The Hair Disaster

A few days ago I was faced with an ethical dilemma.  A few days ago I sat down to write a letter of recommendation for my sister to enter a cosmetology school’s hair design program, and that still, small voice of my conscience asked this question: Is witholding information lying?

Typically, I am a patient person.  Typically, I am under control.  Until having three children in three years, typically, I never lost my temper.  Well, almost never….

I had just graduated college and secured a job as a teacher at a local high school and was anxious to get started.  The following day, the English department was hosting a cookout, and all of the new teachers were invited.  I wanted to look responsible and professional since, at the ripe age of 22, I looked more like a student than the teachers.  And even though we were only meeting for a cookout, this cookout would be the first time I had met most of the teachers who would be my colleagues, and I wanted to make a good first impression.  Why I decided I needed to dye my hair for this occasion, I do not remember, and why I thought having my sister do it was a good idea, I will never know.

I should’ve pulled the plug on the operation when my sister whipped out a box that clearly said ‘black’ on it.  I should’ve trusted my instincts, but for some strange reason, I put faith in the person who had a recent interest in cosmetology and not yet a license. I believed the claim that if we only let the dye sit on my head for five minutes, the color would look dark brown, not black. Even if I allowed the dye to sit on my head, I should’ve pulled the plug when I felt my sister massage my temples and my forehead and not my hair.

When the five minutes were up, I ran to my shower to rinse out the dye.  As soon as the water hit my head, I noticed the black liquid running down my legs and down the drain, but I had faith.  After all, if I couldn’t trust my sister, whom could I trust?  I scrubbed and scrubbed shampoo throughout my hair until the water had begun to run clear, and then I got out of the shower.

As I wrapped the towel around my body, I noticed a problem–a big problem–in the mirror.  I had a ring of black around my forehead, and my left cheek had at least a quarter-sized dye mark.  On my cheek!  I frantically grabbed the soap and started scrubbing my face but to no avail.  She had dyed my freakin’ face!  And while I was scrubbing my face, I couldn’t help but notice that my hair looked pretty darned dark.

I whipped out that hair dryer and prayed that the heat would reveal a different product.  I prayed and prayed that as my hair dried it would turn into the dark brown that I wanted.  Blue-black, everyone.  That was the color of my hair.  Have you ever seen a beautiful Asian woman with long, luscious locks flowing down her back, hair so dark that it looks like indigo ink?  Yeah, that’s what color hair I had, except I’m not Asian, and my locks didn’t look quite so beautiful.  I looked more like Wednesday Addams.

And now I know that out-of-body experiences are possible.  I ran out of the bathroom in a state of absolute fury.  Typically, I don’t yell.  I yelled. Typically, I don’t curse.  I cursed. Words left my mouth that I didn’t  even know I knew.  I couldn’t stop them; I wasn’t even thinking them, and they came out.  They came out all over my sister and my grandmother and her friend who were visiting. The two older ladies decided to run to the staircase where the show was happening.  The show where I cursed and I kicked and I punched.  Not my proudest moment, but then again, I wasn’t in my body, so I couldn’t be held accountable.

After eight more hair washings and numerous applications of cold cream to my face, I went to meet the English department the next day with blue-black hair and a giant scab on my cheek from where I actually scrubbed off my skin.

I didn’t include any of this information in my sister’s letter of recommendation. I figure, she was probably just getting me back for all the times I tattled on her.

*This post published with my sister’s permission who, since this incident, has many times dyed my hair perfectly.

I’m linking this post for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.  Click on over for other hair disasters and responses to her weekly writing prompts.

Mama's Losin' It

46 thoughts on “The Hair Disaster

    1. That's because to you, a scab on my face and black hair was inconsequential. Had you witnessed the actual out-of-body experience, you would never forget! (Just ask my mom or sister or grandma in heaven) 😉

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  1. now THAT is a horror story, you had someplace to be the next day. I just called in sick to work when both of my hair disasters happened and went straight to another salon. no way i was going to let anyone see me that way.

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  2. I’m laughing with tears streaming down my face! This is one of the most memorable “sister” moments you and Lisa shared. I can remember the shock and silence that followed your rage, as this certainly couldn’t be “Jennifer.”!!

    I think i said something like,”one day you will look back on this and laugh.”

    I admit i did worry about your cheek having permanent scarring. Grandma on the other hand, loved the hair color, Kathy never visited again and Lisa holed up in her room. I think Matt liked it ,too,minus the dark forehead ring and cheek tattoo. 🙂

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    1. I can still see everyone's shocked faces, just staring at Lisa and me while I beat her and she laughed. No one knew how to respond! (But again, it wasn't me. I was temporarily demon-possessed)

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  3. Ha, ha, thats so funny Jennifer! I had a similar experience when I was in cosmetology school. One of the other students was supposed to practice her highlighting skills on me. Long story short, I had hair blonder than Madonna and I looked like a total freak! The instructor had to low light my hair to bring it back to some semblance of normal…I didn't scream, curse or punch, but I did cry tears and totally ambaress myself and the other student.

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  4. I'm sorry, but hair is a big deal. Cosmetologists need to be prepared for tears (or worse, in my case) if they mess up! Come to think of it…I'm pretty sure I had some crying episodes mixed in with the rage (again, the tears may have been me, the rage, the devil). I can't imagine you with hair that blonde!

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  5. Ooh. I was going to attempt to put some of the red back into my hair (it appears my daughter has stolen it from me). You've officially scared me off. Of course, my sister lives two hours away and has no interest whatsoever in cosmetology. Maybe I'm safe.

    This post is absolutely hilarious. I've never seen you in person, but I can somehow still imagine you ranting at your sister with a mass of black hair! Ha!

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    1. Hmm…you'll probably be okay; just make sure the box says 'red' and not 'purple'–even if you only plan to leave the dye on your hair for five minutes. I'm glad you liked the post and were able to visualize me acting like a raving lunatic! 🙂

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  6. The best part of that episode was when your head spun completely around on your neck and green
    gooo shot ot of your mouth. I'm lucky that I'm bald. Do you remember every Barbie doll you and
    lisa owned had their hair cut off? I guess this is Lisa's calling.

    Dad

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  7. Wow. This best part of this piece is the fact that many of us are brought back immediately to our own "hair disasters". Years ago, my sister and I did a similar makeover. I had started my new job, and we were so confident that we could do just as good a job highlighting our hair as the professionals. I had naturally dark, somewhat curly hair. After the cap came off, my head shampooed and dried (she wanted me to wait and see the finished product; not at the wet stage), was the big reveal! A giant pouf ball of mostly WHITE, wiry frizz, with some strands of dark. Atrocious. Donning a toboggan (Kinda like a scarecrow, straw-like hair sticking out under the hat) we headed off to a 24 hour store, because in all of our wisdom we started this "project" around 9 pm. Bought a box of blonde hair dye and then majestically became a platnium blonde. I only wish I could have videoed the reactions the next day at work, until I could go to a salon and get it fixed. That was some savings… Your writing is such a blessing to me. It somehow transports me into times in my own life so vividly. Thank you again for sharing your gift.

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