Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Most Magical Place in the World!

No, Silly, I'm not talking about Disney World. I'm talking about your local beauty salon!

Where else can an unfortunate woman with a mustache and a uni-brow enter with a mane of grey hair and leave with golden locks and a face as smooth as a baby's bottom? Mickey Mouse can't perform that kind of magic!

However, there is a dark side to beauty salons. A beauty salon can also be a house of horror, as I well know. I have countless salon stories. Every woman does. Let me share one of my earlier experiences...

I have thick, straight, fine hair. In my youth, hygiene was not a priority so my mother never knew what to do about my greasy, tangled hair. I managed to lose gum, pens, and small toys in my hair on a somewhat regular basis. Since brushing hair took so much physical effort on my part, I often chose to just focus on other things like picking scabs, chewing my toenails, and being "charming" to my parents.

For reasons that are not clear to me, except that it was the early 1980s (and we know that was a time of amazing styles and trends), my mother decided my hair was best kept in a short permed state. Think little orphan Annie. Every three months or so I was forced to sit in the salon and get a perm. I will maintain (as I did then) that this is a disguised form of child abuse.

Since I have no idea how to post pictures to this blog (remember, I am not as smart as a 5th grader), you'll have to rely on the mental picture I am about to create. Picture this:

A young, prepubescent girl of about 11 years old sits frowning. The girl is 5'9" when she stands up straight, but she is typically slouched in an effort to be 5'4" (yes, she was a freakishly tall 6th grader who was taunted endlessly by cruel creatures known as "boys."). Every tooth in her mouth is wrapped with costly silver braces. Blessedly, no head gear is involved. There is not a single ounce of fat anywhere on her body including any breast tissue (much to her chagrin).

Her mousy colored hair is wrapped tightly around perm rollers, and she is pouting in hopes of making her mother sense how truly miserable she is. (To this day she believes the pouting had absolutely no impact whatsoever on her mother. However, she is convinced it led to fine lines on her 39-ish year old face.
 Kids - Pouting never pays!)

She sits begrudgingly in one of a dozen salon chairs. The other chairs are occupied by women in their late 80s. Blue and white hair represent the majority in this salon, a sure sign that other 11 year olds were not out getting perms. After seemingly days of sitting, the rollers are taken out to reveal the tightest of curls. They are pubic-like and not a single strand falls below her earlobes.

She stands and looks in the mirror. She doesn't think of movie stars or beauty queens. No, she knows with absolute certainty that she most closely resembles a toilet bowl brush. The mousy color of her hair sadly suggests that it is a rather filthy toilet bowl brush at that.

She leaves the salon with the same attitude as when she arrived (miserable and generally annoyed with her mother). Upon entering the car she reaches under the seat for the one item she hopes will finally signal her utter hate of permanents and beauty salons.

She pulls out the brown paper grocery bag and places it over her head in a sign of quiet protest. She's been planning this moment and had the forethought to cut out eye holes and a mouth so that basic comforts like seeing and breathing are not compromised.

With the brown bag securely on her head, she turns to look at her mother who exclaims,
"Oh, for Pete's sake! You're being ridiculous! Those curls will soften over the next few days."

This, of course, is not true. I have school pictures to prove it!

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