As I was working today, the television murmured in the background. I recognized Oprah's voice and looked up to see if her guest was anyone I was interested in hearing more about. She was interviewing an attractive blond-haired woman with several children who had recently lost her job. She was discussing going from an upwardly mobile middle class lifestyle to a much lower spot on the economic scale because of this enormous financial loss. One thing she said really struck me. She was talking about going to the unemployment office and how she could tell the newer patrons by whether or not they still had their hair highlighted. Those with highlights had only recently been laid off where those who have no highlights had long since given up the right to have that well-coiffed shiny-ness with perfectly woven streaks of blond and were reduced to the $5.99 box of hair color from the local drug store.
Of course! When I lost my well-paying corporate job, that was the first thing I had to really consider. How will I pay for my highlights? How will I keep my standing appointment at my uber cool salon every 6 weeks? And as I was considering a move to the Caribbean, who in that third world country will be able to replicate this gorgeous "Dallas" blond shade that can only be found in North Texas? I know,you are thinking how incredibly vain this sounds but seriously, it was a big deal. And as much as I hate to admit it, it still is.
This summer a friend planned a visit from California. She warned me in advance that she had not been able to afford to go to a stylist in a while so her hair was not exactly "up to par." I assured her that I had gotten pretty good at self coloring and I would see what I could do to make her feel human again. We found a close match to her natural blond at a beauty supply store and the result was really pretty. She liked it, but did seem a little sad that it still didn't have those glistening highlights that she adored from "the good old pre-recession days."
And only a few weeks ago, a friend mentioned on several occasions that my hair looked nice, but I really should get it highlighted. Highlights just make a girl happy. Highlights just brighten your mood, and apparently everyone else that is forced to look at you. Had we all become so vain? It is no longer enough to cover those hateful gray hairs that seem to pop up around my face like acne on a teenager, but no, now my success and attractiveness are based on highlights. Highlights are expensive. My dogs really would starve if I were forced to keep up highlights on a regular monthly schedule...at least until I write and publish that novel.
The poor single-colored-hair-lady on Oprah also mentioned the lack of a nice manicure. Now that is one thing that I have done for myself for years and no one would ever know that I don't see a manicurist weekly. My nails are strong, long and fantastic and look even better than those plastic fobs most women wear. No I'm OK about the lack of a manicure, but a pedicure is a whole different story. No matter how good I am at manicures, it is virtually impossible for a woman to do her own pedicure. Lord, even my 82 year old father regularly has a pedicure, and loves it, especially the nice glass of Merlot they serve while the Vietnamese ladies massage his pasty white calves.
I thought in the Caribbean that no one would really notice my hair or nails but they do. In fact, my Caribbean husband even begged me to highlight his hair! The first attempt turned out so well that he regularly asks me to do it again. I wish I could remember which box I bought that first try, because it has never looked that good again. He too felt shiny, happy, healthy and successful with a few well spaced highlights.
My BFF, the Duchess, came over for a girl's night recently and apologized that she was wearing ballet slippers because "she hadn't had time for a pedicure" lately. I shrugged that off since I am now incapable of wearing anything but sandals and flip-flops and boldly responded that "I don't even bother about that anymore!" Liar. I will head straight to Sally's Beauty Supply as soon as my paypal account is fed.