Stupid things I've done

The lovely Cicada and Redlaw do such a good job of telling Days of Yore stories that I wanted to have a go at it myself. Please forgive me if mine aren't as good as theirs. Also keep it to yourself if that's what you think.

To people who know me in real life, please forgive me if you've heard this story before. And if you actually participated in said story, then it's me who should be deciding whether to forgive you.

I spent New Year's Eve 1995 (turning 1996) at a friend's house. We had a big huge party, and then the boys went home and the girls had a sleepover. In the morning, the hostess friend, whom we will call K, decided that she wanted to dye her hair a bit blonder. Please keep in mind the following things:

1. This was in Alaska.
2. Alaskan teenagers did not get highlights in salons.
3. Alaskan teenagers didn't even know about salons. Or highlights. Or fashion, for that matter.
4. This information will be important later.

We all drove through the snow to the local drugstore (the only drugstore) in our pajamas so that she could pick out a box of dye. As I browsed the Hair Chemicals aisle, my eye was caught by a box of Clairol Natural Instincts Copper Sunrise, which promised to turn my hair a gorgeous copper red. At the time, I had very long dark blond hair, and I thought red would just look sooooo great with my fair (read: pastier than the underside of a halibut) skin and blue eyes.

I picked up the box and asked the other girls what they thought, and they all said it was a great idea. Of course, it was easy for them to say that because it wasn't their hair. So because I was 1) sixteen, 2) stupid and sleep-deprived, and 3) encouraged by my idiot sleep-deprived friends, I bought the stuff. I tried to find the color on the Clairol website to show you, but it has possibly been recalled in the manner of other dangerous things, like cars that spontaneously burst into flames or strollers that eat babies. This is the closest I could find.

Do keep in mind that mine was more Coppery, though. And, lest you think I am a complete idiot, do know that I purposely bought a dye that was supposed to wash out after 18 washes. I mean, I was thinking. Kind of. Partly.

We got back to K's house and got down to bidness. K did hers first, and because I had such long hair and had never dyed it before, she helped me with mine. When she was done I started drying my hair, because you can never really tell what it's up to when it's wet. As I dried, I started to notice that some sections of my hair had turned copper, while others . . . hadn't, so much. Like, pretty much everything from eyebrow-level down was still dark blond. I finished quickly with the drying, feeling a little bit anxious now, and faced the mirror to see the damage.

And o, my friends, what damage it was. I had a copper stripe down the top and back of my head. And it looked about as horrible as you think that might look. But I still thought, "Hey, that's okay, it's only semi-permanent. I'll just go home and wash my hair a bunch of times and it'll be out before you know it."

So I washed my hair pretty much all day Saturday.
Then I stayed home from church on Sunday and washed it some more.

I eventually had to stop washing it because my fingers lost feeling and were nothing but frozen prune sticks. Also hypothermia was just around the corner, because this was Alaska in January and my dad didn't believe in heating, and so you just didn't get wet and naked all the time, willy-nilly like that. You had to respect the elements!!! So while I washed, and washed, and washed, and washed, I learned a few important things:

1. Those Clairol people are $£%&* !"&^$%£$ *&£^&$ lying liars.
2. My hair hangs on to the color red like The Precious hangs onto other people's electronics: With great passion, steely resolve, and the splintered shrieks of a banshee that has been set on fire.

I told WR this story, and when I got to the part where it just wouldn't wash out, he nodded and said, "So then your mum had to take you to the salon to have it fixed, huh."


Blink. Blink.

Me: Um . . . no, actually. I . . . don't know if she even suggested it.

WR: So . . . did you have to go and pay for it yourself then?


Me: Well . . . no. I never went to a salon.

WR: Wait, you didn't? You just left it like that?

Blink. Blink.

Me: Huh. Um. . . yeah. . . I don't think it ever occurred to me that someone could fix it!"

So, my question here, is why the heck didn't my mom take me to the salon? Why didn't I think of it either? I mean, they probably had them somewhere, even if we were living in the frozen Arctic tundra--we could have found at least one! I had money, I could have given it to them! So why did I spend three months of my high-school career walking around with a pink skunk stripe in my hair when I didn't have to???

So the story itself is an embarassing one. But now it's topped by the embarrassment of how it took 10 years and a BOY to point out the obvious solution.


Th. said... [reply]


I knew we were good for something.

Absent-minded Secretary said... [reply]

I feel your pain. You had a mom like mine. My mom, who is a wonderful person, she just doesn't get the whole make-up and hair fussy thing, didn't know what to do with me as a teenage girl who read Seventeen magazine. Once, in a Christmas edition (this was about 88-89) they did a thing about how you could use everyday items to style your hair during the day for an evening out, and still look fabulous during the day. The two items were 1)Christmas colored baby booties, and 2) red sparkly pipe cleaners. The mag had models with these things in their hair doing stuff like shopping at the mall, looking totally beautiful and popular. I so had to do it.

I tried the baby booties on my past-my-shoulder-length-hair and recieved some nice waves, like you would get with the Goodie pink foam rollers. But I wanted more. I needed more. It was the 80s. Girl gotta have volume. So, I went out and bought 200 red sparkly pipe cleaners. I wound tiny sections of my hair around them all spirially-like. I think this was also one of my first ventures into mousse. It must have been. I left the pipe cleaners in my hair all Saturday, because Sunday was my first talk in Church, and I was being called to be Ward Music Director, and so I wanted to look extra special and grown-up. Sunday morning I unrolled them and the frizz was so tight my hair was a perfect ball above my ears. It turns out I have a bit of natural curl in my hair that had never manifested itself before because my hair was too long and heavy. Washing it three times before church calmed it down, oh, about an inch. I had a total fro. The "curls" were so short they wouldn't fit into a solve-all-hair-problems-ponytail.

