Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The Price of Vanity

I have always considered myself to be one of the least vain people on the planet. I've talked about this before here: makeup goes on my face maybe twice a year (and even then is limited to eyeliner, mascara and a touch of almost-immediately wiped off lipstick), I use my blowdryer only to quick-dry a piece of tatting I want to send off to someone, I don't own a curling iron or curlers or mousse or gel or whatever else piece of equipment most women have. I buy clothes based on comfort first. The only jewelry I own is that bought for me by others, and aside from my wedding ring, I wear it very rarely. I refuse to get contact lenses, despite my near-constant need to have glasses on. I refuse to wear heels, despite being only 5'1". I also refuse to wear panty hose most of the time. And I don't shave my legs very often. My friends talk about things like botox and tummy-tucks with relish, and I can't even imagine wanting to watch such things occur, much less have them done to me.

So when I started on Weight Watchers back in June, I was a bit conflicted. Why was I doing this? Did I really care if I looked heavy, if that nice lady from admission thought I was pregnant? What did that mean about my protestations of not being vain? In the end, I shunted these aside, figuring that if I wasn't comfortable in my clothes any more, it didn't matter why--I should fix it. and I have. I'm still a good five to seven pounds from my 'goal' weight, but I'm comfortable again, and that's all I really wanted, so I'm not sweating that last little bit o' lard.

Which is why it makes absolutely no sense that I walked into Fantastic Sam's on Saturday with Em so that we could both get our usual low-cost hair-trimming, and heard myself saying, "I'd like to get my hair colored."

What does make sense is that, as we walked out of said Fantastic Sam's, I was sporting some kind of neon 'do that looked like I'd plopped an orange creamsicle on my head. Em's attempt to comfort me only made it worse: "It doesn't look that silly, Mommy." And Baroy, despite a phone call to warn him that I was a beauty-shop experiment gone awry and please don't laugh at me when I get home, could do nothing but laugh. (As I told this part of the story in my office, my friend Jon winced and then said, "So, how's that respirator working out for him?" Hee!) And my friend's husband, who brought his kids over for dinner so that she could cough out her pneumonia-riddled lungs in relative peace, said that it wasn't too bad, "just a little brassy."

I tried to concentrate on how this was a teaching moment for Em, and kept making little comments about, "Well, it's only hair," and "Hey, I'm still the same person inside, so no use worrying so much about my outside." But that same person inside was FREAKING. All I could think about was going into work on Monday and facing all my colleagues and having them mouth platitudes about how good I look, and knowing they were lying through their teeth. Suddenly, I was all about the vanity. What the fuck had I been thinking? Oh, sure, a little lift from the antidepressants, a little weight loss, and suddenly I'm Miss Holllywood? Serves me right.

So after the pity party was over, I called my sister, who used to work at a salon until she developed some sort of chemical sensitivity, and asked how long I would have to wait to redo my hair myself. "Oh, god, you can do it now. You have pristine hair. It won't even notice."

And so off I went, to pick up a $9 bottle of Loreal, and home I went to saturate my hair with it. And now? Well, there's still some orange to it, but it's a pretty nice color. Much more natural. Lighter than I've been in close to 20 years, but not so light that my entire face disappears (which it did with the first hair color). I like it. Everyone I see likes it, assuming they're not blowing smoke up my ass. And, perhaps more importantly, a lot of people don't even notice it at first. I talked to a friend of mine for about five minutes this morning, and she didn't say a word. To me, that's a compliment, because it means it looks natural. (Or so bad she couldn't think of what to say, but I'll go with natural.) And really, that's what I want; to look natural. To look like me, like someone who accepts being who she is and doesn't freak out about age spots and wrinkles. You know, someone who would never color her hair, because she is one of the least vain people on the planet.

Clearly, the gods and goddesses of hubris are laughing their asses off at me right now.

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