A whiter shade of pale

I am in the throes of waging a good war on my body, otherwise known as getting healthy and losing weight.

I won’t bore you with the gory details of my battle because honestly, how many times can I find different ways of saying THIS BLOWS before I repeat myself?


Just in case you’re counting.

I always count and keep score and maintain precise and accurate records. They’re very useful for those times when your husband whines that you guys haven’t fooled around in “forever” because then, you can just whip out your handy dandy Excel spreadsheet and inform him with pinpoint accuracy as to the last time the moon was in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars, which was after he chose to answer his crackberry instead of your question but before he bought a 50″ LCD HDTV after you specifically asked him not to, making the last time you guys conjugated more than just verbs fall well short of “forever.” Chew on that, Mr. Drama Queen. SO THERE.

Where was I?

No gory details of my battle scars. Instead, I’m going to concentrate on what I’m going to do after I lose the weight and win the war.

After my cholesterol levels come down from cavorting in the stratosphere and my doctor cries tears of joy rather than horror.

After my jeans fall off my new slim and trim body, right down to the floor, and I wind up mooning my entire family as I take my meatloaf out of the oven.

After I give my kids a healthy dose of eye bleach and schedule them for some therapy.

One of the first things I am going to do for my brand new body is get it a new hairstyle and by new, I mean one that doesn’t look like I picked it up out of a dumpster after the homeless woman in front of me tossed it away in disgust.

I’m a natural brunette who has suffered from premature gray since I was sixteen.

Sixteen. My entire body teetering on the cusp of womanhood with the exception of my hair which was busy teetering on the cusp of senior citizenship. So in addition to carving out time in my schedule to earn A’s and learn how to drive and get a job and make out with my boyfriend, I had to reserve several hours a month trying not to look like my mother.

Twenty-five years, two husbands, one teenage daughter and one wannabe tween daughter later, my hair now isn’t so much gray as it is a blinding shade of HOLY SHIT, ARE YOU AWARE THERE’S A LONG, FAT ALBINO PERCHED ON YOUR HEAD? Every few weeks or so, I am mistaken for a skunk, causing people to either run screaming in the opposite direction or stand perfectly still and stop breathing. Sometimes, if they opt for the latter, I’ll mess with them a little by turning around and wiggling my bottom at them, at which point they spontaneously morph into the former. This is exactly how I managed to clear all ten aisles of Staples three years ago and buy the one and only TI-84+ calculator available for sale in our district.

Coloring my hair every few weeks is not only a colossal pain in the ass but also exorbitantly expensive because it needs to be professionally done. The pearly whites atop my head are bitchy, ornery, stubborn and don’t like to be told what to do and where they got that set of personality traits is beyond me so don’t even go there. I mean it. Don’t even. STOP EYEBALLING ME, NUMNUTS.

OTC remedies fail miserably and typically result in a rainbow of bizarre colors which have not been invented yet. The farther away they are from the color spectrum is directly proportional to the amount of tip I give my hair stylist to make me look human again.

I can’t do it anymore.

I don’t want to do it anymore.

I’m giving up.

Giving in.

Resigning myself.




Ceasing and desisting.


I am going to embrace my natural alabaster-white follicled, forty-two year old mammal self.

When I get my new body, I want to spend time doing fun things with it like putting bras on without fear of asphyxiation and maybe even bending over without blacking out. I do not want to trek to the salon every few weeks and park my much smaller ass in a chair and have smelly goop slopped onto my head for two hours, only to have my roots glow in the dark and then pop up two weeks later yelling SURPRISE, LOSER in my rear view mirror, blinding me and causing a ten car pileup on I390.

So the second I am able to glance down at my toes without sucking anything in, I’m driving straight to the salon and instructing my stylist to cut off most of my hair and extract all the color from 95% of what’s left, leaving it mostly stark white with little bits of black peeking out here and there. My hope is that when my naturally white hair grows in, it will blend in seamlessly and I will no longer feel compelled to yank it all out and knit a sweater with it.

