You can tell how old people are by whether they remember the smell of an Ogilvie Home Perm.

I was just scrolling through Facebook and I saw a photo of this really unfortunate-looking girl, and I was like “Jesus, that girl’s awkwardness is giving me second-hand 80’s nostalgia-shame from when I was that age and had the same-OHMYGOD THAT’S ME.”  Because apparently my cousin Joycie decided to upload old family pictures.

So this me, age almost 14, between my sister and cousin:


Let’s break this picture down, shall we?:

1.  Those glasses were so big they literally end beneath my nostrils.  It’s like someone made a scuba mask but forgot the nosepiece.   Luckily my eyes continued to worsen so I got to pick out new glasses the next year.  I got the exact same enormous glasses but with bright red frames because that’s how Sally Jesse Rafael did it.

2.  You know what smells like teen spirit?  Me either, but I bet it’s the opposite of a baby-blue, high-necked sweater with kitties on it.

3.  I paid to have my hair look like that.  It was an eight dollar Ogilvie home perm but my mom didn’t do the bangs because we ran out of perm solution.  It smelled so bad I had to burn my pajamas later.  I don’t know if there’s a name for this particular hairstyle but there should be.  It’s as if a drunken poodle impregnated a mullet.  A “poollet”, perhaps?  Or maybe a “moodle”.  Either way, I’m wearing that poollet -moodle with motherfuckin’ panache, y’all.  And by “panache” I mean “quiet, unrefined desperation.”

4.  I’m playing dominos.  On purpose.

5.  Over my left shoulder?  Velvet painting of Jesus at the last supper.  Also, what seems to be the visible stench of my fake Debbie Gibson perfume, or possibly The Ghost of Christmas Past asking future-me what the hell I was thinking wearing culottes with a sweater.

Honestly, it’s like I mugged an elderly librarian and then took over her life.  At first I was going to claim this wasn’t even me but my sister had already tagged me on Facebook while laughing hysterically.  Of course, she’s wearing a shirt with Pooh all over it so she’s really not in a position to talk.   Frankly, it’s almost like I was trying to look terrible.  Like Terry Richardson, but less pedophiley.

The good thing though is that pictures of you at your most awkward are always helpful to give you perspective for when you think you’re currently too fat or too old or too skinny or too whatever.  You can keep those horrid pictures to remind yourself that you probably look better now than you did during those uncomfortable, adolescent years when you didn’t know how to wear your face right, and your body was rebelling against you in every possible way, and you had no clue who you were or what to wear or which terrible fluid was going to start leaking out of you next.  And that’s a good thing.  And that’s why I’m keeping this picture and it’s also why you need to not delete those awkward photos of your own children.  Print that shit out, y’all.  Hide it in a book.  Then when they’re grown and get dumped and eat too much ice cream and tell you they feel ugly you can pull out those pictures and let them see just how far they’ve come.

It’s all about perspective, you guys.

PS.  Many of you are insane and have expressed an interest in my blue cat sweater.  It has gone to bad clothes heaven but this seems like the next best thing.

244 thoughts on “You can tell how old people are by whether they remember the smell of an Ogilvie Home Perm.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Lesson learned? Don’t get a perm……and then get photographed with it.

  2. Thank you- I had successfully blocked out the smell of home perm from my mind, but now it’s back. Though nothing was worse than the time I hot a perm at a cheap hair salon and they used so much solution I had ‘perm burn’ on my neck for weeks and an even worse perm to go with it. That was 20 years ago and i’m still hot rolling my hair everyday to get rid of the resulting kinky disaster that my hair has been since then.

  3. Boy, I seem to have shared your personal style when I was a teenager. It was the 80s after all, I think there were a lot of us in poollets and huge glasses running around.

    I want to cry now looking at my younger self in old family pictures and how beautiful I was then, knowing how much I hated everything about my appearance. I’d pay a lot of money today to be that girl again and be a little kinder to myself this time around.

  4. This post showed up in my Feedly right above a how-to article on macrame cat hammocks. Serendipity, y’all. It’s a thing. That happens.

  5. Oh yeah! We all have pictures like that. I used to have a hair style just like Kyle Minogue in the 80’s. I bet she’s embarrassed she had a hair style like that too now.

  6. Love this. I had a particularly special summer where I also had the giant glasses, but also had braces and a bunch of missing teeth. There are photos. Perspective, indeed.

  7. The shark tooth necklace really brings the whole ensemble together. I should know, I had a few of them.

  8. I will not allow you to mock your sweater. That sweater is awesome.

    Everything else, though, yeesh. Which I say with love, because god knows there are plenty of awful pictures of me. I found a Glamour Shots c. 1993 in which I look like a low level Las Vegas lounge singer specializing in country western and I showed it to my boyfriend and he did a literal spit take. I keep wanting to post it on Twitter but I don’t know if I have the ovaries.

  9. I had a similar experience with home perms in the 80s. You’ve really got to remember the bad times that, at the time, you thought were good times. But then it makes me worry that NOW is also one of those times, and I just suck as a person.
    So, perspective, I guess. You’re right.

  10. I’m convinced they didn’t make glasses small enough to actually fit kids’ faces in the 1980s.

  11. There is just so much magic going on in this picture.

    And I totally had red glasses because of Sally Jesse, too. I can’t believe I just admitted that. Mine were wire-rims, because I was the shit.

  12. Holy shit! I had the EXACT SAME hair – cut, style, color, length. I seriously thought that was a picture of me, until I realized I didn’t know the other two people at all. And then, you know, you claimed the humiliation for yourself. Wow. We could’ve been sisters!

  13. I love this picture so much. Boy-awkward from those days is awkward, but less so than girl-awkward I think.

  14. No Ogilvie for this chick – I stuck to the Toni. My hairdresser always gave me shit for the “perm breakage” my mom inflicted on my hairline by rolling the rollers too tight.

  15. I mean, I kind of actually want to wear that sweater right now. IT’S AWESOME. Because cats.

  16. I never knew I needed a painting of Jesus at the Last Supper on Velvet… but that is magical.

  17. Cassandra – Yes, thank you for saying that. I also wasted so much time thinking I was unattractive, and still struggle with it.

