Heater, Mother of Lance

Featured community question with accompanying First World nonsense

Today’s featured question comes from user KA:

Now, I realize that this is a bit awkward and tacky, writing about my hair just days after a tragedy that has crippled so many lives and puts such trivial nonsense into glaring perspective. It is just my hair. I have my hair. I have my life. The end.

There is not much else I can do other than donate money and point myself and others in the direction of a couple of places where we can help, so before I talk about my hair I’d love for you to take a look at these stories:

1. Go here and read. A huge number of orphans have been cleared to leave Haiti. They just need a plane to get out.

2. Reader Brianne Sheppard who works with a team of firefighters, nurses and correctional officers stationed in Kamloops, BC Canada wrote to tell me that they were all originally scheduled to go to Haiti on January 23rd. Currently they are stuck in NYC because Delta has has cancelled all flights to Port Au Prince until further notice. They’ve got toys, medicine and over $20,000 in aid, but they have no way of getting to Haiti. She’s hoping that if I post her plea perhaps another government organization will be able to let them on their flight. You can contact her at Brianne.Sheppard@gov.bc.ca if you have any ideas or contacts.

Okay. So. Let’s distract ourselves for a moment with something totally silly and inconsequential while we sit in our heated, stable buildings and whine about that $.99 iPhone app that stopped working.

I’ve got a ton of gray hair. In fact, I believe that if I didn’t actively color my hair my head would be mostly white. It happened to my Granny, it happened to my mom, and what do you know. They both had fabulous, curvy figures, BUT DID I INHERIT THAT?


I have hair. Many people don’t. Moving along.

My hair is pretty much the one indulgence that I refuse to give up. I can go without food, I can wear the same t-shirt for a month straight, and if I had to I’d be okay living in my mom’s basement, although I PROMISE I WON’T TOUCH THE BOLOGNA, ROB.

It’s my hobby, my hair. I mess with it all the time. In fact, I chronicled a year of messing with it here. I may have a problem, in fact, because I can’t stop messing with it. And recently I had my stylist take me from brown back to blonde because the gray was growing in faster than I could disguise it. And Leta would say, “You’ve got something right there in your hair, mom.” And I’d say, “Yes, Leta. It’s called AGE.”

Earlier this week I asked my stylist to cut it all off and lift the color of the back of my head. For a few months I’ve had it pretty short, the top a striking blonde, the back my natural dark brown. And when I wake up in the morning after a night of violent trademark Hamilton thrashing and kicking around, I look like an eight-year-old boy who is about to fall asleep face-first into his bowl of Kix.

While waiting for my stylist to mix the color I tweeted this:

Now, I find Twitter to be a really fascinating experience, because a lot of people who follow me have no earthly idea who I am. I get responses like, “You have kids?” Or, “What is the name of your son?” Once I got one that said, “R U woman?”

And often people do not get it when I’m joking around. About a year ago I tweeted something like, “Turns out you’re going to be really disappointed if you thought you were going to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Bratt.” And for several days after that I got hundreds of responses like, “Why didn’t you like it?” and “But I thought it was the best movie of the year!” and “You’re a movie snob!”

Sigh. No, make that a triple sigh. Because there I was reading the responses on my phone, and I started to yell BENJAMIN BRATT! BENJAMIN BRATT! HAVE NONE OF YOU SEEN AN EPISODE OF LAW AND ORDER?!

Except, of course, I was alone and no one could hear me. Next time I check into the psyche ward they are going to write HAS A CASE OF THE TWITTERS on my chart.

Anyway, the back of my head was not in the mood to cooperate, and after they washed the color out of my hair it was apparent that something was wrong. Horribly wrong. And then I tweeted this:

Because instead of turning a soft brown or dark blonde, the back of my head was bright, neon orange. Sizzling. Electric. Or as my stylist put it, “I totally screwed up your hair.”

I immediately re-read my tweet and thought that my wording could be interpreted in an entirely different way than I had intended, and so as they debated over whether or not to chop off my head I tweeted this:

You can only imagine the responses, most of them to the tune of, “Why would your stylist stick an orange on the back of your head?” and “R U OKAY??” And then other people were like, “Dude! Dooce is going MAYTAG on her stylist!”

Let me just say that my stylist is one of my favorite people in the world. I have referred her to everyone I know because she is excellent at what she does. She’s a master when it comes to color, and so I do not blame her for what happened. I blame my hair that was given to me by my Scottish ancestors. It’s Scotland’s fault.

