I Had a Perm

I can feel it coming the beginning of the twist

JUDGE NOT, ye readers!

Judge not the sensible plaid skirt and possibly-velvet blazer. Judge not the ruffled—RUFFLED—collar. Judge not the stickpin!

And please, I beg you, judge not the “Mom” perm.

It’s me, JD, at six-freaking-teen. So why do I look like a matronly lady at an office Christmas party?

What possessed me to turn my nice, shiny, pretty, MOVABLE hair into a neatly trimmed shrub? Was it peer pressure? The desire to appear more mature (in the above example, way more mature)? Was I already bored with my hair, at such a tender age? I don’t remember the reason, but for me, getting a perm was like plucking my eyebrows: once I started, I couldn’t stop.

A typical perm cycle went like this:

  • First 3 weeks: hideously curly
  • 4th week: perfect
  • 5th week: totally straight

So I’d go thru the cycle over and over, just for that one week of perfectly curled hair (not pictured above). And perms were expensive, yo! And they stunk! And took forever and hurt and burned and stung. And, worst of all, the end result was usually the dreaded Bad Perm. All that work and money and pain, and you ended up with a Bad Perm. I can count on one hand my Good Perms, and we are looking at a roughly 15-year period.

My wedding perm was a disaster. One side curly, the other side straight, and too short to fix. I remember spending hours trying to get it to look halfway decent. ON MY HONEYMOON! Standing in the bathroom with a curling iron while Dave frolicked alone on the beach. OK, I may have made up the part about “frolicking,” but you get an idea of my frustration.

Finally I came to my senses and cut it all off. And then it grew. And grew. And grew still more. Today, long hair is the new perm, in that I can’t break out of the pattern, no matter how bad it looks.

At least it doesn’t stink.

Please share your perm horror stories and, if such a thing exists, perm success stories.

(By the way, I was not in the habit of dating boys with pixellated faces. This was my “serious” high school boyfriend, and he was very cute. You’d be sooo jealous. I don’t know what he was doing with me . . . oh, yeah: I totally put out!)

If You Want a Perm


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67 Responses to “I Had a Perm”

  1. 1 Kelly

    Most of the time when I got a perm I either looked like a poodle or Little Orphan Annie. In retrospect, it was all very, VERY wrong.

    I used to have very long hair (after I grew out of the Perm Phase)… down to my tailbone. And now, it’s about two inches long (at the longest part). I’m totally loving my very short, spiky hair. I have finally found Hairdo Perfection! LOL

    Kelly’s last blog post..Happy Feet

  2. 2 Susan

    The worst thing about the perm was the growing out-phase, where the top few inches would be completely straight (and relatively healthy) and the rest of it was crispy and curly. We all did it in the 80′s, so no one should judge!

    The stickpin also gave me flashbacks. They just suddenly completely disappeared, didn’t they? Maybe I should dig mine out (I have a few that were gifts so I’m sure I must still have them) and give them to my daughter to see if she can bring them back into style.

    Susan’s last blog post..Wild Wonderful Web

  3. 3 Angi

    I’ve never had to have a perm, but I had to deal with hideously curly hair all through high school…thank the Good Lord for hair straighteners that actually work these days!!!

    Angi’s last blog post..What Happens in Louisiana…Does Not Stay in Louisiana.

  4. 4 Bucky

    I knew you were embarrassed of me all those years ago, but I didn’t think you were so embarrassed that you would continue to pixelate my face.

    Bucky’s last blog post..How To Fix The “Do You Want To Move Or Copy Files From This Zone?” Nag In Windows XP

  5. 5 April

    I had my hair permed once. It really wasn’t awful but it was really poofy at first, had to wear a lot of ponytails! After that it was ok and it lasted forfreakingever. I had it done when I was 11 and have pictures at 14 where I still had curly hair. Now, I have cowlicks and an unnatural obsession with my flatiron because of them.

  6. 6 Sarah

    I had a perm not last july, but the july before that and the bottom 5 inches of my hair (i’ve had it cut since the perm) are still permy. I went swimming yesterday and the bottome half was really pretty with it’s curliness and the top have was straight.

    You forgot to mention the perm “burn” where your hair breaks and grows back slowly forcing you to have a “bang” that is more like a wisp.

