I hope that you won’t consider this too self-indulgent, but I wanted to blend the more serious (like the reasons I read books) to something more personal and light-hearted. At my age, you might think that beauty challenges would be a thing of the past, especially if you’re mature enough to realize that outer beauty shouldn’t count for much. If, however, you were born in the south, as I was, or if you had a beautiful mother, which I did, or if you were observant enough to catch the subtle and not-so-subtle clues that beauty mattered, then you might have started (as I did) to do the best you could with what you had been given.
Let me acknowledge that it’s a losing game (especially later in life) and congratulate those of you refused to play – you have my greatest admiration, or you were born so beautiful that you had already won.
The clues that I got that I wasn’t so blessed included an offhand remark about my clumsiness from my mother, frequent observations from my dad (at my early attempts at makeup) that I “looked like I dipped my face in a flour barrel”, questions from friends and strangers about the birthmark on my face, hearing that my little sister was a beautiful baby and little girl, and the suggestion from a boy in my class that I might want to read the ad in the back of a magazine that guaranteed breast enlargement. Let me say now (especially since I know that my sister will read this) that everything I’ve mentioned here is accurate and true (Susie was a beautiful baby and child and is still beautiful), but things like this have a way of staying with you.
I’ll also mention that I’ve had a few beauty triumphs along the way, too – something just clicked at one point and I started feeling better about myself and the way I looked. I’ll share some of those triumphs in a later posting.
Back to the hair color: I used to be a redhead. It’s hard to be a redhead in grade school, when children will pick out anything different about you for teasing purposes. I also used to get perms that left me looking like Little Orphan Annie, while my two best friends, Connie and Jackie, had long, wavy blond and brown hair.
By the time I reached college age, I had “grown into my hair color” and actually saw the advantage of being different. (I had also mastered makeup by that time, thanks to Merle Norman.) College years were fine for hair color and later, when the first gray hairs started coming in, it looked like my hair had been frosted! That was wonderful for about fifteen years – best hair color years of my life. I went to a high school class reunion and friends asked me when I went blond – I had done nothing to my hair color.
Then, about ten years ago, things started going downhill. The grays were overtaking the reds so I decided that color was in order. I started with “low lights”, which worked for a while, and then experimented with different colors to get a subtle effect without spending a fortune. I also tried coloring my own hair, but my husband suggested that I should go back to the beauty shop. (This wasn’t entirely a criticism of my efforts – he saw how frustrated I got trying to do it myself, to the point where I would put it off and then gripe about how it looked. Some of my friends have great success coloring their own hair, but I just don’t have that knack.)
Now I am trying to find the right color, single process (I am too cheap to pay $100 a month on my hair) that doesn’t look “flat” or dull and doesn’t fade. It has to look right (natural) with my pinkish skin that is also showing some wear.
One of my favorite people is my Aunt Sister (my dad’s sister), who will be 100 next Halloween. She had red hair, too, and has let hers fade into a beautiful soft, pinkish white color. I’m sure that I’ll do the same, eventually. Not yet, though. I’ll probably put that off for a few more years. If any of you have any suggestions or comments in the meantime, I would love to hear them!