Daring

Daring by Ex Dutch

It is time to do something daring today! Gosh, I have always been so conservative. In fact, what I want to do today probably does not rank as daring for most women, but it does for me. Ever since I was a little girl, I have had the same haircut: plain, simple and (more or less) shoulder length. It has always looked good, I think. And well taken care of. It is thick, shiny and deep dark blonde. But now that I am about to turn 25, I want to do something wild and daring. My friend Vanessa has been telling me for years I need to get wild with my hair. So maybe now is the time.

Vanessa set me up with her favorite stylist. She works at this great downtown salon. I enter a bit early for my appointment. The salon is in a frenzy. People are getting cuts and colors everywhere. There is a group of girls getting updos, some women getting their ends trimmed and their roots redone. To my left a girl is getting the finishing touches put on a light red style with broad highlighted streaks. It looks cool, very cool. I am a little nervous, but still able to enjoy all the activity around me. The girl from the front desk approaches. “Nikki can see you now.” She leads me to a station. Nikki is a very striking girl: she has some of the shortest hair I have ever seen on a woman. And it is all the whitest blonde, and sticking out in all directions. She looks like I will be a changed woman soon!

She asks me what I want, I tell her Vanessa referred me, and that I want a big change. I want to look edgy, and that’s about all I know. “Hey, you are the expert. Just do whatever you want to do.” My heart started racing as I said this. I had rehearsed that line a million times, but I still cannot believe I actually got it out! Nikki looks at me pensively. “Do you have any no-no’s?” She is running her hands through my hair, looking at, I presume, the shapes of my head and face, and the way my hair grows. All things that do not really matter with my current hair style. “No, I tell her. You have complete control. Do what you think would be the coolest!” Nikki is obviously getting excited about this creative mandate. She is determined to have fun and do her best on me.

She sends me to the shampoo bowls and I get the best scalp massage I have ever had. This is the kind of place that reminds you why you tip the shampoo technician. Nikki drapes a cape around my shoulders and starts combing my wet hair. Then she starts cutting. In a matter of seconds, my hair is drastically shortened. First a bob appears, which frees up my neckline. Then she starts shortening it even further. My ears are still covered, but no longer hidden. The way she cuts it, it is longer on top than on the sides and in the back. Then she is done cutting. She leaves to get the color. She comes back with an arm full of implements and bowls. She put what I know are highlight foils in my hair. Just a dozen or so. Then she starts working chemicals into the rest. It just looks like a black paste. Once all the chemicals are in we let it set for the longest time. Finally she rinses it out. When she returns me to her station I cannot believe my eyes. It looks like she dyed it all black, but the highlighted parts are white. I am starting to doubt the results. The colors I saw are what they turned out to be. As she dries my hair I see how the white streaks are, well white. I am getting a little uncomfortable. It is a skunk look. Not what I wanted. Nikki senses my discomfort, and puts my fears to rest, somewhat, “Hang on, it is not done yet! More to come!”

After drying my hair, she resections it off, isolating the white streaks, and some black sections. She puts them in highlighting foil again and starts applying another chemical. This time, it looks red. It takes a lot less time to set, and soon she is rinsing again. This time I am resolved to reserve my judgment until she is done.

I was right on the red. My white streaks are now a deep red. Ferrari red, I would say. As she dries my hair, three colors appear. The black is still very black. The former white sections are a deep red, very bright. The third color is where the red was applied to the black. Here the red is a lot more subtle, but still very visible. I look at myself in the mirror. Nikki is waiting intently for my response. I move my head. The cut is very dramatic. As is the color. I like it. A smile lights up my face, and Nikki knows she did a great job. This is different! And I love it!

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