(Uh oh, I’ve just upset Scotland. It’s going to be a long night.)

Because a couple of swooshes here and brushes there, another wash and rinse and…

And since I didn’t want to leave people hanging I tried to clear things up:

And this is where things stand. For now. Until I decide in two months to have twelve-inch pink extensions glued to my head:

  • Penelope

    2010/01/15 at 10:56 am

    I want to see the orange hair pictures, too. 🙂

  • Daddy Scratches

    2010/01/15 at 10:57 am

    Wait, so you *didn’t* have an actual orange lodged in the back of your head?

    I’m pretty sure that World War III will commence at some point because of a misunderstood tweet.

  • kimjay_everyday

    2010/01/15 at 10:59 am

    Well, you certainly got their BEAUTY genes. Love it! And, I’m so jealous of your ability to wear it short. I would look like a matchstick if I cut it. Grrr.

  • the niffer

    2010/01/15 at 11:02 am

    Love it! (the post and the hair)

  • Twinma

    2010/01/15 at 11:03 am

    Wow, you look like you should be selling Avon.

    No, seriously, I only wish I had the facial features to pull this off. You stole my jawline because it’s missing.

  • TexNtheCity

    2010/01/15 at 11:06 am

    You look incredibly elegant! This ‘do should definitely balance out that t-shirt you’ve worn for the past month 😉

  • amyeburgess

    2010/01/15 at 11:13 am

    It looks like Ginny’s blog about the BRESMA Orphanage in Haiti is temporarily down due to an abundance of traffic, but THANK YOU from the Steel City for all of you who were able to get through and help spread the word about the plane needed to evacuate these amazing Pittsburgh girls and the kids they refuse to leave behind.

  • Leball

    2010/01/15 at 11:14 am

    You’re hair looks FABULOUS! And I’m so happy you smiled! I wish I had the balls to go that short. I’m addicted to screwing or not screwing with my long hair…

    And I have to say, you are so white! You should be a part of the Cullen family. 🙂

  • Jennyville

    2010/01/15 at 11:15 am

    Not many people can carry off that short hair, but it really does look cute on you.

  • wordsbecomeone

    2010/01/15 at 11:18 am

    I have to say when you cut your hair to look like an adorable pixie Tinkerbell-type (your most recent before this) it was my absolute favorite and suited you perfectly. This is just slightly too short, but it still looks very nice.

    Oh and you’re doing a terrific job with your make-up.

  • agirl

    2010/01/15 at 11:18 am

    Fab haircut. Gorgeous (eventual) colour.

    And I was DYING of laughter at your tweets. I was sure there would be wonderfully hilarious misinterpretations. Gotta love twitter…

  • heffernhyphen@sbcglobal.net

    2010/01/15 at 11:19 am

    Damn girl, your neck is longer than my leg.

  • mileena

    2010/01/15 at 11:24 am

    very cute!

    and that first link is down, so i am hoping they’ve found a way to get the orphans out?

  • Becky Cochrane

    2010/01/15 at 11:24 am

    You and your hair look beautiful. When catastrophic things happen (Haiti, not your hair!), it’s even more important to find ways to laugh and celebrate. Thank you for always delivering. =)

  • Lisa - Crazy Adventures in Parenting

    2010/01/15 at 11:24 am

    Thank you THANK YOU for posting about the Bresma orphanage to further help them by getting the word out. You are one class act, lady.

  • rwmorey71

    2010/01/15 at 11:27 am

    Agent Charles looks more like “Pimp” Charles..

  • GrandRGrand

    2010/01/15 at 11:29 am

    You look beautiful! You know, women from all over will now be running to their stylist saying “I want the Dooce Cut please!”

  • Lauren3

    2010/01/15 at 11:36 am

    Dude, woman… CHILL.

    You are allowed to write about having hair… you are even allowed to write about doting over said hair!

    That’s why we come here… because the seemingly “mundane,” as described by you, is charming and entertaining! Hello… Seinfeld!

    The world has to keep moving along, bloggers have to keep blogging. Talk about hair, farts, and everything in between– even during times of utter tragedy, and even while people are walking around without hair– is going to keep happening, as it should.

    Millions of us are thinking along with you about everybody in Haiti, our hearts aching for them, doing what we can, wishing we could do more, and that is human. But so is what you’re doing! Feeling guilty about going on with your life, however, is futile.

