The unpacking is almost done. Ditto the latest book. It'll probably take me another three weeks to catch up on e-mail, but I'm working on it (and my apologies to everyone who is waiting patiently for responses. I'm really flooded.)
As a result, I have not had time to do much of anything, especially self-maintenance. Which is why this morning when I looked in the mirror I thought my hair was falling out. It wasn't, but my roots had grown out to a solid inch of white. Beyond the white was a narrow margin of light brown-red/silvery hair where the non-permanent dye is fading. The rest is dark brown that glows dark red in the sunlight.
As I was pretty sure the Pepe Le Pue look is not going to come into fashion any time soon, and I don't have time now to mess with it, I took myself off to the nearest decent hair salon. I was smart this time: I waited for an hour for the most experienced stylist, dropped into her chair, pointed to my head and said, "Do something."
To her credit, she didn't quit her job on the spot, but pursed her lips and rummaged through my tresses. She questioned me like a Style Cop: "You used what here? And here? What were you trying to do?" Whenever I answered, she hmmmmed. Not the good kind of hmmm, either. The ominous, your-hair-is-toast hmmmm.
Finally she delivered the verdict: "We'll do a test, see if we can work in highlights to blend it."
I remembered the last time I bleached my hair. I walked down the street, cars skidded off the road. "What if it turns orange?"
"You'll have to cut it off or grow it out."
The stylist smeared the goop on a test strand, foiled me, and I began to pray to Kelly Clarkson. Twenty minutes later, the foil was gingerly removed and the highlighted hair examined. She said, "I think we can do it if we trim some of the really dark stuff."
We negotiated on the length -- I wasn't spending another 6 months looking like a damn Madame Alexander doll -- and then she went to work. Two hours, two containers of bleach and a pile of hair on the carpet later, she let me put my glasses on to see the final results.
In the mirror was Meg Ryan.
Well, a chubby, middle-aged, myopic, streaky brown/blonde version of Meg Ryan, anyway. The cut she'd given me is semi-short, chunky-layered from earlobes to just about my shoulders. My silver roots blend in nicely with the golden blonde highlights and the way she worked them in with the dark brown makes my hair resemble a polished tiger eye stone.
Before I floated out the door on a wave of hair bliss, my savior loaded me up with smoothing and nourishing hair products that cost more than I want to think about. I promised her I would never dye my hair myself again, and this time I wasn't lying. That Pepe Le Pue look was pretty scary.
Like any girl, I came home and spent ten minutes in front of the mirror, studying and debating it all. Was it too young a style? Too short? Too light? Then there were all the new hair politics involved: Can I still call myself a redhead? Does having highlights mean I have to be nice to blondes now? What if I washed out all the blow-dried waves and styling gel and ended up looking like Willard?
I just took a shower, washed out all the crap, combed and let it dry, as I always do, by itself. I may be hair-vain as hell, but I can't stand blow dryers. It all dried into a slightly rumpled but still acceptable Meg Ryanish mop.
I know my hair. It will take another two years for everything to grow out and me to go completely au naturale. I'm not sure pure white is going to be any better than me going blonde, in which case, I might start wearing my Cubs cap outside. But for once, after years of awful do's and purple dye jobs and never ever being happy with my head, I think I actually love this cut and color--
(known universe collapses)