Fat Boy

My mother was never one to stop anything she had started. If she was baking a pie or icing a cake, she wouldnt stop, other than to answer the phone and return quickly to what she had been doing. Same thing with with my hair. If she had even STARTED to set my hair, she wasnt about to take the curlers out if somebody suddenly dropped over. Most of the time, I would simply run to my bedroom, even in a half rolled head and stay there until the guest had left. She could then wind me to completion. Sometimes, depending on who the unexpected visitor was, she would quickly wrap my head in folded turban in the usual way and send me to the back yard. The scarf like material was folded so it went around my head, leaving the top exposed and safety pinned in the back near my neck and tucked under. Sometimes giving me a choice of White or Light Blue, wearing it, I could feel and pretend I looked like either POPEYE or ALADDIN. As a boy, with details explained in UNWELCOME VISITOR, shocks and surprises always met me in curling situations.
I was 9 years old when after school, in my mother's bedroom, winding my hair into rollers, she went to answer the phone and found a classmate from her business college days, who had come into town and wanted to come over for a brief chat, she had some business in town and had always promised that because both girl friend's had son's, they would one day get us together to meet each other. Mom tried to explain that this might not be good time, but said she was heading back to her home the next day and the relatives who were supposed to keep him overnight had an unexpected problem and called my mom hoping her son could stay with us. Mom returned to finish rolling my hair and she spoke to me about the boy I'd heard about for years and getting us together was a kind of dream of theirs. She wasnt about to turn down her former roommate's request and I tried to stop her from putting my hair into rollers and take them out. "I'm not going to waste all this work I've gone to." , suggesting that she just wrap my head in the turban. The turban was fine, and going public with my hair set had been somewhat routine since she started putting me into pincurls. It gave me some cover with my gender and our usual route took us away from friends who might see me, to the down town department store areas. Chances of running into somebody we knew, was remote.
The turban folded around my rollers, worked fine when I rode around a distant park on my bike. It also worked great for guests accidently coming to our door. If anybody happened to ask her about my hair in rollers, she would shrug it off, "just something I wanted to try." For the most part, the excuse seemed to work, especially when those people might not see me for an extended amount of time. I could see that my mother had some questioning thoughts buzzing through her mind, but seemed to just disallow possibilities and didnt care if it was the Minister of the church dropping by, taking the rollers out of my hair, after she had gotten them all in, was just not a question she wanted to deal with.
We heard a car stop in front of our house, just minutes after her phone call, and rushed to the front door into the yard to meet her former college friend that she hadnt seen in many years. She didnt even wrap my rollers with the turban, so excited did she seem. I looked out her bedroom window, which faced the street and saw them embracing, then as the woman with shoulder length dark hair, opened the door of the car, I saw the largest kid I'd ever seen in my life. This kid was a fat boy to beat all other fat boys. Years later I could laugh at the similarities to Bill Cosby's FAT ALBERT, the way the kid walked and waddled. I'm not sure why, but I took an immediate dislike to him, even having never met him. That was very odd, because I often hung out at school with the out casts of the school, the brains, the skinny, the fat, the left out.
Mom led them up to our front porch and into the front living room. She called me but I remained in her bedroom, sitting in front of her vanity where she had been doing my hair. I guess she suddenly realized she hadnt finished with my hair as she led them in to meet me. I continued to sit as the woman looked at me and at my rollers very skepitcally. Mom introduced me to her and I could see the woman's puzzled look on her face as she introduced her fat slob of a son to me, and we both shook hands, as he began to snicker at the rollers. Mom quickly finished pinning my rollers and suggested he go on into my bedroom that I shared with my brother. Finally she let me up and I rushed to the bedroom, while the two women talked about old times. I found the fat kid with one of my brother's model airplanes and told him that he wasnt supposed to touch them. He didnt seem to care and picked up another one he had been working on, and broke off a glued wing. I yelled at him and he said he was "sorry", and looked at my hair rollers. He started giggling asking if I was a girl or boy? It made me angry because I knew very well he knew I was a boy, and he quickly asked if I had any comics to read. I told him I did, and found my older ones that I didnt think if he torn a page would be so bad, as if he tore any new ones.
