Heater, Mother of Lance

Because a Set of Highlights From a Certified Professional Costs $140

I used to date a guy who in a previous life was an unknown Greek philosopher. Although that may sound fascinating, and it was for 30 seconds, I’m here to testify that one rhetorical genius in a relationship is too many. He was very good at thinking, but had a very difficult time doing, especially when that doing involved maintaining gainful employment.

My husband, however, had to have been a saint in a previous life, one with the most gentle of dispositions, a heavenly peacemaker with a refined ability to endure tribulation. That’s the only way to explain why and how he puts up with my incessant screaming, tantrums, and inexplicable infatuation with Britney Spears.

My husband also smells really good, and he totally does the arm-behind-the-passenger-seat thing when he’s backing out of a parking space, and the hand-in-front-of-the-passenger thing when he comes to an abrupt stop. The rhetorical genius couldn’t even drive.

He’s also not afraid to participate in traditionally girly projects, like shopping for panties and bras at GAP Body by himself to surprise me for my birthday, and most recently, applying a permanent color fixative to my hair.

Now, here’s the thing. The thing is, we thought we were dying my hair brown. But we didn’t dye my hair brown, or at least we didn’t know we weren’t dying my hair brown. We thought we were dying it brown, the box said it would be brown, but it isn’t brown.

We dyed my hair red, and not a conventional red, or even a marginally acceptable traditional red. I think it’s a red that’s probably found in the septic tanks of hell, swirling around with evil poopy browns and hints of acidic piss. It’s a veritable dooce-aster.

And I’m trying to convince myself that this dye job is totally punk rock and that I can get away with it. If I were really punk rock it wouldn’t matter that my hair looks like — and I’m sorry to do this to you — someone’s used and discarded tampon. But my wonderful saintly husband assures me that it’s really not that bad, that it is in fact rather lovely and at least our kids don’t have to worry about inheriting this hair color.

And I really want to believe him. I want to feel it when I hear Pat Benatar�s “Invincible (Theme From The Legend Of Billie Jean),” like yeah, that’s me, I’m just as cute and ferocious as Helen Slater! I want to believe that perhaps I was Billie Jean in a previous life.

But I can’t help but pine for a younger, more innocent time when my hair was virginal and flaxen and worthy of the gifts of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

And who needs Iraq when you have my hair, a radioactive accident, a walking Chernobyl, a nuclear heavyweight refusing to cooperate with UN inspectors.

  • Shane

    2002/11/15 at 7:21 am

    If only there was Photoshop for hair.

  • dooce

    2002/11/15 at 7:24 am

    or at least an UNDO button, a ctrl-z if you will.

  • christine

    2002/11/15 at 7:26 am

    my dad dyes my mom’s hair. once, i caught them in the kitchen: she was sitting on a stool and he was standing above, bottle in one hand and comb in the other. it was the most ridiculously sweet thing i’d ever seen.

  • Cat

    2002/11/15 at 7:28 am

    Give it a day or two. For the first 24 hours, self-applied permanent hair dye always looks like it came from The Septic Tank of Hades, no matter what color you’ve done. It’ll calm down shortly.
    Did your husband do highlights, too? Now that’s a man. Cheers. Here’s to husbands that smell good and love you at the same time.

  • dobbinsh

    2002/11/15 at 7:41 am

    dooce, you have to own that hair color in the most unrepentant way. if you act like “hell yeah, i meant that” others will just fall in line. think about brintey and that big boa. she meant that. as crazy as it was she meant it.

  • darian

    2002/11/15 at 7:50 am

    You know..I used to work at Hair at Fred Segal ages ago..you could always get a toner from the beuty supply and tone the color down if it’s too red..

  • Jen

    2002/11/15 at 7:58 am

    If you wash it right away the colour (I’m Canadian and as far as i’m concerned I spelled that right) will fade. Keep washing it and it might not look so septic…

  • The Inmate

    2002/11/15 at 8:06 am

    I sympathize with your capillary plight, but I still can’t understand this female obsession with changing their hair color. I’ve never seen a woman whose natural hair color was truly repulsive. I mean, if you’re 50 and you’re getting gray hairs, well okay (I’m going to spare everyone my thoughts on growing old gracefully – God knows some women in my family haven’t). But if you’re young and you’ve got nice natural hair, why slather it with chemicals?

