The Regular-  Part 11- The Final Chapter
By Tairish
All good things had to come to an end, and the plane flight home marked the end of the honeymoon.  They arrived home quite late that Sunday evening, and Kim was so tired she went right to bed.

She woke the next morning and was out the door headed to The Bella Donna before it even hit her that her hair was still up in the Beehive Michael had done for her.  For all these years she had always taken her hair down over the weekend prior to her Monday appointment to have it done for the work week.  This would be the first time she would require Gail to take it down for her.  Hopefully it wouldn’t set her back too much in her schedule.  She already planned to let Gail give her a quick trim, which would be the first time anyone but her former stylist Jill (who had recently moved) had taken scissors to her hair for countless years.

She looked at her Beehive (which still looked quite perfect), wondering if she should quickly take it down to save Gail all that time, but knew she didn’t have the time, even though detangling her updos only took 15 minutes at the most these days.  So she just jumped in her car and headed out to the shop.

The sight of Kim walking in the shop with her hair already done up wasn’t the only surprise that morning.
First of all, she was stunned to see her boss Dawn seated in front of Maggie, looking totally unfazed as a long, thick layer of hairspray was being applied to her finished ‘updo’.  It was a pristine French Twist, almost identical to the one Kim had worn for so long.  She knew her boss had talked about becoming a ‘regular’, but hadn’t acted upon it.  Obviously that had changed now.  Dawn looked absolutely fabulous with her hair done as it now was.  Kim felt very proud of herself knowing her role in the whole affair.

The other big surprise happened when ‘D’ greeted her sporting quite a voluminous style that was certainly different than any she had worn before.   It was a giant mound of curls that had all the dimension of a Beehive, mixing a wide variety of curls all together.  Usually a hairstyle kept with just sausage curls, or just petal curls, or whatever.  This one was a mixture of every kind of curl possible seemingly interwoven and piled on top of each other.  It was fascinating.  It was lovely.  Kim just stared at it speechless for a while, and then asked the receptionist to turn around so she could look at it from all sides.  ‘D’ did so gladly, certainly enjoying the attention that this huge ‘bouffant’ was commanding.  Dawn snuck up beside her as she was studying the creation.
“Quite a hairdo isn’t it?!” her boss said as she paid the receptionist.
“Yes, it truly is.”
“I bet you’d look great in something like that,” her boss said, and gave her a knowing wink.  “See you in a few hours,” she said, and she was out the door.
Kim knew right away she wanted a matching look then and there.

Fortunately Gail didn’t seem bothered at all by the necessity to take down Kim’s hair prior to her normal session.  She was so full of questions about the Honeymoon that it seemed to just give her more time for conversation.  As she deconstructed the tower of hair she did inquire how she found someone to do her hair for her in France.  Kim wondered if she might have noticed some damage or such and immediately became worried.
“Why, is there a problem?”
Gail smiled.  “Not at all!  It’s just that I construct Beehives quite a bit differently than other stylists, yet this one was done exactly as I would have done it.”
It was then that Kim quietly confessed that her new husband did it for her, yet made Gail promise not to let the secret out of the bag.  Michael didn’t want that information out there.
“I tell you what, he did a very fine job!”
Kim just smiled, knowing how lucky she was to have found a man like him.

It didn’t even take Gail 10 minutes before Kim’s Beehive was down and her hair sufficiently detangled to get shampooed.  Kim couldn’t believe how fast her stylist could work.  Soon her hair was freshly washed and combed smooth.  It wasn’t until Gail picked up some scissors that she remembered she was going to get a slight trim today.  Kim was directed to stand on a high stool so that the ends of her hair would be more easily accessible.  For the first time since their first meetings, Kim was nervous at the hand of her stylist, for Gail was taking quite a bit more time than Jill used to.  The next few minutes involved a thorough combing, then a run with the scissors, and then a repeat of the process not once but twice more.  How much was she taking off?  She wanted to look back, petrified that she might see a huge pile of clippings on the floor, yet stood her ground.  Mostly she was frightened that any movement of her head would result in even more falling to the floor.  But as she heard the blades constantly opening and closing that third run for what seemed like an eternity she had to say something.
“Don’t take off any more than you have to.”
“You know I’m not,” scolded Gail, and about a minute later the scissors were returned to the table. Gail held out her hand showing how much hair had actually been cut off.  Her hand was almost empty, and the small amount of trimming that were in it were no more than 1/8th of an inch.  Kim breathed a huge sigh of relief.
“Your hair is in fantastic shape.  I didn’t find any splits at all, so I just tipped the very ends getting it all evened up.  As you can see that did require me to do much.”
Kim looked at her hair, for the first time in a while noting how long it now was.  It reached all the way to her calves now.  It was a perfect straight line across the bottom, looking no thinner at the ends then it did at any other point of it’s length.  Actually she loved how the ends looked just after a trim: so full and healthy.   She figured she was about two years away from accomplishing her ultimate hair goal of floor length.  She ran her fingers through it.  It was a feeling she never grew tired of.  It was perfect.  Well, almost perfect.  When it touched the floor it would be perfect.

