As I continue sharing my real-life experiences as a young man with a hair fetish, this is the story of the first time I’d ever had my hair curled. During my “Origin” story, I mentioned that when I was young (middle school aged), my mother had threatened me with a perm if I refused to cut my hair short. This was before she decided she wanted me to grow my hair out. Actually, my being allowed to grow it out in the first place may have been the result of some residual guilt she felt about this cut.
I was given the option of having my, just shy of shoulder length hair cut short… or permed. My mother likely knew she wasn’t actually giving me much of a choice at all. I would almost certainly opt for the cut. Which I did, and even to this day, I regret that. I’d never have such a perfect opportunity (and excuse) to get a perm. Better yet, it was Summertime, so I could get the perm, and not have to worry about having to go to school right after.
I’d refused to cut my hair for months leading up to this, as I just really wanted to wear it in ponytails and braids. After a while of putting up with this, my mother eventually decided to put her foot down. She made me an appointment at her salon with her regular stylist, and gave me a warning that I had one week to make up my mind: perm or cut. I wanted so badly to opt for the perm, but knew that, realistically, it just wasn’t going to happen. I just didn’t have the courage to ask for it, much less sit through the procedure, no matter how much I wanted it. On the day of my appointment, during the car ride to the salon, my mother told me that her stylist already KNEW that I had two choices for this appointment, and that I would have to tell her which one I picked. She wasn’t going to give the stylist direction. It was 100% up to me. At this point, I fooled myself into thinking that the perm was an actual possibility… if for no other reason than to subvert mom’s expectations. The reality of the situation, however, set in pretty quick when we pulled into the lot.
The salon was pretty busy that day, but it catered to adults, so I didn’t have to worry about seeing anybody my age. When it was my turn, I was invited over to the chair. My mom’s stylist was prepared for either choice I was going to make. She had a cart of curlers at the ready, probably to scare me… which it did.
When she asked what we were doing that day, I hesitated for a moment, with a pain in my stomach… as I wanted so badly to get permed… before ultimately asking her to cut it short. She seemed disappointed, or at least she pretended to be. I, too, was disappointed. Even now, decades later, I still am. It wasn’t a particularly memorable haircut experience… I was actually pretty numb by the time the cutting began. I couldn’t even appreciate it for the pretty drastic shearing that it was.
I left the salon that day with a super short “summer boys cut”, and two big regrets. First (obviously), that I chickened out on the perm. Second, that I completely forgot to look at the salon floor to see all of my long hair laying there. This was back before I’d ever even had my hair tied back, so I didn’t even think about how it might feel to have an entire pony cut off. I guess I could refer to that as a “hindsight regret”.
During the car ride home, my mother seemed kind of ashamed that she put me in this embarrassing spot. We never spoke of this event and ultimatum ever again… even to this very day. I was never brought back to that salon, never saw that stylist again, and my next cut would be the pivotal one where she would cut off my ponytail while her girlfriends watched and laughed.
This “near-perm” experience stuck with me (and still sticks with me). I never thought I’d get another chance to go curly. That is, until I met my “hair hobbyist” friend.
I’ve already written about a couple of hair–experiences I’d shared with her. A whole lot of fun and exciting braiding sessions. This time, however, would be the first time I’d ever had a curling iron used on me. The curling iron would be a haunting presence on the bathroom counter during my childhood, my mother used it on herself and my sister with regularity… I always imagined how it would feel having it used on me. How it would look and feel after being curled. How it would smell while it was wound up in my hair.
The whole day leading up to our “curl date”, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else. As with when I was a child, I tried picturing how it would look, how it would feel… how I would feel as it was happening. I kept thinking, if it actually looked good… then, I maybe could have something more “permanent” done in a salon. If my friend liked it, and maybe brought me to the salon for a perm, it would somehow be “okay” for me to go through with it. It might not look like it’s my decision. It wouldn’t be near as embarrassing for me to go through with it.
As far as expectations were concerned, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t know what her plan was for me. When I got over to her place that night, she wasted no time in prepping me to go curly. She initially coated the full length of my hair in some sort of heat-damage protectant serum. That, in and of itself, was somehow very exciting for me. I loved the smell of it. It wasn’t quite the “tang” of perm solution, but I still found myself lost in it… almost intoxicated.
She then showed me a picture on her phone of what she had in mind for me that night… and, it was kind of disappointing.
It was what I could best describe as a sort of “cheerleader” hairdo. The picture she showed me was actually of a cheerleader. Tightly pulled back, with just the ponytail full of curls. I felt like I really couldn’t complain, so I didn’t. What I was hoping for was a headful of spirals, but there was no way I could ask for that without “showing my hand” and coming across as a bit odd. So, I sat back, and over the course of the next 20 minutes or so, she turned my ponytail into a poof of curls. I can’t lie, even though I was disappointed, I loved every second of this. The first time I reached back and felt the curls, I couldn’t believe it. It was this plush, soft mound of hair. Totally different from the ropey braid(s) I’d been wearing most evenings back then.
She snapped a pic and showed me my massive cloud of curls. I swung my head back and forth, and felt the odd, weighted “swishing”. Again, it was like nothing I’d ever felt before. She remembered my odd request when she’d given me that “tail of braids” and asked if I wanted her to grab the scissors to snap a pic where it looked like it was about to be cut. I declined the offer, which is another regret… but, I was afraid she’d start to think that I was weird.
She then sprayed my hair down again, and was somehow able to turn the poof of curls into one single amazing, thick barreled curl that hung to about halfway down my back. She took a picture of this as well, and it drove me absolutely crazy. This was the first time during the “curl session”, that I imagined having it all cut off. The cheerleader “poof” didn’t really excite me the same way. This was the “scissor pic” that I wanted… however, the time had passed, and I really couldn’t ask for it.
She couldn’t get over how great the single curl turned out, which made me think that perhaps some sort of “permanent solution” was in my future. This wasn’t the case, though. Instead, she showed me how to wind my ponytail up in a “cinnamon bun” to sleep in, which would give the same result. And, it did. Though, I really wish she’d have taken me to the salon for a perm.