown was clearly higher than the front. Obviously Jenna was just making the crown higher.
Jenna had made the most of the side hair. She hoped it would be enough. She took the mass of front hair from Carol and cautiously brought it back over the new higher crown. Unfortunately the great mass and length of Bonnie’s hair was working against her, as it pushed down on the crown. Her idea had worked to some degree. The crown hair now was a little higher than the front, but not nearly enough to successfully complete this style. She picked at it a bit with her comb, hoping to prod it up, but to no avail. It needed to go higher still. She would need another section of hair to make yet another teased mass, which she could then position on top of the current one. There was only one place left she could get that hair, as the rear ponytails were too low to be a factor. It had to come from the front.
The front hair could be divided into four separate teased sections. Jenna separated out the rear one, letting the other three fall forward of Bonnie’s face. Bonnie could just make out what was happening through the tangled mass covering her eyes. This rear section would have to be transformed into yet another large pile strong enough to hold up what front hair remained. The problem was, it had already been teased once, fairly aggressively, and it wasn’t enough. It would have to be done again. It wouldn’t be ‘lightly’ either.
Bonnie watched, wide-eyed, as she saw this section of her hair being teased yet again. This time was different though. The strokes were slower and longer. There was more force involved. They were creating knots of extreme magnitude. The six inches closest to the scalp were almost unrecognizable. It looked like a Brillo pad, not human hair. She watched Jenna play with it some more, and then unsatisfied lifted it straight up and heavily tease another foot of hair, making it look foreign too. Bonnie closed her eyes, vowing to never again do anything remotely so awful to her hair, regardless of any financial gain. She wondered how she would ever recover from this nightmare.
Jenna felt bad, knowing she had
to backcomb Bonnie’s hair far more than she had anticipated. This
section of crown hair was certainly going to be a project in itself to
detangle. But it had been necessary, and as she put in the final
pins was confident it would work.
Rather than throw all the front hair over at once, she took it over section by section. Since a good portion of the mass was gone now, she found herself teasing the three sections even more so it would still appear a solid wall. There was no hiding this from her client either. She gently let it fall over the newly created mass at the crown. It still reached at least a good two feet down the back of her head. This was some seriously long hair after all. Somehow the now higher crown shouldered all the weight. It had worked. For the next ten minutes the stylist worked hard to pin it all in place, and have it roll smoothly over the crown and down the back, gathered next to the two unscathed ponytails.
Bonnie watched as the front hair was smoothed back again, and realized that however high the front hair seemed, it was dwarfed by the height of the crown. Now the style looked much more like the picture, just all much too big. Now both the front and the crown rose more than she had expected. But in fairness it did look very smooth and very much like the photo. It also was a look she never thought possible with all her hair. She closed her eyes as yet another layer of spray was put down over it all. It looked like she had a ton of hair, and there was still the two ponytails hanging down the back of the chair, nearly touching the floor. The stark transition between the straight silky ponytails and the full, shellacked sides, top and crown looked unreal. An observer would probably swear the ponytails were clip-on hairpieces. The picture just didn’t look real: super long hair meets Bonnie Bouffant. She just hoped the ponytails would be incorporated in the style without suffering any of the torture the rest of her hair had already clearly endured.
Jenna shook out her hands and took a bit of a breath. The hardest part was done. Somehow she had managed to get all this hair to defy gravity just as she had promised if not more so, and it was all holding too. Incorporating the rest into the style wouldn’t be hard and wouldn’t require any backcombing: Just a little time and a lot of hairpins.
For nearly 15 minutes Bonnie stared at the same unfamiliar reflection as she handed hairpin after hairpin to Jenna and felt an intricate mass growing low on the back of her head. This part wasn’t so bad though, as no teasing had been necessary. She could feel hair being formed into loops, being intertwined with one another, and being wrapped around Jenna’s fingers to form large simulated curls. Each step was pinned in place before moving on to the next. Yet there was ever more length to work with, with no end in sight. Looking at her reflection it was impossible to believe she had hair to her knees. But what was happening behind her head, out of sight, made it easy to believe.
Finally Jenna backed away and it
seemed she was done. Bonnie had no idea how many hairpins were in
her head, but the new box of 200 pins that was in her lap didn’t even look
half full now. Her hair felt heavier, both from the towering dimensions
of the style, plus the weight of all the pins and the vast amounts of hairspray
that had been deposited on it. She couldn’t imagine what it would
But Jenna wasn’t done. She added another 10 or so pins making sure nothing could shake loose. Unhappy with how it was sagging a bit over each ear, she plastered that area with spray and added another pin or two, and quickly that looked pristine. Then she went over the top again with her multi-purpose comb, picking at one part, combing at another, prodding at another. The top was now so interconnected that a tug at the front made the entire top section move clear back over the crown. She spritzed the front with spray again to make sure it held this perfect shape.
