Sausage curls — no, not something you eat, but a hairstyle. Fortunately, this isn’t something you see much anymore, but you might remember your grandmother or an elderly aunt who would come home from the beauty parlor with little curls all over her head that were about the size of Farmer John’s brown-n-serve sausages. Except the curls were gray. I have no idea if they really thought this was attractive, or if it was just the style back in those days.
What made me think of this is a lady who sits a couple of rows ahead of me in Bible class and she has these dratted gray sausage things all over her head. I just itch to grab a comb and rake it through those tight little curls, fluffing those little sausages into something that actually looks like hair!
Now I do admit that I have sported some odd hairstyles in my life — haven’t we all? Until 5th grade, I wore my hair in braids and then mother decided it was time for me to have my hair cut. It was never very long to begin with and it had no body or curl at all — it just hung there. So it was cut short and brushed back and fastened with bobby pins and for the most part still just hung there.
Then came the home permanent — the Toni! And there was even a Toni Doll that came with its own home perm kit and you could give your doll a perm. (Talk about a brilliant marketing strategy.) All through junior high I suffered with horrible, frizzed perms. But thank heaven by the time I got to high school, the pageboy was in. Okay, a pageboy — I could do that. My hair still just hung there, but I could use curlers and make the ends turn under. Ta-DA! A pageboy!
Another hairstyle suited to those of us with straight, fine, limp hair was the pony tail. And here’s the back-story and inside scoop on the pony tail: it started out being called a horses’s tail. Honestly. Girls like my friend Sharon Carter who had long, luxurious hair could sweep it up into a rubber band or barrette — this was decades before the Scruchie — and have a glorious, long horses’s tail half way down her back. The girls who weren’t quite so lucky in the hair department had much shorter tails and we referred to those as “pony tails.” And pony tail stuck. So now you know. At least that’s the way it was at Hollywood High; maybe your school was different. Or maybe you’re enough younger than I am that the name pony tail was already set in concrete by the time you were old enough to have one.
When I lived in London in the 60s, I went through several styles: a shag — very popular then — a Gibson Girl and a short fluffy style that was easy to manage which I mostly stuck with. My hair dresser, Peter (Oh, excuse me, Peter was a stylist!) refused to do my hair in a Gibson. He said it would look like I had an onion on top of my head, so I learned to do it myself and it was not easy. First, I had to have a “bun” which was a stiff mesh donut shaped thing. I secured that on top of my head with a multitude of bobby pins. Then I pulled my hair through the middle, combed it over the bun and secured it with more bobby pins on the outside. Then once it was all in place, I would artfully pull a few strands loose to hang down around the side of my face, curl them with a curling iron and then spray the whole arrangement until it could withstand hurricane force winds. It was a lot of trouble!
And now, decades later, I still struggle with my hair — it’s either too limp to do anything with or if I tease it, it tends to stick out at odd angles. Sometimes in spite of my best efforts, it just lies there looking like I’m wearing a dead tarantula on my head. I hate that.
So I guess I shouldn’t criticize the lady with the sausage curls no matter how silly I think they look. I suppose it could be worse. I just hope someone stops me if I ever lunge for my purse and pull out a comb!