    Sarah’s last blog post..Cranky Blogging Day

  7. 7 lala

    LOL! Who’s judging? That was the style (if you want to call it that) sad as it was. What were any of us thinking? That style was supposed to be the antithesis of the hippy era, but designers went just too far!

    lala’s last blog post..Dead Fish

  8. 8 Woody

    My perm horror was during my freshman year in college. The salon worker burned my hair to the point that the first 2 rods at my forehead fell off my WITH MY HAIR! So here I was with a scary perm made even scarier by the fact that I now had a 4 x 4 patch on the top of my head that was bald!

    I ran with a pretty hard core bunch and they convinced me that I should just get rid of the rest as well. Which I did!! It wasn’t pretty – I wore a lot of hats!!

  9. 9 Daisy the Curly Cat

    I just realized how lucky I am to have naturally curly furs!

    Daisy the Curly Cat’s last blog post..Fun with Chairs

  10. 10 windyridge

    But why can’t we see the fella???

    windyridge’s last blog post..By: Clara

  11. 11 Jeff

    Looks like your date was in on it too.

    I had the exact same hair as the guy in your “Men! Don’t do it!” link. Also in 1979!

    I think the hideously curly phase was required in order for the perfect phase to exist. You had to start out with it WAY too curly so it could relax over time as it grew out. Then, your first hair cut was when it started looking good for the first time. See… proof I’ve been there.

    Jeff’s last blog post..Studio 101

  12. 12 Kelly

    oh boy! it didn’t change from when you were 16 to when i was 16. that was only 11 years ago. and yes, i had a perm. it was bad. why did we do it? i still don’t know. i guess people always want what they don’t have. if you have straight hair you want curly. if you have curly hair you want straight. and so we subjected hair to endless chemical treatments that made us look like we just stepped out of the groomers as opposed to the salon. ugh!

    btw, you just found a great topic. “i totally put out so you don’t have to”. tell us about your super HOT boyfriend! LOL!

    Kelly’s last blog post..It Must be Your Father’s DNA

  13. 13 Maggie

    That’s a blast from my past! I attempted that same style when I was 16, we must be close to the same age. Add to the lovely picture that my clothes were homemade and well, you can only imagine. The only thing that saves me is that my family did not take many pictures in the 80s.

    My hair was always so straight that the stylist had to fight to get the rods in (my hair would throw them off as fast as they were rolled!) and then leave the stinky chemicals on forever until I thought I might croak.

    Maggie’s last blog post..Trying Out Entrecard

  14. 14 Biffybeans

    This is me at 16.


    I think you looked lovely (albeit matronly) compared to that thing on my head. Which BTW, is real hair.

    Biffybeans’s last blog post..Lamy Safari Fountain Pen Review: One year later, and why I still love it

  15. 15 JD

    Kelly: Congratulations on your winning achievement in the hair division of life! Isn’t it great to find “the” hairstyle? I guess if I’m complaining, I’m still looking . . .

    Susan: Oh, my god! YES! I forgot to mention that. Men in particular seemed guilty of the “straight few inches by the part” syndrome. That was the worst. I’m glad someone remembers stickpins! I had to think for a minute, Is that what they were called? I wish I still had mine. I would TOTALLY bring the stickpin back!

    Angi: Yes, see! It’s always the curlyheads who want straight hair, and vice versa. I’m very happy for you that you never had to experience Perm Hell.

    Bucky! I was trying to spare you! I didn’t think you’d want everyone to know you dated a Shrub Head. Just say the word, and i’ll un-pixellate it.

    April: You had perms that lasted forfreakingever? Man, I wish I’d known your hairdresser. Mine lasted a few weeks, unless they were Bad, and then maybe a month.

    Sarah: Ooh, your recent perm does sound cute. And, yes: perm burn! I don’t think that ever happened to me, but I saw it frequently. The dreaded “wisp bang”!

    lala: Thank you for not judging! I know, we were all in the same boat. At least you can’t see my black patent leather boots!

    Woody: AAAAAHHHH! BALD PATCH! And then, wow! You shaved your head? That’s awesome, maybe. Did it grow back in differently? There are many times I probably would’ve benefited from shaving my head, but I didn’t have the guts—or the right kind of friends!

    Daisy the Curly Cat: Yes, you are very lucky! Many people pay to have curly hairs on their heads. And yours looks very natural and not at all frizzy.

    windyridge: I very much doubt he’d ever stumble upon my blog, but just in case, he may be embarrassed to be seen with me!