  18. All of this is so close to home it is giving me the heebie jeebies. Only my awful perm was…enhanced?…by my gingerness.

  19. Are you sure you didn’t perm your hair that way on purpose? My mom did something like that to my hair when I was young, with straight bangs and curly on the sides and back. I think it was a thing back then. I should find that picture. Then when I was 15 I had the back of my hair buzz cut but with a long tail on one side that I used to braid. I thought I was so cool.

  20. I too had the enormous old lady glasses and the poofy perms back in the ’80s. My last one ever was done by a professional circa 1989, albeit in her ranch style home off the highway in rural Mississippi (we both attended the same community college). Yup.

  21. Ah, the home perm that my mum tried on me in the 70s. And the shop perm I had in about ’81 when the hairdresser kept wincing because she had cuts all over her hand (no idea why) and took ages to put the rollers in. Then a few days later I realised a load of my hair had been burnt off and I had bits of stubble hidden by the bubble frizz

  22. That sweater would easily sell for $40 on Etsy!!!!! Sweet! I have nightmares about my permed, huge bangs ‘do that I had in the 80’s. What was I thinking??? But, it does make me feel a little less fat when I look in the mirror now!

  23. OMG I have these photos. No perm, since my hair is curly…but I was a child of the 80s and have some spectacular examples of Cyndi Lauper and Madonna influenced attire. Perhaps I should post my favourites…

  24. That picture is AWESOME! I would have killed for a perm like that. My hair is/was so poker straight that my perms never lasted and always looked stupid and flatish. I was just going through old photos this morning and found the most hideous picture of me at age 13 to post on FB for Throwback Thursday. Braces, greasy hair, Oxford under sweatshirt, 1970s stereo and green floral curtains. Total barf. I can’t wait to post it!

  25. I had the giant glasses, but I was sporting a mushroom haircut. I looked like the love child of the Beatles and an owl. The Ogilvie home perms came a few years later, when I’d grown my hair out and my mom insisted that it need some shape and body. She offered the perm as an alternative to morning sessions with hot rollers or curling irons, probably because I was getting close to full size and literally chasing me down to fix my hair every morning was no longer an option. I was terrified of hot metal coming that close to my scalp (hence the chasing) and gladly accepted. Those fumes remain the only thing to completely clear my sinuses during peak allergy season.

  26. Oh. Yes. I have those pictures, too, and honestly, I like how I look now WAY BETTER than then. I wouldn’t mind my old skin and body from my 20s, but the teens and tween years? AUGH NO THANKS.

    Perspective is awesome, isn’t it!?

    And what WAS it with those 80s home perms? My mom pretty much ruined my life with one of those, one summer!

  27. I remember the perm trend! I had curly hair and lived in Wisconsin, so it became an Afro during the summers. I’m sure I could find some real winners. Thank God for the invention of straighteners…

  28. I’m not sure, but we might be related. I had the same glasses only I INSISTED they be tinted brown so it always looked like I was wearing old person glasses. And the hair…in yes, I had that hair. And I had sweater vests! So I think we might be related. Have any family in New. York State? (Notice I said STATE not CITY, the people don’t appreciate the difference.

  29. I like to avoid pictures.

    One time, I saw a girl wearing jean overall shorts with her hair pulled back and thought..oh..sweetie…not flattering at all.

    It was a mirror.

  30. I had the same hair (though I’d get that done at a salon; Mom paid way too much for my hair to look that horribly) and glasses, but mine were the kind that turned into sunglasses when you went outside. Yeah, I was THAT COOL. I also wore “Electric Youth” perfume by Debbie Gibson. You are not alone in your awkwardness. You’re among friends. I will never be ashamed to wear what I’m wearing today: my Souffle Girl shirt designed by Megan Lara. ONE MONTH UNTIL NEW WHO!!!

  31. At least your perm lasted. My aunt and my mom tried giving me an Ogilvie home perm when I was nine. It lasted all of three hours before it fell out.

  32. I looked at that picture and thought why the hell does the Bloggess have a picture of me on her website??? Seriously, I looked just like that. And the two other girls could be my friend Sue and my cousin Angie. Those giant glasses…..

  33. Shit, that’s nothing. I had a perm done by the cosmetology department at the high school I went to. I should’ve known I was in trouble when it took two students and a teacher hours to “set” my hair, which was about down to my waist.

    When my mom got home from work that evening, she took one look at me and said “why don’t you just go put a fucking paper bag over your head?!” This perm was so bad, it made Rosanna Rosanna Danna’s hair look good. I shit you not.

    BTW, I had those same glasses—but I classed mine up with the little stick-on initials. sigh.

  34. Oh, I thought our little town had a lock on that hairstyle. Apparently we were hip. And I had the same glasses too!

  35. Oh yeah, big plastic glasses. I think every kid (except maybe some rich ones) who wore glasses in the 80s had those. They were cheap, which was good when they inevitably broke.

    The 80s had awesome music, but the fashion…. Well, we survived it.

  36. I think that “quiet, unrefined desperation” should be the tagline for any singer’s perfume. Well done, Jenny. Well done.

    Also, that sweater would go perfectly with my inappropriate kitty leggings. I’m off to peruse eBay right now.

  37. Your cousin reminds me a lot of Haley. I was confused for a second at the very 80’s looking picture and what looked like Haley and then read. I’m very glad I missed the whole perm craze!

  38. Ha! I am to laugh. By the time this picture was taken, my most awkward years had passed (in the 70’s). This is not to suggest I am no longer awkward, just that my awkwardness appears to be waning. Or perhaps I just don’t give a shit anymore. Mostly that.

  39. I’ve found the one advantage to being a reclusive hermit and sociophobe is there are no embarrassing photos of me on the Internet. Of course that will all change if my mother ever figures out how to upload photos to Facebook. My only excuse is I was a child in the seventies and eighties, not decades known for their conservative fashion choices. And there were mullets. Like second-hand smoke, we just didn’t understand the dangers back then.

  40. Haha, best parenting advice ever. Also, when you said your sister was wearing a shirt with Pooh all over it, I seriously thought you mean she had poo all over it. ‘Cause I would totally wear a shirt with poop all over it. I HAVE NO READING SKILLS.