And mom made me go to church, and give my talk, and stand up front to lead the music. No mercy that woman.

Savvymom said... [reply]

It's becuase your mother doesn't love you.

edgy killer bunny said... [reply]

Never believe them when they say it washes out in x many washes. The year I went to Blackpool with the ballroom team, nearly all the boys had to dye their hair because they wanted us all to have black hair for the competition. (Tangent: I didn't have to dye mine because mine is brown enough that it looks black when slicked back. Throughout the tour, I was the only boy who didn't have black hair. You would think it wouldn't be that big a difference, but people notice 17 boys with black hair and 1 boy with brown.) The dye was temporary, Linda told us. That is why one of the boys whose wife could not convince him to cut his hair, still had black tips 9 months later.

redlaw said... [reply]

I just want you to know that I know exactly which Natural Instincts color you are talking about because I used that same color in my hair at the age of 16 and it turned my hair (all of it) bright pink - hot pink. It was horrible. I had to call Clairol to find out how to fix it (cuz I'm cheap like that - why go to a salon when I can just fix it myself). They told me to put a brown color in and then I ended up with a really beautiful auburn - to this day, when I use Natural Instincts, I do the coppery red color (it has a new name now) and a brown color together. But it was horrible having pink hair for a few days - and my parents MADE me go to school with pink hair, too!

lilcis said... [reply]

Why didn't I know about that solution???? I did the same thing to my hair my freshman year in college. I have naturally curly hair (tight curls) and I had just cut it really short. And then I used what was probably the same dye (because heh, who doesn't want cool copper hair?) and it turned bright pink! Only I wasn't smart enough to go to a salon or call clairol either, so I was stuck wearing hats until it finally faded. AAAAUUUUGGGGHHH!

Miss Hass said... [reply]

Here's a question: Why would Clairol keep making a dye that turned hair hot pink and not coppery red?

CoolMom said... [reply]

Your MUM did offer to take you and get it fixed and you were resolved that nothing could be done, because as you pointed out, you were 16 and possessed the knowledge of the universe. I will be speaking to you in private later. Yes, you should be afraid.

Maggie said... [reply]

My mom always said I could do whatever I want to my hair, but then I have to live with it later. (This means I have to pay to fix anything that goes wrong and that she's not really goign to help in anyway.) This scared me enough never to touch the color of my hair (which coincidently is red) even through the times when I hated it.

Rachel said... [reply]

I had a similar experience when I was in college (and old enough to know better). I went home to show my mom and the first thing we did was flip open the yellow pages and find the first ad that advertised repairing hair emergencies. **sniff** I love you, mom.

Stupidramblings said... [reply]

I colored my hair once by spraying lemon juice in it as I tanned all summer. It worked great--well except for the odd facial tick I seem to have developed...

Stupidramblings said... [reply]

Oh, and I applaud coolmom for forcing you to live you lesson instead of coming to the rescue all the time. Cuz moms who always rescue the children end up visiting their kids in jail.

That's what I say.

And get off my lawn...

The Craner Family said... [reply]

These kinds of stories make me stick to my resolve of never dying my hair. I know if I did it...something like this would happen. Plus...I am cheap!

Anonymous said... [reply]

I think you can an additional item under "Stupid Things You've Done". That would be referring to your parents in any negative light over an internet posting. You never know...they might take offense and the retribution may be unpleasant. Not that your parents would ever hold a grudge.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Hi Dad.

daltongirl said... [reply]

I guess that means Savvymom gets the china?

If you had told me that story before, I probably would have asked if your mom took you to get it fixed at a salon.

Also, I would like you to stop making me blow snot all over my keyboard, please. I am going to have to start reading your blog with my mouth open.

The Divine Miss A said... [reply]

I think that every girl who used hair coloring in high school (or even idiots like me who managed in junior high) had a problem like this.

There are also those of us who never learn and still have this problem from time to time. I think that amnesia sets in or something.

My sister managed to dye her hair black. Or should I say black cherry? When we called the Clairol people, they told us that it was only semi-permament if you stay within your color range. So, it was off to the salon. Yes, the salon.

The Walrus said... [reply]

And that is why the Walrus never dyes his hair. And if he does, it's just the inch tips. If he ever did that. Which he hasn't. Ever.

chosha said... [reply]

"He said it would turn my hair a beautiful raven black--he positively assured me that it would. How could I doubt his word, Marilla? I know what it feels like to have your word doubted. And Mrs. Allan says we should never suspect anyone of not telling us the truth unless we have proof that they're not. I have proof now--green hair is proof enough for anybody."

Apparently a big copper stripe is also pretty convincing. :)

Okay is anyone else now walking around repeating the phrase, "frozen Arctic tundra" and chuckling?

Savvymom said... [reply]

I am so glad you not only badmouthed your Dad, but your mom also.I think you just seaaled the deal on me being the favorite. Thanks!

And also, for peopel that don't know our mother, she wears makeup and goes to salons and gets her hair highlighted and things.

TannerJ5 said... [reply]

Oh... I can Just imagine you washing your hair fifty million times!!! And screaming like a banshee

banana said... [reply]

I have the opposite problem.

At college I decided to dye my hair red - a lovely chili red! (My hair is dark brown). The instructions said leave it in for 30 mins. It didn't look like it was doing much so I left it in for 4 hours... and when I'd washed it out...absolutely nothing! No colour change at all!

So, I bought some rich burgundy and left it in all day! And ... you could see a slight purplish hue when I stood under a light if you were looking really, really carefully!!

I've concluded that if I want a colour change I'm going to have to bleach it ... and that is far, far too scary!

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