It was the best of days, it was the worst of days…Have you ever had a bad hair day that you will remember for the rest of your life? A bad hair day that was so bad that if you think about it you start feeling that sense of panic and dread all over again? My worst bad hair day was that kind of day. It was a no good, very bad day; bad hair day.
|Because Everyone Had a Perm in the 80's|
The events leading up to the bad hair day go like this ….I was in the fourth grade when the “cool” girls in school started getting their hair permed. Remember I grew up in the 80’s so permed hair was all the rage – the girls had permed hair with sky high bangs, the boys were doing perms on their mullet hair in the back, the movie stars and the rock stars – everyone was getting permed hair. My dream was to look like one of the beautiful actresses on Knots Landing or Falcon Crest. I wanted cascading curls and some spiky gelled pieces around my face. This could only be achieved with a perm. I wanted permed hair and my mom said no.
Fast forward one year of asking….my mom still said no. I started sleeping in small braids all over my head to mimic the perm. Every girl in my class had a perm except me. I begged and pleaded with my mom telling her everyone had a perm except for me. I even had to get my tonsils out, surely that was perm worthy? My mom still said no.
In the sixth grade, I wore her down. She was so sick of me asking for a perm that she took me to get one.
The day of the perm was here. I had to wait until after school to go to the beauty shop. I walked to the door and gave her a wave like a champ. After all, I was practically a grown up since I was in the sixth grade; I could go to the beauty shop by myself. The beautician started working her magic. She carefully rolled my hair onto tiny little rollers. I wanted to be Morgan Fairchild with long cascading curls. In two short hours I would get my wish.
After my hair was rolled and the perm solution was applied, I waited under the dryer for the perm to set. The ladies in the shop started running from sink to sink turning on each faucet. I didn’t understand the commotion because of the dryer noise and the rotten egg smell of my hair was too putrid to pay attention to much else. Finally, the beautician came up to me and lifted the dryer. She said, “Honey, we have a little problem, the town cut off the water supply due to a problem in the line. We are going across the road to the gas station to rinse your perm. We have to go right now as you have already processed to long.”
My hair was in 400 little rollers and I was wearing a smock and a shower cap. I had to cross the road, holding the beautician’s hand to get to the dumpy gas station bathroom. By this time the traffic was picking up as people were getting off work. I got some pretty interesting looks crossing that street.
The bathroom in the gas station smelled funny and I didn’t want to put my head in the sink. The beautician told me my hair could fall out if I didn’t. I closed my eyes and leaned toward the sink in horror. It was gross. Thankfully my hair already smelled like rotten eggs so I think I smelled worse than the sink, it was probably a toss-up though.
Then we crossed the street again, hand in hand, for round two. The perm solution had to be neutralized with another solution. This one sat for a while too. The water still did not come back on. So back to the gas station we went to rinse the solution.
Gas station sinks don’t rinse permanent solutions very well – they aren’t made for hair styling.
Again, I closed my eyes and leaned in to the moldy sink. The neutralizing solution smelled a little better than the perm solution but not that much. The restroom was nasty. My big day was ruined. I wanted to cry but I had to be brave. If my mom had been there, I would’ve cried.
My hair turned out way too curly. I don’t know if it was the extra time for the solutions or the lack of proper rinsing but I didn’t look like Morgan Fairchild. I looked like a show poodle. My bangs were really, really curly. They didn’t lie down but stacked upon each other like the perfect head grooming of a Westminster poodle champ. My hair looked simply wild, like I played with electricity and hair gel and lost big time.
It took two years for the perm to relax and grow out.
I never looked like the girls from Knots Landing or Falcon Crest. I don’t think I ever want to get another perm either. But if I do, I will be certain to bring my own water. It never hurts to be prepared.