I read some shocking news. It said, “Betty White dyes peacefully in Los Angeles.” Since my eyes aren’t as good as they used to be, for a second there I believed she left this earth and I went into momentary mourning. Apparently the actress sits in seclusion tinting her own hair at home. She was a natural brunette but went from dark to light blonde. She said that going back to brunette now might frighten her animals. It might also scare her mailman. I would hate to think my mailman or my daughters dog would all of a sudden turn on me. I’m glad to know that Betty hasn’t left us yet, and that she stains her fingertips regularly with color solutions just like I do. I would like to sneak onto her property and peer into her windows to see how she does it. But media cameras might capture me in a hair-iffic moment.
Most of the problems I’ve ever encountered in my life had to do with hair. I’m jealous. My boyfriend can shower and not even comb his. It comes out looking shiny and beautifully silver streaked, and falls perfectly into place. If I cut mine down to his length, I’d be living with the nervousness that he would be calling me Patrick, Plattypus, or trading me in for a body-licious babe with better hair. That is if she’ll have him.
This old gray mare just ain’t what she used to be. If I wake up grouchy, it’s probably because I went through a category five hurricane in my sleep and rolled out of the sack with flyaway hair, and roots showing. As a stringent stylist morning, noon, and night, I could have the looks of hueless, hopeless, and even homeless. Thanks to humidity, the upsurge of strands have put me head and possibly shoulders above Dyan Cannon. And about coloring. The box said sassy redhead. It didn’t tell me I’d end up looking like a sockeye salmon. I can hardly even frost a cake. I have totally re-invented the color wheel. I was going for honey and caramel and came out with a sort of peachy brise-soleil with pumpkiny ochre highlights and twine-like split ends. I’m sure real life Rapunzel’s like Beyonce and Khloe Kardashian never have these problems. Although I’m pretty sure Lady Gaga tints her own. If you want to go from dark brown to platinum, it helps to have a gallon of Clorox and rolls of aluminum foil accompanied by a sunlamp, then highlight with purple food coloring. I could have reserved time with a professional as long as I had taken a blank check and signed my life away. From what they charge, I don’t have the bank account to help pay for their mansions in Maui. Besides, I don’t want hairdressers drinking double espressos at the time they are dying. And I already have plenty of girlfriends I can gossip with. It’s bad enough I’m probably the talk of the town when I go outside with a new “do” every month. But I figured it this way. Halloween is here again, and I just may go as a tinted Brillo pad.
I’ll bet that the shading techniques I applied back in the sixties have deeply integrated and is now part of my DNA, which is totally affecting my color unsaturability today. Which likely left me with less brainpower to accomplish this tedious task at hand. Most of my sense of self depends on my hairdo, so I’ve been trying to get this down to a science. At times of fidgeting with my filaments, I’ve thought of becoming a skinhead. But I wouldn’t want anyone to think I am part of some movement. There’s nothing a helmet, or maybe a lit torch wouldn’t cure. They say inner beauty is what truly counts. I’m not sure about you, but all I need is love, and terrific follicles sprouting from that inner to outer self. I want to be strawberry blonde. Not gold. Not orange. And definitely not a walking neon sign. If I had known coloring would be this difficult, I would have started out using my kids or pets as experimental models.
Inevitably when I am tinting, I hear my phone. Then I leave remnants of red all over the door handle and various other household objects as I’m scurrying around trying to find it. Because us gals just can’t let it go to voicemail. It’s against our religion. I haven’t timed that period way from my bathroom sink, so I leave the color on a lot longer than directed. I never know how many more minutes to keep hair paint permeating once I get sidetracked. Then showering the dye away usually looks like a scene from Psycho with red splattering everywhere, minus a murder weapon. But the screams can be heard just as dramatically if my hair doesn’t turn out as planned. Plus I’m forced to invest in new towels because that dye really messes up the ones I have.
Last time I did my hair somebody said, “You look different.” I asked, “Different good? Or different bad?” You pretty much know when they don’t answer and just stare. It’s kind of like building a house that needs to pass inspection. This house is getting older, so it needs more inspections. I suppose the only way to not have anyone notice my head is to go out in public without anything on. I will probably try to leave the house tomorrow and my door will be boarded shut. This follicle-female relationship is not easy. But having permanent possession of a pigmented mop top, I have come to the realization that these tresses were planted on my skull to remind me that I simply can’t control everything.
(Posts can be found in the EXTRA weekend edition of the Parson’s Sun newspaper in Kansas)