Chapter one: An unexpected appointment
It had been a long day. A 12-hour shifts at the hospital I had pushed me to my limit and I was almost asleep in a chair when Sue opened the door. My roommate came home from the hairdresser. She looked beautiful..and very different too. She had a perm done. I could smell it before I got in the house. It was rather strange, because she normally would have her hair just cut and styled.
She was wearing a short sleeved baby blue dress with a hem just below her knee, but I also saw that her haircolor was totally different. Gone was her long, thick, luxurious black hair, replaced by a very blonde, medium lenght hair style that featured curls and ringlets.
Her makeup was very heavy, thickly applied, and detailed. Bright red lips surrounded by black liner. Multiple blended colors of eye shadow framed by a thick coating of black eyeliner. Her face absolutely glowed. It almost looked translucent in its flawlessness, obviously the result of a thick coating of foundation, powder, and blush. I was stunned by what I saw. I found it funny, curious, interesting, fascinating, and above all, very attractive. Sue’s new look was certainly extreme, but it was extreme in a feminine way. Believe it or not, it suited her!
In place of Sue’s normally well groomed but rather average looking eyebrows were thin, arched lines. I leaned in to take a closer look. I didn’t see any hairs. They looked like they had been drawn on.
I was stunned with her new look.
“Wow, Sue. You really look different,” I said. “What brought all this on?”
“Well, I thought a change wouldn’t hurt me,” replied Sue. “I have always wanted to do this but but it took some time to find the courage to do it. My new hairdresser, convinced me to try and thought ‘what the heck, you only live once’. And, well, here I am!”
“What does Jim think of it?” I asked, curious as to what Sue’s boyfriend response was.
“He does not know yet but if he reacts as I think, he will not be able to keep his hands off me”.
“I can belive that. You look so sexy,” I said. " Well, you really do look great and I’m not just saying that because you’re my friend.”
“Thanks, Madie. You know, you should try it sometime”.
“I could never look that good.” I exclaimed
“Oh, I wouldn’t be so sure. My hairdresser June is a genius. I love our appointment. She is so lovely. I leave feeling refreshed and fully relaxed”
“I don’t know, Sue. I don’t think I could make such a drastic change. I just don’t have the guts.”
“Pal, you’ll know if the time is right. It wouldn’t look to bad on you either. I think you would look great with a perm or as a blonde. Maybe both”.
“I guess if I didn’t have to make the decision it would be easier.”
Her reaction was rather surprising to me. “Ok, I will call the salon and make an appointment for you.”
Before I realised what happened, she took the phone and called the salon.
“Hi, June, I was with you for a perm this day, I want you to do one with my friend to.”
I couldn’t here the answer but I just couldn’t believe my ears. Was this true? Was this really my friend calling for a perm to me????
One moment later, she told me:” It’s your lucky day. You can come right now!!”
I was confused. Right now? Once for a sudden, I wasn’t so sure any more, but I walked to the salon anyway.
It wasn’t her ussual salon...It was a new one, a beauty parlor. Not a ordinary salon, an old fashioned beauty parlor with big glass windows on each side of the door and frilly, pinky, lacey curtains hanging halfway down in each one. Then there are all these totally camp posters with big pictures of women’s heads, classical hairdos from what, the fifties. Geezus, I didn’t think these chop shops existed anymore!
I stopped in my tracks. I couldn’t seem to move my foots.
“Madie, what is wrong?”
Sue looked carefully at my trembling rose lips and sighed.
“Madie, I think you are a bit nervous. What’s to be nerves of? June will work wonders with your hair and I will be there beside you through everything they may do to you. After all this isn’t your first time in a salon. Come, pal, thrust your boobies out, put your shoulders back, put one feet in front of the other and come enjoy the womanly delights June and I have in store for you.”
Sue took my hand and after a moment, she proposed, “You can be even more beautiful than you already are. Will you let me try to prove it to you?”
“What do you propose,” I asked? “I don´t sure about to do any change about my hair”
“I propose that we go to the Beauty parlor and you enjoy this.” And before I could respond, Sue continued, “I promise you that we will do nothing to you that you do not want to have done—absolutely nothing that you don’t ask us to do. And I promise that I will stop the instant that you stay stop.”
I looked at her eyes. I was unsure to do this. Sue continued, “You have nothing to lose, Madeleine. If you don’t like anything when June advice you, then you can walk away with no obligation”.
Sue came even closer to me, “please, let me to do this for you.”
“If I say stop, your hairdresser will stop,” I asked.
“Instantly,” Sue replied.
“And they won’t do a thing to me unless I ask her to do it?”
“Not a thing. I will be here with you every moment. I promise you”.
Her words ended up convincing me. My heart was beating furiously. Sue pushed the door open and I stepped into the sounds and smells and sights of that strange place.
An little bells jingled when we opened the door and walked in.
The smell is the first thing that hits me. It is a bit like the odor that I had released earlier when my friend came to my home. But this is much heavier. I can feel it in my eyes. I can see it in the air. I can taste it. It hangs on my tongue and I could probably chew it. My original take on the beauty parlor has been correct. Time seems to have stopped here many, many years ago. This place seems like a museum. I have entered the land of frilly, pinky, lacey curtains. The place is a pink haze, extremely pink with touches of green, I think. It is hard to be sure, with all of the pink. It isn’t a particularly large shop, but it has everything and everything is over the top frilly feminine.
The acrid smell of several perms in process and the sounds of female laughter
and busy dryers and the sight of several women around my age tightly in curlers of all sizes, serenely sitting under gleaming dryer helmets, increased my unease.
