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Getting a hair-cut hasn’t always been easy.
Not because of money or a general dis-trust for stylists, but because of religious requirements.
This was a common issue for me, in an on-again/off-again way (my mother had a habit of being righteous on a random schedule). An issue because, in the Sikh religion, people don’t cut their hair (neither boys nor girls). No one could say that my family was all “that devout” (since my brothers had never worn a turban or had long hair, and since my dad always kept a short-haired perm (ya, that’s right)), but still it was a problem for me.
It seemed to happen at the crappiest times, like at age fourteen when all those girls had the “Rachel-Do”. I wanted layers too, and since my mom was the one who performed all my cuts ’till the age of seventeen (true story), I needed to have her approval.
Her approval I did not get, since Indian girls should wear their hair real long, in a nerdy braid if possible.
Nerdy braids? I don’t think so…and that’s when I came up with the operation “loop hole”:
-An at-home perm
It might not have been the “Rachel Do”, but the curls would make my hair at least three inches shorter.
When I proposed the plan to mother, I spun it around like so: “But I want to look just like YOU mom!” (my mother who’d been getting perms for the last ten years)
It worked like a charm, and before I knew it I was seated in the basement, five feet away from the furnace, ready for my at-home perm…
…As the rollers were fastened one-by-one, I envisioned the look I wanted. And that’s when Michael Jackson started dancing in my head. I was well aware of Michael Jackson’s flurry of bad press, but who could deny the popularity of “Black or White” ? And the way those shiny curls bounced around in the video? That was the look I wanted…
…The hours passed, and at last it was time to reveal the curly tresses.
And there they were: glistening bouncy curls!
Before I could really admire the precious curls, my mom sunk my head in the sink, and vigourously started rinsing.
This was odd, since the box had clearly stated not to wash it for a full three days…you were only allowed to rinse it once with the rollers in!
I explained the rules as the evil H2O drenched my hair. My mother responded with her brand new made-up rule: my long thick hair had soaked up way too much of the perming juice. I was far too toxic for the general environment.
…So my hair dried up, and surprise, suprise, the Michael Jackon look was gone. Instead all my hair was frizzy and tangled, with intermittent crooked waves. I considered washing the entire thing out, but my mother insisted that the curls would find their shape.
So I went off to school for three whole days with ghastly hair (but with an added layer of grease each successive day). It was also the very first time that a boy ever gave me a nickname. It was not an affectionate one, but it was actually, officially, this:
-The Wicked Witch of Southwestern Ontario
It sounds a little strange, but if you’d seen my tangled mane in conjunction with my pointed nose, you might’ve understood.
From then on I only wore my hair in ponytails (which of course was a last resort, since my left ear sticks out badly in a monkey kind of way).
As for the hair it slowly grew, with the lower half remaining frizzy and tangled. It was only when it got to the point of items getting lost in the damaged locks (i.e. combs, sunglasses, a shoe), that my mom at last caved and cut it off.
After that I was off “home perms” for good, and by the time I turned eighteen, I got myself a job, which meant my very own “paid for” hair-cuts. It marked the end of the wretched “furnace salon”…
…My only curse these days is the common one; I want long hair soon after I cut it off (like now), and I want short hair when I start to get annoyed by the longer stuff.
I suppose I could always keep the shorter hair, and attach extensions when they’re needed, but extensions give me the heebie-jeebies. I mean I’ve never actually tried them myself, but I get the chilly feeling that once you start with hair extensions, you’re only one step away from acrylic nails…then body glitter…then the stripper pole…
Home haircuts are the worse. When I was younger I always got a mushroom cut at home. At the time I thought it was the best damn haircut ever though. Only now do I realize how much of a dweeby child I was.
This was a charming bad hair story Romi, and it also sheds some light on what a wonderful mommy you have. I’m sorry I haven’t found that baby picture of me where I look like you yet, but I will.
What I want to do now is introduce a new slang term for extreme insanity, on the eve of Jacko’s “comeback”. [shudder] Read the following sentence with a black Chicagoan accent:
“That sucka ain’t just nuts, he’s Michael Jackson Crazy!”
Whaddya think? Michael Jackson Crazy! Don’t it have a nice rhythm to it?
I’ve never been a fan of the Milli Vanilli hair style. Fake boobs…OK, I can get over that. I mean, you don’t necessary KNOW they’re fake…you just kinda of figure they are without proof. But hair extensions…yeah, when you spend as much time as I do longingly gazing at that lovely bit of neck on a woman, you tend to notice the hair that doesn’t quit move naturally or fall just right.
