Tuesday, June 13, 2006

In Dire Need of a Dyer.

Recently, I had the opportunity to dye my mother's hair.

She was to attend a large regional conference for an international parenting organization. It was only natural (well, technically, unnatural) that she would want someone to fix her roots. I volunteered to help. I did a very good job, and did not stain my clothes, or hers. Her hair came out all one color.

As I pulled out the instructions and started to prepare the dye, though, I remembered the only other time that I have ever participated in the hair coloring process.

One time Lavish and I "accidentally" dyed our other sister's hair jet black.

As the black sheep of family, Three had started looking for trouble. She found a group of "friends" that had questionable reputations. She started spending time with them. And she decided that she wanted a particular shade of reddish hair that a bunch of them had. We objected.

One day, I was leaving for the gym and Three asked if she could come with me. Not to go to the gym, but to go shopping at the stores nearby. For what? Oh, just makeup. Fine. I happily included her in my gym trip. I discovered later that the real reason Three wanted to come was because she wanted to buy the forbidden red hair dye. Nobody would drive her to get it.

That really bothered me. I didn't want to help her assimilate into the group of troublemakers. Had I known that she was planning on buying hair dye, I would not have taken her. It was too late, though. She'd already bought it.

So Three started asking everyone to dye her hair. Everyone at home, anyway. She was impatient, and so desperate that she even asked my Dad to do it for her. He wouldn't do it either.

Then I got an idea. I whispered to Lavish: "What if we dyed it and it didn't come out red?"

It was ingenious. "I can't believe I didn't think of that first," she whispered back. Lavish volunteered. She offered to dye Three's hair at three pm sharp, the following afternoon.

Lavish and I got out of school slightly earlier than Three, and we quickly drove to the drugstore to buy hair dye. Black, we decided. We splurged and bought the temporary kind that would wash out in 3 to 5 washes. It was more expensive than permanent hair dye, but since the whole thing was a joke, it didn't seem right to dye it permanently. Besides, her hair is naturally light brown (kind of close to my hair color), so black wasn't really an ideal color for her.

Around that time, a big family joke was that Lavish would have characters that she would pretend to do sometimes. For example, in the kitchen sometimes she would pretend she was on a cooking show. She would make up a fake accent and develop a funny character. Lavish announced that she was Jasmine ("Yas-meen"), and pretended that Three was coming to a fancy salon. We asked Three for her red dye, "to set up".

Oh, and did we ever set it up. We locked the bathroom door, and I poured the red dye into something else. I washed out the container really well, and replaced the red dye with our new black dye. We put up the instructions for the red dye and hid the actual red dye and the rest of the black dye kit.

Three came in, and the show began. Did she want a test strip? The instructions said that people should test a small, hidden lock of hair first to be sure that they're not allergic to the dye. And that the color comes out right. How long would it take? No, she definitely didn't want to wait that long.

So we pretended to follow the instructions that we'd posted, for the red dye, and began to dye Three's hair. It was coming out really dark. (It was supposed to!)

"It's coming out really dark," we told her, sounding slightly concerned.

"Oh, it does that. It gets lighter when you wash the dye out."

"Uh. It's really dark, though," we told her. She reassured us some more.

In the end, wouldn't you know it, it came out black. Oh, and not only black. It was jet black.

I walked into the project room, where my mom was. "Well. It came out really dark," I told her. Three walked into the room. Mom gasped. "I guess we won't be doing family pictures any time soon," she said.

How could it have happened, they wondered. Lavish and I knew what it was: Sun-In. Three had used Sun-In to make her hair slightly blonder a year or so before, and it was definitely a chemical reaction. (Of course, that would pretty much be impossible, but everyone bought it.)

At first Three was mortified. But then, the people she was trying to impress thought that black was a really cool color. She decided that she really liked it. Which was even worse.

All of us went to high school together and seeing the reactions of other people at school, Lavish and I laughed on the inside all day long. Finally, so that someone else could appreciate the joke, we told this one kid that we knew from church. Oh, and what happened? He told everyone, Three included.

We assured everyone that it was temporary dye and would wash out. Except, she kept washing it and it kept staying really black. I figured it out, though. The black dye was only supposed to stay in her hair for 3-5 minutes, or something like that. We had been following the red dye instructions, though, and since they were for permanent hair dye, those instructions said to leave the dye on for 25 minutes. Oops.

We never got in trouble for it at all.

She continued to dye her hair black for a while after that. Now it's back to a normal-ish brown shade.

The end.

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