Beauty and the Pain

I was tempted to post this picture with no explanation
but young women need to be enlightened.
This is a hairdryer.

Women have gone to extraordinary lengths to look great (dragging their young daughters with them). Curling hair used to involve a lot of time and discomfort. First there was the hair washing. When I was young, we did not have a shower. To wash our hair we bent over a sink or washed it in our bath. Once in a while mom would wash our hair in the kitchen. We would lie on the kitchen counter with our heads over the sink as she lathered and rinsed. It was almost like being at the salon, except for the hard counter, the cupboards and the danger of falling.

Wet hair was towel dried, brushed and combed to prepare for curling. The tangles were yanked, I mean teased out. Short hair meant pin curls. Small sections of hair were twisted around a finger and then secured to your head with two bobby pins. Long hair meant curlers. Curlers were wound in hair and then stuck into place with a plastic pin. Then it was usually time for bed. Yes, we were expected to sleep with damp hair in pin curls or hard rollers. I have one word. Painful. Here’s another. Sleepless.

We were thrilled when mom bought a hair dryer. We were not so thrilled when we tried it out. A big plastic cap was placed over our head of curlers. The cap had a hose which attached to a dryer. Mom would plug in the dryer, turn it on and our cap would inflate with hot, yes, hot air. The part of our head closest to the hose would get a direct hit of heat. Again, painful but mom explained this was the price of beauty. We had to sit on the couch until our hair was dry. Long hair takes a long time to dry which enabled the elastic around the edge of the cap to leave a nice indentation on our forehead and neck. Lovely.

When we were pronounced dry, the pin curls or curlers were removed. The brush and hairspray were put to use until our hair was stiff and would not lose the cascade of curls. Toilet paper was wrapped around our head, to hold the curls shape, and we were sent to bed. These were the good old days. Wonder why nobody misses them?

11 thoughts on “Beauty and the Pain”

  1. Oh the memories! I had pin curls as a little girl – that would never stay. My mother would wet my hair with a little beer to make it stiff. Then in high school, it was those hard horrible rollers. Halfway through the night, I would start pulling them out. i woke with some curl, some straight. It didn’t matter though, because by the time the bus pulled up, it was all straight anyway.
    Great Post!

  2. I had the fortunate or unfortunate luck of having curly hair…which meant rat nests to comb out. I’m pretty sure there was more hair coming out of my head than being left in!

    1. I always wished I had curly hair. A friend of mine (you know who you are) has disabused me of that notion with her tales of curly hair drama. Hair is not maintenance free is it.

  3. Perhaps northtwin is my twin, because I had/have curly hair, and my first memories of my mom are of her ripping my hair out every morning. We also had one of those dryers — but I used the curlers and the hideous hair dryer to straighten mine. It beat the iron! And I think that’s my afghan in the picture, too.


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