"You will?! Thank you."
"Are you going to have it done like it was for Stacy’s wedding?"
The thought of having it done any differently than the French Twist she wore for the wedding had never struck her, although she figured there probably were other options available to her. Still, she wasn’t sure she wanted to do anything too bizarre, and knew that the French twist was both attractive and wouldn’t damage her hair (or at least it hadn’t last time, which hopefully would hold true to form). "That’s what I was planning on. Is that OK?"
"That would be great." In truth it was great, though Michael also kind of longed to see her in something else too. He just loved the idea of seeing the woman he loved looking different for one evening, though not permanently different as she would if she cut her hair or such. That was the fun of this updo thing to him. He was becoming aroused just knowing she would go to such extents for him.
Kim called Gail to make an appointment for the 31rst, only to discover she was totally booked.
"How about on the morning of the 30th?"
Kim wasn’t too sure about this development. She still had to work on the 30th, and that would mean going through her workday with her hair up.
"Would it stay up and look nice even after two whole days?
"Sure! Remember lots of clients keep it up all week."
"Then, I guess that time would work. If you get a cancellation on the 31st could you let me know?"
"Of course. Just don’t hold your breath. That’s a very popular day for ladies to get their hair done."
While Kim still was anxious about risking her hair to the teasing comb once again, it was much easier for her to walk into the Bella Donna this time, and she even showed up several minutes early. All the stylists were busy, and once again the clientele was basically senior citizens. Kim took a couple of minutes to reintroduce herself to Diane, and the two quickly dove into a friendly conversation. All the time Kim tried couldn’t help but notice the receptionist’s updo. It was sleek in the front with a right side part which dove forward almost to her left eye before wrapping around and back into a mound of rolls on the back of her head. Again it looked dark blonde, surely as a result of a thick layer of spray. It was a style from the 50’s, but the way Diane carried it made it seem totally fresh and natural. It even looked ‘classically sexy’, if there were such a thing. It was mesmerizing.
When Gail called Kim back and reconfirmed about what she was having done today, part of her even considered asking for a duplicate of Diane’s style. She declined though, figuring her hair was too long to do it, and not really willing to risk the unknown if it was. She did wonder if her French twist could be done with the side part though. However she played it safe with what she knew, and asked for it to match the wedding French twist she sported during the Chamberlain wedding.
The session was predictable this time for her, as first came the gentle shampoo followed by watching her hair rolled in the huge curlers. Her time under the dryer was filled with animated conversations with the ladies around her, even though they were old enough to be her grandmother. Kim had never felt comfortable talking with senior citizens, always wondering what she could possibly have in common. Those barriers were being broken down here. Now she was feeling more at ease with these strangers than many of her own peer group.
Once more the rollers produced lovely full waves the complete length of her hair. Maybe someday she’d come here just to have that look for an evening. She was sure Michael would love it. When the teasing comb started it’s dirty work Kim still found herself wrinkling her brow and biting her lip, but she was no longer death gripping the arms of the chair.
Something else was different, and it took her several minutes to grasp it. Gail wasn’t tossing the strands in front of her, blinding her with a curtain of hair. Instead it was being thrown to the sides. When she asked why, she was told that the previous sessions Gail blinded her to spare her watching the process since she was so nervous. Now, since she was clearly more comfortable with it, there was no reason to keep her in the dark.
Eventually though, all the hair was backcombed (it looked so tame now compared to what had been done for her Halloween ‘bouffant’) and thrown forward so Gail could start in on the back, and Kim was momentarily blinded by her mane once more.
The first time this had been done seemed like an agonizingly slow process. Today it seemed to be going at light speed, and in no time Kim was staring at her freshly lacquered final style, exactly like it had been that summer. As before, it looked nearly black from the heavy layer of spray, yet in no way looked teased or outdated. It was perfect.
When the robe was pulled off and Kim got a look at herself in the updo paired with her work clothes she held her breath momentarily. She actually looked pretty good this way, although she looked a good 10 years older. She looked…. more mature, and maybe even a person to take more seriously. Touching her hair, noting how extremely stiff it was, snapped her back to reality momentarily, but she confidently strolled out of the shop on her way to work. She did get one last long look at the updo Diane wore. It sure did look good on her. Parts of her still wondered what she would look like in such a style.. But those thoughts quickly subsided as she thought about the long day she had ahead of her, and wondered what her co-workers would say of her hairstyle that day, or if they would even notice.
To say her hair was noticed was an understatement. Co-workers came out of the woodwork to catch a glimpse of her and compliment her. Even Dawn, her boss who normally didn’t even say hello, took a double take and actually came over and said greeted, and even asked what her plans were for the day. All the time Kim could see the woman’s eyes looking over her hair time and time again, trying to hold back her obvious approval, for she wasn’t one to pass out compliments on a woman’s appearance. Despite her efforts to disguise it, Kim could tell she approved. Well, at least for one day she would get the approval of her boss.
