Friday, July 27, 2007

doll hair

Did you ever try to style your Barbie's hair when you were little? Do you remember what a fruitless, pointless pursuit it was? No matter how much twisting or curling you did, it never stayed where it was supposed to. Sure, Pretty Make-Over Barbie may have come with a plastic comb and brush and brightly colored ribbons and elastics, all included in the plastic packaging so you could "do Barbie's hair at home!" But did you ever try to actually run those items through her hair? They didn't work. They didn't do anything but get stuck and snarled in her dry, brittle, totally un-style-able doll hair. The package may have claimed to include "all you need to make Barbie look like she just walked out of the salon" but did any of that stuff ever work? No. Because Barbie had doll hair.

And that is what my hair feels like now: Limp, useless, blonde doll hair. After all of the bleaching, processing, heat styling, darkening, and bleaching again, my hair has lost almost all of its natural elasticity. The previously strong, healthy strands are now little pathetic wisps showing what the trained eye would identify as visible signs of breakage (to everyone else, it just looks kinda frizzy.)

Did I know this would happen? Was I warned? Yes, of course I was. Jason is my hair guru. However, once upon a time I had absolutely gorgeous, naturally low maintenance hair. I was one of those people, whose hair did pretty much whatever I asked of it, whenever I wanted. Slightly uneven haircut? Well, that's hardly noticeable when your hair has so much body and natural curl! Bad hair day? Yeah, those must suck. I think I had one of those, once. Yes, I was warned that undertaking this project would "damage" may hair, that my hair would "not be the same" after so much processing. But did I really understand the true gravity of those statements? Hell no. "Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure," I said. "Dye it anyway!" Feeling very noble I'd add, "We all must suffer for our art."

Now my hair is like a porous sponge that throws up it's frizzy broken wisps in a tizzy at even the slightest hint of humidity. August in Boston is upon us, which means that I might as well just accept the fact that I will not be having a good hair day until October. My only recourse, I have decided, is to visit Jason once a week for a wash & blow-out, like my grandma used to. I now completely understand the concept of the old lady visit to the beauty parlor. It may be my only choice.

Make no mistake, blonding neophytes. The color transition from dark to light is no simple feat. Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears, Cameron Diaz, all those Hollywood starlets might have you thinking otherwise. But seriously, it is a bitch. Seamless transition between shades, much like instant loss of baby weight after pregnancy, is a fantasy. It only happens in Hollywood.

All of that said, I'm still, for some reason, absolutely delighted to be blonde again.

Friday, July 20, 2007

more pictures of France

We took almost no pictures in Paris, and did not visit a single art museum.

We did visit the infamous catacombs, an old quarry that became a communal grave during the 1800s. It reminded me of the basement at Toro...

...only in the catacombs, you can actually stand up straight.

* * * * *

We ate a lot of cheese, organ meet, and had a 3-star Michelin dining experience...

...It was almost as good as the Nutella crepe we ate from the crepe cart at midnight by the Eiffel Tower.

* * * * *

I made the Mathematician visit a whole bunch of open air markets, because I am obsessed with them, even thought we saw pretty much the same thing every time, even at this one in Lyon...

...but he was a good sport about it.

* * * * *

This is Mougins, the most special town on the Cote d'Azur... is where my friend Alexander's family lives. And it really does look like that.

* * * *

This is the view from Chateau de Chevre D'Or, our hotel in Eze...

...this is where I want to be right now.

Bon soir, et bon weekend...

Thursday, July 19, 2007


I am sitting on the hearth of the fireplace at Toro, doing my cash out with my fellow servers. A former employee who now works as a realtor, has been sitting at the bar with a friend having cocktails, for the past hour or so. I caught him looking at me three or four times earlier, before I knew who he was. (My initial thought: "Why is that tall blond guy staring at me? Do I have something on my face?") Eventually he comes over to where I sit with the other servers to say hi. He takes a seat right next to me on the hearth.