“Is all that spray necessary?”
Her auburn hair already looked several shades darker from product buildup.
“If I’m going to go through all this work I want to make sure it stays up.”
It was then that Bonnie recalled part of the script of this video. At the end of the session she is supposed to request a heavy extra layer of hairspray, to make sure it didn’t fall down during her fictional night out at an awards show. She certainly didn’t need it, nor want it. She hated using hairspray though was forced to on some occasions. Whenever she tried to curl her hair a fair amount was needed. But nothing like the vast quantities this style required. But she had agreed to the whole production, and had come this far, and been paid for it. She certainly wasn’t going to go back on her word now.
Jenna then held up a large hand mirror so Bonnie could see the back. The long ponytails had been transformed into an intricate series of loops and twirls along the back of her head, which taken as a whole formed a huge collage even larger than the size of her normal buns that incorporated all her hair. Despite its size, it blended in seamlessly with the rest of the style, completing it elegantly. It was an enchanting illusion, as it was obvious a great deal of hair was wound up, though no one who saw this elaborate style would ever guess her hair was actually nearing her knees. At the moment it was almost hard for her to believe too, for what she saw in the mirror she thought impossible. She touched the front cautiously, her hand met by the feel of a stiff helmet of hair. It felt horrible. She held in her dread.
“It looks beautiful,” she said, then remembered her promise for the buyer, “Now, lots of hairspray.” As bad as it just felt, she knew it was going to feel worse.
Jenna smiled a bit. Though she had
been fully versed on this script ahead of time, she had forgotten this
part, and had already put more than enough spray on. But she was
not going to come this far and fail her client. She obediently picked
up the spray bottle and went over the whole style quite liberally, starting
with the entwined ponytails which up to now had only been lightly misted.
By the time she moved on to the rest of the style they were as heavily
coated with the sticky product as the rest. Bonnie closed her eyes as the
front and sides were mercilessly drenched. When she opened them her naturally
auburn hair now looked dark brown. It was also not going anywhere.
There was so much product in it now a hurricane wouldn’t budge it.
Finally Jenna added some ornate barrettes along the sides which added a decorative touch. Another layer of spray was added to lock them in place. It was done.
The blue salon cape was removed,
and Jenna was handed the large mirror again, free to study the style from
every angle. The updo itself was a huge fantasy that looked impossible
to be done with all her hair and at the same time looked as if it required
much thicker hair then she actually had, or possibly several added hairpieces.
But then Bonnie took in her overall reflection. She was in a plaid
frumpy work jacket, with no makeup on, and this elaborate hairstyle that
looked now like something from an old black and white television show.
Bonnie was only 25 years old, and normally was mistaken for being a teenager.
But now she looked twice that age. It was almost frightening to see.
And she was supposed to go out to dinner tonight with her husband looking
like this?! She’d be mistaken for his mother!
“I look like a little old lady,” she mumbled to herself, not realizing everyone in the place heard it. Then she smiled for the camera and said, “Perfect!”
The production wasn’t done, because she was supposed to parade in front of the camera in full regal dress with the new hairstyle. Tina, one of the make-up artists at the salon, did her magic. Soon her complexion was no longer pale, her eyes popped, and her lips were full and luscious. She stared at herself in the mirror, no longer in the frumpy jacket but now in the elegant dress, with a sparkling necklace, plus the makeup. She did a double-take. She no longer looked 50, or like a frumpy sitcom housewife. The mountainous hairstyle made it difficult to pin her age down, and she definitely looked nothing like herself. Friends certainly would never recognize her. But the overall look was really quite elegant. While anxious to have her long silky hair back, she had to admit she looked very much the celebrity. It was difficult to say she looked attractive because she just looked like a complete stranger. But she could say the complete stranger looked attractive. And even though she really didn’t like how she looked, or certainly how she felt (knowing what had been done to her hair to create it) in this involved style, it really did add to her fashion statement right now. And that fashion statement was actually quite becoming.
She did her best runway walk for the camera, focusing on her posture and walking a straight line. She couldn’t force out a toothy smile though. Her pride and joy hair had suffered too much for this, and she couldn’t totally mask her regrets. A bit of a grin was the best she could do. This went on for a few minutes, and then the camera was turned off. She was done.
