I was far too quick to judge; I grossly underestimated the power of Nice’n’Easy. Under sunlight – any normal light, really – my hair blazed. You’d need to be blind not to notice and both of my parents were sighted. “You took out all the pretty darkness,” my mother lamented. My Wilcox cohorts assured me it was a vast improvement (not so hard, after 15 bad hair years).
This was my first foray into the new world of multi-hued hair – a world I’d return to often. Addicts claim their first hit of cocaine is the one they chase for the rest of their lives. Likewise, my first rinse of permanent hair dye was the sweetest. Drugs or alcohol would’ve been redundant. Pounding down neighborhood streets on our secret mission was intoxicating enough.
Due to the aerobic work-out we got from running all over town, our endorphins probably maxed out. Stir in the promise implicit in every Clairol commercial – by changing your hair color, you can change your life!- and we became unstoppable, the world was ours for the taking. If that’s not 20th century alchemy, what is?
As far as my parents were concerned, it wasn’t my finest hour. It wasn’t the worst, either. Still, even now – fifty years later to the day – bursts of our laughter and the pounding of our hearts echoes in my memory. We had so much fun it hurt – in an oddly pleasant way.
I remember it so clearly but I can’t recapture the feelings – the roller coaster highs and lows, intense moods and flooding emotions that were part and parcel of being fifteen. I couldn’t live at that fevered pitch forever – but I wouldn’t say no to another taste. After all these years, I’m chasing that fifteen-years-old high.