My mother has this cunning way of showing her disapproval or forcing her opinion. Her tactic is simple, yet insidious. She basically asks questions. “Is your hair still dark?” she innocently asks. Then she quickly follows with, “You know you look so much better when it’s lightened.” Yes, that was about ten years ago. I tried to go back to my natural color and stop being a slave to the highlights. But her question preoccupied me. Not long after I was begging my stylist to pack in the highlights, and I haven’t looked back.
Last year, in an effort to simplify things around the house, we decided to paint the exterior of our house all one color—a simple farmhouse white. This included the front door. Now, my mom is very traditional, and I know she has a thing for red doors. When she saw the house what did she do? She asked a question: “Are you going to paint the front door?” Then she quickly followed this with, “You know red would really look cute.” For a whole year, every time the subject of our house came up, she asked about the door. I’m not kidding. I just got off the phone with her and she asked again. So, now I’m obsessing over my front door. This is not a project I need right now. Yet, on my bike ride today, I will undoubtedly look at every front door in my neighborhood. I will start to go through magazines and gather paint swatches every time I enter Home Depot. She just has that much power. If only I could simply turn to her and say, “Shut the front door.” (If you know what I mean.)