  41. I have one. I’m wearing a red “Fritto Lays” employee polo that I had purchased at Value Village, thick black eye liner, and my eyebrows are plucked a good two centimetres past where they should be. Oh, to be 14 again.

  42. Do you remember how jealous you were of the “rich” kids who went to the salon and got “spiral perms”?

  43. As an elderly (well close) librarian, I resent that comment. But I forgive you, because Ogilvie home perm!

  44. Those massive glasses are coming back into style. I’ve never really liked the tiny rectangle frames that are so popular now. They just don’t look good on everyone so why do we all have to wear them just because they are in style? Nothing wrong with your hair, glasses or sweater. It was the fashion of the time and I’m sure that what you are wearing right now you’ll look back on in 20 years and say the same thing about so what’s the point of being ashamed of past styles you wore?

  45. EEEEEgah! We were a “Lilt” family, but this photo makes me remember that sharp, horrible stench. My eyes are watering just thinking about it.

  46. According to stalking my 13 year old’s Instagram, it appears that all adolescent girls now a days managed to get some sort of memo that we missed back in the 80s on how to look like Abercrombie and Fitch models at all times. I hate them.

  47. Even though I am a perm virgin, I still remember the smell from other people’s perm jobs. Somewhere there is a picture of me being all Carol Marole in my housecoat on Christmas lol.

  48. i had similar glasses in the late 70’s that included my initials in gold on the bottom corner of the lens … in photos it looks as if a bird shat on my face

  49. I got a perm is 7th grade because I desperately needed some kind of a change or image makeover. That year is forever known as my “Howard Stern hair years.” I haven’t yet had the guts to surface any photos from that phase. Maybe someday.

  50. I call this the Cocker Spaniel look. I rocked it too. I completely forgot about Ogilvie home perms. Good Times. :/

  51. I really wish I could combine the figure I had in the ’80s with the knowledge of what actually looks good on me now!

  52. haaaaaaaaaa.
    I was that permed girl… Only w/ Cat glasses. Oh, My! xxx KISS for U, Diva. Are you going to let me interview you for my blog yet?????!! XX Remember, I’ll make you chocolate chip cookies. REMEMBER?!!! let me let me let me.

  53. For me, it was the Toni home perm, and I looked like a wannabe member of 70’s hair band.

  54. There are some pictures of me somewhere with glasses that take up half of my face, and I’m wearing the ugliest purple and bright green sweater, also with cats on it. We didn’t even have cats. The only reason I didn’t burn the pictures is cuz my beloved dog was in them, and I don’t have any other pictures of her as a puppy.

    I’m glad puberty was pretty good to me and at least made me prettier, but I might actually be a MORE awkward person… though, thankfully, I think I might hide it better now!

  55. I also had the big glasses (tinted!) with a perm…I looked like Linda Richman from ‘Cawfee Tawk’. No big woop.

  56. Ugh- My mother has pictures of me with the perm from that era. I asked her ” why did you hate me”?

  57. Whoooo boy! Turn your hair blond and add ENORMOUSLY puffed bangs and you have me in the early 90’s.

    I also had to say, it looks like you have a short haircut and some one pinned two crimped extensions to the sides of your head. snortle

  58. I used to thank the Gods I didn’t grow up at a time when my awkward teen years and bad decisions were immortalized on the internet. Then my mom found a scanner and #tbt.

  59. I had both glasses and hair almost exactly like that. And people wonder why I refuse to pose for pictures anymore. That shit comes back to haunt you.

  60. I had the same glasses and hair too! In fact, I kept the glasses (although not the hair, I promise) and my kids think they are hilarious. I often wonder what goofy stuff we’re doing now that we’ll laugh about in 25 years.

    Btw, looks like spellcheck changed your “moodle” to “noodle”. Unless you meant to do that and then I take it all back but moodle makes more sense if it’s a mullet-poodle. 🙂

    (Crap! Fixed. Thanks! ~ Jenny)

  61. Ah memories! Gotta love the 80s! I had hair down to my waist- it took 3 hours for the hairdresser to roll my hair. And it cost a fortune! So I went to a much cheaper place once- and they burned all my hair off. Seriously! I still have scars all around my hairline. My mother was furious! And I cried for weeks. I looked like a scarred, frizzy, redheaded poodle. It took 2 years to grow my hair to a decent length- and I have never had short hair again. And oddly, my hair stayed curly. So of course, I straighten it. Because we’re never happy, are we?? Lol! Thanks for reminding me that I wasn’t the only one- everyone is an awkward teenager!

  62. I recently found a “before” picture of myself from the ’80’s, right before I started the Cabbage Soup diet. As I recall I didn’t lose any weight, but because of the near-toxic cabbage farts, I did lose a few friends. Good times.
    p.s. I was hella skinny in that fucking photo. I WISH I was as fat as that before picture.

  63. I NEED a velvet Last Supper! I have it on a decorative plate and that painting would complete my kitchen. Completely.

  64. I did the Ogilvie home perm. Then, before the smell had completely receded, I used a whole bottle of Sun-in to try to make my dark hair blonde. I was going for Sandy at the end of Grease; what I got was a bit more Ronald McDonald. Thanks for reminding me =D

  65. I’d forgotten the smell (Do you smell scalp burning?). This just brought back a vivid memory of the blonde chick with the anvil of curls on the instructions, too. I also had the giant red glasses.

  66. I would laugh with you in regards to the cat sweater but I owned, and wore proudly, a pink sweat shirt covered in white sheep with one black sheep over the boob at about this point in time! I wish I still had that sweatshirt!!! I am pretty sure I also had these same glasses. I am reminded of them by my freshman-year yearbook. Our water had been turned off the morning of photos that year. I washed those mugs in the toilet that morning………….because it takes a lot of water to wash glasses that size.

  67. Just when I think I couldn’t possibly love you any more. You are quite wonderful. Thank you.

  68. I made the mistake of reading this while at work. I now having people asking if I’m okay because I’ve cleverly disguised my laughter as crying. I just would like to know – where can one purchase VELVET paintings?

  69. That could really be a picture of me. Lol. I had that same style glasses (and got the red framed ones, too). I got my first perm at 12. The only place it took was my bangs, so I had a big poof over the glasses. I am so glad that no pictures are available to anyone with a scanner.

