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

Old Year – part 1

The end of another year, Burt reflected on all his past adventures as he travelled back from an emotional London trip, visiting the old family. This was the first Christmas he didn’t have a lady companion around for a very long time.

He had tried to get into the festive spirit but there was only one kind that warmed his lonely heart tonight.

Meanwhile at Sindy’s house, she’d woken up especially early to get the sprouts on before Barry came round for Christmas dinner. Everything was prepared, Sindy was very organised and wanted to impress her boyfriend with her culinary skills.

Barry duly arrived bringing gifts and became very excited at the prospect of carving the turkey: he really wanted to impress Sindy with his manly knife skills.

“Oh Barry.” Sindy was certainly impressed ( and maybe even a little scared) as he brandished the sharpened blade before deftly slicing the (slightly dry) breast, brushing away the turkey crumbs until he had quite a few almost whole slices to display.

Barry tried hard to disguise his look of sheer repulsion at Sindy’s slightly brown coloured greens, he wasn’t quite sure what vegetable they were originally but hoped the gravy will help.

Meanwhile in another part of town, Max and Barbie were breaking up, tensions were fraught and emotions were heightened by the pre luncheon alcohol consumption.

He didn’t get her the gift she had been hinting heavily at the last month and she was too spoilt and selfish (apparently!)

Christmas was over

Just before the old year ended there was one last chance to grab a bit of happiness and that was at the New Years Eve party.

Barry sang in the shower as he splashed on his new Christmas aftershave, it wasn’t quite ‘The best a man can get’ or even the one that ‘Drives women wild’, not the ‘Mark of a Man’ because Barry is a man who doesn’t have to try too hard.

The party was swinging

Music and dancing as the revellers toasted each other and the New Year.

Barry’s brother Neville surprised everyone by bringing his saxophone for some mellow jazz.

An impromptu accompaniment from Tom’s acoustic guitar; he always had a few adoring groupies, being very popular with the alternative ladies.

Not to be outdone, Burt got his horn out, he couldn’t resist showing what a real man could do.

Catching the eye (and ear) of a lonely love sick lady who was a teeny bit drunk already, steamy suggestive glances were exchanged.

As the evening progressed more toasts where made, Ken and his Hair salon girls turned up late, better late than never Barry toasted, even though he didn’t particularly like Ken, it was New Years after all!

The room stopped chattering as Stacey loudly marched in with a serious drum roll as the clock struck 12 to jubilant shouts and whoops from the excited revellers.

“Happy New Year!” Burt was the first to grab the two willowy girls for a big bear hug and copious kisses, always an opportunist, he was being greedy.

Mindy ( Sindy’s best friend) had her date all sorted, she hadn’t let him out of sight all evening as the rumour Barbie was single was scary enough to take drastic precautions.

“Happy New Year!” Barry and Sindy toasted each other, then the rest of the room as the drunken happiness spread to everyone for the first of January had begun.

Stacey kept on banging that drum as she marched off first footing down the road, her Scottish tradition to spread luck and prosperity as well as a few more drinkies on route (this party was nearly dry!)

To be continued in – New Year – part 2

©Juliette Dodd 2020