She returned to her seat, and Gail asked if she wanted her usual Beehive today.  Kim didn’t even hesitate, requesting a duplicate of the updo ‘D’ now wore.
“I thought you’d like that,” Gail smiled.  “It was something we played around with last week when we had a few cancellations and a block of time to kill.  Jeannette’s asked for the same thing too.”

Kim looked over at her good friend now sitting under the dryer.  She was happy that Jeannette was back to trying the larger styles again.  The radically toned down styles she had been wearing really didn’t do anything for her.  Still, her boyfriend Dave had insisted on them, condoning her ‘big hair’ exploits.  He actually just wanted her to wear her hair down all the time, uncaring that it was often impractical and demanded so much more attention that way.
“What will Dave say?”
“You have been away for a while!  They broke up.  In fact she’s already found another man, Martin, over the internet somehow.  She’s much happier than I’ve seen her in a long time.   And Martin is totally adoring of seeing Jeannette in ‘Big Hair.’  So lately she’s been making up for lost time, really challenging me to come up with something new and …huge.  It’s been fun.!”
Kim leaned back and smiled, glad to hear that Jeannette was doing so well.  Then she closed her eyes and enjoyed the sensuous feel of having her hair rolled up in curlers.

When Kim arrived at her office that day, most everyone couldn’t wait to ask about her Honeymoon.  But when they saw the elaborate new hairstyle she was sporting, that was instantly the initial topic of conversation.  Even Dawn threw in her two cents worth.  “Nice hair,” she said, touching it gingerly with her right hand, which then ran down the back of the ‘do until she could give her star employee a reassuring pat on the back.  Kim didn’t mind so much attention at all, and actually quite expected it.  Her huge new bouffant (there was no denying that it was huge) was a marvel, and she found herself constantly touching and staring at it when she thought no one was looking.  The wide variety of size and shape of curls was a real treat to her sense of feel, like touching a magnificent piece of sculpture.  She eagerly anticipated how Michael would react to it.  She knew might not get much sleep this week as a result.  She grinned a devilish grin to herself.

Michael was just as enthralled, if not more so, than Kim expected.  Fortunately the hairdo was well pinned and plastered in place, as their lovemaking that week was often, for extended periods of time,  and extremely athletic.  That Friday night Michael took a great deal of time taking it down.  Kim knew why.  He was studying how it was all done, and hopefully locking away the secrets in his memory so he might be able to recall them himself some time in the future.  She actually found herself hoping he would succeed.

For the next month she requested the style, interestingly learning that it came out a bit different each week, as it was basically impossible to duplicate precisely the placement, size, and massive intertwined qualities of the look.  It was constantly the subject of conversation at work, and not just with Kim herself.  Co-workers talked about it fondly with each other.

It was upon overhearing one such conversation that Kim found herself standing back and just looking around.  At that moment she realized that every  woman there now wore her hair up every day.  None had hair shorter than their shoulders, and the vast majority were ambitiously growing theirs as long as possible.  What’s more, a good half dozen where now ‘Regular’s’ of various salons, getting their hair done each week just like Kim (and now just like Dawn).  None of them wore anything like the large Beehives and huge bouffants that Kim was known for, but she anticipated that in time many might go that route.  Just in the past few weeks alone, with everyone so enraptured with her latest new updos, Kim noticed that many of the girls were starting to venture into different, more involved, and usually bigger hairstyles.