  70. I find awkward adolescents endearing as we have all been there and at that age, they really need hugs. They just don’t know it or want them.

  71. This? This is awesome! Seriously, I’m getting ready to channel the 80’s for my next book. I shall refer to your picture for inspiration. 🙂

  72. Except for the bangs, I had the exact same hairstyle but mine was natural! The 80s – before there were styling products for curly hair and mousse was the answer to it all of our styling needs.

  73. I literally spit my ice tea out…” It’s as if a drunken poodle impregnated a mullet.” You kill me. Hilarious post…

  74. Um, “your body was rebelling against you in every possible way, and you had no clue who you were or what to wear or which terrible fluid was going to start leaking out of you next” is *exactly where I am most days but at the ripe old age of 44 instead of 14!! I call no fair!

  75. Thank you for that story & good laugh, I needed it 🙂 I also have recently found some gems & have had fun posting them. It is about perspective & how far we’ve come.

  76. Love the perspective, I wish we had pictures of our childhood, but sadly a house fire took care of that little storage problem 🙁 I lucked out with a few goodies to stare at thanks to extended family who had some pictures of visits.

  77. Great blast from the past! I have resisted TBT…until you just made it cool. Can’t wait to find my Sally Jessy pics and slather them across fb for all to see! And I shit you not, my red specs were actually STOLEN from my apartment during a party in 1989(ish) along with a fuchsia turtleneck t-shirt dress & my perm rollers. Even my frenemies had no taste back then…

  78. well, at least those frames could make for some stylin’ sunglasses for this generation. I’m pretty sure I had the same pair, but the glass was thicker so my eyes were magnified to creepy proportions. I’m pretty sure our parents were laughing at us the whole time.

  79. You look like me back then, and I still keep a picture of The Last Supper in my dining area like my grandmothers did. It’s not velvet. It’s a dollar store poster, framed.

  80. Glad to hear that was you in the picture. For a moment, I thought it was an ancient picture of me and was racking my brains trying to figure out who those other people were and how on earth you got my picture!

  81. Well great, my throat just closed up and nose hairs burned at the memory of home perm solution smells. My sister once got a pic of us posted to Awkward Family Photos so I’m with ya.

  82. I swear to Bob, I had that same kitty sweater, or one almost identical! This is like a bad acid flashback, it took me right back to my ’80’s!

  83. I had the same hair; I had the same glasses. I did not, however, have the cat sweater. I don’t know if I’m grateful or jealous.

  84. My mom and her sister ganged up on me and did the opposite. Permed bangs and wings (OMFG you guys! Remember wings?!? They’re retribution for everything horrible the US has ever done in the world.) then left the rest straight as a board. With E.T. Brand glasses. I shit you not.

  85. Yep, that photo could be me too. And if I smiled you could have seen all the lovely metal with blobs of whitish wax over the pointy bits (my orthodontist was old school)!

  86. I feel like we would have been friends in some alternate universe… My mom was a hairdresser in the 80s, therefore my first perm was in 5th grade, and looked remarkably similar to yours. I also had similar glasses, except that I went for purple rims because they looked like Becca’s from Life Goes On. Finally, I opted for the Debbie Gibson hat, instead of the perfume. Saved my allowance for two weeks to buy it and wore it every. single. day.

  87. We could have been friends since I looked almost the same. Same glasses, same perm but my sweater had fake leather on the shoulders cause I guess that was cool. I once refused to go to school for two days after one perm that was so bad and tight I did look like a poodle. Spent both days washing my hair repeatedly with mayonnaise cause someone told me it would get rid of my perm. It didn’t.

  88. Did the spiral perm around that same time. It was a disaster. If you want to amuse yourself even more, you should check out what Google considers to be visually similar images to your photo

  89. We were long-distance twins. I was totally hooked up with the SJR/librarian mondo glasses, but I didn’t need the home perm…my hair did that BY ITSELF. I tried making it do the Farrah flip, but it had a truly unruly mind of its own. I didn’t have that fashion-forward kitty sweater though. Mine was neon red and green with navy argyle. #stylin

  90. Oh my God my EYES! That cat sweater on Amazon will be giving me nightmares for the next month!! I never thought of you as a Debbie Gibson perfume girl (Electric Youth??) I figured you for a Love’s Baby Soft kid. Who knew?

  91. Wayyy back around the same era as your photo, my older sister went to Australia to marry a famous soccer player. One of their neighbors and best friends was in a band called “Men at Work” (you may have heard of them) (casual name dropping here).

    Anyway, when she came back to America for a visit I thought she was the coolest person to ever live. AND, she was rockin’ your exact hair style. OMG…I sooo wanted to be like her.

    So, in conclusion, you were apparently ON TREND even wayyy back then. Cheers!

  92. BE SO GLAD that your bangs were NOT permed! Picture them fried to a crisp and sticking out horizontally from your forehead.
    Worst mistake I ever made. Twice.

  93. …and, we all looked like that in the 80’s so you were the peak of perfection at that time! Congratulations on having proof of exactly how 80’s cool you were! (All of my pics from that time are safely tucked away in Mom’s closet, and she doesn’t know how to scan them AND doesn’t have a Facebook account! I can breathe in peace!

  94. I had the same glasses, only mine were held together on the sides with tape, making me more attractive for any potential 7th grade boyfriends. I too also had the same Ogilve home permed hair, with the exception that mine was blonde & tinted slightly green, because apparently you are not supposed to go in the pool after a perm.
    Ahhh the good ole days….

  95. Holy Shit! was NOT expecting the stunned out psychedelic cat when i clicked on that link. laughing hysterically now and bumping into walls seeing spots lesson learned

  96. I had several home perms in the 80s. They were never good. One was so bad that a friend convinced me to use a raw egg to condition and tame my “curls.” It might have worked, but I tried to rinse the egg out in water that was too hot thus partially cooking the egg in my frizzy hair. Ah memories.

    Thank you for the laughs!

  97. You need to put some sort of warning next to the Amazon link because seizure-inducing!

  98. To be completely honest, we all looked like that. Young or old. The 80’s were so very unfortunate. I look younger @ 44 than I did at 16, true story.

