No I’m not talking about that here today gone tomorrow S and M manual that tried to call itself a novel. Yes I read the first one and thought oh boy this is interesting, did I go out and buy handcuffs, no. Did I read the second one where they were continuing on their “journey” and actually trying to make a “story” out of a really bad piece of writing? Yes. Did it even cross my mind to read the third one? No, so terrified was I that they were going to try for a happy ending I totally lost interest…just sayin. I’m talking about my hair you dirty minded people.
As is usually the case in my new life, several things have converged to make me rethink coloring my hair. I went to Anna, my newest hair dresser, for a cut and she said, “No color?” No, maybe in two weeks. “You need it.” No it can wait. “You sure?” Anna are you going to cut my hair? Really? Now I came to find this particular beauty parlor, and I use that term deliberately, because I was sick to death of paying $125.00 for my cut and color every 6-8 weeks at the salon. This is an old style beauty parlor with the smell of ammonia in the air, men over 60 dropping off their mothers for a “wash and set”, rows of Aquanet cans in the showcase, you get the picture. But…I could get a cut and color for $75.00, come on.
The first time Anna colored my hair, and it’s been only once, she didn’t use any of that Vaseline type stuff that keeps the color off your face. Don’t worry she said in her Greek accent, the color will take better. Yes I did have ring around the hairline, you bet and yes the entire world knew I just got my hair colored. Not my style. I was so hopeful because my dearest, best former stylist, who moved to California, was Greek; I somehow thought it would run in the ethnicity. Wrong, I miss you Maria.
The next thing that happened was a guest on the Katie Couric show who relinquished all makeup and fashion related accoutrement. Her motivation? Phoebe Baker Hyde put’s it like this:
The Beauty Experiment started with a dazzling new dress, bought to produce utter fabulousness at a holiday party. But even when Phoebe Baker Hyde paired the dress with the right shoes and tied its ribbon belt in a perfect bow, it failed to deliver: the person inside was still an inexperienced parent, an awkward foreigner and a woman trailing in the wake of her husband’s more successful career.
In response, Phoebe swore off Beauty and all her trappings: makeup, new clothes, salon haircuts, and jewelry. This radical beauty cleanse lasted a year, but ignited the author’s ongoing quest to outgrow the fantasy of feminine perfection and remake the mantle of womanhood in the only size that fits–her own.
I get it; it can be tough when you’re surrounded by advertising and pressure from society to find the right balance of beauty. Beauty is….wait for it….only skin deep. Poor Phoebe is probably in her thirties, I’m in my late fifties so I get it better than she does. Add menopause to that equation and I could give a shit less what you think. My makeup has been dwindling for years. But I’ve got to say I think it’s because my hair could carry my looks, I’ve got great hair. I’ve also got great eyes and you will never see me without lipstick. But I digress.
The next thing is Zumba. I wear a bandana when I dance because I can’t stand my hair in my face or sweat in my eyes. Yes this fat girl dances with abandon and yes I burn at least a gazillion calories when I dance. So Phoebe shows up on Katie, I put on my bandana and there it is the hairline of fifty shades of gray. Stunning. But wait a minute it really is fifty different shades, some gray, some dark, and some silver. I’m thinking hhmmmm.
So on my way home from Zumba, I know I’ve been using this shampoo that sucks because I’m out of the one I normally use, I stop at Walgreens on the way home, yes right after Zumba. Looking exactly like why men leave home…let’s try and remember who left whom for a minute. But I digress again. So down the shampoo isle to my beloved John Frieda and there is a new shampoo and conditioner, intense shine for brunettes. Hmmmm. I pick it up and don’t you know it makes my hair even more fabulous. Even those grays that want to squiggle up and stick out are blending in perfectly.
So I get to thinking. Always dangerous I know. Why not? My dear Summer Sister has not dyed her hair since its grown back after chemo and it is the most glorious shades of silver and gray I’ve ever seen. She is rocking a younger Dame Judi Dench kind of cut but with her own I’ve been there done that attitude. You all know I love her but WOW is she even more gorgeous then when we were younger.
So I investigate further. Anne Kreamer has written a book called Going Gray, What I learned about beauty, sex, work, motherhood, authenticity and everything else that really matters. Don’t you just love book titles that take up half a page? She explores this polarizing topic with those who dye and those who don’t, those who are confident and those who still fear the reprisal. I do, however, like how she describes the coloring dilemma:
Either way she says, once you start coloring at thirty or thirty-five or forty-the insidious creep of roots perpetually growing out, lighter or darker, always threatening to show themselves and expose the ruse-you are trapped on a treadmill.
It’s an interesting book but um not my dilemma.
What it comes down to for me is time. I can think of a million other things I could be doing beyond sitting in the beauty parlor/salon for hours with the goop plastered to my roots and no Vaseline to hide the dye line. The incessant blah blah conversations that drive me to distraction while I’m trying to read my Kindle with those little aluminum sheets around the arms of my glasses so I can see.
The other thing is I’m cheap. As you’ve seen I’m not beyond going to the Beauty School for a cut. Can’t picture them doing a color though, visions of Frenchie from Grease come to mind. I do not want to spend money on color when I could spend it on a delicious La Tur cheese out of New Hampshire and bottle of Bear Print Pinot Noir. I have my priorities.
The fact that I’m getting older has not escaped me, especially in the last few weeks. The fact that I already know who I am is being confirmed over and over again. The fact that I am beautiful is still a story in the making. But the beauty I see for myself is natural, authentic, and reflective of where I’ve been and what I know. My beauty is in the shine of my hair, whatever color it turns out to be, the fabulous signature lipsticks I wear, the uniform I’m just now developing. I’m thinking cute cardigans and scarves, belts to show off my tiny waist (oh yeah and my full hips, we’ll get to that later). The renewed attention to health and the door-is-always-open home I have for anyone who needs to know what I know. I know like I know that you’ve all been hounding me about how I look best in a short sassy haircut, that’s not lost on my either. I’d rather find someone who can give me that cute cut, for a decent price (sorry Anna the Aquanet didn’t cut it for me) and amp up my eyes, lips and style than color and color and color to a mediocre long haired excuse for a woman.
I’d love to know how you feel about the subject. I know like I know even more great changes are ahead for me. Can’t wait to be free of the dye! And hear what you’ve got to say.