Then Kim took in the whole atmosphere of the office.  How different it was now.  Besides the fact that Kim felt so much love and respect from everyone, the office seemed far more professional yet comfortable than any place she could remember.  This was a great place to work, and much of the change had been her doing, whether she knew it or not.  She beamed a huge smile.

Even though Kim was wearing quite sizeable bouffants these days, they seemed almost simple compared to what Jeannette was requesting.  Clearly those many months of toning down for her old boyfriend had frustrated her, and now she was obviously enjoying going the other side of the spectrum.  She was also celebrating that fact that her hair finally reached the floor, which had been her goal for so long.

Kim would sit each week under the dryer watching Gail create something fantastic, both in appeal and dimension, with Jeannette’s hair.  They seemed almost too much, yet each week Jeannette was back asking for more.  More height, more width, more curls, more variety, more hairspray.  More!!!!  And she wore such a smile of contentment as her hair was being arranged that Kim was becoming more envious each week.  She found herself daydreaming about the notion of asking for the absolute extremes in hair artistry each week.  How wonderful that would be!  Yet how could she show her face on the street under such massive creations?!
But then Jeannette never looked anything but classy and wonderful, no matter how extreme her hair was.
Kim made herself a promise at that point.  When her hair reached the floor, she would celebrate the accomplishment with a month of absolute extreme styles.  Let whatever people say be damned.  It would be fun!!!
In the meantime, she found herself becoming a bit more adventurous with her hairstyles.  Even on the weeks when she returned to the Beehive, she altered it a bit, changing the part, or the diameter of the style, or adding a bit more height to it.
There were millions of styles that could be done with all her hair, and Kim wanted to experience all of them.

As the leaves started changing signaling the beginning of another Autumn, Kim’s attentions again shifted to Halloween.  Her friends were throwing a party with a Sorority/Fraternity theme, and she was at a loss of what to do with her hair.  Certainly a huge bouffant would not make her look like a modern day Buffy, or Muffy, or a Pamela Sue Izod. Gail came to the rescue.

“I ordered a video from a girl in Pennsylvania who knows some wonderful tricks with long hair.  One of them is to make long hair look like a shoulder length ‘Bob’.  Want to try it?”
“How is that possible?”
“Oh, from the back it’s obvious, but from the front the effect is amazing.  I tell you, this girl is an……Illusionist with what she can do.”
“How did you ever learn about her?”
“I saw her on the Today Show a couple of months ago.”
Kim snickered at the thought of looking like she had cut her hair, and a shoulder length ‘Bob’ would be a great look for the party.
“Would it really make it look like I have short hair?!”
“As I said only from a front view.  But from the front it absolutely looks real.”
That statement sold her.
“Sure, let’s try it!”  And with that she made an appointment for the 31rst of October.

It was very odd being in The Bella Donna and not needing to sit under the dryer, or having her hair teased or even massive amounts of hairspray.  Yet here she had been for almost an hour now and as her style was being finished none of these ‘normal’ requirements to create her hairdo had been utilized.  Instead this style demanded a lot of precise pinning behind her head, making everything as tight and minimal as possible.  It was a very different session for her. Since from her front view Kim couldn’t really see any of the workings of this style, she had to base everything on her sense of feel.  What she could feel was her hair was being divided many times over and a great deal of coiling going on.

But somehow each coil didn’t include the last 6 inches of her length, which was then positioned so it all fell in a straight line just to her shoulders.  When the last coils were pinned it all truly looked, at least from the front, like Kim had a shoulder length ‘Bob’.   Gail took the time with a large barrel curling iron to curve the ends under.  It looked even neater this way, and now didn’t even touch her shoulders.  She shook her head a bit, testing the stability of the style, and noting the peculiar feel of the ends of her hair touching her neck.  If she ever wanted to know what she would look like in a ‘Bob’ or Page-boy she needn’t look any further than her reflection in the mirror.  She ran her hands over it, giggling a bit when her hands so quickly came to the curved under ends.  It felt just as short as it looked.  It was such a different vision it took her a while to conclude what she thought of her new style. Quite honestly she looked very cute, and with the right clothing and makeup would certainly be able to come across as the definite Sorority Girl.

