Yeah, so, spoiler alert: I don’t really have red hair.
I mean, it’s not natural. I think it’s pretty obviously that my red is paid for, but you’d be surprised how many times people think I naturally have red hair.
The truth is, I was blond back in the day. See?
I had long, blond hair. I had Jessica Simpson hair before there was Jessica Simpson. But I remember seeing the Belinda Carlisle video for “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” in 1987 and just falling in love with her red hair.
I wanted red hair so bad. I was really shy in high school (hard to believe, right?), and I thought red hair would help me stand out. For some reason I thought red hair was a ticket to a “whole new me;” a me that wouldn’t get made fun of and would be acknowledged in a positive way. I wouldn’t be the same girl who was teased so mercilessly on the bus in 7th grade that she cut her last class of the day just so she could take the earlier bus. I wouldn’t be the same girl who left high school dances crying because she couldn’t get a boy to dance with her. Nope, red-haired Sonia would be super cool, super fun, super popular.
Unfortunately, I was 16 at the time, and The Man said I couldn’t dye my hair until I was 18. I think I was 19 when I finally worked up the courage to actually go through with it and dye my hair red. Long-time good buddy Amanda helped me, and I’ve been a red head ever since. Red hair was/is a bold statement, and at 19 I wasn’t a bold person. I think I became a bold person, and maybe the red hair helped me on my journey. I’m certainly a bold person now, if by “bold” you mean “I drive a Honda Civic, and I cry when I watch ‘So You Think You Can Dance’.”
And now, at 41, I’ve spent more time as a red head than I ever did as a blonde. But how long can I pull it off?
I think about this every time I go to the hairdresser. I can’t stay red forever. At some point, it’s going to get weird, right? Do I really want to look like Mona from “Who’s the Boss?” Of course, Mona was pretty awesome …
I don’t know what the answer is here. Is there a cutoff age for red hair? Should I transition to gray? Maybe add a gray streak a la Rogue from “X-Men” or Lily Munster?
Maybe I will add a gray streak when I’m 50 or 55 … Is that a fair compromise?