    Jeff: Hey, you can make fun of my perm, but leave my cute high school boyfriend out of it! Wow. You really have been there: you explain the phases perfectly! I remember now that I used to get a too-curly perm on purpose just for that reason. And now you MUST post that picture.

    Kelly: You hit the nail right on its frizzy head. I had perfectly good hair, and I went and ruined it. And thanks for pointing out that great topic idea! I need very little encouragement, I will tell!

    Maggie: I wish I was 16 in the 80s! That picture was from around 1978, I think. Almost the 80s! Weren’t those chemicals the worst? My hair was much straighter back then; I had the same problems getting my stupid hair rolled. STUPID!

    Biffybeans: I was totally unprepared for that. Wow. That. is. awesome. I am speechless. Thanks for sharing that. I love it!

  16. 16 Babs - beetle

    I had plenty! Some that were great – short hair with a soft curly top, done by my friend who was a really good hairdresser. I had some that were almost straight when I took the curlers out, and got straighter by the minute! All that pain and stench for nothing!!! But the weirdest one, my sister did. It was so curly that it looked like I had really short hair – for months….and months….and months! Finally I had four or five inches of dead straight hair and a tight curly bit on the bottom. Now THAT was a disaster hairdo! If you stretched it out, it was really long hair! Eventually I was able to cut the curls off and look somewhat normal again!

    Thankfully, I became allergic to perm solution, so no more perms!

    Babs – beetle’s last blog post..An award and a gift!

  17. 17 feefifoto

    I looked like Harpo Marx in mine, and then lo and behold, ten years later when hair mousse was invented, I discovered I’d had curly hair all the time anyway.

    feefifoto’s last blog post..Definitely Not A Soccer Mom

  18. 18 Karen

    I forgot all about stick pins! I had some pretty ones. I had the fro too. Yikes.

    Karen’s last blog post..BabyLand General

  19. 19 kouji

    interesting photo. :P

    and yes, i’m a man… and i won’t do it. :O no perms for me… :O

    kouji’s last blog post..haiku poem: soft

  20. 20 chat blanc

    I can sooooo relate!! my mom let me start perming my hair when I was nine and I didn’t stop til I was 19 or 20!! How awful now that I look back! :P And, like you I can’t stop the long hair now either. I refuse to get it cut short. can’t. won’t. :)

    chat blanc’s last blog post..I’m on a rampage

  21. 21 Meg

    Yep. I’ve been through that perms cycle, too. But after the straight hair cycle. Meaning I must be older than you. Don’t tell anyone.

    Meg’s last blog post..Famous People, Foreigners & Foreign Films

  22. 22 Fancy

    I started perming at 8 and didn’t stop for 25 years! I finally had to because my hair was falling out in clumps. I have a “permanent” bald spot on my forehead that will make bangs always my friend. God, what was I thinking? My hair is now so brittle I don’t even like to blow dry it!

    Fancy’s last blog post..Monkeys

  23. 23 Jenny

    I had that EXACT same outfit! Right down to the stickpin and bow blouse!

    I will NEVER … I repeat, NEVER again get a perm or have my hair cut in layers.



    I mean that.

    Jenny’s last blog post..Post Time

  24. 24 Dee

    I have naturally curly hair, and even I was persuaded once, in 1985, to get a perm. I looked like Bozo The Clown, on crack, for weeks. My hometown hairdresser, a tiny effeminate man, almost slapped me when he saw it. I got a stern lecture about the evils of Atlanta [where I lived temporarily while in school] and was told to NEVER try it again. Subsequent hairdressers took pride in straightening out my hair every time I got it cut, until I told them rudely to stop it, since I am far too lazy to do that nonsense every morning. Now I am over 40 and I could care less about perfectly coiffed hair!

    Dee’s last blog post..Mouth Breathing Dude

  25. 25 Athena

    Loving the velvet blazer!

    I had a very traumatic experience with perms. For some insane reason, my mom decided to have my hair permed when I was 8 and until I started jr. high all the boys called me “poodle do”. Ah, kids.

    Athena’s last blog post..I’m not giving back the jeans, so screw you karma

  26. 26 JD

    Babs – beetle: Wow. All the (well, by “all” I mean about 2!) pictures I’ve seen of you show you with pretty short, straight hair. WE DEMAND CURLY-HAIRED BABS!

    feefifoto: HA! That’s funny. So your perms were hiding your naturally curly hair?

