the Bucky Four-Eyes Cotillion

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Is "bad perm" redundant?

Once upon a time, I thought it was a good idea to get my hair permed. In my defense, this was in the 1970s and we hadn't grown frontal lobes yet. People were still wearing leisure suits. I guess my fried hair didn't seem so awful in comparison. Still, I find it hard to comprehend that somehow frizzy, fuzzy, foofie hair was completely worth sitting for hours drenched in a solution whose aroma could best be described as ass-ripened ammonia.

This particular perm was for a special occasion: 'twas the night of the Autumn Dance at the junior high school, and masquerading as a standard poodle was to be my key to social acceptance. Or so I deduce; I'm a little hazy on the details this many years later. So many brain cells pickled in the interim...

But I wasn't in it for the chance at romance; at 14, I was already resigned to the fact that love would likely never be mine, and it was best to instead surround myself with alcohol and have at it. That was my master plan the night of the perm, to drink myself into a near stupor and then dodge the dance chaperones for a couple of hours. Yes, sir - nothin' but the most highbrow entertainment for this girl. My companions for the evening were Juanita, Sue, and Phil, which automatically dropped the IQ level even further. We were like monkeys without a barrel, like a ship without a well-oiled cabin boy, like a virgin (hey), touched for the very first time. No, really, we weren't like any of those things. Well, probably the virgin part. But not the monkeys or the ships and such.

We'd managed to convince an adult, who shall go unidentified just in case he or she could still be in big trouble for it, to purchase alcohol for us and stash it in my garage. Mom had repeatedly offered us a ride to the dance, and we'd repeatedly insisted on walking. That had to've made her suspicious, to see four lazy teenagers refuse a ride to their destination. We finally slipped out the door, and I sneaked into the garage to retrieve the cocktail fixin's. I saw the crumpled paper grocery bag, snatched it up, and bolted out the garage door and into the alley behind our house. The four us ran until we were behind the hardware store a couple of blocks over, and then we stopped to breathe and gloat over our acquisition of such fine contraband - until I opened the bag for a better look, and we saw as one that I was a dumb virgin and I had in my arms a bag of my dad's leftover barbecue charcoals from the summer. The slaps on the back quickly turned to smacks across the side of my head for grabbin' the evil twin; they made me go back all by myself to make the swap. Fuckers.

The plan was to walk down to a little park on the east side, about a mile, and consume our alcohol (not charcoal) in the comfort of the swingsets and slides. Unfortunately, that brazen twat, Mother Nature, saw fit to whip us up an impromptu blizzard as we headed toward the park (did I mention that Mother Nature is a bitch?). Instead of admitting defeat and heading back to my house, we showed exactly as much sense as I'd have expected from us and decided the heavy snow would not deter us, and was actually a reason for us to start drinking on the way to the park. Damn, I hope none of them ever reproduced, either.

So, there were the three of them passing around a fifth of Southern Comfort, and there was me with my trusty MD 20/20. I was all sophisticated and shit. Would anybody be surprised to hear that it was all gone, every drop, before we'd managed to fight our way through the near white-out to the park? By the time we were able to barely make out the snow-covered swingset, even the gaggle of drunken imbeciles we were could see it had been a colossal miscalculation to refuse a ride on this most hellishly frozen of evenings. As we huddled in the alcove with the drinking fountain (and, to our credit, no one stuck his or her tongue on that or any other metal), pondering our mile-and-a-half walk to the junior high with much more "aw fuck!" than "peachy keen", we noticed there was a car idling not far from us.

Of course, we all automatically thought it was the parents of one or the other of us, and truthfully, we were so miserable it would almost have been worth it to be busted if we could just sit in a warm, dry car for a while. As we resigned ourselves to our fate, the driver's window came down and some guy who looked to be in his late 20s popped his head out and said, "You kids need a ride someplace?"

Now, wouldn't that be a red flag to you? I guess we felt safe because there were four of us, and we willingly got in the car with what turned out to be just the guy and his wife. I wonder in retrospect how wise it was for them to invite four drunken teenagers of questionable origin into the sanctity of their Buick, but it turned out that nobody had bad intentions, and the couple seemed a little bemused by our predicament. I'm sure this had been them not so long ago. We told them we were headed to the junior high, so they pointed their car in that direction, in the awful snowstorm, and took us. I hope these people went on to win the lottery.

It was only once I was in the car and beginning to thaw that I realized my hair was completely drenched from the snow, and I was pretty sure there was a strict prohibition against wetting the hair for a day or two after the damage, I mean perm, is done. I shrugged it off like responsibility and concentrated on having my hands thawed by the time I got into the dance. As luck would have it, the storm moved on as they drove us, and by the time we got to the school, it was almost completely cleared up. We thanked our chauffeurs and disembarked for our night of adventure and adult avoidance. Oh, man, did we reek. They all emitted a sweet-turned-corrupt odor, and I smelled like someone had vomited grapes on me; in retrospect, I should have sprung for the Boone's Farm.