  99. Okay, I stepped up and clicked the Amazon link, and I wrote a review of the cat sweatshirt. You can do it, too, people!

    Okay, maybe I should have read the part that says, “all items in our store are in Asia size.” I know Asia is really big, but I never dreamt I should take it literally. This garment takes up all the room in my closet and is protruding out the front door. However, it does keep me (and my family, friends, acquaintances, neighbors, enemies, and coworkers) warm, so that’s a plus. I thought about the Pink Queen Pullover Round Collar Sunglasses Cat White Sweatshirt Sweater Hoodie, but the name was too short, so I settled for this one. I would give it 5 stars, but the color in real life just didn’t “pop” as it did on my computer. I did read the part that says, “according to the light and different computer monitor, the color may be slightly different aspictures,” but I wasn’t sure what aspictures were. So anyway, it’s dazzling, and it’s geometric, and it has a cat print on it, so no false advertising.

  100. I show my high school students my senior prom photo – Emerald Green, layer of lace completely covering me from neck to ankles, with a large bow across the rear, dyed to match shoes (it rained, they bled on my WHITE stockings and I was green for two weeks), with my hair up about eight inches over my hair. I tell them that A) fashion improves with age, thank God and B) I felt really great when I wore that dress with that hair, and that is the most important thing…So glad you’ve embraced your past!

  101. I used to wear my hair in a similar god-awful style, only I added to it by winging the sides out and lacquering them in place with half a can of hairspray. It’s a wonder my head didn’t go up in flames anytime I got near an open flame.

  102. Oh Dear God…I had the EXACT same pair of red Sally Jessie Raphael glasses! Why, why – did I not think to beg for contacts?

  103. Mine was a perm to suave up my growing-out bad Lady Diana haircut, burned orange because I didn’t realize that too much Sun-In is indeed a bad thing.

  104. That cat sweater you linked….I need it like I need love and air. But….it doesn’t come in a 2X. I do not know how I’m supposed to go on living. It’s the best nightmare-inducing sweater in the history of history.

  105. Precisely why I’m the one posting the pics of me at the most awkward stage of my life – preemptive strike.

  106. So i was about 14.. same hair. Same glasses. BUT I had my acid wash jeans and matching jacket. Not the ordinary acid wash jacket…oh no! Mine had holes where the acid had eaten clean through. I thought I looked pretty good. Then I went to visit my grandma. She took one look at me and said, “If someone had made me dress that way when I was young I’d have cried and cried.” Perspective indeed.

  107. I laughed so hard at this post and the comments are gold too! My Sally Jesse Raphael glasses were purple. My cat sweater was red with Scottie dogs instead. My permed hair was enhanced with a crimping iron on the areas where the perm didn’t hold. (Including the wings- which we called ‘maxi pad hair’ and the guys hair with tails? You guessed it- ‘tampon hair’!) My braces were pointy and my complexion was angry. And I see your culottes and raise you the Guess jeans I begged my mom for that she bought on sale at Robinsons. They were white with black splotches on them. COW PRINT DENIM! I am pretty sure my Jr High years were why I didn’t kiss a boy until I was 20.

  108. AH, how well I remember. My hair was a tad shorter and we had plenty solution for my bangs. Oh, and my glasses were green versions of that same style…it’s like we’re related! Lol

  109. I don’t know why we all (at some point in adolescence) think it would be a GREAT idea to perm our hair. I did the exact same thing as a teenager and trust me, far more horrifying than your photo, rest assured. It’s like first you get your period, then you get a terrible perm. Doctors should study this phenomenon. Also, they should add a bottle of perm chemicals to all of those “Aunt Flo” period boxes for teen girls. Just get it out of the way quickly and preferably during the summer so your friends don’t have to witness the nest of Tribbles that is your hair.

  110. That “next best thing” sweater literally made me go, “Whooo…. Wow”.
    I feel your pain. I too had the huge glasses (perched on a teeny nose, on a tiny face) from the age of 2. I also sported the long curly hair/barrel bangs combo, except the curl was natural(ly out of control). Self conscious about my high forehead, I asked for bangs at 10. My mother wanted to “prove” to me that it was a stupid choice, so she allowed her friend to cut in some bangs, which she then feathered back (ala Farrah) over my curly head until I could manage styling them myself into the aforementioned barrel bangs. (Thank heaven there really aren’t any pictures of me from this time, for some reason.) Plus, she make some God-awful clothing style choices for me… I think my mother hated me.

  111. My sister did the perm thing once, and my mom said that it smelled like a wet pup. Our dogs took a whiff and acted insulted.
    I had poofy hair and big plastic glasses in the eighties too, but not as a fashion statement.

  112. After not having been to my high school reunion for years, I went only to be told “Oh, honey, you haven’t changed a bit!”. After threatening to slap that person, I explained that I no longer have braces, acne, bad home hair color and resulting breakage, and anorexia. I have, too, changed!

  113. “Like Terry Richardson, but less pedophiley.”

    Nice! A new search phrase for finding your blog! Eeexcellent. /Mr. Burns

  114. Your mystery man is James Sallis who wrote Two Faces of January which was made into a film that was shown at a launch party for the Grand Cayman International Film Festival which will debut next year. I am the idiot savant of on line searches. Is there a prize? (I peruse the twitter but I don’t use the twitter and I didn’t know how else to tell you.)

  115. Okay, good a searching, got tired of reading. Sallis’ mug came up as an other people you might be interested in when I googled the director of the movie but not actually the author of the book. He is, however, they guy in the picture. Google image him, you’ll see it’s so.

  116. So everyone had those glasses and I still kind of like them because you good see really well. Good thing the perm solution ran out cause the bangs rock. Your probably looked as good or better than everyone else.Love your posts!

  117. There is only one tiny thing that redeems this photo, and that’s the fact that you all look miserable. Ah, who am I kidding, this photo is just so awesome it’s painful.

  118. OMG!!!!!!! I had the same hair! it was a thing not to perm your bangs, because you’d take your curling iron and make ONE GIANT forehead-wide curl that flipped under toward your forehead, held with about a half can of Aqua Net! I had similar glasses, but I only wore them when I had to in class, I saw the world through a blur till I was in my 20’s and got contacts. I also wore bright blue eyeshadow, parachute pants, penny loafers with the penny in, swatch watches, and benneton shirts with the logo in bright neon across the front!