    Karen: Yeah, stickpins! I used to have a bunch. I wonder what happened to them . . . ?

    kouji: Very wise. I know of very few men who benefited from getting a perm.

    chat blanc: NINE?! WHAT? I considered myself rebellious when I refused to wear barrettes in my 6th-grade class picture. I can’t imagine getting a perm at NINE!

    Meg: I won’t tell. Promise.

    Fancy: EIGHT?! What is it with tots and perms? Oh, your poor hair! At least you can grow bangs to hide your bald spot.

    Jenny: Oh, I’d love to see your picture! Did you date a pixellated-face guy too?

    Dee: “Bozo the Clown, on crack.” Now that is awesome. And I hear you about foregoing perfectly coiffed hair.

    Athena: Again, EIGHT?! Moms, stop perming your kids!

  27. 27 Regan

    I’ve never had a perm, and probably never will now that ‘ve read this. I have my hair layered, though. And I’m allowed to get higlights if I want. I don’t know what color I’d get, though.

  28. 28 Maureen

    My first salon perm at the age of 17 came out beautifully… a long “lion’s mane” that I was never again to achieve.

    Even though it took hours in the chair and cost me $80 back in 1977, the money, time and pain was worth it.

    Hubby (well, boyfriend at that time) loved it….

    Maureen’s last blog post..Plum Good

  29. 29 Babs - beetle

    I am trying to fins a photo, but they were few and far between then :O)

    Babs – beetle’s last blog post..The Wedding

  30. 30 Babs - beetle


    Babs – beetle’s last blog post..The Wedding

  31. 31 Kathy

    OK, peeps. I’m a woman with naturally curly hair. I’m in a permanent state of permanent. It ain’t pretty. Anyone who thinks having curly hair is a blessing is wrong. The hair will do what the hair wants to do and if you try and mess with it, it revolts on you. I always wanted straight hair, so that I could perm it to the level of curliness that I wanted. At this point, I’ve given up and if I scare small children with my mop top, then so be it.

    p.s. Your mom perm looked lovely and I hate you.

    Kathy’s last blog post..Because We Planned on Speeding

  32. 32 JT

    My one and only perm – I asked for a body wave and instead she used those hideously tiny curlers, and I had a round face at the time (I weighed about 35 lbs more then my skinny ass of now). So when she released the curlers and the curls sprang out, I took one look and burst into tears. My round face took on this pumpkinish aspect, and I had this wild afro that couldn’t be tamed into anything short of a carrot top spectacle. My mom told me to wash it which I did over and over and still it stayed in it’s magic curl. I finally broke down and cut most of it off, but then we went to Michigan for the annual family torture and the humidity took the whole 4 inches of hair I had left and wound it into circles. I remember wearing a hat for most of the summer, an act of desperation since I hated hats, but I couldn’t stand for anyone to actually see my hair.

    JT’s last blog post..Introducing…………….

  33. 33 Stephanie in KY

    I am SO with Kathy! I spent all the years between ages of 11 and 37 struggling with my insane white-girl-afro hair. It is incredibly thick, wildly curly, and it WILL revolt if you try to force it into anything. I was a teenager in the 80s and there were no good products for curly hair. I remember crying, bitterly, because I couldn’t have the feathered ‘do that all the popular girls had. I finally got disgusted and cut it all off in 9th grade…which caused a bunch of the aforementioned popular girls to start a rumor that I was a lesbian (not that there’s anything wrong with that). When “mall hair” became popular in the late 80s, though, I was able to rock that look. I just grew the hair really long, poofed it up with a ton of mousse, and blow-dried the bangs into the necessary wall in front. (Nothing to compete with biffybeans, though…that was SERIOUS 80s hair!)

    At the age of 38, I am finally happy with my hair. I got it cut super-short last year in kind of a pixie ‘do, and it is SO easy. I am free from frizz at last!

  34. 34 Stephanie Barr

    I, somehow in sixth grade, developed naturally curly hair, so I not only don’t need perms, but I have enjoyed long hair since, except it only seems to grow so long.

    On the other hand, and this might cheer you, after my last baby was born last spring, my hair (which is also naturally almost devoid of gray) has decided to fall out by the handfuls, I guess to celebrate my upcoming 41st birthday.

    I’d happily take straight or gray over baldness.

    Stephanie Barr’s last blog post..Scientific issues and the Presidential race…

  35. 35 Monique

    I have actually seen perms that didn’t look too bad… and then I have seen some that made me want to buy the person a hat to cover up the mess.

