Happy I’m-Not-Shaving-For-At-Least-Four-Whole-Months Season!
In honor of this very special occasion, I wanted to #FlashbackFriday my post about my trials with wanted and unwanted hair.
I’m taking you back to when I thought one good perm was all I needed to be as cool as Cher Horowitz. As with all of my genius ideas, it didn’t exactly work out. Perms, “I’d Like to Speak to the Manager Hair”, and awkward eyebrows, oh my!
A woman’s hair is very much a part of who she is, it’s practically a part of the soul. You identify with your hair, it identifies you. I’m confident that every single woman on this planet has had the obligatory “life altering bad haircut”. We’ve all also had that “hair epiphany” when we were finally introduced to the flat iron, or when we realized that shaving side burns off don’t make them go away.
My hair life has always been a total shit show. When you have always had thick-as-Redwood-tree hair, that’s also stick straight and a smorgasbord of unwanted body hair, traumatic hair events are as much a part of life as doctor check ups and seeing the dentist.
Growing up, bath time was always a time of great strife. When time came to tackle my mess of damp tangles, all hell broke loose. When my hair wasn’t being snagged into a comb by a beyond-over-it-mother, it was long, shiny, and beautiful. My 3 year-old self knew I had to be descended from Snow White or Princess Jasmine. It was princess hair.
After one too many crying fits after bath time, my mom finally did what she promised she’d do. I never thought she was serious. Never in a million years did I think she was serious.
After cutting my hair, my mom realized there was absolutely nothing she could do with thick, straight, fine, short hair. She got the wise idea to perm my hair. I don’t have an ‘after’ photo because I didn’t have a perm after enduring 3 hours of noxious perm fumes. Nope. Even nuclear waste perm chemicals wouldn’t touch my stubborn horse hair.
After the perm incident, we just gave up on trying. I pretty much looked like a boy with a bad haircut for most of my formative years.
As I got older, I felt like I was never quite with the times. I’d show up with giant Aqua Net bangs, to find the look was to plaster your bangs to your head. I’d finally learn how to work my curling iron, and everyone started ironing their hair.
The Perm Incident happened the summer before my eighth grade year. I was ready for a big change. My mom had just started letting me wear blue mascara, I got a second hole pierced in my ear, and I got to get my nails done at the beauty school (they looked like 4th Street hooker nails. That was the first and last time I got to have tips. My mom was appalled).
But…nails and mascara were for 7th graders. I wanted a perm. I had salivated for months over the crunchy waves I was seeing everywhere. My best friend and I convinced our moms and before we knew it, we were on our way to Trendsetters.
One of the stipulations of our perms was that we had to get them done by my best friend’s mom’s hairdresser, because she “knew what she was doing”. She was also in her 60’s and had a preference for the Curly Sue look.
When she went for my bangs, I thought it was odd, but I was 12. I was basically clueless. As she freed my friend’s blond locks from the curlers, they were tight spirals. My heart stopped. I secretly prayed she had only messed up her hair, not mine too. As her hair air-dried while my hair was finishing, she looked more Pollyanna than Delia’s model.
After the 99th curler was finally removed and my hair had time to air dry a bit, I was turned around in the chair, to face the mirror. In that one second, I knew my chance at ever being remotely cool and stylish was over. Glancing at my poodle friend, I could see she had the same dreadful realization. Our genius idea to get a perm from a woman who specialized in blue hair and tight finger curls, sealed our middle school fate. I looked like a mix between Bob Ross and my cocker spaniel mutt, Buttons. It was not the look I was going for. It was terrible.
And because my life wasn’t embarrassing enough, it was, apparently, an entire family affair when I first shaved my legs. Why? Please tell me I wasn’t shaving with foaming bathroom cleaner.
Any woman can tell a story through the experiences she’s had with their hair. Most of those stories will be harrowing, terrifying, and life-altering. It’s not just hair, it’s who we are.
This is why I have every hair product known to man in my bathroom. The quest continues. FYI I’ve given up on the perm. I can confidently, assuredly say, I’ll never attempt to perm my hair again.