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Letters to Nowhere

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Of Drinking Straws and Do-Rags

I was talking to a friend of mine about what I would look like with a spiral perm. She told me she knew of a “quick, easy” way to find out. I was interested.

“Drinking Straws”, she says.

Huh? She goes on explain that if you cut a drinking straw in half and wrap small portions of hair (twist the hair round your finger to wind it up loosely first if you have “white” hair.. on her hair {she’s black.. or African American if you prefer.. though she considers that term to be preposterous. She’s never been to Africa. None of her family has been to Africa. She asks me why I don’t call myself a Scandinavian American... Well, because it was umpteen generations since my family was in Scandinavia, I always reply. This is where she always snorts and says... EXACTLY. Umm but I digress} uhh where was I before I began the parenthesis with in parenthesis? Oh yeah... on her hair she doesn’t twist it first– with the straw method, just in case you forgot where this was going) around it, and then bobby pin inside the straw and over your hair, keeping the straws fairly vertical. She swears you will end up with damn near perfect ringlets (in black hair) and a spiral perm effect on “white” hair.

I made the (damn near fatal) mistake of bitching about how long that would take to do my hair. She let loose the arrow of here’s-the-world's-smallest-violin-playing my heart-pumps-purple-piss-for-you... "Do you KNOW how long I sit in to get my hair braided?!", she asks. I quickly beat a retreat. Yes yes... Yes! I know... I know... (Just in case you didn’t, black women regularly spend HOURS... I mean full-work-day hours getting their hair braided/styled.)

So I told her I’d give it a try. She suggested I wrap my head afterward and either sleep in it or let it set for a few hours at a minimum. I asked her how to wrap it. “Don’t you have a do rag, handkerchief something you can tie it up in?” Yes I do.

That’s when she broke out in giggles… oh hell... I know her sense of humor. It’s much like mine. “Why are you laughing?” I ask cautiously. She requests... nay demands I take a picture when it’s tied it. “I wanna see your Aunt Jemima look. (snicker, snicker, snort)”

So, I hope she believes me when I look her dead in the eye on Monday and tell her solemnly, “I’m sorry but the batteries in my camera were dead.” Please, oh please don’t let her remember I use rechargeables.

I’ll follow up on the drinking-straw spiral “perm” to let you know how it went.

(Oh and just for stat purposes... there were eight... count ‘em EIGHT sets of parenthesis... whoops make that 9, in this post) ;)


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