Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Horror at the Beauty Shop

There was talk about "coloring your hair" on Susan's blog today. Now and then, whenever I hear talk of hair coloring, salons, or perms, I am haunted by an experience I had when I was young. I was probably around 24 or so and had shoulder-length platinum blonde hair that I colored myself. It was double processed. When your natural hair color is pretty much non-descript, this is what you do. Blonde is much better than a hair color that isn't blonde, brown, black, or red. Maybe mine is called dark ash blonde, I don't know... I spent loads of time on my hair and rolled it every night for fullness and curls. Believe it or not, I got tired of guys hitting on me (HA!). After all, I was married and didn't need the aggravation! My friend, Nancy, said, "Mary, it's the HAIR!" So I darkened it to a light brown. I got tired of the constant touch-ups, too.

I called a little beauty shop not far from home because I wanted a "body wave". Not knowing much, I asked the lady if I could have one, since my hair was very bleached underneath the brown shade. "Oh, yes", she said, "No problem." So I made the appointment and couldn't wait to get there. I arrived with bells on and again asked my beautician, "You know, I am very bleached blonde under this. Do you think it'll be OK?" She assured me everything would be fine.

So out came the perm. It was a Zoto perm and she rolled my hair in record pace. I thought, "Wow. I'm going to aerobics tonight with fluffy hair!" You know, "fluffy" was the rage back then. Meanwhile, the girls in the shop were watching a soap opera on TV in the back room. Ding! I was ready. With my head bent back over the sink, she removed the rods. Before I knew it, two other beauticians were watching. I didn't know anything was wrong. I was happy! Then I heard talk of some sort of "oil pack". What I didn't hear them say was, "Mary, we have a little problem. Your hair is falling off and disappearing down the drain." Actually, hearing the truth at that point might have started a real scene. To this day, I am amazed at their composure.

Still feeling "I-can't-wait-to-see-my-hair" happy, I thought it was a bit strange that she rolled my hair in curlers and put me under the dryer. My heart started to pound and my hands started to sweat. I watched and heard people all around the shop but didn't really see or hear them. Something was wrong. She should have used a diffuser on my hair or something. Plus, she never took me to a mirror! Timidly, I put my hand up under the dryer and felt a curler with crunchy hair surrounding it. I lifted that damned dryer, got up, grabbed my handbag, and started swinging. No, I didn't do that! I wasn't thinking clearly enough to beat the crap out of anybody. The rage and horrible fear rising inside me made me want to flee, and fast! With my hair still in curlers, I told the receptionist I was late for an appointment. Stupidly, I wrote a check for $45.00 (no tip) and turned around to leave, hearing the buck-teeth receptionist say, "We'll need you to bring the curlers back." Kindly, I said, "Oh, I will." What I should have said was, "Screw you and your freaking rollers, bitch."

Driving home in fifth gear on a two-lane road, I was breathing heavily and the fear turned into a full panic. I made it to my bathroom mirror within minutes. My face was white, my lips were white, and my eyes were bulging. Hands trembling, I unclipped one curler on my crown. It was stuck to my hair and with just a little tug, I looked at the curler laying in my hand, still wrapped by my hair. My hair was spongy and sticky, breaking off an inch from my scalp and I couldn't believe what I was seeing. After I removed another 6 or 7 rollers, hair attached, I quit. Chest heaving, yelling in an empty house, no crying. I was too shocked and angry to cry. Cursing like a mean sailor, I wrapped my hair in a large bandana so as not to see the hideous mess of curlers hanging down around my face.

Michael arrived home from work and stood motionless, blinking only once or twice, trying to understand what happened to his cute little wife. For the very first time in his life, he was speechless.

Off I went to aerobics class that evening, hair in a bandana. My friend, Burnell, made me feel better and gave me the name of a good stylist near her house. I called the guy that night and he saw me the next morning. After more than five hours in his chair, I fell in love with him. (Gee, I don't remember his name...) Within 24 hours, I went from having shoulder-length hair to a "pixie" cut, only one inch long, all over. The bonus: it had a very green tint to it. Why did I love this guy? During five hours of repeated conditioning and cutting, he assured me that my little face and big blue eyes needed a little "Mia Farrow" doo. Mmmm. So intimate.

The following day I went to work and wore a little sign that very briefly explained my boyish, green hair accident, in hopes of avoiding 150 questions. I sued those SOB's at the shop for $300 - a large sum of money back then and I deserved it. They never got their curlers back, either.

