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The frankincense is always greener on the other side. Or whatever color frankincense is.

December 29, 2011

On Christmas Day, my cats dined on a tuna and pumpkin medley. My friend Sarah’s feline, Saba, whom I’m watching while she’s out of town, enjoyed a fancy feast of wild salmon florentine with garden greens. My supper was lacking in comparison; I chocked down a banana and a frozen burrito while working a 10.5-hour shift. Well, it technically wasn’t frozen when I ate it, thanks to my proficient microwave skills. So, that’s better.

The newspaper I work for used to provide the skeleton night crew of flunkies on the clock on Christmas a catered meal as sort of a sucks-that-you-pursued-journalism-as-a-career consolation. This year, however, we were left to pack our own dinners order from Chinatown starve. “It’s a kick in the balls,” my outraged colleague griped. Remembering he was commiserating with a girl, he then rephrased: “Kick in the, uh, crotch area.”

I know this is the time of year that I’m supposed to be giving thanks that I’m employed, my cats and I are healthy, we have a roof over our heads, and we have warm beds to sleep in (even if Teva and Isabel won’t step paw anywhere near their bed), but I spent most of Dec. 25 eschewing the second annual cat-wrapping and instead lamenting that if I were living in a homeless shelter, at least I wouldn’t be lonely because of winter overcrowding. And I’d be served warm holiday meals. Well played, homeless people.

While we’re on the topic of Christmas, my period is almost two weeks late, and I’m growing concerned I’m carrying the Lord’s child because ’tis the season. It all adds up. Like Mary, I was raised Jewish. And I haven’t had sex in a lot of months. And I don’t know what myrrh is, but that doesn’t make me want it any less. God’s baby mama’s plight is the Biblical equivalent of the reality TV show I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant.” Which up until an ova ago was, admittedly, a pipe dream for me to appear on, because I didn’t not know that I was not pregnant. You know?

Thinking that this might be my last chance for pampering before my virgin birth, and also wanting to look my best for when the media hordes show up to document my immaculate conception, and also because I had a lot of split ends, I booked a haircut. The salon is one of the only places I feel beautiful, because stylists usually fawn over my hair, which has sort of a unique color. “You have Susan Sarandon Red!” one flamboyant barber once told me, before faux fanning himself and bursting into the song “Dammit Janet!” from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

When I was little, my grandpa, from whom I inherited my ginger genes, used to tell me to keep my crimson clippings after a trim so he could glue them to his forehead to supplement his thinning locks. Actually, he still tells me to do this. While I’m told his hue was more of a fiery orange, mine is a shade of auburn that doesn’t often occur naturally. In fact, I’ve only ever seen it in person on animals. For instance, Saba the cat, an orange tabby, and I match fairly well. But dogs, Irish setters and the like, seem to come closest to my color. Remember the episode of “Friends” when Joey meets his identical hand twin in Las Vegas? I had to travel only 2.5 hours by car to find my identical hair twin, who belongs to a Provincetown B&B innkeeper.

Cape Cod, 2007.

But “Dog Red” sounds slightly less classy than “Susan Sarandon Red,” so let’s just go with that.

At the upscale Harvard Square salon, it was heavenly to be touched, to have someone shampoo my scalp and massage my temples and run her fingers through my wet hair. As she combed and snipped, we chatted about her hometown in Russia, her son who aspires to be a music producer, the graphic design classes she’s enrolled in online. When she finished blow-drying, she spun me around in the chair, held up a mirror so I could view the curls in the back, and declared in a thick accent, “You are goddess!” I *really* need to start spending more time in salons. Also, homeless shelters.

Amid the attention and flattery, my mind strayed from my heart and my, uh, crotch area, and I forgot for a moment that I’m alone, yet again, at the holidays.

“Are you seeing anyone?” she asked.

And then I remembered.

“No,” I said, shifting my eyes downward and sweeping away rogue hairs from my sweater.

“Well,” she said, winking. “Maybe next year.”

“Maybe next year,” I repeated.

