Ellen S: The Friday before my high-school reunion, I went to get my hair colored. It was a biggie reunion, and damned if I was going to be flashing any grays. I went to "L," the sweet colorist I've been seeing for the past few years, and we adjusted the formula a bit. The last few dye jobs had worn off more quickly than usual, and she'd been trying to address that. We chatted about work, my kids, her boyfriend, life, and then I ran out of there with my hair wet since I had to get home.
When I finally took a look at my hair later that night (this is what happens when you have kids: You practically need to schedule an appointment to take a look at yourself in a mirror), it looked different than usual. It was slightly darker. It looked a little dull in spots. It looked (horrors!) DYED. I am all about the natural look, no matter if it comes from a bottle or I use nine types of makeup to achieve it.
I went back to the salon the next morning and told L my hair was off. She peered at it. "I think it looks fine!" she said brightly. I asked her to come outside in daylight and take another look. She did. "I think it looks pretty!" she said.
That was the moment I knew it was over. If L kept insisting everything was OK, despite the fact that I clearly wasn't happy, we were no longer connecting on an emotional level.
I e-mailed the salon owner. She suggested I book an appointment with a different person on a day L was out. I was shocked: She was endorsing an affair? Still, I said yes. The salon is one of the best in my area, and it's just a three-minute drive from my house. I couldn't resist its lures.
The day before my appointment with the new colorist, "D," I called the salon anonymously and asked whether L was going to be in the next day. When the receptionist said no, I knew I'd be safe. I just couldn't bear to face L while I was in the hands of another colorist.
D did a nice job. My hair is back to its usual natural-look-dyed existence. Me, I am still torn. I don't want to have to schedule appointments for the rest of my life (or, OK, at least the next year) based solely on when L is going to be out. Nor do I want to face her, because she's genuinely nice and I know I'll bum her out.
I have turned into the equivalent of that boyfriend who weaselly-worms his way out of a relationship without a formal goodbye. And man, am I feeling guilty.
Where are the support groups for this sort of thing?!