My first time was about 38 years ago, I was around 17. Bored, creative, why not. Hello Henna. A deep eggplant natural color wash seemed like a good plan for my dark locks. Girlfriends over, an afternoon of laughing, mixing the mud, spreading the swamp-smelling glop on our heads, and topping them off with hand-crafted tinfoil hats. Time to kill, no internet back then…the perfect time for a photoshoot, in a boat, on a table…never try and figure out the minds of teenage girls.
I used Henna for years, mostly purple, sometimes black… it only really showed when I stood in the sun, a very safe statement. I am Mediterranean, olive-toned…green. Most hair colors do not work on me, so I spent years sticking with a splash of color on my dark and crazy abundance of curls…sigh…I had big inflexible hair.
Ohhh did I envy my sister…she was blessed with “mousy brown” hair, (her description, not mine) and white porcelain skin…think Molly Ringwald. She could sport any hair color or style…blonde in the front/black in the back, electric red, or Peter Frampton gold, perm and all…a beautiful blank canvas. My brother, who had similar coloring to me, not so much. He bleached his hair blonde one afternoon. He walked in the kitchen and my father had a stroke. His hair was comic book orange, (his girlfriend failed to understand the concept of double process). Orange hair and green skin…he was a mishmashed Oompa Loompa. While feeling massive amounts of relief that I had never taken that plunge, I felt for him. He looked ridiculous. My father was beyond furious, almost in tears. My mother crossing her legs laughing while repeating relax, hon, relax, it is just hair, it’s just hair. So, my brother shaved his head, problem solved.
After a year of going back and forth between embracing and hating my gray, I dyed my hair…no jobs coming in before noon, I prep, I paint, I wait, I rinse.
It is DARK…holy smokes. Nothing subtle about that head of hair! I am startled every time I pass the mirror. Who is that? My mom doesn’t notice till I point it out, she says Good Girl! Thank God! It must be hard having a daughter who goes gray the same time you do…note, she embraced gray at 83. Olivia does not notice, but we stand eye to eye, that girl has little chance of seeing the top of my head. Greg does not notice without a prompt…we are cooking together, he is a foot taller than me, he should notice. Hellooooooooo I say while pointing to my roots. He smiles, big smile. It looks great! I didn’t notice because that is how you always look to me.