“She hath more hair than wit, and more faults than hairs…”~Willy the Shake
I’m starting to wonder if my hair has become too much to keep up. Yes, in the scheme of things hair is negligible, but personally, I think it has a lot to do with how we see ourselves.
I have been dying, bleaching, cutting, shaving, adding extensions to and otherwise torturing my hair since around 16. Before that my mother bleached and permed it or had it done to me.
Full disclosure—I’m a weird ash blonde color naturally. In the sun it used to turn almost silver. In the winter it was dark. Now? I’m probably at least partly grey. That started happening in my early 30s. I think.
I say I think because I have no real idea. I haven’t seen my natural hair color on anything other than my roots since I shaved my head in the 90s. Even that didn’t last long. As soon as it got long enough I started playing with color.
I have had black hair that I wore with dark red lipstick and I looked like a deviant Snow White. I added extensions to that when I did a hair show and it was gorgeous—until it itched so much I pulled them out myself about 5 weeks later. I’ve been platinum. I’ve had ringlets and spikes. I’ve had a sunburst on my head that was white at the roots, went to yellow, then orange, then red and purple on the ends. I looked like a deranged cockatoo and I loved it.
That strange color I have lends itself to going blonde, or dark or my current and longest standing color: RED. Red ties me to all those hair experimentations and extravagant clothing choices of so much of my life. Red ties me to punk rock moments and goth evenings. The tendrils of red tie me to my wedding day. I’ve been red more than anything over the years. I’m very pale have a few freckles and it looks like my natural color. Dear Mr. Dennis,owner of Mr. D’s salon and the stylist my mother took me to from 3rd grade on, who became a family friend suggested Red and that took me away from the locally preferred Blond and headfirst into a tonsorial adventure that lasts until this day.
I’m not sure why—perhaps it is the time that it has taken lately to get my hair to its desired hue (with stripes of blond in it—very cool) that I’m starting to wonder if maybe I should move on from this fascination. I do enjoy the time once a month walking in to the salon and coming out a slightly different outward person—new haircut, slightly changed hue, more stripes or darker ones…but the feeling of being vain is starting to catch up with me. I also don’t like being a slave to my roots. I can hold on until they are about an inch but then it bugs me, looks unkempt and I don’t enjoy that feeling.
But being red is so much a part of me—That’s always how friends remember me and I expect to see red in the mirror—the times I’ve tried (or had to, like when I was pregnant) to not color my hair—well it wasn’t happy hair. No confetti there. And I get lots and lots of compliments on my hair—the color does work with my skin, I have blue eyes that red makes brighter, I have LOTS of hair still and it can be either wavy, curly (my preference) or straight. My dream hair is something between Isla Fisher and Bernadette Peters. And my hair contributes to me looking at least a decade younger than I am (and the fact I never really tanned and therefore have almost no lines in my face). So do I keep it up until it looks ridiculous, or just until it feels ridiculous? I dress…creatively and will likely always do so, so do I just continue with being somewhat of an iconoclast or is it time to change?
This entirely silly meditation brought to you by the fact that I may have to move on from my regular stylist (my husband and daughter will likely stay with her) because of scheduling issues (and because she’s new enough at being a stylist and I have difficult hair). And because I’m starting to feel like a slave to my hair instead of it being fun. I’m going to one of my best friend’s nieces. And because when one has gotten a bit ‘fluffy’ as my daughter calls it (seriously I’ve been trying to exercise like I used to but the whole last year was a HUGE mess for that) hair is a good distracter. Guess we’ll see ….