It's a Gray Area: Madame Metamorphosis, a Rebel Against the Passage of Time
The concern of whether I would ever use hair color sprouted long before the first strands of silver appeared. I was an impressionable preteen when I caught my mother in the act of her secret ritual. Never before had I considered that her auburn-brown tresses might have originated in a laboratory.
My mother stood in the center of the kitchen; a statue with a disposable plastic cap secured over the gooey, dark dye slathered over her scalp. Matching gloves protected her hands, which she held in front of her, wrist bent and fingers pointing upward like a surgeon scrubbed for a stint in an operating room. A kitchen timer filled the uncomfortable silence as it ticked off the minutes until the rinse.
I was rooted to the spot (so to speak), gawking at the spectacle. My mouth must have dropped open, because I could not only smell, but also actually taste the overpowering chemical concoction permeating the air.
A tattered bath towel wrapped over Mom’s shoulders like a super hero’s cape, secured with a pale pink diaper pin. A mental picture formed of her poised atop the Empire State Building, gripping a squeeze bottle of concentrated dye high above her head with that terry cloth cape flapping in the breeze. Madame Metamorphosis, a rebel against the passage of time, holds the power to conquer the sinister force of graying hair and create the illusion of perpetual youth!
Painting: Full-length portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour by Maurice Quentin de La Tour, between 1748 and 1755. Currently in the Louvre.
Read the rest of Roberta McReynolds essay, Part One and Part Two: http://www.seniorwomen.com/articles/articlesMcReynoldsColorOne.html
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