She also learned that seeing this reflection only confirmed how much better she looked with her bountiful long locks.   Whether they were worn up or hanging down, she was definitely a long hair lover. Hopefully Michael would agree with her on that, as for some reason she feared a bit that he might actually like her looking the way she did.

Michael actually very much liked this new style, but for the purpose it was intended: a Halloween costume.  By the end of another great party (of course they were the centers of attention again) he was more than anxious to take his wife’s hair down and once more be enraptured by all its’ length.  The style came down very easily, especially as it involved no teasing and very little hairspray, but not before Michael had stored away the secrets of the illusion into his memory.

Kim breathed a silent sigh of relief that Michael was no fonder of her in short hair than she was.  He truly was the perfect husband for her.  That Monday she couldn’t wait for her hair to once again be teased and prodded into another voluminous style that could only be accomplished with all it’s length.  Gail did not disappoint her.  She left sporting another giant bouffant that required excessive amounts of teasing, pinning, and spraying.  Kim was grinning the entire time.  She no longer worried what people would think or say, or fear how it would be received at work.  In these styles she was truly happy and confident, and that came across both at work and in her daily interactions with others.  And for anyone who met Kim that positive energy was transmitted immediately negating any sour opinions one might have.

As was her custom, Kim wore her hair down for the Staff Holiday Party.  It was now her yearly opportunity to show off her fabulous tresses to her co-workers.  Interestingly, most of the other ladies in the office also wore their hair down.  It was tremendous fun just seeing how different everyone looked without their now customary updo’s, and how much each ladies’ hair had grown.  It had been a while for many to be seen like this, and thus the party was quite full of pleasant surprises.  Probably the biggest surprise was Dawn’s hair was now well below her shoulders.  That obviously met the approval of her husband, who couldn’t keep his hands off it all night.  Michael noted that with her longer hair and tasteful party dress, Dawn looked both much more attractive and much younger.  ‘Great reasons for her to continue its’ growth,’ he thought to himself.

Kim’s hair continued growing too.  That winter, when Gail gave her another trim (again hardly taking off anything) her hair reached the bottom of her calves.  It was strange but it was only during these twice a year trims that Kim really noticed how much longer her hair was.  She was quite excited to note her progress, and couldn’t wait for it to reach the floor, which she knew would soon be in her future. As she left the salon that day sporting a Beehive that was quite a bit thinner but also a good 4 inches taller than usual she was on top of the world.  She reached up and touched the tall structure, smiling at how incredibly stiff it was from all the hairspray.  She ran her hand gently along the front side parting of the style, which swooped down a bit almost partially covering her right eye before wrapping back on the side, covering almost her entire right ear (the left was fully exposed) and then joining the rest of the mass to become part of the ‘Hive’.  It looked, and felt, so incredibly sexy.  She eased behind the seat of her new red SUV which she had bought herself as a Christmas present.  It had been an easy decision what vehicle to buy and this was the right one.  Not because of it’s comfort, high safety standards, many amenities, relatively frugal fuel consumption or high Consumer Report ratings.  True, it had all those things, and one more.

It had more headroom than any other vehicle.

That meant Kim, thanks to her shorter stature, could wear huge Bouffants without fear of smashing them against the roof.  She checked her ‘do in the mirror, noting she had a good couple of inches between the top of the tower and the roof of the car.  Maybe she’d have to ask for even more height next time.  No. That would have to wait until her hair reached the floor. That day was not too far away now, and on that day she planned on wearing styles so big even in this vehicle she’d have clearance problems.  She smiled the smile of a woman totally happy with life.

That euphoria was short lived, because the next Monday proved to be a day of horrible news.

Kim sensed something was wrong as she pulled into the parking lot of the Bella Donna.  Something was missing.  The huge parking lot of the complex had relatively few cars in it, but that wasn’t unusual.  Truth was the parking lot was becoming less and less crowded as many of the local businesses had folded over the past year or so due to tough times and competition from the larger discount Superstores.  It was that one particular car wasn’t there.

Kim started trembling when she opened the door, fearing the worse.  As soon as she looked in the shop she knew she was right. Something was terribly wrong.  No one was animatedly chatting and gossiping like usual.  Even the radio was off.  Instead everyone was sniffling with red eyes. Obviously they had all been crying.