ME: I'm Kitty. Who are you?
ME: Hey, I know you! Yes, I met you one day on the street when you were walking by my apartment. You came right up to me and my friend while we were sitting outside on the stoop and asked us how we liked living here. You said that you were the person who originally listed our apartment. You didn't show it to us, but you gave the listing to my realtor, Joe.
REALTOR: Really? I don't remember that at all. I don't think so, that wasn't me.
ME: Yes, it definitely was. I'm sure of it. How many tall blond realtors named Emile could there possibly be in the South End? It was you.
REALTOR: Nah. I would have remembered that. Because I most definitely would have remembered meeting you. (He nods and looks up at me flirtatiously while tilting his head down to take a sip of red wine. The fact is, I've seen this guy before, and I've talked to him before, and I also had to call him once to ask him about something pertaining to my lease, which means that I've even spoken on the phone to him before. But at that time, I was still a brunette.)
ME: Yeah, you're right, BLOND REALTOR GUY. I'm sure you would have remembered meeting me.

Apparently as a blonde, I'm unforgettable.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Well, it's roughly a month and a half since I became accidentally blonde again, and I am finally ready to talk about it.

Let's zoom back to that fateful May afternoon, just a few days before I was to head off to New York City for Book Expo, a very big publishing industry convention packed with important business meetings for myself and my boss. I wanted to touch up the color and the roots before I left--this always helps me feel confident, cool and collected before a big work thing--so I booked an appointment with Jason about a week before the show.

"What are we doing today, Kitty?" Jason says, as I settle into his favorite chair at the head of the color table. He says this every time I visit.

"You tell me, you're the magician!" I say, as I do every time I visit. "But, if it's possible, do you think we can start the transition back to blonde? I know it will take some time, but I think I'm ready to go at least a little bit lighter."

"You read my mind!" he says. "Back to blonde we go!"

My original transformation to blonde was so simple. We started back in 2005 by subtly highlighting my naturally light brown hair. Each time I returned to the salon to have my roots treated, we'd go a bit lighter, and a bit lighter, and lighter still, until, POOF!--one day I was practically platinum. It was glorious, and revelatory. Sitting in the chair, head swaddled in a towel, waiting for Jason to unwrap my locks and comb them out and style them into a movie-star like coif was like opening a fun, blonde present. SURPRISE! Today you're blonder than you've ever been!

I so loved that feeling. I look forward to chasing it all over again as we transition back to blonde this Spring.

So, Jason gets to work, painting little tiny bits of my hair with goopy bleach and wrapping it up into an impossible number of crinkly foil wrappers. I know the drill, I've done this before. He paints and wraps. We chat about his life and his boyfriend, my life and my boyfriend, and how much more fun we're going to have when I have become famous & he is part of my entourage...or when he becomes famous and I am part of his entourage. This step takes about a half hour, then he steps away to attend to another client while the bleach does it's magic.

My hair cooks and I read Vogue. I make friends with a brunette woman at the color table who wants to know all about the project. I tell her what it has been like to be blonde. Eventually we run out of things to say, and I pick up a recent issue of Glamour.

Periodically the other stylists come by to say hello. Wendy, Megan, Dan: they all know me by now, and they always say hi and ask about the book. "What are you guys doing today?" they ask.

"Embarking on the road back to blonde," I reply, flashing them a big, about to be blonde soon grin. "I'm back! Or will be in a few months. I think we're probably just going a tad lighter today? I don't really know."

"Really???" Wendy says, a faint cloud of concern flitting across her face. "Already??? That was fast."

"Wow, that's...well, that's kind of a big deal," says Dan, looking surprised.

"HUH, okay," says Megan. "Well," and she ends our conversation the way the other two stylists had before her:

"Good luck."

...words you never want to hear from your doctor, dentist, or hair stylist.

Periodically, Jason returns to unwrap a foil, sneak a peek at my hair. It crinkles in my ears as he unwraps, re-wraps. "More time," he says, walking away to see a different client. I read more Glamour.

