I first did it back in 1987. It was a big deal then and strangely an even bigger deal in 2011.
Back then everyone was at it. Mum’s, daughters, rockers and to my eternal horror footballers. This time round the demographic has shrunk leaving grannies mainly and the odd maverick/oddball like myself. Yes indeed I am talking about perms people.
The longing for curly hair hit me some weeks ago. I pictured myself as a first series Carrie, all bouncy wild unruly curls that shake when she turns her head. It returned and returned until I found myself seated in a fancy salon with sweaty palms and a head bound and trussed in rollers, reeking of that strong-smelling lotion.
I mentioned to several friends that I was thinking of having it done beforehand. It certainly generated a buzz of some sort; a mix of vicarious anxiety and excitement. Needless to say it generated hours of reminiscing.
My appointment was scheduled for noon on a Thursday in a salon a safe distance from my neighbourhood. I felt invigoration as I took the tube into town. This gave way to giddiness, empowerment, mild panic and then ultimately shock when the legend was revealed beneath the towel. With grim desperation I made a crack about Kevin Keegan to a passing trainee. My reflection laughed half heartedly.
Many deep breaths later and after much loving attention by my stylist Anna my curls were dry and I was all set to venture forth with my new coiffure into the sodden London streets.
I couldn’t resist a quick dart into the ladies to consider the quiet reality of what I now looked like. No sign of Carrie yet. I pulled my hood down and as graciously as I could I thanked the staff and shuffled down the street into a unassuming sandwich shop.
I felt what I imagine many post op cosmetic surgery patients might feel like after a moderate adjustment. My reflection startled me for at least twenty-four hours but having matured a bit since my teenage years I did not resort to hanging towels over the mirrors.
I forced myself into a very glamorous ensemble, added lashings of eye shadow and propelled myself out the door mid afternoon the following day. A cheeky fascinator provided extra ballast in my hour of need.
I braved the Archway road with my head held high. By the time I reached the shops I had received at least one masculine indication of approval. The Archway road seems to bring it out in them, but on this occasion it was welcomed.
Over the past week I have grown to like it lots. It goes ever so well with my inner eighties child and adds freshness and fun to my outfits. It allows for play and experimentation which is always fun.
The time has come Ladies. Unshackle yourselves from the straightening irons and embrace the curl!