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I knew my husband liked short hair, and I promised him that I would get my hair cut short after we were married. He had pretty much given me whatever I wanted within reason, and I certainly wanted to make him happy. We were in love, and neither of us let this difference of opinion get in the way of an otherwise great relationship. He showed me some pictures of short haircuts he liked. This was in the seventies, so the only short hair styles were either Twiggy, the shag, or really short curly styles. All were over the ears and the neck was fully exposed. Some looked more like a little boy than a woman. A few were short and curly, so the model looked 45 instead of 25. There was no definite timetable, but based on his constant pressure I basically agreed  that I would cut my hair within a year or so after we were married.  He didn’t know how much I freaked out at the thought of having such short hair, and I didn’t realize just how important this was to him. At the time all I wanted was to make him happy, but I didn’t want to lose my long beautiful hair. He wanted to make me happy, but still he could not deny his obsession. We were certainly in a quandary.

So I tried to take it slow. I had the usual Farrah style during college, so my hair had both length and volume. A year after we were married I went from shoulder length to just touching the shoulders, but I quickly learned that was not enough. He wanted it much shorter than that. Next I tried getting a fluffy perm that still covered my ears and neck, but that was still not enough. Each time I got my hair cut shorter I resented having to make what I considered a sacrifice, and he felt like I was not giving him the one thing that he had asked for and that had been agreed upon.

Finally for Christmas I agreed to get my hair cut really short. I went in to my regular hairdresser, who said she knew just the cut for me. So I stepped into the chair and gave myself to her. How dumb was that. But actually I lucked out. Longish bowl cuts were coming into style, and that is what she gave me. So at least I still had hair covering my ears, and it was not all chopped into short layers like a shag. But with my fine hair the style was flat and lifeless. After the Farrah cut and the perms I had had, I felt as if my hair was flat on my head, with no real style whatever. And basically I was right. After a few days I tried parting it over to one side, but that just made me look like a little boy.

I freaked so much that I immediately started growing it back out. In an attempt to keep it short, my husband suggested another style. I went to a newer salon where she trimmed my hair into a sort of short pageboy with side swept bangs. For the first time in my life I actually liked this short style. And for a while he was happy too. But in a couple of years we both got restless. He wanted it shorter, I wanted it not so flat and lifeless. By this time it was the late seventies and really curly perms were in.

We were on vacation in the mountains when on a spur of the moment we decided to find a place and get my hair cut and permed. We had been drinking so I was feeling sexy and high. Earlier we had been shopping at the mall near our hotel, and we both noticed several young girls with short fluffy bouncy permed hairstyles. We got all excited at the idea. He would be happy to get it shorter, and I would have it puffy and more feminine. So we drove around until we found an open shop. It was a slow afternoon, so the lady was happy to get more than just a cut. By this time I was all drowsy from the ride and the wine. I muttered that I wanted a short curly perm like I had seen at the mall, and she said she knew just what I wanted. She washed my hair, and then sat me in the chair and pulled the cape over me. At this point I was not paying much attention. Plus I was facing the window, and not able to look at the mirror behind me.

It was warm in the shop, with the sun shining in thru the front window. When she started cutting, I really could not feel how much hair I was losing. She mentioned that she was evening it up all over so the perm would come out right, and I muttered OK and zoned out again.  Looking back I do remember my husband having a comical look on his face, but at the time I just thought it was the alcohol. She was fast with the scissors, and soon she said she was done with the cut, and would now begin rolling my hair for the perm. This seemed to take a long time. When she finished and she whirled me around to face the mirror for the first time. I saw my head was completely covered with what seemed like the smallest perm rods I had ever seen. And then I got a look at the cut hair on the floor. It sure seemed like a lot of hair was down there. But before I could say anything I was placed in a different chair and the perm solution poured on. Then I had to sit and wait for the solution to do its work.

As I sat there the alcohol began to wear off. What seemed like a fun and exciting thing to do earlier was now stirring up some apprehension. The realization that whatever the end result was I would be stuck with for months to come started entering my brain. Finally it was time to wash the solution out. I was in a corner where there was no mirror, so I still could not see how short my hair was. But I could feel, and the feeling was not good. After this step she then proceeded to reroll my hair with rollers only slightly bigger than the perm rods. And then she poured on some super sweet smelling stuff. By now I was almost sober. I asked what the sweet stuff was, and she explained that it was her special brand of setting solution. When she said this I finally realized what had happened to my hair. I was not getting a soft, fluffy carefree perm like the young girls I had seen at the mall. She had given me a bona fide old lady perm, super tight and super hard. And it was too late to do anything about it.

I was placed under the dryer. The heat blasted the last of the alcohol out of me. All I could do was sit there and stew at what had happened. Finally I was dry, so I came out from under the dryer and back into the chair. As she slowly removed the rollers I could finally see what had been done. My hair had been cut to maybe three inches long. But it was permed so tight that it was only an inch or so off my scalp. Then to my horror she said she would now go back over and trim any split ends caused by the perm. She must have trimmed another half inch off. Then she proceeded to tease and push the remaining hair into a tight little puff ball. Then as if it was not hard enough, she sprayed it all over with some super hold hairspray. I was ready to jump out of the chair, but she said she had one last thing to do. With that I heard a POP as she turned on some electric clippers. ” All I have left is to clean up the edges” she said as she proceeded to go all the way around my neck and ears, buzzing more hair onto the floor. When she finished my hairline was a good half inch above my ear.

“There you are, one nice short curly perm” she said as she spun me around to face the mirror and removed the cape. The person looking back at me looked 65, not 25. My ears seemed huge. My forehead was white from being hidden from the sun by hair that was now on the floor. My husband did not know what to say. It was obvious that he was happy, but he knew if he said the wrong thing he would be in big trouble. So he just stood there silent. We both knew this style would be what I was now stuck with for months to come, so we might as well make the best of it.
And that is what happened. Once the initial shock was over of having to go out in public with such a drastic new look, I gave in and keep it cut and permed. Knowing his obsession with short hair I was determined to never go thru the trauma of having a drastic cut again. I knew that the only way to grow my hair out with this style would be to practically shave my head to get rid of the perm and start completely over. So to avoid that trauma I kept this horrific style. Let this be a l
esson to you. Never get your hair cut when you are drunk.

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