I should say “Part DUH”; that would more appropriately reflect my utter cleverness in this scenario. Well, I did promise a sequel to this entry. I can tell that everyone has waited with bated breath, unable to be patient – they are CLAMORING AND BREAKING DOWN THE DOOR SHOUTING, “WHERE OH WHERE IS THAT OTHER BLOG ENTRY YOU PROMISED??????” Sorry – was that SARCASM????? Ah well, you’re getting it anyway.
I should say that there are things in my life about which I am an inadvertent purist. I had never plucked or waxed my eyebrows until last summer, for instance. They aren’t dark, and it just never seemed like a huge necessity. Besides, I have a great desire for symmetry in certain situations and yet I seem to be compromised in this respect. If I try to trim a photo by hand, for instance, I’ll cut one side, notice the other is uneven and cut it. But I’ll cut a little too much off and then have to go back to the original side and trim that, too (but I’ll overdo that slice as well). Pretty soon, the subjects of the photo are nigh unto headless and a two inch by three inch wallet-sized photo is now about an inch square. So I was hesitant to attack my eyebrows. I was always told that if you were too enthusiastic in this pursuit that you’d end up without eyebrows and they WOULDN’T GROW BACK. My childhood piano teacher, Theatis Barnett, was a prime example. Her natural eyebrows were GONE. She drew alternates in, but she placed them a little too high up on her forehead. Thus, she always looked slightly surprised. Also, she had orange plastic couches upon which she threw covers of pink faux fur and she often wore a pink cap (covering her VERY interesting jet-black/purple dye job) that had feathers all over it. But that’s a story for another time.
When Charles and Ashley asked me to officiate their wedding last year (leading me to inadvertently tell a number of people that “I was going to marry my brother”) I decided that I’d try to be a presentable as possible. I haven’t regularly worn makeup for years, for example. I spent hours and hours in high school “farding” (sorry, Grettir) as well as using my life-time’s quota of hair spray in order to accomplish such coiffure feats as the “newscaster hairdo” and the “bang claw.” One quarter at University, when I had an aerobics class first thing and a German class immediately thereafter, I discovered that no one noticed if I was made-up or not. Moreover, I didn’t make my self-concept any worse. Gradually, I’ve ended up only wearing makeup for performances (acting, singing) and very special occasions. Perhaps the fact that the music faculty always said things like, “You clean up SO well,” at various jury performances and concerts should have given me pause, but I decided that a low-maintenance approach to my daily ablutions was definitely my style. I stopped trying to fight the wildness of my hair, my legs haven’t been shaved in probably fifteen years (but one must shave their arm pits because they SMELL better) – I guess I do have a little hippy-granola-earth chick in me (complete with long skirts and Birkenstocks®, at various points).
Anyhoo, like I said, when Charles and Ashley asked me to officiate their wedding, I definitely wanted to detract as little as possible from the elegance of the occasion. And since there were a few people taken aback by the idea of ME as the officiant – my grandmother said, “Will I have to hide under my chair?” I thought I’d do what I could. Tangentially, I must ask: What exactly did my grandmother think I would do? She has seen me perform many times and be poised and graceful and certainly appropriate. I wonder if she had visions of me gyrating starkers in front of the audience and loudly singing, “You’re MARRIED, you’re MARRIED,” while beating the bride and groom with switches of sacred herbs and instructing the congregation to chant “be happy and [selectively] fertile” in Latin. I’ll never know – I didn’t want to ask.
But as I am an Ordained Clergy Person as opposed to an wizened male English Vicar, I thought I should be as kempt as possible. I went to a salon with Sarah where we had our hair trimmed. She also had her eyebrows waxed, and it got me thinking (about vizened male English Vicars, apparently). The next day, I went to another salon. I had them cut long layers into my hair and had my eyebrows waxed for the very first time. I must admit – they did look much better. HOWEVER – and this is perhaps why I cling to some of my inadvertent purist behaviors – there were repercussions. Now wayward eyebrows grow in places they’d never sprouted before. These errant brows, if I didn’t pluck them and have periodic salon waxings, would probably cover the entirety of my eyelids. I would be “Yeti-eyed” as opposed to “doe-eyed.” Not attractive.
But I was going to talk about my virgin hair. Since I’d never dyed it before, it seemed like I should wait until a special occasion to do it for the first time. So when my hair was short for the first time since childhood (and secretly I’d noticed that most of my natural highlights were now in the BACK of my hair – which I cut off – and the front was becoming gradually more dull and darker with a few gray interlopers) it seemed like the right occasion. I did ask the advice of the beauty supply purveyor (thank god) about dye types and colours. Had I not, I would probably have ended up “Annie” red or “Munsters” black or a combination thereof. I didn’t want to end up dying my body, too, so I’d concocted a protective barrier of plastic wrap, athletic tape (not as sticky as the medical bandage tape). It was very complex (after all, they don’t call me “Kate, The Safety Dog” for NOTHIN…). I mixed up the dye and the developer (or the transformer of the magic colour crÚme or whatever it’s called) and it looked disappointingly wan and pale. I began to wonder if I shouldn’t have ignored the advice of the beauty supply professional and used something bolder. But after I’d donned yards and yards and yards and yards of plastic wrap and athletic tape – elaborately fashioned into a protective shell that probably would work as a space suit with only the addition of breathing assistance, the dye mixture had turned EXACTLY the colour of squid ink – I kid you not. I was a tad taken aback by this, but I soldiered on. I applied the goo with latex gloves (I’ve spent enough time in medical settings to know the many uses of these handy implements and how to take them off so you get the contaminated inside of one inside the other with them both inside out in a neat, clean little package). Since I had “virgin” hair (the perms of my childhood having long ago grown out and having never dyed it – yes, I have born-again “virgin” hair) I was told the colour would take very well. Therefore I was paying strict attention to the instructions and the time one should leave the dye. I set a timer and sat down on a shielding blanket of clean garbage bags to watch TV. I was watching a show on TLC (The Learning Channel) about human “mating” and sex and the neurological and physiological connections that can be studied and measured. Don’t be mistaken – it was VERY scientific (and they had managed to get wee little cameras into VERY interesting spaces I would have thought unlikely if not impossible). I should have been able to hear the timer buzz from where I was – seriously. After a while, it occurred to me that it seemed like it had been long past time for the alarm to go off. I went to check; it had indeed ended WHO KNOWS how long before. So after being vain about my hair getting darker in front, I ended up with darker hair EVERYWHERE. I reiterate: Don’t dye your hair for the very first time SOLO in the middle of the night.
I guess that’s not really a very interesting tale after all. Especially since – IT IS JUST HAIR. Oh – we did manage to get almost everyone in the family to add purple highlights to their hair (at Sarah’s request – it is her favorite colour and violet is the colour for lymphoma ribbons and whatnot). They don’t really show too much in my hair. Even in Sarah and Shirleen’s blond hair it isn’t THAT obvious. When I locate them, I’ll post the pictures of the temporary mauve hair color (that washes right out) that we purchased for the chicken people who didn’t want to have semi-permanent streaks. My Father looked like Mister Heat Miser.