Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Candy Corn

I love Fall. There, I could just write that one little sentence and it would sum up so much about me. I Love the cool weather, wearing jackets, all my knitted goods, the Autumn colors, how happy my dog is that she's not panting- everything! Fall is also the time for woodfire-scented candles, apples, and Halloween. 

If you're American and not Southern Baptist you really do up Halloween. Preparing for trick-or-treaters, watching all the scary movies, planning your own costume, carving pumpkins... the list goes on.

I've always loved Halloween and seeing how a Tim Burton movie really speaks to me, one does not have to wonder why this is one of my favorite holidays. I also love Halloween candy. I love the Smarties, mini-Snickers, candy apples, and popcorn balls. But when I grew up there were some sick puppies out there that gave you candy corn or that weird peanut butter congealed mass wrapped in orange or black wrappers. Ick, I still inwardly shutter at the thought. 

 It is this memory of corn syrup candy corn taste that makes me think of when I was still coloring my hair. I would go to the salon and hope they got the color right. When the roots grew out I had an intensive red conditioner that would dye the roots somewhat close. And when it was time to really cover those roots I had my Frederick Fekkai 6R and I would use half the box (it costing $30 a box) to dye the roots and then unevenly zhoojh it through the overall color.

I was always under the impression that people saw a ginger and her rebellious mane. I thought that until my Priest came up and commented how cool my hair looked, "Wow, that's really neat. How did you get your hair three different colors? The lines look perfect!" His innocence was marred by the horror-stricken look on my face. I had no idea I was strutting around all these years with a head that looked like candy corn! And on top of that my hair photographed traffic cone orange for the church directory. Ugh. 

I still go to this Church but now have nearly 7 inches of natural silver. Last Sunday I looked around at all the 300 heads of female hair. More than 90% dyed their hair and those that didn't were either teenagers or less than a handful of women in their 70s. Now my church is mostly Mediterranean and maybe this is a cultural thing to a degree but when I looked at the heads of hair in that church I did an honest assessment. The teenagers that dyed were doing that ombre effect and the ends were not blended well and looked scraggly. Most women went for dark color that matched the hair of their youth making their skin highlight the signs of aging and looking way too harsh against their face. Other women decided to go blonde which if you're not naturally blonde often looks strawlike and yellow against your skin. Most were single-process colors and the years of bleach made their hair a fire hazard. And then there is the worst haircolor- some sort of peachy-blondey-taupey color. It's the color of flesh and for some reason the color of choice for White Anglo Saxon Protestants.

I also looked at the handful of good dye jobs- those that still had some shine and bounce, were multi-dimensional, and coiffed. Not all of these were the right color for the woman and seemed too dark but then you see a woman who could really rock the red or had a lush brunette mane. It was nice but a whole lot rarer than I ever would have thought. And then I saw the burgeoning skunk stripe on these good heads of hair and I really felt their pain of being on the dye treadmill.

The list of "DON'Ts" above is exactly where I fell in when I dyed my hair. My hair was always single-process color, dry and frizzy, and held shine for less than an hour after I styled it. I had a hate-hate relationship with my hair. I wanted to love it and finally embraced being a ginger after a lifetime of wishing I had long straight sable hair like my family. By this time I was probably more of an ash brown with silver so the red gave my complexion a sallow hue.

It's kind of a sudden urge to become silver, at least it was for me. There was never any musing about it or saying "one day I'll be silver..." no, I never expected to stop coloring. And now? I see any change to my natural color as a significant decline from what I have. Why would I downgrade?? I have gorgeous layers of variegated silver, pewter, pearl, and sable hues. I now find women in Church staring at my hair while the wait in the Communion line. I have no idea what they're thinking, whether it be positive or negative. But I do know that they no longer categorize my hair in their ranks- it's something unique and different, sparkling and shining from health. I also know that my next Church directory photo will show a stunning head of hair and that's more than enough for me.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Oh Yeah- Dating

Oops! It seems I have gotten off on a months-long tangent and forgot to mention how my dating life is. Um, pretty darn good, thank you. I forget that anyone who may come on here is doing so becasue she is wary of letting those little silvers peek through- what will that mean to her social life? What will that mean to her professional life? What if, heaven forbid, she wants to still be seen as youthful, vibrant, sexy, and completely smoochable? I forget that a year ago I was exactly that girl.
The truth is, life will not be exactly the same when you go grey. There are some that will pay more respect because they see the silver, you may not get carded at the club, you also may not have teenagers checking you out. But you will still have some of these experiences. I have still been checked out by young'uns 20 years my junior, I have still been carded at the club and lifted a brow at the bouncer, and I still have the occassional confused reaction when I encounter a new colleague as they sit and try to figure out my age. 

 But do I still feel sexy? Do I still get
asked out? Hell yeah! In fact, I feel better about my appearance than I ever have. I still have bad hair days, I still could donate several pounds to anyone willing, and I still have crow's feet. I still have too much dye left and my hair from the side looks like silver with rusted ends, but that will soon be a faded memory. But, so what? Everything you see about me is mine and only mine. I don't have to hide behind botox or implants, or hair dye to conform to the media's standards. If I put on makeup I do it for me. Whatever I wear, I do it for me. I take a pride in myself that I never had before. 

 And dating is better than ever. I was working at a festival my Church puts on and it was the end of a gruelling 3-day event. I (and everyone else there working) was exhausted; I was covered in sweat, my hair was looking batty, and I smelled like a fast-food restaurant. All I wanted to do was go home and wash my hair 6 or 7 times. A guy started helping me take down booths and within 10 minutes he got my number and asked me out. We went out the following weekend and had a good time. 

 Those things never happened when I dyed my hair but I was never so comfortable in myself until I stopped dyeing. So in the end, it has nothing to do with my hair. ALTHOUGH, I will say that more and more men come up and compliment me on my hair. Some gush over it and at times do so in front of their girlfriends/wives. As a fellow female, I will quickly say a polite thank you and compliment the girlfriend. This is my return favor to the gentleman so he doesn't get the cold shoulder and the stiff "I TOLD you, nothing's wrong!" response from his girlfriend later. But I'll admit, I love every one of those compliments and it just makes my day. 

So my update is that I'm still dating and enjoying every minute of it. Every month, I take a picture to mark the anniversary of going grey and show how my silver has progressed. I still feel like I'm not "there" until this dye is finally cut off but when it is, look out!