Thursday, April 05, 2007

Dye another day

I used to dye my hair a lot, but not to obscure the creeping onset of white plumage. I experimented with all sorts of colors, even trying for white one time (trying for a specific look for a play I was in). The unsuccessful attempt at white hair (it ended up sort of butter-colored) was the only time I ever had my hair dyed by a professional. All the other times, I did it myself.

I liked the whole process: the smell of the bleach, the two hours of hopping in and out of the shower, choosing the colors (I liked to mix them together), figuring out ways to avoid having all of my skin change hue for three days.

Before too long, however, I would have to shave it all off to start again. The bleach and the cumulative damage just took too much of a toll, and I had to hit the reset button on my head. This cycle continued for about a decade. Occasionally, I would try a more natural brown out for a while, but the call was too strong. I was partial to blues, if you must know.

I had a favored brand of bleach, and always kept a kit of it handy should the mood strike. I had a preferred brand of dye for the more unusual colors: discovered at a tattoo parlor in Golden, CO in the days when I was working as an accountant for a major fast-food chain. It took me a long time to find it here in Chicago, at a little store which otherwise only sold clothing I would never wear in a million years: lots of shiny pleather and metal, spiky things.

In the event that I needed it, I also kept a kit of brown dye on hand. It was darker than my natural color, and I could cover all traces of my deviance in about an hour and a half, if I needed to (I used to freelance through an agency, and they used to call to tell me if I needed to have brown hair when I showed up somewhere the following morning).

I used to make a point of going out on job interviews with my hair colored, so there would be no confusion later on as to who it was they were hiring. I suppose it's lucky that I work in a creative field. For ten years, it was almost never a problem with an employer.

I had a lot of trouble convincing people that my band did not play punk music. People see something and they expect something. When I worked at an ad agency in a touristy neighborhood, I would be stopped on the street by people, usually Asian, who would insist on having their pictures taken with me.

I liked having dyed hair. I didn't do it to be rebellious, or to display anger at something or another. It was just something I did, and it felt right somehow to me that I did it, that I looked like that.

For some reason, I stopped dyeing my hair a bit over a year ago. I think I was mostly tired of having to shave it. I don't want a shaved head again. But lately, I have been thinking how nice it would be to go back to blue.

I miss blue.

24 comments:

kyklops said...

Reminds me of me and my earrings. I've had two piercings in my left ear since I was a teenager. All I ever wore was two small, simple silver bands (pretty low-key, really), but as I got older I started taking them out for certain jobs/situations/etc. When I came to Japan the company that hired me told me point blank that I couldn't wear them. I used to put them in sometimes to go downtown, but now, unfortunately, the piercings have grown over.
Funny, reading this has given me the idea to get re-pierced... when I retire!

Chris said...

I also do the dye thing quite a bit. But now that my hair is so long the root maintenance got a bit tedious (I was partial to reds myself).

Tattoos - that's my latest thing. I have 2, a small floral on my right shoulder and then my second is a larger floral on my lower back.

I wanted to get a stylized maple leaf somewhere before I left Canada but I just ran out of time. I still think about it, but I guess I need to find the right design first, and then try to figure out where I want it.

Minx said...

I have just come through my purple phase. I find at work that it far easier for someone to find me when they have directed towards 'the one with the purple/red/blue hair'. I treat my hair like a new outfit, wear it for ages and then buy something new.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

I think blue hair is cool. I'm too lazy to dye mine, though. Or have it cut. It comes au naturel, sometimes in a pony tail or caught up in one of those clips with teeth (don't know the proper name). At least I'm not too lazy to keep it clean which is one good thing.

Reading the Signs said...

I can't believe the synchronicity. Are we perhaps psychic and tuning into a hair-dyeing motif - a bit like those chosen ones in Close Encounters who kept having visions? I ramble. I did like reading about your various colours. I also had a blue phase and yes, there is something about blue. Of course you have to be dark enough to do it. That photograph of you with blue hair and cigarette is cool. I a little preoccupied with cool at present because of something in Ms Pants' latest post.

Debi said...

Shades of red do it for me every time. The brighter the better. I don't want it to look natural ...

I try to think of the emerging white stripe as interesting but ...

Anyway - better red than dead.

caveblogem said...

MT, I don't know how you can even think about hair after your disposable lighter incident of last week. That's one of those smell that stays in your mind. Or are you hoping to drive away the memory?

Did you see that YouTube video of the guy that cuts hair with a blowtorch?

Minty said...

Maht-

I have been wanting to dye my hair unnatural colors, too, but it's about fourteen inches long, so I can't shave it off if it gets too processed. Conundrum.

I like the hair in the photograph a lot. It's a nice purple.

--Minty

goodthomas said...

Do it while you can, my friend.

basest said...

I haven't dyed my hair in a while...it never worked out that well...the black/dark brown just hung on too tightly. You may remember the time I was accidentally calico....and the one time i tried really hard, I did manage to achieve the yellow color of a twinkie.

