I figured out my hair was wavy in my late 30's. Before I learned how to treat my wavy hair, I thought it was straight, but fuzzy, with some annoying bends.
For me the CG method and styling methods used on this board made a miraculous difference in the way my hair looks and feels. Be sure to try plopping, pixie diffusing, the ice queen method, and the super soaker method (in the techniques sticky at the top of the page). These methods are popular with wavy girls.
I've had perms before, and mine did stay in until I cut them off or grew them out. But the hair growing in at the roots is not affected by the perm. My guess is that your waves just don't start until ear level. This is very common for wavies. Many wavies need to keep their hair long in order for it to look wavy. When it is short, it ends up almost straight (with a few hairs that insist on flipping out in odd directions).
Wavy hair is actually the best type of hair to wear in rollers. Wavy hair really holds the curls made by curlers.
Hope you like and enjoy your newly discovered hair texture.
http://pedaheh.blogspot.com/ (a blog to help new wavies, go to the how do I get started page)
2a (nc.com) 2bFi (Fia), very fine, thin, low/normal elasticity, porous, CG, doesn't get weighed down
Cowash: Tresemme naturals
Rinse out/leave in: Renpure Organics (red)
Curl enhancer: FSG
Gel: BRHG, Salon care aloe, Ecostyler Krystal (normal dews)
PT: ION effective care, IAgirl's gelatin PT
Low Poo: renpure (red), Ion swimmers