Ken’s Unisex Salon

It was a very busy Saturday morning at Ken’s newly opened Unisex salon, the very first of its kind in town and ever so trendy and fashionable.

Customers lined up waiting for Ken’s magic touch, he was rushed off his feet and that was just the way he liked it.

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Old Mrs Priscilla was a familiar client and had been getting her ( difficult and challenging) hair set as regular as clockwork, 3 times a week since time immemorial; being one of Alphonso’s legacies, although Ken would have preferred all his clients to be the young and beautiful, such s life!

“Did you get my favourite setting lotion in, Ken dear?”

“Yes Mrs Priscilla, they still had some old stock at the suppliers, it’s almost a museum piece! I ordered the whole lot especially for you.”

“Good, I can’t be doing with all this new stuff, it brings up my hives.”

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“What’s the latest on Number 69? I heard they had another weekend party…..with foreign gentlemen!” Mrs Priscilla didn’t hesitate to make wild assumptions, maybe she was a just little bit jealous?

“Oh my, I really don’t know, you’ll have to ask Karen when she’s finished with her customer.” Ken refused to join in with this topic, he’d been at that party too…and yes, all sorts of guests attending, foreign and otherwise!

Karen waved from above the dryer.

“I won’t keep you too long dear, just finishing a perm.” Ken handed her another magazine and promised a cup of coffee.

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The doorway darkened as a tall dashing gentleman in a striking red uniform marched into the Salon.

Ken greeted this new comer with a warm smile, people glanced around and some audible noises of appreciation were heard, everyone loves a uniform, especially a red one with lots of shiny brass buttons.

“Sir Charles Emery VC, pleased to meet you young man.” A very formal and loud introduction from this distinguished military Gent.

Ken was a little bit flustered, he liked a man in uniform too,

“Hi I’m Ken, how can I help you today Sir Charles?”

“I need a wash and trim if you please.”

“Of course, if you don’t mind waiting a short while, I’ll get Karen to give you a good going over.” Ken saw the amount of Brylcreem on his bonce and passed that sticky job swiftly on to his eager young assistant.

Karen was a very good scrubber and always enjoyed the hands-on approach.

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Settled into a waiting chair next to Mrs Priscilla, Sir Charles immediately started up a conversation.

“Good morning Ma’am, beautiful weather for this time of year, don’t ya think?”

She tittered like a schoolgirl, he really did remind her of her long departed Daddy.

“Yes the snow seems to have missed us this year, I love a mild winter, don’t you?” Starting off on safe ground, she was dying to know who this handsome and very smart stranger was.

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“Yes indeed, but when I was in active service in the Argentines, we would have given our eye teeth for snow, damnable heat, it even made the brass sweat.”

“Oh that sounds so exotic, where else have you been?” and Old Mrs Sindy was immediately draw into deep discussions of foreign climates and their downside compared to good old Blighty.

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“And you dear lady, is there a Mr Priscilla?”

“No, he’s been gone these past ten years, the swinging sixties affected his mind.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, you must be terribly lonely?”

“Well yes, but he still sends me an occasional postcard from Naples, apparently he’s opened a home for orphaned teenage boys…a heart of gold really.”

The stories one hears in a Hairdressing Salon would make your toes curl, all of life’s rich pageant is discussed, even the most taboo subjects, in here there were no holes barred.

Sir Charles was ever thankful for Unisex Salons, the whole of womankind eager to engage in the most intimate of conversations, he was in his element.

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As the old lady was ushered off for her finishing procedure the Salon door swung open and a tall mysterious figure entered.

Ken was the most attentive and welcoming host and rushed to greet this latest customers, her graceful entrance oozed refinement and breeding, Sir Charles sat to attention with keen interest.

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Hmm, though Sir Charles, she is just the sort of lady he was looking for, as he twirled his moustache in a nonchalant manner; hoping she would be seated in the now empty waiting chair next to him.

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That was not to be, Ken had been expecting the arrival of his most honoured client, he swiftly took her coat and directed her to his special chair to begin his skilful hair magic.

He knew Madame Sylvain must never be kept waiting like a common peasant.

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“Won’t be keeping you long now Sir, Saturday is our busiest time and everyone wants their hair done for the weekend, have a magazine.” She kindly offered the latest edition of Cosmopolitan. Poor Sir Charles almost got the shock of his life glancing through the glossy pages to the features, so engrossed he hardly heard his name being called.

‘Well I never’ he thought as he tore himself away from a very detailed diagram of an orgasm.

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“Oh, there is a lot of this sticky stuff to wash out Sir, I’ll have to do a third shampoo…is the water too hot?”

“Mind my ears please my dear, they are beginning to burn.”

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Sir Charles was lucky to be sitting right next to the target of his interest, although he couldn’t hear any of the conversations over the whooshing water in his ears.

“I think its all out now Sir, did say you wanted a trim?” whittered Karen.

“Yes, regulation please.” Karen had no idea what that meant so she guessed it was a short  back and sides.

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“Perfection!” Ken stood back to admire his complicated up-do, he loved dressing Madame Sylvain’s perfect golden locks,  it was so satisfying working with very long hair for a change.

