So I've gone and done it.
I usually rock wavy hair, and while it looks totally natural (so I hear), it's not. It's what I call surfer girl hair, and I don't know how my hair guy Markus does it, but he's just brilliant. I explain that I want to look like I just spent the day at the beach and my hair is all wavy and surfer-girl-like, and he can magically just turn my straight asian hair into a shiny, tousled, tumbled, just the right amount of curly work of art that often has people with wavy hair asking me what I put in my hair to make it look so good. (When I tell them that it's a perm, they're surprised.)
Since I met Markus 6 years ago, no one else touches my hair.
Imagine my apprehension when my mother noted that my hair was getting straight, and I ought to get it re-permed in time for K's wedding this Saturday. She suggested I go to the person who's been doing her hair for close to the last 15 years. I tentatively agreed because I knew my mother was being thoughtful, but I was nervous.
I mean, I've seen my mother's hair, and there's definitely a generation gap in terms of what either of us deem good hair. My mother thinks my beachy waves look messy, and I think my mother's hair looks fried. My mother happens to think the fried frizzy look works for her, and carries around a pick which she uses to separate the strands of her very tight perm so her hair can look even bigger and frizzier. Imagine Arsenio Hall back in the days of fade haircuts. Now replace Arsenio with small asian lady, and that's probably my mom you're thinking of. All she needs to do is leave her pick sticking out of her hair, and she's done. As for me, I prefer a more natural look even if there's nothing natural about it. I haven't brushed or combed my hair in 8 years. I don't think I even own a pick, comb or brush. (Wait, I DO own a comb, but it's for my eyebrows.)
Worried that my mother's hair person wouldn't understand the concept of surfer-girl hair, I arrived at the salon armed with printouts of me with wavy hair, Beyonce with ginormo waves of hair cascading around her face (even though we all know those are hair extensions), Kate Hudson, Giselle with lazy curls galore (also extensions), yada yada. I also brought my own gel normalizer (to strip chemicals out of hair so it'll accept chemical processing better) and deep conditioner (for after the perm so your hair doesn't fry).
Remember what I've been saying about old Chinese people? Well, this person has been doing my mother's hair for almost 15 years, so she's been around for a while. She wasn't particularly receptive to my "new fangled" ideas, such as a gel normalizer and deep conditioning. Nor was she particularly interested in the pictures I had to show her of how I wanted my hair. She waved off all my suggestions, picked some really small rollers that I protested were too small, so I'd end up with kinky curls. I wanted a wave, not a fro. She then picked slightly larger rollers, which I still thought were too small, but she refused to go any bigger, insisting that these were as big as she could go (they really weren't). I should have just left the salon at that point, but I was trying to not offend my mother or her hair person, so I bore it out.
Which was a HUGE mistake, because I now LOOK LIKE A POODLE.
First, hair lady shampooed my hair and then treated it with the same chemical used to make the hair curl before she even put in rollers, so my hair was destined to be fried no matter what happened. Second, she put a bunch of small rollers (which I protested) in the shorter layers around and on top of my head, and the slightly larger rollers in the longer, back-bottom half of my head. I had gone from surfer girl to Sideshow Bob! Third, everyone with curls knows that you can NEVER EVER comb curly hair once it's dry because it'll frizz. Yet, that's exactly what my mother's hair person did - she blew my hair dry without a diffuser and then began to separate the kinky curls with a pick. Fourth, instead of shiny wavy locks, my hair is crunchy, dry and brittle. It's also gone several shades lighter. Note: none of these things have ever happened with Markus.
Afraid of hurting anyone's feelings, I thanked my mother and her hair person for the lovely hair. My mother's hair person tried to give me a free pick so I could go home and continue to pick at my kinks to better resemble Adam Duritz's 'do. I politedly declined.
I said something later to my mother about how I thought her hair person's process was outdated, and my mother swore she could't tell the difference between my new 'fro and my old do. Well, I definitely can. Since the carnage, I've been wearing my hair in a tight bun and deep conditioning it on a daily basis in an effort to stem the damage. My mother had suggested I wear my hair down for K's wedding, but if she thinks that's going to happen now, she's got another thing coming.