Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day and Hairtastrophies

What an amazing day for our nation. And yet I find myself torn with uncertainty. Uncertain whether he will be able to live up to the high standards we have set for him. Uncertain whether he, or anyone for that matter, will be able to undue the damages to our economy. And yet hopeful, for what else do we have to hold on to in America, if not HOPE for a BETTER TOMORROW!

and now for


I can still remember the first time I dyed my hair. I was a sophomore in High School. My hair was so long and thick that it took two whole bottles to cover it. The top layers were sun-bleached to a nearly bleach blonde while the bottom layers were nearly jet black. How was I supposed to know that ten years later kids would be dying their hair exactly like that?

So let's see, the summer of '97 I chopped off my waist length hair that I'd had for as long as I could remember. I spent the next five years chopping more and more off trying to find a length that my thick tresses would stop fluffing out into mock-white-afroism!

I found my favorite length in 1999 (admittedly, I still love my hair cut that way) My best friend took a pair of hair clippers and buzzed everything off except for my bangs. And while there were the few durogitory remarks (Probably the only time someone called me the four-letter D-word), the general consensus was that I pulled that look off amazingly! I kept that look off and on for several years and was always happy with it.

In 2000, a friend came over with her clippers because my buzz was starting to resemble a chia pet. Unfortunately, she used a guard way too short and my head came out appearing as if it had a five-o-clock shadow. She was horrified and tearful, but I didn't really mind, it grows back. However, the forty-something-mid-life-crisis-suffering fathers of my friends thought this would be the perfect opportunity to shave my head. ('Cause doesn't every man dream of taking a bic razor to a girl's hair). Needless to say I came out looking like a neo-nazi wannabe. To top it all off I had surgery a few weeks later. Standing outside a hospital in a flimsy gown with a cigarette in hand and a shaved head only convinced on-lookers that I was a tragic cancer patient. Thankfully, my bodyguards did well to prevent all flash photograph during this period in my life, so I'm safe to persue my life of fame and fortune without unwanted embarassing tabloid photos.

Oh... we haven't even got into the coloring-fetish I had. Name a color... yep... did that!

At various parts in my life my hair has been burgandy, auburn, fire-engine red, orange, blonde, black, blue-black, purplish, pink and even green.

I was nineteen (pre-buzzcut) and it was the Friday before my boyfriend's homecoming dance. I'd spent a year slowly dying my hair darker and darker. From bleach blonde (not natural), to auburn, dark auburn to burgandy, and finally a black-blue that turned out purplish because of all the red tint in my hair.

So I walked into the local salon and asked my stylist to make it blonde. Her jaw dropped (she hadn't seen me in months and the black really didn't look good on my ivory skin). She said she would do it as long as I promised to never go black again (that sounds so WRONG!).
Anyway, six hours later (with bf waiting patiently) I'd gone through the strongest peroxide she had and still had black hair. She finally tried an herbal bleach that looked like mud.
I must say it's the only time I've ever screamed at my hair. When we went to rinse it off, it still looked dark from the cake of "mud" but when I came up out of the sink my hair was a rainbow.

The tips that had been dyed a million times were a deep burgandy. The roots where bleach blond. And in the middle was every variation of orange with the most prominant being something that can only be defined as HUNTER ORANGE.

I screamed... then laughed... and finally demanded that she leave it that way because if anything it was UNIQUE! Appauled, she swore she'd light me on fire if I told anyone where I had my hair done and made me wear a hat when I left the salon!

There was the hot pink hairspray that was a staple of my night life for some time (only because at that time you couldn't find hot pink hair dye in podunk nowhere... and I did have a job that required somewhat of a decent reputation). I was home alone with the roommate and since it was just us girls I didn't think anything of it when I went to the bathroom. Unfortunately, her husband came home and finding the door unlocked, he walked in. We both may have screamed. Afterwards, the poor man confessed he had seen nothing except hot pink and white - hot pink outfit, hot pink hair, and ivory white skin!

And the one hair color I highly recommend NOT trying, is green. I really don't mind if you actually DYE your hair green, but you really should not do what I did. It was Saint Patrick's Day and the bar had handed out these glow in the dark green badges at the door. At the all night coffee shop I got this bright idea. "Wouldn't my hair be awesome in glow-in-the-dark green?" So we cut open the badges and lathered the gooey green goop into my hair. Ever smell the stuff that's inside those things? Try to imagine the "high" you get from hair-dye fumes if you locked yourself in a closet-sized bathroom for the whole procedure. Better yet, imagine you placed a plastic bag over your head to trap and inhale all those toxic fumes. Now imagine that "high" inducing aroma following you around for the next three hours while you walk around looking like a victim of radioactive fallout! Not to mention that six shampoos later, your roommates will still say they can smell it.

So yes, if there is a way to brutally disfigure your hair, I have done it. I have dyed my hair with Kool-Aid and boiling water. I have dyed my hair in a Shopko bathroom, driven around with a shower cap on and rinsed it out in a gas station water hose. I have gone shopping with hair-dye in, only to realize too much time has passed and we had to beg a salon to let us used there sink before I fried my head. I have knocked on the door of a distant family acquaintance to ask if I could use their bathroom to rinse out my hair.

I confess that these endeavors were all the product of my defiance to society. I reject the idea that a woman has to spend four hours in front of a mirror to make herself presentable enough for the public. I reject the idea that my hair has any impact on defining who I am. My hair was, for some time, my personally middle finger to social norms.

So in my "old age" what do I consider a nice hairstyle? Take one look at Grace Kelly (yes, I dare to dream!) Maybe I'm getting old or maybe it's just the nostalgia of that classic beauty... or maybe it's because the celebrity look alike matches me at 76% with her. She was gorgeous. But alas, the hair must grow for something as classy as that. In the mean time, I'm all about the posh/punk look, though I rarely have the ambition to do any more than run a brush through it. And if I had about 20 times the patience and enough goop to smooth out these heavy locks... I'd so be about the Nicole Kidman (Golden Compass) look! HOTSY!!

My hair advice to every woman...

Be kind to your hair (if it suits you) but remember it is just hair. I firmly believe that if you want a way to express yourself, remodel yourself, or otherwise make a statement about who you are, there is no harm in doing it through your hair. A new style can make you feel more confident and satisfied with you because the possibilities are endless. It's better to try a new cut or color than to join a cult or start sacraficing sheep in the back yard! Life is about enjoying and if your hair is not contributing to that... shave it off!! (no... please don't do that... but you could buzz it off if you want!)


J... said...

I have never worried about my hair. Every time I have gone to get it cut, I tell the beautician to just do whatever she thinks will look good because she is the professional and even if I hate it, it will grow back.

My favorite haircut was when I had blonde hair down to the middle of my back and I shaved an inch off of each side (right above my ears) and two inches off the bottom of the back (at the nape of my neck) and then pulled my hair into a ponytail so you could see the entire shaved part. I have naturally dark roots with my blonde hair so the shaved part was darker than my hair. It was great!

My Outside Voice said...

I am very disturbed by your adverse reaction to the sacrificing of sheep in my backyard.

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