Juanita lost her sense somewhere between shutting the car door and stepping onto the walkway to the school's front entrance. She always had that uncanny ability, when drinking, to be just fine one second, and then completely insane the next. She demonstrated that on the lawn by suddenly shrieking and slapping my admission money out of my hand, then laughing maniacally while I chased my dollar into the snow. Juanita ran off, to what purpose or to what end, or to the beat of what drummer, I really couldn't tell you, but she ran off, arms waving uncontrollably, just like a...hmmm, just like a dumb fucking teenager who's just consumed a huge amount of Southern Comfort. Inexplicably, we let her go and did not pursue her. Can't imagine why...

Once we were inside, Sue and Phil essentially ditched me. They were both cute, so it stood to reason that both of them had a shot at some romance, or at least makin' out, by entering the hormone-drenched dance floor. I was left to wander, conspicuously drunk and adorned in a dripping, freshly ruined perm. Understandably, it didn't take long for one of the chaperones to get that bloodlust in her eye and start to hunt me down for capture and detention. At that point, I did one of the few sensible things to happen all night and I left the school before I was bagged and tagged.

I was still pretty looped, and since the snow was finished, and none of my drinkin' buddies was anywhere to be found, I walked a few blocks down to the Burger King, where I loaded up with two orders of onion rings and a Coke. My plan was this: eat all the onion rings to cover up the smell of wine on me, that grape vomit scent that was oozing out my pores, so that I could call my dad for a ride and he'd never know I'd been tippin' the bottle. It was brilliant in its sheer audacity! was ill-advised in its utter lack of planning. I still can't figure out why Dad never said anything on the ride home; there is no way he could not have known I was stinkin' drunk. Wish I'd thought to ask him later on, when the statute of limitations on drunken teenagerness had passed.

That was pretty much the end of that little group of friends. I never had any idea why Juanita had run off like a banshee with hornets on the anus, and I guess I never cared enough to ask. Sue and Phil both drifted off into a better class of prettier people, and Juanita...didn't.

To this day, I still can't eat onion rings that aren't accompanied by a glass of insanely cheap wine.

Addendum: My mom was rarely mad at me for anything, but she was supremely incensed that I went out and ruined my new perm the first night I had it. And by "supremely incensed" I mean my mild-mannered mother was fucking pissed.

32 of you felt the overwhelming need to say somethin':

Blogger I'm not here. said...

No pictures?
I wanna see poodle perm. :o)

11:35 PM, December 28, 2005  
Blogger I'm not here. said...

:::snoopy dance:::

Come to my site and watch my dog snore...

11:36 PM, December 28, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said..., pictures. Come on, everyone is doin it. It's time for scanned archives of FILM again. Especially of your permed poodle or is that just another name for your u hmmm...oops, how unimpressive of me.

11:44 PM, December 28, 2005  
Blogger Katy Barzedor said...

M_D - heh heh heh, those squished-nose dogs give a mighty snore, don't they?

Tardist - you'd think we could've found friends with a booze-friendly garage, at least.

Sun - hmmm, I'm not sure if I have any pictures of the perm(s). Yes, unfortunately, that was not the only or the last perm.

Mrtl - if you were a geek because you didn't get stinking drunk and ruin your hair, I wish I'd been more of a geek.

Kylz - just one of the thousand reason I never had kids!

7:56 AM, December 29, 2005  
Blogger Effie said...

Oh--pictures would have been the icing on the cake for this lovely memory.....

I had one of those poodle perms--but, in my defense, I just wanted my hair to be wavy, like the pictures in the magazines and the only way to get my hair curly was to perm it--i just didn't know it would be so, you know, curly....

8:45 AM, December 29, 2005  
Blogger Unknown said...

I did the perm thing... quite a bit through high school and a little after. On purpose. I really hated my straight hair.

9:27 AM, December 29, 2005  
Blogger Unknown said...

Oh, that was a CLASSIC Bucky story. Thanks!

Yeah, I'm with everyone else - where are the pictures of said perm? I had a spiral perm in the 80's (when I had hair and it was a very Michael Hutchence thing to do. Turned out to be more Kenny G).

When you come to Seattle, all we Washington fans will come together as a unit, ply you with cheap wine and onion rings and sing camp songs. Sound fun?

9:35 AM, December 29, 2005  
Blogger Unknown said...

Oh..and don't think 'Well Oiled Cabin Boy' escaped me, cuz it didn't.

9:36 AM, December 29, 2005  
Blogger Mr. Bloggerific Himself said...

Did you really have to mention the damned onion rings!? GAWD I want some onion rings. :(

9:50 AM, December 29, 2005  
Blogger PlazaJen said...

Sister, my last perm (many, many years ago, mind you, I wouldn't want you thinkin' I meant "last week") left me looking like HOWARD STERN. And really, is that even such a good look on him? Let alone a woman? I called my boss at home in hysterics because I couldn't fathom even going in to work the next day. I think that's when I began wearing a bandanna as a fashion accessory.

Onion rings and cheap wine - boy, you are a foxy sumbitch. Kissable might be another story. ;)

12:01 PM, December 29, 2005  
Blogger Michele in Michigan said...


Yeah, baybeeee! You sure know how to have a good time! I think we need a sleepover to recreate those times LOLOL

12:44 PM, December 29, 2005  
Blogger Froggylady said...

