Nothing Gold Can Stay

I love being a blonde. LOVE it. Love the feeling of coming home from the salon, looking in the mirror and feeling like a million bucks.

It’s true — blondes definitely DO have more fun. Especially blondes who have to work at being a blonde. And by working at it, I mean three-hour sessions at the salon paying outrageous amounts of money to sit with harsh chemicals under hot air dryers to lighten my hair to the perfect golden hue. And then paying another outrageous amount to buy special conditioners and styling products so my hair doesn’t look and feel like straw from the chemicals that make my hair beautiful while simultaneously destroying it.

For almost three years, I’ve decided that being a blonde is worth the money and the damage, because I feel beautiful as a blonde. But as my hair has grown out since my last trip to the salon in October, with the inevitable dark brown roots that I’ve been fighting against these last three years, I’ve been wondering why I love being blonde so much. And I think that it’s because I want to pretend I don’t have brown hair. I do have boring brown hair. Really boring. But that’s who I am. I have brown hair. And sitting in a salon every six weeks paying more than what many people around the world make in a month is never going to change the fact that I have brown hair.

So, this year, for 2006, I’ve decided to be myself. To embrace my boring brown hair. And instead of making an appointment at the salon, I went to CVS yesterday and spent $9 to dye my hair back to who I am. I miss my golden curls, but now that everyone can see my brown hair, I don’t need to pretend I have blond hair any more. And you know what? I kind of like it. I’m looking forward to having fun this year. And if I don’t – my stylist will be more than happy to see me again in a few months.

Happy New Year!


  1. [Trying desperately to offer some advice/consolation/informed comment]

    Well, Elisabeth, we need pictures!

  2. Things are rough all over, Ponyboy!

  3. Congratulations. I wish more women were like you. One of the countless things I like about my wife is that she doesn’t hide who she is, grey hair and all. And i lover all the more for it.

    My mother and mother-in-law, on the other hand, well, that’s just something else altogether.

  4. Elisabeth – I laughed out loud!!! I wished you had done it while I was still staying with you to see the result!!
    I decided to stay my natural colour too!!

  5. Happy New year to you too, E.! And can I just take a moment to register agreement with the Brit — give us some photographic evidence, please!

    (“On a broader level,” he muttered, “is there any good reason BCC doesn’t have permablogger photos in place like a _real_ blog?”)

    It’s true, of course, that nothing gold can stay. Gold is exciting precisely because it can’t stay. Our artificial attempts to make life more gold than it really is are bound to fail, just as Meatloaf’s attempts to artificially create masculinity only resulted in a warped form in Fight Club.

    So I’ll see your Frost and raise you a Chaucer: “If gold rust, then what shall iron do?” Elisabeth the golden has become brown; what chance do the rest of us have? Simple — we can embrace our rusty ironness and have fun with it.

    Happy new year, BCC bloggers!

  6. Now let’s hope that Steve Evans can do the same. Those weekly trips to Metamorphasis for highlighting and touch-ups could _not_ have been good on the Evans family budget.

    Embrace your brownness, Steve!

  7. Elisabeth, I remember you with very pretty light-to-medium golden brown curly hair (it’s my freakish visual memory again — I’d be a super-great stalker). I’d be thrilled with it if I were you.

    OTOH, I’m a total hypocrite. The time when I decided to let my hair go its natural color (a yucky not-blonde-not-brown-not-red shade nobody would have voluntarily), I had old ladies I’d never met before approaching me at the grocery store with advice like, “Girls with your coloring just shouldn’t wear that…” I’m much happier with a few highlights.

  8. Elisabeth, you are inspiring me. I’ve been tempted to go from my (once natural but now totally-bottle-derived) blonde to brown, and your post is just one more voice whispering in my ear to do it. Maybe… but oh the golden glow….

  9. Gray hair is the worst. I have good skin with few wrinkles, but at 46 I’ve been graying for 20 years, and dyeing for 15. I use a level two color that fades rather than growing out, and it matches my own pretty closely (a little lighter, so the roots aren’t so obvious five weeks later). $6 a month, and worth every penny. I’m not ready to look old, thank you.

  10. I just can’t picture you with blonde hair. Sometimes change can feel really liberating.

  11. I’ve had brown hair my whole life and always dreamed of being a blonde (never had the courage). I admire you for your years of blondosity!

  12. I have to wonder why nobody is going red? Go red! I’m naturally blonde, which used to look good when I was sunkissed and golden, but now that I’m sickly and vampiric, a nice auburn suits me much better. I firmly believe that every woman should be a redhead at least once in her life. C’mon…be bold!

  13. I’d be plenty happy just hanging on to the hair I have (all the men in my lineage lost theirs).

  14. I was thinking of going electric blue, but it fades to blonde, and it’s just so harsh on your hair.

  15. Elisabeth says:

    Rebecca – well, you were right about being careful about coloring over an existing color. Which is why I won’t be posting any “before” and “after” pictures. :)

    Kaimi – yes, nothing gold can stay, but Gwen Stefani has sure made a good go of it. Although, now that she’s pregnant, I hear that she’s had to resort to wearing platinum blond wigs (Sources: US Weekly and Go Fug Yourself).

