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.
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.
A girl's gotta do
what a girl's gotta do.