Ten minutes later, Jason returns, takes a look. "Ready?" I say. "Nope," he shakes his head. This happens two or three more times. I'm getting bored. I am just about to move onto an issue of Real Simple, when one of the assistants beckons me over to the washing station. Finally! The grand unveiling. I am filled with anticipation as I dip my head back into the sink. She makes a great ruckus as she unwraps those millions of tiny foils with quick, deft hands. She washes, rinses, conditions, rinses, deep conditions, waits five minutes, rinses, then wraps my head up into a towel.

Five minutes later I am back in Jason's chair, where he un-swaddles my head to reveal...

A kaleidoscope of colors.

From ends to roots I see:

  • Dark brown on the bottom, the same color I was when I walked in today,
  • Salmon pink in the middle, the oldest hair, which has been platinum, brown, auburn, almost black, and now en route to blonde again
  • A two-inch ring of brassy orange circling my crown, the two inches of virgin hair that grew out over the brunette winter, and has only ever been dyed brown
  • An inch of searing, albino white at the roots, the newest virgin hair that has never been dyed, reacting violently platinum to copious amounts of bleach

Wow. Guess I'm going back to blonde--or something like it--today.

What ensues is referred to as a "double process," so another round of Jason mixing chemicals, painting colors on my hair, foiling, waiting, reading Vogue again, getting bored, shooting the breeze with the other stylists, getting bored when they walk away to deal with their clients, and eventually staring into space by myself at the color table, wishing I could be anywhere but here. I have heard the CD go thru this rotation already, and I am sick of Joan Jett and the Hair soundtrack. My scalp is hot, and is starting to itch & burn at the roots. I wonder if I'm going to get one of those mysterious and inexplicable rashes that I occasionally get when my skin encounters harsh things, like soap or cat hair.

Poor Jason. He is swamped with other clients and I can tell the chemistry experiment that is my hair is working his last nerve. He enlists Dan to help, and they work tirelessly to make my now 2-tone hair look normal. By the time I am finally done with the second round of washing, rinsing, conditioning, rinsing, deep conditioning, rinsing and blow drying, I have been here for a whopping six hours.

And my hair is 2-tone. The top has achieved a lovely light, ashy sort of blonde, however the bottom half...well, we never went there with the bleach. It's the same dark auburn hue that it was when I walked in here at 3 p.m. I have a huge, important business trip coming up. And my hair looks like something you'd wear to a punk rock show.

I feel exhausted as I walk out of the salon, completely disoriented, and a little bit helpless. Jason is going to touch me up before my trip next week, but truthfully the last thing I want to do is be anywhere near that color table. I am mulling all of this over as I pass a gaggle of kids from the project down the street, who couldn't be more than 12-years-old.

"Hey, you want to suck on a frosty nipple???" one of them yells out to me. I glance at him out of the corner of my eye. He is eating an ice cream cone, and probably feeling like a big tough guy for degrading a woman more than twice his age in front of all his friends.

Awesome. I've been blonde for exactly ten minutes and I'm already being sexually a child.

Am I ready for this? This blondeness? The aggressive, entitled sexual harrassment that comes with it?

No. I certainly am not.

Monday, July 09, 2007


So, as those of you who read this blog regularly have probably noticed, I haven't posted anything new for you in exactly a month. This is because I have been on hiatus. First my brother had a heart attack. He is only 39 years old. He is fine, but it was terrifying. Then my computer died. It was the hard drive and I lost everything. No, I did not have any of it backed up. In this day and age of simple, powerful technology, why would I have done an intelligent thing like that? Then, I went on vacation in France. It was amazing and lovely and relaxing, a much needed respite from the 2 jobs I work and the book I am trying to write. France was everything you'd expect it to be: narrow streets, baguettes and croissants, wine, lots of French language practice, cathedrals, castles, and chateaux. I was gone for 2 whole weeks and I still did not want to come back.

But like all things good and bad in life, the vacation ended, my other computer is back, and now it's time for me to get back to work.

But first, here's a picture of me in front of the Mediterranean Sea.

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