The day of the homecoming presentation arrived too quickly for Billy. Ms. Gladstone had called shortly after his visit to the store to let Billy know that Bruce would love to accompany him as Billy's escort during the presentation and to the dance after the game. She also directed Billy to appear at her friend's salon the afternoon of the game. Ms. Gladstone explained that she had already decided on the "perfect" look for Billy, and all he had to do was "sit back in and enjoy". The salon was not what Billy expected. He had anticipated something like La Femme: very feminine, very tasteful, and very expensive. The salon where his mother dropped him was none of these. The painted sign on the large glass window on the storefront said, " Thelma's Kut 'n Kurl". Billy began to get a bad feeling.
Billy didn't feel any better when he went inside. He had assumed that Ms. Gladstone would send him to a "politically correct" salon, where the sight of an effeminate male was commonplace. Thelma's didn't look like "correctness" was important. Instead, Thelma's appeared to be a "pink collar" place: not a salon, but a beauty parlor. An abused woman's retreat. A place where overworked women came to complain about their cheating husbands, their lazy boyfriends, their abusive bosses. Getting their hair cut, set or permed was an afterthought.
Billy stuck out like a sore thumb the minute he walked in the door. Insisting that he should look nice for his first girl's style, Rachel had chosen one of her favorite outfits for him to wear: a pink knit suit comprised of shorts and a short little Chanel jacket. In view of the occasion, she had given him pantyhose instead of anklets, and pink pumps adorned his feet. Gloves, little Chanel purse, and broad brimmed hat adorned with a large bow completed the picture of an effeminate sissyboy ready for a day of shopping with mommy on Rodeo Drive. Billy despised the outfit under the best of circumstances, but now he really hated it. The women in the salon were all wearing jeans, polyester pant/smock outfits, or well-worn housedresses. Any real woman who had appeared at the salon looking like Billy would have felt uncomfortable—Billy was mortified!
Under the hard stares of the women in various stages of having their hair done, Billy made his way to the reception counter. Even with the noise of the dryers, Billy could hear the nasty comments: "Damned queer!" "Pervert!" " Friggin' girly-boy!". Billy addressed himself to the scowling matron with a huge head of auburn tresses. Billy's feminine chirp faltered as he began to tell the lady who he was. He didn't get the chance to finish. Thelma cut him off.
"I know who you are, Mary!" To the crowd Thelma announced, "Here he is, girls, just like I promised , the girly boy who's gone and got himself picked homecoming queen !!" The women laughed derisively. "Well let's just get started. Take off that purty jacket and put this on." She shoved a ruffled pink beauty smock in his hand. Feeling dangerously out of place, the sissified boy meekly asked Thelma where he could change. Thelma guffawed. Looking around to ensure that the patrons and operators were sharing the joke, Thelma turned back to Billy. "Why right here , dearie! After all, were all girls here," she spat. As the women laughed, Billy slowly started to unbutton his jacket. The moment he was dreading arrived and the last button was unfastened. Billy slowly removed the jacket, and the laughter got louder. "Well, if that ain't the purtiest little bra. You poor thing, you've got them itty bitty titties. I bet you wish you had a big pair of double D's, doncha!" Billy remained silent, hoping that the horrible woman would leave him alone. Billy quickly realized this tactic wouldn't work as she roughly twisted his nipple and demanded an answer. Afraid, Billy tried to appease the woman: "Yes ma'am . I'd love to have a big pair of boobies!" "Of course you would, girly," she smirked. She then motioned for Billy to remove the shorts as well. Billy slowly undid the back zipper of the shorts, and stepped out of them. Laughing, Thelma made him pirouette to show the ladies what a faggy boy he was.
After shampooing Billy's hair, and wrapping Billy's head turban- style, she led him to a chair by the large front window. Shoving him into the chair, Thelma began combing and sectioning Billy's wet hair. Humming merrily, Thelma used her scissors to even up Billy's ragged ends. Then she combed a section over Billy's eyes, cutting the hair just above his arched eyebrows. " There!" she exclaimed. " A nice set of sissy bangs. " Billy winced has Thelma covered his hair with a smelly setting lotion. Then, to his dismay, Thelma began wrapping his hair tightly around pink curlers. Billy had assumed that he would have his hair cut and blow-dried. Neither his mother nor his sister ever used rollers. As Thelma added curler after curler, Billy noted bitterly that she was tugging unnecessarily hard at his hair, and that the curlers seemed awfully tight.
