Oh the Humidity!
I knew it would be bad, I knew it would take getting used to, but I didn’t think that it would last this long. What am I talking about? It’s that pesky annoying byproduct of the weather called humidity, of course. Being nestled in the middle of the state of North Carolina, my naïve self thought that the humidity was only present in and around the coastal areas. Boy was I wrong. The 80% relative humidity each day has wreaked havoc on my once smooth curly locks – I joke as Long Island has its fair share of humidity, but not like this. I’ve been here for 100+ days I’ve had 100+ days of bad hair. It is so bad, that when my family and I go for our evening walks after dinner, the big joke is how big the size and width of my hair can get. Thankfully they are not talking about my rear end otherwise I would really be on the ledge.
Laugh all you want, but this is serious. How can a person go through life with hair looking like it was done at LIPA (all of you aging LIers should know what I am talking about – for the rest of you imagine putting your finger in an electric socket). I was blessed, or cursed, depending on who you ask, with curly hair. It was a fruitless battle trying to straighten my hair, and have it look like everyone else’s shiny straight hair. I fought what nature intended for nearly 20 years, and eventually surrendered. I embraced my natural selection and learned to work with the ringlets not against it, until now. Now, out of pure frustration and resolution, I pull my hair back at the nape of my neck and hope for the best.
Having a hair stylist who knows your hair, your personality and how to best keep you looking young is a miracle worker! Janette and Michele at Cactus Salon (formerly known as Town & Country) were my anti aging magicians. Not only did they make miracles happen, both of them knew me. I can’t tell you how they remembered where we left off in discussion but our conversations picked right back up. Once, I made the mistake of coloring a shade too dark (think Morticia). Janette knew right away and told me to come back so she could fix it, or when I contemplated a short do, Michele said she didn’t think it would be wise so I listened to her -both had my back, front, sides, and all of my assets were their best interests. The trust that you place in another person to help you age gracefully is earned. These two women worked with what was given to them and I always felt lovely walking out those doors. Now that I moved, the process of finding clones of these women is a little off-putting.
I went to this one salon that was recommended to me by an older woman I met here, who was originally from Melville, NY, my old stomping grounds. The faith that I placed in this woman’s word was immeasurable – after all, you have to trust the peeps from the hood. I thought the nice young girl who colored and cut my hair did an OK job, even going back a second time as you have to build the foundation of good hair maintenance. That is, until I got caught in the rain. Three days and two washes after the cut, my husband and I took our son to a professional soccer match. Right when we were walking to our seats, the skies opened up and a torrential storm hovered above us. The League didn’t cancel the match, only delayed the game for several hours. My son’s entire soccer team decided to go as a group. The kids were going to lead the players onto the field, a highlight for any one of those children. A teammate’s father, a local weatherman, departed immediately saying that the pelting would continue for several hours, showing us the doppler radar on his phone. We should have followed his lead. We waited and waited and waited as the rain continued to drench us. I could see the growing aggravation in my husband’s face, the yearning in my son’s eyes to be included as a teammate (he knew we wanted to leave), and I felt the goose bumps multiplying on my body from being wet and cold. After an hour of a relentless downpour, we packed it in. When I got home, my white shirt had turned a beautiful shade of brownish red, right around the neck line, all compliments of the local salon that I had recently visited. The biggest embarrassment was the knowledge that these other parents saw the poorly trained colorists’ job all over my shirt. The dread of facing these parents the following Saturday at the next game, caused me a great deal of humiliation. I imagined they were secretly laughing at the remnants of a bad dye job clearly transparent by the streaks left on my shirt. Thankfully, no one looked at me cross-eyed the following week, so I am optimistic that my shoulder length hair covered the evidence.
It really is an intimate process of entrusting your hair – an extension of your self confidence, self worth, image and youth to another individual. It is hard to find the right person with sharp scissors and hopefully skillful hands that you can trust completely. You are vulnerable and naked with wet, newly colored hair streaming down your back. The ultimate goal an hour or two later is to look like you are red carpet ready. I sincerely miss Janette and Michele about every six weeks. I am still looking to find their replacements and think this particular area of self maintenance will take a just a little longer. If I could stretch out my color and cut by holding out until my Thanksgiving trip to New York, I am positive my age defying secrets will be exposed. I am older, with pesky graying roots that peek out more frequently than I am comfortable with. However with this year round humidity, I doubt that even Janette or Michele could work their magic and help this lost cause. My hair is my hair and hopefully pony tails will forever be en vogue in North Carolina.