Recently I read a reference to women and home permanents. Reading the article brought back some not so fond memories of when my grandmother, mother and two sisters would gather together to give each other a home permanent.
It always occurred in the kitchen where linoleum was the favored floor finish. If any solution was spilled, it might mar the floor but would definitely ruin the carpet of the living room and bedrooms.
We had no floor fans and no ceiling fans
so all of the windows were cranked open wide to try to alleviate some of the pungent odor from the chemicals
. And what a smell it was, lingering for days over the dining table that was usually in the kitchen and the base of these procedures.
I remember the small pieces of white paper, the rollers and metal bobby pins that had a glop of glue on the open ends to keep a user from cutting themselves on the sharp metal. And, of course, the liquid solution.
Should we guys decide to avail ourselves of the study of this mysterious female bonding ritual, what we endured, besides the aroma that seemed strong enough to eat away our insides, was confusion over why it was called a permanent when it had to be repeated on what seemed like at least one evening a month.
We would watch the machinations of taking strands of hair and somehow affixing them to the pieces of paper that was all then rolled onto a roller and clipped in place with the bobby pins.
Quite an elaborate undertaking we figured, especially since we sported close-cropped butch haircuts that was in no way long enough for such treatments.
Ah, memories of Friday nights. Dad would watch the fight of the week on TV
and the women would, well, gussie themselves up for a purpose young boys could not fathom.
It was a ritual I'll never forget.