    There is nothing “awkward” or “tacky” about going about being Heather. We know that even though you keep doing your thing, you have a big heart and care about what’s going on in the world.

    Much love!

  • katliz

    2010/01/15 at 11:36 am

    I absolutely love the cut. I’ve had short hair for most of my adult life, then spent 2 years growing it out for my wedding. The day after the wedding, a Sunday, I paid my stylist to come to my house and cut my hair short again before we left on our honeymoon. I’ve gone shorter twice since.

    btw – I had a pitcure of Katey from your site to show my stylist. Pixies rock.

  • naysway

    2010/01/15 at 11:38 am

    Now go and get you some chandelier or really big, ghetto-like, Jenny-From-The-Block hoop earrings, and you’ll be extra piddy!

  • frost

    2010/01/15 at 11:43 am

    You look gorgeous!

  • yay4tay

    2010/01/15 at 11:44 am

    If your interested in giving your stylist a huge plug on your site, I live in SLC and really need help with my hair right now. I’d love to know who your stylist is.

  • badjuju77

    2010/01/15 at 11:53 am

    I love your hair it is SO cute, even cuter than the last cut. And I too am addicted to cutting my hair shorter and shorter. When I had it about an inch long in a pixie cut, I knew I had to stop before I looked like Demi Moore in GI Jane.
    I am now passing this addiction onto my 3 and half year old daughter. She LOVES getting haircuts. I’ve created a monster:)

  • SerenityNOW

    2010/01/15 at 11:53 am

    I love it! Not many people can pull off the short-do but it totally works on you.
    I’m 29 and have more than a couple gray hairs creeping in slowly. And my hair is DARK. Not cute at all.
    And I have to giggle that people really thought there was some kind of orange accident.
    “It was a run by fruiting! Oh, I saw it”

  • Roo8382

    2010/01/15 at 12:02 pm

    It’s so great! I love the cut and color. I, too, have short hair and it’s addicting. I also have tons of gray (hi, I’m 27) and resolve to never see my real hair color again. Right now, the back is dark brown, the front is fire engine red and copper. Check out my profile pic on the community if you want to see the crazy colors. You look wonderful!

  • PicklePetunia

    2010/01/15 at 12:04 pm

    LOVE IT !!!
    You look gorgeous.

  • sunnyhello

    2010/01/15 at 12:10 pm

    Very Annie Lennox. Well done.

  • dianaparkhouse

    2010/01/15 at 12:12 pm

    Looks lovely!
    and, I hear you on the grey.
    and, that’s a lovely sweater!
    and, your make-up is lovely 🙂
    and, um, I’ll go away now.

  • sczos

    2010/01/15 at 12:13 pm

    it is soooooooooooo cute. i adore short hair on you. i am gathering the balls to cut my hair short. and seeing your pictures certainly are pushing me to do so.

    and to be honest – i come here to escape and laugh with you. i am so glad you posted about this. you make me laugh and your girls make me smile. and jon – he’s undescribable.

    thanks for keepin’ it real, yo.

  • jen.yaya

    2010/01/15 at 12:14 pm

    i used to keep my hair super short. i, too, have the same addiction to changing my hair. unfortunately my current “change” other than continuing to dye my hair a deep brown, is growing it out. that’s not much fun, so it’s nice to be able to live vicariously this way.

    that said, THANK YOU for the warning about the scottish genes.

  • Tricia

    2010/01/15 at 12:20 pm

    It looks so pretty! I’m envious– I’ve tried short hair, but I’m one of those people who morphs from Alyssa Milano to Chaz Bono as soon as my hair swings above my shoulders. 🙁

  • PrairieFlower

    2010/01/15 at 12:23 pm

    I’ve always loved your hair, and this new ‘do is no exception! You look fantastic!

    I’ve had the stylist say “oh my god, I’ve turned your hair orange” on a couple occasions. But thankfully, it’s always been something that can be fixed. With minimal tears and blood.

  • Mers

    2010/01/15 at 12:26 pm

    Coupled with the silver thread in your sweater, you look kind of like you walked out of the 80s – in a good way. 🙂 Cute do.

  • CynL

    2010/01/15 at 12:29 pm

    Great cut. I am a girl who has never cut her hair shorter than shoulder length since I was old enough to go to the salon by myself! My mom kept my hair in a modified pixie my whole childhood because it knotted so badly. After being mistaken for a boy one time to many I decided it needed to be long, knots be damned. Now, lo and behold, I find myself bald after months of chemo to fight my bloody breast cancer. So, I am taking this picture into my salon as soon as I have hair long enough to trim!

