A humor series on navigating this difficult time
If you’re new to this series: Here’s the previous installment. Read on.
Can we talk about hair? I have not stepped into a salon for a tune-up in over 6 months and it’s not pretty. My base color, an alchemy of 3 colors whipped together in a bowl by Nobu, my hairdresser/Houdini, is stored in 3 boxes on a shelf (blonde wood) within a row of identical boxes which altogether contain the full palette of human hair color from Cher Black to Lady Gaga Platinum.
From these trusty denizens of “the backroom,” my hybrid base color shall emerge as my very own custom elixir, my personal fountain of youth, Badass Brunette. Nobu’s particular expertise is in proportionately mixing 1/3 parts each of Monroe Blonde, Raunchy Red, Anchor Woman Brown and… Abracadabra!
Years ago last March (Doesn’t it seem so?), when I heard a pandemic was coming the first thing I did was make a hair appointment. “The future belongs to those who prepare for it”, sculpted in stone (and in my memory) over the entrance to the Boston University Student Union when Tyrannosaurus Rex roamed the earth.
I knew the emerging Covid crisis might interfere with my every-six-weeks hair gouache. But the threat was still amorphous enough for me to blithely enter the salon, squeeze myself into a one-size-fits-skinny-girls robe and relax, unmasked, into the chair. Nobu appeared from behind the curtain like Oz, holding the Petrie dish containing my gestating triplets. He worked hand-in-glove (tools of the trade, not mitigation) as Svetlana, the Svengali of shampoo stood at the ready to escort me to the sink.
Nobu meticulously parted small handfuls of hair framing my face and speed-dyed them with Lindsay Lohan lowlights, then wrapped those in tin foil like a ham and cheese sandwich after which he completed the job, brushing what remains of my thinning grey hair with Badass Brunette. (FYI….The only thing your hairdresser knows for sure is the stage after grey is called a wig).
The timer is set for 30 minutes. I decline the offer of a latte schmatte frappuccino or a Zero, Hint, or High I.Q. water but accept a well-thumbed InStyle magazine which confirms, sartorially speaking, I am not in style. Suddenly, “brrring” goes the timer and I sashay in my snug black robe to get shampooed, tilting my head back and settling my neck into the cold porcelain U of the deep black sink.
I drift into a state of bliss as the nubs of Svetlana’s slightly pudgy fingers sink into my scalp and press with precision and professionalism. All thoughts of the virus vanish. I am having the shampoo of my life. If there is such a thing as deep tissue massage of the scalp, Svetlana must have her Ph.D. Vigorous at the veinous temples, targeting severe stress points, masterly maneuvering at the nape of the neck. She rinses with Caribbean water temperature. She finishes up with a towel turban that is top-notch. I will never leave her.
I return to Nobu for the blowout finale. I pay a ridiculous amount and exit the salon, stunningly transformed. In fact, a real head-turner. That is, I turn my head every time I pass a shop window to admire my reflected doppelganger. Little do I know I will not be similarly coiffed for many months.
Today I wear a simple brown paper bag over my head. Seriously I’ve gone natural which is to say my hair is nine different colors ranging from brunette to gray to white with brassy blonde and mouse brown in between. By June, I thought it actually looked pretty cool. In July, my daughters told me I was wrong. By August, babies cried when they saw me.
In September, I began cutting my own hair, never a good idea, even for the pros. But they say it’s good to develop new skills, try new things while sheltering in place. That doesn’t necessarily include cutting your own hair or performing brain surgery but I forged ahead, first parting my wet hair with a wide-toothed comb down the middle from my forehead to the back of my neck. I grabbed the hair on my left side and pulled it toward the front where I could see it in the mirror and snipped away, evenly (I hoped) with poultry shears, the only household scissors I could find. When I finished I was certain I looked better than a plucked chicken.
Is September half over already? Can you believe we’re still looking for straight answers on testing, plasma, and tracing? And what to believe of a vaccine? Nine pharma companies recently signed a pledge to “make the safety and well-being of vaccinated individuals the top priority in the development of the first Covid-19 vaccines.” Du-uh??!!
Exhausting, isn’t it? I saw Dr. Birx on tv last week and even she and her scarves look tired. And poor Dr. Fauci. After talking to America and the world 24/7 about the virus he gets polyps on his vocal cords and undergoes surgery. Hmmmm…A Russian conspiracy? Warning to Dr. Fauci: Do not stop for tea in the airport lounge before your next flight.
Did I tell you I have a new BFF? Nancy Pelosi. Madame Speaker puh-lease stop texting me. The same goes for you Chuck, Cory, and Tom Perez. I get it. We’re in deep dirt. But don’t you all have other work to do? Please get off your devices before our precious democracy is forfeited at the hands of Agent Orange (wink and nod).
For 4 years he’s been accused of not being transparent. Is that even possible when a person is hollow? Let’s go folks! Help get out the vote so it’ll be HAIR today and gone November 3rd.
Last word: VOTE.
Pam Goldman is a writer, therapist, wife, mother and (young) grandmother. Her work has been published in The New York Times and VIVA Magazine. She is completing her first book, titled LEFT.
This article originally appeared on Medium.