Her main appointment of the day was with a middle aged couple who just moved in to town. They were wealthy and looking to buy, so Kim felt lucky to be chosen as their agent. They seemed very impressed by her and the day went well as she showed them five different houses. They agreed to get together on the second of the month to look at some more.
Lunch was also a different experience, as a complete stranger bought her a drink and then tried to hit on her. He looked to be in his mid to late thirties and by the way he talked and treated her apparently figured she in her thirties also. She could never be mistaken as such with her hair down, as she usually was carded everywhere she went, so she had to credit her French twist with making the difference. Apparently she wasn’t the only one to think she looked older in it. She found herself often touching it, finding the stiff shell of spray both disgusting yet somehow giving her confidence that her hair would stay up for the 48 hour period it needed to. And if it was so disgusting why was she constantly touching it so often? Perhaps it was just enjoying something she didn’t dare normally do, so she better just appreciate the whole thing while she could.
That afternoon she drove another client, a middle-age single man, around looking for a starter home for himself. This was the third time they had been together, and while in the past she guessed he found her attractive, today he was obviously staring at her. When he realized how obvious it was, he openly admitted it.
"I’m sorry if I’m staring, but I have to say I really like what you’ve done with your hair today. Not that you don’t look great with it down, as you have terrific hair and I wish my girlfriend had such great hair but it looks very…. striking with it up like it is." He was having great difficulty getting it all out so she realized it was a compliment and not a come-on.
"Thank you." Kim was used to men staring at her hair, but never thought wearing it up would garner as much or more attention as leaving it down. Her hand once more touched it. It seemed softer now, and she wondered if the spray was already wearing off, or if she was just so used to it now. Perhaps her constant touching of it was breaking down the bonds of the spray. She became a bit concerned that at this rate it would fall out before the New Year’s party the next evening. She wondered if she should go out and purchase some hairspray (since she didn’t own any) and give it another layer in the morning. Gail had mentioned it would hold for the two days though, and she clearly should know what she was talking about. While she pondered this predicament she noted her hand was again touching the style almost like it had a mind, and attraction, or its own. She made a conscious effort to leave it alone. Of course this was like telling a small child not to look behind a closed door. All she wanted to do was touch it now.
Later that afternoon, when the last of her clients had left for the day, she stopped into the Bella Donna to ask Gail if she should buy some spray, and what kind to get. The place was full, and Gail called her over by her chair to talk as she backcombed the shoulder length hair of her present client. For a moment all Kim could do is watch, not used to seeing it so close and at this angle. She couldn’t believe how fast the stylist worked.
Gail didn’t think Kim’s ‘do needed any more spray, as she had given it a thorough coat, but if she really wanted to it wouldn’t hurt anything, and she recommended the same Super Hold spray the shop used. Kim asked for the smallest size.
"The large can is the best value for the money."
It would be the first time she ever bought hair spray, and Kim couldn’t imagine why she would possibly need so much.
"I don’t think I’ll need that much for this one time."
Gail smiled and handed her the small size, and Kim thanked her and took it up to Diane so she could pay for it.
Once home Kim went to her bathroom and removed her new purchase from the salon bag. She quickly read the directions and list of ingredients, making sure there was nothing damaging about the product. If there was she sure couldn’t tell by the name, and she removed the plastic top. Then she started feeling her style, trying to isolate the spots that seemed to need reinforcing. She decided to start on the left side, which had been subject to the breeze from her open driver’s side window. She squinted her eyes and pointed the can towards her hair. A quick and powerful blast shot out…directly into her left cheek. She coughed and immediately stopped to wipe off her face. Obviously her aim needed work.
She tried again, aiming for the left side once more, and pushed down on the nozzle. Another heavy stream of spray emerged and landed squarely in her left ear. She dropped the canister and quickly put a towel to her ear, wiping off the sticky residue. This wasn’t supposed to be so hard. She was glad Michael wasn’t there laughing at him.
