When I Spiraled Out of Control

I didn’t head down the wrong path. I wasn’t hanging with the bad crowd. I was a good girl. I loved my mama. I went to Catholic school so I loved Jesus. Probably America, too.

All my friends were doing it. I needed to fit in.

So there I was. In my friend’s basement. An odd, sharp scent permeated the air. My nose twitched. My eyes watered. My scalp tingled.

It wasn’t a bad trip.


Here’s the thing. I HAVE NATURALLY CURLY HAIR. If you know anything about hair, you know naturally curly hair has a tendency to frizz. And perms have a tendency to frizz, especially on nine or ten years old who don’t really know anything about hair care. So put the two together and you’ve got a head full of what the fuck.


I thought I was SO @$%!# cool with the hairspray bottle filled with water and the scrunching and the 24 hours of potent aroma of my unwashed head because that’s the first cardinal rule of perm maintenance.

I was RAD.

And I didn’t get one perm. I got @#%$@ several. Apparently I did not catch on fast.


That is a borderline fro, people.


No wonder I was toward the bottom of the elementary and middle school food chains.

It should be noted that these are from a time period of which I let very few people see photos of. Including Big A. So you should feel HONORED. Or something.

I’m willing to admit my fault. I doubt my mother chained me to the salon chair. I’m sure I begged for days. I was an idiot. But I wanted to be cooooool.

Now, admit it. You spiraled, too.


This post was part of the Remember the Time Blog Hop that I’ve been meaning to do, like, all summer. Hopefully those photos made up for my laziness. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Zebra Garden

9 thoughts on “When I Spiraled Out of Control

  1. Jennifer says:

    I have the opposite problem. My hair is so stick-straight and fine it won’t hold a perm. At all. ever. Or any kind of curl for that matter. Perms would relax and fall within days. Once the grunge era kicked in and straight- parted-down-the-middle was cool again I was all right though.

  2. I had a perm too when I was in the first grade. THE FIRST GRADE. I don’t even know what my mom was thinking in caving on my demands for that one. I guess it was cheaper than a puppy.

  3. megs says:

    Agreed. My hair was so straight that it could not hold a perm, or any curl that did not involve sleeping on a head of sponges. Fast forward to present me, I have to work on my hair for hours just to get it to wave.
    Hair confession: since I couldn’t perm, I bleached. Like, an entire bottle of sun-in, hydrogen peroxide, blue powder bleach, and errything. EVEN THE PULL THRU CAP. Since I’m an Irish/German/Italian hodgepodge my hair would take all the bleach products Sally’s beauty had in stock. I may or may not have thought it was a good idea to bleach my eye brows too. But those pictures are locked away for fear of blackmail.

  4. NotAPunkRocker says:

    I had perms from fifth through ninth grade. Super thick,super straight, red hair goes to twice the volume and all split ends when permed. What was my mother thinking? How much mousse was wasted, how many chemicals did I absorb over the years. My brain burns thinking about it….

  5. I didn’t spiral, but I wanted to very badly. Instead, I sported the equally hideous bowl cut, followed by poof bangs. I am surprised my hair hasn’t at some point tried to strangle me as payback.

  6. Writer/ Editor: Carrie B says:

    So many promises! I had/ have bone-straight hair and have been told more times than I can count: “Oh, no…spiral perms aren’t frizzy”….”No, this doesn’t damage your hair because we do a deep-conditioning treatment afterwards” and my personal favorite: “yes, it will look like ringlets because we roll the curlers sideways”. Nope, nope and nope. Years of frizzy hair with spiky bits growing out of my scalp from 30% of my hair burned off and I can honestly say that I have never had a successful perm, but almost died trying. Always enjoy your posts!

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