Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Perms through the ages: A hair-raising experience

The other day I casually mentioned on my Firsts post that I was essentially stood up by a girl because of a tragic perm that made my head look like a bowling ball. And then everyone was all "Ooh... show us a picture... show us a picture!" like no one had ever heard of a guy getting his hair curled like a girlyman.

Mom Thumb - "So, um, do you have a picture from the bowling ball head period?"

Elizabeth - "Oh my gosh, I'm having a hard time getting past question #1. You got a perm?? I agree with Jacki, I think we need to see a picture!"

Kathy - "I love that you were pulled over after your driver’s test. Beautiful! And, yeah, a bowling ball head picture is in order."

Susan - "I'm with everyone else, let's see a picture of the perm! (Or should we say one of the perms, since you refer to it as your first.)"

My brother Rick was kind enough to dig through his old photo albums and send me a few pictures last night. The sacrifices that siblings make for each other have no bounds. It's really very touching.

Anyway, I don't think I have any pictures of the actual bowling ball perm itself, because I'm pretty sure I got most of it cut out a few days later. But Rick did have embarrassing enough pictures of how I wore my hair in those days.

But before I show you pictures of my permed hair, you need to see the control picture of how my hair looked without one. And this high school senior picture shows that very clearly.

Yes, this IS a corduroy suit... you got a problem with that?

Shortly after that picture was taken, the perm parade began.

evidence of bowling ball still exists

with Mark, my cohort from the infamous When I was a kid post

still fairly "fresh"

A few years later my perm started preparing itself for life on the road in a big hair band. Bonus points for anyone who knows who that logo on my shirt was for.

with my dad Bill and my brother Rick circa 1981

And finally... the ultimate combination of perm, mullet and WTF.

world mullet champion - 1987

Umm... maybe I'll leave the comments for this one up to you. That's just the kind of friend I am.

You're welcome.


Mom Thumb said...

Nice array of photos. The perm is not as horrifying as I expected. I had some funky perms. The kids were looking at a photo album from the Duluth era and both said in disgust "Mom, your HAIR!"

Anonymous said...

1987 - Wow. Just wow.

Kathy said...

1987 is now my laptop wallpaper. I want everyone to ask me about it. In the office, in meetings, at conferences. Oh, yeah. You'll pay for showing me that. runs off to see how much it would cost to make a poster out of that...

Ed (zoesdad) said...

The title pops up in my reader and I said (out loud), "Oh, My!"

After reading the post---I'm sticking with my original statement.

Heather said...

Wow, and Charli snagged that hunk of man mullet huh? That's hawt. Plus the 80s patterned shirt makes the look complete.

And happy birthday to Rick tomorrow.

Windyridge said...

Hmm you look like David Bowie sorta..

Avitable said...

Wow. Just. Wow. 1987's style has me tongue-tied.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

mom thumb - I still maintain that they're going to come back in style in one form or another within the next few years. Fashion cycles never really die.

dan - What, you never saw Loverboy or Duran Duran? We used pictures of them to show our stylists. Seriously.

kathy - Sure, no one will think you're odd if you do that. No really.

ed - Is that like a "lions and tigers and bears" oh my or more of a "holy crap!" oh my?

heather - "...hunk of man mullet..." I'm flattered. Thank you.

windyridge - I've sorta looked like a lot of people over time. That's my first Bowie though ;-)

avitable - Wow for me too. I didn't think it was possible to tongue-tie you. I'm quite proud of this accomplishment actually.

Anonymous said...

Little brother! Each week I am more impressed with your bravery! The diary letters, the personal stuff that happens to you, your different clothing looks over the years...and now the chronicles of hair! God, you've got guts! Seriously--could you give me a dose of your confidence level??!! You are to be admired. I want to be just like you when I grow up! Keep up the good work. You're awsome! sis

Babs (Beetle) said...

Well, they all look perfectly acceptable to me. That was cool hair back then. BUT the 1987 look. That floored me! I can't believe that is a photo of the gentle Jeff I've come to know. You look wild! ;O)

bon bon said...

sweet jebus! you know there are plenty of mullet sites out there that i'm sure would be happy to add 1987 to their photo collection.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

sis - I went too far a long time ago. But once you go over the edge you may as well just keep going!

babs - Thanks for being so supportive. I may have looked wild, but I was still pretty tame compared to the other guys I worked with.

bon bon - A mullet site? Is there NOTHING that isn't on the internet?

Unknown said...

Oh no, you do not claim champeen of 1987 until I post my senior pic. Only we never called it a mullet. It was a bi-level, duh.

Ed said...

Damn, I actually laughed out load when the mullet man pic hit the screen! I so rarely laugh out load uncontrollably. Like Ghandi before give so much! ha ha ha

Rickey said...

That last one? Yeah, Rickey's pretty sure that guy is a registered sex offender.

Anonymous said...

