“YOU had crazy hair?!” she laughed, as she aimed the hair dryer at my long blonde hair. “I just can’t picture it!” I glared at her reflection in the trendy salon mirror, taking in her tiny frame clad all in black.
“Of course I did!” I fired back, folding the People magazine in my lap. “Short angled bobs, long red hair, bleached pixie cuts.” I looked down at the floor. “You know, I had a life before…”
“Wow. You’re just so….so, J. Crew.” she said. “I mean, you’re like….”
“Square?” I offered, as I took a sip of trendy, minty salon tea.
“Well, more like reserved.” the 22 year old hair stylist with the fashionable ombre highlights responded. “I mean, you drive an SUV right?”
Right. I forgot how SUVs make women invisible. Forgive me.
I drive an SUV six days out of seven. But I take our BMW for a spin when I’m all alone. It’s the color of midnight in Summer, and people notice me in it. They notice me in a way that they don’t when I’m driving my SUV. My hair feels blonder when I’m sitting taller in chestnut leather seats. I play my music louder, reverting back to the songs of my 20’s and dialing the knob all the way up to the decibels of my teens. Perhaps I even dance. In my seat. Perhaps, but don’t tell anyone that. When I’m alone I dress skinnier. My heels are higher. Shit, my cleavage is higher. My ego less bruised. I am full of color, I want to be noticed. When I am alone.
There is nothing J. Crew about me. I am not tidy, or well-coiffed in a sophisticated way. OK, my bracelets often match my shoes, which sometimes match my hair clip, which once in a while match my earrings. But back off. It makes me feel organized.
I am not “reserved”. I am the 21 year old who left college to travel the world, rocking a short bleached pixie cut because I had heard a rumor that there might not be ample shower time available. I thought short hair made me look brave. I am the 24 year old with the short blonde curls who waltzed into a new job on the wrong side of town, standing outside of a tiny classroom in the middle of the projects. “Miss Kim” they called me. “The white girl with the blonde hair”. It was my signature, my calling card.
I have bracelets with silver studs on them. I have stilettos that are red and mysterious. I have tiny tees that say sexy things. I was Miss Kim, once. Red hair, bobbed blonde hair, dark and daring brown hair. Alone in the world, but unafraid.
Today, when I jump into the BMW that screams “I dare you to be alone”, my long blonde hair falls perfectly down my back. My wedding ring glistens in the sun. My sunglasses hide the tears that tease the corners of my eyes as I sing, and I hit the gas pedal a little too quickly. J. Crew is careful, and I am not. J. Crew is bright and sunny and perfect, without depth or desire. Fuck J. Crew. My long blonde hair and dark jeans scream Victoria’s Secret now.