Yesterday my wife overdyed her hair, which she can pull off, by the way, cuz she’s a looker, which begs the question, “Was it too much or not?”. It was darker brown than she had hoped for, okay? Not wanting to be mistaken as her father, I decided to strike out on my own hairdressing trail. Her bottle reminded me that I had another box of hair dye, REAL BLACK is what the label said. It was the old kind I noticed as I unpacked the base and color bottles and the plastic gloves. I had been using the premixed stuff with the little comb applicator for the past couple of limpid years, but I forged ahead with this old technology. I worked the goopy cream in, following the directions, assuming that it would simply darken my gray from a light ash to medium charcoal. But when I finished my shower, I toweled off and looked in the mirror. It was ELVIS black. No!! Wayne Newton even!! I had not a single gray or white hair to be seen. Too much of a good thing looks creepy. Even Mitt Romney knew this.
I put on a hat when we went out to lunch later and I did some shopping. I was hoping not to see anyone who knew me well. I felt a bit uncomfortable with the new look. Not quite as bad as having a face tattoo or a bone piercing my nose, but a bit off my usual stride. Something had to give soon. I’m just too dark. My wife said I looked 15 years younger. I wish. No, I was sure I looked like the 80 year old letch with shoe polish hair who asks young women to dance through his loose dentures. I did not want to be that age spotted guy with suspenders holding his saggy pants up, revealing white socks above high gloss black shoes. What a nightmare.
After consulting Google for undying hair recipes, I washed my hair again twice with baking soda and shampoo. Nothing. We went to our usual Saturday dance and the world did not end. It was dark. People drank moderately and focused on their dance steps. We survived. The tough group would be the church crowd the next day under fluorescent lights. To complicate matters, we had to turn the clocks back this very night. I was not so much worried about the bad dye job but about having no good verbal responses to those who might comment on my time warp hair color.
In the morning I realized that I had one decent response. I imagined a congenial congregant commenting.
“Did you color your hair?” To which I would reply…
“Actually I turned the clocks back last night and BAM! It was 1999 again. I got up this morning and BOOM! My hair was dark again. How about that?” No one noticed, which was a little disappointing. Perhaps if I go to church naked next week…no. Once you ring a bell, be it in church or the courthouse, you cannot unring it. Just like this dye job, I’d just have to outgrow it.
When I was teaching years ago, I had to be careful whenever I put color in my hair. Seventh graders don’t miss any opportunity to expound on anything out of the ordinary. I was careful to only color my hair over breaks or vacations, and then with semitransparent color. Even with such diligence on my part, I would inevitably be outed.
“Mr. Burrito, did you dye your hair?”
Now a bigger man might have resorted to honesty, but I concocted a thin fable to confound the immature questioners.
“You won’t believe me. It was sort of miraculous what occurred, but never mind…”
“Sure we will. What happened?”
“Well, I was walking down the beach this summer when a storm came up. There was wind and lightning, but I walked on unafraid.”
“You shouldn’t do that. You could be hit by lightning.”
“Exactly. That’s what happened. I was hit directly by what the EMT’s estimated was a 2 million watt bolt of lightning.”
“Really? No, you’re lying.”
“I can’t force you to believe. But when I was recovering in the Emergency Room, I noticed that my hair was a shade darker. I mentioned this to the doctors. They told me that sometimes this happens to victims of severe lightning strikes– it’s a reverse aging process due to the extreme ionization of the carbon particles commonly found in hair. They assured me this would stop over time and I’d go back to the regular aging curve within six months.”
“So what does that mean?”
“It means that my hair is unnaturally darker than it should be for a man my age. So to answer your original question, Yes, I do color my hair by adding a touch of gray to it. Cuz it’s just creepy looking to have jet black hair when you’re in my demographic.”
Like I said, they were not a tough crowd to fool.
So, after the sermon was preached in church, we went to Sunday School class where I was certain Jerry or DJ would bust my shady look. Not a peep. I was ready with the turn back time line and a bad Cher impersonation.
Nope. Completely Unnecessary. And then I had a spiritual comment come to me while I meditated on my personal vanity.
“Did you dye your hair?”
“Actually, I dyed to self, just beginning with my hair. I am beginning a daily devotional and a journal for my hairdressing journey.”
“I’m sorry I asked.”
“Oh, I’m not. I’m grateful that someone noticed and that I was fully prepared to give my testimony.”
“You know the actual verb is ‘die’ in that verse, ‘die to self” don’t you?”
“Yeah, okay. And your point?”
“…and you are making this all about your self, right?”
“Yeah, Uh, but, um, aren’t you being a bit self righteous?”
“Dude, I’m bald. It’s over for me. You need help.”