Hair today, gone tomorrow.

Sandy said...

Wow. Did you say you went to Denfeld? Because that would explain A LOT.

Michelle said...

Oh, I'm still laughing. I'm so glad that you decided to share those pictures. Definitely better without the perm.

And ummm I think I'm almost afraid of you after seeing that last one. Did you pick up many chicks with that style? (Style referring to more than just your hair.)

Jen - Queen of Poo said...

Has that last one yet fallen into the hands of your kids? I guess by posting it on the internet you've already taken blackmail off the table. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Oh my---do those pictures bring back memories!!! Makes me lonesome for the old times!! AND---I think you look very nice in all of them!

Roger Miller said...

Wow are you a brave man! That last one was a bit scary, in my opinion... but I don't know why. :)

Elizabeth said...

Looove the earing in the 1987 picture. Oh and my favorite saying about mullets "Buisness up front, party in back."

MYM said...

LOL! I'm crying. Well, from laughter.

You are like the bravest man I know!


The mullet ...

You're so brave.

MYM said...

Okay, had to come back. Is that a necklace? It's a big one!

Missed it the first time, you know, 'cause of the tears.

Anonymous said...

With regards to the last pic...

Were you in a bon Jovi cover band?

Gina works the diner all day...

Anonymous said...

LMAO!! Oh MAN thank you for posting those!!! Your mullet WAS, in fact, world class. Billy Ray had NOTHING on you!

I think I peed my pants right now.

You rock!

Doozie said...

What I just witnessed is the most disturbing thing all week, and I work at a 911 dispatch center.

In reference to your t-shirt, that is a logo for a brand of guitars

Anonymous said...

That 1987 do is exactly right for the hair bands that ruled the day.
I dated a guy who had similar hair during the glam years. His nickname was "The Face of Rock n' Roll", since he was such a fixture at shows that he attended. I saw him at Musikfest this summer, and HE WAS BALD.

Kath- a more hysterical poster would be the photo of Jeff and his buddy dressed like aliens.

Mrs. R said...

I was smiling until I got to 1987. Now I'm just speechless.

You're a brave man my friend, a brave man.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

gette - Ok, but so far you're all talk, no mullet.

ve - Do you know the Mullet Man? He lives on Drury lane.

rickey - I could see that in 2008, but in 1987 he was just another musician.

bill - Very funny. And thanks for the crappy hair genes by the way.

sandy - Yes, I was a "Denfeld Hunter." And you were what, a cake eater?

michelle - That "style" was all over MTV in those days. I wouldn't have worn it if it wasn't a chick magnet ;-)

dftf - Are you kidding... there are 3 foot posters of that band at our house. My kids aren't even phased by my past.

mom - Very nice indeed. Thank you mom :-)

roger - It's scary because your biggest fear is a guy like that showing up at your door to pick up one of your daughters. Just ask my FIL.

elizabeth - The funny thing is, they were never called mullets in those days. They were just what the band guys were wearing.

drowsey - That's actually some kind of metal pendant with 2 metal broach pins above it. Plus I had 2 earrings on the left side. Oh yeah, I had hardware.

chris - Yes... we did do Bon Jovi cover tunes. Our guitar player even had the mouthbox effect for that song.

corrina - My mullet could kick Billy Ray's butt!

doozie - Close, but not guitars. Nice try though!

ann - I'm glad you recognize the style of the era. To the people who weren't around back then, we must look like aliens.

mrs r - Like I told my sister... once I went too far on this blog it didn't matter anymore. It's really very liberating.

Susan said...

Seeing these pictures makes me remember how common it was for guys to have perms in the 80's. And how feminine rock stars used to be.

And don't blame your Dad for the hair genes--I'm pretty sure you inherit those from your Mom.

United Studies said...

LOL! On my God that last picture is priceless! I am so glad I am the only one in the office today since I laughed out loud.

And I needed the laugh today.

Anonymous said...

Aren't you glad that permanents are only temporary?

Kat Mortensen said...

Woah! I was just not ready for that last one! Up to that point I was thinking, yeah, not bad! I could have gone for him, BUT, then came the some guy out of Journey or REO Speedwagon or something. I preferred guys in 87 with short spikey dos.

Thank God we all turned out normal looking.

Your friend Mark was cute - in a Leif Garrett kind of way.


Jeff and Charli Lee said...

susan - Wait a minute... "how feminine rock stars used to be" ??? I'm pretty sure that's not a compliment ;b

jacki - So glad I could be there for ya.

jennine - That is until you post them on your blog. I have a feeling some of these pictures will live on forever.

kat - Wait a minute... "Thank God we all turned out normal looking." ??? I'm pretty sure there's a compliment in there somewhere.

Maureen said...


I was going to ask if that was an earring.

You in '87.... well, I can't add anything more except thank you for the huge laugh on my birthday.

