To paraphrase Dorothy Parker: I hate getting my hair done. I love it when it's done.
I like how I look with a nice, recent, even haircut. I like how I look when all my gray hair becomes the same color as the rest of my hair. I like how I look when strands of hair framing my face are highlighted a nice caramel color.
But I HATE the process of having it done.
There are several reasons for this.
One is that I'm cheap, at least when it comes to stuff like this. I have good hair, and I like to keep it simple, so I don't need an expert stylist: someone who can even up the ends is good enough, so I'm inclined to go for ten dollar haircuts, about once every ten to 15 months. And that's fine, when all that's involved is cutting. But add color, and you need to have someone who knows what they're doing, and you have to maintain it.
I colored my hair for a little more than two decades, starting the summer before seventh grade, when I was 11, and Sun-In was all the rage. I went on to color it red a few times, and magenta twice, and black once, but mostly I went with blonde highlights, especially during the 80s, when almost everyone had highlights.
And then I hit my late-early-30s and I quit with the color. I decided I was sick of the bother and didn't want to send any more nasty chemicals down the drain and that my real hair color wasn't so bad.
And that was great for a few years, and then I started going gray.
And I lived with the gray for a few years, and then Matthew asked me to be in his wedding, and I decided I didn't want to be gray in the photos.
That was a year ago, and I've kept up with the color since, more or less, for a variety of reasons, though the stylist always chastises me for the fact that I go as long as possible between touch-ups.
Yesterday I had it done again and I am just about to decide that I must STOP.
Yes, money is a factor. I hate spending a big chunk of change to make my hair look like it used to look on its own. Time is a bigger one.
I find sitting there by the dryers waiting for the color to work BORING BEYOND ALL BELIEF. I could be doing the most interesting or enjoyable thing in the world--say, writing a blog entry, or eating gelati, or reading Austen--but if I was doing it to pass the time while my hair was being colored, I would still be impatient and irritable and watching the clock and muttering under my breath, "You better come over here and rinse this shit out of my hair in the next five minutes, or... or else I'll just sit here and keep muttering"--because really, what am I going to do? Attack my stylist with a hot curling iron? Rinse my hair myself? I don't know why 40 minutes pass so very slowly and are so vastly unpleasant to live through while there are a bunch of toxic chemicals concentrated on my head, but the fact of the matter is, I just can't WAIT to have all that shit removed from my scalp.
And then it gets rinsed and then I get my hair cut, and while it's being cut I have to listen to shit like this from the patron at the next styling station, some well-to-do 40-something woman wearing really dreadful sandals with all sorts of glittery jewels on them:
"I just couldn't believe it when none of my kids have blue eyes! Damien, my husband, he has blue eyes, and so does everyone in his family--I mean EVERYONE! Whereas in my family, some people have blue eyes and some are brown, so I thought for sure the kids would get his eyes--but nope, all four them have my brown eyes."
And I'm sitting there thinking, "Lady, didn't you pay attention in seventh grade when they taught the introduction to genetics and told you all about Gregor Mendel and his sweet peas, and used blue versus brown eyes to explain, in a very simplified way, the concept of recessive genes?"
That's the real reason I hate getting my hair done: listening to the dumb shit people talk about in hair salons. I went to a new stylist yesterday because I simply couldn't stand my old one anymore: she was a nice person, but god, she was STUPID! I couldn't bear to hear any more statements like those she'd expressed over the last few appointments, such as 1) Across the Universe was the best movie EVER, and if I didn't like it I must not be a real Beatles fan like she was, never mind the fact that she born well after Lennon was shot, and whereas I was listening to their music when they were actually a band, or 2) she didn't really like Heath Ledger but thought it was too bad he committed suicide--because it HAD to be suicide; it couldn't be an accident, not if he was depressed, or 3) George Clooney was indeed very handsome, but that Michael Clayton movie just looked too serious, or 4) it's completely shocking that a movie made in Spain is in Spanish rather than English, and it's very weird of me to watch a movie by Pedro Almodovar when there are all these great American movies to see first.
I guess it makes me a bitch and a snob to feel so superior to people just because they're criminally ignorant fools.... I sorta feel bad about that, but I also think a way to avoid feeling superior is just to stay home and not subject myself to people who annoy me so much. So I may just live with the gray at my temples and not get my hair cut for another year, until it looks so ragged and unkempt I just can't stand it, and then get the cheapest, quickest hair cut I can manage.