As Thelma was putting in the last few curlers, a group of boys appeared at the window. Billy saw that they were several years younger than he was, about ten or eleven years old. Billy quickly tried to shift in the chair so that the boys couldn't see his face. Laughingly, Thelma turned the chair so that it was directly facing the window. " What's the matter, dearie?" Don't you want everyone to see you?" Thelma instructed Billy to "smile real purty", and then reached down and undid his smock so that his bra and panties were visible. Thelma explained that since it was not everyday that they had a sissy-boy in the shop getting his hair done like a girl, she had told her son that he and his friends might want to come down and see the show. The boys were pointing and laughing at him, and Billy knew what he must look like. Billy shut his eyes in an effort to shut out the embarrassment, but a sharp tug on his scalp and a warning from Thelma brought them open again. To further add to his embarrassment, Thelma handed Billy his purse and instructed him to freshen his makeup while she finished. Just when Billy thought he could stand the humiliation no longer, Thelma had him stand up, drop into a curtsey to the guffaws of the assembled boys, and follow her to the row of hair dryers.
As he sat down, Billy caught a glimpse of himself in a mirror on the opposite wall. He looked ridiculous. In the mirror he saw a teenaged boy, heavily made up like a china doll, head covered with rows of pink curlers. The sight made him physically sick to his stomach. Before turning on the hair dryer, Thelma stuck a girl's fashion magazine in his hand. " Here you go, dearie. I know you'll just love this." Billy noted ruefully that Rachel had already made him read that issue and tested him on its contents. As Billy sat under the dryer, he became increasingly uncomfortable, both physically from the heat, and emotionally from the glares of the other patrons. Although the noise of the dryer prevent him from hearing what they were saying, their mocking limp-wristed gestures and exaggerated movements left little to the imagination. As he sat under the dryer, a dowdy matron came over with a portable manicure cart. Without any warning to Billy, she began to give him both a manicure and a pedicure. For the latter, Billy had to slip out of his pantyhose. After enduring numerous intentional " slips" of the cuticle stick, Billy possessed bright red fingernails and toenails. To make matters worse, the woman added extensions to Billy's fingernails so that they now extended at least an inch past his fingertips. Billy thought it ironic that the only male in the Smith household now had the longest (and reddest) fingernails in the family.
After testing one of Billy's curls and finding it sufficiently dry, Thelma led him back to the window- front chair. As a she began removing the curlers, Billy observed that many of the patrons had lingered, obviously want him to see the final result on the "sissy-boy". Once the curlers had been removed, Thelma started brushing vigorously, pulling Billy's scalp sharply has she did so. The afternoon light was such that Billy could not catch his reflection in the window, and he had no idea what Thelma was concocting. He did know that involved a lot of hair spray and a lot of brushing. He could feel her pinning some of his hair behind his head, but generally, Billy could only guess as to what she was doing. Thelma was silent as she worked, except for an occasional chuckle. After she had exhausted the contents of the entire can of hair spray on his "do", she pronounced him "all done". As she handed him the large hand mirror, she announced to the eager crowd, "There! The perfect sissy beehive for our sissy boy!"
Billy gasped with horror as he saw his image. Except for his bangs, his hair was lacquered in place above his head in a six-inch column. His hair resembled something he had seen in an old movie! Billy knew instantly that no real girl would ever wear her hair like that. No, he had been intentionally marked has a girly-boy. Instinctively, Billy brought his hands up to his hair. The combined sight of his prissy hairdo and his new fingernails reduced him to tears. Of course, that was exactly what Thelma had intended. After Ms. Gladstone had told her all about the reluctant pantywaist, she couldn't wait to get her hands on him. "Imagine," she thought, "A boy prancing into a girls' store to buy himself some panties! He's getting exactly what he deserves!"