She decided to try hitting the top first this time. Finally she hit her mark but she let it stay there a fraction too long. The one section of her style now looked almost drenched from the spray. She just stopped and held her breath, hoping it would dry without sagging or denting the finished style. After about a minute the spray was nearly dry and she was relieved to find her hair no worse for it. The one spot was tremendously stiff though. The rest of her hair felt almost void of spray in comparison. In fact it alarmed her how little spray she felt at all. Her hair would never survive the night of her restless sleeping and all day tomorrow before the party. Without a second thought she picked up the spray again and gave her entire French Twist a thorough once-over of spray. Of course she held her breath and made the face of a child who sucked on a lemon much too hard, but didn’t let up until it all had a damp look similar to that first section she plastered. When she put the can down the mist in the room was thick and she coughed and backed out of the room to breath. She was shaking at bit, not knowing what to think of her uncustomary behavior. She counted out loud to 60 before touching her hair again. It was still damp, and her hand tried to stick to it. It sounded a bit like Velcro tearing away as her hand left the side of her head. She rushed to the mirror to see if it had damaged her style. Fortunately it hadn’t, but just in case she gave it a quick shot of spray at that spot. Then, worried that this one spot would appear darker than the rest upon drying, gave a quick once over of the rest again to balance the amount of spray. She then thought quizzically of herself. Here she was, someone admittedly frightened and disgusted of this whole hair product scene, caking layers of spray on her head of thoroughly teased hair. She must be out of her mind.
She went to the kitchen for a quick bite to eat, and to take her mind off her hair as it dried. She felt herself walking differently, like a Miss America contestant being careful not to have her crown fall off. Or in this case, fearful her hairdo would fall over. How ridiculous! The one thing she recalled from last time is Gail’s creations didn’t fall down until they were taken down.
After a quick snack she rushed back into the bathroom to look at her hair again. It was amazing how much the different style jolted her every time she looked at it despite knowing it was there. She just looked like an entirely different person. She couldn’t figure if it was different/older, different/more elegant, different/prettier, or what. It was just… different. She also noted that it was even darker now from all the spray. Even in this light she looked like she had nearly black hair.
She reached up gingerly to touch it, fearful that it was still damp and sticky. When she touched it her eyes shot open. "Oh my God, what have I done?" It was no longer sticky since it had dried, but it also no longer felt anything like it had. It felt like a plastic shell. When she pushed on it at all, the whole thing moved rather than just one spot. The amount of spray Gail had originally used was nothing compared to this. She could literally feel and hear the stiffness of the hair just by wrinkling her brow, or by tilting her head. She quickly capped the hairspray canister and put it in the cabinet. She definitely wouldn’t need, nor would she want, any more of the grotesque product in her precious hair.
Later that night, before she went to bed, she gave Michael a call confirming with him the details of the party the next night, and assuring him that she had her hair done just as he wished.
"Will it stay intact until tomorrow."
"I’m sure it will." Actually she wondered if she had put on too much spray and would ever be able to get it all out without ripping at her hair.
It took Kim a good deal of time to fall asleep that night as she didn’t want to damage her ‘do. Finally sleep won out though, and she drifted off to dreams of being Cinderella at the Ball. She took this as a happy precursor to the next evening’s festivities.
In the morning she woke and quickly went to the mirror. Her style was fine, and as she touched it didn’t seem as stiff (though it certainly was still a shell of hair) as she remembered it from the previous night. She started touching it all over and could swear she was losing her mind. It almost felt normal in many spots. Maybe the spray worn off already! Would it last through her day of cleaning plus the party that night? She found herself almost in a trance as she opened up her cabinet and removed the hairspray can yet again, and then, biting her bottom lip just a bit, stood in front of the mirror and put down another heavy layer over her tresses until they were again wet with the product. This time she just sort of shook her head in disbelief over what she was doing. Did she have a death wish for her hair? All Kim could come up with is that she was making this event the one occasion she just let her fears go and get this strange fetish to spray her updo out of her system. She set the canister back on her counter (not away in the cabinet) and fought off the temptation to touch her locks.
Kim set about her weekend cleaning chores, appreciating the fact her hair was up out of her way. It sure was easier ironing and cleaning without the fear of it intruding. As she cleaned the mirrors in the bathroom she studied her still unfamiliar reflection. With her cleaning robe on she looked like June Cleaver or something from an old black and white television show, where the perfectly coiffed housewife toiled around the home. She took her hands out of her gloves and touched her style again. It was extremely stiff again, just like the previous night. What Kim didn’t understand is why it didn’t bother her right now. Did she even like the sensation?
Later that afternoon it was time to start getting ready for the big New Year’s party. She desperately wanted to take a shower, but obviously couldn’t as it would certainly decimate her hair. She was torn between a sponge bath and a regular bath, still worried about what all the humidity would do to her French twist. As she started in on a sponge bath, she realized it just wouldn’t do the job for the evening, so she turned on the water in the tub. She’d just have to take the risk with her hair.
Just to be safe, she popped the top off the spray and gave her locks one more good coating of the lacquer. By now she was not only getting proficient with her aim, she wasn’t even making faces. It was soon all slightly damp again. She figured she’d give it time to dry before climbing in the tub.
Ten minutes later, the tub at the perfect temperature and her clothes lying on the floor, Kim checked her ‘do to see if it was dry. It was, and even stiffer than before. It also looked Jet Black now from so much product buildup. And for some strange reason Kim quite liked it this way. She couldn’t begin to tell you why. She cautiously climbed into the tub, careful not to get any water even near her head or neck, and let the warm water relax her as she daydreamed about the night ahead of her.
