Thursday, January 14, 2010

Highlights for Lydia

I am not one of those mommies who (as Gigi Grazer writes) worship at the altar of perpetual upkeep. [Editor's Note: Do I even have to say something here? I built the original altar. I call it My Closet. - Kate] I am one of those mommies who you snicker at when I drop my kids off in a ballcap and sweats every, single day. And friends, the sweats get bigger with every successive child. I am one of those mommies whose friends even encourage her to try, just a little, because she could be so pretty but instead is such a disaster.

I wasn't always like this. It's just hard to find the time to make an effort. The blowdryer wakes up the baby and the only time I can shower is when she's alseep. Hence, crappy wash'n'go hair. Also, I have been pregnant or breastfeeding with a break of about 12 months since 2002. That's almost eight years. My mid-section has seem combat. And it's not pretty.

Also, as far as my looks go, the only opinion (other than my own) that I am really interested in is the Cap'n's. And bless his coupon-clipping heart, he has always said things like - "Are you wearing make-up? Take it OFF, your skin looks so much better without it" and "Dye your hair? No way! I like it exactly like the way it is" and "You look so nice today, are those new yoga pants?" (Reality drifted there at the end. The Cap'n has no idea what yoga pants are called.)

So you can see how easy it would be, between the Cap'n's kindness and the total lack of sleep, to let things slide a little bit. But there's Kate. And the other mommies I know like her. Who are just like me in so many ways - except that they are also totally gorgeous. They work out and watch what they eat and wear cute clothes and do their hair and look pretty at 8:00am because the effort is important to them. Crap. I don't even have self esteem any more, low or otherwise. It's out of my price range. I have three kids (four, counting Lucy) and a sleep deficit that is eight years overdrawn.

But just as I have been a fashion (and reality) anchor to Kate, she has been a helium balloon to mine. Last week, I took a long hard look at myself in the mirror and you know what I saw? Other than my own horror-stricken face? Gray hair. Lots of it. And I thought, when did that happen? And then I realized that now is the time to act like a grown up female and get this gray hair situation sorted out. Kate feels very strongly about hair and hair maintenance. So, I discussed it with the Cap'n. He consented but asked that I go blonder rather than darker, as that was more like when we first met (awwww....).

So I asked Kate about her gorgeous blonde hair. I heard the every six weeks price tag and thought, there is no way that can be true. Then Kate said something else (about her colorist) that to this day rocks my socks. So then I called my mom, who is extremely stylish and beautiful, and she told me the same thing. Ladies, I call that "car payment hair" and it is never going to happen.

So I asked another friend and she said she spent $10 every five weeks at a specialty beauty-supply store and then did it herself. And then another friend told me that her perfect hair was au natural and I called her a bitch. Another girlfriend told me that I should just prepare the Cap'n and then spend the money to get it done right. My neighbor Ellen said she had done a lot of hair in her time and could help me do it at home if I needed her to (except I notice that Ellen goes to a very posh part of town to get her own gorgeous hair done). Then I called my hillarious and beautiful friend Chelsea (who nicknamed my mini-van the Big White Tampon), and she said that she had the perfect colorist for me. Cheap, talented and local. Then she named a couple of women we both know who use her, too.

Done and done. I had an appointment for the next day.

Which brings me to now. I now have highlights. Blonde highlights. My hair is sort of gold and brown stripey. My head looks like the wrong of a cheetah. [Editor's Note: OK, I gotta jump in here. Her hair looks exactly like mine now. It may be cheetah, but it's AWESOME cheetah. - Kate] I called Chelsea on the way home from the salon and was like: "What are you doing? I don't care, I'm coming over and if my hair looks as bad as I think it does I'm going to square up and kick you in the vag. Because you sent me to this woman and now I have the same hair as Kato Kailen. So F you. At least before I looked like a train wreck that didn't give a sh*t. Now I look like a hot mess who's desperate to be cute."

Chelsea gave me a load of crap about how good it looked. But she was scared because she knows me pretty well, and she suspected that I was a woman on the edge. The Cap'n, Lucy and Thumbelina were all: "It looks great! What are you talking about?!" You know who you need to ask when you need honesty? A four year old. So, I went to to Hawk. He said: "It's kind of black at the top and white on the bottom. So, dat's ok."

Awesome. I match his tux.

I just thought of another reason why making an effort at cuteness is so frigging annoying and futile. Because invariably I fail at it. I am *stripey* and those stripes will not enhance my sweats and slippers at preschool drop-off. I should have known. The last time I colored my hair I was 13. It was an unfortunate incident with Sun-In that left me looking like the little dutch boy you might see on a can of paint.

Content to stay low-key, I had not reckoned with Thumbelina. She was thrilled that my hair color now more closely resembled hers. So she has announced, to every person she sees, that "My mom dyed her hair! It's blonde now - like mine! Except she hates it because she thinks it looks cheap and tawdry. Isn't that GREAT?!" She has told: all our neighbors, everyone at church, her teacher at school, three people we knew in line at Starbucks, countless strangers at Safeway.

You know what? I clearly can't beat them so I am going to join them - by drawing from her enthusiasm. This. Is. My. Year. I am going to embrace my new hair and let it set the tone(s) for the next 12 months. I will try new things, like not eating white food and jazzersizing and that Zhumba thing I keep hearing about. Kate and those other gorgeous mommies are so much like me - except that the one thing about myself that drives me most crazy - they have all figured out. Possibly I can be all the things I like about me and be cute, too? Maybe. But it will probably be a painful, humilating process. Are you in? Because I need all the help I can get.


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