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Gone Dark Brown

I’m not sure this will be my most profound post ever but I feel an explanation is due for this:

I made a promise and I didn’t keep it. But I have a reason and I think it’s a good one.

Let’s go back to a school trip. I forget where we were headed, but sitting near me on the bus was one of those sweet lads who all the girls love but who never has a girlfriend. I remember his name but will protect his identity by calling him Sam. Well, goodness knows how we got onto it but in the middle of a conversation between a group of us fifteen year olds, Sam referred to my hair as, ‘mousey’. I was stunned. I’m not sure I’d ever really named the colour of my hair before that but, ‘mousey’? Really? Like those little screechy, smelly runt of a rat type things? Beautiful brunette, you hear, blondes have more fun and all that – and hey! Who needs brain cells if you’re constantly having fun? – but never ‘mesmerising mousey’ or ‘mouth-wateringly mousey’ – more like ‘matted mousey’, perhaps.

Thankfully I managed to keep my horror to myself but it clearly left its mark. I can’t say I lost too much sleep over it during the ensuing years but it would be fair to say that if anyone ever asked me what my best feature was, it wouldn’t have been the colour of my hair.

So, fast forward, ahem, thirty years to my second lot of baby hair, when it had grown back just enough to potentially push off my wig and cause a scene. I had no choice but to go bare-head. I decided to have my hair coloured because, well, because I could. The result was a fairly dark brown. I liked it because it made my hair which you could measure in millimetres, look a fraction longer. That was in December.

Christmas was a memory, January had slipped by and February was as short as ever. March? March was wonderful, we went skiing in Slovakia, just the family, rearranged from a year before when we couldn’t go for reasons you know too well about. April? Well, April was seeing the beginnings of a fringe at last so finally, I was starting to look less like a rabbit in headlights, or rather, Hello! Here comes Jackie’s face entering the room. And then it was May. The dye was incredible. My hair was still dark brown. Not even a whiff of mouse.

In my post, I said I was going to go blonde because life was too short. I sat down with the hairdresser and discussed this plan. Why? She asked. Because life’s too short, I said. And I want to do something different and the only different I can think of is blonde, dark or red. Red isn’t good for me because it makes my skin look like I’ve just slipped out of intensive care, dark you’ve already done and thank you, isn’t it amazing it’s lasted this long and –

– When did we dye it dark? she asked. December, I said. December? She laughed. That’s not dye. The roots would be this long, and she held out her arms as if she’d just caught a big fish. That’s your natural hair colour.

I nearly fell off the pivoting chair. Rather than wondering whether my hair would grow back straight, in much the same way that straight haired people’s hair inherited the chemo curl, I should have been asking what colour it would be. The only thought I’d given to hair colour was to brace myself for it coming back grey. That seems to happen a lot. I have no aversion to growing old gracefully (as we all know too well, old is, oh so much better than the alternative) but the drugs have already thrust a *challenging* premature menopause upon me and it would have been nice to have been spared the premature grey, thank you. And I had. Not grey. Not even mousey. But rich brown.

Thank you chemo, that was very kind.

I drifted back from hair Utopia to hear the hairdresser saying that as my hair was thus now quite dark, the roots would be difficult, I’d be back ‘having them done’ in four weeks and as a former six monthly visitor to the salon, did I really wish to commit to the time and expense of that?

She’s a great hairdresser but I’m not sure she’ll be vying for sales woman of the year any time soon.

So, what did I do? I went as dark as I could. And actually, for the first time with my ‘new’ hair, I almost quite like it.

And the other promises? I’ve been better with my zzzzs, my prosecco units have been low – apart from last Monday – and *most* evenings I switch my phone off at 9pm. Honest.

Can you forgive me for forgoing the bleach?

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