  119. My favorite part of this picture is the expression on your face. You look like you don’t really approve of dominos, or like maybe your sister is cheating. Can you cheat at dominos? I dunno.

  120. What’s really amazing to me is that when I clicked on the link to the terrifying cat sweater on Amazon, there are all kind of caveats warning you NOT TO ACCEPT IMPOSTERS and to ONLY BUY THE ORIGINAL PRODUCT FROM THEM and THOSE THEY HAVE AUTHORIZED TO SELL! Like they’re terrified at the thought that someone will duplicate that masterpiece and – shudder – walk around wearing an inferior version that does not truly reflect the beauty of what they have created. I know they’re actually probably just worried about losing market share and want to keep all their hard earned money, but I prefer to think it’s a desperate plea to retain their artistic control over what is clearly an epic design that deserves respect, not two-bit reproductions lurking on random corners of the internet with all the other scary things online shoppers love so much.

  121. I, too, had the glasses, which were also tinted and had the honest-to-God-thick-as-the-bottom-of-a-Coke-bottle lenses. Didn’t need a perm but I did have my hair STRAIGHTENED a couple of times (which never really worked). This was when everybody else had stick-straight, parted in the middle long hair (the 70s). My high school graduation picture has me with my hair blown-dried to be straight, parted on the side with ONE curling iron roll. Oy.

    I got Lasik eye surgery at 40 and have never regretted it for one second! Even though I still wear glasses for distance, they are of a normal thickness LOL. I’m so glad I’m not young any more!!!

  122. Ha! I see your Ogilvie home perm of the 80s and raise you the Toni home perm of the 70s. Made Olgivie smell like a frickin bouquet of roses! Also. The glasses, which I also wore but as I was giving birth to my daughters-which means I am forever immortalized in them.

  123. My mother always hated (still does) that I did everything in the world possible to a old having my picture taken (I never had yearbook photos done past 9th grade, even). This post, while awesome, now has me paranoid that there are pictures of me as a kid i the 80 that she snuck.

    As if the Catholic school class pics weren’t horrible enough….

  124. I had the same perm for years. My hair was always fried by my mother who went to beauty school and couldn’t do hair to save her life. I never wanted my bangs done though because I did it once and it looked more stupid than not having them done.

  125. I think you were ahead of your time! I have a 90’s 3d poster with your exact sweater cat print. You Jenny were and still are a trend setter!

  126. Wow, it appears you really do have a spirit or something hanging over your left shoulder. Crikey!

  127. Exactly! I love it. I am a tad older, but I couldn’t agree more. I love Throw Back Thursday and seem to be the photo keeper so none of my friends are same. 🙂

  128. this makes me smile… and cringe.
    i used to love my perms…. and i had this great sweater with teddy bears all over it. i used to rock that shit out along with my stirrup pants. hell yeah!
    the thing is we all went through it. and came out on the other side.
    i do have to say though jenny, that you have a somewhat skeptical look on your face, like you know that something is amiss…..even then. when it was all perfectly normal.

  129. I remember the smell, (70s and Toni, but the same thing, really) and I remember crying while my mother gave me one. Didn’t want it, hated it, and had no idea why she did it. My 6 year old self should have been more assertive!

  130. “Moodle” is the name of an online class forum that I have to use everyday- so everyday now I’ll think about your awesome 80s hairdo… And the most amazing sweatshirt ever sold on the internet 🙂

  131. I have had moments when I wanted to
    burn pictures from my teenage years. They were beyond horrid. But those years were some of the best in my life. I didn’t care about how I looked or what I wore. All I had were friends and sports and a whole lot of fun. So now looking back at some of those pictures, I only laugh my head off or say things like, ‘What the hell was I thinking!’. Those years shaped who I am today. So no embarrassment there:)

  132. I think it’s more important that we felt we looked good whether or not we actually did. The older I get, the more critical I am of myself. Back then I put together some awful outfits, but I always felt like I was awesome!

  133. I sometimes see pictures of me with the giant glasses (I went with the aviator style, so at least they’re metal frames) and wonder what I was thinking… but I seem to recall at the time I thought they looked quite good, so I know perceptions clearly change!
    I wanted my wavy hair straight, so I’d comb home perm solution through without the rollers — then one time I burned my scalp so badly it still doesn’t grow out completely in that spot (just short frizzies). Now I just use a lovely flatiron. Technology is our friend.
    I did have a really curly perm back in high school (the very earliest part of the 80s), and I looked like a fat, redheaded Q-Tip.

    (I do kinda like the cat sweater, I have to admit it.)

  134. Dear god. for a second I thought that cat sweater was animated. I’m going to have nightmares now, and I will totally blame you.

    Also, your hair looks much better now. I’m sorry that happened to you.
    I somehow managed to dress like a hippie in highschool. In the nineties. So corduroy bell bottoms, my dad’s old shirts, and straight hair parted in the middle, but no bad perms.

  135. Did you know that you can still buy an Ogilvie home perm kit? CVS sells them.

    I instantly call to mind the smell whenever I hear or read the name”Ogilvie.” Did you also enjoy that Wet Dog smell that happens whenever you wash your hair for months after?

  136. The home perms didn’t work on my hair, no matter how bad they smelled. So to get my moodle on, I had to use a crimping iron. Every day. And I did it, faithfully, until I had a job and could afford a salon-created moodle. It was a happy time. I bought also bought myself new ginormous glasses and a red sweater with shoulder pads, silver rivets and black suede fringe. I curled the fringe. So it would match the moodle. (I still have both the sweater and the crimping iron. I’ll put them on ebay if anyone really wants them)

  137. Ah yes, home perms. Been there, done that, AND I had glasses at least that big… the same time I had the moodle…..musta been the eighties, no?…..

  138. I still go to the stylist who permed my hair in the 80s (think masses of frizzy spiral curls and you’ll wonder why I do). Every time he introduces me to another client, he whips out a pic of me with a particularly egregious perm. Apparently the laugh outweighs the awfulness of this as a marketing strategy.

  139. Until I grew out my bangs a few years ago thanks to a serious natural curl in my hair I rocked this look too – without the glasses & kitty sweater which I think would’ve made my look!