    And you look soooooo adorable!

    Monique’s last blog post..Um, Dad.. Don’t.. Ok… Hi.

  36. 36 flit

    professional perms never did a thing for me… but Toni’s worked well… on the rare occasions I could sucker someone into doing them for me

    flit’s last blog post..Busy Days

  37. 37 Florida Girl In Sydney

    I have a photo of me in almost the identical outfit… hilarious. As for the perms, I permed a few times as a teenager– to make my already curly hair curlier— why????

    I think my perms were the result of gullible teenager mixed with hair stylist who needed incremental revenue.

    Florida Girl In Sydney’s last blog post..Intervention Needed?

  38. 38 Elaine

    Omigosh, does this perm-thing bring back (bad) memories. When I was about – oh – 7, my mom cut my hair really short (like 2 inches long) and then home permed it super curly. Eeeeeeeeeeekkkkk!!!!!

    This went on for YEARS. I looked like an 80 yr old lady at the mature age of 8! It didn’t help that I had to wear coke bottle glasses also (now I wear contact lenses and my hair is long – way long – even though it’s mostly silver).

    Just call me Old Hippie.

    I’m going to have nightmares tonight.

    Elaine’s last blog post..Wordy Wednesday

  39. 39 cardiogirl

    Oh the memories!

    I had a navy blue velvet blazer and I thought it was AWESOME!

    I also had a stick pin with my first initial on it, yeah baby!

    And lastly, I tried one perm, burned the shit out my scalp and then was able to feel the small, yet prickly, pieces of hair on my scalp every two inches or so (the width of the curlers) that were burned off and forced to regrow.

    Oh, the inhumanity.

  40. 40 Tim

    You look good in that picture. It’s not all Weird Al hair or anything like that!
    I’ve never had a perm. My hair was crimped at a party one night in ’86, sadly tho I have no pictures.

    Tim’s last blog post..I Do Things Like Send JD a Gift Basket!

  41. 41 JD

    Regan: You have lovely hair. Just don’t get purple highlights, please.

    Maureen: Sigh. That’s what I always wanted: “a long lion’s mane.” Never really worked for me at all. I’m glad you have at least one Good Perm to remember.

    Babs – beetle: Did you find one??? Link???

    Kathy: I was just waiting for you to chime in, my curly-haired friend! I know, I know: naturally curly hair is a curse. Yours is beautiful, tho, even if you don’t agree.

    JT: Oh, no. That is a truly horrifying perm horror story. NOT THE TINY CURLERS!!! Why? And of course you had a family get-together right after. No wonder it was your first and last perm.

    Stephanie in KY: (daydreams: How I long for white-girl afro hair) I bet you rocked that mall hair look! You gotta post a picture so you and biffybeans can compare “walls of hair.” I’m glad you’ve found your ideal hairstyle. I wish I could wear “The Pixie,” but I have a big round moon face.

    Stephanie Barr: Oh, no! I am most definitely not cheered by your non-gray, curly, long hair falling out! (The sixth-grade me would have been very pleased, tho.)

    Monique: Aw, thanks! You’re so sweet. The photo isn’t actually as bad as I remember it—maybe as I get older, 16-year-old-me looks better and better?

    flit: I tried some home perm kits (not Toni’s, I don’t think), and they didn’t work on me. Weird.

    Florida Girl in Sydney: Yeah, I knew some girls in high school who absolutely did NOT need a perm, yet they were somehow talked into it. I’d love to see that photo of you! (Did you have the obligatory stickpin?)

    Elaine: NOOOOO!!!! Why, mom, why??? Super short and super curly? NEVER! I’m going to have nightmares for a WEEK. And, again, I have to ask: Why were kids of 7, 8, and 9 getting perms in the first place???

    cardiogirl: I am so jealous. I never had a stickpin with my initial! Oh, poor prickly hair stubs! Why did we do it?

    Tim: Oh, thank you. I’m pretty sure I have more hideous pictures somewhere. And I’m ordering you to find that crimped hair photo. ORDERING!

  42. 42 Babs - beetle

    I am still searching for the BAD perm but here is one of the not so bad perms. I wonder what the funny face was for ha ha!

    Babs – beetle’s last blog post..The Wedding

  43. 43 Kathy

    @ Elaine — I have pictures of myself with two-inch-long curly hair. I looked like Nancy from the Nancy and Sluggo cartoon. Pity party at my house. You’re invited.