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41 Comments leave one →
  1. December 29, 2011 7:58 AM

    Next year? Leave town. i went to a predominantly Muslim country to escape the cacaphony. And it worked! Might have to do it every year…

  2. December 29, 2011 8:02 AM

    WTF did ever happen to the free food that got us all into journalism in the first place? Press conferences nowadays, you’re lucky if you get an instant coffee!

  3. Tershbango permalink
    December 29, 2011 8:03 AM

    Let’s call it sexpot red! I’d kill for hair like yours.

    I’ve been single for many, many holidays, girl, i feel you. Think of it this way – less presents to buy!

  4. December 29, 2011 9:27 AM

    My cat won’t eat any of that stuff with greens, veggies, or anything besides meat. I keep telling her she should try some variety, but she refuses.

    It’ll be just me for New Years Eve, but I don’t mind. I like going to bed early.

    Can I be your baby’s godmother? Do immaculate babies get human godparents?

  5. December 29, 2011 9:48 AM

    I knew I liked you for some reason said the redhead to another 🙂 My ex used to tell people that my hair was Irish Setter red. I divorced him. It is true however 🙂

  6. December 29, 2011 9:57 AM

    I too have the Auburn locks…well I did before it started to turn gray. I say we all dye our hair pink and start a girl band called “We Don’t Actually Play Instruments”. We could tour all the bars in the US. It would fulfill my dream of getting fluthered in every state in America, lol.

  7. December 29, 2011 10:29 AM

    Your is the color I keep shooting for in my highlights! Can I have your clippings for extensions?

    Wow. That was really stalkery. Sorry.

    But I might take that photo to my stylist if I’m ever flush enough for color again. Or maybe just the part with the dog, because stalking a Cape Cod B&B dog is somehow less weird?

  8. December 29, 2011 12:16 PM

    Ahhhh the plight of newspaper folks, I remember it well! Due to the sad state of newspapers (thanks to Kindles and such) that is the thanks that all of you get!!! Not fair!!!!

    You have SOOOOO much going for you my friend, between your GORGEOUS HAIR (which BTW that photo is GREAT!), your brilliance, your heart….it is meant that you hold on and wait for a bit longer….that person IS out there!

    The holidays and relationships aren’t what the media attempt to portray them as……with all of the things that you have going that make YOU, uniquely YOU, I would say you have MUCH, MUCH MORE than most of us!!!!!!!!

    Wish I could hug you in person!

  9. December 29, 2011 12:32 PM

    Love that gorgeous color. Love that gorgeous face!

    Hate that the homeless have ruined yet another holiday – what the fuck? How selfish!

    Wishing you and the cats and your immaculate fetus much joy. XOXOXOXO

  10. December 29, 2011 1:53 PM

    I also love getting my hair done. it’s divine.

    when you have the lord’s child (or the antichrist), I’ll help you raise it. I’m a giver like that.

    I meant before what I said: fuck ’em! fuck the holidays! fuck it all!

    I love you hard.

    love,
    your also alone friend

  11. December 29, 2011 2:19 PM

    Getting my hair done is one of the few things that make me feel awesome, too. Mani pedi also works, although I only really trust the Asian ladies to do that.

    I got sick for Christmas, so you can console yourself that someone else was slightly more miserable than you.

  12. December 29, 2011 2:32 PM

    I hate that being alone = being lonely and pathetic, at least in the minds of most people (and Hallmark Card commercials) (and jewelry store commercials) (oh, and the Lexus commercials with the big red bow on top of the fabulously expensive cars).

    It’s been awhile since I’ve been coupled off at a major holiday and I think I wouldn’t mind it at all (SO much easier to make plans!) if I didn’t feel constantly, metaphorically kicked in the, uh, crotch area for being that way.

    At least you have awesome auburn locks to hang out with! Bright side!

