Monday, March 17, 2008

#1 Perms


At a certain juncture in a Korean mother's life...she feels the undeniable urge to rock the Little Orphan Annie look. The perm is supposed to enhance fullness in her hair...but usually results in a frizzy halo that ushers in another era in a Korean mother's life (see 'Ahjumah'). This is a rite of passage and cannot be stopped. One will often hear young Korean women saying to each other "I'm never going to get that perm thing", but they all know deep in their hearts they will eventually succumb to the undeniable pull of the Perm. As a Korean mom ages, the perm will never change or deteriorate...although her face might.

30 comments:

J said...

Nice, though the kid in the photo is Japanese. Watch the film if you haven't.

Lori said...

My husband calls this hair "Shatnerized."

Anonymous said...

It's the Ajumahfro.

.koo. said...

my mom gave me a perm right before i started 7th grade. it ruined me. i made tryouts, so i was then a cheerleader with a perm. >:P

GOD i had a pained childhood.

Glennia said...

I call it the Asiafro. My mom has it. Yes, she is Korean.

Anonymous said...

i love this, makes me love my korean mom

Jae Young said...

My mom actually starting perming her hair because my grandmother, my mother's MIL, told her she couldn't be an ajumma without one. So srs~ I don't think she could imagine life without the perm now, unfortunately.

Jenshwa said...

This blog is HYSTERICAL!! Thank you!

Seoul Brother said...

F*CK. I think I crapped my pants.

What's really messed up is that I looked like that a while ago. Now my hair is so dense (like my head), I give myself a Parris Island Jarhead flattop every week.

Sue said...

OMG!!! My Korean mom did this exact thing, not just during the seventies, but MANY TIMES. WHY???? IT IS TERRIBLE!

Seoul Brother said...

Perms, or more accurately home perm kits are the Asian equivalent of hair weaves. You think the shit looks natural, but it just looks unholy.

Janet said...

My Korean mom had me convinced that all Korean women MUST maintain a fake perm look at all times. I thought it was a rule. She gave me a perm in 7th grade then gave me a boy hair cut. I also had glasses and braces at the time and played violin and piano. Then told me I was pretty (ee ppoo dah!) except for my flat Korean butt. She is in her 60's now and I have never ever seen her with natural hair. Ever.

Anonymous said...

my older sister is approaching 40 now... i just hope, she can avoid the pama-curse... But she turned into a KM already, telling her kids horrible things that they gonna die horrible deaths...

micica said...

What about tattoo make-up?

Shannon said...

Tattoo eyebrows are my personal favorite. My mom rocked the perm for as long as I can remember. But I have to be honest, as I remember it, it wasn't a bad perm. As the years went on her hair get redder and redder though.

lilpandapaw said...

OMG. I remember my mom's "pama" phase...oh holy god they started to use the ginseng scented pama solution which stunk just as bad as the original stuff. You're not fooling anyone with the crap. She stopped perming because she finally determined that it was a #13.
Before we got there, my mom had my hair permed once, which didn't take. She also put me through the boy cut phase where it was partly shaved in the back and angled lower in the front. I thought I looked like Ramona Quimby and cried for days. Now I carry out my revenge by growing my hair out and refusing to pull it back.

Anonymous said...

That's so right...all the "ahjumma"s that I saw when I was in Korea had the same perm, be it long or short hair, their perm is all the same!

Becky Seo said...

sigh. my mom STILL has this hair. from before i was born (27 years ago) to now.

another thing... they always buy do-it-yourself dye kits. i mean, i'm talking about the crappiest of the crappiest quality. one time, i kid you not, her white hairs were blue.

Heather *IsaBella and Harrison's Mommy* said...

Hey, I started getting pama's before my Dol! (To the gringo's, that means before I turned 1!) I was thinking about doing it to my own daughter (she just turned 4 so she should count her lucky stars I haven't done it yet) because if I had to go through it, it's only fair that she does too, right?

Love always,
Heather

pamela said...

I think my mother started perming my hair when I was in 4th grade. I finally stopped getting perms about 10 years ago and discovered my hair was wavy anyway. My baby sister turned 30 last year and my mother is still suggesting she cut her hair and get a "root perm" just to give it "some body."

I saw a couple of comments about tattooed make up. Holy cow, my mother flipped out when she found out my sister had a tattoo, but she has tattooed eye make up. "It's not the same! This is to save time in the morning!" Yeah. She's still always late to everything.

Hannah Im said...

I just finished reading your entire blog. It's hilarious and so right on the money. I'm white, married to a Korean man, and naturally he has a mother. She has so many of the traits that you described. Loveable, crazy Korean moms!

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The Butler Family said...

I remember having long hair when I was 6 yrs old. And one day I was eating ramen my hair kept getting in the way. So my mom cut it short and then got a really tight perm. Yeah I have quite a few pictures of myself with a mini afro. At one point she asked to cut my oldest daughters hair sorry but I had to draw the line on that! lol

lea said...

I'm very late into this discussion but I call it the public perm. I think it's pretty self-explanatory but here's the background:

http://leathinksaloud.blogspot.com/2011/01/word-coinage-pubic-perm.html

Trvlgyrl said...

The perm thing is so true - never realized it til I went to Korea and noticed that every Ahjima (sp) had permed black hair. I thought it was funny when my 11 year old son made the comment about how all the Ahjimas looked like grandma....and he is was right! My mom, thank-fully has stopped perming her hair.

noe said...

Mind if I quote you on my blog?


;)

Jes said...

this site is SOOO funny! theres not a single Korean in my family, but everything on here is my mom, my granny or my aunt...especially the perm!! i nearly choked haha!!

Anonymous said...

My Korean Stephmom had a perm. 57 years old and she still had a very good figure. 49 kg and nearly no wrinkles. When she came home with a straigh hair look one day she looked so young and pretty.

Things Korean moms like!
#2 is ajumma purple right? Since most older Korean woman wear purple.

To all women on this forum. MEN already KNOW you wear black to hide your figure (good or bad), their are so many better ways to dress.