    Thanks for the good laughs, too, Heather. I’ll make sure my stylist doesn’t have a fruit bowl nearby. 🙂

  • Jacquie

    2010/01/15 at 12:37 pm

    Yowzerks, that is short! I’ve always secretly dreamed of cutting my hair super short, but I think I’d just look like a little fat boy. I don’t know why, I’m neither fat nor male. But all that neck exposure just scares me, and my hair has never once done what was asked of it so what would I do with myself while I waited years and years for it to grow out?

    What? Oh. This is about YOU. Okay, you look great, and I think pink extensions would actually look pretty awesome. I double dog dare you.

  • dominiquewynand

    2010/01/15 at 1:03 pm


  • dkmissie

    2010/01/15 at 12:40 pm

    Love the new do.

  • bcislandgal

    2010/01/15 at 12:41 pm

    Curvy figures are over-rated. Trust me! Looks like your link to the orphans is down. I pray they get the help they need. Thanks, as always, for the laugh!

  • Mrs. Q.

    2010/01/15 at 12:45 pm

    You rock short hair. I wore that cut for years and felt fab… until my stylist dyed my hair orange. I was nine months pregnant and wearing a coral sweatsuit, so I was instantly transformed… into a butternut squash. Only problem with the pixie cut is I had to dress up and wear earrings and try to be purdy. If I left the house wearing sweats, I felt like my high school gym teacher.

  • lisarobb

    2010/01/15 at 12:49 pm

    Doooooode! You look like your MOM!

  • anjuli31

    2010/01/15 at 1:08 pm

    i love your short hair! i have been chopping my hair shorter and shorter in the past year (so far the shortest has been chin-length) and i would actually love to try something (almost) as short as yours! you are always poking fun at your chin, but frankly i think my chin is too small to pull off that haircut, so i’m a little jealous of your chin. there, i said it! has anyone ever told you that before?

  • reelmomof4

    2010/01/15 at 1:20 pm

    For what it is worth I love the hair do. Hopefully you got the orange out ok 😉

  • Woman Tribune

    2010/01/15 at 1:22 pm

    Whenever I get my hair cut, once every two and a half years or so, I always say I’m going to get it cut super short and then I end up with it at my shoulders or just under my chin. I’ve always wanted to go super short and maybe some day I will. I grow my hair out repeatedly for the sole purpose of donating to Locks of Love. I’ve donated every two years or so, 15 inches or more at a time and have been blessed with hair that grows extremely fast, so I’m sure if I really hated my hair so short I’d just have to wait a week and it’d be back down to my shoulders.

  • EvaZeva

    2010/01/15 at 1:23 pm

    I love it! I have the same cut, only my hair’s darker. Makes my mornings EASY!

  • Soapourri

    2010/01/15 at 1:35 pm

    Mmm, Benjamin Bratt – now seen on TV’s Modern Family!!! What a brilliant piece of casting!

  • Wombat Central

    2010/01/15 at 1:35 pm

    I don’t do the tweet thing (I’m so 2000 and LATE), so it was fun to read some of those on this post. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but it’s so nice to see someone else who has a highish hairline. I have forehead for three counties.
    Must. Have. Bangs.
    Love your new ‘do. UR doin’ it rite. 😉

  • reneewvu

    2010/01/15 at 1:35 pm

    Grow out your bangs and you’ll have “the Kate” haircut!

  • amysev

    2010/01/15 at 2:06 pm

    I was totally expecting the second photo to have an orange photoshopped into the back of your head . . . as cute as the hair is, I was a bit disappointed. Does that make me weird? Don’t answer that.

  • DaySleeper

    2010/01/15 at 2:17 pm

    super cute! i really did picture an orange stuck in the back of your head. did not get it. got it today. 🙂

  • Chloe

    2010/01/15 at 2:20 pm

    Going MAYTAG – I love that. When I have a “situation” at the hair place that is not of my doing, I become what I call the Hair Bitch. Rarely happens but has.

    The orange hair happened to my daughter at a stylist I used for years – not necessarily her fault and I loved the color – it was more of a soft melon.

    I saw someone at a meeting a few months ago who actually had the Kate G. haircut (sans extensions which are a joke). It was smooth in the front and looked like an unmade bed in the back.

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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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