Stick w/whatcha got!
In my long-haired days I often wondered what a perm would do, but I was nervous enough about hwo it would turn out that I didn’t pull the trigger. I didn’t want something quite as tight as the Michael Jackson ‘do…more like the Hetfield or Nugent loose waves thing. Nope, my hair was ramrod straight as long as I grew it.
Oh well. Gone now! 😀
I too was subjected to several at-home haircuts by my mother when I was young. I literally had the “Dumb and Dumber” bowl haircut during my early years…I hated it, especially after that movie came out. :<
A few years ago, I let my girlfriend at the time attempt an at-home haircut. Needless to say, it was a complete disaster! Lesson learned!
I’m more curious how your hair got stuck in a shoe…care to elaborate on that?
hehh .. who woulda thunk it. . you have beautiful hair, romi . . please dont perm it 😐
Well then let’s hope you try the hair extensions so we can get you started on that road! I’ve got my stack of dollar bills ready, Romi! 😉
On another note, when are you going to join Twitter? I’d love to chat with you in 140 character bits throughout the day.
Ha ha, awwww that’s horrible. It’s strange your mom didnt know that if she’d been getting perms for 10 years. Kids are soo creative with nicknames, Since i was the only kid of ‘ethnicity’ in middle school i was quite an eye opener for some, so they just said i had afro hair(but no perms were ever had, this was just my own unkempt hair)….since then I’ve been a crazy straightner!
Whoa wait a minute! Are you serious about that? Do you really have a pointed ear? I do too! I have two different shaped ears. It is not like a Stephen Colbert ear or anything but it is noticable. Must have stubbed it on the way out of mommies Va-jay-jay!
*snort* dude .. did you just talk about your mom’s hoohaw? yikes .. 🙂
This was great! Way to convince the mom that you needed a perm. I remember my mom attempted to curl my hair once by using curlers in the wrong direction. Her logic was that the hair would curl in the opposite direction due to some kind of gravity trick or Aqua Net. This from a 60s hippie who never used product. Needless to say she had gotten her advice from her sister who was a 50’s woman WITH A BEEHIVE. So my mother was attempted to give me a BEEHIVE in 1991. No wonder I am a fashion “don’t”.
“The Bunny” my weird ass beloved was visiting the family back home when he was a teenager. Humidity and a lack of product made him look like Michael Jackson, when MJ was his original colour, sporting a ‘fro.
I plan to use those photographs to blackmail him – many, many times.
Man, it was hard for me to concentrate on the rest of the story after you dropped that bomb about your dad and his perm. I can’t stop trying to picture it.
Ohhh noooo! How horrible! And seriously, I will *always* love ‘Black or White’, that was just before he started going seriously apeshit.
The worst I ever did was foam curlers overnight meaning a late arrival at school the next morning having to wash out the ginormous and very focused curly earmuffs. Nobody explained VOLUME and DISTRIBUTION! You see my hair wasn’t actually curly at the time. Oh no, that didn’t kick in until puberty. At which point my parents contemplated allowing me a spiral perm while my curls grew in. We decided against it, which turned out to be the better choice. As very clearly demonstrated later in the semester by the fattest, bitchiest popular girl in school. Score one for the losers!
I never did the perm thing and my mom is actually pretty good at cutting hair. However, I had more than my fair share with the grotesque side effects of sun in. *shudder* I hate that stuff!
One time I MIGHT talk about the time that I let my dad cut my hair. Traumatic to say the least. I had a reverse concave (convex?!?!) bob until it grew out. Sigh. Like I wasn’t an awkward enough 12 year old.
Ha. I was, unfortunately, ignorant enough at the age of 13 to try a home perm just after using the wonderful product “Sun-In” to lighten my hair. The results…white hair that looked like straw. I was the envy of scarecrows for miles and miles.
I can see why you’d be scared off from any home hair treatments after that episode! When I got my first perm at 16 (and at the hair salon, mind you), they forgot about me and left the solution on too long and then left me under the dryer thing too long. I had dandruff and an insanely itchy head for weeks, plus the perm turned out to be a dry, crinkly poodle perm instead of the spiral I was supposed to get. I never went back to that salon again, obviously.
