Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Word coinage: pubic perm

Posted by lea at 12:21 PM
Here's a fairly well-known tidbit among the Korean circle: Korean women of a certain age (late 40s usually, maybe early 50s) tend to cut and perm their hair in a kind of Asian-Afro 'do. Here's what the blog Stuff Korean Moms Like says about it:

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.

Many years ago (around 8-10 years I'd say), I coined the word pubic perm to best describe it. I remember this very clearly, because it sprang to mind shortly after the springing of actual pubic hair through the fabric of a tight skirt of a friend of mine who liked to go commando.

Anyway, that's another story.

So shortly after the commando-pubic-hair incident, I was with some Korean girlfriends and we were talking about ahjumahs and why they inevitably go the way of the frizzy perm (all our mums had the same head of hair). And ding suddenly the phrase came to me: pubic perm.

See, other nationalities will see a shower drain full of short dark curly hair and shrink back in disgust. Koreans see the same hair in our shower drain and think 'mum's just had a shower'.

This is essentially what the pubic perm looks like (when it's still attached to the carrier's head):

This post is mainly for posterity because I'm claiming credit now before the phrase goes into the vernacular. Mwahaha!

Although on second thoughts, I'm not sure that I want my name associated with the pubic perm ...


Laura said...

I can't wait to see you with one! HA HA! Somehow, I think you would suit it. It would make your terrifying ajummah rating go through the roof.

snowdomes on February 2, 2011 at 1:13 PM said...

You know how I was threatening the Hubs with this hairdo if he was overweight at 40? Well, in my 20s I was so sure I could pull it off and still look cool, but as the years go by...mmm...

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