Posted by: haircutsrevisited | September 5, 2005

The Wedge Haircut

The Wedge Haircut
By Tammy

Foreword: This haircut would have been considered the ‘Rachel Haircut’ of that time. This haircut started a fad in the late 1970’s and was worn by many in those years. I was very fortunate to not be one of those but I recall a few friends with one.

When Dorothy Hamill won the hearts of America back in the 1976 Winter Olympics, not only did she win the gold medal, she also wore a revolutionary new hairstyle that was to become a phenomenon in the years that followed. I remember my mother forcing me to wear that same haircut.

It was my last week of summer before starting my freshman year in high school, and I was really nervous about it. My mom had made an appointment for my younger sister and I to get our haircuts for school. I was 14 at the time and I had always had worn my hair very long as that was the popular style for that time. I had only ever had trims and I never ever considered cutting my hair. I loved my hair long. It was pin straight and dark chestnut-brown. I loved the way my hair felt as it cascaded all the way down my back to my waist.

Mom had made the appointments for my younger sister and I at the local beauty salon. After we were going to go shopping for some new clothes for school. I remember we arrived at the salon a little early that day.

The salon was Rosa’s Beauty Salon. It was in the local strip mall in the suburb where we lived. Rosa, the owner was a middle-aged Italian woman who ran the salon with Luisa, her niece. The salon felt a little dated with its 1960’s era decor, it had pale blue wallpaper with light yellow floral patterns. There were three hairdresser’s chairs that were pastel blue, a row of pastel pink chairs with the drying hoods above them, and their stainless steel ashtrays in the arms. The waiting chairs in the entrance area were pastel orange that seemed to complete the contrast of colors in the room.

Opening the door there was a chime from bells hanging above the door and you were hit by the smell of perm solution and hair products as you entered. The smell was almost intoxicating initially but after a moment you would start to get used to it.

“How are you today.” Rosa rang out in her thick Italian accent as we entered.

“Were great.” my mom answered back. “My girls need their hair done for school next week.” My mom said.

“A few more minutes, Sit and read a magazine.” Rosa told us.

We took a seat in the orange waiting chairs where my mom reached for a copy of Time Magazine from last winter. It was a copy of Time from February 2, 1976 with Dorothy Hamill on the cover and the caption ‘Olympic Preview – Artistry on Ice’. In the picture Dorothy Hamill was flying through the air with her cute little haircut spread out in all directions.

Artistry On Ice

I remembered seeing her in the Olympics that year. She was amazing to watch. She would move through the air and her hair would fly around in all directions, after it always seemed to magically fall back into place like a helmet or something. It was a very cute haircut but nothing I would have considered for myself. I was to attached to my long hair.

“OK, Come with me Patty.” Rosa queued my sister and she got up and walked with Rosa over to have her hair washed.

After Rosa then sat my sister in her chair, she towel dried her hair and combed it out. Her hair was just like mine but not quite as long. It was the same colour as mine however it was only as far as her mid-back. She never really took care of it so it was always just a little shorter than mine.

“A trim today.” Rosa asked my mom.

My mom got up with the copy of Time magazine in hand and walked over, “I think I’d like this haircut for her.” She said showing Rosa the photos inside the magazine.

“Oh that is a very popular look now,” Rosa answered back. “I keep that magazine around just because people like this hair so much.” She responded.

“Patty will look like an angel with this hair.” Rosa said. And Patty gave a smile.

With that my mom came back and sat down as Rosa started to get to work on my sister. I remember her sectioning off her bangs first and cutting them off straight across her forehead and my sister started to laugh hysterically. She had never seen bangs on herself before. She giggled watching as her hair was being cut shorter and shorter to frame her face.

 I didn’t see much as Luisa called me over to wash my hair next.

“OK Andrea,” she called out to me as she was nodding her head towards the hair sinks. This meant Luisa would be doing my hair today. A trim I was sure.

After washing my hair I took the seat in the chair next to my sister. By then her hair was already completely cut into the haircut. Her long shorn locks littered the floor all around the perimeter of the chair she was sitting in. As I sat down she was smiling in the mirror at herself, she seemed to love the new haircut.

Luisa combed my hair out and asked me how I wanted it, “Just a trim.” I told her.

