I dream of Betty Draper,
and Jeannie, and Samantha from Bewitched.
I run my fingers through my dark brown hair,
transfixed by images
where ladies with far more melanin even than I
become blonde. James Blonde.
Of course it will look inauthentic,
but perchance it will look Britney-fake circa 2003
and become the new me.
For I am bored.
Having peaked as a brunette
I have nothing more to give to that profession
(to being the girl who gentlemen marry)
besides this confession:
that I want to have fun
and I want to be preferred.
“I’d like my hair to be more blonde this time,”
I tell my stylist.
“Well then lighter at least. Maybe work up to blonde?”
Already I am caving under her gaze,
letting the dream slip through my fingers.
She says: “We can’t lighten your hair more than two shades
because you have dark roots
and because you are growing out your hair.”
“But I see people in real life
and in magazines
with dark roots and blonde hair.
What are they having done?”
My stylist smiles benignly and whips up some hair dye
while I look surreptitiously, sadly, incredulously
at the photographs I brought in
featuring blonde brunettes.
She has won a great victory.
“Okay, so what we’ve done today
is we’ve lightened your ends
but left your root colour dark,” she says when she is finished.
This way, your hair looks like
you had subtle highlights put in months ago
and they grew out already.”
I look in the mirror
and wonder why anyone would want to look
like they need to visit the hair stylist
after just visiting the hair stylist.
Or worse: to pay to look exactly as you already do.
“No cut today,” my stylist says.
“Just colour. That will be $200.”
And I know that I have wasted my money,
that I have not been heard.
For the time being, I let go of the dream,
let go of the housewife,
the genie, and the witch,
and focus on how I am the dupe of the beauty industry,
of consumerism and Hollywood.
Or does it go deeper
and simultaneously simpler than that?
My desire to experience the existence of someone different
inside my very person
while secretly maintaining my true identity,
my wish to be mistaken for another —
possibly to be another:
where does it come from?
And can it be fulfilled
without the use of bleach?