When I was 17 years old, I read Seventeen Magazine. Of course, I also read it when I was 13, 14, 15, and 16. I loved that magazine. I had a subscription. (I also had a subscription to Tiger Beat, but let’s not talk about that. All I can say is, ahhh, Dino Martin.) Seventeen taught me how to dress, what hairstyles were in fashion, how to put on makeup, and that to be attractive to boys, you needed to be 5’10”, and weigh 110 lbs. In high school, I was around 5’2″ and weighed 105 lbs., and thought I was fat. Thanks Seventeen.
The other thing I learned, of course, is that you needed to have blond hair. I think every single model featured in Seventeen lived in California. When I was little, I had blond hair…..
By time I reached junior high, I was a solid dishwater blond, and stayed that way until I turned to my present shade of dishwater gray. Oh, I had a few adult experiences with so-called highlighting. It never really looked good on me.
But Seventeen Magazine told me I needed to have blond hair, and they had just the advertiser, er, product for me: Clairol Summer Blonde. Baby Boomers: Remember Summer Blonde?…..
Well, I fell for it, hook, line, and sinker. More surprisingly, somehow I managed to talk Mom into letting me dye my hair using Summer Blonde. I’m pretty sure I used the product’s own advertising spiel to convince her: Summer Blonde will gently lighten your hair, just like spending a day in the sun. Say the sun did it, Clairol suggested in their advertising slogan.
As I recall, the first time, it did just lightened my hair a bit, like the sun did it. But then the roots starting showing. Nowadays showing roots is fashionable; back then, showing roots was completely trashy. So, to hide my dark roots, I once again applied Summer Blonde. And a couple of months later, I did the same thing. Again. Again. Until my hair was a completely white/yellow color that is found nowhere in nature.
I don’t remember if it was Mom or my conscience that finally said: STOP THE MADNESS.
And so I went through months and months of letting my hair grow out to its natural color. Again, though now having two shades of hair is commonplace, then it was completely humiliating to my 14-year-old self. So not only was I fat, I also looked like my parents breeded tigers in our back yard, ala Tiger King.
I managed to live through that humiliation, and come out with dishwater blond hair. I will confess that there have been times throughout my adult life when I have considered coloring my hair. My considerations became fairly serious as more and more gray appeared amongst the dishwater blond hairs. There was a time when I volunteered as Mystery Reader for Dagny’s second grade class. The Mystery Reader is someone that has a relationship to one of the kids in the class. The teacher gives hints, a few at a time. When she got to the part about hair color, and cheerfully said, “This person is someone’s grandma and has gray hair,” I knocked her aside, saying, “That’s about enough there, Missy,” and entered the room. Dagny was totally surprised, not so much at the hair color, but she didn’t know that I was her grandma. She knew I was her Nana!
At the end of the day, once I retired, the idea of coloring my hair simply went away. I’m too lazy, my hair is still short, and my grandkids (and I THINK my husband) don’t care what color my hair is.
I will admit that I have been pretty smug during the quarantine, as I didn’t have to go through the process of dying my roots.
Been there, done that.