    So how many of us had nightmares last night? Thanks, JD. Thanks a lot.

    Kathy’s last blog post..Because We Planned on Speeding

  44. 44 fracas

    I once had a perm from the chi-chi place in town that was horrendously expensive. I had to. It was the eighties and this was more important than paying your phone bill or buying food.

    So I did.

    And they burnt my hair by over-processing. It fell out and broke off, and soon I didn’t really have a perm because I had to get the ruined parts cut out.

    I think that was 1982.

    I, being stupid… had my last ever perm in 1993.

    You’d think that was my only shameful secret, but no… check the blog today for even more fraccy humiliation.

    fracas’s last blog post..Revealing a shameful secret…

  45. 45 mlm

    I can join the legions of women who had perms starting at age 10. By the time I got to high school in the 80′s, I not only had a perm, but a “bi-level” hairdo WITH a perm. Can anyone beat that? (Although Biffybeans has everyone beat, I think) It was short and feathered on the top and sides and then long-ish and permed in the back. (Notice how I’m avoiding the word “mullet”. It was a BI-LEVEL people!)I continued with perms until I was about 25, then stopped. I’ve been wearing my hair in the same style for about 10 years now, relatively short (shoulder-length) and flipped up on the ends. Sanity.

  46. 46 Shieldmaiden1196

    I begged my mom for a perm the summer between 7th and 8th grade and she sent me to her hairdresser. I got my perm, and then packed off to camp the day after, while still in the two-day ‘Dont Wash It’ phase. After two weeks of being in the sun all day every day my hair looked like it had been made out of coils of wound copper. Annie indeed.

    Worse than this was the night in college that I took my heat-up flexible curling rods that you were supposed to leave in for, oh, five minutes, heated them up, put them in, and SLEPT in them. My shoulder-blade length hair was ear-length and came to a point on either side like some scary evil clown. My roommate laughed so hard, she actually peed and had to change her clothes.

    Shieldmaiden1196′s last blog post..Possible Evidence I May Need to Up My Dosage

  47. 47 Qelqoth

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a perm. I’ve had one for years. True, it’s attached to my testicles but it’s still very attractive by any standards.

  48. 48 kouji

    then again, maybe i should live a little dangerously, and be the man with the perm…

    kouji’s last blog post..haiku poem: help end hunger

  49. 49 Scratch Bags

    I have never got my hair permed. They have always had straight hair and so far, I have not got bored of them. I guess I’d tell you the story if ever I get my hair curled!

    Scratch Bags’s last blog post..A Tribute To Richard Wright

  50. 50 JD

    Babs – beetle: Got it! Akismet tried to swallow it. That is a lovely, sweet picture. GOOD PERM! (By the way, you may be alarmed to know that someone reached my site after searching for “nude chunky babs”!)

    Kathy: Oh, you’re welcome. What wouldn’t I do for you guys? Now, about those Nancy pictures . . .

    fracas: Oh, boy, I can’t wait. More fraccy humiliation! More humiliating than burned-off hair? Yes, why did we keep going back for more punishment?

    mlm: a HA! Yeah, I thought there was something suspicious about “bi-level hairdo.” Hmmm. I, too, did the bi-level perm for a while, only mine was permed all over: short and curly on top trimmd really short on the sides and then curly but not that long on the bottom. Yes. Sanity.

    Shieldmaiden96: Oh, god. I can just picture that scary clown hair. WHAT WERE WE THINKING?

    Qelquoth: I have absolutely nothing against the testicle perm. Just don’t be ashamed to show it off, is all I can say.

    kouji: NO! Don’t do it!!! Well, do it, and then send me a photo. Yes, do it! BE THE MAN WITH THE PERM!

    Scratch Bags: Well, see! You have to try these things out so you can blog about them. Little did I know when I was sixteen that I’d be blogging about my hideous perm 30 years later!

  51. 51 Jay

    Ah, but in those days, all the sixteen year olds were probably trying to look like their mothers! LOL!

    Bad perm stories? Oh yeah .. my first one. I think I was probably about fourteen years old. I was going to a party (WITH my parents!!!!) and I knew there’d be some boys I liked there so I wanted to look my best. So Mum made me a new dress. It was turquoise (yuck) covered with tiny flowers (yuck) and made of Viyella, for goodness’ sake! And she offered to do me a perm.

