I am tempting the Fates. I’m taking my future happiness into my hands and handing over the possibility of disaster to some complete stranger. I have no idea how competent or incompetent this person will be. I don’t know if he or she will be able to follow simple directions.

I might be crying later today. I will probably be crying later today. I have, historically, more often than not, cried on days like this.

I’m going to get my hair cut.

Let me tell you how I got this far into my said tale. I colored my hair. For many years, I kept it red, but then as I went to more gray, it was harder and harder to manage red. Red color over brown hair with red highlights makes pretty hair. Red color over brown hair with lots of gray makes brassy looking clown hair.

I grew it out and was done with it. But then, I kept looking in the mirror and seeing this old woman there and so, I colored it again. This time brown. More time passed and I continually got more gray hair. There was so much gray along my part line, I would need to color my hair every three to four weeks. Not that it grew that fast, but the part line was double the growth rate and I had this skunk streak.

I asked if I could get my hair what we used to call “streaked” and is now called “highlighted” with gray. I was told [insert look of shocked horror, as if I had just asked for someone to commit mass murder] “We don’t do that. I might be able to get gray hair dye from Hollywood.”

I eventually decided to try to put very light blond highlights in. I have been coloring my hair for decades. It says right on the cheap crap you can buy at Wal-Mart, GRAY HAIR TAKES LONGER TO COLOR, increase time if you have lots of gray hair. But two people discussing this at the salon did not know this. They opted instead, over my protestations, to do the previously colored part first and then just put the blond on the gray roots for the last 10 minutes. I left there $140 poorer, and with root rot in evidence.

I did not go back any time soon, but then my son was getting married. I asked my future daughter-in-law how she would feel if I got my hair all cut off and was gray for the wedding. My uncolored hair was about one and a quarter inches and I would have still had a bit of color on the tips, but it would have worked for me. Sarah is a sweetheart and she said, “It’s your hair, you can do what you want.” But that look of absolute horror in her eyes said something different.

Back to the salon, same asshat. I don’t know why I let him touch my head again. Same other person consulting. They had no idea what to do with over an inch of uncolored hair. Just highlighting it again was not an option because they said so. I went with straight blond coloring without any stripping of previous color or my 60% natural brown. By the time I left, another $140 poorer, I had plaid hair. You could see the over one inch root demarcation, the half-inch line from the first rotten color job, and up and down lines from previous highlights.

I waited until I had over an inch of roots again and went, same place, different stylist, and got it all cut off. They acted like I was committing a mortal sin. Apparently long hair is to be revered unless they choose to alter it. And plaid hair is the best thing ever and should be preserved.

I finally went back to get the rest of the tips of color removed and expected hair that was about four inches long after the cut. Again, same salon and yet another different stylist, she did not have the same reverence for hair length. I left with hair that was two inches long. Nicely cut, but not what I asked for.

That was sixteen months ago. I have been terrified of letting anyone near me with scissors since then. I have my hair now long enough to actually pick up out of my face. It isn’t really long enough to style like that for work because it keeps falling down. But when I’m busy and want it tied back, I can do that. I can also contain it while riding with the top down on the car – a necessity rather than a whim.


This is the length I want, but with bangs. And done in gray.


But the ends are like frayed string. They feel horrible and look worse. I need to get it shaped up. I want a chin length pageboy. I have no idea what they would call that style today, but that’s what I want. I do not want any layers. I do not want someone coming near me with those thinning shear things that add “body” to one’s hair. I don’t want body, I want to tie it up and out of my face.

Going to the salon usually means laying out lots of money just to come home and cry. I’m very nervous. I know that what I want isn’t going to be what a stylist wants. I should have more cut off to get rid of more split ends. I don’t really care. I want what I’m asking for. I just hope I can manage not to cry in public when I don’t get it. I am going to a different salon, but I don’t hold out much hope for a happy ending.