  140. The shark tooth pendant……. I scrolled the comments (a little) but no one mentioned asking about the giant shark tooth. That must’ve been a great white or something. Not sure where to go with it, but just seems odd in itself. But that it was overlooked freaks me out. Moodle made me laugh, 😀

  141. OMG, did you see what people usually buy together with that geometric cat sweater on AMAZON? Another, even MORE HORRIFIC GEOMETRIC CAT SWEATER, but the cat has GLASSES!

  142. Oh boy… we all had that style… the sweaters, the perms, all of it. I could till rock this look… it might take me a few days to dig out an animal sweater from my closet.. but I know its in there!

  143. I once gave myself such a hideous Ogilvie perm, that it looked like someone had stapled a poodle to my head. A giant, poorly groomed, poodle.

    I had to get my hair cut off really short to get rid of the damage, and then I permed that…and I was the only white chick with a ‘fro on the block.

    I prefer not to think of myself during that time as hideous. I just tell everyone I was fashion-forward.

  144. In case you need me, I’ll be spending the next five hours scanning The Youtube for the Ogilvie TV commercial that my friend and I used to reenact to amuse ourselves, since there was nothing else to do in our tiny cow town. Well, except for our hilarious (to us) impression of Brenda Vaccaro’s breathy Playtex Tampons commercial. If only we’d known about awesome cat sweaters.

  145. Now, I have a photo of me at 2 1/2 at my sister’s christening where I am the spitting image of Elton John. If Elton John were Austin Powers they would have got 2.5 year old me to play his mini-me. In a polyester, fire hazard dress, with knee length lacy socks, and NHS glasses. I wasn’t just allowed out looking like that. My mother will have selected the outfit.
    Roll on 15 years, when I am dressing myself, and selecting my own clothes, and there is a photo of me looking like Ozzy Osbourne with no tattoos and the skin of an adolescent girl.
    They distress me these photos, but actually I love them because I look neither like EJ or OO. Except for those few seconds when the camera clicked.

  146. I’m thinking Halloween, ya’ll!
    Getting a friend to be the “Burger Queen”! (shirt below on amazon) with me.

  147. You would think that since every teen movie turned the “geek” girl in to a goddess by simply removing the hideous glasses, we’d have caught on sooner to how awful they were

  148. THANK YOU. I needed that. I grew my hair out for two years to get a perm (at an actual SALON) and my hair melted into outdoor shag carpet of a hideous orange color. I ended up cutting it all off so I looked like a boy. It was horrific.

  149. Oh my GOD, that sweater on amazon you posted is an actual optical illusion. It’s seriously MOVING on the screen

  150. I had the exact same hair style. Only I wore a pink and white striped cardigan to be photographed with it for my school pictures. I’ll have to see of my mom has the picture anywhere.

    I paid a salon to have mine done. I choose the smallest, tightest spiral because…. I don’t remember why. Temporary insanity? I was really proud of my perm though. Extended temporary insanity? Anyway, when it grew out, it looked exactly like yours and there is photographic evidence of this fact.

  151. Oh, the sweaters! I clicked on the link, and then there were actual REVIEWS so I read them and then I had to click on the other links and read them too. And now I’ve lost 15 minutes of my day. But I kind of want a bad cat sweater now…

  152. Love the cat sweater! We have a picture from 23 years ago where you catch my sister in the background wearing a white sweatshirt with a big giant cat stamp on it…actually, 4 stamps (Google 1988 cat stamp and it’s the first or second image that comes up). This past Christmas, I had it re-created on vistaprint and oh my gosh….except for the fact that I could only do a long-sleeved t-shirt instead of the original sweatshirt, it’s epic. The pictures are priceless.

  153. Heeey, for the ZLYC Women’s Dazzle Geometric Cat Print Sweatshirt Jenny linked to, if you take your magnifying square and swirl it over the shirt, it’s like a cheap drug trip. With a cat.

  154. I like the other sweater that it was show as a ‘frequently purchased with’…Amazon, you win again

  155. 80s home perms, bad fashion, oh, yeah. My poodle-perm was after I’d cut my hair short: big mistake. I looked like a poodle, without your mullet adaptation. It was bad.

    Jelly shoes, banana-clips (for my super-fine, super-flat hair that probably looked even dumber than I think now), fluorescent colored everything…. at least we got some good music.

  156. I know someone who would love that sweater you linked to! It is very scary, she really would wear it and think she was in fashion.

  157. Oh, thank you for the laugh this morning, Ms Bloggess. I think that sweater smells of teen angst…but you’re adorable and brainy without the boobs yet. I used to love dominoes too. In fact, that’s probably why friends stopped coming to my house after school.

  158. To give your almost-14-year-old self some credit: Your hands are quite lovely.

  159. I just bought that sweatshirt on Amazon. Yes, really. Thank you.

  160. I love the perm! I really miss those days ‘cos perms were brilliant for my thin hair. I did actually do a couple of years of getting my hair permed at the hairdresser recently, but have just gone with generally messy hair of late.

    Also, you could definitely put that sweater into a shop and get people to pay money for it right now 80’s retro is huge right now (as is 90’s retro – shudder!).

  161. I should never have clicked to see what you found in the ps because now Facebook keeps asking me if I am still interested in a seizure-inducing sweater hahahahhahahaha

  162. That is awesomesauce right there. The comments are just as good. Someone up there mentioned how she used a half a can of hairspray to lacquer her do, and was surprised she didn’t catch on fire. Well I actually did catch on fire-twice. No lie. One of my brothers (the same one both times) luckily noticed and put me out by tackling me both times. I also was permed-and actually retained the urge to perm in to my freshman year at college. WHAT WAS I THINKING?!
    Oh the 80s…

  163. Add me to the list of folks with the giant glasses and permed hair. I had my glasses looong into the 90s because I have crappy eyes and couldn’t afford new ones. When I went to get new ones the people at Lenscrafters warned me, “We don’t have any that big, you know.” Yes, I knew and was thankful! For whatever reason I got a perm a couple years ago and it was the 80s all over again. I got called in to update my driver’s license photo then and the guy at the DMV desk looked at it said, “Holy cow! You look the same now as you did at 16! That was 20 years ago!” Permed hair aside, I took it as a compliment because it was 30 years ago.