    Allison – you DO have an uncanny attention to detail! I don’t think I’ve made quite the visual impression on anyone else in a two second meeting in an elevator (or was it the Merrill Library?). Thanks for the compliment, btw. And congrats!

    BTDGreg – I’ve changed A LOT since high school.

    Marian – even though I do feel liberated now that I’m back to my true color (more or less), I can’t help but feel a bit like Keri Russell felt when the “Felicity” ratings plummetted after she cut her hair.

    And Susan, “The Outsiders” is one of my all-time favorite teen-age angst movies. Whatever happened to C. Thomas Howell, anyway? After his highly acclaimed performances in “Soul Man” and “Red Dawn”, he just disappeared.

    Here’s the full text of the poem – the first (and one of the only) poems I can still recite from memory:

    Nature’s first green is gold,
    Her hardest hue to hold.
    Her early leaf’s a flower;
    But only so an hour.
    Then leaf subsides to leaf.
    So Eden sank to grief,
    So dawn goes down to day.
    Nothing gold can stay.

  16. Elisabeth: You have a good stylist — I would have never known!

    For me, the New Year often brings about the desire to be more authentic — often linked to resolutions, etc. Good luck as a brunette in 2006.

  17. It’s hard to find a woman out there who doesn’t dye her hair. Whenever I see someone with their natural hair color, it’s very refreshing. I’m sure yours looks great!

    (Of course, I highlight my own hair. I haven’t been naturally blonde for over 15 years, but it just doesn’t seem right to me if I don’t have some blonde in my hair).

    I loved The Outsiders when I was a kid.

  18. I’ve changed A LOT since high school.

    Well, yeah. Haven’t we all? Did we have a 15 year reunion this summer? I never heard anything about one.

  19. I find I can’t really relate to this thread. I was born blond, and remain blond in my mid-40s. And unlike most blond men, my hairline hasn’t changed much since high school. Most of us go bald during college.

    When I was a little kid, women would walk up to my mother in the store and ask to borrow me to show their hairdresser what color they want. My homeroom teacher in seventh grade told me the first day of school that she hated me because I naturally grew my hair the same color she had been trying for 20 years to get.

    Being in the sun all day while tracting on my mission bleached my hair to where it was almost pure white. Korean saints like to give their missionaries nicknames–I was “Elder Grandpa (haraboji chang-no)”. More than one person ran from the door screaming when they opened it to see a white-headed man in a white shirt–they were sure they had seen a ghost.

    Being a natural blond is fun.

  20. I had a thing for tall brunettes for a long time…
    then I married a short blond, and changed my preferences:)

  21. Rosalynde says:

    Well, when it comes to versified treatments of women’s hair, the logical choice would be Byron, of course:

    SHE walks in beauty, like the night
    Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
    And all that ‘s best of dark and bright
    Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
    Thus mellow’d to that tender light 5
    Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
    One shade the more, one ray the less,
    Had half impair’d the nameless grace
    Which waves in every raven tress,
    Or softly lightens o’er her face; 10
    Where thoughts serenely sweet express
    How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

    And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
    So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
    The smiles that win, the tints that glow, 15
    But tell of days in goodness spent,
    A mind at peace with all below,
    A heart whose love is innocent!

    And thus we see that real poets prefer brunettes. I’m a brunette—almost always have been—and frankly I’m offended by the implications of this discussion! We have plenty of fun, thanks. I’ve never colored my hair, except for a brief stint as an almost-blond in college, and I confess to a trace of disdain for bottle blondes. I’m glad you’ve given it up, Elisabeth!

  22. I must’ve read the Outsiders a hundred times when I was in 7th grade (only book I had on a family roadtrip vacation). I loved that the author was only 16, and her name was Susie. It’s still one of my favorite books.

  23. I actually preferred That Was Then This Is Now. When I think of that book I think of that kid’s straight adolescent golden blonde hair, and how beautiful he was. Wow, i haven’t thought of that book in a long time.

  24. Girls, embrace your brown-hair-ness. I dyed my hair all through my twenties, I was a strawberry blonde. But when the gray creeps in, brown starts to look appealing. A nice nutty brown, with highlights. Costs about 70 bucks, three times a year. You have to follow up with frequent trims and sucking up to the hairdresser.

  25. Elisabeth, the spelling of your name always reminded me of Austria’s Elisabeth, wife of Emperor Franz Joseph. Elisabeth was an elegant and fashionable *brunette.*



    So I can’t picture you as a blonde anyway!

  26. Paul Wright says:

    “Love the feeling of coming home from the salon, looking in the mirror and feeling like a million bucks.”

    Whether you look like a million bucks, well, we’ll be the judge of that.

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