Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen
Give me down to there hair, should length or longer
Here baby, there momma, everywhere daddy, daddy
-Hair the Musical
I’m going in to have my hair corrected this Saturday. I say corrected because I had to have someone who doesn’t know me, doesn’t know my color, work on my hair a couple of weeks back. That’s a big deal for me, but my sweet stylist who I have been seeing for probably close to 5 years, broke her hand and I had no choice but to take the referral to her co-stylist.
To say I was apprehensive when I sat in his chair is putting it mildly. But to be fair, I am apprehensive about a lot of things, so I went with it. Overall when I left, I was pleased. It wasn’t exactly the same, but I was wooed by product (which always seems to work so much better when they use it), and expert styling. Tie into that how sassy and shiny my hair always feels after seeing a professional, and my ego was perfectly puffed up. It wasn’t until a few days later – while on vacation, that I started to notice that subtle things I didn’t like. Like how orange it was starting to look.
My hair isn’t my crowning jewel, but I think like many women, it’s still a point of vanity. For me, all this hype and attachment was something I kind of came around to later in life, which is ironic, because last year I probably lost 35% of after Kurt’s death. Or so it feels llike.
I wasn’t gifted with thick luxurious locks. Nor were there sweet deep curls that begged to be nuzzled. My dark hair would never have that honey drenched color that I coveted on children. Nope, for most of my life I simply had very brown, straight, fine baby hair. Lots and lots of it, which gave the illusion of thickness.
My motto had always been “It’s only hair, it’ll grow back.” It was probably a defense mechanism from all the home haircuts I received in the 70’s. I can tell you that there is no way in hell I would give anyone a layered shag haircut, but for my mom? It wasn’t even a challenge. These cuts created a frame of thought about my hair that ultimately gave me some freedoms which were especially good in the 80’s when I tortured and teased and colored and permed my way into oblivion.
I cut it all off ala Pat Benatar at one point on a whim. I had the obligatory late 80’s Rooster Bangs that required huge cans of the stickiest, stiffest hair sprays. I spent years off and on perming my hair, looking for that perfect spiral curl, only to end up with tight little curls that required the use of hair picks and tons of Infusium, which really only made it look wet and crunchy. For the record, crunchy perms go perfect with Rooster Bangs.
I don’t apologize. Those were the 80’s.
By the nineties, I had graduated to hot rollers, and layers and Jennifer Anniston. I stayed comfortably there for years, until I got into riding and realized big hair and helmets do not go hand in hand. The freedom of finally having flat hair should have released me from the bondage of heat and products, but by now my once straight hair decided it wanted to have this weird wave, and be strangely affected by humidity. So out went the rollers and layers and in came the straightener.
Irony at its finest.
As for coloring, that started all the way back in my teens with Sun-In or Peroxide, which I suspect was the same thing without the fancy labeling and fine mist spray. I had to sneak that away from my mother’s prying eyes, hoping that she wouldn’t notice her dark haired daughter was now rocking some orangey looking locks. I just wanted that “been in the sun all day look” that I already naturally had. She never noticed. My eyebrows she thought I darkened. My entire head of hair lightened though? Nope.
By my early twenties, I moved up to those home frosting kits with the color coded caps that made you look like Barbie after severe radiation; and by my thirties I found my comfort zone with bland shades of brunette, spicing it up with a redder version here and there. As if Dark Mahogany was any different than what I was born with, but by now I had no idea what my true shade of brown was. Plus to be fair, brunettes are limited in the color spectrum.
As for length, again I had no real attachment to it. I’d grow it out, and on a whim go and hack six inches off. Especially after break-ups. Nothing was more cleansing and screamed “I’m moving on!” than a cathartic butchering of one’s follicles.
Most of time I had no qualms about cheap haircuts. That was more about being a single mother on a budget, but there was another part of me that just couldn’t see spending XX dollars to have a trim. I still have issues with it. A good cut? No issue. Whisking off those dead ends? Yeaaah, the dollar conscious mom in me comes to the surface with that one.
Yet, once in a while I would venture out and get a really nice (read: expensive, because for a long time I assumed that expensive meant something more) cut that I had truly had dual hopes for. One of course was the perfect style, which I would quite often achieve, but almost as important was this quiet little wish that maybe this hairdresser would be the one. That there would be some sort of this instant connection, and that I would form this lifelong relationship with someone who finally understood my hair wants and needs. But like a bad blind date with a person who has waaaay too many expectations (for the record? I’m the one with the lofty expectations) I’d sit there giving nothing and expecting sparks. 99% of the time I wouldn’t go back.
I did let men influence some of my hair decisions, and I was surprised at how much my hair made an impression. “Oh … I loved your big hair” one told me not hiding his disappointment in my newest layered flatter look, after we ran into one another a year after breaking up. “I loved your flat beach hair…” another told me with that same sound of disappointment, after I discovered hot rollers and hadn’t seen him in 20 years.
One thing no one ever told me was “Hey you can really rock those bangs, you know!?” and after coming home with them for the umpteenth time and having my youngest burst into laughter that caused me to run in my room in tears, I finally tattooed on my arm “You aren’t allowed bangs”. Ok, so I didn’t tattoo that, but I did tell my current stylist that no matter how convincing I seem to be, never, ever allow me bangs.
If you see me with bangs, know my stylist probably died in a tragic accident, or that I am a no-good philandering, cheating customer who has no morals or values and says she wants a relationship with her stylist, but lies. 😉
Which brings me to my current situation. About five years ago I decided I wanted to spice things up. I was bored with the same four versions of brown. While I wasn’t graying with speed or spurts, I was seeing a few strands more here and there. Light on a dark background looks so noticeable, so I decided to simply lighten up more. Divert attention away from the few grays. Add a few strands of blonde that could perhaps camouflage a stray sign of age here and there. Because it’s in my nature to take things to the extreme, I kept going back like a drunk who found his favorite watering hole, begging for just a little more, until one day I woke up completely blonde.
It’s a weird thing to be a lifetime brunette living in a blonde’s world. For one, I still see myself as a brunette. When someone mentions preferring brunette’s, I almost want to flash that knowing smug smile, until I realize I don’t have a membership to that club anymore. I have to update my passport and DL this year and I wonder if I am supposed to put my real hair color or my current hair color.
I’ll be honest; I walk the line of considering going back. But then I think of the upkeep with the strand of gray here and there, and I wonder if I’m just defeating the purpose. Plus my youngest targets my HUGE ego and vanity by reminding me how much younger I look as a blonde.
Last night a friend of mine did what I really secretly truly want to do. More than coloring it pink, or blue, brown or blonde.
She shaved it off.
She did it for a cancer cause, and I really, really admire her courage. Shaved it all off, so she has nothing but a smooth, very short, sassy, buzz-cut. In watching her video, I saw the emotions she was going thru, and I could sense a little fear, but more than anything I could sense the underlining freedom. Hair is so damn confining to so many women. I imagine not having to worry about styling, or coloring. Hell not even having to worry about brushing or combing it for a bit. I’d love to be able to do it. I’d let whatever color came thru, own me. Whatever texture it was decided I needed, I’d take it.
But she had a pretty shaped skull, and I suspect when it is all said and done, I might not look quite as cute as she does. Who am I kidding though? My hair, for the time being owns me; Thinning or graying, or anything else, this bitch of a head of hair is in charge.
Plus, by accident I finally found that stylist I always wanted. J