the “silent agreement” incident.

I took a second look at my hair after Stephanie’s comment about the red and I’ve got to say – I think it’s the flash. FirstHusband says he sees a little red when I’m in the sun, so it has to be the lighting. It’s really more of a light brown. I do color my gray (yes, I said it.), but I stay close to my natural color because I’m cheap. I just can’t afford frequent root touch ups. (I know, I’m even pragmatically VAIN.)

Way back, about 15 years ago, I colored my own hair. Once. I picked an auburn color and both FirstHusband and I HATED it on me. His only request since then is “please – no red hair.” The name of my current color is “chocolate” (I love that!) but it seems like I must have some underlying redness in there somewhere. It’s not intentional. I was blond as a child – EXACTLY like PinkGirl. I get highlights in the summer. Because I spend so much time outside, color just bleaches out anyway. It tends to get a little darker in the winter, I guess because I spend more time inside?

. . . I have a client that says I tend to “ramble on.” I don’t see it.

ANYWAY, after the requests for a photo of me with “big” hair, I’ve been looking through old pictures and it sent me on a nostalgic hair trip. I’ve changed my hair a lot over the years. I had the same stylist for 19 years and whenever she got bored (or when I got bored), I let her try something new. The only time I didn’t like one of her ideas was when she cut it short. NO versatility. The exact same hair every single day until it grew out. Never doing short hair again. So for the most part, as long as it was long enough to put up, I didn’t care what she wanted to try.

Then, after 19 years together, she changed her career. Left me flat. (I’m actually happy for her.) I spent almost two years going to another lady in her old shop and EVERY time I went, she wanted me to TELL her what to do. I just didn’t know. And she had no suggestions. So I HATED my hair during that time.

Apparently, I wasn’t alone.

Picture it: I’m at a client site, in the break room having lunch with some women I’ve known for YEARS. We’re all talking about hair. (I wonder now, if it was a setup.) During the conversation, I said, “I HATE my hair.”

And there was silence.

Now, what do women normally do when someone says that? You know. They immediately come back with stuff like, “No, I like it!” or “What’s wrong with it?” and other reassuring comments intended to firmly dismiss the possibility of bad hair.

Complete Silence.

So I said, “It appears . . . I need a referral.”

I got a double. Two of the women went to the same stylist.

It was a GREAT referral. I walked in, gave Lisa just a few criteria and let her have at it. Loved it after the first visit! She’s GREAT. Fearless and full of ideas. She’s already figured out what my hair will and won’t do. AND she’s reasonably priced. Double the fun! It’s coming up on two years of LOVING my hair. For the first time in a LOOOONG time! Since “big hair” went out. (I miss big hair.)

So what’s my “criteria?” Here’s what I’ve learned about my hair over the years:

Cut – Lots of layers because my hair has a natural wave that only comes through if it isn’t weighed down. When my hair is all one length, it just hangs there. Thin and straight and stringy. (Which was the case at the time of the “silent agreement” incident in the break room.) With layers, I can choose to blow my hair out straight if I want, but I still have the option of wave or curls.

Length – Just long enough to put up in a knot without falling down. That’s just below shoulder length for me. Too short and it falls down or sticks out when I put it up. Too long and, again, it just hangs there like string. Ugly string.

Color – I like my hair color to look natural – like I don’t color it at all – so EVERY hair can NOT be the exact same color. (That’s what happened when I colored my own hair.) And most importantly, I CAN’T afford a root touch-up every hair cut, so the base color has to be as close to my natural color as possible. Lisa has convinced me that I need highlights all the time, not just in the summer, but not too much, or I look like a blond. With dark roots. (Which was also the case at the time of the “silent agreement.”)

Other than that, I let Lisa have at it. I figure hair will grow out and color can be fixed. Every “bad” haircut is a learning experience. That’s how I figured out my hair criteria. It’s like the rest of my life. Most of the time, I figure out what works after finding out what doesn’t.

And I see Lisa on WEDNESDAY!

So thanks for all the positive comments about my hair! It takes away some more of the sting from the “silent agreement” incident. Friends tell each other the truth. Eventually. But true friends tell each other the truth much more quickly and don’t let them go two years with bad hair.

Want to see some more hair? After the big reveal and all the comments about how I don’t look like people thought, I wondered about my own preconceived ideas about how some of YOU look. I admit, I’m always on the look out for blog owner photos, so I know what some of you look like already:

Debbie’s Avatar Photo was professionally done, but she says she wouldn’t look like that if we saw her on the street. I found a family photo.

I remembered a tiny little photo of Elle earlier this year. It was a pretty quick find and a nice review of her writing along the way.

Kristin at “The Goat” has a photo on her “about” page – the link is waayyyy at the bottom of her page.

JanMary – I had some time yesterday, so I perused some older pages and found a photo!

I’ve not seen a photo of Lisa at Domestic Accident, but she refers to her daughter as “mini-me” so I just visualize her as a tall version of her daughter.

Lisa Writes has been brave for a while now. Her photo is also in her “about” page.

I’ve always pictured Memarie Lane with long, un-layered dark brown hair. Then she posted photos of herself immediately after . . . CHILDBIRTH. Now THAT’s brave.

Mocha with Linda buried a photo of herself in a post back in July, but I remembered it. You can zoom in!

Sandy has lots of family photos in her sidebar – my favorite is “crazy hair.”

Stephanie has short purple hair. Well, sometimes.

Tina ‘s got a family photo in her sidebar. The photo is small, but I can see curly, brown hair. Her face is way too tiny to make out, so I’m thinking I would never be able to recognize her on the street.

Did I miss you? Comment and link up to your photo! No photo of yourself on the internet?