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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/10/08)

TITLE: Hairdresser: See Barbers; Beauty Salons
By Kristen Hester


I was surprised when Stephanie Montgomery approached me in the school parking lot after I dropped my kids off on Thursday morning. When she asked me to join her and her friends for coffee, I nearly choked on my Tic Tac.

“A few of us are going to Starbucks. We’d love for you to join us.” Stephanie’s sing-song voice matched her perky appearance and her face seemed to have a permanent smile. I wasn’t sure if she was really that happy or if she’d had too much plastic surgery. My children had been attending the same private school as Stephanie’s kids for two years, but we’d never gotten to know each other. I secretly referred to Stephanie and her friends as the “Money Moms.” My family wasn’t the only ones eating Ramen Noodles so we could afford the school, but sometimes it felt like it. Being a mature Christian, though, I didn’t need acceptance from Stephanie’s group to feel secure . I didn’t even drink coffee. I had no reason to join them.

“I’d love to,” I gushed like an eager school girl. “I have a 10:30 hair appointment, but I’m free until then.”

“Great. Ginny, Lisa and Heather will be there, too.” She hopped into her sparkling Mercedes SUV and headed to Starbucks. I followed in my dirty Dodge Caravan.

To my surprise, the ladies didn’t seem that different from my friends at first. Then they began dropping the names of local VIPs and celebrities they knew and, frankly, I was in awe. Stephanie was describing the dinner she had just hosted for the mayor when she noticed Heather was missing. “Where’s Heather?”

“She’s sick.” Lisa answered.

Stephanie got a horrified expression on her face. “That’s terrible.”

Ginny seemed confused at her friend’s apparent over-reaction.“I think it’s just a cold.”

“But she had an appointment with Roland today.”

“Oh, no!” Lisa and Ginny said simultaneously.

“Roland’s the only one we let touch our hair,” Stephanie explained to me. “It’s very difficult to get an appointment.” Suddenly her face lit up. “Why don’t you take Heather’s appointment today?” she said as she looked at me and my hair.

“I already have an appointment with my hairdresser.”

“Cancel. This is a rare opportunity. I’m scheduled for a manicure at the same time as Heather’s appointment, so I’ll take you.”

I’m not sure why I agreed. Tasha had cut my hair for ten years and I was happy with her, but when they talked about Roland, I got stars in my eyes. I didn’t belong in this group, but I felt important with them.

Stephanie jumped up. “Time to go!”

I canceled my appointment with Tasha on the way to the salon. I tugged self-consciously at my shirt, a Target special, as I followed Stephanie inside and tried not to gawk at the opulence.

Stephanie walked over to a tall, thin man who had long, dark pony tail down his back. He wore a tight black shirt tucked into black and white striped pants. When he turned and saw Stephanie he smiled.

“Oh, Stephanie, darling.” He held his arms out and without touching Stephanie, he pecked both her checks. He spoke with a heavy French accent which I suspected was fake.

Stephanie got right to the point. “Heather is sick, so I brought my friend to take her appointment.”

Roland looked at me and frowned. He examined the ends of my hair. “I could do wonders with your hair.” He looked at Stephanie and continued, “But so sorry, I already filled her spot.”

“Can’t you squeeze her in?”

“No, no. Roland can not be rushed.”

I could tell Stephanie was embarrassed. I let her off the hook. “It’s okay,” I said.

“You’re so sweet not to be mad.”

I called Tasha as I hurried out to my car. “Tasha, it’s me again. Do you still have time to cut my hair today?”

“Actually, no. I’m already booked.”

“Oh.” I could tell something was bothering her. “Well, when are you available?”

“I’m full the rest of the month.”

“Really?” I paused. “Tasha, what’s wrong?”

“You canceled with a lame excuse, but I know the truth. My sister overheard you at Starbucks. Honestly, my feelings are hurt. I’ve got to go.” With that she ended the call.

I felt awful and ashamed. I consoled myself with a candy bar I found in the bottom of my purse. Then I headed home to get my phone book and start searching for a new hairdresser.

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This article has been read 789 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Pam Carlson-Hetland01/17/08
This is so very good, everything about it is just excellent. I loved the touches of humor. There's just enough description and detail to really get a feel for the characters and the situation. Fits perfectly with the topic. The title is eye catching and nicely ties in with the ending. Great job.
Karen Wilber01/17/08
I just kept guessing and guessing what was going to happen next and I didn't expect the ending. Ouch! Very nicely paced. You made me empathize with the MC getting caught up in it all. A real grabber of a title.
Dee Yoder 01/17/08
Oh man, this is so good. The dialogue and the characters really spoke to me. But what REALLY got to me was envy: I want that candy bar in the bottom of her purse! (Can you tell I'm not allowed to have sweets anymore?) Just kidding...let me wipe my mouth...now. This is chock full of great writing and I really like the way you describe the MC's fascination with the Money Moms. Right on topic.
LauraLee Shaw01/18/08
This is brilliant. And realistic. And just convicting as all get out. I have truly had some similar experiences with some name-dropping, yuppie friends. I always scratch my head at the end and wonder, "What just happened? What was I thinking? I don't even really like them?" One of my favs....
Gregory Kane01/18/08
I liked the way you described the constant unease felt by your MC couple with her yearning to be accepted. What I couldn’t figure was why the Money Moms were bothered with her. You certainly brought the proverb to life.
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/18/08
This is an outstanding story to illustrate the proverb. You made your character very real. I liked the touches of humor, too.
Peter Stone01/19/08
What a touching story, and perfect for the topic. I like the way you chose an ordinary daily event to examine the topic rather than something life shattered.
Joanne Sher 01/19/08
Great illustration of the proverb, and a great title. Definitely not an angle I'd considered. Very good.
Debbie Roome 01/20/08
This kept me guessing all the way. Loved it.
Yvonne Blake 01/21/08
Vanity...vanity...all is vanity!
Well written. Although, I was expecting a slightly different ending...like a weird,wild hair-do!
Sara Harricharan 01/21/08
Oh ouch. That had to hurt when it came back to her! I liked the way you made your MC real, especially with the touches like the Target shirt, and Dirty Dodge Caravan. ^_^ Great stuff!
Sally Hanan01/22/08
Thanks for the laugh. You are always right on target when you describe how you feel but it applies to practically everyone. I too wanted her to have a really revolting hairstyle, or a style that looked exactly the same as it had looked when she had gone in, but then again, you wouldn't have been able to make your point, now would you :D
Holly Westefeld01/22/08
Your contrasts are vivid. This is a great reminder that we never know what humans are watching, and should always remember that God is.
Jan Ackerson 01/22/08
Love your "Yellow Pages" title--very creative. You're definitely a master of chick lit/mom lit.
Betty Castleberry01/22/08
Oh my. It's so easy to be influenced by others, isn't it? Loved the writing, loved the message. Well done.
Loren T. Lowery01/23/08
A really good example of this week's topic and it was written with a very believable scenario. I thought the dialogue and interaction of the characters was top-notch as well
Patty Wysong01/23/08
Great example of the topic--right down to the unhappy ending, unfortunately. Great dialog and characterizatoins. :-)
Tim Pickl01/23/08
Excellently written, perfect title-- I can almost hear the 'legally blonde' type inflections in the dialogue.
Sheri Gordon01/23/08
Another great story. You have these harried mom stories nailed. Your writing is so entertaining, and there is always a great lesson. Usually an 'ouch' lesson. And the dialogue cracks me up. Great job with the topic.
Beth LaBuff 01/24/08
Your title is perfect (and creative). Great story and a perfect illustration of the topic.