Kim stayed in the tub probably too long as her fingertips were pruning up, but it just felt so nice and relaxing. Eventually she pulled herself out and prepared for the evening ahead. It was still such a shock to see the now seemingly black-haired updo staring back at her but she was starting to really like the sight of it, plus the ease. An hour later, her makeup absolutely pristine, and her gown looking dazzling, she was ready to head out the door. For some reason she couldn’t resist an ever so quick once over with the spray. It just seemed the right thing to do. She touched it again, totally enjoying the foreign sensation.
The evening was wonderful, and she felt like the Belle of the Ball. It was surprising to her how little effort other women put into their hair. She was proud of what she had done, as was Michael, although he was taken aback over how stiff it was to the touch. He knew hairspray was a four-letter word to Kim, and didn’t understand at all how she allowed so much to be put on her hair.
"Isn’t all that spray going to damage it?"
"No. It’s supposed to just wash out." Fortunately Kim was having a great time and had a few drinks to keep her mind off the little seed of doubt Michael had planted. As the night turned into morning and she grew even more exhausted and inebriated, she couldn’t think of anything but how much she wanted to hang all over her boyfriend. Fortunately he wasn’t a drinker, and in the early hours of the morning drove her home and tucked her into bed. She was asleep before the lights were even turned out.
In the morning Kim woke, hung over, and reached for her aching head. But her hand was blocked by some kind of hard helmet. That’s when her daze finally wore off and she realized in absolute horror that the shell was her hair. She flew out of bed to the mirror, though she realized she was still a bit unsteady on her feet, and peered through red eyes at the stiff black mass on her head. It hadn’t budged. How could it?! It was locked in place by the numerous layers of spray she inexplicably had caked on it the past two days. It felt horrible. She was sure just touching it would break the confused locks of hair right off. She threw off her clothes and turned off the shower. She certainly wouldn’t put up with this for one instant more. As the water started warming up, she reached into her hair to try and remove the hairpins. She squealed as she heard some crackling noise accompany each pin as it stubbornly slid out. Even after a handful of pins sat on the counter, and Kim couldn’t find any more the stiff mass refused to unfurl. This was a big deal to Kim, because both of Gail’s previous updos hadn’t been able to stay up once the pins were removed. All that spray, that unnecessary spray, was ruining her hair. Kim was sobbing now, confident that she had destroyed the tresses she loved so dearly.
She stepped into the shower and doused her hair. The spray acted like a shield, and the water bounced off, unable to penetrate the defenses. Now Kim was nearly hyper-ventilating, unsure of what to do next. She didn’t want to force things as that would certainly cause damage. The salon wasn’t open today so she couldn’t run in and see if the ladies could fix it. There might be some other salons, like the ones in the mall, open today. But she didn’t trust just anyone. They might just say give up and attack her mane with scissors.
Then, as tears freely flowed and her potential options seemed worse and worse, she felt her hair start unraveling and falling down her back. She held perfectly still in disbelief, afraid to move. She feared her senses were lying to her but they weren’t. She gently touched it, totally relieved it had finally undone itself, and she set about washing it and using a huge amount of expensive conditioner.
An hour later she sat, combing through the smooth, untangled length of her hair. All the teasing was gone, as was all the spray. It hadn’t been any tougher than last time. In fact, it seemed easier. Probably because she had done it before and now actually was experienced, although just a bit, at ‘unteasing’ her hair.
For the next several hours she was very nervous waiting for it to dry so that she could truly measure how much damage had been done. All the while she feared the worse, and even started looking through magazines for a shorter style (in case she had to cut off a great deal of damaged length) that she felt she could live with. She found none.
When her hair finally dried well into the afternoon she meticulously scrutinized it over and over again. She found no damage anywhere, even though she almost wanted to find some just so all her worrying that day wasn’t for naught. But there wasn’t any.
In spite of this fact the stress of the day had confirmed one thing for sure. She knew she was done putting her hair up. It wasn’t worth the risk, no matter how good she looked, and how many compliments she received. A person with hair as long as hers should never treat it the way she had, especially if they wanted it to grow longer. She picked up the small can of hairspray. It was nearly empty. She couldn’t believe how much of the horrible product she had dumped on her hair in the past several days. She gladly tossed the can into the trash, with no desire to ever use such products on her long flowing tresses ever again.
And finally, she vowed to never allow her hair to be teased again. She considered herself tremendously lucky hers had survived unscathed three times now. There wouldn’t be a fourth. She was confident she would never again set foot in "The Bella Donna" and suffer through another session at the hands of Gail.
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