This is the look I’m after, albeit much shorter:


And maybe if I have time, I’ll do a faceplant onto a tray of Botox syringes and score a few high colonics from the fountain of youth and then it will be just like looking in a mirror, don’t you think?

And then, who knows?


Maybe that whole “birds of a feather” thing will work in my favor, even if we are both mammals.



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30 thoughts on “A whiter shade of pale”

  1. Avatar

    I like the color of that do. I think it could work.

    My mom went grey at about 30. She immediately started ‘frosting’ her hair with nearly monthly trips to the salon to get silvery gold color put on. I have no idea what color her hair was when she was young. The photos from then are all black & white and she has been frosted gold my entire life. She is 71. Imagine the hairdressing fees!

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    I think you’ll rock the new look and won’t be Pepe le Peu at all! This friend of my mom’s had hair that had gone completely white by her mid-20s. As long as I’ve known her, she’s had a sassy, short, white ‘do that always struck me as elegant, hip and not at all “old” looking. (Well, except for that brief period in the 80s when she tried to get her hair to look like Joan Collins circa Dynasty. It didn’t look nearly as nice that large, and I say that as a native Jersey girl who still holds a stubborn fondness for big hair.)

    My own mother, however, was once, purportedly, a strawberry blonde. Once a very, very, very long time ago. In my lifetime, she’s had hair every shade of the spectrum from platinum to Lucille Ball, with recent years tending to look somewhere in the pink-to-peach-to-orange spectrum. Yes, ’tis true that neither “pink” nor “peach” nor “orange” are actual, natural hair colors. (I’m not talking Carrot Top orange here, but more “Syracuse University Mascot” orange – go SU! – so not natural in the least.)

    Now, despite her being batshit crazy and all, I do love my mother. Her hair, however, has been a constant source of WTF?! for longer than I can remember. People ask me *all* the time “What’s up with your mom’s hair?!” Walking around with a manmade color monstrosity fluffed about one’s ears has a certain eau d’ desperation along with the eau d’ Lady Clairol, in my humble opinion. So, I applaud you in your plan to go au naturel. 😀 Not that your hair is even remotely as fake looking as my mom’s, mind you – I think it looks completely natural, at least it did a week ago when last I viewed it in person……

    (And I’m sure Zumba will greatly assist in your journey to get there, too.)

    (And damn, but AC is one fine looking man.)

  3. Avatar

    I can SO feel your pain about the hair. My first grey hair appeared at age 23 – mind you, it was a pube and I spotted it while bending over the edge of the bath, washing my hair, in the nude but, even so…

    I’ve been dying my hair for the last 23 years and it’s been almost every colour from black to peroxide Gwen Stefani white and is now currently purple with pink streaks but there are some days when I would just love to flick the V’s (I’m English so that’s the equivalent of flipping the bird) to the tyranny of the skunk root growth. But I’m not quite there yet. I love the intended hair style and colour though – if I knew mine was that colour I’d totally be rocking that look…

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    Ahh…you and the Coop! Its a shame that he’s….never mind! LOL! Anyhow my granny would have LOVED your “natural” ala Coop hair color! She got so jealous of the ladies and guys that had the pretty white! She was a redhead too and we don’t gray well. Ours just sortta does this strange fading thing that looks sortta pinkish I guess? Sigh… Put that together with wirey,course,stick straight out hair and you’ve got MY head!

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    Good for you! In all honesty, I’ve always rather liked white and grey hair on younger women. It can look REALLY good and that style that you chose is fabulous…especially if you go a bit shorter. I’ve actually considered adding a grey chunk or two to the front of my hair, and now that I’m sort of growing it out I am thinking I totally want to do it.

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    Again, we are living the same life. I love that haircut and the color. I need to do that too, desperately. I started seeing grays at age 17. Sadly, I found three on my kid the other day and she doesn’t turn 13 until January. Poor sweet thing.

