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Confessions of a Beauty Addict
By Nadine Haobsh
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2009 Nadine Haobsh
All right reserved.
Oh my God.
Oh my God.
My hair is orange.
How could this happen?
I applied the dye carefully in sections, ran it all the way through to the ends, and left it on for exactly fifteen minutes. I wore the stupid plastic gloves and used the timer on my kitchen stove to make sure it didn't overprocess.
And it turns orange?
Calm down. Breathe. It's not so bad. It's not orange, per se. It's . . . auburn. Slightly amber. Burnt sienna, really.
Stop fooling yourself, Bella. It's orange, you idiot.
"Crap!" My voice echoes around the small, product-laden bathroom, every available inch of counter space smothered with bottles of mousse, antiaging serum, eye cream, and mascara, and I wonder if my roommate Emily Tyler can hear me. Her bedroom is down the hallway, but our walls are paper thin. Sure enough, her scratchy voice calls accusingly, "Bella? What did you do?"
"Nothing! It's nothing! I just . . . uh, tripped!" I yell back, my heart skipping beats as I envision the ribbing I'll have to endure if my best friend walks in and sees the catastrophe my beauty "skills" have caused. She'd never let me live it down.
I need to fix this immediately. I am abeauty writer. I am supposed to be able to handle something as elementary as dyeing my hair without ending up with a pumpkin on my head. This is much worse than the unfortunate time I burned off my eyebrows trying to dye them blonde. If I show up tonight at my profile interview for the New York Post looking like this, I will become a laughingstock of the beauty industry, and my editor, Larissa Lincoln, will inevitably decide I have no business writing my monthly The Beauty Expert column for Enchanté, and she will fire me for being incompetent and useless, and then I will have no income and will not be able to afford living in New York. I'll be homeless. Worse, I'll have to go back to Ohio. My life will be ruined!
And all because of a stupid dye job! Damn it.
I silently berate myself for freaking out. Get it together, Bella. It's just hair.
What to do? Dye it back to blonde? Half my hair might fall out. Besides, the whole point of my assignment is to see what it's like being brunette.
Why? Why did I decide to do this two hours before my interview? I went to Northwestern. I have a degree in journalism. I am, at least, theoretically, intelligent, although lately it seems like nothing I do reflects this. So how do I end up in situations like this time and time again? My father's voice floats through my head, clear as crystal, pulling me back fifteen years to a dinner with his Lieutenant Colonel: "Bella's book smart, but doesn't have much common sense. Now, Susan, on the other hand. She is the elder child, after all . . ." My mother squeezed my hand under the table as she interjected, "Chuck, please don't compare the girls! They each have their own gifts." Yes, indeed. Where shall I collect my first-class prize for being a total spaz?
I have an hour to fix this before I have to hop in a cab and rush down to Pamplona, the magazine industry hot spot I'm meeting the Post reporter at. Even if I wanted to dye it back and then fix it tomorrow, I wouldn't have time to blow it out. And in any case, I'm going to be photographed, so I'm definitely not going to make the mistake of trusting my own dyeing skills again. I'm getting my first big profile piece, in one of the most widely read, influential papers in the country . . . and I'm going to look like I stuck my head in a vat of carrot juice.
Can I wear a hat? I don't own any hats. I hate hats. Showing up in a hat is even more embarrassing than showing up with orange hair. What about a head scarf? Jackie O wore head scarfs. Princess Grace wore head scarfs. It's very Monaco circa 1971 and is so ridiculously out there that I think it might work. The photographer will probably think I'm just another diva, self-absorbed, magazine head case.
I run into my bedroom and yank open the top drawers of my wooden dresser, rummaging frantically through them. Through the years, I've accumulated countless fancy scarves that I've never once worn, all sent by beauty publicists as thank-yous for stories written about their products. Finally, they'll come in handy.
I dump the scarves onto my bed and spread them out, surveying the stock before picking out two possibilities. Tan and cream silk Hermès dotted with chain links? Or psychedelic blue cotton Pucci with a green and white geometric print?
The Pucci projects more of an image—a style moment. This, I can work with—all I need to complete the look is an A-line coat, shift dress, knee-high boots, and sunglasses. It's more than a little costumey, but after years of holding court at photo shoots, I know that the getup will at least photograph well. Very retro.
Wrapping the scarf around my head is more complex than I'd anticipated, however. How do celebrities do it so effortlessly? I try tying the ends around my chin, but I look like Queen Elizabeth with her dogs. Tying the ends behind my head near the nape of my neck simply makes me look like a Von Trapp.
Fifteen minutes of playing with the scarf yields nothing. I've mastered the Erykah Baduthing, but not the St. Tropez-with-Roger-Vadim-at-my-side thing.
I only have half an hour left. The restaurant will inevitably be crawling with other editors and it's too late to change the location. I have to fix this now.
The answer—so obvious that I can't believe I didn't think of it immediately—pops in my head: Nick.
Excerpted from Confessions of a Beauty Addict by Nadine Haobsh Copyright © 2009 by Nadine Haobsh. Excerpted by permission.
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