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When We Were Blonde

Updated: Mar 16, 2019

My first haircuts happened near Texas Tech in Lubbock. There’s record of them on my parents’ wall; the loose toddler curls, to the long, golden, parted in the middle, to the boy short, parted in the middle. I was blonde and perpetually tan from the dusty, southwestern sun. My decision makers saw to it that I was current and complimented. They knew I most admired cousin Dana, Farrah Fawcett, and definitely Lindsey Wagner (I studied her bionic slow motion run) and for the most part I looked like all three. A move to Massachusetts darkened my strands with long winters and puberty, and that’s when perms and Sun-In took over. Everything became slightly frosty and orange… I was full on florescent with the introduction to Quick Tan. There’s not much record of this. Grateful. I think my parents, turning over the decisions to me, knew there was just something not right about this phase.

I haven’t thought much about my hair until recently. I started to notice that every time I leave the salon, I’m a bit sad—unresolved. Gone are the days of just waking up and throwing my hair into a pony tail, or giving it a brush and smile. Now I wake to a cockeyed, misshapen blob of thinning that consumes my thoughts. In certain light I swear I see the color of nicotine that I’ve demanded never to be included in my “glaze". I’ve even succumb to searching through social media memories for my lost hair, that had always been stylishly neglected and free.

I don’t know when the joy of sitting in the chair with a cup of hot tea and People Magazine in hand became so uncomfortable, so unpredictable. Maybe when I starting longing for a change. My husband had always been attracted to blondes, and knowing that I was a birth-blonde, I thought it was time to return to my roots. I know. So it started with a glaze and zero notice from my husband, kids, or the public. I used words like “rock n roll” and “messy”

to describe what I needed. And again, strict orders to avoid nicotine at all cost. This started the spiral downward into not blonde enough, not enough hair or my skin tone didn’t fit into the dream. What’s ash? No matter the outcome I’d book for another go at it in 8 weeks, muster up a, “It looks so much better!” and maybe succumb to the purchase of shampoo that could help.

Things didn’t change. I even noticed that my stylist wasn’t all that happy to see me anymore, as though my hair, once celebrity, was washed up, hiding behind thick sunglasses. I had to do something radical. So I decided I would have to return to my later in life color of brown. She even did my eyebrows. I had returned to the darkness that had naturally crept up on me all those years ago. But still there was no returning to being loved by the stylist.

And honestly, I think that’s the real reason behind the lack-luster locks.

I walk down the street, creeping like a darker hair person might, who doesn’t feel blonde in the least. No one says, “Oh my God, you look amazing!” or “Where do you get your hair done?”How could they? With so much behind our beauty, which is what I coach people through every day, we have to pay attention to all people and circumstances in our lives. I had ignored mine.

A hair stylist can take you down with a little bit of nicotine. But maybe it could have been her break up with her boyfriend, or a bad day on the Thursdays that I happen to come. No matter, when we stop laughing with one another, or sharing our secrets, or indulging in pulp magazines for a mindless hour of glazing, we lose our hair.

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Jenny Hammond
Jenny Hammond
Mar 16, 2019

I didn't know there is nicotine in hair coloring products?! Or was that a reference to someone smoking in a salon? I've never colored my hair...

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