I turned 25 last month, and since then I’ve realized that I’ve been blessed with three new things: a perpetual hangover, a gynecologist that’s obsessed with the longevity of my eggs, and a burning desire to do something new to my hair. Given that the first two are grim realities about my mortal being, I’ve become fixated on my hair. I’m well aware that hair is dead strands of protein oozing out of holes on top of the place where my squishy brain lives, but I’m also aware that balayage is super cute and I could totes pull it off.
I’ve thought about incorporating some blonde in my hair every now and again since high school, usually whenever Mercury is in retrograde. I had the resources to do it in college but I hesitated, primarily because every basic girl who loved Starbucks and frat parties and had a MacBook and HPV had the same hairstyle. And I was different goddamnit, so I abstained from the hair (but not the frats, because like, come on).
Something shifted in me on April 9th. I woke up, newly 25 years old, and started getting ready for work, looking at myself in the mirror while brushing my teeth. My hair swung side to side just a little bit as I kept brushing, and I groggily watched it, half asleep. The bags under my eyes stretched just a tad as my cheeks moved. I was hit with an epiphany.
That there is a WOMAN. SHE’S GOT HER JOB. SHE’S GOT HER DOG. SHE VOTES. SHE HELPS HER FOLKS WITH RENT. SHE’S GOT A MAN. SHE’S GOT A 2008 TOYOTA 4RUNNER. SHE’S GONNA BE THIRTY IN LIKE, THE BLINK OF AN EYE. WHEN IS SHE HAVING KIDS? IS SHE READY TO GET MARRIED? IS SHE EVEN READY TO THINK ABOUT GETTING MARRIED? I MEAN FOR ALL SHE KNOWS WE COULD ALL EXPLODE TOMORROW. ALSO APPARENTLY YOU CAN DIE FROM LETTUCE SO THAT’S NICE.
SHE!!! DESERVES!!! HAIR!!!
Armed with confidence and existential dread, I began searching for hair salons on Yelp, keeping a mental list of places I liked and places that made people’s hair fall out. I settled on a trendy place in Koreatown and called their phone, like a fucking adult. We talked about their available times and my own available times because I’m a working woman with a jorb. I brought my iPhone close to my face, soaking in the beauty of my phone calendar being synced with my work calendar and how I had blue slots for meetings and purple slots the gym because I am THE MASTER OF MY OWN DESTINY.
Turns out being the master of my own destiny ended up costing like over $400 BUT THAT’S FINE.
I spent six hours in the salon chair while two beautiful people toiled over my hair, brushing it and washing it and dyeing it and toning it and pulling it and washing it again.
Once we were done I put my glasses on and looked in the mirror. I had ten different thoughts at once:
- Wow, that is a lot blonder than I thought it would be
- Ellie Guzman you dumb bitch I can not believe you actually went through with this
- REGRET IS FOR THE WEAK
- You know this actually looks nice
- Wow if I was a dude I would totally nail me
- Should I be concerned if my neck and shoulders are numb
- I’m gonna have to tip these two a lot aren’t I
- I look like that one girl from freshman year who didn’t know you could get STDs from blowies until she ended up getting chlamydia, God, what was her name? Rebecca?
- I really can’t believe I did this
- I wonder if Rebecca ever got into medical school
I thanked the hairstylists profusely, paid, and quickly escaped before they could try to sell me $50 shampoo. I posted my hair on Instagram and held out my hands while standing in the middle of the street as the comments poured in, nourishing me and validating the fleeting time I have on this earth. A homeless man shouted at me across the street that he wanted to suck my toe. I looked at my reflection in a 7/11 store window and thought that I’d wanna suck my toe too. Just not the extra one.
A friend and I went out dancing later that night and I used every ounce of my energy flipping my hair, tossing it, and generally throwing it in the face of everyone in the club. Occasionally a girl drunker than I was would shout “I love your hair!” and I’d casually go “oh thiiiissss????? Thanks I just got it done today haha” while storing the compliment nugget away for a bloaty day.
I woke up with a level 3 hangover the next day, regretting everything and cursing my mortal form. I crawled to the kitchen and took my vitamins and birth control, timebomb eggs be damned. I made a cup of tea and snuggled up with my dog to watch Dateline. My 25 year old flesh vessel rested.
I’m officially a quarter of a century old, and I’m terrified of eggs and babies and wedding seating arrangements, and I can’t stop thinking about the future and my mortality, but you know what? My hair’s fucking cute.