“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.

At least until the end of this song.


25 Replies to “Long, Beautiful Hair”

  1. I can totally relate, although I may never have been quite as VS as you 😉
    It’s funny how motherhood takes away your younger self. Glad you can get it back once per week! And, good job not mentioning kids, ha! I really enjoyed this piece!

  2. I love, “back off. it makes me feel organized.” i think i know you. we mini-van girls all have some mystery left under the hood.
    don’t count us out – if we’re not covered in goop and having screaming children wrapped round our legs. 😉

  3. Oh, how I long for a trendy haircut. I want bright pink streaks and a belly-button ring.

    But I don’t have a trendy haircut — my hair is wash’n’go and just wavy enough that if it air dries with a little spray gel it looks intentional. Which it isn’t because in order to get four kids out of the house, I need to spend 30 minutes MAX in the bathroom and that includes my shower and the forty-two interruptions by my two older kids.

    I am ashamed to admit it, but I now understand why the kooks in the purple hats think they’re awesome….

    1. You are so right! Oh geez…does that mean we’re destined for purple hats?? And FYI, I had pink streaks AND a belly button ring. Had. Past tense. Just like you said, all of that dissapears when you’re only allowed 10 minutes to yourself each day to get ready/make breakfast/make school lunches/pee.

    1. Yep. You better run right out and do something daring, before you end up in a salon getting your hair “set” 😉

  4. I only have one tiny tee that says something remotely sexy. I plan to keep it forever. I’m afraid to cut my hair now — too much maintenance. Oh, the perils of blackness. Also, yes, Fuck J. Crew! I am NOT paying $180 for a goddamn trench.

    1. Why yes, you bring up the most important point of all. JCrew is fucking expensive! Forever 21 not only makes me feel, well, 21, but it’s actually in my price range!

  5. I love the coordinating accessories… I do the same exact thing! I’m like “I’m sorry Stacy and Clinton, I don’t know how to get things to ‘go!’ I can only get them to MATCH!” It’s fun to forget about momsponsibilites (and everything else) and be carefree! Great entry!

  6. I keep wondering about the ego bruising and tears. I can’t help wondering if it’s the same ego bruising and tears I’ve been living with.

    During the year and a half between marriages, I bleached my hair and dyed it magenta. It was a pain. Recently I tried to reclaim a little wild by dying my hair magenta without bleaching – so it could wash out without consequences. I wanted to balance my crazy with my sensible. It turned out my hair was too dark. That made me so sad.

    1. We live out so many of our emotions by changing our appearance, don’t we? I love how it was that one particular sentence that stood out to you, and I’m pretty sure that you read my mind a bit. Thank you for sharing here, and for being so honest about your journey.

  7. I am totally buying myself a BMW for my 39th birthday next month.

    And, I can’t believe I’m saying it out loud, I was going to get some purple dyed into my hair around my face. I too use my hair to try out all the parts of me.

    I love that you got right to it and didn’t try to disguise the topic.

    Well done. Honk if you see me passing and dancing.

    1. DO IT! I like how changing your hair is a way of “trying out all the parts”…who says we can’t continue to do that, even as mothers and wives? Look for me on the freeway, I’ll be dancing right next to you!

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