Kim looked at ‘D’ with a look demanding to know what had happened.
“Jeannette had a stroke last night.”
“Oh God no!  Is she OK?  Where is she?  I need to go see her!”  Kim started to turn to leave the shop, but Diane held her arm fast.  Kim saw the receptionist shake her head.
“She didn’t make it.”

Obviously the death of any friend hits a person hard.  But when it was so quick, so unexpected, to a person only in her early 50’s with no history of illness, the shock is even more pronounced.  And so the death of their friend Jeannette would take quite a while for all the ladies of The Bella Donna to recover from.

Funeral services were to be that Thursday morning.  Of course everyone would go.  That wasn’t a question.  As Gail gently washed Kim’s hair she thought about the service and anything she could do to remember the woman who was such a good friend she was even one of her bridesmaids.  What kind of tribute could Kim make?
“I’d like you to do my hair today in one of Jeannette’s favorite styles.  I know it’s not much but it’s something I can do for her at her funeral.”
Gail said nothing at first, though smiled a bit at the thoughtfulness of her client.
“Are you sure?  You know she liked to wear her hair quite different from yours.”

Upon contemplation Kim realized how true that was.  While both ladies had basically matching length, and wore their hair now in what could only be considered big bouffants, both did favor rather different styles.  Basically Jeannette’s were less conventional, going from one extreme to another in the same style.  For starters, she usually never had a part in her hair, and had the front part drawn back quite tight to her head.  Kim almost always wore a part or at least had enough volume induced that the front had quite a bit of lift and/or waves as part of the style.  Kim never had the front drawn back severely as did Jeannette, nor did she have any desire to.  In fact it was always the one part of Jeannette’s styles that she deliberately stayed away from.

Also Jeannette often had sausage curls hanging down a bit behind her, almost looking a bit Victorian.  Such a look would seem a little to dated for Kim, and probably not present her in the way she was accustomed.  So even though the idea of wearing them would be fun, it wasn’t the kind of look that she felt she could get away with any time except for Halloween.

And finally, Jeannette’s favorite do’s tended to be a bit ‘bigger’ than Kim’s, in spite of the fact that the difference now wasn’t nearly as pronounced as it used to be.  Plus, the radical difference between the harshly drawn back front section and the main mass of the bouffant tended to make the style look even more sizeable than it truly was.  Kim still worried that her hair was often too big for work.  A style like Jeannette’s would really be pushing her luck.

Gail was quite right to ask such a question.  Kim would certainly look much different in one of her late friends’ updos.

“Yes, I’m positive.”
“I can alter it a bit if you like so it’s not so…..radical a difference for you at work.  You know, soften up the front a bit, maybe subdue it a little.”
The idea was a bit tempting as Kim really didn’t feel she would look good at all with the front drawn back so, but declined.   “If I’m going to do this, then I should truly do it.  So give me the ‘Jeannette Special of the day’, just as you would do for her.”

Gail smiled a bit which was refreshing to see instead of the look of sorrow on her face.  Others in the salon heard what was going on and it seemed to lift their spirits a bit also.  Jeannette may be gone but her memory would never be.

Kim bit her lip ever so slightly as she watched the front of her hair get doused in gel and drawn back tight to her head.  The initial backcombing gave it a little lift but really just insured that her hair wouldn’t show any part at all.  The hair over her ears was drawn up tight too, and also was smeared in a thick layer of gel.  This hair already looked black, and hadn’t even been hit with hairspray yet.  But Kim knew that was coming, as Jeannette had styles every bit as stiff as the ones she favored.  Still, the look was already so different and …stark that it altered the entire shape of her face and head.

Once those sections were pinned securely in place Gail started transforming the rest into a style Kim immediately recognized.  It was the one Jeannette always requested for special occasions and on her birthdays.  It wasn’t the most elaborate or biggest style in her arsenal, but it made a statement never-the-less.

A huge mound of petal curls many stories high rose from her crown, with each layer of curls a bit smaller in diameter from the previous.  The back started with a French Roll type of neckline, but soon melded into the top with some petal curls of its own.  However the twisted section in the back was soon covered by a sizeable number of sausage curls that hung to just below her hairline.  These were pinned to the creation so they wouldn’t bounce around free like a Southern Belle might have.  Instead they held fast to the back of her head.

