Me with brown hair  

I was born a brunette. Actually, that’s not true. I was born bald and remained that way until I was three-years-old. Then, my mother claims, my hair grew in light. I was a toe-head, but by the time I was in second grade my hair was brown and remained that way through college. It was long and brown until I was 14 when my grandmother took me to get it cut and my first perm. After that I kept it short or curly or wavy until I graduated from college.

Again, that’s not entirely true. Just before going off to college my mom and I decided it would be exciting for me to try life as a blond, so we bought some at home hair stripper and dye. We tried the stripper, which did exactly what its name implied, stripped my hair of color and then we applied the color, summer blonde, which my mom had used in the past. It turned my hair a lovely, damaged, straw-broom orange, so we re-dyed it brown, but it was so damaged that we had to cut a lot of it off and it wouldn’t’ really style well, so I went off to start my freshman year shorn.

When I graduated college, I decided to get my hair frosted blonde. My mother, a natural blonde, had always been hailed for her beauty and I think I wanted to look like her. She also had short hair at the time, so I chose to cut mine as well. I found a pic of a short-feathered cut  a la Melanie Griffith when she was married to Don Johnson the second time around. I liked it and thus started my hair-dyeing journey.

Hair has always been an issue in my family. Dad never wanted Mom to cut her long hair, she didn’t listen, and I think I thus, saw controlling one’s hair as a sign of independence. I also found I simply liked change.  When my brother started dating his wife, Becky, she was in school to become a hairdresser and I was her happy guinea pug. She took my hair from blonde to plum to a black disaster and back to red again. I have thus been practically every color imaginable over the last twenty years and sometimes more than one color at once. When my niece Catherine would draw pictures of her family in school, she would often color my stick figure representation with rainbow colored hair.

I say I’ve been every color imaginable, but in reality I’ve been practically every color but brown. I tried to dye it back once or twice, but always hated it so much that it took only an hour or two before I went out and added some streaks or re-dyed it a different color all together.

The other day after Christmas I decided to go back to my roots, so to speak. I went to the hairdresser and asked her to dye my hair mocha with blonde tips. Actually, I think my color now is darker than my natural color, but not by much and who can really tell, because dyed hair, no matter how well done. is always more one-dimensional than natural, and, it has been years since I saw my real hair, but for now at least I’m a brunette again.

I’m not entirely sure I feel like me yet. For years I wore my hair a cherry red color that became almost signature and recently, I managed to stop dying my hair for enough years to grow it long and blonde, which I absolutely loved and felt right at home. But the itch to change came back and I cut it shorter and red, then cut it again so that I can grow it out and now, well, now its brown. As I was dyeing it, I read an article that says that men are more likely to pick up an object dropped by a blonde woman in a tight white tee shirt than a brunette, so maybe I made a big mistake, but so be it.

I’m sure there’s all sorts of psychological reasons besides those already mentioned for my hair-changing obsession, but this is what I know for sure. It’s fun, it’s an adventure and while it offers some surprise, it’s entirely within my control. It’s a way to shake things up, become a different person without a permanent commitment – it grows back, you can color it again. It’s cheaper than buying a ticket to Paris or moving to New York.  It’s a way to explore different facets of myself. It’s anything, but boring.

So in a way, getting back to my roots is a way of being a whole new me. And, I just noticed it’s even trendier than I first thought. My new color, dark brown with blonde tips, matches my dog. Waffles, like her father Puddlegum, has fawn undertones to her black coat. If you look close at her shoulders and rump, the tips of her dark fur look frosted blonde. We’ll look so cute together while out on the town, I’m sure the right pug-loving guy will stop to help us if we drop something on the sidewalk…

black pug fawn fur