Devastating news came across my desk this morning: Perms Are Back. With the resurrection of 80′s fashion (yet again), big hair is “in.” As a child of the 80′s and a former permanent wave-ictim, I am so not on board with this. Some people look back on their childhoods and see that progression of time in order of achievements or milestones; I look back at mine and see years of bad hair. On top of that, I have to come to believe that there is a causal link between bad hair and bad shit happening to you.
I get my first perm to look more like Dorothy Hamill. The “salon” is somebody’s basement. Post-perm, I still look nothing like Dorothy Hamill, and, weirdly, my ice-skating skills don’t improve either. My family moves, I lose all of my friends and start a new school.
After taking a hideous yearbook photo in which my hair is not only deflated but shellacked to my head with hairspray, resembling a wet swimmer’s cap, I ask my Mom to give me curls again. She lets the solution set for too long and I wind up looking like a French poodle who narrowly escaped a three-alarm fire. Later that year, my best friend decides that she likes the boy that I like. Worse, unlike with me, he likes her back.
My Mom allows me to get a perm at Fantastic Sam’s. Yesssss! No more home perms! Miraculously, I emerge from the salon looking cute and perky, with waves like Elisabeth Shue. Then, I bomb the PSATs just as my older brother is named a National Merit Scholar. My parents start to wonder if I might be the dumb, lazy one, cute hair and all.
The 80′s are almost over. Eff the 80′s! Cool chicks are letting their perms grow out and wearing it smooth and straight. Though saying goodbye to Big Hair feels something like castration, I so desperately want to be cool. I let my hair grow long and straight. I kill my college boards and get into an Ivy League school. My parents stop looking at me funny.
Of course, I was still not cool, nobody asked me to prom, and I wound up taking a gay date, but, like, whatever. The point is, perms are bad. They either fuck up your social life or your standardized test scores. Save yourself a lot of grief, people, and just play your hair as it lays.
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