Relay: The Green Machine

Women will be wearing green dresses, green blazers, green shoes, green nail polish, and, like me, a green scarf

   It will be a good ole time in Montauk this weekend for the Montauk Friends of Erin St. Patrick’s Day festivities. The fun starts tomorrow at a luncheon to honor this year’s grand marshal, Jack Perna. It’s also an opportunity for everyone to pull the green out of their closets.
    Women will be wearing green dresses, green blazers, green shoes, green nail polish, and, like me, a green scarf. Green is not my most flattering color, so I keep the wearing of the green minimal. When I wear green it makes me look as if I’m sick. I don’t want people I’m talking to thinking I might be getting ready to puke on their new green shoes.
    Members of the Friends of Erin will all be sporting their green blazers and black derbies, and I have to say, some of them clean up real nice. Other men add a flash of green on their ties, and still others will smile with green teeth, but I don’t think that’s intentional.
    The best outfits are the ones worn for the parade on Sunday. That’s when spectators really dress it up. It amazes me how foolish some people will allow themselves to look during a parade. But hey, everyone loves a parade, right? Well, everyone except those who actually live in Montauk, many of whom stay home to avoid the rowdy crowds.
    Quite a few of the women lining the parade route wear green wigs, but I’m thinking a little hair dye might be in order and might offer myself up for the job. I can do it, you know. I went to hairdressing school and turned many a head of hair green, unintentionally of course, but they got over it, though some of the lawsuits might still be pending.
    While I was really good at doing hair dye for those who wished to sport a green head of hair, hairstyling was not my forte, which I learned the hard way, especially when women would cry when they looked in the mirror at my station.
    In beauty school, as they called it, experimentation was rampant. My husband never knew what I’d look like when I came home each day. I had streaks of purple hair before that was a trend, a shag haircut dyed brown that made me look more like Ringo Starr rather than Joan Jett, whose look I coveted, and various colors of nail polish, which was a stretch because I don’t usually wear nail polish. It makes me feel too dressed up for daily life in Montauk.
    We also did facials. And that’s when I really turned green. At beauty school — which is an oxymoron because most of the technicians weren’t even close to being pretty and they didn’t compensate with a good personality — we were encouraged to use ourselves as guinea pigs. So one day I got home early and slathered my face with a thick green clay mask. This was years ago when people still used all that junk. It had to stay on for a half hour, so I lay in bed reading while my skin was supposed to be tightening and getting younger looking, and I fell asleep on my side.
    My husband came home, walked into the bedroom, and called my name. I turned over to greet him with the green clay mask on, which by this point was all crackly and flaking and looked like the spackle painters use, and he literally jumped with fear, thinking I had caught some deadly disease at school.
    So, I’ll just stick to my green scarf this weekend. But I will be at most of the festivities, wearing my usual black pants and whatever blouse isn’t wrinkled. And if I get adventurous, I might add a few green streaks to my blond hair. With my luck, though, and lack of hairdressing talent, it might just fall out, and I’ll be stuck wearing a green hat!
    Or I might just stay home and drink green beer. I hear it’s good for you, no matter what the color.

    Janis Hewitt is a senior writer for The Star.