Those of us locked up have to be inventive to handle our needs and wants, especially for health and beauty. Here’s a few things I’ve encountered.

Mayonnaise hair treatment. A friend with very kinky, long, thick hair from South America heard from one of his loved ones that mayonnaise is good for hair, especially hair that gets out of control frizzy, so he tried it. Now, I can’t attest to it controlling his frizz but I will say it smelled shockingly good. Weird right? He smelled wonderfully attractive and I cannot tell you why, but mayonnaise in his hair equals smell good.

Another one is Sharpie’d nails. Since there is no fingernail polish some girls will use sharpies and “paint” their nails. Now, I’m not a fan of this. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done it because it does help feminize me mentally, but it feels very trailer park bourgeoise. The point is we can paint our nails but I’ve learned alternate means to accomplish this with regular acrylic paint and clear coat. Simple.

I’ve heard of others too like soda bottle enemas, lemon juice highlights, flat ironing with a clothes iron. Ooh, perhaps most interesting was when I first fell, this person made an oil lamp out of 2 paperclips, a pencil eraser tin tube, a plastic lid, cloth and a little baby oil then proceeded to turn his desk into a griddle. The man made fresh cookies and hot sandwiches all the time, it was like walking past a food truck, “Get yer’ fried bologne sandwich he’re!”

Recently I’ve learned to cook in the microwave. I’ve evolved from burritos and a bowls of top ramen to Quiche’s and homemade pot pies to calzones. My most recent love, cake. Not some flat dense mush that hardens after a day, but moist, fluffy, chocolate cake made from cheap chocolate creme cookies and seltzer water. Yeah. Next I’m working on making homemade Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

I guess part of me wants to encourage creativity. Prison can be this awful place where you learn very unhealthy things but it can also spark creative innovation in healthy ways, thinking about problems in the light of scarce resources. I’d bet lots of companies would like to have someone like me on their payroll to help think outside the box.

With Love
Ruth Utnage
(For interviews or media inquiries please contact me directly!)

Ruth Utnage fka jeff 823469 C-510-2
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA. 98272

or via Jpay email service (you have to use my birth name, but, please do not call me by it, my new legal name is Ruth)

Jeff Utnage