Hair-raising adventures

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I’ve been posting with more frequency than usual as of late. This is a very good sign. It means that I am more often seeking a break from book writing. Since I have very nearly given up on pleasure reading until the manuscript is complete, the only respite I have is blogging.

I am serious about not reading anymore. I have read only one book this year. We’re twelve days in, people, twelve days in. Can you believe that? Nearly two weeks, and only one book read! Cripes!

This reassures me. If I can give up reading, I can give up other addictions. For instance, if I ever start using heroin, I’ll be able to stop. I don’t intend to try, but it’s comforting to know, just in case.

So I keep getting your hopes up about my reflections on A Prayer for Owen Meany, and I keep letting you down. Like Charlie Brown with Lucy’s football, you keep coming back, hoping things will be different this time. They won’t.

I have a pretty good excuse for not writing about it this evening. John Irving’s novel has had such a very profound effect upon me that I want my write-up of the experience to be significant and well-crafted. “Well-crafted” is not something you’re going to get from me after I’ve had three glasses of wine, which I have. (Rough day, what can I say?) I’ll write about Owen Meany when I am a properly conscientious, sober frame of mind.

Besides, I write about novels too much as it is. This has come to my attention from… from… I don’t have a pseudonym for you yet, but you know who you are. One of my colleagues requested that I stop blathering on so much about novels and turn my attentions to something like he tends to read, i.e., a technical manual.

I do not have any technical manuals around here, but I do have an example of technical writing. Ahem:

The instructions for Nice’nEasy Color Blend Technology: Expert blend of 3 tones for natural color with highlights

A Review by Jessica Zellers

My hair has not been its natural color in six years. (It’s mousy brownish, if I remember correctly.) I have placed every color from the spectrum on my head, and I mean every color. Blonde, black, blue, green, red, purple, pink, and variations thereof—I’ve tried them all, even orange. The orange was a mistake, but still. I’ve done it all.

Because of my frequent intimacy with home hair coloring, I never read the instructions anymore. Perusing the instructions for Nice’nEasy hair coloring was like greeting an old friend, one whom I hadn’t thought of in years.

The instructions are printed on an extra-large sheet of newspaper-quality paper. It’s cheap and thin, but I appreciate the inexpensive material. It helps keep the cost of my hair dye down.

The sheet is printed on both sides. One side is in Spanish. I will not be reviewing this side, as I studied French in college.

The very top bit of the paper has a section called “Before you color: 48 hours in advance.” Apparently, you are supposed to test the dye on a sample strand before you color your whole head. “HAIR COLORANTS CAN CAUSE ALLERGIC REACTIONS,” says the instruction sheet, in all caps. Improper use of hair coloring can lead to orange hair, too, which I am sad to report is not mentioned at all, not in this section or anywhere in the instructions.

Does anybody every actually do the test in advance? I know I don’t. Let’s skip to the good part, starting with Get Ready to Color.

It says to use a smock or an old towel. That’s dumb. I just go about nekkers when I’m dying my hair. It all washes off in the shower.

Then we have Apply Color, wherein the instructions advise the user to part the hair into small, even sections. I never have the patience for this.

Next up is Time It. The instructions tell me to time for twenty-five minutes. I always just read a chapter of whatever I’m book I’m reading. Apparently my method of measuring elapsed time isn’t sophisticated enough for the folks at Clairol.

Finally, we have Rinse and Gloss, in which the colorist should add a “small amount of warm water and massage into a lather.” A small amount? Screw that. I just stand under the shower head and let the faucet do its work.

In conclusion, I have mixed feelings about this example of technical writing. While it may be good for novices, it does not acknowledge my needs or habits. The plot was predictable, easily summed up in two parts: 1.) Add hair dye. 2.) Change your color! The character development was practically nonexistent, and I could determine no appreciable setting or atmosphere. The syntax was choppy, with no dialogue to break the monotony. But the pace was good, with helpful bullets to guide the eye to the important steps.

And why do I have instructions for dying hair lying about? Because I am changing the color next week. I’ll add the mystery color next Friday afternoon, and then I’ll visit Hairdresser Jeff.