I think i'm going to wait until one of my kids is old enough to be self concious, then i'll do something to embarrass them.

you, however, have my permission to dye your hair whatever color you choose. I don't think you have the extended awkward phase when growing your hair back that I do, should you have to shave it.

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

I can't say I know too many people with blue hair...but I used to know this guy in high school that had green hair, and it was long and he'd make these giant spikes going strait up (not a mohawk either). It was quite a sight seeing him walk around.

goodthomas said...

And wasn't "Back to Blue" an old Hank Williams tune?

The Moon Topples said...

Kyklops: When you retire?!? Where's your rebellious spirit? I did have one employer say it straight up, and I kind of respected that.

Chris: I believe that they have a maple leaf on the Canadian flag. You might want to check it out...

Minx: I can agree with the idea of pointing out someone because of their hair color making things easier and faster sometimes. I used to be a rallying point at concerts, as I am tall, and was very easy to spot. If my group got separated, all I really had to do was remain standing.

Zinnia: My own desire to keep my hair clean was something of a problem with the dyeing. I still washed it every morning, which meant I'd have to reapply color every week or two to remain outside of the pastels...

RTS: I like the syncronicity as well. I disagree about being cool, though. I've never been cool. I've never been dark, either, but I always thought blue looked all right on me.

Debi: I'm starting to find it odd that I stopped dyeing my hair about the time it started to go white in places. Seems I'm going in the opposite direction of most folks.

Cavey: The smell can still be called up by my memory, but the smell of dye is a totally different thing. Didn't see that video, and am afraid to go look for it.

Minty: Well, you can just lop it all off should you desire, but it is a much greater sacrifice when your hair is that long.

GT: For readers who may not know, I believe Mr. Thomas is doing something called "projection." He thinks that I will lose my hair because other people have started to lose theirs. I am not afraid.

Basest: I do recall the calico incident, which may or may not have been my fault. I laughed and laughed. I hope enough time has passed for you to find it funny as well. Good idea about waiting to mortify your children. That's the kind of forward thinking that'll get you far in life.

SilverN: Never spikes. I can't stand spikes. The most wild I ever went for was a sort of extreme bed-head.

GT: If it wasn't, it should have been.

goodthomas said...

Mr. T - No, sir, not projecting at all. I was just saying that I can't do it, with my minimal hair clumpage. So I was just saying, you can, and you should do it for as long as you are able (which will probably be a long, long time).

(Three comments in one day - aren't you proud of me?)

Caroline said...

I think that you should dye it. I am toying with the a red theme at the moment - but blue is very cool. If you have blue eyes, then even better. (I do not have red eyes).

I am also thinking of getting another tattoo. And why am I telling you this?????

But yes - someone said it - the photo is very nice. You are cool. Go blue and shave.

Verilion said...

I wish I didn't have to dye (as opposed to die - had a very bizarre conversation with a ten year old the other day about immortality) but I'm too vain not to.

The Moon Topples said...

GT: Yes, yes. Very proud. You're the commentiest.

Caroline: You already have tattoos? Please elucidate. Alas, I do not have blue eyes (or red). They are usually green. And I really have started to look disturbing with a shaved head...

Verilyon: Why do you have to dye for vanity's sake. I saw your picture over at Minx's and you look about 20 years old. Surely you aren't graying yet? Or perhaps bringing up death around children has a premature aging effect?

nmj said...

Moon, I said before you look like my cousin Eric, now I think you look like Kevin Bacon (my cousin also looks like him). Blue sounds fine if that is what you really want, but I can't help worry about all those chemicals on your poor scalp... sorry to be such a bore.

Debi said...

My eyes frequently are red.

But it never occurred to me that dying my hair red was an attempt at eye-dye co-ordination ...

The Moon Topples said...

NMJ: I get Kevin Bacon a fair amount as well. On the day my grandmother passed away, I was told I resemble him by the salesman at a clothing store and one of my aunts in the space of a few hours. My brother also believed this one to be true, having said it after seeing me in a film in 1996.

Debi: It is important to match when we can.

Verilion said...

Ha ha Wayne quite the charmer, 20's nowhere near, but that's fine, I'll accept it.

Liz said...

I always wanted to do hot pink but I was too chicken. I don't think it's going to happen any time soon though. You should definitely do the blue if you're feeling that! I bet it's cute!

The Moon Topples said...

Liz: Having spent a lot of time trying to keep my reds from turning pink, I can't totally relate to the pink notion, but I think if it's something you think you'd like, you should try it. You only live once...

Liz said...

I worry the dye might make my hair fall out. Plus, now that I'm a supervisor of teachers, I'm supposed to look more professional/respectable. It's a bit constricting at times, but one of these days, I might go for it. You're right, I do only live once. (Thank goodness for that.)