17 October 2006

"When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple..."

Appparently, the Russians have taken Jenny Joseph's sentiment to its extreme, in that old ladies here don't just wear purple; they dye their hair purple. Lavender, to be more specific. I've seen this on several different women here (always exactly the same shade), but I was particularly struck by the vivid tresses of a woman I passed on the way to the internet cafe (and by the fact that she was wearing lipstick that was a perfect match).

I think my grandmother, an active member of my hometown's Red Hat Society, should try this out.

I haven't seen any younger women with purple hair, though, because they seem to be too busy dying it the kind of vivid maroon you see sometimes in the U.S. on someone who was going for a rich red-brown but missed the mark by about two miles. Except here, it's done on purpose.

So the reason I'm contemplating this is that I have a hair appointment in about two and a half hours. I've been toying with the idea of cutting my hair short since August, and I've finally concluded that I'm not going to be happy until I find out what it looks like. I actually thought about selling my hair, since there's ample opportunity to do that here (and admittedly because I was being romantic/dramatic and imagining an entrance like Winona Ryder's in the movie version of Little Women when she bursts into the kitchen and reveals that she's sold her beautiful chestnut locks to support the family). But it turns out that the requisite 30 cm you need to have to sell (40 cm if dyed or gray, which my hair fortunately is not) would leave me with only an inch or two left. And that's not what I'm going for.

So despite the fact that I'm not going to be satisfied until I find out what I look like with short hair, I acknowledge that this is a horrible idea. You see, the above-mentioned dye jobs aren't the only way in which Russian hair fashion differs from U.S. For one thing, rat-tails (you know, the kind the third-grade bully had) are popular (on women and small boys, but not men, it seems), as are mullets and mullet derivatives. If not for the fact that I found a picture of what I want my hair to look like, I think the risk of accidentally coming out with a rat-tail or a mullet would be too great (especially since my haircut-describing abilities are pretty weak in Russian). But I did find such a picture, so off to the парикмахерская/parikmakherskaya (a ridiculously long word that I suspect must come from German, like most ridiculous Russian words (another example: шнурки/shnurki, which means shoelaces)) I go.

However, the picture I'm taking with me is a side shot, so there's still a chance that I'll end up with some godawful bangs or something. (I'm hoping hand gestures will be enough to prevent that.) In any case, if the stylist appears to be reaching for a bottle of dye, my plan is to start running.


Katie said...

Purple hair is scary. So are mullets and rat-tails. But I do think you're very bold to try the haircut in another language! I applaud your boldness. Also, I haven't done the math, but you may still have enough to donate (at least here). That's what I did over the summer.
Love from New Haven!

Lisa said...

I always wondered about old ladies that ended up with blue/purple hair. I can't imagine they intentionally do that, but maybe that's the "residue" of black dye once they decide to just go white? (like when you let water wick up through black ink, you get colors like that).

Good luck w/the haircut. I think you'll look cute w/short hair. How short are we talking, chinlength or like "pixie"? I expect photos once you do it. :-)

Rosa said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rosa said...

but you will of course share your adorable new do with us once it's done

Dan K said...

My aunt (in Illinois) has talked about joining the red hat society too, but she hasn't actually done it yet. I think she should, because it sounds like fun. I think purple hair would be a pretty tough sell though.

Now is the perfect time for you to try some new stuff with your hair, I think - off in a new country and all.

I'm really enjoying your blog, and we'll all miss you on alumni weekend!


Anonymous said...

mullets/rat-tails are also rather popular in Spain. my reaction was rather similar to yours.

the older women there dyed their hair a bright auburn that was nowhere near looking natural.

though i realize it would be an overgeneralization to call this a "european thing"


Anonymous said...

We await the photographic evidence of your new 'do ...

Mullets still popular in northern Ohio, among certain poplulations.

None of the Red Hat ladies has gone for purple hair. Yet.


Blahgga said...

Leslie!!!! I LOVE YOUR HAIR!!!! It is so very avant-garde and incredibly European. It gives you an entirely different look - yes, a bit older, but also a bit more worldly. You'll have to be ever more on your guard against those "do you have the time" moments.
Your commentary on the salon experience is, as always, most entertaining. Kudos for taking the plunge!!

Love, Aunt Susie