I visited a lovely local salon on Saturday for a cut and color, highlights to be exact. Now I realize that as someone who manages to get in for a hair appointment on average once every eight months I am not the authority of trends or terminology. I did feel fairly comfortable in saying, “Cut it like you did last time,” and “Highlights framing my face.” Didn’t seem open to wild interpretation.


I should have articulated the niggling doubt I had when she didn’t ask about color. There was no, “Are you thinking a honey or a caramel, or maybe something a little cinnamony?” Nope, she confirmed ‘highlights’ and then went off to mix.

“Do you want them spaced throughout to make root grow out less obvious?” We smiled at each other, both of us knowing that when you go as long as I do between appointments the best bet for dealing with roots is going to be a cap, no amount of spacing can fix it.


Exactly ninety minutes from the moment I sat down, she spun me around to show me what I knew would be a head of hair who’s styling I could never again recreate. I did not expect it to be a Paris Hilton/Pamela Anderson shade of fake.

“What do you think? Better?” She asked, proud of her handywork.

“Oh. Wow. Yeah, it is so much…better.” Silent repetitions of , “Oh fuck,” danced in jerky twitches through my head.

This is totally shallow and not anything I am proud of, but all I could think was, “Oh, god, ten years from now when I look at the delivery room photos I am going to look like a tired bar maid…Why did your hair look like that, mama?” I made a quick exit, careful not to let on to her that I was horrified at the color in that sick , “Mustn’t hurt her feelings” way I have and headed for home. At each stop sign I’d steal a peek in the rear view mirror and start from the sheer blondeness of it.

These are not highlights, these are, “I wish I were blonde” whole-head-lights.

Today everyone I saw complimented me, everyone. It began to feel a bit like a campaign – help her not feel like a complete ass with her freakishly altered locks. I thanked each and everyone and then mewed a pitiful, “Hmm, I don’t know, she went way blonder than I expected.” It was awkward for everyone.

You think it’d be weird if I wore a baseball cap through the delivery?

PS Because I don’t like leaving this as a totally shallow post, I have a friend who is asking for help with the old “How do you juggle work health and cleanliness question?” What do you say to hopping over to her place and giving her some pearls, or at least the reassurances that we all have closets filled floor to ceiling with crap and herds of dust bunnies beneath our beds?