“This piece looks close to the color you wanted” isn’t something you want to hear after sitting in a salon chair for seven hours.

I couldn’t help but laugh … pretty maniacally. I was laughing so much and so hard that the woman who said the phrase looked at me like I was possessed. She didn’t understand.

“Oh, well, that’s good. At least one piece came out right,” I said still bursting with laughter.

Not long before this, I expected to cry. Now I was crying, but not from sadness.

Realizing that the only comforting thing that the hairdresser could say to me – the only glimmer of hope, trace of positivity or crumb for me to savor – was that this ONE piece was the color I asked for. Well, I found that to be hilarious.

Let me go back to the beginning.

When I was a little girl, my favorite color was yellow “like the sun.” Because of this, I had yellow dresses, yellow shoes and an admiration for blondes, particularly Jenny McCarthy (inappropriate for a 7-year-old but she was cute and funny as the co-host of MTV’s “Singled Out,” a dating game show that was also not age-appropriate).

As a kindergartner, I drew myself over and over again with yellow hair. My teacher, Ms. Knecht (like “Connect the dots”), repeatedly told me that my hair was not blonde – that I was wrong. When she took her concern to my mom, my mom told her that I could have any color hair that I wanted. After all, it was my life and my drawing (go, mom!).

The battle for the blonde was won, but as I grew older reality set in and I knew I was a brunette. I became accepting, and even proud, of my brunette status although my curiosity about colors never ceased. In high school, I, at one point, had a black streak in my hair as well as some wash-in purples and reds. In college I tried a series of streaks – white (I was Rogue from “X-Men” one year for Halloween), turquoise, purple and pink.

My junior year of college, I went all red and never went back. In North Carolina, they only know me as a redhead, and I even was called “Red” by a beloved sports editor from my previous paper. That nickname could’ve had me committed to red hair for life, but then (as you know) I went west.

I’ve resisted dyeing my hair since January in hopes to grow it out enough to do what women do when they move to California in movies – go blonde.

Knowing that I might have some pesky red refusing to leave my hair, I asked for “rose gold.” I thought it would be a pretty, professional and trendy compromise. I thought I was making life easier for my hairdresser (Don’t worry, this wasn’t in Napa).

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I was scheduled to be there all day, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., to remove my former color and get as light as I could. Everyone was confident I would leave with strands of pink champagne.

But there was no bubbly, just a burning scalp and a hungry stomach. Instead they expected me to leave with hair resembling the insides of a tangerine – someone mixed the colors incorrectly, it seemed.

Multiple hairdressers pulled and tugged at my hair, slapping on paste after paste, trying to achieve the color I asked for (and get me away from orange). By the end, three of them were drying my hair, giving me the “model” treatment.

Even though I had a bunch of hands in my hair and hadn’t eaten all day, I wasn’t feeling much like a model. My hair is now pink with some orange undertones. I keep getting compliments, but I don’t know if I believe them. For me, the verdict is still out (and my scalp is still healing).

Yours truly,

Still not blonde.

Maria Sestito is the Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. Jersey Girl runs every other Monday. Follow her on Twitter at @RiaSestito or email her at msestito@napanews.com.


Public Safety Reporter

Maria Sestito is the Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. She covers breaking news as well as crime and courts. Maria came to the Napa Valley Register in 2015 after working at as a reporter and photographer at The Daily News in Jacksonville, NC. S