  • sakana

    2002/11/15 at 8:08 am

    wow. discarded tampon is possibly the most vivid description of a hair color that i’ve ever read. wow. and EW.

  • Kerry

    2002/11/15 at 8:18 am

    You make husbands sound so effin dreamy.

  • Naaman

    2002/11/15 at 8:24 am

    Give it a couple days, the color will tone down a bit — trust me, we (my wife and I) just went through this last week. And if it doesn’t, I agree with Dobbinsh: flaunt that shit!

  • meegan

    2002/11/15 at 8:27 am

    your hair could be green and that would be cool. but this infatuation with bratney spears has is really unacceptable, heh.

  • ismat

    2002/11/15 at 8:27 am

    Dooce, I’m telling you, it doesn’t matter what color your hair is, though I’m sure it’s gorgeous anyway, because you have a hot man who does the whole arm-behind-the-passenger-thing, which makes him invariably hotter. I’ve been saying it for months. Your life is complete.

  • Anonymous

    2002/11/15 at 8:28 am

    I agree, Dooce. You could always go goth for a couple of weeks. I am sure I’ve seen some goth chicks proudly sporting their Septic Tank Poopy Red do. Sickly pale, anyone?

  • Texas

    2002/11/15 at 8:33 am

    Red hair – any shade – rocks!

  • jennifer

    2002/11/15 at 8:33 am

    Dooce, if anyone can make septic tank poopy red all the rage, its you.

  • ryan

    2002/11/15 at 8:34 am

    Well it can’t be worse than albino white… can it?

  • the propagandist

    2002/11/15 at 8:43 am

    this is why there should be Pantone PMS colors for hair dye.

  • julia

    2002/11/15 at 8:49 am

    “…my hair looks like …someone’s used and discarded tampon…”


    “…my hair looks like …someone’s used and discarded tampon…”

    [stares at screen]

    “…my hair looks like …someone’s used and discarded tampon…”


    i can’t think of anything else.

  • gmike

    2002/11/15 at 8:52 am

    If you want to apply Pantone colors think about it in terms of a doublehit of red plus a satin varnish. Now you are becoming a print designers dream. I love it.

  • M.Kelley

    2002/11/15 at 9:05 am

    There might not be Pantone colors for hair, but my wife, a lovely hairdresser, and I got into a conversation about this as I showed her around Photoshop. She said something like, “we we do have something like that “. “Company X’s colors have a chart to make y and z colors.” And I found out that each company has their own combination. Interesting for photoshop nerds at least

  • poop

    2002/11/15 at 9:14 am

    mmmmm someone’s used and discarded tampon….

    my question is does chuck like it???

  • dennis

    2002/11/15 at 9:25 am

    There’s no way to say this in context, so… I LOVE shopping for bras and panties! 😎

  • Beerzieboy

    2002/11/15 at 9:29 am

    Re: “Septic Tank Poopy Red” I think the Crayola colors that used to be Burnt Sienna. (Even children’s stuff is ironic and post-modern these days.)

  • nicole

    2002/11/15 at 9:33 am

    dude, my hair is that color.


    try calling it ‘russet’ or ‘auburn’. you’ll feel better.

  • ex southern babtist

    2002/11/15 at 9:41 am

    Why did you die your hair? I think I can speak for all of us, we want to see a picture.

  • slim

    2002/11/15 at 9:45 am

    it worked, dooce. that *is* brown.

  • anna

    2002/11/15 at 10:19 am

    yeah right. that sucks.

    i did that once but with black. not ‘soft black’ or ‘reddish black’ but flat, pitch goth-girl black.

    i looked like i was someone ‘s slighlty batty grandmother with a really good face lift.

    but really, it does wash out a little after a few days. and yeah – i want a picture.

  • Anonymous

    2002/11/15 at 10:28 am

    Washing with dishwashing detergent post haste will tone that puppy right down.

  • Paul Gutman

    2002/11/15 at 10:33 am

    There’s an irony that Dooce has been calling people “Dirty” for a while, and now…well, her hair’s kinda dirty. Sorry there…

  • Ex-liontamer

    2002/11/15 at 11:12 am

    I’d say I am of the “no-so-girly-yet-not-too-manly”-man” variety. For instance, Mrs. Ex-liontamer and I recently deliberated over the hallway wall color for about 3 weeks. (The front-runner: Bare Branches by Martha Stewart). However, when it comes to Mrs. Ex-L’s hair color, make-up or, well, just about anything she’s wear, I leave it up to her.