As a last thick layer of spray was being administered Kim noted how incredibly tall this style seemed, even though it really wasn’t any higher than her bigger Beehives.  It was mostly the sudden and extreme difference between the tightly drawn back front and the huge mountain of curls that tricked the eye of the onlooker.

As she was given a hand mirror to study the back Kim breathed a slight sigh of relief.  She knew what she was going to see as she had seen Jeannette in this style countless times, however until it is actually on your head you never know how you’ll feel about it.  Kim worried that it would be too much, too busy, and too untraditional for her to be able to comfortably present herself to clients this week.  However the last layer of spray hadn’t even dried before Kim realized she actually looked just fine, although definitely very different, in this style.

As she drove to work that day she found herself constantly touching it, especially the very front.  The combination of the gel and hairspray had left that with a rock hard consistency that wasn’t going to budge.  By the time she pulled into her parking lot she was actually growing quite enamored with this new ‘do, even enjoying the foreign feel of the sausage curls.  She found herself hoping this would be received all right at work this week so that she could wear it again in the future.

It was a tough week as Kim often cried over the loss of Jeannette, and at the funeral service tears flowed freely.  Jeannette had left instructions in her will that she be cremated, but not before her hair was cut off and donated to ‘Locks of Love’ so it could turn into wigs for those suffering from horrible diseases that, amongst other things, left them without hair of their own.  It was an extremely generous thing to do and Kim hoped whoever ended up with those wigs appreciated them fully.  She touched her own ‘do again, which was just as stable as it had been when she left the salon that Monday.  But then she expected nothing less from Gail’s handiwork.  Kim still wasn’t used to the extremely firm feel of the tightly drawn back sections but knew she loved the feel of it.  It was so different from anything she had worn before.  Not only that, it had been remarkably well received at work, with many (including Dawn) hoping she would continue to explore such styles in the future.  Michael also expressed similar sentiments.  Kim would be happy to oblige.

The next evening as Michael ever-so-slowly took down her hair Kim’s grief hit rock bottom.  Jeannette had been one of her closest friends and she would be dearly missed.  Michael cried too, as he had gotten to know this woman quite well over the years at numerous parties and gatherings.  It was a great loss.

The unexpected positive reaction to her previous week’s hairstyle, one she knew she would never have requested under normal circumstances, fueled the desire in Kim for even more new experiences.  Over the next several months she found herself requesting more styles that Jeannette used to wear, with the majority requiring the front to once again harshly be drawn back, and then gelled and sprayed to a rock solid finish.  While she wasn’t totally sold on all of them, there were none that she could honestly say she didn’t like, and all were received favorably both at work and at home.  She also enjoyed the definite transition from one of these styles one week to something like a Beehive the next.  She wondered how she survived all that time when she wore the exact same French Twist each week with little to no variety.  She adored the variety now, and couldn’t imagine wearing the same hairstyle even two weeks in a row.  Her only instructions now for Gail seemed to be, “Something very different from last week.”  Never did Gail let her down.

Following her lead, others in the office, including Dawn, started experimenting with many new looks and variations.  Monday’s became a big day to show off one’s ‘Style of the Week.’ Dawn was not only playing with different partings, but also some curly looks and an occasional smallish Beehive (which Kim considered a personal victory).

That summer Kim got another trim from Gail.  Although she wasn’t frightened this time it still amazed her how long it took this woman, who could produce a fabulous hairdo in seconds, to trim off so little.  But she certainly didn’t complain, as her hair now was touching her ankles.  It wouldn’t be long before she accomplished her goal and it was to the floor.  What a milestone that would be, and something that never would have happened to her at all if she hadn’t become a Regular of this salon.  She wondered what her life would even be like if she had opted not to come here.  It certainly would have been different, and probably not nearly as fulfilling as the life she knew now.  She certainly didn’t regret any of the choices she had made to get where she was now.

Feeling confident, she started requesting even more variety, including intentionally asking for styles she had avoided all these years.  So one week she would end up with a ‘Gibson Girl’ type of style, though far more elaborate, the next something very asymmetrical, the next something Victorian, while the next was something fresh from the 60’s award shows.  Each made her look different, feel different, even act a bit different, but she adored them all and almost felt like an actress herself, playing a different woman each week.  Interestingly she found nothing but total acceptance now regardless of how she had her hair done, which only made her feel even more free to suggest any style or variation of a style that would strike her fancy.

