Here’s mud in your hair

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So once upon a time I was an elderly nursing student and I met this hot younger woman and stole her from her entirely undeserving husband.

At that time I was not only elderly but experiencing a host of delightful changes related to not being young anymore, including night sweats and general curmudgeonliness.  I was so clueless about this process, which to give me some credit was both horrifying and mysterious, that I went to see the school’s nurse practitioner about the night sweats thinking I was having a urinary tract infection.  This wasn’t so far-fetched as I’d had exactly the same symptoms when I was pregnant.

Imagine my delight when the nurse practitioner informed me that I was starting the exciting journey into perimenopause.  As my ex so succinctly put it, “Oh, they just put the ‘peri-‘ on there to make you feel better!”

I’ll spare you any further details (you’re welcome) except to say that I’m also fortunate to come from a family whose hair goes grey prematurely.  My brother, who is a great guy with just a minor gun fetish, looks like if Santa was a fairly tall,  slim guy with a minor gun fetish.  And no butt.

My eyebrows started to turn white when I was about thirty, and it turns out that once they turn white they don’t really ever turn back.  And it just gets worse from there.  In about ten years I went from being a pasty-skinned, freckled redhead with dark eyebrows (sort of brownish) to a pasty-skinned freckled PERSON WHO USED TO HAVE RED HAIR, with white eyebrows.

The third time someone asked me if I “used” to have red hair, which coincidentally was also the first time someone asked me if I was Delia’s grandmother, was the first time I considered coloring my hair.  Ever.  And when we went to cheer a friend on at a triathlon and that friend spent the evening ruining hotel towels with henna, I allowed myself to be talked into it.

Great googly moogly, that was some orange henna.  I was startlingly bright.  The Lovely Rhonda was pleased with it and so I have never looked back, although we did seek out a somewhat less shocking shade of henna.

For those of you unfamiliar with henna, it’s a plant that grows somewhere more interesting than here, probably India judging from the packaging, and they dry it and grind it up and ship it halfway around the world so perimenopausal women can feel less hopelessly antiquated.  You mix it with boiling water, stir it into a vaguely barnyardy-smelling mud the consistency of poo,  allow it to cool down until it’s still way too hot, and smear it in your hair.  Then you put a plastic bag on your head and play computer games for an hour, after which you take the longest shower ever because it’s the very devil to try to get this crap out of your hair.  And in the morning you look like Little Orphan Annie after a heroin bender.  At least I do, because my hair is long-ish and curly and henna tends to roughen it a little.  I’m told not as badly as harsh chemical dyes, but still.  I go through a lot more conditioner these days.

What amazes me is that every six weeks or so TLR smears mud in my hair, observes me with a muddy grocery bag on my head for an hour, and still claims to find me interesting and lovable.

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