It’s not easy being green.

For a while now, my 14-year-old son Emmett has been talking about dyeing his hair…green. Why green?

Well, apparently, if it’s cool enough for Tré Cool, (You know, of Green Day…duh.) it’s cool enough for my drummer boy.

Every time he’s brought it up, I’ve just kind of blankly smiled and nodded. (“No way!” I thought.)

But last week, he committed. “I really want to do it,” he said. “I’ll pay for it. Can we call a salon?”

Salons, I explained don’t really do green hair. They are there to make people look better…and green hair, well, it doesn’t exactly do the trick.

“Why,” I asked. “Do you want to do this? You’ll look like a Dr. Seuss character…or worse.”

It’s just for something different, he says, and my mind goes immediately to the 80’s, when my friend Michele’s art school sister cut my hair into a stylish asymmetrical ‘do, while we listened to the Cure in their basement. (No picture…darn!)

I was also reminded of my youngest sister, Joanne who spent four years of high school with purple hair, while wearing my grandfather’s hand-me-down pajamas in public. She’s a school counselor now, pursuing her PhD. My resolve was weakening.

“You better ask your father,” I said.

My husband, Troy, who sported a mean Menudo-looking mullet back in the day, said he was inclined to let him make his own mistakes.

Troy, the bad hair years

Thanks for the back-up, pal.

So I called a few salons for my boy just to see if anyone would be willing to mutilate his adorable head of honey brown curls, and eventually I did find one that would do it if we bought the dye…

“Or you could do it yourself,” the stylist said.

Now, I’ve been known to use hair dye a time or two…not that I’m gray…really. I just like to get really experimental with shades of dark brown.

My friend Mara, however, once told me she used Kool-Aid to dye her hair crazy colors when she was in high school. So I figured…how hard could it be?

It’s harder than it sounds actually. I read up on Kool-Aid dye on the internet and it seemed easy enough at first, although some folks did report mixed results. (More on that later.)

I also read about dyeing with Jello, which supposedly is very similar to Kool-Aid dye. So I headed off to the supermarket only to find that green Kool-Aid is not a popular flavor, but green Jello is. Go figure. So I went with the Jello and then made a quick stop at Sally’s beauty supply for a hair bleach kit before heading home.

The toughest part of the job, I think, was wrestling the kid’s big head into a dainty rubber cap and pulling angry curls through the tiny holes to bleach them.

“Ow!” he said.
“Beauty knows no pain,” I responded.

And after several hours of processing time with a trash bag on his head, (I was really starting to enjoy this) my boy had random whitish streaks all over his head. It actually looked pretty cool.

“That looks pretty cool,” he said. “Maybe I should leave it like this.”

His father and I agreed, which all but guaranteed that he would change his mind. He wanted to ask his friend Craig for hair advice, instead. (Craig, who sported a red afro through much of middle school.)

So, not surprisingly, they decided green was the way to go, and we moved onto the grainy-green-Jello stage of the project.

One lesson, you can take from this story is that you should not believe everything you read on the internet. Because Jello, my friends, is not hair dye. The green didn’t take, and the boy was left with some awesome highlights that are, I think, pretty cool. Tré Cool.

Emmett, however, is still trying to decide what he might want to change next.

And me, I just want to make sure, he knows how much I really love tattoos and piercings.

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5 Responses to It’s not easy being green.

  1. Troy says:

    Thanks for including that photo.
    I have pictures too, you know.

    me

  2. Jayme says:

    Love this!!! Can’t wait to see what his hair looks like over Christmas!!

  3. Nina says:

    This is so funny! Love the highlights, does he still have them?

  4. purpleglow says:

    manic panic has green as do many other brands of hair color

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