With all the variation she was doing with her hair, she wondered what she could do for a rapidly approaching Halloween that would attract the attention she hoped for.  It was partially answered by her husband, who had been seriously working out over the past year and was anxious to show of his much improved definition and serious 6-pack.

He wanted to go topless, eventually deciding to be a caveman.  Of course for her to pull off a believable cavewoman, a fancy updo certainly wasn’t the answer.  She decided to wear her hair in a simple loose pony tail, using a section of crudely made rope as her hair tie.  Her costume was vintage Raquel Welch from the movie ‘1 Million BC’, and she was quite happy with the way her body flattered the skimpy outfit.  However she wasn’t sold on the simple pony tail, and switched it to a very high pony tail much like Pebbles Flintstone.  This was a definite improvement but still wasn’t doing the trick until she reflected that a cavewoman wouldn’t have had shampoo or even a brush and comb.  Their hair, if is actually was long like hers (unlikely), would certainly be all tangled and dirty and greasy.  While the look wouldn’t be very flattering she thought it would be fun.  So Kim went to the store and bought some men’s ‘Brylcreem,’ liberally applying it all over the complete length of her hair, especially at the roots.  That did the trick as far as making her hair look and feel greasy.  Next she, with Michaels help, teased the complete length in a very haphazard way, making some areas clump up a bit while others hardly showed any sign of the backcombing.  For a final touch, on the way to the party, the two stopped along a dusty dirt road.  Kim got out and applied a fairly heavy layer of hairspray all over, and then Michael peeled out in his car raising a huge dust cloud in the air.  As Kim walked through the dust much of it stuck to her long tresses.  Now she had the greasy, gnarled and dirty mass she had set out to achieve.  It looked and felt awful.  It was perfect for the part.

At the party that night the couple was, as usual, the center of attention.  So many came up to Kim and touched her hair, wincing at the feel and hoping it was a wig.  But they knew better.  They just didn’t know how she would ever restore it to it’s luxuriant beauty.  But they didn’t know how competent she was detangling, and when in trouble could always turn to Michael for his more than competent help.  So that chore was absolutely no concern to her.  How she loved this holiday!

Over the next several weeks Kim found herself feeling quite ill, and finally she went to see a doctor.  It was great, and unexpected news.  She was pregnant.  The couple had been working towards this for some time.  In spite of this, the reality came as a surprise to them both.

The next surprise came when Gail was giving her a trim that January.  Kim’s hair was now touching the floor, even after the ends had been trimmed.  It was a magnificent wall of hair healthy from roots to ends.  It seems being pregnant had accelerated her rate of hair growth.

Finally, her lifetime hair goal had been accomplished.  She had hair down to the floor.  She just stood and stared at it a bit in the mirror, in disbelief that this had truly happened.  Then she remembered the pledge she made to herself; that she would have her hair done to the extreme for the next month in honor of her accomplishment, in spite of what others might say.  The thing was, she was going through a very key month at work and didn’t want to do anything that would jeopardize it.  She talked to Gail about her predicament, wondering if she should just put off the new styles for a couple of months.

“If you want me to do some extreme styles with your hair, then we best do them now,” Gail said.
The way she said it made Kim uneasy.  “Why?” she asked trying not to show her concern.
“Because I won’t be here in a few months,” her stylist said with a heavy sigh.
Kim’s eyes shot open wide.  “You’re all right aren’t you?!  You’re not sick or anything?!”
Gail laughed.  “Oh no, nothing like that.  The fact is, the shop has been bought out and it’s going to be torn down.  They’re going to put up a fancy new office building here.”
Kim had noticed that fewer and fewer businesses were left in the old strip mall that contained The Bella Donna, but never considered that this shop would be at risk.
“But, you aren’t hurting for business at all!”
Gail smiled.  “No, we aren’t losing money, but the amount offered the owner was far too much to pass up.  In fact she included nice little sums for all of us employees of the shop in the buyout.”
“So, are you going to switch shops, or start a new one?”
Gail grinned and shook her head.  “That extra lump of cash has motivated me to retire.  I’m going to hang up my teasing comb and move to Houston to be closer to my family.”
Kim just sat, shocked.
“I had planned to tell you weeks ago,” her stylist said delicately, “but I just couldn’t get it out.  Most of the other girls are just now telling their clients.”
By this time Kim’s hair had been washed and combed through, ready to be set.
“So what’ll it be today hun?  Something outrageous to celebrate your accomplishment?”
Kim smiled, tears flowing down her eyes.  “Yes!  Go for it.”

