With furrowed brow and determination, I open the box, unloading my arsenal, and survey my artillery. Unfolding my battle plans, I peruse the course in which I am about to take, and know that this mission will be arduous and against insurmountable odds. With an air of Winston Churchill stoicism, I am ready to defend my territory at camp “Bottle Job Brunette”. This is “Operation Root Rescue” at the Battle of Gray Hair.
I have to proclaim Veteran status when it comes to dying my hair. My locks lost the battle to self determination back in the summer of 1983, when they “turned” on me, going from Swedish ABBA, light golden blonde to dishwater brown. I never got over that follicle betrayal and vowed to take control with the weapon of choice: “Sun In”. It was an over the counter spray on solution of Goldilocks delight. I had Shock therapy via peroxide and lemon juice on hand to tame these tresses, and just in case they thought they could woo me over to the dark side, I was armed with a whole can of Aqua Net, the ozone depleting champion of Journey fans everywhere!
In the mid 80’s, I threw my hair a curve ball and went “New Wave”. Oh yes. We can thank the 80’s for “Manic Panic” to send my Flock of Seagulls hairdo into a migration pattern tailspin and mother back into therapy. Pillar Box Red, Fuchsia Pink, Blue Jay Blue, and of course the Goth years of Black Raven, in honor of my misunderstood angst. (Unfortunately, Black and White Photography was also very “In” at this time and so all the vibrant shock value was lost in the annals of history.) 😦
As I don my gloves to do epic battle with my roots of ill repute, I notice that my “battle stage” mindset might not entirely be my own. On the box itself, L’Oreal’s Root Rescue is full of battle mode phrases. The title alone should have given it away, with a promise of “100% grey coverage in only 10 minutes” where I can cover even my most “Defiant Grays”. Yes, it’s a battle to be won here! I have color coded enemies. They wear the gray shirts, and I are going to wear them down, take them off the front line, and saturate them with my dark mahogany semi-permanent propaganda whether they like it or not! Accomplish this mission, and I will once again be glorified within the halls of the beautiful and faux youthful for another 6 weeks!
But hold up now! Now Gray is the new sexy? Even the kids are doing it? What the Clairol??? Actresses and rock stars young and old are now embracing the Gray? When was this armistice signed? Who went to the other side of this stronghold? Meryl Streep? How could you!!!?! Well, you are still amazing. Jamie Lee Curtis? Still hot after all these years! Lady Gaga??? Okay, you were always weird. That doesn’t count.
Battle weary and worn, my gray enemy delusions shattered, shower stall spattered with the carnage of mahogany dye and wistful dreams of youth going down the drain. I have to reassess what I think of this stage of beauty in my life. I actually like my wild white hairs. I name them and they proudly proclaim their presence, crowning my forehead and kissing my temples. I know this “gray” celebration is just the newest crayon in the box to be the hot ticket in the name of ever fickle fashionistas, and its luster will fade like my bottle job in about 6 weeks. But perhaps new growth has sprouted and taken root in regards to an acceptance about where I am right now. I can’t say I will swear off the bottle. This is a legacy of the maternal line for generations. It’s okay to take control of our own standards of beauty, while at the same time accepting the passing of time and the occasional “wild hair” as a reminder of who we really are!