Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Who Can It Be Now?

This is me as of today:

Maybe to you folks online this doesn't look like a big change, but I've been getting "Wow" and "OMG" reactions from pretty much everyone I see in person since I left a salon called Polished yesterday afternoon. Even the least observant casual acquaintances do a double-take. Father Smith took one look at me and said, jokingly, "If you see Karen, tell her I was looking for her."

I'm going to be 55 years old in less than a month, and my hair, unsurprisingly, has been getting grayer. The last time I used hair color (auburn mixed with light reddish brown) was perhaps six months ago, so the top six inches of my hair had grown out as gray mixed with my original ash brown. I never liked my mousy brown hair, but the gray actually improved it. Cool!

Unfortunately I still had lots of the red hair below those first six inches, which made for a jarring contrast with the new hair up above. I needed a haircut anyway, and the place I used to go was out of business, so I sought out a salon that does hair color. (If I did it myself, I'd almost certainly screw it up!) I told Gaby at Polished that I wanted my hair cut to my shoulders, and the whole thing to look enough like my natural gray-plus-ash brown not to look funny as it grew out. Gaby went to work, with a preliminary haircut, highlighting, a wash, more hair color, a second haircut and styling. The whole process took about an hour and a half.

My vision is so bad that it can't be completely corrected even with strong glasses, so you can imagine how blind I am without them, and how frustrating it was not to be able to see what was happening to me as Gaby worked. My experience with hairdressers is marked with several memorable disasters, from the Shirley Temple Incident to the Lopsided Watermelon Debacle. Even the most successful of the radical changes have always freaked me out at first. In the words of the Great and Powerful Oz, I was petrified. Finally Gaby finished and I was allowed to put my glasses on. In the somewhat dim light of the salon, I could have sworn my hair was now white, at least on top. OMG! (The lighting on the shots above makes the hair on top look a little lighter than it is.)

"Do you love it?" Gaby asked. She was justifiably proud of her handiwork.

Gulp! "Um, I like it, but I'm going to need to get used to it. It's...lighter than I expected."

Gaby was very nice about my ambivalent reaction, and I knew better than to complain, whatever doubts I had. I paid and left. Sitting in the car, I flipped down a vanity mirror. No, it wasn't white! It was actually rather nice - grayish blond more than grayish brown, but really rather nice. And everyone who has seen it since has liked it, from the teacher at St. Michael's who doesn't even know me by name to the supervisor at Safeway. Everyone at the church office loves it, and even John likes it - and he's always my harshest critic on this sort of thing. He even compared my hair, in a complimentary way, to that of Florence Henderson! Really? Um, okay!

Late this afternoon I went back to Polished and left a message for Gaby that everyone loves it, and so do I. She deserves that. I also explained about my not being able to see it properly at first.

You know me; I hardly ever go on about physical appearance, particularly my own. But this is such a big change, in addition to the 55+ pounds I've lost since last summer, that I felt the need to write about it. And now I'm done.



Shelly said...

The hair styling looks great, Karen. As for the glasses, do you have the newer thin lenses? I was amazed at how thin I was able to get lenses, which cut down on the weird refraction effect, or whatever, that distorts one's face with thick lenses. And perhaps a change in shape of the frames, possibly something lighter to go along with the lighter hair. I don't get new glasses often, but I needed a new prescription a couple of years ago and switched from my usual ovals to something more angular and it was nice to have something different.

Karen Funk Blocher said...

Hi, Shelly! Actually these ARE brand new glasses as of January. I went for hipster-style Ray-Bans, black in front, pink on top, bottom and in back. The lenses are the latest and greatest tech, which they upgraded me to because the next best kind turned not to be available in my extreme prescription. So yeah, they're not subtle, but they're as thin as possible, and I like them.

Call me Paul said...

Thumbs up! I know my wife despairs every time she loses a hairdresser she liked. I hope Gaby stcks around a while so you can enjoy her work.

Linda Haynes said...

WOW - Just got back and saw this Fabulous picture! GREAT HAIR!! Skinny face!! - I agree with Shelly regarding the lighter glasses frames (next time - I know how spendy they can be)!! You look really lovely, Karen!

Jama said...

Wow,you look so lovely with that new hair style and colour.