Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Another First for Me in South Korea

I GOT A PERM! I decided yesterday after yoga class that my hair seriously needed some help. Each day before yoga class, I get out my curling iron, curl my impossibly straight hair and then spray the heck out of it with hair spray. It's been pretty cold here so I leave the house with a hat on but I arrive at yoga with the curl still intact. Not so after class! My hair is a droopy mess.

Of course, I didn't know that today was test day in yoga. We had to pair up (I paired up with my English speaking buddy) and had to do 45 minutes of testing. It was grueling. I could only do one sit up unassisted (meaning my buddy helped pulled me up each time) and after one particularly difficult exercise, I found myself flat on the floor unable to move. One of the yoga teachers came over and began to massage my back, it was strained to say the least. I made quite a spectacle of myself which isn't hard to do as the only non-Korean in class. I was massaged for a good 10 minutes and then was able to get up and finish class. When class was over I was exhausted and eager to get to the beauty salon.

But like the previous day, they wanted me to stay and do 10 minutes of knee exercises, which are sitting with your feet in front of you and bouncing the knees up and down rapidly without stopping for 10 minutes. I barely made it through yesterday and I knew that I wouldn't survive today so I said politely "Anio." (Korean for "no") They kept insisting and I kept shaking my head until the teacher left the room.

I told my Korean buddy I was too sore and I wanted to get a perm. I asked him how to ask for one and he said he would take me. The other ladies wondered what we were talking about and when he told them, they insisted that a woman needs to accompany me. So I walked into the beauty salon with a Korean man and woman. They told them what I wanted and reassured me that it would be done. They stayed until the salon started on me. How is that for Korean hospitality!

To be honest, I haven't had a perm for a good 20 years or since the 1980's but I am very familiar with perms, having had many over the years. The first thing the stylist did was to give me a haircut. I didn't really want one but no problem. Next she brushed some white goop all over my hair. It smelled and looked like hair dye so I was a little worried. She let that sit for about 15 minutes and then washed it out.

Next, she wet my head with some yellow stuff in a spray bottle that smelled an awful lot like perm solution. If you've ever had a perm, you know the smell. Then she put the perm rods in my hair. She then placed a roller under each roller to lift the original rods from my head. Next came the scary contraption you see above. It had electrodes that hooked to each rod. She hooked me up and then I could see why there were extra rollers. It basically was a heater for each rod. It was so hot that steam was coming off of my head and she used a hair dryer on cool to keep my head from frying. I thought, "Oh no, my hair is going to burn and fall off!" I asked for my purse so I could get a picture of this.

Next, she removed the rods and my hair looked like my mom with tight little curls. Oh no! (Sorry Mom) I just wanted some waves. She rerolled my hair in different rods and put a collar on me that I could tell was to catch liquids. She came back with a electric foam maker which I deduced put on the neutralizing solution. She let it drip for a while and then it was time to wash it out.

I was so relieved to see my tight curls had loosened to wavy curls. She then put some styling gel in my hair and blow dried it. I was thrilled with how it turned out. The price was 75,000 won ($75 US). I gave the receptionist 80,000 won. She gave me back 12,000 won. I tried to give it back and tell her it was wrong. She finally was able to say in English, "discount." Oh, cool!

Curt (hubby) was really surprised when he got home. He knew I was getting a perm but he thought, well, I'm not sure what he thought. He said that I looked 15 years younger! I was glad he liked it but I was wondering where he got the 15 years, why not 10 or 20. He said that he thought I was 50 (which I'm not) and he thought I looked younger than 40. I love it and that's what really counts. I can't wait to show my yoga class tomorrow.


CreekHiker said...

Becky, You are the only person I know who would do her hair BEFORE yoga!

Love the perm!

Becky said...

Hey Girl: I also make sure I have some makeup on. I don't want the Koreans to stare TOO much

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