“I don’t want to look like a rebellious teenager or a squeegie hustler. You wouldn’t let me do this if you didn’t think I could pull it off, right?” “No! I swear - you can. I love it!” my friend Mish assured me as she peeked between folded foil pieces that fanned across the front section of my hair. I was sitting in the hair salon she worked at downtown. The place was just like her - fun and trendy, cool but not intimidating. In fact her entire life was like that. She owned an adorable little condo not far from mine, had the car, the job, the boyfriend, the people-to-know. Last year she had given me a gift certificate for my birthday to come and get a cut & color. Because I was in the hospital for so long, it’s only now, 15 months later, that I’ve been well enough to motivate my self to come.
It almost didn’t even happen today. I’d made an appointment for last Monday and cancelled at the last second. I don’t know why, for some reason the thought of having to be around people made me feel like an elephant was sitting on my chest. I have been so sick for so many years that the thought of going out in public is scary. Being home, in my comfy clothes, in bed with a book or online, is safe. Just me and my son. My apartment with it’s soft sunny light and cozy quilts is the only place I’d wanted to be when I was finally sent home from the hospital in March and it’s the only place I’ve really been since.
When it came time to get ready for my hair, I opened up the bathroom cupboard and pulled out my makeup case. I ran my fingers over pencils and brushes, bottles of color and palettes of powder, wondering where to start. It has been so long since I’ve gone through the makeup routine. It seems like eons ago since I’d put on anything more than a spot of concealer here or there if I needed it and some lip balm. I poured liquid foundation on a sponge and went to work on my under eye dark spots. I look so tired you could easily pack enough luggage for a trip to China in the bags under my eyes. When I was finished I picked a shimmery apricot blush and swiped it across the apples of my cheeks. I looked in the mirror. I burst into tears.
“Jesus Jane it’s just MAKEUP! Get it TOGETHER!”
I felt so lost. I looked ridiculous. My foundation was too dark and my blush too bright. I slid down the bathroom tile and sat on the floor sobbing like a two year old. Why does this feel so hard? I always feel, especially when I go places like a popular salon full of beautiful people, who are so modern and so together, that I stand out like a sore thumb.
Like if someone walked up to me and said, “Oh I’m sorry, you can’t come in here. Your hair looks like a rat’s nest in that pony-tail and you have yoga pants on that cost under a hundred dollars. This is upper class honey. Nice try but go home.” That I would nod my head, apologize, turn around and leave because I would understand that I didn’t fit in.
“It’s just a fucking hair-cut!”
I decided to stick with what I know. After removing the makeup, I started fresh and concealed the redness from crying. I put a touch of soft pink blush, a swipe of mascara and a red tinted lipgloss. Not gorgeous. But simple and pretty enough. I put aside the purple tank dress and wedges I was going to attempt. I decided after the makeup melt down that a simple blue button down, tights and flats were what I felt most me in.
“Oh wow! That’s so fun! You look so pretty!” One of the other salon stylists said as Mish finished the final touches on my new hairstyle.
“I have pink hair!!” I almost couldn’t believe I’d gone for it even as I looked back at my refection.
“No,” Mish smiled at her masterpiece. “You have pink AND purple hair! And it looks hot!”
I’m not sure as far as hotness goes but do feel pretty. The shaggy long hair that had grown down past my collarbone had been shaped in to a blunt bob that just barely brushed my shoulders. I had worried that my mousey brown would look dull against the shock of the single bright pink layer, but Mish had taken away all the dullness and gave it a glossy sheen. Just under the layer of bangs is where the pink breaks through and under that section, a deep purple.
For the first time in my life I have gotten my hair however I wanted. I didn’t have to worry about my parents getting angry, it not being appropriate for a job or being what a boyfriend likes. I can’t stop looking at it in the mirror. Funny how on the way here I walked down this street with my head down hoping to go unnoticed and on the walk back to my car I kept catching my refection in shop windows. It’s amazing how something as simple as a haircut, a great friend, and a compliment can lift your spirits!
For Pink - or any color! - hair visit www.jaywellssalon.com
Or drop into the Barrington St. salon.