Friday, November 3, 2017

That Time My Mother Got a Perm and Looked Like a Man

When I was a little girl, about six or seven years old, my mother got a perm. I don’t necessarily feel qualified to say that it was a bad perm, but it left my mother with a big, blonde, white-woman ‘fro, so interpret that as you will.

One day, my mother, her ‘fro, and I went to the store. While we were in there, I got separated from my mother, as kids sometimes will. I didn’t really realize that I’d gotten separated from my mother, however, because I thought I was standing right behind her. I wasn’t standing right behind her. I was actually standing right behind a young man who had the same big blonde Afro, cut-off jeans, and calf muscles as my mother.

The fact that my mother had the same hairstyle, outfit, and musculature as a young man tells you…well, not all you need to know about my mother, exactly, but, like, half of it.

In retrospect, I’m sure there were many differences between the young man’s appearance and my mother’s, but I was a kid, and kids aren’t exactly known for their attention to detail. You’d think that, surely, I would have noticed something was off when I followed the young man out of the store and got into his car, which was almost definitely a different make and model of car than that driven by my mother.

As it happened, it wasn’t until I actually got into the young man’s car and saw his face that I realized he wasn’t my mother. I looked at him, and he looked at me. I’ll never forget the stunned, terrified look on his face as he stared at me for a few moments before blurting, “Who are you?”

I stared back and responded, “Who are YOU?”

This spurred the young man into action. He took me by the hand and walked me back into the store, where my panicked mother was standing by the customer service desk, describing me to the store manager.

The young man must have seen my mother standing there and instantly understood why I’d accidentally followed him out of the store. He handed me off to her, saying, “I’m sorry ma’am, your son followed me out of the store.”

My mother wasn’t the only one in the family who looked like a man.