It's a gift that keeps on giving... I'll have that photo burned into my head forever.

Maureen said...

Hey, shouldn't you have posted that cute kitten picture somewhere on that post???

Whit said...

I had perms, too, if that makes you feel better.

That last photo is VH-1rrific!

Kat Mortensen said...

I just had to come back. In the first pic (with the cord suit) you had kind of a Randy Travis look goin' on but the next one makes me think of Tom Waits for some reason. I have to tell you though, I gasped when I scrolled down to the bottom one. It's so, so, uh, I just can't find the words.

(There was a compliment in there, by the way - albeit a well-hidden one.)

I have some doozies in my past too, as I'm sure everyone who's reading this does.


cathouse teri said...

The pictures all look normal to me, too. I remember those perm days. And you don't need to show me a bowling ball pic! I know JUST what you mean! In fact, the most frightening thing about bowling-ball-head perms is that they are still alive and well! In Utah! On women over forty! And it's just as unattractive now as it was then. Shame, shame.

I do not see perms as having been a good invention. They have helped some, but for the most part... have just been abused.

I've had a couple of them, as my hair is straight as a board. Then one day I said to myself, "Self ~ who the hell said that 'naturally' curly is better than straight?" And I set out on a path of curling my naturally straight hair with hot rollers every day. :)

Hot rollers. Now THERE is a great invention!

My opinion on the pics ~ You look great in all of them. But you look best now.

Karen MEG said...

On the floor, here. Actually two of us.

I'm laughing and my husband is laughing a little too hard considering he was wearing a version of a slightly toned down Nik Kershaw Euro-mullet on his own head back in 1987.

Dude, digging those earrings.

Awe. Some. You are a brave man, Jeff ;).

kapgar said...

Are you related to Jim McMahon?

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

maureen - Well, technically you shouldn't abuse the kitty chaser or it reduces its effectiveness.

whit - Yeah, that picture was taken during the photo shoot for our album cover. Those were the days my friend.

kat - Alrighty then... I've set a precedent that everyone should now follow. Show us your doozies!

teri - Aw shucks, thanks Teri. This is the reason you're my #1 commenter - both in number of comments AND compliments :-)

karen - Everyone seems to have gotten a good chuckle out of this one. But hey... how come I only have 1 smiley thingy?!

kapgar - I can see the resemblance. I now get the Alton Brown thing. It's tough being a celebrity look-alike you know.

Bee said...

DUDE, that mullet photo MUST be put in my annual mullet contest.

Those were awe.some.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

bee - Considering I won your contest last time with a different mullet entry... do you think I should go for a two-fer?

P.L. Frederick said...

Ha hah! Wow. That last 'do is a showstopper... it leaves one speechless... it's the most regal mullet coiffe I've ever witnessed. I didn't know they made them like that. Terribly impressive. And to think, this is my very first visit to your blog. How could you possibly top this? (I'd recommend a hat but that'd be rude.)

P.L. Frederick (Small & Big)

Anonymous said...

So can I just send you a bill for the psychiatric help that I now need from looking at that mullet picture?

April said...

Ahh, the mullet perm! Really, there's nothing to say except I'm sorry.

Elizabeth said...

So what does the logo on your shirt mean??

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

p.l. frederick - I asked myself how I could possibly top myself about 10 embarrassing posts ago. Amazingly I still keep managing. Thanks for stopping by! :-)

carlae - I am not responsible for damage done due to my content. Didn't you read the fine print?

april - No need to apologize. In those days, mullets were very common, especially among musicians. I know, those were sad sad times.

elizabeth - Oh yeah, I forgot... thanks. It's for a synthesizer keyboard by the name of Oberheim. It was an amazing keyboard and I had one of the first ones. It's the same keyboard that Eddie Van Halen played on "Jump" and Paul Shaffer still uses one. Cool huh?

Susan said...

I thought you'd read the "rock star" part and not even notice the "feminine" part of that comment. Doesn't referring to you as a rock star cancel out anything else?
And technically, for the 80's, that was totally a compliment.

Anonymous said...

The first picture - smoking. I really, really dug Shaun Cassidy back in the day ('course, I was 6).

The last pic - what frightens me most is that I would have been ALL ABOUT YOU in 1987, because that was the hot look.

I got a perm in 7th grade. My English teacher told me I looked like Dee Snyder.

JD at I Do Things said...

Oh, man. I don't think ANYthing could've prepared me for that last photo. I am still shaking (with a mixture of disturbing emotions).

I love that you put the mini "10 years earlier" photo next to you and your friend. How much humiliation can you stand?

JD at I Do Things

Steve said...

Flock of Seagulls had nothing on you. I thought my 80's hairstyles were cool. You take the prize with this one.

yellojkt said...

I've pretty much stuck to one hairstyle my whole life. I just now have a whole lot less of it.

I knew a lot of guys with perms, so I'm glad I resisted the temptation.