originally published in The Silver Birch Press, February 29, 2016
This is what you do NOT want to hear:
Then: “Why didn’t you tell me you colored your hair???!!!”
I was at Erich, “Hairdresser to the Stars,” for my first perm. He styled all the senior managers’ wives at my office in Indianapolis. I was treating myself and couldn’t wait. Erich hissed as he unrolled curlers that had promised beautiful, bouncy waves. Why was he upset? I was frozen with apprehension. The answer became clear after he finished. My hair was fried. I looked like I had been hit by lightning. Twice. Incredibly, he was angry at me. “If you had told me, I would have used different chemicals!”
“Well, you didn’t ask me,” I was thisclose to tears. He was the hair professional. Not me. I stared in horror at my Bride of Frankenstein reflection, but my polite Midwestern personality was warring with the need to be assertive. I actually felt badly for him, and heard myself reassuring this hair butcher that all was fine. I even tipped him, but refused to return so that he could “work” on it. I was never stepping into his salon again. I went home and made brownies, eating the whole damned pan.
My hair and I flew home to visit my parents the next weekend. Dad was waiting at the airport gate, and didn’t recognize this wild-maned girl flinging herself at him. He looked stunned and was speechless the entire ride home.
Mom knew what to expect, having impotently listened to my hysterical phone calls. She pulled me into a big hug, whispering: “I made an appointment with my hairdresser for tomorrow.”
I held on tightly, so relieved to be home. Moms can fix anything.