My eyes are drawn to three large chrome domed chairs along one wall. They look like the nosecones of ICBM’s. Maybe these are the time machines. There are ladies under two of the gleaming cones. I can’t see their faces beneath their visors, but they seem to be smiling at me. What is going on under those domes? Feebly, I return their smile.
Every seat was taken with women getting their hair cut off and permed. The stench of perming lotion hung in the air outside the shop with almost visible ferocity. The floor was covered with straight hair that formed clumps around the base of each chair.
Everything there seemed to smell like chemical refineries. Soon I toasted by this sickly sweet, pungent odor that seems to hang onto everything and burned my nostrils. My eyes began to sting in this haze. I could puke.
The receptionist was a slim girl in her early twenties with a fiercely permed short red hair. She had acrylic fingernails so long that simple tasks like getting dressed would pose a problem.
Sue gave my hand a huge squeeze and went right up to her and said: “Her name is Madeleine and she is a closed friend mine, please make sure as beautiful as the woman can be.”
Sue put her hand on my shoulder and said me “Meet Casey, the receptionist, come girl to take us to June.”
The receptionist smiled.
“I do see that there is something we can do for your lovely friend. Come this way, June awaits.”
As she escorted us into a secluded area of the salon, Casey turned to me and remarked, “June is the best. She perm my hair every month…you are going look really great.” I nodded with reservation. After all who could blame my? I was in an unfamiliar place with unknown people and maybe to undergo a big change to my appearance I never before had ever experienced, by a stylist whom I had never met before, that was found by my roonmate.
We walked past the line of dryer encased women. Maybe I would shortly be one of them, baking curls into my hair. Some watched us pass and some paid no attention to us at all. I did notice that the woman on the end of the line, who was being tortured by seemingly hundreds of perm rods, did take a lingering note of my unkempt brown hair.
Sensing my apprehension, Sue assured me not to worry, again. “You’ll love it. It’ll be fun” she said me,
I hoped she was right!
“Well honey! How are you all? My, My, Sue, this must be your friend. Sue was told us so much about you. You are now so lovely I don’t know what we can do to improve, but we will try.”
June Ellen is maybe in her forties. Neat as a pin in her aqua blue nylon smock and white polyester slacks. Her hair is a permy curly, carbon copy of my friend, with the addition of a light pearl tint.
June already had the water in the sink running. It flowed from a fancy waterfall style faucet with multiple stainless steel hoses protruding from around the back of the sink.
“Please have a seat, Madeleine,” June said motioning to the center chair. “We will start by washing your hair and massaging your head. While I do that we’ll chat a little bit, I’ll get to know you and we’ll figure out what you would like to have done today, OK?”
I simply didn’t have time to think, and before I realised June had caped me and asked me to sit.
“Sounds great,” I said as I sat down in the chair. My heart was pounding.
The chair spun and tilted. I was falling backward, a basin, my head was in a basin, and then water. June came around to the side of the chair and put her hands behind my head and neck, “just lean back slowly and relax,” as she lowered my neck into the head rest in the sink.
“Are you comfortable? This chair feels great, right?” June asked me.
“Yes,” I replied.
She started to soak down my hair. Then she began to massage my head.
Relaxed, all he could seem to hear was the soft flow of the water in the sink from the waterfall faucet.
Her hands where lovely, she started to massage my head, really slowly but powerful.
The hands were gentle, the motions were purposeful and swift. It is oddly soothing. June loved me, loved my hair, massaged it, and caressed it. This was lovely, efficient, overwhelming. The hands again. Hard hands. They add fluids to my head. Jellies, syrup, thick, the hands knead, massage, work to lather, foam, no, what is it? Insistent, they work the substance over and over into my skull.
She used a shampoo that smelled lovely and took her time.
This feels great! She does have mesmerizing hands. Gradually, I began to relax. It had been a long day. The heavily perfumed smells of the parlor filled my lungs. The gentle pulls on my scalp. This feels so good.
I began to feel soft heat where June was rubbing and a slight cool in other areas.
“That feels incredible,” I said softly. I was struggling to stay awake at this point. “What is it?”
“It’s our special solution. You’re feling the eucalyptus. Wonderful, isn’t it?”
I just smiled and June continued her massage.
Soon I felled like in heaven and almost forgot why I was in the strange salon. Ahhh... I felt myself beginning to doze off.
June kept on talking me about do a nice perm for me and how she would make a different person out of me.
“But I don’t want a perm,” I responded.
“Sssh. Just relax”. June massaged my head while talking to me: “Just smell the perfume in the special shampoo and relax”.
Yes, she was right. The smell was lovely... intoxicating and very relaxing. I could feel myself sink in the chair and feel my head rest in the comfortable hands of June.
“Enjoy the moment and relax while your head is massaged after a hard day. Just close your eyes while you listen to my voice. Just listen my voice while you feel yourself forgetting all about today” June said and my eyes slowly close.
Her voice maked me so relaxed, I could listen to it for hours. I drift away further and further and forget about everything, all I could smell was the perfume, all I could feel was her hands and all I could hear was June´s voice... I feel so relaxed...so relaxed.
After a few more minutes of massaging—during which the heat in my hair slowly increased—June asked me “So, why are you here?”
“I’m not really sure. I just feel... well...,” I trailed off. My eyes closed.
Then June whispered into my ear, “you can trust me. You can tell me anything.” And I knew that was true. I trusted June and could tell her anything.