The session that day went quite quickly as Kim learned what all the stylists planned to do.  Maggie also planned to retire, though she would stay in town and still do hair for certain people on special occasions.  Tina found a chair in another older salon across town.  Joy was moving to Las Vegas to be with her boyfriend.  She didn’t anticipate any problems getting a job there with all her experience in both contemporary and older styles.  Finally, ‘D’ planned to use her lump sum to put herself through cosmetology school.
“I love the things these ladies do, and to keep this knowledge out there means there will have to be some younger stylists continuing the art.  It might as well start with me,” she said.

“So who should I have do my hair when you leave?” she asked.  “It will be years before ‘D’ is out of school.”
Gail just grinned at her.  “I think you already know the answer to that.  You just have to ask him.”
“Michael?!”  She sat just pondering it, wondering what he would possibly say.  He obviously wasn’t as skilled as Gail, but he had come a long way and was constantly getting better.  Plus he loved doing it.   “What if he says no?”
“You know he won’t.”

And she did know that after all.
Kim left the salon that morning so filled with mixed emotions and uncertainty that it took well into the day before she really noticed how amazing her hairstyle was.  Yes, it was huge, but more than that it was mesmerizing, with layer after layer of curls rising into a wondrous top mass that then became tear-drop shaped curls falling en masse along the back of her head.  But despite its size, and its obvious non-conventional nature, it made her look stunning.  Kim was a queen all week, or at least she felt like one.
 That evening at dinner she told Michael of the fate of The Bella Donna.
“Who’s going to do your hair each week?” he asked.
“I was kind of hoping it would be you.”
He went silent, but shook his head.  “I’m not good enough for that.  You need a pro, like Gail.”
“There aren’t many pro’s like Gail out there.  Besides, you are good enough.  Even Gail thinks you are.”
He looked at her suspiciously, but she nodded at him confirming what she said was really true.
“Besides, I’ll never find another stylist who cares about my hair more than you.”
“You know I’ll never be able to duplicate things like you’re wearing right now,” he said.
Kim grinned, knowing he was seriously considering it.  “Yes, I know.  Though I wouldn’t be surprised if in time you mastered styles like this too.  In fact you’ll probably come up with a few original styles of your own.”
It took only a bit more prodding before Michael agreed to try his hand at it, as long as she didn’t tell who did her hair for her.
“What do I say if Dawn asks?  You know she will.”
Eventually Michael even backed down on this request.  But only those who needed to know would be told.  After all, he did have a reputation to uphold.

And so for their final two months together Kim let Gail do whatever she liked with her hair.  Fittingly, and tearfully, their last appointment together ended up with Kim wearing a simple French Twist, just like the first time she had her hair done in the salon so many years ago for Stacy Chamberlain’s wedding.  Of course it looked a bit larger now as she had several more feet of hair than back then, but it was the same basic style.  Kim smiled at her reflection, knowing that this was truly the right choice for the occasion.  And then, all too quickly, Kim was out of the salon for the last time.  In the next few days the shelves would be cleared, and in a few weeks the wrecking ball would render the shop just a memory from the past.


Michael filled in nicely as Kim’s new hairdresser, and sure enough, with time, learned to master even the grandest of styles.  Kim decided not to grow her hair any longer than floor length, and so now her twice a year trims actually result in a few inches being cut off.

The couple had a beautiful, healthy baby girl that summer.  She was born complete with a full head of hair.  They named her Jeannette.

The hair trends Kim set in her office continued, and even started showing up in other agencies with whom they had frequent contact. By now all the ladies had long hair which they wore up each day, including Dawn (whose hair was down to her waist now and still growing). Many of them were even wearing bouffants, including a few who were rivaling the size that Kim wore.  She knew in time most of the others probably would at least experiment with some kind of bouffant, at least on special occasions.

And for every lady in the firm, there was a salon in town who now called her ‘A REGULAR’.

The End of  "The Regular"

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