My Bad Hair Experiences

March 21, 2015

I love the girl who cuts my hair in Birmingham, I really do.  I've known her a long time and she is precious.  I didn't correctly communicate that I wanted longer layers and vogue this

And so, I got my hair "thinned" with thinning shears and short layers all over my head.  I look like an idiot.  I cried.  If Rod Stewart from 1978 and Monica from Friends had a baby, it would have looked like I do right now.  I can't post a picture, because I am seriously too ugly to communicate face to face with the outside world right now.  Below, I had the best hair I've had in maybe ten years and was feeling pretty happy about it.  I was really enjoying my new "do".  Like most happiness, it was short-lived.

When I was about 12, I wanted a perm- an Ogilvy perm because their commercials said that they were supposed to be the best.  My mom had the perm rods at home because my step-dad was constantly getting perms.  That's right, he had the 80's man perm.  She rolled his hair on those small red rollers until he had the white man's afro. Lucky for me, she also had the white and grey fat perm rods from doing her Grandmother's hair. We had everything necessary except for the Ogilvy perm kit.

Every day, when we would pass the  J. Randall store on our way home, I would beg her to get a perm and put one in for me.  Finally, we went into the store and just like she said they wouldn't have, they didn't have the Ogilvy home perm.  They did, however, carry Toni perms.  Remember those commercials? All of those girls had beautiful curls! 

With a Toni home perm in hand, we headed for Damascus.  I was so excited!  I was finally going to look like the cool girls at school with the curls and I couldn't wait!

I wanted mother to use the fat white perm rods, so that I would have fat curls, but she said that there was no point in doing a damned perm if I wasn't going to have curls, and that she was using the grey and red rods. I begged her to use the white ones because I didn't want springy, clown hair. But, she refused and used the grey and red ones.  It smelled like plastic on fire while we waited the 30-45 minutes for the perm to kick in- ick just the worst smell ever.

My step-dad, Jim, had been working graveyard at the paper mill and was trying to get his nights and days straight, and had gone to bed early.  He bid us good night while mother was rolling my hair and said to me  "I'll see you in the morning Shirley Temple."  

The timer on the oven went off, and it was time to take the curls down and rinse my hair.  When I dried it, I looked like a really sad Ronald McDonald double.  I have never been so ugly and awkward in my life.  My hair  looked like this girl's hair...

I cried.  I immediately went to the tub to wash out the perm. My mother snatched be up by my arm and said 

"Hell no, you wanted a perm, baby, you got a perm.  You aren't about to wash this out after you MADE me put it in your hair and spend all night on this."

I begged her to let me wash it out and hope that maybe the curls would relax a little bit.  I was 12, already insecure about everything, and the last thing that I needed was to go to school with Ronald McDonald hair.  Every time I would go toward the shower to wash it out, she would threaten to whip me.

I feel quite confident to this day, that had she used the big fat rods, I wouldn't have looked like a frazzle head.  But, lucky for me, she always has known everything.- one of life's many blessings that I was granted in the parental department.  

I can't quite remember how the chase ensued, but she chased me to the kitchen. I had gigantic tears rolling down my face as I  begged her to let me wash the perm out of my hair.  She told me that if I touched my hair she was going to get a belt and beat my ass.  I told her that I was not going to school until Dean (our cousin and hair stylist) could do something with this gigantic puff of hair on my head. She let me know that I WOULD be going to school the next day and AFTER and ONLY AFTER school, she would take me to get a haircut.

I smarted off and told her that I was going to go wake Daddy, because I knew that he would let me wash my hair that she had RUINED.  I do remember screaming YOU HAVE RUINED ME!  YOU RUINED MY HAIR!  She went to the laundry room to get Daddy's belt and said that she would give me until the count of three to turn around because she was going to whip my ungrateful, selfish ass.  I told her that she was NOT going to whip me because she gave me a bad perm that I didn't like.  It was the first time that I had ever stood up to her, and it felt good.  

As I stood there crying, I remember her counting for me to turn around while she stood there with the belt in her hand, 1......2.......2 and a half....and on 2 and a half, I ran like a cat on fire straight to their bedroom.  I woke Daddy up out of a deep sleep.  He was mad that he'd been awakened, and said "What in the hell is going on here?"

I physically jumped behind him in the bed and hid behind him so that she couldn't hit me.  He turned on the light in the bedroom and said "Ohhhh, I see why you're upset." and then said "There will be no whippings in this house tonight over this hairdo- do you understand me, Deborah?" She started to speak and he cut her off.  I will never forget how he shut her down that night.

He sent me to bed and tucked me in and told me that it would be okay, that he would handle this.  She went to bed mad because Daddy had intervened.  The next morning, he told mother that he would drive me the 22 miles to school.

Unbeknownst to her, we skipped school that morning.  We grabbed a biscuit at Hardee's and then Daddy took me to get my hair trimmed and straightened out as well as it could be straightened.

After I felt confident that  I wasn't so scary looking and wasn't terrified of being mocked and teased, he took me to school.  He was the best Daddy a girl could ever hope for in the world. And even though I wasn't really his, and I only had him for a little over five years, his love and kindness impacted my life in a way that I will never be able to put into words.  He was my champion.

I went to school looking more like this after his intervention

He died five months later of a massive heart attack at the age of 42 and my world forever changed. I never asked my mother to touch my hair again in any way and that was the end of our hair-braiding, hair snatching, hair brush pops on the head, and mother-daughter hair bonding. I sure was glad that he put an end to all of that.

The bad haircut that I got today will grow out, and I won't look like Rod Stewart circa 1978 and Monica from friends had a baby in a few months.  But, I sure do wish that  ole Jim was here tonight to hug me and take me to the beauty shop tomorrow to fix this hideous mess. I miss him.  I know that he is in Heaven having a big belly laugh at me buying a ponytail extension to fix this nightmare of a haircut.  He would have gone with me to pick it out and then maybe we could have had a margarita.  

Love y'all,
Never say "I want layers" until the very end and then say "just at the bottom".

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