Bonnie relaxed and turned to her
husband Jim as he began stowing away the camera equipment. “So what
do you think of it?” she asked in such a way it was clear she was expecting
disapproval, and that she would totally agree with it in this case.
“It looks nice to me.”
She couldn’t believe what she was
He paused and looked up at her. “Yeah. At first I thought it looked kind of stupid, but once I saw you in the dress and the makeup I changed my mind. It looks…classy. It makes you look like a celebrity or something.”
“Really?” She looked at herself again in the mirror, trying to see it from his perspective. “Maybe. It’s just so…big.”
“You have a lot of hair. What did you expect?”
He was so logical. Leave it
to a man to look at things this way.
“I don’t know. Just nothing this big.” For the first time since it was done she touched it. She recalled how bad it felt before that last round of spray. It felt worse now. It was all one solid stiff mass. The ornate part in the back felt a little different only because it hadn’t been teased. It was still every bit as shellacked with spray. Never in her life had she ever felt hair like this. It almost made her physically ill.
But there was a plus side.
It was absolutely stable. Much more so then even the buns she wore
at home with such regularity. She could shake one of those loose
any time she wanted regardless of how many hairpins she used. This
‘do didn’t budge.
Amazingly it also didn’t tug either. Every bun she ever had always yanked on her scalp someplace. This one was actually…comfortable. Somehow this huge, outdated, rock hard, brutal arrangement of her luscious long mane was actually comfortable.
She gave her reflection another
hard look as she shook her head, seeing if the updo would truly stay in
place. It did. However once again she started thinking she
looked twice her age.
“Still want to take me to dinner looking like this?”
“Of course. I made reservations at The Green Room.”
Her eyes opened wide and she flashed
a genuine smile for the first time all day. The Green Room was only
one of the most exclusive, and expensive restaurants in town. This
was a definite treat! Plus Bonnie couldn’t imagine seeing someone
she knew there, so it was probably as safe a place as any looking the way
she did. She really didn’t want to be recognized out in public looking
“I just hope nobody I know sees me. I’ll never hear the end of the ‘big hair’ jokes.”
“Would you relax!? I think it looks just fine.” He spent a few seconds genuinely sizing up his wife’s quite different appearance. “In fact I like it. I really do. I’d even go so far as to say you look stunning.”
Bonnie smiled and blushed a bit, then again checked her look in the mirror, trying to see what he saw. It just looked like way too much to her, so she shook her head and gave up trying to figure her husband out.
Before dinner there was the matter of double checking the video. Jim transferred it to the computer while Bonnie just watched speechless. Now she got to see everything she hadn’t seen before. If the teasing looked bad from her original perspective, it looked doubly bad now, and not just because she got to see all of it. Her view of the backcombing had been from the front, which wasn’t so knotted as it needed to be smoothed over, forming the outer, visible part of the hairstyle. The camera also caught the backcombing from the back, where the numerous tangles and torture of the teasing comb were centered. This part wouldn’t be visible but be hidden from view, its purpose to provide lift and mass. Tears ran down her eyes as she watched her crown hair basically destroyed to make the support base for all the height at the crown. As Jim was burning a CD, she went on her computer and E-mailed the client that the video had indeed been done and came out just as she promised. It would be in the mail the next day. She also told him that while the style was fun for the day (she lied), she would NEVER do something like this again. Then she went to her room to fix her make-up for dinner, trying not to look at the ghastly mound that had been her beautiful flowing hair.
Never before had Bonnie been so
self-conscious of her hair then on the drive out to dinner. She would
swear everyone who passed their car was staring at it, and probably making
fun of it. It felt even bigger now, and she sunk down in her seat
a bit so it wouldn’t be crushed by the roof of the car, even though she
didn’t need too. It really wasn’t that high. She noticed Jim
constantly giving her questioning looks. Did he wonder why she was
so uncomfortable, or was he just freaked about how odd she looked right
She felt even more self-conscious walking into the restaurant, noting that seemingly everyone stopped to look her over. They probably wondered what 50’s revival party she was headed to.
The maitre ‘d gave a quick casual
look at them, then did a double take, suddenly coming to life. He
looked at what table they were assigned, shook his head and led them to
a different, much better table. He even held her chair as they were
seated, saying something like ‘here for the very beautiful lady.’
“Perhaps they think you are someone really famous,” said Jim.
She giggled a bit. Never had that possibility ever come up in her life.