Hairdresser Jeff, who is probably my favorite person in all of Wilhelmsplatz, has been absent from my life for half a year, ever since that fateful day when I turned my hair pink. I am growing my hair out for a bit, but it has reached the point where it looks absolutely dreadful unless I put it in pigtails.

For those readers who do not have the pleasure of regularly seeing me in person, I direct you toward a photo taken by Bookish Jet this morning:

Critics might be tempted to make fun of my pigtails, as they are really short and insubstantial right now. I, however, think they have potential. Like a nine-year old’s erection, there’s not much there now, but there’s the promise of something more.

(Promise for the boy, I mean. I didn’t mean that pornographically. Ew.)

At any rate, I hope no one’s gotten too fond of the blond. A new color is on the horizons, but I’m not going to tell anyone what it is. Stay tuned!


7 responses »

  1. The Queen of Claremount

    Thanks for the heads-up (!) on hair color. I’ve never had the exhilaration of reading those instructions, but it may help if I suddendly decide to pop the cherry on my virgin hair after 55 years.BTW, I heard no mention of bio-degradable, eco-friendly, or organic in your discussion. Is that b/c maybe those brands only come in green?(That last remark is an electronic Touche’ after your treatise on fossil fuels vs a trip to see someone of great magnitude.)

  2. the queen of claremount

    …and a SMOCK, for heaven’s sake??????????? How can you think about associating with women who would even consider wearing SMOCKS?????? The old towel, a shirt you’re considering throwing away, hair coloring accoutrement, old duds, a poncho, maybe even a shroud, but NOT A SMOCK!(I just can’t envision you in a very bad urban camouflage flower print smock with Captain Kangaroo pockets and a tie in the back, trimmed in rickrack……….)

  3. Queen,Here is an example where personal vanity trumps green living. The colors I like aren’t sold by eco-friendly companies, so I just buy the dyes I want from the harmful polluters. They’re cheaper, anyway. From this we may conclude that I am a bad person.I am not even entirely sure what a smock is. Is that like the thingy I wear when Hairdresser Jeff cuts my hair? Cuz if it is, I don’t have one.

  4. the queen of claremount

    Open any 50’s magazine and you will see a smock. They were the must-have for every good housewife, and are/were a very large pull-over apron, usually horrid colors, and always had huge pockets on the front. They could also just be very large labcoat-type affairs.My mother had a navy blue one that I ended up wearing for a dress when I was 15. Since it barely covered my ass, she was not pleased, but, hey, I thought I was cool! Heaven knows if I really was!

  5. eleemosenary archivist

    All things change from our human perspective, stars,moon,flowers and folks..Pigtails are fine for a blondheaded nonce and new shades acoming as the moon waxes in Tidewater country will no doubt prove at least as interesting as Owen Meany’s review…tgb/aka EA

  6. eleemosenary archivist

    OK,Captiaina,walk me through this admin swamp…One clicks on eleem etc,to be informed "comment made by anonymous(sic), unregistered" author,eh? At Command HQ public affairs in the 80’s, deep within the Soviet Zone,we answered "PAO,this is not a secure line,good mornin,afternoon etc", but were sensitive to the fact that, should the proveribial brown hit the fan, someone would "identify" our mortal carcasses.. Is anonymity good in the digital age? Does "being registered" with yr otherwise really nice site expose one to unknown perils? More a question,I suppose,(see,tricked into first person singular) of protocol & perceived politeness. One feels rather odd reading a good columnist& having editorial response classified thusly. Jeez,Jess, "I" think I’m gonna have a 2nd dollop of Cabernet ..God rest Abe Melinkoff’s green eye-shaded brow. What about Henna, that’s organic.out-4-now, & good night Mrs Calabash,where ever you are…EA/tgb

  7. eleemosenary archivist

    Right..Apropos "Women’s non-fiction"..One would think that staff or patrons in local area might enjoy works by or about the two great GERTRUDES…Stein and Bell. Both on the leading edge of just about everything long before anyone’s mother,sister,wife or daughter could cast a vote in "civilized" societies. Topical, literarily significant distaff dreadnoughts left deep impression on working class prepschool kids in generation prior to but pleased by advent of trans-Atlantic Tolkein popularity..& now back to the dungeon, Tom


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