Without waiting for Billy to regain his composure, Thelma pierced each ear, explaining to the sobbing boy that if he insisted on wearing his hair up like that, he would need something to make his ears pretty. As Billy continued to sob, the other operators and patrons crowded around him to admire Thelma's handiwork. They watched with fascinated glee as Thelma added a final humiliating touch to Billy's new "look"; a pert pink bow attached to the back of his hair. By now thoroughly enjoying herself, Thelma yanked Billy to his feet and commanded him a to walk back and forth across the salon in just his shoes and underwear. The ladies roared their approval as the tearful boy minced back and forth, "sissy style". Ms. Smith arrived at the salon a few minutes after the appointed time. On the drive over, she had imagined Billy with a number of different feminine hairstyles. She had laughingly agreed with Ms. Gladstone that it was high time for her son to do something "pretty" with his hair. She knew that along with his doll-like makeup, a prissy hairdo would crush the last little bit of male ego in her son and render him effeminate, regardless of his clothing—not that she was going to let that change. While hoping for something girlish, she hoped that Thelma would not do his hair in a style that would allow him to be easily confused with a real girl. Although she might allow that to happen down the road, for the foreseeable future, Ms. Smith and her daughter wanted to ensure that Billy appeared to everyone as a feminized male-a sissy boy! As she parked the car, Ms. Smith recalled the last hair cut that Billy had gotten before the school year—it had been a crew cut. Ms. Smith giggled at the thought. As Smith Ms. Smith entered the salon, it took her eyes a few seconds before they spotted her son. He was sitting prettily, legs crossed, before a large mirror. She could see that he was very upset and had been crying. Nonetheless, she watched with amused fascination as Billy primped and fussed with his hair, clothes, and makeup. When he saw his mother, Billy emitted a high pitched squeal of delight and hurriedly minced over to where she was standing. After giving her a girlish hug, Billy began to tell his mother about all the "fun" he'd had. Ms. Smith listened with rapt attention as Billy breathlessly showed her his new hairdo, nails, and ears. Ms. Smith was greatly relieved at the choice of his hair style-there was no way anyone would mistake Billy for a real girl in that prissy "do". Thelma approached mother and feminized son, and after introducing herself, explained that Billy's new "do" was a high maintenance affair, and that he would have to set it every night before bed. As she forced a bag of curlers, setting gel, and a flouncy hair bonnet into Billy's hands, she explained that ladies with such a fussy hairdo came in for a shampoo and set once a week, and that she had an opening on Saturday morning, even though that was her busiest time.
Billy involuntarily slumped in defeat as his mother told Thelma that Sissy would love to come in on Saturdays. "Aren't you lucky Thelma has an opening? And don't you look simply divine! You know, if someone had told me in August that I would find you in a beauty salon with the most darling hairdo, primping and preening, I would have told them they were crazy. Why, just a few weeks ago you were all blue jeans and football jerseys. Now you're Chanel and bows. You used to play with model cars and read Sports Illustrated-now you play with makeup and read Vogue! I must admit that your transformation has been difficult for your sister and me ...In fact, I was hoping that you'd tell me that this has all been some kind of silly misunderstanding and that you hated having your hair done! Oh well! I guess that was wishful thinking on my part! Well, I'm convinced that this is truly who you are. I just want you to know that your sister and I will support you one-hundred percent, no matter how embarrassingly feminine you become, because all we want is your happiness!"
Billy whimpered as he heard Ms. Smith his mother tell an amused Thelma that "of course" she would see that Billy set his hair every night. As she paid Thelma, she made Billy thank her for his new " look". Billy thought he would choke on the words. As she was replacing her wallet in her purse, Ms. Smith turned to her son, a gleam in her eye. "You know what, Billy, I was just thinking about Mr. Johnson's barber shop where you used to get your hair cut before you "came out". On the way home, I think we'll stop by there. I know that Mr. Johnson's an ex-college football player and everything, but I'm sure that he'd love to see the new you and to hear all about your visit to Thelma's Kut n' Kurl! Be sure to tell him that you'll be coming here for a weekly shampoo, set and manicure every Saturday. That way he'll know to take you off his customer list. You know ....I just had a marvelous thought! When I passed the shop on the way to pick you up, I saw a lot of your old teammates and buddies getting haircuts for tonight's game and dance! I think that with so many of them in one place, it would be a marvelous opportunity for you to apologize for misleading them all these years about the "real" you. So that there are no more misunderstandings about who-or what-you are, you should tell them all about your "pretty pills", your darling new clothes-oh, and don't forget the fashion show! Who knows-maybe one of them will ask you on a date!!" Billy completely abandoned his sissy act and begged his mother not to take him by the barbershop. "Mother, no!! Pleases don't make me go there!! I'll do anything you want! Please!"
