Friday, October 30, 2009

From Blond to Blonder

Over the course of the past month the expression blond ambition has taken on an entirely new meaning to me – it has literally become synonymous with my burning desire to have hair that is blonder than blond. As it turns out though, acquiring that distinctive peroxide blond look requires as much dedication and determination as any other ambition.

I was born blond – an ashy mousy blond, but nonetheless blond. During my early teens I experimented with colouring my short pixie cut every possible shade of brown in order to suit the androgyny of my look, but as I grew into myself and my femininity, I slowly went back to my blond roots. For the past year my hair has been numerous tints of golden blond, but yesterday all of that changed.

At around 11 o'clock in the morning I walked into a hair salon. “Would it be possible for you to make my hair white?” I ask the woman behind the counter. With a confused look on her face she asks me what exactly I mean by white. I explain to her that I want peroxide blond hair, but not like Eminem, rather something more like Marylin Monroe. “Sit down,” she says, “I will be with you in a moment”. Half an hour later the “moment” has still not past. My temper lets me down and I walk out of the salon without any explanation.

I enter the next salon, I am not the kind of woman who will be defeated so easily. This time the women behind the counter looks much more funky and much less like she got her hairdressing diploma from some beauty school in Koffiefontein. I tell her that I want hair so white that it looks black and if they are not capable to give me what I want, she should tell me immediately so that I can find a new salon. She assures me that they can do it for me, but that they take no responsibility if my hair suddenly starts to break and fall out.

While my hair is being washed thoughts of me walking around bold-headed perpetuate my mind. I keep hoping that I am not one of those unfortunate souls with lots of humps and bumps in their head, because if I am going to be bold, I better be a fabulous at it.

After one of the most fantastic haircuts of my life, the bleaching starts. The toxic smell takes over the entire salon and all the old ladies who come in for their blow-dries smile at me sympathetically. The peroxide stays on my hair for half an hour before my scalp is finally relieved of the tingling. Just as I start to think that its over, the stylist says that they will have to put on a toner to neutralize the yellow from all the times that I have been a golden blond.

A blue paste that looks like glorified surf is applied all over the brassy orange parts of my hair and I am told to wait another twenty minutes. While I wait one of the other stylist tells me about how she just knows that her boyfriend is going to pop the big question this weekend. As she blabbers on about American Swiss receipts and bubble baths, my mind wanders off to what my own boyfriend will think of the new “do”. I convince myself that if he's really the kind of guy that I want to be with, he will adore this new less commercially beautiful version of me.

Twenty minutes and one blow dry later, I have become the image of the women who I want to be – a women who manages to be glamorous and grungy simultaneously. Imagine a mixture between Courtney Love and Jean Harlow and somewhere in the middle you are sure to find me. I still cannot help but stare at the perfection of my hair every five minutes – my blond ambition has been realised.