Reflections On Hair Trauma From A Child Who Grew Up In The 80’s

Dear Audrey,

There was a time in my life when my deepest sorrow came from the fact that I couldn’t make my hair look like two beautiful sisters in my little school. They were blonde and had their hair parted in the middle and they had it feathered back. Feathered hair was a real thing. I don’t even know if I could describe it to you. Suffice it to say that my hair would not do that.

My mom was very much to blame.  She attempted to help me with my hair. But she never actually tried to “feather” it. We argued about hair a lot. I wanted it long, she wanted it short.


(I present Exhibit A.)

She took me to get perms every three months. “Perm” is short for “permanent”, but that’s a misnomer for sure. It’s what women would have done to their hair in the 80’s to make their hair curly. They would go to a salon and sit in a chair for hours while a stylist would wrap their hair in little rollers with tissue paper (I don’t really get the tissue paper thing) and then squirt a chemical solution all over it that smelled HORRIBLE! Then they would have to lean back and get their hair rinsed while the rollers were still in and crushing into their skull with the force of a million pounds. In the end, if you were lucky you would have beautiful curls. Not too tight and not too loose.

If you were like me, you would look like a poodle and your hair would poof out in the shape of a triangle and you would walk around with the chemical smell for several days because you weren’t allowed to wash your hair for TWO DAYS!

Tears were shed.

This, my daughter, is why I let you do what you want with your hair. It all stems from my childhood trauma.

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