Lost in Suburbia classic: A walk on the lighter side

Tracy Beckerman
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Plaquemine Post South

“What do you want for your birthday?” I was asked by some family members in anticipation of the upcoming anniversary of the miracle that was my birth.

I mulled it over. I didn’t really need any more clothes or gadgets. There was nothing in particular in the stores that had caught my eye. After a time, I finally decided that what I really wanted for my birthday was … to be blonde.

“You want to dye your hair blonde?” asked my husband incredulously. “Why?”

“’I’ve been a brunette for almost 43 years. I want to see how the other half lives.”

“You realize as soon as you go blonde, your IQ will drop by half,” he said.

“Nice. Did you forget we have two blonde children?” I reminded him. “Maybe when I’m blonde they’ll actually look like me!”

Since I didn’t get my husband’s pre-approval when I cut eight inches of my hair, or when I got a tattoo, or when I got a second tattoo, and he in turn did not divorce me when I did all of these things, I decided to go ahead with my hair coloring plans.

I made my appointment. Canceled it. Made it again. Canceled again. And then finally, took the plunge. Three hours and a double process later, I was definitely more blonde than brunette.

“What do you think?” asked the stylist.

“I’m not sure,” I said truthfully. “I feel like I should buy an itty-bitty dog and go to L.A.”

“I think you look great,” she said. Everyone else in the salon agreed. They had to … it was permanent. I was a blonde until my hair grew out or I colored it brown again. Of course, the last time I colored my hair brown it came out too dark and my kids said I looked like Elvis. Not wanting to look like I should move to Graceland, I decided to live with the blonde for a while and see if it grew on me.

First I picked up my son from school.

“Ugh!” He yelled when he saw my new do. “What did you do?”

“Do to what?”

“To your hair? You look like Clyde.”

Being compared to my brother’s golden retriever didn’t actually seem like a rave, even if the dog was pretty cute. So, next I tried my daughter.

“You look like Nana,” she decided.

Being compared to my dearly departed grandmother who was 80 when she passed didn’t seem like a positive review either. So far I was zero for two. As I went about my day, I got some more feedback. Someone said I looked like Billy Idol. Someone else said I looked like Gordon Ramsey.

I have to admit, being compared to an aging rock star and a celebrity chef with a short fuse were not doing great things for my ego.

I was starting to think that maybe channeling Elvis wasn’t such a bad way to go.

“You look different,” said a friend of mine. “Did you get contacts?”

“You look a little tired today, Mrs. Beckerman,” said the lady at the dry cleaners. “Didn’t you sleep well?”

I threw up my arms in disgust and decided to go work off some bottled blonde aggression at the gym.

I snuck into the back of my exercise class as unobtrusively as possible.

“Hey, Blondie,” yelled the instructor. Twenty-five pairs of eyes turned and stared at my new do.

“Sorry, I’m late,” I said. “I just had my hair colored.”

“What do you think?” asked the instructor.

“I don’t know,” I said truthfully.

“Hmm,” she said. “I think it makes you look ... THINNER!!!”

I beamed. “Actually, I love it!”

This is a repeated Lost in Suburbia column, which has appeared in GateHouse Media newspapers since 2008. As Tracy Beckerman’s main column is shifting focus - her kids are grown and she has moved back to the city - we are rerunning her earlier work for readers who may have missed these the first time around. You can follow her on Facebook at and on Twitter at