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From age nine to 22, I only saw two hairdressers for highlights and cuts. For the longest time, I only let one of these ladies go near my hair, but I had to find a substitute when Therese moved to Hawaii, so Diane became my new go-to woman. Both of them knew the exact amount of artificial coloring to use on my thin, orange locks and how many inches to trim off my split ends, so I made it a point to schedule hair appointments with them during trips home from college.

Now that I live in another part of the country, these lovely hairdressers don’t do me any good. I haven’t visited the salon in four months, so it’s time to change that before my hair goes back to this shade of red:

With nephew Lukey in 2008!

San Fran, 2007

Unfortunately, hair coloring and cuts are much more expensive on the east coast than in northern California. I’ve done my research and can’t seem to find a highlight/cut combo under $220. I know I’m a Scotts Valley country bumpkin and all, yet these prices make zero sense to me. I’ll pay up if necessary, but there must be a bargain somewhere in this city.

On my walk home today, I thought of the alternative option I always resorted as a kid. As many of you know by now, I hated my red hair until I turned 15 and started receiving positive attention for my unique look. Everything prior to those days was torture. Whenever people told me to appreciate my rare genetic “gift,” I loathed ginger life even more and began to resent whoever had made such a naive statement about how I should feel.

Circa 2000!

But, like good parents, my mom and dad refused to let me color my hair until high school (with the exception of one instance in 7th grade, but more on that later). My mother, the beauty pageant winning blond, was among the parade of people who said I was crazy not to adore my hair. I figured I couldn’t sway her in another direction, so at the age of ten, I took matters into my own hands—literally.

When my parents stepped out of the house one afternoon, I raided their bathroom cabinets and tracked down some hydrogen peroxide. I’d heard that it could bleach hair, so I quickly began dipping clumps of my own red mane into the foul smelling bottle and pouring the liquid onto my head. Because I didn’t want my parents to notice a drastic change in my appearance, I didn’t go overboard with the hydrogen peroxide. Nevertheless, it toned down my hair to the point where my entire family knew something was up.

Because I’ve never been a believable liar, I confessed my crime, which put my mom in a state of panic.

“Your hair is going to fall out! Nice going!” she said, stoking my nerves.

Three years later, my mom suggested I get blond highlights as a result of relentless bullying at school. By that point, my parents actually feared for my safety and well being at the school and wanted to do anything to help me blend in, so a makeover seemed like the right solution for fending off harassers.

When I got highlights for the first time, “The Princess Diaries” hadn’t yet hit theaters, but I felt just like Mia Thermopolis after she first glances at herself in the mirror after her big transformation. She knows she looks prettier, but doesn’t quite feel like herself without the glasses, frizzy hair, and ginormous shoes.

If you can recommend any hair salons in the area that won’t charge $160+, leave me a comment. I’m desperate and don’t want to turn to hydrogen peroxide!

Today, we had the first of the fall interns start up at TheDC. He’s nice, but I assured the summer 2011 interns that they took my whole heart and won’t be replaced. The new crop of interns has some large shoes to fill!

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