The Damn White Roots

Before I opened my eyes this morning, still thrilled from the dream of seeing an approaching tsunami and surviving (awesome!), I spent time shuffling the day’s agenda. I thought:

If I dye my hair this morning, coping with behead tomorrow at 4:00am before the flight is going to be challenging, and my hair will feel awfully gross during the drive to Sam’s college on Thursday.

If I merely shampoo this morning and dye my hair tonight– There’s not time. Yes there is. Don’t put it off, you know you won’t follow through— I will, I will Sigh —

As I was saying, if I dye my hair tonight, I can blow it straight and be slightly more fresh feeling when I hang out with my family tomorrow night.

What if I don’t dye my hair before the trip at all? Go with gray roots? Yes. Live with roots for one more weekend. What will it matter? Who will see?

Relatives. They love me no matter what I look like.

Sam’s classmates. People over the age of 23 are invisible and/or irrelevant to college sophomores.

The flight attendants with a gnarly up-close birds’ eye view of my white roots. Hmmm. I’ll probably get better service if I look my best.

Time out. That’s bogus. I don’t think it is. It’s a fact that better looking, better groomed people are treated more kindly everywhere they go. A fact? Says who? Fact or fallacy: coiffed hair, colored lips—-

It’s too annoying of a question to think about at — what time is it? 6:14am.

I could pretend I’m in Pussy Riot and pull a hot orange ski mask over my head. Roots covered, pimple covered, shiny nose covered. But it’d get awfully itchy and sweaty and I don’t think the NSA would take kindly to it.

Oh, I envy the men whose only primping chore is to get clean and maybe moisturize. I know they have brows and nose hair and acne to contend with. I know many of them do take extra efforts with their hair. Even writing this paragraph feels like nothing but a waste of time, besides I’ve covered this topic before, and I’m already bitter about the 60 minutes I must budget today for the hair dying, so I guess I better get back on track.

But I can’t get it back, the time spent: all the hours I’ve spent standing in the bathroom, coaxing powders on to brushes and tiny sponges and touching them to my face. Am I the only one who finds it all annoying and absurd?

It’s my prerogative not to participate, I know. But then I better get used to hearing what my shrink told me last month, “You look tired today.”

You know what I want to do instead of dying my hair?

I want to plant this basil in soil.
The basil is alive!

I want to hear music in the park.
I want to make collages in my sketch book.

How do you feel about the time spent on primping? Do you really enjoy painting your nails and straightening your hair? Where do you draw the line?


16 thoughts on “The Damn White Roots

  1. Agh, I detest primping for many reasons you do too..I want to spend my time on something I enjoy.. So, I have employed my darling 21 yr old daughter to touch up Mom’s roots while I busy myself in a book, writing or something else more enjoyable.. When I’m 60, no more hair color, nada, zilch, none.. Damn, that’s a long way off!!

  2. I do all the grooming stuff even when I never want to. The end result, the effect it has on others, is just too important to me. What my boyfriend always tell me “you look great with messy hair, grey sparkles and no makeup” is ok for breakfast, but not the rest of the day. People always respond better to someone who has taken care of their appearance. My interactions with people are just too important to me…I want to get the best out of them. I don’t want to start a conversation with being told “you look tired today” (can’t believe that a therapist is allowed to say that!). I am trying to avoid those moments when I Iook in the mirror and say “gosh, I look tired”. But there are still a lot of them.

    So here’s what I do: I make the grooming process as much of an experience as possible. I have great music and good coffee for the morning routine. I plan what I will wear as I dry my hair or put my makeup on. The outfit has to be appropriate to my level of bloatedness and has to match the weather. It always has to look as if I feel happy, even when I don’t.
    I budget monthly so that someone else has the pleasure of applying my haircolor. I go to a salon in my favorite town and have lunch or go shopping or see a friend. It’s my day of fun.

    And i know that I am going to do this for the rest of my life. When I have more time, I will spend more time on it. And then hope that the 23 year olds and the flight attendants notice me. I guess I am constantly fighting being invisible, and maybe that’s really what it’s about.

    Love the post, and that is one of the best photos of all time. Love your expression!

    1. Dear Still a Girl, That primping routine does sound like more fun, thanks. I’ll have to bring music back into my mornings — as well as shift my thinking & expectations about the process. Thanks.

  3. Try this argument on for size (and I’m not being critical or combative, just trying to save you a little angst and a lot of time (or vice versa)): If you dye your hair because women always dye their hair so that therapists (et al) won’t think they “look tired,” you impart the tradition to the next generation of girls who do not see how beautiful a woman can be who does not give in to hair color. The stewards (and -desses) will respect someone who looks older and (potentially) more powerful than they. Get your pillow (scotch?) faster.

    Oh. Your basil has seeds; it’s past planting stage.

    1. Yes, but he was a white man with white hair in a land and a time when white men with white hair ruled. And Lauren Graham is NO STRANGER to the hair darkeners. :)

      1. Plus he had all those zylons after him. (Of course his hair turned white.) (In all honesty, and not trying to add to anyone’s angst or guilt, we, as a society, really need to stop making different rules for men and women. “He was a white man…” kind of demonstrates the real issue.)

        1. I know that only by “living the change” can I do my part to shift societal norms; however, that’s easier said than done. You and I didn’t make those rules, but we have to live under them, and we have to experience the discomfort in changing them.

          p.s. I’m visiting my niece’s college and stopped into the undergrad library to reply to your comment. Now I’m going to take my white roots up into the stacks and sniff some old books, as you do.

  4. one should totally do it for themselves…whatever they feel like…
    when i haven’t put on my eye pencil or straightened my hair, and people tell me either i look tired, not well or stuff of that kind…thats where i know i have to draw a line, because thats where i know i am vulnerable to listening and to obeying and to try looking the standard me in those people’s eyes…thats where i have to be careful.. but its true each time somebody points out smth of that kind…u feel u shud ve taken care of that side of u a little more…
    also among other things it feels great to look ur best, no?

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