For many years, I avoided perms and had my hair professionally highlighted with lots of blonde, until two years ago. A very good stylist in Delaware talked me into going "all over blonde" and the results were terrible. Who likes shades of platinum, orange, peach, and yellow???? Now, I'm using a box myself.

After all,

A girl's gotta do

what a girl's gotta do.

Lessons Learned.

15 comments:

NatureWoman said...

Oh my, Mary!!! That is a hair-raising horror story!
Love the cartoons! And your hair is pretty now - whatever you use, it looks great!

Mary said...

Naturewoman,

Preference by L'Oreal, because I'm worth it :)

Ruth said...

You would scare me away from any hair colour! I have always taken a very low maintenance approach to my hair. Funny story though, in retrospect!

Mary said...

When you are a young and vain lady, one of the worst things that can happen to you is to watch your hair burn off and slide down the drain. I'll never forget it. Today, I'd say, "Oh well, it'll grow back." Then I'd go about my business...blah blah blah.

LauraHinNJ said...

I knew there was a reason I'm afraid to have my hair done!

I got a body wave once thinking it would make my curly hair behave better and not be so prone to frizz - that was a mistake - and then I cut it off and wore a *pixie* cut for a few years. I liked it, but got tired of being mistaken for a boy!

Your hair is pretty - the box works for you!

Janeyms said...

Mary. I howled like an hyena reading your hair story. I did something similar years ago, only I couldn't sue anyone since I did it to myself at 17...my mother was livid! She came home from work to her daughter wrapped in a bandana. I first tried to go blonde and went orange and then tried to color it and it turned green and broke off in hunks. What a mess and it took months before it looked like hair again much less felt like it. Aren't we gals funny when it comes to our hair? I also am a Preference gal because after all these years I'm worth it also!

Mary said...

Ruth, yes, it's funny *now* but as I wrote the story, my blood started to boil again...

Laura, you have hair most girls pay lots of money to have. No need to mess with those natural curls. Most of us straight-haired ladies envy you.

Jane, I knew we had more in common than Bostons... LOL!

Susan Gets Native said...

My own experience with perms and color:
I have a salon do my perms (back when I thought I needed them, which I really didn't, what with having natural curl..anyway...) and I will never, ever, ever get my hair colored at a salon again. I did it once, and the dumb bitch COMBED the color through my hair, and it broke off in sections at my crown, so when I let my hair down, I had this little fringe of hair sticking up on the top of my head.
Mary, you just rock. That story is the best one I have heard in quite a while!

Mary said...

Susan, yes, it was sad for me and true. What is it with you curly haired gals wanting perms?????? LOL!

Anonymous said...

I used to process my hair a lot too. For years I colored it myself and it finally got to platinum from the constant bleaching (Preference by Loreal is the best!). I gave up trying to do perms because my hair is so strong that it wouldn't last long enough to be worth the cost. Anyway, I always longed for curly hair -- mine was stick straight. When my daughter was born, the back section of my hair was wavy and the rest of it was still stick straight. When my son was born, the back 2/3s was wavy and the front bits straight. Bizarre!

Finally, now it's got a light wave all over. I have it highlighted (weaved) by my ex-cousin-in-law who does a great job with color. She's getting the cut closer to what I want now and I'm pretty happy with my hair overall.

But I've had a few nightmares and run to the drugstore at 11pm with my hair in a towel to buy MORE haircolor because I didn't get enough to cover my long thick hair and it was colored in patches! That was fun.

Mary said...

Liza,

It's good to know I'm not the only one who has had bad luck with color. My experimentation days are over with a capital O!

Anonymous said...

Oh Mary- you are the BEST storyteller! LOLOL!! Your hair is very pretty now- I like the cut too!

Mary said...

To all, I want apologize for the language I used in this post. I don't talk that way normally. But under the circumstances, I think a bit of cursin' might be forgiven 27 years ago. In this post, I just told it like it was.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Well and bravely told. Love it. The confessional style works for you! I've never let anybody near my hair with a bottle. It used to be blonde with fabbo white highlights in summer, but went to darkish brown with my first pregnancy and there it stayed. Oh well. Now it's going a little gray but in a fairly subtle way. When beauticians tell me I should frost or highlight it I just roll my eyes and ask for the clippings for my chipping sparrows. That usually shuts them up.

online casino said...

A horror in beauty shop picture look funny. Suppose that this happen is realty then all ladies are running away from there and never take name to go in parlor.