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OUTWARD APPEARANCES
June 17, 2004
 
Today's eMo, and all future ones, in also available in audio form. Go to the website www.geraniumfarm.org and click on "Listen to audio eMos."

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You want the tips of your hair dyed red? I ask over the phone.

Yeah, says the young voice.

You mean, like, bright red?

Yeah.

Just the tips? I've never heard of that. I always pay more attention to the roots, myself.

But you have such beautiful hair. Madeline's hair is thick and shiny and black, and falls almost to her waist, a sheet of ebony silk. Won't she look like a member of The Addams Family if the ends are red? I'm not sure she remembers the Addams Family.

They love to change their hair. Up, down, braided, blonde, blue. I myself restore my dull brown hair to its original blonde -- it really is my natural color, I remind myself, although that was a long, long time ago. I must retouch the roots as they grow out, or else I have a two-tone head: it is actually I, then, who resemble a member of the Addams family. Or maybe it's the Munsters. One of those.

Samson never cut his hair, and then his Philistine girlfriend chopped it all off one night while he slept, with ruinous results. Two things: find yourself a nice Jewish girl, and never let anybody else mess with your hair. Even if you dye your hair green, it's got to be your idea. If you like it, fine. It doesn't matter what anybody else thinks.

You really are platinum now, you know, I tell Q. For years we told the kids we were both going to go platinum one night, that they would come over and we would both have hair whiter than a camera flash. But Q has gotten out in front on the platinum thing: his hair is almost completely white. Except for the portion we have christened "Old Eighth," a round patch on the back of his head amounting to 1/8 of his scalp. Old Eighth didn't go platinum; he's still pink. Old Eighth wears 30spf sunscreen to preserve his youthful complexion.

I would know Q anywhere. I would know him with green hair. I would know him if his hair were the hot pink I saw on a young waitress last week. Even if Madeline does get clown-red tips, I will know her. People who haven't seen me in a while do a slight double-take at my blonde hair, and my latest headshot looks younger than the one that's ten years old. But when I open my mouth, they know it's me.

We try to change ourselves by changing our packaging, but it's still us. Inner beauty, inner anguish: they don't change with the outward changes, and the outer changes don't always reflect them. I still feel the way I did when I was twenty-seven, my stepmother says. She's ninety-four. Well, you look absolutely wonderful, somebody says gamely, when you have just shared your new cancer diagnosis. Whatever. You can't judge a book by its cover.
Copyright © 2018 Barbara Crafton
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