Heads up: the Interrupted Mom is going to turn 50 this year.

So you've been warned. I imagine that this is going to be a year filled with mid-life crisis screeds talking about hot flashes and tweezers and unrequited ambition and self-absorbed musings about death. The year 2009 will no doubt culminate in me tearing off into the sunset with the pool boy in a Miata.

Note to self: must recruit a pool boy.

Seriously: I have already been through two classic milestone birthdays, and they haven't bothered me a bit. And while I haven't been thrilled with the now-creaky knees and the apparent need for trifocals I wasn't particularly bothered at the thought of becoming a gray-haired quinquagenarian until one recent day, when a casual comment from a co-worker made me realize: I have completely lost my Redhead Mojo.

To understand the import of this event, you have to understand that red hair isn't just a color, it's a birthright. A state of mind. A license to commit mayhem. We stand in your midst knowing that, while blondes may be sexy and brunettes might be smart, Redhead Nation is a rare, delicious and mischievously acquired taste.

No matter where you go, a redhead stands out. I will admit to what you probably have long suspected: we feel a little sorry for you in your chromatic monotony. Sure, you could dye your hair into an approximation of our sunset palette, but deep down we would all know that it's not quite the same; it's the genetic mutation that causes all the trouble.

I haven't been completely oblivious to the ravages of time. I knew that the gray was attacking my scalp like a mutant case of kudzu, leaving wide swaths of silver that left me looking and feeling like a wiser, sadder version of Pepé LePew.

But I secretly sort of dug it, this whole gray-hair thing. I liked the thought of seeing what God had intended for my head, rather than conducting a death watch and vigilantly plucking the stray white hairs until my next problem would be finding a case of Rogaine on sale. I saw myself going strikingly and valiantly silver, defying convention, aging gracefully and being whatever kind of genarian I happened to be.

The part of my brain that manages such things, however, must have been out buying an Amigo because it completely spaced the part where, if I was Defiantly Silver, that meant I couldn't be Saucily Red any longer.

Spaced it, at least, until I made an offhand comment to that co-worker about the attendant value and drama being a redhead and they looked puzzled and said, "But you're not a redhead."

No! No! You're supposed to look at me knowingly and think Spitfire! Mischievous! Rita Hayworth! The nuns used to call me a "bold, brazen article," and I know for a fact I couldn't be that without hair the color of hammered, well, brass. I'd throw a famous red-haired temper tantrum but now you're just going to blame that on menopause.

It's no use. I have to sadly fold up my T-shirt that proudly says "Consider the hair a big warning label" because if I wear it now, you'll just figure I'll run you over with my walker.

But I totally would have given Charlie Brown a chance.

 

Ahwatukee Foothills resident Elizabeth Evans can be reached at elizabethann40@hotmail.com. Her column appears monthly.

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