“Gut, you have pleazed me Ken, I am happy viv your vurk.”

Ken knew she was a very generous tipper and he always gave her his special customer service.

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“Do another wash there, Karen,” he called over, “And use the industrial cleaner from the back room.”

Sir Charles had been straining to hear the conversation and gathered she was a Hun, or so it seemed, he made a note to return next Saturday morning or even better, to glance over the appointment book and get her name and address.

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Madame Sylvain was in a hurry, there was still a lot of preparation to do before the VIP guests arrived this evening, at least she was at her most presentable, entertaining Royalty was her speciality.

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Sir Charles stared longingly after the beautiful continental lady as his head got severely scrubbed for the fifth time, damned that Brycreem, he cursed to himself, else he could have been accompanying her out of the salon.

 

Will Sir Charles ever meet Madame Sylvain?

Does old Mrs Sindy have a new crush?

And what about the Greek room?

 

©Juliette Dodd 2020

 

The Hairdressers

Alphonso had been a ladies hairdresser for a long time now; his early career as a male model for the London Fashion Houses had come to an abrupt end when he hit the grand old age of 30.

He had won prestigious Hair awards, had film star clients and been featured in all the hair magazines in his heyday; now he was getting tired and suffered with varicose veins, he longed to retire to Morocco with his long time companion Raymond.

The busy High Street Salon was gradually less so, with a drop in regular weekly appointments hitting the profits and his retirement fund in a worrying way. Alphonso didn’t like to admit that his business was getting a bit dated – just like his signature hair style.

So dated, he totally missed the swinging sixties altogether!

He adored the glamour of the fifties and occasionally exulted himself with a full swirl for those extra special occasions, with lashings of hair lacquer.

Ladies would come in asking for the Pixie Cut, the asymmetrical Bob or a Jean Shrimpton – but they all left with a Doris Day and copious amounts of hairspray.

Eventually Alphonso had to bite the bullet and placed an advert in his window reading:

‘Apprentice Wanted – must be prompt, polite and willing to learn – Apply within’

This notice immediately caught the keen eye of an eager young man, he started work the following Monday.

His name was Ken.

Ken was a fast learner, the ladies loved his gentle ways and he idolised Alphonso, following his every word, like a father figure.

Things couldn’t have gone better and all was harmonious in the Salon.

It didn’t take long before Ken’s appointment book was getting so full they had to turn customers away, his regulars were spreading the word.

Ken was a natural, he snipped and shaped, couffered and curled; as well as being very handsome and charismatic, of course he was instantly popular.

Ken just loved hearing all about the ladies holidays in Morecambe, St. Ives and Clackmannonshire; he even learnt a few dark secrets and juicy stories; the goings on at No. 69 were regularly discussed, amid shocked gasps and stifled giggles.

Alphonso had heard them all before, he only dreamed of the azure sea and sun tanning.

“You are an artist, young Ken.” Alphonso took all the credit for his young protégé.

“Thanks Alf.” it slipped out without him thinking as he was thrown a dark disapproving scowl.

“Sorry, Alphonso.”

“I have a proposition for you but we’ll speak later.” as he was mid way through some highlights and needed exact timing.

Ken waited excitedly, he had a proposition too.

Old Mrs Sindy had always had ‘problem’ hair and today was no exception. Alphonso was a genius and could always tame her barnet, although nothing lasted long in the dank English weather and it eventually frizzed up again. She was his best customer.

Ken was a wizz with the curlers and almost legendary at creating magnificent permanent waves to rival even Alphonso’s mastery (and that was saying something!)

“Pass us that magazine, theres a love.” called Old Mrs Sindy.

“Oh thats not a magazine, its my new book.” Ken replied as he shoved a handful of Woman’s Weeklys onto her lap. He’d been studying the crisp pages for weeks now and itching to have a go himself .

The morning rush had died down at the Salon when Ken summoned up the courage to show Alphonso.

“Why don’t we cut mens hair as well as ladies, Alphonso?”

“Huh?”

“I’ve been reading this book and think it would bring in loads more customers, we could sell hair cream and beard oil as well as a whole range of shampoo …and offer male perms and sideburn trimming…” Ken was so excited he ranted on and on until at last he stopped as Alphonso let out a sad sigh.

“I’m too old for all that.” Alphonso had a far away expression on his perfectly moisturised face.

Ken was crestfallen and turned to retreat into the back room.

“Wait Ken, now hear my proposition,” as he held out the shop keys,

“You take them, I’m giving you my business, I haven’t got an heir but if I had one I’d like it to be you.”

“What do you say?”

Ken for once, was speechless.

“Oh yes, yes please, oh me, oh my, oh goodness…ooooh!”

“Lets shake on it then, I’ll have my solicitor write up the transfer, my Empire is now yours, to do with as you please.”

With a huge sigh of relief Alphonso had already planned his departure to sunny lands, of sipping sundowners on warm beaches; leaving behind the mounting bills and leaky roof, not to mention the lease was ending soon…but that won’t be his problem for long.

Two months later, a refit, a rename and a relaunch of the High Streets very first unisex hair salon.

It was so modern, so trendy and odds on to become a roaring success.

Ken was the happiest man alive.

©Juliette Dodd 2020