We heard the women call us to the living room and his mother kissed him "good night" and mom walked her to her car. "You both have fun!" She also mentioned that it was "good" doing my hair and "have to keep that 'permanent' idea in mind for Sonny!" refering to her son. Sometimes my mother would open her mouth when people asked about my hair, and seldom holding back, tell them a partial truth, and in obliging her, sometimes the woman would mention what a good idea it was for me, and think about suggesting permanent for their own sons. I'd heard that for years, I'd never heard any follow up from anybody who took my mother's offer. I was hoping Sonny hadnt heard about the permanent or connected my mom giving me permanents too. Saying again how great it was for us both to finally get together. I felt like sticking my tongue out at her. Inside, the fat kid asked what they mean about 'permanent', and I told him my mother had gotten a permanent. He seemed satisfied with my answer. Sonny, with his hair cut into a very short flat top, went back towards my room as I went to the bathroom. When I came out, I found he'd opened my drawers in my bedroom and was going through them. He was looking at things and I also noticed the closet door was open, and he asked me if I had any dresses I could show him. Certainly, all in jest just to make fun of me. I rushed at him and slammed him down to my bed and my mother came in, grabbed me by the arm and yelled at me about messing up my rollers. He started snickering as she made me stand while she rewound one of the rollers and then put the hairnet over my rollers. As she left, I punched him in the stomach and he quickly told me he didnt want to fight. My fist went into his belly like going through jelly, soft and blubbery. I knew now I could beat him up, but physically if he wanted to he could have crushed me just sitting on me, he must have weighed 2000 lbs. He wanted to know what it was 'like' to have curlers in my hair. There was no way to really answer him, I knew the question was just poking fun, so I didnt give him a reply.
Mom came back in and rearranged the room, changing sheets so he could take my brother's bed who was staying overnight at a friend's. I couldnt believe that he was staying overnight. He was laughing tears as she left for the kitchen to get dinner ready. I had gotten him to cry by punching him so I knew I could have the upper hand if I wanted.
At dinner, he told my mom he didn't like anything on the table. Mom tried in vain to please him, and in the end, he ate everything and even scooped seconds and thirds to his plate. When she went to the kitchen for something I saw him looking over at me and rubbing his flat top head and obviously making fun of me. He used both hands in a scratching motion over his short hair, and I tried not to watch. He put his fingers into his mouth and pulled his cheeks wide and stuck out his tongue at me. He looked like a goofy clown and went back to 'normal' as my mom gave us dessert.
Mom suggested we play a few board games and finally settled on Chinese checkers, and I beat him all of three games. He didnt seem to want to play the last game and started snickering again and told me he'd never heard of a boy in curlers before, and said I looked like a sissy. When I threatened to punch him again, he backed off. We watched tv until it was time for bed. I heard mom call me to the bathroom and put my pajamas on before I went to her. I sat on the closed toilet seat as she prepared my rollers for bed. First securing them with double pins all around, and then surrounding them with tissue/toilet paper several times and then two hairnets, one light, one stronger, and then the slumber cap, but she would do that, after I got to my bed. When Sonny saw me he seemed to have a laugh riot. He had a field day as soon as my mother went back to the living room. He cat called me, "siss, siss sissy!!" I was too tired to put up with him and told him to get to bed. Mom came in with my light blue slumber cap and I sat up and she fixed it over my rollers. I dropped my head back to the pillow.
Although the evening with my mother's former college roommate's son, hadnt gone so well, I was much too tired to deal with it and quickly fell to sleep, even though Sonny, who had taken my brother's bed to sleep over was still musing to himself about seeing me in rollers. I know he started mumbling several questions to me but I was much to tired to listen.
