Tag Archives: hairstyles

11. Perms: Not Just for the 80’s Anymore

7 Jan

While we’re on the subject of bad hair days, I might as well tackle the topic of perms. There was a time when perms were popular all across the U.S. (I believe it fell somewhere in between Bo Derek cornrows and the “Rachel” do.) Perms have generally fallen out of favor, as such things do. However, Southern women can be loathe to break a tradition, no matter how bad it may be.

I, myself, have never had a perm. Not that I think I’m above following trends. (I wore banana clips just like everybody else.) I just never needed one seeing as I have naturally curly hair. My curls and I have only been on friendly terms for the last two decades (since I discovered that growing them out saves me from being serenaded with the Monchichi song). In retrospect, I am grateful that a stray wavy hair gene saved me copious trips to the hairdresser.

From what I understand, perms are an exercise in masochism. You sit in the stylist’s chair for hours while your hair is rolled onto about 512 curlers then doused in foul-smelling chemicals. I’ve heard you have to leave in the stinky glop for at least a day or so. (At least that was the explanation I was given upon commenting on a friend’s odiferous head.)

Maybe perms have gotten more sophisticated over the years, but people still go in wanting to look like Debra Messing and come out looking like Richard Simmons.

After a lifetime of managing curly hair, I can’t understand why somebody would CHOOSE to deal with frizz. Oh, sure, curls are spunky and whatnot, but I’ve yet to meet a curly-haired person (real or fake) who didn’t suffer from the finger-in-light-socket look from time to time. Which is why I have a fairly large collection of hats. Though you will not find a baseball cap in the bunch.

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