The entire dinner experience at The Green Room turned out to be exceptional, both for the food and for the service. She had been here before, but didn’t remember such attention to service as they were getting tonight. Clearly more than the other patrons of the restaurant.
Jim leaned over and whispered to
her. “Have you noticed we’re being treated like V.I.P.’s?”
Bonnie had just thought she had been imagining it. Now that Jim noticed too (he NEVER noticed such things) it obviously was not her imagination.
“It’s probably just because we’re so dressed up,” she dismissed, as she looked down at her salad.
Jim just eyed her. All night long he couldn’t take his eyes off her. “Perhaps, but it’s definitely not because of me. It’s because of how great you look.” He made a pointed reference to her updo.
She almost choked on a crouton. There was no way to convince her she could possibly look great in her current hairstyle, in spite of her outfit.
She took a quick glance around the room. They were certainly the most dressed up people there. But then Jim just had the standard coat and tie on. Could it be her husband was right about her being the star of the evening? She was definitely the most dressed up person there. But other ladies wore nice dresses and jewelry too, some obviously much more expensive than hers. It was Bonnie’s hair that truly made the difference. A few ladies wore their hair up, but not in any way that stood out. Like it or not her unique style was making a true fashion statement that this was no ordinary evening, and she was no ordinary person. Thus the wait staff was doing their best to insure it was most memorable.
Bonnie would have blushed a bit
from this revelation, but she still sensed others in the room staring at
her, at her hair. She expected to start hearing snide remarks or
see people pointing. She fully expected to be the butt of numerous
jokes at a nearby table filled with high-schoolers. But none of it
happened. Instead she just saw polite smiles and, when she eavesdropped
on a conversation that pertained to her, heard nothing but compliments.
She even heard one of the high-school girls get all excited about it, wanting
to duplicate it for her prom this year. Bonnie wanted to tell her
she would end up disappointed though, as the young girl’s hair barely touched
her shoulders now. She wouldn’t have nearly enough length to duplicate
Bonnie had tried not to touch her updo, afraid she might jar something loose or ‘dent’ it, but still found herself patting it unconsciously most of the evening. Despite its size and weight and all the spray and hairpins it was remarkably comfortable. She knew her hair was an endless sea of knots rights now, but it didn’t feel like it. It didn’t even feel so sticky any more. She wasn’t sure if the spray was wearing off already, or if she was just getting used to the feel.
She certainly wasn’t any more used
to her reflection. In the ladies room after dinner it nearly jolted
her when she first saw it. It looked even more massive then she remembered.
Then came another surprise, as she was tapped on the shoulder.
“My God Bonnie I thought that was you! I almost didn’t even recognize you!”
It was Terri Anderson, who lived across the street. She was a fairly nice lady, but a little too loud for Bonnie. She was also more than a little conceited.
“My Lord what have you done to your
hair?” Terri’s hands were touching the style, pushing on it.
Bonnie feared she might have just destroyed the polished look, but glanced
in the mirror seeing it went right back into place. All that hairspray
had just come in handy.
“I had a video done this afternoon for my site, and we just figured we’d go out tonight.”
Terri knew all about the web site, and was frankly a little jealous about Bonnie’s bountiful mane. She had caught her husband on more than one occasion admiring it, and since Terri wore a fairly short, unruly Bob there was a huge difference in their looks.
“I just can’t believe you cut it! My husband will be so upset. You know he thinks the world of your hair.” Inside she was loving this.
“Oh, I didn’t cut it. It’s all in there,” she said, turning to face the mirror and patting the mound on the back of her head. Strangely enough, at that particular moment she was totally enamored with the hairstyle.
Terri’s jaw dropped. “You’re kidding!?”
Bonnie smiled and shook her head. She had left her neighbor speechless. This was a first. She stood still for a few seconds, waiting for some kind of response that never came, and then strode out of the lady’s room with immaculate posture while Terri just stood frozen. Bonnie felt very good. As she walked she touched the top of her hair again, still not used to having to reach up that extra six inches. It felt perfect, and she smiled as she walked back to her table.
When she left the salon that afternoon, she couldn’t wait to get started deconstructing the hairstyle and restoring her hair. But now as it was late in the evening she wasn’t so ready to let it go. The sight of her reflection was still totally foreign to her, but no longer in a bad way. She was just careful not to study it too much as the sight of the under layers of teased hair was alarming. It was also no longer revolting to touch, which she was sure was because the hair spray was wearing off. That had to be the case.