It was later in the night, when I felt something push my arm. It was then, I realized that it was Sonny, the gargantuan fatty, trying to get into MY bed! I tried pushing him out, trying to get him to go back to his own bed, but he said he was homesick and didnt feel like sleeping alone. There wasnt much I could do, other than to just move over closer to the wall and let him take the other side of my bed, even if he did have to sleep on his side, facing towards me. He seemed to be wide awake, and once in my bed he started to use his fingers to tickle me. I pushed him away and told him to go to sleep! I turned and faced the wall, and although I could hardly keep awake, he seemed to keep to himself and after probably a few minutes, felt him twigging my hairnet and pushing down on my rollers. After several times, I finally got really angry and warned him to keep his hands to himself. I couldnt believe this kid!
Somehow, I fell back to sleep and somewhere towards morning, I woke feeling some moisture soaking my pajamas. HE'D WET THE BED!! I was so miffed, I kicked him and he just turned slightly, in deep sleep. Obviously there was no moving this huge mass. I got up and lifted my legs over his body to the floor. I went to the bathroom and came back and found he'd gone back to my brother's bed. Of course, now MY bed was soaking. I went to the linen closet next to the bathroom, and got out several towels, which I put down after I pulled the sheets off. It seemed dry enough to finish out the night before mom would come in to wake me up to get me ready for school.
Mom came in and saw the sheets on the floor off MY bed and knew instantly, I'd wet MY bed! I think although she knew I hadnt wet my bed since I was very little, she was very disgusted with ME, although I tried in vain to tell him it was SONNY, not me! When she asked me how to explain that he was in MY bed, I told her how he said he was homesick and felt lonely. She looked at Sonny, who was just waking up, saying he didnt do anything. I'm not sure if she believed him at the time or not, but she grabbed me by the arm and in the bathroom, started removing all the garbage she'd put over my rollers. Sonny and I stared at each other during breakfast without saying a word, although my mom asked him questions about where he lived and how he liked school, he answered her in a few sentence responses. Mom took me to her bedroom to remove the rollers from my hair and he sat watching to my great frustration. I could see him giggling and laughing silently over the sight of me. Mom combed out my hair and did my hair as usual, and misted me with some hair spray. He coughed and gagged as if he were being killed. Mom ignored him and we both went to my room, because I had to get ready for school. I heard him call out to me "Your'e a sissy! You got your hair set! You got your hair set!" and I called HIM a "fat pig". He started to cry. He broke down and mom came rushing in wondering what had happened. I tried to tell her that he'd wet my bed, was calling me names, and so I called him a "fat pig". She took him to the bathroom to wipe off his face, tears running down. At that moment, we heard a knock on the front door and it was his mother, come back to pick him up. She saw her son in tears and asked what had happened? What had I done?
Before mom could answer, I told her that Sonny wet the bed! "My son does NOT wet the bed!" she angrily snapped. "he called me a fat pig!" Sonny cried. She grabbed Sonny's things and because he had no pj's and my brother's wouldnt fit him, sleeping in his underpants, there wasnt much to grab and they headed out to their car with my mom following. I stayed inside and finished getting ready for school.
Over the years, I guess they wrote letters to each other, having that common friendship years before, but I dont recall anything ever said about Sonny. For me it was just an episode in my life that would have well been forgotten long ago.

3 Responses Feb 7, 2011

Have lots of curler stories. Nothing much of 'dressing up.' Even as a boy, I hated wearing a tie, much less a button down shirt, required for my hair being set. I loved the fantasy and playtime of being a cowboy as my western heros, but the cowboy hat that one of my relatives sent didnt fit my head with rollers. Think of wearing boots and pincurls.

Thank you for sharing this curler story, I grew up with short hair most of my life, but, I remember, vividly helping my mom roll up her hair and watching my beautiful cousins and girlfriends, as their moms did the same for them, I was always so envious of all this special attention that the girls got, please share more of your earliest experiences, I have tobelieve that you were also dressed up sometimes to show off your precious hairdos, thank you,<br />

Please see my story UNWELCOME VISITOR. There isnt any reason WHY, other than to say she told me I "needed" my hair curled, "needed" permanents for my hair, as a child "needing" glasses. She made me think I somehow had 'bad' hair, and home permanents, hair sets were just part-a Major part of my life from ages 5-11. I firmly believe it was all the advertising hype given beauty care of hair in the 50's and early 60's. Because I was a boy didnt cause her any pain at all.