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Looking at Life Through Rose-Coloured Tresses

****What Not to Wear spoil alert****

In an effort to cling to the vestiges of my youth as they slip through my fingers like sand, I went to my hair appointment with a colourful idea. I wanted to add some pink.

I personally think that getting your hair done is one of the best ways to manage stress. I particularly love getting my hair washed.

I had been toying with the pink idea for a while. I thought about it during my last appointment with Richard as I was flipping through some hairstyle books. There’s lots of stuff being done these days with deep blues and vibrant reds. I couldn’t decide between pink and purple. Purple has always been my favourite colour but pink seems more flattering with blonde.

At first Richard wasn’t so keen on the idea. He has been a hairstylist for over 20 years and knows a thing or two about people, their attachment to their hair and the concept of change. He knows when to green light an idea and when not to. He tested me with some questions like, Why do you want to do this? — Because I’m turning 40 in a couple of days and I want to do something youthful?

He showed me all of his colour samples and the tube of “Pretty Flamingo” and said I had an hour to think about it. Should I or shouldn’t I? What will my cat think? What will my mother say? How will my forestry co-workers react? I was thinking, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea afterall and was talking myself out of it.

As Richard was cutting my hair, I was telling him about Friday night’s episode of What Not To Wear where they literally roped Jessie, a 52-year-old woman from Texas, into a make-over. They caught up to her at the South Fork Ranch, home of Dallas, the 80’s tv show and she was wearing an animal print dress, a leather coat, rhinestones and pumps. She was nominated by her 34 year-old daughter with long blonde, big Texas hair, who was going to be moving out of her mother’s house soon. Apparently, the mother was divorced and single and the mother and daughter would hang out together to meet men, though the men would always pick the daughter.

Jessie admitted that her feelings were really hurt after being nominated for the show. But I guess a $5000 shopping spree in New York City didn’t sound so bad.

Jessie reluctantly went to New York. She didn’t see anything wrong with what she was wearing in the first place but tried to take in the rules as best she could. No more rhinestones for her, she thought. Admittedly, I think giving up 20-year-old clothes would be hard for me also. I have clothes like t-shirts and socks from my high school days in my drawers too. Why?  I don’t know. Do I still wear them? No.

It was obvious Jessie was clinging to the good ol’ days of yesteryear — when things were the way she wanted them — she was young, beautiful, married and living the high life. Unfortunately, things changed and she was resisting big time. There were no smiles. There was no enthusiasm. At first Stacy and Clinton, the show hosts, were their usual joking selves, but they quickly learned she had no sense of humour about this and they reined it in to a more demure level.

When it came to her hair, Nick, the resident hairstylist on What Not to Wear, sat her down in his chair and callously held her hair in a fan above her ears and said something to the effect of, this is going, say good-bye. I think that was the last straw for Jessie. It was the turning point where she lost the rest of her patience and wasn’t going to tolerate this invasion into her life a second longer. That’s when things went southfork and had Nick approached this with a little more finesse, things may have turned out differently.

All in all Nick did a nice job on her hair. He made it more golden, than platinum, and cut her hair into a chin-length bob. I often don’t care for his hairstyles though because he tends to border on mullets — and by that I mean, he straightens the hair near the ears leaving it to lie flat — but in this case the style was quite flattering. She looked younger and better.

I think she used the word “pretty” but her face was saying something else. You could see her disappointed and angry thoughts fermenting under the surface of her skin. She knew if she said anything out loud, she would either say something really awful or she would burst into tears. I’ve been there before in many situations but I’ve never actually watched someone else do it. Cut to commercial.

We’ve all had bad haircuts in our day. I can remember the time I went to a new stylist and as I left the salon, all of the other stylists stopped what they were doing, watched me as I walked past and all had this look on their face that said, “Oh you poor thing.” I can laugh about it now.

When they returned from the ads, Jessie was in the greenroom crying and Carmindy, the make-up artist, came to talk to her. Jessie said, none of the men would like her hair, so Carmindy said she would send someone in to fix things. The fix was blow-drying the hair in a more flippy way.

I happen to know, (by eavesdropping on a conversation between my bus driver and another passenger a few years ago — it was a story about how the bus driver gave up a scholarship with Vidal Sassoon in England to take care of her grandfather), that Nick charges something like $250 or $400 U.S. for an appointment. He’s no slouch. He knows what he’s doing.

Carmindy was treating her with kid gloves and applied her make-up, although I didn’t pay attention to a word. I was watching Jessie’s face as she seethed in anger. She said, “I’ll live with it for a week and see how it goes.”

When she checked in with Stacy and Clinton in her new outfits, new hair and make-up, there were no yahoos. No cheers.

And low and behold, within the month, she had extensions put in and the colour re-platinumized. Talk about kicking a gift horse in the mouth.

She was less than impressed with her tress. I, on the other hand, felt blessed. As you have probably guessed by now, I went ahead with the pink and I’m really happy. What’s the difference between my experience and Jessie’s? First of all, my hair wasn’t drastic on the grand scheme of things and second, I asked for it. Jessie did not. It was my idea in the first place. I have been going through gradual changes over the past several months and am getting used to seeing a different person in the mirror, while her transformation happened all of a sudden and it was too shocking.

My hairstylist Richard said people don’t like change — they think they do, but they don’t. That’s why we find the nearest Starbucks or the Gap and shop there because these places are familiar and predictable. Don’t mess with Texas.

My advice to Jessie is:

1) Smile more and frown less — no quality man would be interested in spending time with a bitter woman with a poor attitude.

2) Hire a personal trainer — if nothing else, it will do wonders for your self-confidence.

3) Appreciate the wisdom you have gained over the years — it will serve you better than your youth and beauty ever did.

Watch What Not To Wear on Friday nights on TLC and check out the fansite at for more comments on this episode.

Can you find the pink? What do you think?
Can you find the pink? What do you think?

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  1. Hey, great post, really well written. You should blog more about this.

  2. […] Hairstyle Appreciation Day on April 30th — Please see my blog post, “Looking at Life Through Rose-Coloured Tresses.” […]

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