52. Beauty Parlors–Curl Up and Dye

5 Nov

By S. Myers: Flickr Creative Commons

It’s no wonder beauty parlors are such popular spots, seeing as they combine two of a Southern lady’s greatest loves, gossip and perms. Oh, and don’t forget pampering. Any belle worth her sugar loves a good pampering.

When you get to the beauty parlor, don’t bother picking up People or US Weekly. Wouldn’t you rather pass the time finding out who’s done what to whom? It doesn’t even matter if you know the “who” or “whom” in question. Some stories are just that juicy.

Back in the day, Southern ladies had standing weekly appointments for hair-do maintenance. I imagine many still do. You can spot them quite easily; they’re the ones whose hair simply DOES NOT MOVE. Ever.

How do they keep the hair in place overnight? Some swear by satin pillowcases, but my aunt Juanita relied on trusty toilet paper. Every night before she went to bed, she wrapped the back of her head with t.p. and secured it with bobby pins. I’m not sure about the science behind this, but her hair always had that smooth, shellacked look popular among women of a certain era.

Hairstyles of a certain era.

I, myself, have spent a fair amount of time in beauty parlors. When I was growing up, my mom’s best friend, LaRue, was our hair dresser. (I have no idea if that’s how her name is actually spelled, seeing as I’ve never had occasion to use it till now.) Anyhoo, as I recall, LaRue’s magazine selection was rather slim, so I spent many an hour perusing the J.C. Penney catalog. The thing I liked best about the beauty parlor was the jar with combs floating in blue liquid. Why modern salons have done away with them, I do not know.

When I was a kid in church, I scanned the hair-dos of the ladies in the choir, and I dreaded the day that I’d be required to sport the helmet-head look. Thankfully, I’ve realized that day will never come. Though each visit to my local beauty parlor finds me with shorter and shorter hair, my curls will never be considered ruly. And if you ever see me reaching for a can of Aqua Net, feel free to snatch me baldheaded. If you know what that means…

What are your favorite beauty parlor memories?

6 Responses to “52. Beauty Parlors–Curl Up and Dye”

  1. Betty November 11, 2010 at 6:02 pm #

    I used to work with someone with hair like that. We’d say it was as if someone held her by her feet and twirled her through a cotton candy machine.

    • girloutofdixie January 31, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

      Love that image!

  2. bayoubyme January 27, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    This is hilarious! A hairdresser named LaRue–how very Southern! I love your sense of humor.

    • girloutofdixie January 31, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

      Glad you like it. Thanks for reading!!

  3. DW October 4, 2018 at 9:59 am #

    After having lived in many other US cities, and now living outside Raleigh, NC, I have to say that I’ve never seen gossip as rampant as it is here in the South. Honestly, I’ve lived on the West coast for years and I can count on ONE HAND conversations that I’ve had with people that focused on what other people were doing. Here, it seems like that’s all people do! The great thing about the West is that you can live relatively anonymously without people being interested in your “bidness”, but here, not so much. I was also unprepared for such rigid gender roles here in the South. In fact, it seems as if the biggest interest in gossip here has to do with people disparaging someone’s “reputation” – a term I haven’t heard since maybe junior high school, btw. A lot of Southerners seem to enjoy this kind of vicious gossip that damages people, even if what they’re sharing is outlandish or untrue, so it’s not just harmless or entertaining. Sorry but culturally, I just don’t get it at all, and I don’t find this trait to be the least bit interesting or endearing.


  1. 86. Toothless Joe, Darlene Sardine and other Nicknames. « stuff southern people like - March 11, 2011

    […] context, which you’ll quickly learn should you venture into a restaurant, clothing boutique, or beauty parlor. Here’s a brief etiquette […]

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