The Girl With Green Hair

The Farrah Fawcett style curls in 1980 at age 23. I did that much prep work only because it was the all-school reunion.

We humans are an envious lot. For a lot of us, what we’re born with just isn’t good enough.

The grass is always greener, they say…

If your hair is straight as a stick (like mine), you’ll envy your friend’s gorgeous curls. She, on the other hand, will curse those hard-to-control kinks while wishing she had your sleek mane.

The short girl will imagine what life would be like with a willowy frame, while the tall girl will curse her long legs as she takes down the hems on her pants.

Big breasts? You’ll hate them, complaining that they’re awkward and hard to stuff into clothing, and what’s more, and men don’t look you in the eye when they talk to you.

But the flat-chested woman will still want what you have.

My late brother and fellow redhead Roger and I. I’m guessing I was 16 and he was 14.
My eighth-grade school picture

I was blessed with red hair and freckles, which of course for me was a curse. Decades later, I still dislike the freckles (another topic, for another time), but I actually grew to appreciate the red hair.

It was different when I was 16 and the only girl in the 11th grade with red hair. I decided I would become a brunette.

After a home dye job, I painfully regretted that decision. My pale skin and freckles looked suspiciously inappropriate with dark-brown hair. And since it was the kind of dye that washes out in half a dozen shampoos, I decided to do that shampooing all at once.

Six rinses later, I went from bad to worse as I noticed streaks of green amidst the brown in my hair. I was mortified.

Apparently going to a high school basketball game was more important than hiding from the student body — so important that it didn’t occur to me that mother’s brown curly wig, which was not exactly stylish for a 16-year-old, wouldn’t look any better than green hair.

At the school gym, my boyfriend kept looking at me as if I were an alien, and my best friend begged me to take off the wig. It was not because she felt no one would notice my green hair; it was because she knew they would, and she wanted to be entertained.

At halftime, my dear friend (who remained my dear friend, by the way) took matters into her own hands and plucked the wig from my head. By the time she gave it back to me, there was no point in replacing it. The green had been seen.

And the boyfriend continued to look at me as if I were an alien.

In the ensuing days at school, where my attempt to wear a hat was thwarted by teachers, the height of my mortification came from Vern Johnson, an evil boy from the senior class.

Vern, to the delight of other students, greeted me the same way every time he saw me:

“Hey, Laurie, how’d your hair turn green?”

He would then slide his palm over his nostrils and up through his hair while making a sniffling sound, and add, “I dunno…”

It was a small school. He saw me often.

(Note: The title of this blog post references an old movie, “The Boy With Green Hair,” starring Dean Stockwell, who played opposite Scott Bakula in my all-time favorite TV show, “Quantum Leap.” My hair was not nearly as green as the young Dean’s was.)

Eventually, I settled on some red hair dye and covered the green with what was close enough to my natural color. Life went on and people found other things to tease me about.

I’ve colored my hair off and on ever since (the photo above is natural — but wow, those were some big glasses!), with varied results:

Sometimes, you just have to have a sense of humor, like when your hair turns out redder (oranger?) in some parts than others. And at 46, you roll with things easier than at 16. (And yes, the makeup is deliberately overdone!)

My hair-color box choices have been cinnaberry, copper, strawberry blonde, true red (um., not), light auburn, medium auburn, dark auburn, auburn brown, medium reddish-brown and various others, although I never strayed out of the redhead family again.

I was tempted when my daughter colored her hair mahogany brown, but I know the grass is greener (literally!) on the other side of the fence and I want to keep it that way.

4 Responses

  1. I sent this sweet and true blog entry that you wrote with the comment…

    “Why humble truth is often so much more effecting than the best-seller.”

    Thanks for a great St. Patty’s Day 2011 card, even if that weren’t your intention. The web is a wonderous beast, somewhat like the sleeping dragon, in that it sleeps peacefully until someone, the unsuspecting traveler, steps onto its little toe.

    I wish you well, and think, even with the overdone makeup, that you’re still a very pretty and intelligent lady. And I should know, I’ve known a few, and still am married to one, after all these years.

    Now when I’m 64, I appreciate that life goes on, even if I still don’t know what Obbla Dee, means.


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