  164. I love how everyone has a perm story! (Anyone feel like ladies of the world could be united through the Bad. Home. Perm?) When I was in fourth grade my mother permed only my bangs. This was the late 90s and the Wynonna Judd look was NOT in; however, my neighbor’s cockatoo must have realized how nest-like my new ‘do was, because he did LAND ON MY FOREHEAD and proceed to rub his head against it, oblivious to my screams. To this day, my mother insists this never happened.

  165. Oh Gawd! Replace the dominoes with Uno and you’ve got me and my cousin at Christmas in my grandmother’s kitchen. I’m the one in the terrible perm. I even had those glasses and the same super serious expression. Because Uno is SERIOUS business!

  166. I had both that sweater and those glasses. But I was in fifth grade and I thought the height of fashion was to put those giant frosted rims ON ONE OF THOSE NECK CORD THINGS that only old ladies use. And worse, they were only reading glasses. My father was an ophthalmologist and thought it’d be a good idea for me to have reading glasses to try and prevent me from becoming as near-sighted as my mom as I grew up (she’s legally blind without her glasses, like 20/500). So feel no shame about the horrible 80’s wear. We all did it.

  167. I faked blurry eyes with headache combination…. Just to get glasses like you!

  168. OMG!! That cat sweater is awesome! So awesomely horrible I want to buy one just for the shock value! 😀

  169. I actually wish I could go back in time, I used to be CUTE! My is pretty awesome now though. It was just mediocre, now its a.w.e.s.o.m.e.

  170. The glasses, the bad perm. the dorky sweater, this was basically me in the eighties. Only my mom didn’t do the home perm thing. We went to Fantastic Sams.

  171. I had the same hair. But trade the cat shirt for a Lion King shirt and dressy silk shorts, with BOYS tennis shoes….I also have a video of me wearing this while lip singing to TLC Waterfalls. I was so cool.

  172. I think you look adorable. The mere mention of home perms cleared out my sinuses just now. I permed my hair until I was about 30, when I stopped my hair remained curly. Found out after all those years that I never needed a perm in the first place. Huh.
    WHHYYYY did anyone ever think oversized glasses were attractive? I suspect some designer announced they were the rage then stood back and chortled like Muttley while the trend took hold.

  173. I desperately wanted a cat sweater like that in the 80s. My mom bought me a red sweater with white scottie dogs (except one dog was black — it was supposed to be an “accent” but I remember thinking it was racist) — not the same. Then my grandmother got me a pink sweatshirt with white sheep (again one black, against racist) — again not the same. I never did get that dang cat sweater. Sheep and dogs? Not equivalent to cats. I won’t even start about the green rain coat with blue whales that was not equivalent to the blue rain slicker with yellow ducks that I really wanted.

  174. As a wearer of bifocals, I would welcome the return of those 80s big frames. Just try getting bifocals into the trendy skinny lens/frames.

  175. I think we had the same stylist. My mother thought ginormous glasses were “adorable” and the perms made it look like I specialized in break dancing on my head. Who needs a date when you have a side ponytail, tie-dyed shirts, and smokin’ hot leg warmers?

  176. That sweater just gave me a seizure!
    My perms were done at the cosmetology college and I did look like a poodle and should never again have curly hair. I feel so beautiful now. Thank you for that perspective.

  177. Thing the first- I waited on a woman at work the other day who had that exact hairdo, Jenny. I actually did a double take when she and her family first walked up. Her family was dressed so normally and her HAIR. It was hard not to stare.

    Thing the second- There are no photos from my badly permed middle school years. The years when I had The Braces from Hell, sweatshirts from Grandma with puffy kittens on them, and the bangs that were cut all the way back over my ears so that we’d “save money” on hair cuts. I destroyed Every. Single. Photo. I’m not sure my parents have ever figured out what happened to those photos. I have no problem with this.

    Thing the third- I love my naturally straight hair. I have no idea why I was getting the nasty smelling fall-out-fast perms when I was 11-13. Oh, the late 80’s.

  178. Hahaha yes!! This picture is awesome!

    The cat sweater you found on Amazon was so hilarious it made me snort laugh.

  179. No glasses for me, but I rocked my 80s home perm with a sweater dress that was quite memorable. It was royal blue with–god, I cannot believe I am admitting this–giant light bulbs all over it, in red and yellow and green and white. Good times, good times.

  180. I never did a home perm: I’m from working-class Brooklyn, where you cannot swing a dead cat without hitting a “professional” hairdresser. Seriously, there’s, like, a hair-and-manicure place every other store on the avenue in my home town. Beauty-shop perms were so cheap back in the day, it seemed stupid to do it at home when a pro could handle it (and that smell could stay back in the shop). I was just visiting last weekend and saw they were all still battling it out for cheap services — can you believe $15 for a mannie-pedie? Such a deal! I hope they wash the cuticle-pushie-thing.

    I remember the perm fluid smelled exactly like Nair, the hair remover product you could smear on your legs then wash off in the shower before it gave you a third-degree chemical burn. I guess whatever that funky, horrible smell was, it was a chemical that changed or softened hair so you could remove it or mold it to a tight curl.

  181. I had the huge 80s glasses too, except mine were pink. Never had a perm–no point since my mother forced me have super short hair my whole childhood because she thought it was cute. Maybe the pink glasses were a good thing, because without them, I would have looked like a boy.

  182. I had hair down to my butt in high school (which I thought was super cool and rebel). I decided to get a perm. It cost a million dollars and looked like shit. This sums up the 80s for me. Funny post! I just found you (#livingunderarock).

  183. When I read the word “poollet,” I immediately thought of “poulet” or the french word for chicken. So, a drunken poodle and a mullet = a chicken. 🙂 I apologize for my thought process, but I just wanted to share my tidbit of wisdom. Also my mom had those kind of glasses back in the 80’s! 😀

  184. I had that exact perm! I have an Aunt Joycie too. Things that make you go hmmmm

  185. Ok, seriously? That “next best thing” sweater has now been haunting me on facebook since I clicked on that link. Thanks a lot. Next thing I know it will be haunting my dreams.

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