Tag Archives: perms

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?

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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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