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Around Town:

Getting to the root cause

April 22, 2010|By Anita Susan Brenner

If you are under 50, stop reading this column. Honest. It will bore you. It will scare you.

It will make you rush to the mirror to check your roots.

Like many of you, I was shocked to learn that on March 26, Nancy Pelosi celebrated her 70th birthday. Does she look 70 to you? I don’t think so. Not the suits. Not the stride. Not the face.

But the subject that interests inquiring La Cañadans is not Nancy Pelosi’s age. We need to know more about Nancy Pelosi’s hair.


I decided to call in the local experts. First stop was the home of Carrie Ann Maynor. Carrie was a first- and second-grade classmate of our son at La Cañada Elementary School, and, when it reopened, a third- through sixth-grade classmate at Palm Crest Elementary School. Carrie is the real deal. She grew up in La Cañada and settled down in La Crescenta. I caught Carrie just as she was leaving for her job at Salon Finsel in South Pasadena.

“Carrie,” I asked. “Does Nancy Pelosi dye her hair?”

“I’m sure,” said Carrie, looking at the photos. “She definitely dyes her hair.”

“How do you know?” I asked. “President Reagan didn’t dye his.”

I knew this because Michael Deaver wrote in his book, “A Different Drummer”:

His chestnut hair had given up the battle against time and was brushed with a dignified gray. I know for certain that no dye ever touched Reagan’s hair. For years, the Reagan haters had literally sifted through his barber’s trash can, searching for a dyed gray lock that could serve as a tiny metaphor for a phony man and an even more phony presidency. They searched in vain. It was an old actor’s trick — Brylcreem — that gave Reagan’s hair that dark gloss, not Clairol for Men.

Carrie replied, thoughtfully, “You’d see salt and pepper if it’s natural. She has highlights but no salt and pepper.”

“What about the depth?” I asked. “Doesn’t she have extensions?”

“Probably not,” Carrie said.

“At her age?” I asked.

“My grandma has a full head of hair, and she’s 86.”

I had met Carrie’s grandmother. In her retirement, she works for the Los Angeles Dodgers. And, yes, she has a full head of hair, plus a great job.

Unconvinced, I stopped by Starbucks, where I ran into Shari Self, another La Cañadan and co-owner of Salon Finsel. I showed Shari the photos.

“How does Nancy Pelosi do it?” I asked.

“She probably gets a daily wash and blow dry, and a monthly tint and highlight. Personally, I don’t think she gets extensions. She has a lot of hair.”

“Can you give me her haircut?” I asked.

Shari looked perplexed for a moment and then gave her answer. “We’ll fake it.”

Life is so unfair.

ANITA SUSAN BRENNER is a longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident and an attorney with Law Offices of Torres and Brenner in Pasadena. E-mail her at

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