Kerplar: OMG, you were given bowls!! I feel so bad for you…actually my brother got bowl hair-cuts too all the time, and they looked cute, up until he was like five, hahaha… 😉
David: you know, I actually kind of like the sound of “Michael Jackson crazy”…it has good iambic pentameter (I know that makes no sense in that context, but I don’t care, haha 😉 )
PS: stop giving my mom kudos!! 😉
dobeman: dude, I have seen the top of a lot of woman’s heads (’cause I’m taller than the average broad), and whenever I see where the real hair ends and the extension begins…well it freaks me out!!!
Taoist Biker: I think you’re better off now without the long hair anyway, and I have to admit, I thought about “loose waves” too for a while. It was after the perm, when I spotted an “at home perm kit” that promised “loose waves”….I drooled over it for a while, but the memory of the first experience was too, too much!!!
omegaradium: oh dear, your girlfriend messed up your hair?!?!?! And you forgave her?? Hahaha…I can never be trusted with scissors, lol 😉
Red: hahaha…I promise never to perm my hair again, never, never, NEVER!!! 😉
Daddy Dan: Hey, doesn’t American currency have “five dollar” bills?? I’m worth five baby!!!
PS: I really have thought about twitter, but I don’t have a cool phone where I could easily “mobile tweet” all the time, and I’m not on the computer enough for “fun time”, hahahha…I could never keep up! Plus the bulk of my friends are using Facebook and not Twitter, so I prefer hanging out in that playground for now..lol 😉
Shweta: hahaha…I only got my first straightener a year ago, and even now I tend to get tired after two or three minutes of straightening, hahaha 😉
Justin: hahaha…you know I think I described it wrong!!! I mean like an ear that “sticks out” like points “outward”, not that it’s “pointy”….hahaha…so it’s YOU who has the pointy ear, and me who has the “monkey ear”, hahaha…we’re both freaks! 😉
Red: hahaha…ya he totally made a mommy-hoo-haw reference!!!! 😉
Maleesha: OH MY GOD, you almost had a beehive in 1991!?!??!?! Poor you! I can’t even imagine that sitting atop my head…I do remember a movie once where a woman’s beehive got shot through when she was in a car…was that a gangster movie? I’m not sure…but I feel like it happened…hmmm…
Anja: dude, I LOVE blackmail pics…like I have this pic uploaded of my sis from our old photo albums at a really ugly angle from when she was a teenager…she looks like a weird man with a double chin and a moustache, and my brother and I threaten to put that in her wedding slide show, hahahaha 😉
bronsonfive: hahahhaha….don’t be too traumatized…there’s an old school pic on my FB that shows it, but I feel like it’s better if you just try to envision it in some crazy way, haha 😉
Em: yes, “Black or White” was “pre ape-shit”…then there was “You Are Not Alone”…was that the one where he walked around the lavish bathroom in a loin-cloth??? *shudder*…
PS: hahaha to the “fat bitch” with the spirals!!! 😉
bluesuit12: as crazy as it sounds, I wanted to use Sun-In on my nearly black hair!! LOL..then I heard how Pam Anderson would use lemon juice to lighten her hair in the sun, but we didn’t have lemon juice so I used lime juice…hahaha….I thought I would get highlights…what a loser right!??! It did NOT work 😉
GYL: OH MY GOD you had a reverse bob!?!?! Wow, imagine all of us at the same school…it would be one big ugly party!! Hahaha 😉
2lazydogs: oh dear, I would not envy you and your scarecrow hair, but you’ve got lovely hair now! 😉
teeni: OH MY GOSH, how could they treat you that way at the hair salon!?!!? They should’ve lost their license, how awful!!
So you are saying that you actually wanted to look like Michal Jackson? Srsly!?
I can’t talk shit, as I have had my own string of repeated hair failures, until I settled on my current, “buzz it off and don’t fuck with it till you can tuck it behind your ears” haircut/cycle. I had the complete failure of a bowl cut that was popular in middle school, but for some reason was fucking impossible to explain to my mother without ending up with a haircut that resembled a giant cock. Then there was the old man side part, which just screamed beat me up. Then I had the mohawk, which I actually liked, but didn’t have the grooming dedication to keep looking good. Then the skinhead look, which sucked. Then I went for the Jesus look, which really just made me look gay. And then one day I got drunk and my room mates girlfriends convinced me to put in blond highlights. And that was when i discovered the joys of buzzing my hair short and leaving it be for a while. Zero maintenance, zero effort, dries quick, and it’s neutral enough that I don’t think any changing fashions will make it obsolete.