You are not going to believe me, but I have naturally curly hair. “You’re lucky!” everyone tells me. Lucky? I don’t think so. I have to work really hard to make it look naturally straight.
Why is it that people with straight hair wish it was curly and people with curly hair envy long, straight hair?
I had a perm years ago, but I grew tired of the curly look and started wearing it straight. By now, people have pretty much forgotten about my curly hair, or else they didn’t know me then.
When we were out of town on a mini-vacation a month or so ago, I spent a lot of time outside in the humidity. I worked so hard to get my hair “fixed” in the morning, only to have it go frizzy within an hour or two.
I began to wonder, since it seems so determined to curl on its own, would it curl like a perm without any chemicals?” I decided to give it a try. I washed it and dried it at low speed on the dryer. I jelled it and scrunched it, resisting the urge to comb it out straight and “fix” it.
Guess, what? It worked! All those years of perms and if I didn’t comb it straight while wet or blow it straight with a hair blower, it was curly all on its own. It would fix itself if I would just leave it alone.
So, the frizzy look won. I gave up entirely on straight hair and just went to a natural style.
When I returned to work, everyone said in unison, “You got a perm?”
“No, I said, “It is naturally curly.”
Naturally curly? Oh sure, they replied. I could tell no one believed me. Why would I lie about it? If I had a perm I would say so, but what could I do?
“I wish I could do mine like that,” said one co-worker. “I really like that look, but I can’t resist the urge to “fix” my hair.”
So, I went on about my life being asked by everyone that knew me if I had a new perm, and replying that it was naturally curly. I guess what threw them off was that they had only seen it straight before.
“It looks lighter too,” they observed, eyeing me suspiciously.
“No, I didn’t change the color either. It must just reflect the light differently.”
Everywhere I went, it was the same story:
Co-worker, “I like your hair. Did you get it permed?”
Boss: “I see you have a new perm?”
Receptionist at doctor’s office: “When did you get a perm?”
Even the chiropractor, “You got a perm, huh?” Or did you stick your finger in a light socket? Guess he wanted to adjust it and make it straight again.
Anyhow, after I while, I got tired of answering the same question. Besides, if they really think it is a perm, why do they have to ask me if it is and then deny the truth when I tell it to them? They could just assume it’s a perm, and not ask an obvious question.
Last night even my daughter-in-law asked, “Did you get your hair permed?” “No,” I explained again. “It’s naturally curly.”
Maybe I should just go back to straight hair. I thought it would be less trouble to have it natural. But having to explain it over and over is a lot of trouble too.
Maybe I should just agree with the inquisitors and say that I did get it permed. That way everyone could be happy, everyone but me, that is.
“We knew it!” They would say. Why did it take so long for you to admit it?
Copyright 2007 Sheila Moss