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Rheta Grimsley Johnson: Columnist without a 'do'

 

Rheta Grimsley Johnson

 

My hair stylist, Joyce, is at the beach on holiday, and I want to stick my head in the sand. I should have made an appointment last week. 

 

Why is hair at its best one day, then at its worst the very next? Our heads should come equipped with something akin to a car's oil dipstick so we'd know when we're running out of vital fluid: hair color. 

 

It is moments like this when I remember what a stylist in Paris (yes, France, darn it, not Tennessee!) said to me when I told her I wanted only a cut, please, not color. At the time I had decided I was embracing my gray. Color was too much trouble, especially if you're on the road a lot. And I am. 

 

"No, no, no!" the chic stylist dressed all in black said in that wonderful dramatic way the French have. "You have plenty of time to be gray later." Except she said "lay-tuh," and suddenly getting a dye job sounded like a reprieve from Heaven. 

 

That was the only cut and color I ever bought in France. It was terrific, but, face it, nobody of normal means can fly to Paris every time she needs a new look -- or her old look back. Angelina Jolie, perhaps, but not moi. 

 

Back here on Earth I forget to make appointments and go from Zero to Ninety on the need scale in a day. Then I'm trapped in a horrid look that could best be compared to old World Book illustrations of the layers of the Earth: crust, mantle and core. Black, gray, red. Not a becoming color scheme on a woman's head. 

 

So I do what I do every time I'm in a fix like this. I look at comforting Internet garbage that has headlines like this: "Celebrities Without Their Makeup!" "Celebrities Who Should Have Avoided Plastic Surgery!" "Jennifer Aniston's Unexpected Haircut!" "Stars Who Have Not Aged Well!"  

 

You find them right next to headlines like "Kardashians Invade Hamptons" and "Kendra Betrayed." You know, the hard news. 

 

I feel better instantly. Well, not instantly, because it takes a while for those photos to download, but quickly enough. If Goldie Hawn really looks like that without makeup, I'm in great shape. If Gwyneth Paltrow has no eyebrows, who needs 'em? 

 

I know what Dolly Parton said. There is no such thing as natural beauty. Except when you're young. 

 

In my 20s and 30s, I got my hair cut by my mother-in-law about twice a year. I remembered makeup only on Saturday night. I ate and drank what I wanted and still knew my size. 

 

A New Orleans wag recently noted that she used to be a pert 34-B, but now she's a 38 Long. Gravity wins every contest. 

 

My grandmother Lucille, another country philosopher, once said, "Beauty sags just like ugly." She didn't believe in makeup or pedal pushers, but I couldn't help note she kept a weekly beauty parlor appointment. She wasn't stupid. 

 

Hair is a woman's crowning glory. That's biblical. 

 

But until Joyce returns from holiday, I'll be hiding my Neapolitan glory under a bushel. 

 

 

 

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