  13. December 29, 2011 2:38 PM

    I knew I liked you for a reason, aside from your love for the four-legged and your awesome writing skills. I also am of the red persuasion (more strawberry than red) and my grandfather’s hair was screaming orange. I’m married, so don’t have the isolation issues that come with working a lot and not being involved with someone (sometimes I think I would kill to revisit that status) but I think you have a pretty awesome life on many levels. Your family adores you, you have tons of fans you don’t know, and of course, there are the cats. You will find your happily ever after probably when you least expect it. I met my husband when I tripped moving boxes into my new apartment on my birthday and sprawled out in front of his feet. Hopefully, you won’t have to humiliate yourself/sprain appendages to meet the right one. Here’s to a fab 2012 for you.

  14. December 29, 2011 3:44 PM

    I confess that when I got to the photo and read about hair color, I started to frantically scan the paragraph for the name of the Clairol nice n easy shade you had employed because it’s not fair, NOT FAIR that goddess color grows unaided from your scalp.

  15. December 29, 2011 4:45 PM

    You have really gorgeous hair. I have an appointment to get highlights tomorrow, and I was considering printing out that picture and asking my hairdresser to match the color, but then I remembered I’m really low on printer ink and it would probably turn out some sort of weird yellowish green. Then I thought I could just show her this post on my phone, but then she might conclude I’m some sort of deranged stalker, which might jeopardize the amazing fake friendship she and I have built up over the past year. Seriously, every time I go in there, she asks me follow-up questions about the things we talked about on my previous visit, 2-3 months before. I think she takes notes.

    • December 29, 2011 5:51 PM

      all good hairdressers take notes. they have crib cards in their handbags too

  16. December 29, 2011 7:43 PM

    My ex-girlfriend (who is naturally blonde) loved dying her hair red for some reason. One time, she found a color called “Peruvian Fire.”

    She got really annoyed when I pointed out that she had orange hair.

  17. December 29, 2011 9:01 PM

    Loved this post but also loved the fact that all the comments have focused on your gorgeous locks rather than the fact that you are carrying the Second Coming of the Lord (which sounds really pervy now that i think about it). Anyway, please keep us posted about this as I’m going to want to party like a rock star if the rapture is imminent (after which I’ll be on the express train to hell).

  18. December 29, 2011 9:18 PM

    I’m jealous you have cats…its a goal in my life to one day own one. Le sigh. ALSO – I didn’t know i was pregnant TERRIFIES ME. In a real serious way.

  19. December 29, 2011 9:20 PM

    we are soul sisters. people often tell me i look like susan sarandon. so if we cut off my face and shaved your hair we’d be a complete susan. thoughts?

  20. December 30, 2011 12:08 AM

    The myrhh is not greener on the other side, it is myrhhderously envious of your Sarandon chic and wants to turn turmeric red-gold; but will have to wait until your Bun in the Oven grows up and starts working miracles.

  21. December 30, 2011 7:30 AM

    I LOVE ginger hair and everything ginger related!! I use to have an irish imaginary friend when I was a kid and her hair was pure fire!
    Happy Xmas!
    My best wishes 😉

  22. Mysterious_malady permalink
    December 30, 2011 9:16 AM

    It always is greener on the other side, isnt it ? Unless ofcourse it is actually green 🙂 one of my closest friends has red hair and I am a boring black … Oh was there ever some envy ! I used to get even by buying her red shirts !!!! Yes, she used to call me evil too !!!!

  23. December 30, 2011 10:46 AM

    Um, screw that woman.

    You and that dog have a special bond.

    So, no, maybe you have no romantic attachments.

    But you have a miracle baby and a dog hair twin.

    And, well, that’s pretty much the same.

  24. December 30, 2011 10:24 PM

    Like, I didn’t think I could, like, love you anymore than I already do and then you post a picture of a dawg sitting on the bed with you! Awww. (Sorry, channelling my inner teen here.)

    Christmas alone does suck indeed, your paper has no soul, but at least you are a “goddess”!

    Here’s to 2012 and lots of lovely men and women to us both because- as we both know- we damn well deserve it!

    Stella xx

  25. December 31, 2011 9:10 AM

    Here’s to a fantastic 2012! Wishing you and your furballs all the best.

