Not too long ago a friend of mine opened a beauty spa, Salon Euphoria. (  Now let me reassure you that this is not an ad – though you might want to check out the site – but merely an opening for a story.  The owner, Kim Perme, and the staff decided to host a contest.  The person writing in with the funniest hair tragedy would win a hair product from Oribe.  So I gave them one of mine. Yes, I have many hair tragedies, but this is the one I decided to tell:

Hair care has come a long way since I was a kid. Before I was born, getting a perm meant this:

However, by the time I came forth from my mother’s womb, you could do it yourself at home with this:

BUT the result was usually this:

And we did it anyway.  The only alternative, since Mousse, gel, thickeners, texturizers, and cremes hadn’t been invented yet, was this:

Then, we sprayed it with this – in case America came under a nuclear attack (which Americans were obsessed with at the time). It created an impenetrable helmet.

When I was in grade school our class was going to sing for the PTA.  I’m not sure what grade I was in. Fifth? Sixth? I don’t know. I have probably repressed most of the story. Anyway, I was old enough to be conscious of my appearance, but, according to my mom, not old enough to make my own grooming decisions. So, on the night before we were to sing, she decided I needed a perm.

Full of grooming zeal, she bought a box of Toni at Colliers Drug Store and pulled out her shoebox of curlers. These curlers were small. How small? Think pencil. Then she proceeded to roll my hair into knots so tight I looked like Jackie Chan.

Two bottles of toxic solution and five burn hickeys on my neck later, the perm was finished. It was 30 minutes past my bedtime, so I was ordered straight to bed with a wet head . . . because, yes, blow-dryers weren’t even invented yet. And somehow, during the night, Bozo entered my bedroom and traded heads with me.

To say that I was disturbed when I got up and looked in the mirror is an understatement. But being the good (i.e. anal) child that I was, I held still while my mother styled it . . . My mother who decided that giving me pigtails would be a good idea. Pigtails? Who am I kidding. They were basketballs attached by rubber bands.

It was quite the fashion statement.

It said, “Please kill me.”

Then she sprayed it until it became hard and shiny. Like wet Christmas candy.

Satisfied with her handiwork, she declared me ready to sing onstage.

Unfortunately, there was going to be a six hour gap between the time I left the house, and the time we were due to perform. So she threatened me with fates worse than death if I disarranged the spectacle of my head in any way. I was to keep well away from any low lying branches, kindergartners on the bus, and coat hooks behind the blackboard. I could understand that, since she spent 4 hours and 75 cents on my hair. So I did as I was told.

All I remember from that afternoon of being onstage is that one of our choral members behind me got too hot on the back row, passed out, and fell off the bleachers. At least that was the story that he told. Personally, I think he fainted from the Aqua-Net fumes.

The irony of this whole story? I was 28 when I found out that I already had naturally curly hair. . .  and HAD had curly hair all my life. It took a hairdresser with a diffuser attachment to show me the obvious.  And my mom? She still doesn’t believe that I have curly hair, even when I’m standing in front of her.

Do you have any of your own hair stories you want to share? It doesn’t have to be from childhood. Just leave out the name of the hairdresser so we don’t get sued. . .

Remember, to leave a comment click on the ‘Comments’ tag at the end of this blog, and don’t forget to check out the latest Photo-blog on the right.  Just put your cursor over the picture to read the caption, or click on one if you want to leave your comment.

Have fun!

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  1. Snuffygump says:

    OK. I read this when it first came out. I am just now recovered from my own flashbacks to that era. My mother only did the Toni perm to me once, just in time for my 3rd grade school picture. To this day I am still convinced that I am that ugly child. Just in the past 15 years, some beauty products emerged on the market and was being carried by my current hair dresser. She had used something from their line on my hair, so I inquired as to name of the product line. “Toni!” was her remark, she being too young to have ever known how just the spelling shut down any further interest in the hair product. I briefly tried to explain to her the reason for me being turned off, but, all she could do was stare at me and blink. She had nothing to relate to in her young lifetime of experience.
    That said, my bad hair eperience has to do with a big experiment that I initiated when I was around 4 years old. My brothers had wind up metal train engines. I wanted to find out what it felt like to wind one up and let it loose on the top of my head.
    The result? So much of my hair became wound up inside the wheels (about 14) of the engine, that my mother had to call my uncle. I guess that she figured since he was a Professor of Engineering at the University, he would be the one to save my hair and the engine.
    My uncle was Profeesor of AGRICULTURAL Enginneering, and, after using a screwdriver to dismantle every part of the train engine possible, he could not extract the engine.
    That day, my mother had to cut the train engine from off the top of my head, along with every bit of my hair caught up in it. At four, I wasn’t into how I looked.
    Cockel Burrs have the same effect, by the way, but, they demand less hair having to be cut away.

  2. Thea says:

    You lost me laughing when I got to the part about putting the train on your head to see what it felt like.
    And again when you stated that your uncle was a Professor of AGRICULTURAL Engineering.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this story even though it was a hair tragedy. Or maybe BECAUSE it was a hair tragedy. I can completely relate.
    Thanks, Snuffygump.

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