laura packardIn the name of the well-deserved and rightfully retired Captain Stubing, say it isn’t so, y’all.

         It appears it could be time to whip out your 50 lb boom box, unpack your rolled up posters of the “Brat Pack” and peel on those shin tight, acid-washed jeans. Another dreaded 80’s trend has risen, like a crazy-eyed extra from the Thriller video, from the dead.

         So which awful 80’s craze is making an A-Team worthy comeback, you’re probably wondering about now?

         Is it the 3-inch blocks of cushioned shoulder foam?    Could it be Madonna’s fishnet fingerless gloves that turned the homeless look vogue?

         Maybe you’re hoping for the chemical after burn of a can of Tab or the powdered tarty packed wonder of a pitcher of Tang?

         Well, reset your Swatch watches folks and hold on tight to your Guns N Roses concert tee. According to TMZ, Marie Claire and, of course Julianna Hough, the perm is now re-invading a salon near you.

         That’s right, the perm, otherwise known as the permanent wave or simply glyceryl monothioglycolate, is back and bigger than ever.

         Now, I never had a perm. My look was the Farrah Fawcett flip and I am not trying to brag but I wore it pretty well . . . sure, it only took 400 degrees of unyielding heat, an entire can of Aqua Net and then avoiding direct wind, but whose complaining? I have, however, been at the salon many times when a perm was happening on someone else and, yes, lived to tell about it. Barely. In short, the sheer chemical smell will singe your nose hairs off, induce steady bouts of brutal nausea and bring you to the brink of passing out. I swear I remember seeing smelling salts next to the crimping irons and bottles of Salon Selectives.  And all of this simply to achieve to a head full of curls as twisted as a Twizzler and as crunchy as a corn chip straight out of a Frito Lay factory.

         And yes, I know…I am certainly no Doogie Howser, MD… but you can’t convince me that it’s good for your health.

         If given the choice, along with Mars Bars and $10 Limited gift certificates, my friends and I were much happier being bribed to pull teeny tiny strands of our mother’s hair through the frosting cap for hours on end at home on the back porch. Then, we would run for the hills – well, TCBY – as soon as the bottle of bleach was applied because we were smart and, let’s face it, still had growing to do.

         I guess 80’s nostalgia aside, I can’t figure out the chemical resurgence of a possible aged-old toxin in the organic, acacia berried, probiotic, non-dairy, whole foodie and holistic world of the new millennium.  But then again, there are ways to take the toxins out of things these days after all. Imagine that. Only it will cost you. As does the new “American Wave” perm which is THIO and ammonia free. It also has the bouquet of eucalyptus and the softness of Koala fur but you have to show up with $400 for your hair to smell and curl like it.

         Alas, as Shakespeare wrote, “A rose by any other name.” But I say, in the words of Mr. T, “I pity the fool.”

         Down here in the Lowcountry, especially in the summer, no fancy perm, chemical compound or product is needed for your hair to look like a mop of corkscrews after you stupidly stuck a knife down the toaster. You just walk outside.  The heat and humidity will do the rest.

         Well, it looks like the 80’s are here to stay. So don’t be shy if you want to rock your shoulder pads, saddle up in your Calvins or turn up the collar of your very favorite pastel Izod polo. If we have learned anything from the crazy trend-setting, rock n’ roll, all you want to do is dance 80’s, nobody puts baby in a corner.

         See you on the streets this summer. I’m bringing back the jelly shoe.