  26. December 31, 2011 5:28 PM

    I love your hair color!! I, too, went to the salon after like six months of neglect and ended up getting bangs in order to continue on in my quest of looking like Zoel Deschenel. Best part? You totally don’t have to worry about keeping your eyebrows looking good with bangs! Highly recommended.

    Honestly, sometimes a frozen burrito is better than company dinners. My company keeps having these damn pizza days and it feels more like punishment than reward. I mean seriously…how many times can you have pizza a month without hating yourself?

  27. January 2, 2012 4:55 AM

    So, are you now Mom to two fur babies AND the Lord’s child?

    Pray tell.

    I need an update.

  28. January 2, 2012 5:21 PM

    Power to the red heads of the world!

  29. January 3, 2012 9:12 PM

    i once dated a redhead. and lived in new zealand. and noticed that her hair was the same color as a lot of the cows grazing on the hillsides. i didn’t tell her that, though.

  30. Project44 permalink
    January 4, 2012 10:52 AM

    Horray to red heads! he he

  31. January 4, 2012 12:25 PM

    “Well played, homeless people…”

    I said the very same thing on New Years Eve! Only mine sounded more like “Well played, horny landlady who lives directly above me and because of whom I accidentally thought a cat was dying, it’s last cries sounding oddly enough like “Yogenfruzen!” and “Oh yeah, baby! Guttenmorgenmerightthere!”

    That sentence sounded way better in my mind, btw.

  32. January 4, 2012 2:44 PM

    You don’t have to raise the kid too, do you? Because that’s just not fair.

    Kitten Thunder and I wish you guys the happiest of new years. With that hair, and two gorgeous cats, how can it possibly go wrong?

  33. January 5, 2012 9:08 PM

    Just getting caught up on blogs after a holiday hiatus, and I see this is from late December–yet there is no update on the birth of the baby?

    I do so hope it’s the antichrist. Damn, would that make for some interesting stories going forward.

    Please let us know ASAP. Meanwhile, I am gathering my gifts of mirth, Acapulco Gold, and Frankenfurter.

  34. January 6, 2012 3:46 PM

    one day, I’d like horribly painted walls.

  35. January 7, 2012 3:31 PM

    I don’t think it counts as a virgin birth if you have had sex with someone at some point. Sorry to disappoint. You’re like Mary’s slightly more promiscuous sister. Not that Elizabeth chick who was old, old, old and God gave her old, old husband magic sperm to make a baby but struck the dude dumb because he didn’t believe God could make his old, old wife pregnant.

    MAN, is the Bible Weird.

    You’re like the young, Susan Sarandon’s Dog Hair Colored, Slightly Promiscuis But then Again Isn’t EVERYONE more Promiscuous than Freakin’ Mary, cousin of Mary who has miraculous After a Slight Dry Spell Baby?

    Everything in this comment sounds like a weird insult. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to imply you are promiscuis or dog-haired or any of those things, or to go on a tangent about how weird the Bible is. What I meant was, I think you are hysterical and pretty, and if you came over, I’d microwave you a burrito so fast, your head would spin. I wouldn’t even judge you for how much sour cream you used, because I would MOS DEF be using double that.

    I tried four different spellings of promiscuous and apparently none of them were right. THANKS, spell check, for making me feel like an idiot.

    • January 8, 2012 7:05 PM

      It’s cute that you implied I’m slightly promiscuous. I wish.

      • January 12, 2012 12:32 AM

        Does Christianity count girl sex as sex? Aren’t they still confused/divided over this? Is that why dudes are always asking me to explain it to them?

        I kid I kid.

  36. January 12, 2012 5:05 AM

    Wow. I wish I could go to the hair salon and feel relaxed and beautiful instead of socially awkward and messy. I’m now growing my hair because I hate going so much. And also because I can no longer afford hair cuts.

    Your hair is awesome, though. Good work growing it!

  37. January 29, 2012 8:30 PM

    You are goddess! I’m digging the salon lady. One of my best friends is a hair dresser, so I’ve gone to her forever. She’s not complimentary enough, though. Damn her.

    I hope you don’t have a virgin birth. All those wise men and sheep crowding your apartment would be really inconvenient and sort of smelly.

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