So today I spent a couple of hours getting my hair done – lowlights, to be precise. This is a fairly new thing for me, this is probably fourth time I have had her cover my gray this way after more than 15 years of not coloring at all. I have had gray hairs since I was about 11 years old; my father was completely silver by the time he was 22. But in the last couple of years it’s felt very harsh to me, probably because I am fairly certain that at some point I am going to be seeking new full-time employment and competing with women 20 to 30 years my junior.
There is something about the higher temperatures that cause my hair to grow more quickly. It’s been 8 weeks since my stylist cut and colored my hair, yet there was so much new growth it appeared as if she had not colored it ever. When I looked at the outgrowth, it was at least an inch wide and distressing to see in the mirror each morning. We chatted about it and agreed to experiment with additional coverage as well as a shorter period between appointments – going from 8 weeks to 6 weeks this time.
I am always happy when I leave the salon, except I have what M terms as “big sexy hair.” The term “big hair” landed like a lead balloon the first time he said it, and of course that was the last time I asked if he liked my hair. I like my stylist a lot and don’t especially mind the fluffy blowout, because it gradually de-puffs into it’s normal state as the hours pass. Today, though, I wondered if it was too dark. I asked trusted associates and they all agreed it looks good, not too dark. Since my hair is almost black anyway it would have to be that dull, coal black to be much darker, but the contrast between where it was this morning and where it is now is starkly noticeable to me. I still like it, but I do not always trust my own judgment. M thinks it looks normal, natural; he would tell me if I looked like some middle aged woman chasing youth through unnatural hair color.
It always gets me thinking about other matters with regard to personal appearance. I have never used cosmetics, and after this much time I am almost afraid to experiment. I fear inadvertently taking on the appearance of a unsophisticated clown trying to pass for normal person. But I have to admit noticing the differences with friends and family members when wearing makeup versus not wearing makeup. It’s not that they are less attractive in their bare skin; they look different, perhaps more tired or even older.
Thinking about experimenting paralyzes me. The best I can come up with is trying eyebrow threading (I have an appointment next week). I pass cosmetics counters and I contemplate chatting with a consultant, but they are so perfectly face-coiffed and I really do not want to add a lot of time to my preparation to leave the house so I just keep on walking. I almost wish there were makeover services that I could hire by the hour to help me figure out what I want to do, how I can look a brighter version of me without having to use industrial strength chemicals to remove my shell each evening.
I am meeting some former coworkers next week for dinner and will bring it up with them. Perhaps they can send me to a trustworthy makeup counter. Worst case scenario? I could test drive something and when M looks horrified I’ll say I am auditioning for clown school … hey, it could happen.