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    Andy!!! You are my hero! Go for it! I can’t wait to see what it looks like. Oh, it would be so nice to stop obsessing about grays, non? Another friend said she noticed fewer grays after she stopped coloring. I have a ton too, since 21 or so (not as early or as many as you) I think maybe because of the thyroid thing. I can’t wait for the day when I can bask in my platinum gray glory like y’all.

    You’re awesome!

  8. Avatar

    you cracked me up what a great read! i tried doing grey… and it looked not pleasant, maybe your method will work…. and man, anderson cooper as a prize YES… need to think about this one…

  9. Avatar

    WHY is it that guys can have a full head of grey hair and not look “old?” Is it a cultural thing, or do they have the right haircuts? Hmm….

    I started going grey young too. My first year at community college my “friends” would have BIG FUN yanking out all the grey hairs they could find on my head, while we sat around the student union skipping class. I’ve died my hair for so long now, I’m not even sure how much of my own beautiful brunette is left. 🙁

  10. Avatar

    My Dad went prematurely bald in an era when bald was not beautiful. He wore a toupee until I was nearly 30. He (without telling anyone) decided that it was time to go au naturel, but didn’t want to be bald and fat–so. . .he lost about 40 lbs, grew a goatee and lost the toupee. some of my friends said he looked like sean connery (although my mom teased him that it was more like ghandi!) That said, a re-invention is a great thing, and I think you could totally pull off the elegant icy white hair!!!

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    Well here’s my perspective-

    Guessing here but I imagine Nate and the girls love ya what every color you are. Don’t be obsessive.

    Oh, wait. Forgot who I was talking to….

    Hmmm.. Could go radical just shave it all – kinda the Sinéad O’Connor look?

    Just a thought.

    Stan at Scrappers Workshop

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    Ok…you, my dear, are the most entertaining blog writer EVER!!! I laugh every time I visit….and I know NOT to have a drink anywhere near my mouth before I start reading!

    The hairstyle you picked out is rocking!! LOVE it…and I love grey hair….(not on me though)!!

    Write a book, you will make millions in the comedy section!!!!

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    okay…i just really wanna know how you are gonna shed all the pounds without it hurting too much!!! (or should i just give it up and suck it up and either decide to be fat or hurt????) btw, i love my haircolorist!! heehee…but i’m going red to blonde, so i’m okay, i guess!! thanks for making me smile tonight!! )

  14. Avatar

    Thank you so much for writing this blog! I’m only 20 and am a new reader but I find your entries amazing and very funny!

    A gray “skunk” strip runs in my family too for all the women. I’ve been dying my hair since I was a freshman so I definetly feel your pain. But you are amazing! And I tink you and your new body are gonna look just as amazing! Good luck.

  15. Avatar

    I decided to go gray three months ago. I have been only coloring the roots at the part on the left side of my head. I am letting the gray grow out everywhere else. I now have an inch and a half of gray root hidden under a thin curtain of dyed brown hair. Sometimes the gray peeks out but people mistake it for highlights. After another six to eight months, I hope to have the grey completely grown out underneath. Then I plan to get a fresh haircut and change the part in my hair from the left side to the right side. Voila, overnight I will be mostly gray with a little brown now hidden under under the grey.

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    Hi to anyone in Northern Ireland that is currently viewing this blog. I am a photographer based in Belfast. Currently entering (as a mature student), the third and final year of BA (hons) Degree in Photography, at the University of Ulster. I am planning to start a studio based portrait study this autumn of women who have opted to allow their hair to naturally turn grey. My objective is to create a series of head shots (both in colour and in black and white) that visually speak of the power and confidence behind the hair. If you would be interested in taking part in this project please contact me by email. My credentials and this project can be validated via the university.

    Jim Mc Keever

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    You keep it up! I’m on that bandwagon with you! I’ve just gotten my 3rd big chop, and while it is scary short. I think it will be my fastest way to get it going. Just rip the bandaid off!

  18. Avatar

    LOVE your words. Love the hair! Hope it’s been working out for you. You gave me inspiration!!! (I have had a skunk stripe since my teens.)

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