One of the perils of walking around with green and purple hair is that you soon forget that you are walking around with green and purple hair—or at least I do. This means that when people look at you in horror, amusement, disgust, or even approval, you automatically think that it is YOU they are directing these looks at, and not at your hair. You then take offense/feel smug (depending on the look) for the next twenty minutes or so, until you catch sight of yourself in a mirror or store window and realize, “Oh yeah. I have green and purple hair.”

Another peril of green and purple hair is that when you first get home from the salon your husband will look up from his book, sigh, and then go back to reading, all without saying a single word. But since this has been a peril associated with almost every new haircut you have ever tried, it, at least, it is a familiar one.

Surprisingly enough, one thing that is not a peril is regret: I don’t for a minute regret my new green and purple hair. Not because it’s so rad (although it is), and not because it helps give other people immediate notice that there is something not quite right about me (it does—and there is), but rather because my green and purple hair represents months and months of me not nagging, and despite what my family thinks, I really don’t like to nag.

Here’s what happened: about halfway through this last school year I realized that, unlike her uber-nerd of a mother, Clementine was never going to be a grade grubber. Instead, just like the pole vaulter who always seemed to just barely skim over the top of the bar, Clementine was always going to be quite content to just skim the top of the bottom when it came to grades. It was almost impressive, really, how closely she is able to skim that bar—somehow, she always seemed to know just what the bare minimum was and do that and nothing more. If she needed to get an 83 on the final exam in order to pull a 70 in the class, an 83 is what she would get.

Which sounds fine until you realize that one point over is located perilously close to one point under, and that all it was ever going to take to blow her from one side to the other was one good puff of wind.

Hence the green and purple hair.

The deal I made with Clementine was this: if she would make more of an effort to stay away from the edge—to jump not just over the bar, but beyond it—I would let her give me a makeover.

There were limits, of course. Nothing involving make-up, or clothes, because what would be the point of that? Those would only be temporary changes, and, like the change I was asking her to make, I wanted my change to be permanent. Or at least as permanent as possible without the use of a needle.

And besides, I really do like getting my hair cut. And, as it turns out, bleached. And dyed. And then dyed again. But of course, even if I didn’t, I would still gladly submit to the process every school year in if it brought the same results. Of course, since each year of school gets a little harder than the last, by all rights my makeovers should get more extreme as well. Which means that, technically, by the time she gets to college, there might actually be needles involved.

All I can hope is that she picks a place where it doesn’t show. But if she doesn’t, and four years from now you see me walking around with a Mike Tyson-style facial tattoo, you’ll know why.

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