Thank GOD for the ruining of the perm. Incidentally I couldn't stop thinking about Legally Blonde throughout this post. How big of a dork does that make me?

Oh, and we totally need to see some perm pictures.

1:02 PM, December 29, 2005  
Blogger dashababy said...

Yeah, but what happened to the perm? I'm imagining straight pieces amongst the curly frizzy ones. Gawd I remember those days, all the perms I ever got looked like that and STUNK!!! Mine always smelled like skunk too. Penneys was real big on the Uni-perm which required hot clamps to activate the solution, which always fried my hair. I was never a "hat person" til 1978 because the top of my hair never took a curl. So I'd have this fried pubic looking hair on the bottom and straight on the top..... until 1985 and that's when I finally got the perm that would reduce me to tears.

1:13 PM, December 29, 2005  
Blogger MilkMaid said...

Ah...classic story indeed.

I can't pass a bottle of Strawberry Boone's Farm in the store and NOT chuckle at the many things we did under the influence...

1:15 PM, December 29, 2005  
Blogger greatwhitebear said...

"in retrospect, I should have sprung for the Boone's Farm."

I was a slighlty higher class reprobate/outcast. I worked at the A&P in Union Lake. I always scored Boone's Farm (thanks to a stock manager who shall remain nameless).

Coulda been worse though. At least you didn't sink to the level of Four Roses.

2:16 PM, December 29, 2005  
Blogger Susie said...

I hope your chauffeurs won the lottery, too. Reminds me of a couple of bikers in my youth who could have been serial killers, but weren't. I might blog them someday. I still hold out hope that there's a perm that won't turn on me. I haven't had one in . . . 10 years at least, but I'm sure God meant to give me curly hair, or at least wavy, and just got distracted . . . some day . . .

2:29 PM, December 29, 2005  
Blogger Amy said...

Great post. Love the bag of charcoal briquets part and the fact that your mom was so mad about the permanent.
You can park one of these remembries on us anytime, Bucky. They make me day.

2:41 PM, December 29, 2005  
Blogger eclectic said...

This is GREAT!! Now I know what I missed by going to a private school where none of the students had any imagination. Now I have an underage drinking/dance story to tell. Sure, it doesn't involve me, but still...

Oh, and I caught the "well-oiled cabin boy" as well.

5:02 PM, December 29, 2005  
Blogger Nina said...

Is this the same Juanita who bit you through your coat??? The statute of limitations on drunken teenagerness had passed. Whew I didn't know there was one. . . what a relief, well like I would need it, but good to know. :)

7:11 PM, December 29, 2005  
Blogger greatwhitebear said...

dammit, still can't get "borgesmord" out of my mind! May you find yourself humming "dead skunk" for the the remainder of the week!

9:52 PM, December 29, 2005  
Blogger Pissy Britches said...

Picture please.
I had perms..lots of them.
In the 80's.
I wish I had one now..a real pubic hair curly perm.
You fucking crack my shit up.

10:05 PM, December 29, 2005  
Blogger Katy Barzedor said...

Sorry, folks, for my lack of response to your delightful comments. I'm on my BIG PROJECT of the year at work, it's 11:30 pm, I've been here since 7 am.
I hope to be out of here sometime this year. :)

11:28 PM, December 29, 2005  
Blogger Katy Barzedor said...

And yes, this is the same coat-biting Juanita!

11:29 PM, December 29, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are working too much. Take a break. Don't make me jump on yo' head!

12:13 PM, December 30, 2005  
Blogger Effie said...

At work til midnight? That's just WRONG!

Happy New Year a few days early Bucky!

Hey, I just thought of something--you don't wear eyeglasses, right? Just sunglasses--why are you Bucky "four-eyes"? Yes, I'm tired and yes, I'm at work in an almost completely deserted building...I'm pathetic....

1:00 PM, December 30, 2005  
Blogger Katy Barzedor said...

Effie - They're prescription shades. I am not only light sensitive, I'm blind as a pissing bat. :)

1:04 PM, December 30, 2005  
Blogger Joseph said...

I read the title as:

"Is 'bad sperm' redundant?"

That is all!!!

1:32 PM, December 30, 2005  
Blogger Unknown said...

Damn, Bucky! I find it hard to believe that after all the shit you got into your mother only came down on you for ruining your perm!

3:31 PM, December 30, 2005  
Blogger SierraBella said...

We demand pictures! (Of the perm, not the festivities!)

4:03 PM, December 30, 2005  
Blogger Memphis said...

Mmmm, fucking and pissing don't go well together. Well, to some people they do, but those people are really weird.

Perms, who invented those things?

5:51 PM, December 30, 2005  
Blogger Squirl said...

SS Nick, you don't understand our mother's obsession with keeping her hair in place. She couldn't understand anyone ruining a perfectly good perm. She probably paid for it, too.

I thought I'd posted on here earlier. I don't remember if I knew the whole story before. Do you think Juanita ended up a drunken bum?

5:51 PM, December 30, 2005  
Blogger Kranki said...

Perm fumes and booze never mix.

7:45 PM, December 30, 2005  

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