"Appalled" at his behavior, Ms. Smith decided to make a couple of other stops along the way as well. First, a tearful Billy was made to visit Ms. Gladstone at La Femme to thank her and tell her all about his experience at Thelma's. After " fixing" several imaginary stray hairs in his "do", Ms. Gladstone explained that she was thrilled that Billy had dropped by. Since the weather had turned slightly chilly, she had taken the liberty of holding a white fur stole for him to wear at the game. As she rang it up, she insisted that Billy come in and tell her all about his dream date with Bruce that night.
In view of his prior outburst, Ms. Smith's next stop was Ms. Tuttle's charm school. While Billy stood fearfully and dejectedly, eyes fixed on the toes of his pumps, Ms. Smith had described in detail Billy's reaction to her "cute little suggestion" about the barbershop. Ms. Tuttle apologized profusely to Ms. Smith for Billy forgetting all that she had taught him, explaining that perhaps she had been too lenient with him. She then asked Ms. Smith to excuse Billy and her for a few minutes. Ms. Smith saw Ms. Tuttle's beefy hand seize Billy's fragile arm and drag him to her private office, closing the door quickly behind her. After 30 minutes of alternating silence and loud, girlish pleas from Billy, the door to Ms. Tuttle's office opened and a tearful yet smiling Billy emerged. As he sashayed over to her, Ms. Smith noted with delight that if possible, Billy was moving even more prissily than ever before. While Billy went to the "little girl's room" to repair his makeup, Ms. Tuttle offered her guarantee that there would be no further outbursts from her son. Ms. Smith thought briefly about asking what she had said or done to Billy to allow her to make that guarantee, but decided that she really didn't care.
True to Ms. Tuttle's word, Billy emerged from the bathroom and in his most girlish voice, told his mother how much he'd "adore" stopping by Mr. Johnson's Barber Shop and showing him and his friends his new " darling" hairdo. Once there, Ms. Smith had suggested that Billy go in alone so that she did not detract any attention from him. From the car, Ms. Smith could see Billy through the shop window. Although she couldn't hear, Ms. Smith could see that the males were laughing hilariously. Billy, on the other hand, was flapping his wrists around like a wounded bird, animatedly talking and gesturing. Ms. Smith noted with satisfaction that Billy curtseyed before leaving. After he returned to the car, Ms. Smith comforted the crying boy: "There, there dear, doesn't it feel good now that everyone knows the truth about you?"
Billy's day went from bad to worse as he returned home. After she teased him about his new hairdo, Rachel had started getting him ready for his homecoming date. She had reapplied his makeup in a particularly exaggerated fashion so that everyone could see how pretty he was, and had dressed him in the hateful gown selected by Ms. Gladstone. Billy sickened as he heard his sister and mother instruct him on the appropriate behavior for a young lady on a date. His mother had laughingly warned him about being too " easy", telling him that he would never be able to catch a husband like that. Rachel on the other hand, had harshly whispered in his here that he had better let Bruce kiss him or he would " feel the crop. " Billy had been mortified when Bruce appeared to pick him up. Ms. Gladstone had been right. He was handsome, muscular, and dwarfed Billy in physical size. Billy would have felt intimidated by the boy even if he had met him wearing jeans and an athletic shirt— yet here he was wearing a strapless gown, shoulder length gloves, and pink satin pumps with three-inch heels. Billy could hardly walk in the cursed get up. Of course, Rachel had insisted on snapping picture after picture of the "happy couple." Billy was horrified has the older boy placed his arm around him and pulled him tight. Billy was instantly struck by the thought that he would be physically helpless against the older boy.