Last night I colored my hair. I have to do this every three weeks to cover the gray/white hair. It is something I absolutely hate doing, even though it takes only about an hour and I can read a book or play games on my phone to pass the time. Every three weeks I make myself miserable about this onerous chore. I dread it. My hair turns into straw because it is addicted to the hair color. If it doesn’t get its fix by the end of the third week, not only does it exhibit huge swaths of white hair, it turns into Brillo.
You would think the simple, one-hour solution would be a welcome event, especially because afterward it looks much better and feels great. But no, I continue to fight with my hair as I have done my entire life.
When I was in high school and college, long straight hair was the only kind of hair to have. We used empty orange juice cans for hair rollers, then I went to wrapping the hair around my head when it was wet and fastening it with enormous bobby pins – yes, I used my own head as a giant hair roller. Ironing, professional straightening, even PRAYING to wake up with straight hair – I tried everything. My naturally wavy/curly hair wanted to frizz up at every opportunity. If it rained, I didn’t go out. And forget the summer – Philadelphia is a giant sweltering hellhole of humidity from June to September. It was not my favorite season.
Dad’s glorious hair
I come from a heritage of prematurely gray hair. My father was very proud of his glorious silver-white hair. My mother was a hair dye addict from teenhood. I started getting the odd gray hair in high school, which I would pluck out. In college, I did a bit more plucking. Luckily, I had thick hair. Eventually, I had to go down the path of chemical dependency.
I have had my hair colored in salons, for anywhere from $50 to $200. It’s much more pleasant than doing it myself BUT besides the expense (at every three weeks, it can get quite costly), it always takes longer there and I really don’t have the patience to sit in a salon for 2 or 3 hours. For $7, I can do it myself at home, with a little help from The Husband. He does the back – it was part of our marriage contract. He makes noises of horror as he exclaims he has uncovered “the motherlode” of gray, which simply means a huge spot he missed last time. Hah – he should talk. I am required to say he is “baldING,” not “bald,” as he does have a few lonely hairs left. See for yourself:
Before I found the Husband, I made my teenage sons color the back of my hair for me. I thought it was a fun mother-son bonding experience. They disagreed. I thought it was an appropriate quid pro quo for years of diaper changing, booger plucking, earwax removing, blackhead squeezing, home haircuts and other disgusting tasks, the details of which I have spared you, but not them. With that overwhelming evidence, they begrudgingly agreed that they owed me, so they did it, grumbling all the while. I like to think of it as preparing them to be good husbands to future graying wives and also helping them get in touch with the creative artistic side of their personalities.
Before MOS-32’s wedding, I had my hair highlighted by a hair stylist I had been going to off and on for years. For some reason, she decided to make my hair striped for this extremely important occasion. That was the last straw (no pun intended).
As Johnny Cash would sing, “I got stripes…”
I do my own highlights now, and my own haircuts. If someone asks me where I had my hair cut, I tell them I went to the Fool for a Client Salon (as in “The lawyer who represents herself has a fool for a client.”). I do this not to save money, although that’s nice, but because I am tired of being unhappy after professionals do my hair. No one understands how to cut the hair on the top of my head. They always cut it too short, so it scrunches up and looks like my head got stuck in an elevator door. So I’ve given up. If my hair looks awful, at least I didn’t have to spend tons of money and time to look this bad.
I fear turning into Rose Kennedy, with the ancient crone face and pitch black hair, but I’m not ready to go gray just yet. Until then, I will continue this lifelong battle, having my moment of angst every three weeks, dreading the coloring process even though I have to admit it feels wonderful afterward (thank you, Nice ‘n’ Easy conditioner – it’s amazing!). I think I meet the criteria for Hair Codependency Disorder, a diagnosis which should be recognized by the medical community any day now.