Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Goth or Not?

Didn’t Thomas Wolfe only wear white linen? And Louise Nevelson layers of false eyelashes? I had someone help with some redecorating once who explained away her tardiness with the declaration that she was an artiste. Some of the coffee I was drinking at the time came out my nose.

I’ve always figured: a.) what’s an artiste anyway? b.) I have enough trouble getting my work done on time to bother changing out of sneakers and T-shirts. c.) Pretentiousness makes coffee come out my nose, not an attractive trait.

But yesterday I nearly ended up—uh, how to put this—very noticeable. If not pretentious, then bizarre.

I needed a change in hairdressers, and got a referral from a friend whose haircut I liked. This appointment was a bright spot in my week. First, you have to know that there are no real blondes over thirty-five. Sigh. Sad but true. Our hair—well, mine, anyway—darkens to a mousy, fine brown. With scattered gray threads, of course. Not a nice color gray, either. So I get those nice sunny streaks put back in.

There’s a story to go along with my old hairdresser, but I’ll save it for later if you want to hear it. Let’s just say he’s an 82 year old lecher and he gave me a haircut that made me look like I'd just taken off a baseball cap.

So I say to the new guy, “Can you get rid of this yellow? One of my friends told me I look like a golden retriever.”

He beams. “No problem. We’ll do the highlights first, then add a light toner.”

I beam. “Great.”

I get layers of those folded aluminum foil packets and read an ancient People magazine for twenty minutes. Don’t ask me why I forgot Doug Corleone’s new book, but I did. Duh.

I put my head in the sink, where an adorable aide adds squishy gunk from a bottle. We wait ten or fifteen minutes, she shampoos me, gives me a very nice head massage, wraps a towel around my head, and I stroll back to my new hairdresser. He’s working on a lovely fine-boned woman with short, ethereal silver hair. She’s beautiful.

I sit back down and he whips the towel from my head. I only look up from a spread on Brangelina because the room goes still. The towel hangs suspended from my new hairdresser’s hand like a crash flag at the Indy 500 and his eyes blink like warning lights at a railroad crossing. My own gaze follows his, to the mirror.

Wow. But kind of interesting. If I were thirty-five years younger, I’d keep it, at least for a day or two. My hair is dark purple.

But let's be honest. I’m a middle-aged mom and writer of crime fiction, which I hope portrays a gritty realism. So even if my sun-streaked hair is also fictional at this point of my life, purple is over the top. As a writer friend once told me, there’s a difference between truth and believability.

Just in case you’re wondering, my hair looked normal when I left an hour and a half later. It took about three more processes, more chemicals than I come in contact with in the average month. Please, don’t anyone light a match.

6 comments:

Donis Casey said...

Oh, man, I wish you had a picture of your purple hair. And a picture of your reaction. Maybe a tape, too, unless it'd make our ears fall off.

ajcap said...

how is it that the woman in the next chair over is always gorgeous? I hate that.

Vicki Delany said...

There are no real blondes over 35?

NL Gassert said...

Debbie, you should have tried out the purple for a few days. Blonde is so ... I don't know ... everyday :-)

Nadja

Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...

Haha, Nadja! Good to hear from you. Yeah, maybe I should have kept it for a day or two--but I have a hunch the hairdresser wasn't going to let me escape like that. Vicki, sorry to reveal that secret. Donis, surprisingly I laughed. Seriously, the poor hairdresser was upset enough for both of us. What good would freaking out do me?

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