    Well, when she took the rollers out, it looked so tight that I freaked out and wouldn’t let her put the neutraliser on … so I ended up with a woolly afro that stood out about ten inches each side of my head.

    Did I impress the boys? Oh yeah. But not quite in the way I’d hoped.

    *Cringes at the memory*

    Jay’s last blog post..ABC Wednesday – The letter J

  52. 52 Babs - beetle

    My secret life is out!! Is nothing sacred?!

    Babs – beetle’s last blog post..The Wedding

  53. 53 PaulsHealthBlog.com

    Hey, I love big hair!

    (My wife and I have a running joke about that subject.)

  54. 54 JD

    Jay: Oh, dear. We always get our first perm right before some sort of important event, never just as we’re heading off to a desert island. Um . . . any photos of that party?

    Babs: Well, only ‘cuz I blabbed about it! And, no! Nothing is sacred!

    PaulsHealthBlog.com: I think most men do. Well, that’s always been my experience, anyway. But there’s a difference between big hair and horrid permed big hair.

  55. 55 ettarose

    My mom started perming my hair in the first grade. She not only did not get the ends curled so they stuck out straight amongst the tight curls, she also cut my bangs so they were about 1/2 inch long. I was the ugliest child ever!

    ettarose’s last blog post..Now Women Know Why Men Have Beer Bellies

  56. 56 JD

    ettarose: Oh, dear. I really don’t understand this perming of young tots. Poor little ettarose! Surely there were far uglier children?

  57. 57 Carrie

    I want a perm that will make my hair voluminous and sexy…and not frizzy and weird.

    Carrie’s last blog post..You gotta fight. For your right. To serve this country?

  58. 58 JD

    Carrie: Right! That’s all any of us wanted, but what did we get? Frizzy and weird!

  59. 59 Natural

    i’m all late to the party, but i have an excuse, i lost my funny bone or the dog ate it. i wasn’t coming here unprepared. not uh.

    the stick pin, lol. i remember. at least your hair was combed, even if it didn’t move. 16 really? you look uh, older.

    perm horror story:

    i have two choices with my hair, perm it while it’s still attached to my scalp or perm it on the floor. either way it gets permed or it will fall out. over-perming causes baldness, for me. i don’t do that, anymore.

    Natural’s last blog post..Do Excuses Negate Responsibility?

  60. 60 JD

    Natural: The party doesn’t begin till you get here, funny bone or not. Yeah, thanks for noting that I look older than 16. Like, maybe 40? It was a combination of the hair and the stickpin, I think. Baldness is never a desired result, tho I’m intrigued by the idea of perming hair after it’s detached from my scalp . . .

  61. 61 neolight hair

    Listen the hair is fine actually– good lord at least it not the Farrah Fawcett swept-back blonde thing that every female sentient being seemed to have when I was growing up in the ’70s.
    But why were colors so….. reluctant…washed out, in the ’70. I remember things as more vivid: am I just kidding myself?

    neolight hair’s last blog post..Neolight Hair Laser Brush

  62. 62 JD

    neolight hair: No, you’re not kidding yourself. I think we’ve developed special filters to keep out some of the vibrant 70s colors. I don’t think we can handle them today.

  63. 63 sensitive skin care

    I could have written this post myself – I spent most of my early teens getting perms only for them to fall out weeks later… I’d grown out of the need for curly hair by the time I was 16 though… I was an early developer of the bad hair trend

    sensitive skin care’s last blog post..Sensitive Skin Care, the Basics

  64. 64 JD

    sensitive skin care: I was only growing into the need for curly hair when I was 16! Yes, based on your history, I’d say you were definitely one of the bad hair pioneers!

  65. 65 Jeroen

    I think perms are nice.

    Perhaps in the 80′s they made ones hair look terrible, but nowadays a perm can and will look very good.

    An actrise in the UK got a perm for a TV-show, and after that show had aired there was a 50% increase in the demand for home-permkit.


    I just adore here perm… :)

  66. 66 Jeroen

    Btw I have a perm myself.

    I started getting perms in 2006, because I simply like the proces of it ( don’t ask )


    I like my curls, not just for one week… I only don’t like the first week then a perm is too tight.

  67. 67 JD

    Hi, Jeroen!

    Thanks for commenting again, and sorry your first comment got spammed.

    I’m the opposite of you — I hate the process!

    I like your curls — especially when your hair is longer. Thanks for the link!


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