  • The New Guy

    2002/11/15 at 11:25 am

    A picture, a picture – we want to see! (and no the squares ain’t enough)

  • kane

    2002/11/15 at 11:32 am

    All these wonderful & loving descriptions about Husband… Christmas must be around the corner. Speaking of Christmas, just glue a cotton-ball to your red hair and claim you are in the Christmas spirit.

  • Bastherself

    2002/11/15 at 12:34 pm

    I think one the sexiest things a man can do to a woman that’s not sexual, is to wash and brush her hair. Same with hair color. There’s just something so intimate about it.
    Oh, I have red hair, but I just got blond highlights in it. It looks so fantastic.
    But if you do try the highlights, I recommend professional help.
    And a pic of the tampon hair would be great.

  • Sumsumm

    2002/11/15 at 12:38 pm

    I can commiserate. I’m thinking my hair guy must have been doin’ shrooms the day I asked for “natural looking highlights”. Apparently he thought I was a cupcake or maybe a mini-wheat… all I know is that I ended up frosted.

  • kath

    2002/11/15 at 1:40 pm

    I just can’t imagine you non-blonde. We need pictures!!!!!!!!
    P.S. Dennis: 38C and size 7 please, I’ll reimburse.

  • megchem

    2002/11/15 at 2:13 pm

    1.jealous cuz you found a good smelling boy…i had one once but he got away
    2. My friend died her hair with one of those fading ones (it didn’t fade) and we decided her color was pumpkin. $160 to fix
    3.For a second this morning i felt like charlie’s angels…thanx

  • Ching

    2002/11/15 at 2:26 pm

    It looks ok to me.. But then again, I’ve never-ever died my hair.. I’m clueless when it comes to color! Hey, at least it’s not puke-green!

  • G4

    2002/11/15 at 3:29 pm

    Command-Z, not Ctrl-Z.

  • Coyote

    2002/11/15 at 3:33 pm

    Ohmygod! Dogs LOVE to chew on used discarded tampons. At all costs, keep your head away from Chuckles!!!

  • antisocial diva

    2002/11/15 at 3:43 pm

    i have had my hair various shades of red (accidental and not), but i don’t think i’ve ever come quite close to the used tampon look. something to strive for.

  • Vera

    2002/11/15 at 4:24 pm

    What’s wrong with used and discarded tampons? I collect them.

  • brittney

    2002/11/15 at 10:36 pm

    I never even knew I liked the arm-behind-the-passenger-seat thing until just now.

    Simultaneously I feel utterly single.

  • Shan

    2002/11/16 at 6:21 am

    Oh Dooce it’s fine. I had that color about a month ago. But I WANTED that color. I went into the salon with a picture and they mixed the color for me. Everyone loved it. Oh course at times I have a bit of a punk look … so maybe that’s why. But just go with it!

  • Romi

    2002/11/16 at 7:28 am

    thats just priceless 🙂

  • Lisa

    2002/11/16 at 8:04 am

    Let’s see a picture! We’ll be kind, I promise.

  • garage beautician

    2002/11/16 at 8:57 am

    as a natural blonde who spent many years as an unnatural brunette, i have often encountered this issue. all you gotta do is buy another box of a neutral brown (not chestnut, not reddish, somewhat ashy brown), and dye over it. people will tell you you’re gonna go bald for dying it over so quickly, but they are stupid, and i am right.

  • Suz

    2002/11/16 at 10:31 am

    Be happy it’s not brand-spankin’ new copper penny orange. I had a friend in high school who went to one of those hair shows and was too stupid to know that “dying” her hair blond meant stripping it of all natural color. So, when they “tried” to dye it back to her natural brown…OOPS, it didn’t work right and ended up a hideous copper orange color that made her look jaundiced….I say “dark red” is a much better oops.

  • blair

    2002/11/16 at 2:19 pm

    you should walk around with your tits hangin out. that should take the attention off your hair.

  • cicada

    2002/11/16 at 9:37 pm

    The base color for all brown hair is red, but I think that they overdo it in hair color. I’ve colored my hair a lot, and never been exactly happy with the browns I’ve gotten. Even the ashy colors are a bit too red for me — I like red hair, but not on *my* head. Wash your hair with Johnson’s Baby Shampoo — it’ll strip away some of the redness and tone down that color. But anyway, I’ll bet you still look great. Maybe Britney oughtta be thinking about you?

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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