Thursday, November 19, 2015

Technicolor hair

My hair color doesn’t occur naturally. On the planet.

It takes planning. And intent.

And right now, it takes the Internet. I am peeved. For about the fourth time in my hair color history, manufacturers have changed their colors and mine has disappeared. But this time, I moved fast: I immediately ordered a 6-month supply. Technically, Clairol is just changing its number, but practically, that number is hard to find. So far, I’ve only been able to order it from Target online because for some reason, Amazon won’t ship hair color.

There’s a lot here I don’t understand. I used to have such passionate colors. Things like Ravishing Rio Red. Now the wildest I get is Bright Cherry, and that’s translated from Cereza Intenso because my favorite color is only available in South America. Clairol? I was Spiced Tea, but after renaming, I’m just plain old Light Auburn. Now tell me, if you were me, would you buy a color named Light Auburn?
It all started with a play I was in. My character was fierce and formidable, and the director wanted the lights to make my hair glow fiercely and formidably. Off he trotted me to a hairdresser, and I’ve been there ever since. I alternate months with doing it myself at home (hence the need for Clairol).

Each time I went back to the hairdresser, I asked her to notch it up. At one point, after seeing an ad somewhere, I went to a different, “trendier” shop and asked to have my hair done like fire, brighter on the tips. As I sat in the chair, sniffing, I asked the hairdresser, “Is there a swimming pool nearby?” That should have been the clue that I’d been bleached.
And boy, was that some color! Afterwards, I walked into Fred Meyer, and the other shoppers parted, mouths agape. Anchorage hadn’t seen color like that! For a while, during that period, I had to buy my hair color in San Francisco and bring it home.

One regular colorist got the idea. After finishing my hair, she said it wasn’t radical enough. She wanted me to come back the next day to “fix” it. My present colorist laughs over her co-worker who thought my hair was a mistake: “Are you letting her go home like that?”

When I was the Storytime Lady in the Botanical Garden, the kids LOVED my hair. They would touch it and murmur, “Pretty.” Later on, the Covenant House kids loved my hair. They would talk with me.
Then my kid said, “Don’t you think you could tone it down a little?” We were out walking somewhere, and three different people passed and called out, “Love your hair.” I said, “My hair makes people happy.” She said, “I’m just saying tone it down.”

Even in my Third Third, even knowing better, I caved. I asked my hairdresser to adjust the recipe … and the compliments stopped, even in bright sunlight. My hair wasn’t cheering anyone up, including me. No one recognized me in dark movie theaters. No one called out on the bike trails. No little kids’ eyes lit up on spotting me. So I notched it back up.

My friend Rieva has long hair. Our younger, imperious selves were having a conversation about obtuse old women wearing their skirts above the knee. (me: “Mom, I don’t care what the fashion is; you’re 75!”) Rieva was worried about passing the point where long hair was acceptable. I didn’t worry about my color because at the time, I just considered it “auburn gone wrong,” not some potentially unacceptable mutation. Now it’s 15 years later, and Rieva’s hair is still long and mine is still its mutation. And we’re both happy.
I don’t believe this: I just this second made a connection between my criticizing my mother and my daughter criticizing me! How could I have missed that?!?
My friend Diane is vacationing in Costa Rica. Of course I texted her to ask, “If you find Cereza Intenso, can you bring a lot of it back?” It goes with all the purple I wear.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes when I travel I see other people with your hair color.


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