My mom came straight over and interrupted, “I want hers cut like this as well Luisa.” She said showing Luisa the same magazine photo’s of Dorothy Hamill.

I completely froze as I was sitting there, I didn’t want my haircut like that. I started shaking my head ‘no’ staring at my mother’s eyes through the mirror in front of me. “Mom, that’s too short.” I tried to tell her.

She responded giving me a stern look. “This is how I want it done. Luisa, go ahead and cut hers like this too.” She said flashing the picture of the haircut one last time.

All of a sudden I felt numb all over, Luisa with a comb and scissors in hand was starting to section off my hair combing it straight back, she sectioning off my bangs to the front.

With a glimpse, I could see my reflection in the mirror with my bangs hung straight down covering my face all the way down to my chest. I closed my eyes and I felt the cold steel blade of the scissors slide across my forehead into the section of my hair. I heard the sound, Schnip, Schnip, Schnip, they made as the slid across my forehead. I was trembling and I felt knots turn my stomach upside down.

When it stopped I opened my eyes to look at my reflection. A newly shorn fringe was cut just above my eyebrows and straight across my forehead. I was in shock. I wouldn’t dare close my eyes again and at the same time I was way to nervous when I looked at my reflection in the mirror.

I looked straight down and locked my eyes on the mass of hair that was gathered in my lap on the cape in front of me. With that Luisa tilted my head to the left slightly and started sectioning off my hair from over my temple down to my ears on my right side, it fell straight down the front of my shoulder and into my lap. I watched as the scissors slipped into this section and cringed as they snipped my hair off into a geometric angle from my lower earlobe to my newly shorned fringe. The locks of hair just slid before my eyes down my shoulder and into my lap. Luisa tilted my head the other way and cut the other side the same way. After I tilted my head straight and stared straight into my newly exposed face. My hair was completely cut out of my face. I would have nothing to cover my face with anymore. Nothing to hide behind

She now tilted my head straightforward. I could feel her sectioning off the hair along my nape while pinning up the bulk of my hair above on the crown of my head. I felt the steel blades slide across my nape and close. Schnip, Schnip, Schnip, I could feel them cutting all the way across the back.

Luisa would release one section at a time in the back from my nape to my crown and cut each section straight across my nape. This went on for what felt like an eternity. I just sat there looking into my lap staring at the mass of hair gathered on my lap on top of the cap. I would look up in the mirror occasionally to try to see what was happening as she cut my hair in the back as I could feel with each section my hair feeling lighter and lighter.

Luisa finished the back by angling them towards my upper ear lobes to match the length in the sides. She cut the length straight across my upper ear lobes exposing the bottoms of my ears.

My entire face and neck had been exposed for the first time and it made me feel naked. I tilted my head a little to catch a glimpse of the back but I couldn’t see any hair there anymore, moments ago it was long enough to reach my waist and now it was gone.

Luisa blow-dried my hair using a hairbrush to curl the ends under. As I sat there and watched I started to feel anger, upset. I hated this haircut in me and I hated my mom for doing this to me. This didn’t feel like me, or look like myself anymore. It felt like there was a stranger was looking back at me in the mirror.

Luisa finally finished the style, unclipped the cape and removed it. I glanced over for a second to see massive amounts of my hair completely covering the floor around the chair. Luisa grabbed her hand mirror to show me the back for the first time. The ends were curled under slightly straight across the top of my nape, completely exposing my neck. I was still in shock.

My Mom adored our haircuts. She absolutely loved it calling us her little angels. My sister loved it to. The haircut made me look years younger and that was difficult entering into my first year of High School. Even worse my sister and looked like twins

It was a yearlong battle between my mother and I to finally let me grow my hair out again. She loved my haircut so much on me it was hard to win her over. I felt really awkward with it in my first year of high school.

I finally grew it out in sophomore year and from that point on I have remained petrified of getting a haircut. I grew it back to waist length finally for high school graduation and prom. It wasn’t until after my second child that I could bring myself to cutting it shorter again.

Looking back it wasn’t a big deal really I was just a normal young teen at the time dealing with the normal social stresses of the time. I laugh about it now when I see the old photos of it.

Dorothy Hamill

Thanks for reading,

Tammy

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