I make the decision to transition from chestnut brown tresses — the same ones that I’ve rocked since infancy (although they assure me that I was, at least, a cute hairy baby) — to full-blown blonde fried strands of dead hair luscious locks in one minute or less, which is especially bizarre if you’re aware of the fact that I’m a self-professed hyper-paranoid beauty junkie.
Having spent the past ten years of my life methodically researching, testing, and ultimately assembling a maintenance team to keep this bod and everything on it looking physically up to par, it’s surprising then that I opt to perform what is the equivalent of a Double D breast augmentation on my almost virgin hair (save for the few ombre highlights that I had applied to my tresses by an admittedly over priced, but ultra reliable, team member at a Park Avenue salon about six months ago) in the chair of a completely RANDOM STYLIST during an impromptu vacay to…
But I’m also unquestionably impulsive by nature, which is a quality that has, at times, served me well in life, and in other instances – namely this one – resulted in tears, a bout of temporary catatonia, and grey/green/red/orange stripes emerging from the depths of my freshly burning scalp. Yes, friends, post process, I arrive at the indisputable conclusion that I’m substantially more Cruella De Vil than Candice Swanepoel, an ungupocha of contrasting colors – none of which are even remotely attractive when placed on top of a human head.
The stylist, commenting on how “great” I look, refers to my hair as an “exact duplication” of the Pinterest picture that I present to him upon initial entry into the torture chamber chair — and even set as the background of my Iphone, so that we could use it as a FRAME OF REFERENCE throughout the harrowing four and half hour transformation. In the photograph, I see a blonde bombshell, a California beach bunny with picture perfect golden locks, the ones that “accidentally” fall into messy beach waves and somehow manage to accentuate/frame the face perfectly. My hair stylist, apparently, sees a rainbow.
I have this theory that there’s still a subconscious fascination with fair hair and blue/green eyes – a fairly ubiquitous understanding that both of these desirable traits (or at least one of the two) equate to all things sex, beauty and exoticism.
Even if you forego the blonde tresses, it’s those piercing blue eyes – the Harry Winston-esque sapphires that women like Adriana Lima and Megan Fox lay claim to – that make us do a quadruple take, wondering WHY (Why God, WHY?!) colored contacts don’t possess the ability to make the rest of us mere mortals look more baby-faced and beautiful than purple and possessed.
And, of course, there are tons of drop dead gorgeous, brown eyed brunettes in the world, and I’ve always been happy enough with my natural physical appearance – but just for a moment, I flirt with the idea of doing something that will assuredly make me…
I want to pop. I want to glisten gold.
So, I decide that if I can’t be an entrancing blue-eyed goddess, then by God, I’m going to be a platinum blonde.
After I emerge from the Miami salon with what can only be categorized as post-traumatic stress disorder, I immediately research the best blonde hair colorist in all of New York City and strong arm my way into Marie Robinson’s chair at 11 am the next morning. Marie is blunt, and she doesn’t need the business (an assumption that I’m quickly able to make after witnessing droves of freshly bailyaged women depart from her salon with a bounce in their bobs that would suggest that Robinson possesses the unique ability to make hair itself happy), so she tells me exactly how it is when I show her pictures of Rosie and Candice and ask for the same exact shade of bold euphoria.
“Yeah, but Rosie’s a natural blonde!” she says. The statement is a dagger to my heart.
“I know (I don’t really know), but let’s just get close to it,” I retort. “Don’t you think I’ll look better with super light hair, anyway?” I insist ask, not so subtly begging for the validation that I’ve been waiting for since making this impromptu decision in the first place.
“No. I don’t. This is really gorgeous, though” she quips, pointing to an old photograph of me that’s stowed away in the recesses of my IPhone. She’s referring to my brown hair. “But if you really want to go blonde, let’s at least make it work for you.”
This, by the way, is a disclaimer for, “honey, you are never going to be Marilyn Monroe or Brooke Shields or Christine Brinkley or Carolyn Bessette or Candice Swanaepol or Rosie Huntington Whietley or any of the other fair-haired goddesses that the world has worshipped since the beginning of time.”
What I eventually emerge with is an incredible, hand painted beige-toned color. Marie has restored my base to a light shade of brown (eradicating the bright orange tone that I received in Miami) and artfully applied highlights that make me look like…a well coiffed Bergdorf blonde.
It’s exactly what I asked for.
And immediately, I know that it’s not me.
The truth is that I don’t look nearly as good as I did with my natural hair color. I understand that, and all at once, I accept it.
But, my dye job is done with precision and it’s done well – not to mention the fact that I’ve also drained my savings account so much so that I might have to forego food for the week (again), so I decide to live the life of that anonymous Pinterest beach bunny that I showed to the stylist back in Miami for at least a little while.
And, truth be told, it’s fun.
This is the single most “permanent” thing that I’ve ever had done to myself, and it’s interesting to see the way that people react to it everywhere from the streets of New York City to the beaches of Anguilla. In fact, the responses that I’ve received will decidedly serve as the subject of an article that I’ll post at the end of the summer, when I’ve lived long enough with my new look to make blanket societal assertions about the differences between life as a blonde versus life as a brunette.
I’m meant to have dark hair, and I know that now; I also appreciate it substantially more because I prefer the way that I looked with my natural hue so much more. That said, in September, I’ll return to the dark side.
And if I ever get bored again, there’s always that wrist tattoo that I thought was so cool…or maybe the one on the lower rib cage (you know, very Rihanna – esque) that says something in small cursive lettering like “C’est la vie…”
But then again, I already have so many freckles, moles and markings on my body – do I really want to add something else to the repertoire of masses that inhabit my skin?
But that cursive lettering, especially while on the beach in a bikini, just looks so badass.
Then again, if I do it, I mean…will I still look elegant when wearing a ball gown?