I am not a high-maintenance kind of gal. The last time I wore make-up was when I was pregnant with our second son (who is now finishing up the first grade). My ears were pierced when I was younger, but they closed up after about a decade without any earrings. The only time I ever really dress up is when I go out on a date with my husband. Even then, it only takes me five minutes or so to get ready for our big night, and most of that time is spent looking for my lost dress shoes.
I have to admit that I am a little vain of my “lack of vanity.” After all, doesn’t that mean I’m spending my time on far more important things? Instead of being ashamed of my somewhat unadorned appearance, I can boast that my non-existent shoe addiction costs our family nothing, and I haven’t put any artificial anything on my face in over a decade.
It wasn’t until my husband invited me out for a date night that I realized just how vain I can be, unembellished as I am. Remember, date nights are really the only events during the year I regularly spruce up for. I even tried a brand-new conditioner for the occasion – a coconut-oil-based product that was advertised as “all natural,” “perfect for any hair style,” and was guaranteed to make my hair “vibrant and shiny.” Just what I needed for our big dinner out!
I took a shower th morning of our date and applied a generous goop of the stuff all over my hair. The directions never actually said to rinse it out, but I did anyway.
Well, let me rephrase that. I tried to rinse it out. Hmmm, that’s kind of sticky, I thought as I got out of the shower. By that time, the boys were screaming for a referee to oversee their ipad time and they all had research reports to work on. They had to get cracking on those so we could make it to the library before our homeschool PE class. In other words, it was a busy morning, and I didn’t have time to think about my hair or my big date coming up.
When it was time to leave the house with the boys, I decided I’d go ahead and brush my teeth (see, I still do some self-care). When I looked at myself in the mirror, my first question was, Why is my hair still wet when I washed it five hours ago? Then I touched it and realized that my hair wasn’t actually wet. At least, not with water.
Do you know what the primary product in my “all natural” new conditioner was? Petroleum jelly. Yes, I had just smothered a very generous goop (official word right there) of Vaseline all over my locks and tresses.
Did I mention I’ve got oily hair to start with?
I thought I’d brush it out and see if that helped, but it just slicked down the top of my head so I looked like a used-car salesman’s wife.
I tried washing my hair in the sink (we were already late by that point so there wasn’t time for a second shower). I didn’t bother drying it but just threw on my husband’s Green Bay Packers cap and went out.
Once we got home, I now had Vaseline hair mixed with hat head from wearing that cap for two hours. So I threw open the fridge to figure out what might help.
They’re emulsifying agents, right? And I was a chemistry TA in college, so I even knew the science behind it. Yes, this would definitely work.
I mixed the egg all through my hair (and even got a little in my eye, which I don’t recommend). I left it in to make sure it had time to work well, then I rinsed it in the sink in cool water. (I had read online that using hot water in a shower might make the egg proteins solidify, and I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of going on my first date in six months with scrambled egg hair.)
Unfortunately, the egg did very little to take out the coconut oil, so now my hair was still just as oily (I could run my fingers through my hair once or twice and come out with enough Vaseline to massage a baby). On top of that, it smelled like egg.
Now, at this point I had three options. I could cancel our date (which was stupid because we had lined up our babysitter two weeks in advance and had been looking forward to this night for a while). And remember, I’ve got a low-maintenance reputation to keep up. What would it say about me if I stood up my husband for something as shallow as a bad hair day (tragically epic as it was)?
My second option was to wear a wig, but the only wig I own is a Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy wig from a few years ago when my three boys and I wore matching-themed costumes as the Oz characters. I did consider shaving my head, but mosquito season is coming, so that choice was definitely out.
Lastly, I could go as I was. Which I did, grease hair and all. By the time I had finished washing my hair for the fourth time in vain, I was running late (are you noticing a trend?), so I went out for sushi with my husband wearing sweats and a sweatshirt. (At least my headband matched.)
And guess what? We had a fabulous time. We talked politics (a favorite with my husband) and novels (a favorite with me), and we stuffed ourselves silly with sushi rolls and teriyaki. My husband never once commented about the way my hair looked (or smelled), and he didn’t raise an eyebrow when I met him in sweats. I guess that’s the benefit of being married to such a wonderful guy. And if I ever start to get smug about my “lack of vanity,” I’ll just remember the coconut oil fiasco.