Miss Frizzle
by Susan W. Goldstein

This is what you want to hear from your hairdresser:




This is what you do NOT want to hear:


—heavy silence—

Then​: “Why didn’t you​ tell​ me you colored your hair???!!!”

I was at Erich, “Hairdresser to the Stars,” for my first perm. He styled all the senior managers’ wives at my office in Indianapolis. I was treating myself and couldn’t wait. Erich hissed as he unrolled curlers that had promised beautiful, bouncy waves. Why was he upset? I was frozen with apprehension. The answer became clear after he finished. My hair was fried. I looked like I had been hit by lightning. ​Twice​. Incredibly, ​he​ was angry at ​me​. “If you had told me, I would have used different chemicals!”

“Well, you didn’t ​ask​ me,” I was thisclose to tears. He was the hair professional. Not me. I stared in horror at my Bride of Frankenstein reflection, but my polite Midwestern personality was warring with the need to be assertive. I actually felt badly for ​him​, and heard myself reassuring this hair butcher that all was fine. I even tipped him, but refused to return so that he could “work” on it. I was never stepping into his salon again. I went home and made brownies, eating the whole damned pan.

My hair and I flew home to visit my parents the next weekend. Dad was waiting at the airport gate, and didn’t recognize this wild­-maned girl flinging herself at him. He looked stunned and was speechless the entire ride home.

Mom knew what to expect, having impotently listened to my hysterical phone calls. She pulled me into a big hug, whispering: “I made an appointment with my hairdresser for tomorrow.”

I held on tightly, so relieved to be home. Moms can fix anything.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Egads, I must have destroyed all the evidence! This photo shows me at least two years later, still trying to grow out the perm. I wish you could have seen me in my split ends splendor…

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Good god, I really screwed up my social life for quite a while, waiting for this crummy, crappy, awful perm to grow out. There really wasn’t much that could be done, other than chop it all off and that was not an option. At first I hid at home, but that became too fattening. Since it was the Disco 70s, I just thought “Oh, well,” bought a ‘fro comb and soon was stylin’ as I hit the dance floor.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan W. Goldstein has led a peripatetic life, but found a true home in South Florida. A major in English from DePauw University always proved helpful, whether writing up marketing research reports or composing fairly decent emails. She is an active member of Women’s National Book Association, South Florida Chapter, and has been published in the literary blog Mothers Always Write. These are her baby steps as she grows into a published author.