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I'm Just Sayin'

Updated: May 4, 2020

Andrea Sachs

The Root of All Evil

These are difficult days for sheltered Americans, and thoughts about dying abound. But while the coronavirus crisis is serious, these dark musings about dying involved something else, something even more concerning. We are speaking, of course, about hair dying: the shock of looking in the mirror and discovering a skunk line down the middle of the scalp. Who is that ancient crone with the grey roots staring back in the looking glass? Tragically, there is no one behind closed doors to rescue her. At this moment in history, the yearning for one’s beloved hair stylist is overpowering.

Of course, there are currently other sources of tonsorial worry than emergent roots on American women. Shaggy hair on men is ubiquitous: you can even see it on newscasters Skyping on-air from their living rooms. There was Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin on MSNBC this week, holding forth on the politics of the pandemic; unfortunately the distressing rat’s nest on his head marred his otherwise dignified mien. As evidenced by their unshorn sideburns, stubbly beards and knotty locks, American men are having a bad hair day of their own.

Such is the calamity of Quarantine Coiffure, a once-in-a-lifetime confluence of raging roots and severe haircut shortfalls. Sadly, it is a malady that your editor knows personally. As the weeks of the pandemic have passed, she has watched her chemically enhanced halo disappear as her real hair color rudely asserts itself. Your editor is embarrassed to admit that in a shopping panic at the beginning of March, she went to Amazon’s website and ordered a year’s supply of L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference Fade-Defying Permanent Hair Color, 6R Light Auburn Hair Dye. (During the same anxiety attack, believing that a retail Apocalypse was near, she also ordered five tubes of toothpaste and a half dozen bottles of mouthwash, but enough about that.) Forget toilet paper: your editor was determined that she would not be caught short when the coming deficit of hair dye began.

But after a truckload of hair color arrived, your editor, spoiled by years in overpriced salons, was plagued by doubts about her ability to apply the solution to her scalp properly. After all, nothing stains like globs of haircoloring. When your editor sought counsel from a close friend, another devotee of dye, her friend set your editor’s mind at ease with these wise words: “Who the hell is going to see you?” In the end, dear readers, your editor abandoned her quest for pandemic perfection and decided to let her follicles fester. And no, she does not want to FaceTime with you anytime soon.

As always, there are scoundrels in the land who try to exploit the misery of their fellow citizens. One wag had the colossal insensitivity to spray paint a graffito on the side of Clairol’s headquarters that read: “In eight weeks, 88% of blondes will disappear from the earth.” Another ne’er-do-well advertised Zoom haircuts at astronomical prices. Then, of course, there was the administration’s false claim that ingesting Head and Shoulders Shampoo cured coronavirus. Is nothing sacred anymore?

In recognition of this national emergency, The Insider is calling for the creation of a Congressional Oversight Committee for the Protection of Americans of (Artificial) Color. And oversight is the operative word: this legislative task force should send drones across the nation to take a national head count, a Style Census, to determine scientifically the size of the problem and its root causes. Objectively, how many men and women sheltering in place are secretly sporting unlawfully awful hairstyles? Testing, testing, testing! Fortunately, there is an army of sidelined stylists and barbers, waiting to spring back into action. At long last, let’s put the Defense Production Act to good use, and order this battalion of beauticians to storm the barricades. Let the shaft fall where it may!

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