Her husband was in no rush to see her hair come down either. He was in a rush to take her to bed though. The instant they got home from dinner he lifted her up and carried her to their bedroom. They made mad and passionate love. It was the first time she’d ever made love with her hair up, as any other form of updo would quickly have come undone. It made it a whole new experience as her hair wasn’t constantly getting tugged, or in her face, or even in her way. Her husband now had easy access to her neck and ears and back, and made the most of it. She was absolutely spent when they finished, with a smile it would take months to erase. What had just happened between her and Jim had been incredible. Amazingly her hair was no worse for the experience.
Later, when both summoned up the energy, it was decided it was time for the hairdo to come down. Jim did the honors, first removing all the barrettes and then taking the ornate back section down, which took a fair amount of time as he really had a quandary finding all the hairpins, plus it all went together like a giant puzzle with only one solution. But it came down uneventfully, which was expected since neither ponytail had been teased at all. Just as Jenna had promised, the hairspray brushed out quite easily, and in no time at all the complete length of each ponytail could easily be combed through. They were absolutely no worse for the experience. The magic question was, what about the rest?
But Jim was in no hurry to deal with the rest. Having restored some of his wife’s wonderful hair rejuvenated him. He still could see and touch the majority of the upswept hairstyle, including all the teased parts, but now he had some of her amazing Rapunzel tresses to play with too. He had to have his wife again, and now. Bonnie was not one to complain, and the two made passionate love yet again. But by the time they were done both were so exhausted, and it was so late, the undoing of the updo would have to wait until morning. Bonnie fell asleep not even thinking about her hair.
The next morning Bonnie woke to
the unfamiliar sensation that her pillow was actually larger than it was.
She then realized the extra padding was her hair and she grew concerned.
She touched it, noting it still seemed to hold its basic shape but felt
much stiffer than she recalled the previous evening. She checked
her look in the mirror, again jolted by the mass on her head, which now
was a little smashed to one side and also a bit crooked. She went
out to the kitchen to make up a big pot of coffee. This was obviously
going to be a long day. Jim was up already fixing up some breakfast
for the two of them.
“You were amazing last night,” he said as he kissed her tenderly on the cheek.
“You weren’t too bad yourself,” she said, a big grin on her face.
He touched it crooked helmet of hair. “I think you updo has seen its better days.”
“I’ll be so glad to have my hair back.”
“Me too, but it was fun for an evening. You got to admit.”
She didn’t want to admit it. She hid her smile from him. “Perhaps.”
“Anything I can do to help.”
“I don’t know yet. Maybe.”
After breakfast, armed with a wide
toothed comb, detangler, and deep conditioner she started taking the pins
out. Slowly the creation unfolded leaving her to see the major work
ahead of her, getting out all the knots, of which there were countless
of all shapes and sizes.
She started with small sections that were the least affected, quickly restoring those with no problem, and then made sure the last two feet of hair was all free of tangles before addressing the two feet closest to her scalp that had really been tortured. She fearfully started in on one section, nervous that she wouldn’t be able to restore it without serious damage. Fortunately she was blessed with patience. You have to have that to live with hair as long as hers.
The tangles came out uneventfully.
Her crown hair was the toughest, both because it was hard to see what she was doing and because it was the most mistreated. Jim had to come and help her out here and he was fantastic. But then he had a lot of practice brushing her hair, as that was one of his favorite activities too.
It took all morning but as it neared noon she was in the shower giving her flowing mane a well deserved conditioning treatment, and by mid afternoon it was dry, and luscious, and showed no sign of harm from the day before. Bonnie was so happy she made a point of going to the mailbox at the exact time Teri Anderson and her husband were in their front yard doing some chores. Her hair was free and flowing, and Bonnie played it up for all it was worth.
“Hello Andersons,” she said loudly with a huge smile and a wave, making sure that both had to hear her. Mr. Anderson waved back with a big smile, tracking her progress down the road. Terri Anderson saw her hair was again perfect and looked more than a bit annoyed.
And so that brought to a close this adventure with hair. In retrospect Bonnie at least got to experience something she had always wondered about, for better or for worse. It turned out the worst part was just the worry, and the time needed to restore her mane, and that really wasn’t that bad. She really didn’t like what she ended up looking like, but others, such as her husband, clearly didn’t feel the same. The money from the project was good, and months later when she offered it on her website to the general public, making sure to target many bouffant and retro sites, a steady stream of orders followed making the whole ordeal well worth it. Especially since she said she would NEVER do it again. At least that’s what she said.
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