‘Why I’ve erased a life­time of blonde’

The Sunday Telegraph - Stella - - #ONEDAY - By Bry­ony Gor­don

I have been blonde for 38 years, only 14 of them nat­u­ral. I started bleach­ing the hair on my head the mo­ment that the mousi­ness be­gan to creep in, an event that seemed to co­in­cide with the on­set of ado­les­cence: my pe­ri­ods started, my boobs grew, my hips thick­ened, I started to get stretch marks. I didn’t like it. I felt awk­ward, ill at ease. My hair was the one thing I felt I could con­trol, and so, at the ten­der age of 14, I be­gan dye­ing it back to the colour it had been when I was a child. Al­ready, sub­con­sciously, I was wor­ried about age­ing.

It never oc­curred to me that I could or should be any­thing other than blonde. Blondes have more fun, af­ter all. Even if I didn’t overtly re­alise I was stay­ing blonde for this rea­son, I now know that deep down I had some idea that be­ing blonde would make me more aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing, and per­haps help me to at­tract boys. Blonde hair, blue eyes, big tits: what’s not to love? Quite a lot, as it turned out, but it was an­other two decades or so be­fore I would re­alise that true love does not give a damn about your hair colour, just your sense of self-worth. But by that time, I was locked into blonde. It seemed to run through my veins, even if the col­lar and cuffs didn’t quite match.

My re­la­tion­ship with my hair­dresser is among the most en­dur­ing of my life, per­haps be­cause I got alope­cia at 18 and was des­per­ate to hide it. Daniel Galvin Jr has been tak­ing care of my hair for a decade now, lov­ingly tend­ing to it, nur­tur­ing it, mak­ing it look nat­u­ral, even if it is noth­ing of the sort. He knows al­most ev­ery­thing about my life, even the stuff I am too scared to write about in the pages of Stella .He is not just my hair­dresser. He is the per­son who has watched me go from the scared, bald­ing 20-some­thing in the grip of ad­dic­tion, to the sober, mar­ried woman I am now. ‘I want to go pink,’ I told him a cou­ple of months ago, as he tended to my roots. ‘Of course you do,’ he replied. ‘Of course you should. You’ve grown out of blonde. It is time for you to ex­per­i­ment!’

My friend, the cam­paigner and writer Scar­lett Cur­tis, is very pink – but she is also a good 15 years younger than me. Could I carry it off? ‘Why not?’ she said. ‘Why not?’ Daniel agreed. I was 38, free from the chains of al­co­holism, and

I could do what­ever I damn well pleased. So I sat down in Daniel’s chair, the place I feel safest apart from my sofa, and I let him do his thing. It took eight hours to erase a life­time of blonde, which isn’t that long in the grand scheme of things. I screamed in de­light when I saw it. I thought that maybe I was hav­ing an early midlife cri­sis, but I didn’t care.

In the school play­ground, mums joked that they mis­took me for a new nanny. At home, my hus­band has be­gun to look lustily at me again. I keep be­ing told how healthy I look, how golden my skin ap­pears, which I think must be to do with the pink. But re­ally, all that mat­ters is what I think. Be­cause pink hair, to me, rep­re­sents a new-found con­fi­dence, a throw­ing-off of the self-con­scious­ness that would pre­vi­ously have stopped me do­ing any­thing too rad­i­cal with my hair, for fear of be­ing laughed at. Now I know that most peo­ple are too caught up in their own heads to care, so I’m go­ing to en­joy do­ing what I want with mine. Next stop, pur­ple?

I was 38, free from the chains of al­co­holism and I could do what I damn well pleased

Left Bry­ony un­der­go­ing her pink trans­for­ma­tion

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