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This is your hair. This is your hair on perms. Any questions?

Here’s another story that could qualify for a possible Perm Pain Anthology, courtesy of someone I’ll call Miss P:
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Before I tell you about my experience, just let me say this: I have a deadly fear of hairdressers. I’m not sure why, but maybe it’s the complete and utter control they have over my social life. Huh, yeah, that could be it.

Anyway, several years ago, I decided that I needed a ‘new look’ (warning: if you get this thought lock yourself in a closet until it goes away). So, being young and trusting, I galloped off to a Beauty Salon. I think the name was something like “Mon Cher”, you know something French. I’m betting it was the French name that fooled me into thinking that the people inside might actually be there to help me. Uh, no.

The stylist was a woman with dark curly hair. Hair that waved in all the right places. My hair, on the other hand, was straight on one side of my head, and wavy on the other. I wanted hair that did the same thing on BOTH sides of my head, like hers did. I told her my hair troubles, and she, being a kind and sympathetic French-like person told me that I needed to get a permanent.

“A permanent?” I said. Hmm. I’d never had a permanent. I liked the sound of it, though. Maybe I’d never have to come back to the Mon Cher, or any other beauty salon again. I’d be permanently fixed. I’d be beautiful, with wavy hair on both sides of my head. “Okay!” I said. “Let’s do it.”

She proceeded to cover my head in hundreds of itsy bitsy rollers. Then she poured an extremely foul-smelling liquid over my head. Then she talked on the phone for at least an hour, while I stared at my reflection in the mirror. I do not like to stare at my reflection in a mirror. I decided, after much consideration, that the curlers all over my head made me resemble an Alien Clown. Little did I know…

Eventually, once my French-like beautician straightened out her relationship with her boyfriend via the phone, she took off my curlers and rinsed out my hair. She was thrilled with the results (or she pretended to be). I was dumbstruck. My hair, which had been below shoulder length before the permanent, was now coiled in springs that barely reached my earlobes. Springs that were all over my head. Boing, boing. I turned my head and looked at her. Boing. I’m sure the shock must have registered in my eyes, because she said, “It will settle down when you wash it.”

I moved out of the chair and across the room, paying for my humiliation with Visa. I held my hair down as I walked to my car, because it was windy out, and the wind was blowing my springs straight up on my head. I imagined that I looked like a very tall French poodle. But when I got to my car, and pulled down the visor mirror, I realized who it was I really looked like. It wasn’t an Alien Clown, or a French poodle – I was Annie. You know, the little girl from the musical? Only I was an older, less adorable version.

When I got home I took three showers and used up an entire bottle of conditioner trying to relax my springs. The next day I got up two hours early so I could use the curling iron to straighten my hair before I went to work. The way I figured it, Mon Cher had just added 2-3 hours to my work day.

After work, I went to the Hair Cuttery and told them to cut it short. Then I went to Target and bought the strongest blow-dryer money could by, and some deluxe hair relaxing gel. Needless to say, it was the last permanent I had. Adieu, Mon Cher.
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Thanks for sharing, Miss P! We loves ya’, boings and all!

The next drawing to win a galley copy of BEAUTY SHOP FOR RENT will be this Friday! Contest info can be found here. Good luck!

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