Saturday, April 5, 2008

Happy birthdays and henna'd hair

Ron's 40th birthday is tomorrow. He's a handsome guy, and still will be when he hits 80. My favorite feature of his when we first met was his hair. It's dark and wavy and even before he became a professor, he looked like one, which, for some reason I'm not really interested in delving into, was sexy to me. Okay, wait. I'll delve, but only for a moment. It's because I had a crush on my 11th grade English teacher who had a Ph.D. So he was always my idea of what a professor was.

Back to Ron. I even wrote a silly poem to him for one of his birthdays, back before we had kids, about his hair. Silly as in I meant for it to be funny.

His hair is still dark and wavy, and long and slightly unkempt again, just like it was when we met. Only it's mixed with some grays now. And on him, it works.

I, on the other hand, have colored my hair for more than 10 years. My first gray popped up when I was 21, right smack dab on my 21st birthday, as a matter of fact. And it wasn't the last. Jane D back in Pittsburgh has gorgeous gray hair and a gorgeous complexion to match. Tired of coloring mine and tired of pumping it full of chemicals, I decided to let it grow out, see what kind of gray I could end up with. The result wasn't what I would call gorgeous. I figured, that's okay, I would just embrace the gray and my age and revel in what the years had taught me.

Turns out that what the years have taught me is that having a five-year-old point out how gray your hair is turning isn't necessarily all that embraceable. It's not vanity, it's . . . okay, it is vanity.

In an effort to convince myself I was coloring my hair to make it healthy looking again, I bought some henna. See, I believe I'm a natural redhead who accidentally ended up with light brown hair. There was just a mix-up somewhere along the way, and henna is the natural, healthy solution.

Only when you first color light brown (splashed with gray) hair with henna, it's not red. It's orange. Bright orange. Bright, flashing orange, as in the color of orange Listerine. I know because we had a bottle sitting on our sink when I was drying my hair. When Simon saw me he said, "Did you mean for your hair to be that color?"

So until my hair fades to a more acceptable shade of Thanksgiving Dinner Sweet Potato Pie, I've decided I may as well make the most of it. As I said, Ron's birthday is tomorrow. And I believe no 40th birthday party is complete without a hired clown. Besides, I could really use the cash to buy some head scarves. How convenient to know just the country where I can get them.

Happy Birthday, Ron! You'll always have better hair than me, but I promise to never resent you for it. I love you!


Dliberati said...

Hey Ron, Chrissy and I want to wish you a Happy Birthday. Enjoy the your day as you reach the big number 40. Congratulations!

BEC said...

Ron, Happy birthday. We will toast you (maybe roast you) at our kidney party. Too bad Bobbie doesn't have my orange cargo pants to go with her hair.

Jeff said...

Well, happy birthday, first of all. Birthday wishes are just our little way of saying "We're glad you didn't keel over part-way through the year." Congratulations!

Second, below is a list of things you should have done before today, which I stole mostly from the internet. I've helpfully tried to assess how well you've done on it.


* accomplished

- Don’t die! * (mission accomplished)
- Write a book. * (credit for spouse)
- Learn a new language. * (can communicate with children and, to a lesser extent, women)
- Visit a new country. *
- Pay off all your debts. (you wish)
- Sponsor a poor child. * (4 of them)
- Get back in shape. * (better than me, anyway)
- Try out for a movie/play/musical…
- …sing horrible karaoke… * (I assume)
- …or do anything to embarrass yourself! * (or your wife or kids)
- Take one step toward your true passion. *
- Quit your dead-end job. *
- Stop smoking. (no credit if you never started)
- Move into the house of your dreams. (?)
- Meet a new friend… *
- …of a different race… *
- …and a different religion than you. * (practically everyone?)
- Stop speeding… (some of these are completely unreasonable)
- …and kill your road rage. (again)
- Take up a new sport.
- Drive on Route 66.
- ...or drive on Route 33 twice.
- Take a cruise.
- Live and let live.
- Live and let die.
- Live to tell about it

(but slow down, you're old now)

Clayton said...

Happy Birthday Ron! Frankly, I have always found your hair sexy in that "professor" kind of way too.

Very sad that we won't see you guys at the Chapman's tonight, but glad that you all survived the dune bashing. Hope the next 40 years are good ones too.

Reid said...

Dear Ron, quondam outsider, extant (jolly good) fellow....

That you and your Bobbie and your brood are missed is to understate, but how else to state...?

Happy 40th, RON! You are such a BABY!!



Ron said...

Thanks for the many birthday greetings! Having a wife with bright orange hair keeps me feeling young, despite turning the big four-oh. Many thanks to Bobbie for that, and all the other things she does to enrich my life.

Susan said...

I read through the comments, sorry to intrude in your business, but I must say that your comment was the best!! I hope you had a good day- we sang happy birthday to Jesus about three times yesterday, but I didn't realize it was your birthday until last night. So Avery and I will sing atleast three times for you today! So happy belated birthday from all of the Custers. I don't feel so bad about you guys being gone until I read Bobbie's blog and realize how many great memories you are making without us. I know that sounds selfish, but I hope you know what I mean. Again, happy 40th. Love you, Susan, Paul, and kids

John said...

Dear Ron,

Sorry to be a day late, but I wanted to send my birthday wishes nonetheless. And for those of us who don't have much hair left to turn gray, you've gotta be proud that you've kept your mop this long, whatever color it may be. We miss you guys, but are glad to hear you're enjoying yourselves there.

jules said...


I,too, am married to a man with a decent head of hair and frankly, it is what keeps our marriage alive!

Welcome to the 40 and over club! You don't look a day over 39. happy b'day, Dude!

Jody and Juliet

Christine said...

Happy Birthday, Ron
We missed you at the kidney party last night.
Hope your birthday was great. 40 seems awfully young. I hope you feel young.

Wendy said...


We missed you last night, and we missed the birthday cake Bobbie usually brings. Fifteen minutes before the party was supposed to begin, nobody had arrived, and we thought of you guys--who are usually 15 minutes early. Do you look as good dressed like an Arab? Any idea whether the students in your classes in Qatr think you are as handsome as we do?