“Red Curls and Bobbed Hair” is a lighthearted and humorous story by Robert E. Howard, focusing on family dynamics and generational differences regarding style and fashion.
Set in a typical family home, the story begins with the Allison family at dinner, noticing the absence of their eldest son, Frank, and the youngest daughter, Mildred. Mildred enters the scene with a subdued demeanor, unusual for her vibrant personality, and casually mentions that her friend Edith Burton has bobbed her hair. This sparks a family debate over whether Mildred should be allowed to do the same, with most family members strongly opposing the idea.
Mildred’s brother, Steve, is the only one who supports her decision, arguing that it’s her hair and she should be free to style it as she wishes. Despite this, their father forbids Mildred from getting her hair bobbed. Later, Mildred seeks Steve’s help in convincing the family, but he admits he’s already tried and failed.
In a dramatic twist, Mildred secretly leaves the house, presumably to attend a ball with a boy named Jack, but instead, she goes to a beauty shop and gets her hair bobbed. To cover up her act, she buys a wig that she mistakenly believes is black but turns out to be bright red. The next morning, her family discovers the truth in a comical scene when her wig changes color from black to bright red, revealing her newly bobbed hair.
- Mildred Allison: The youngest daughter, rebellious and wants to bob her hair.
- Steve Allison: Mildred’s supportive brother, who defends her choice to the family.
- Mrs. Allison: The mother, initially against Mildred bobbing her hair but eventually understands.
- Helen: An older sister, who threatens to spank Mildred if she bobs her hair.
- Marion: Another sister, who is gentle and admires Mildred’s beautiful hair.
- Billy Buckner: The horseman who initially informs Mildred about her brother being at the saloon.
- Mr. Allison: The father, who forbids Mildred from bobbing her hair.
- Jack: A boy Mildred plans to attend the ball with.