Friday, February 03, 2023

Column: Coloring my hair? It will never happen again

by Calico Pen & Carol Holoboff
| December 29, 2009 11:00 PM

’Tis another season. Now is the season for resolutions and I hereby resolve to never, ever, color my hair again.

I made that same resolution in 1968 and on several New Year celebrations after that. We all make mistakes; we try to learn from those mishaps and then go on to make new mistakes. Certainly, there is something wrong with one’s thinking when the same behavior is repeated and a different outcome is expected.

When I purchased the same over-the-counter hair color, went through the exact process of application, the result the second time was the same embarrassing color, RED. Not the light, golden blonde color promised on the box. 

This last time, when I showed the red hair to my beautician, she suggested that I frost the red to tone the color down. The frosting, white wisps of hair scattered here and there in the bright red color, made me look like a Rhode Island hen.

At my insistence, she cut off some of the mess but that left me looking more like a Rhode Island rooster, or an elderly marine.

The first time I tried to color my hair a light, golden blond, my attempts to get rid of the red hair with a hair cut left me with a worse mess. So, I purchased a wig. My husband and I were going to a homecoming game in North Dakota where our son played on the football team. Our son’s roommate was traveling with us and every time I turn to talk to him in the back seat, the wig remained in a forward position.

The young man politely ignored my distress all the long way across eastern Montana. Once there, I put a stocking cap over the wig, and went to the football game and homecoming celebration. My son didn’t seem to notice.

At our motel that evening, I closed my eyes and ran the hair clipper I had purchased after the game right down the middle of my red mess. My husband declined my offer to cut his hair the same way.

The next morning when we met the boys for breakfast I did not wear the wig. My son asked me if I had a chemo cut. I explained that I hadn’t wanted to embarrass him so I tried to wear a wig but it was too uncomfortable. He asked me not to wear that ugly wig around the campus and so I wore the stocking cap as much as possible.

Because I actually did have therapy for cancer that year, he assumed my hair loss was due to that therapy. I am just a little bit ashamed to admit that while my mistake grew out I let many other people think my bald head was the result of chemotherapy, which I never had.

When I was quite young, my mother took me to a beauty parlor in search of Shirley Temple ringlets. The permanent machine looked like an upside-down chrome egg with the guts hanging out of the bottom. The guts were actually electric cords with curlers on the ends.

The beautician wrapped my hair around those curlers and then pulled the chrome egg down over my head and plugged it in. I could smell my hair cooking. The results were more like “chore girl” curls. Mother marched me to another beautician who cut the curls into little SOS pad bunches.

Mother bought her own curling iron the next year and each morning she curled my hair, and sometimes burned my neck, until my grandmother taught mother how to make ringlets using rags. They wrapped sections of my hair around rags each night and each morning when the rags were removed, I had little “Slinkys” dangling around my neck.

By the time I entered high school I discovered that I actually had naturally wavy hair. The auburn color was nice and it hung past my waist. Nevertheless, when I landed the leading role, a Shepherd boy, in the all-girls-school Christmas pageant, I cut my hair and dyed it black.

My resolution for 2010 is to embrace my naturally gray hair and not obsess over the thinning spot on my crown … but … I wonder … if I had a hair extension, could it be dyed? … Red?

(Carol Holoboff is a former Libby resident who now writes her column from Great Falls).