Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Thanks, I like yours too! What you have left of it.

When you dye your hair hot pink, as I do (or if you dye your hair Virgin Rose or Fishbowl Blue or Iguana Green), sometimes that is the only thing people can see about you. Fair enough. If I meet a person who has pierced that spot right above your nose between your eyebrows and put a ring through it, that may be the only thing I will be able to see about him or her, at least until I get to know that person a little better.

No I'm not going to put a picture of someone with that piercing right here. Thank me later.

But I feel I ought to document some of the observations I have been able to make while being that person with the cape of long pink hair for I think six years:

  • Some people assume that you are WIIIILD and CRAAAAZAY and tell you things you don't want to know. Note to swingers: KEEP IT TO YOURSELF I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW.
  • Some people assume that I am a dangerous freak and possibly shouldn't be allowed to raise my own children. Note to customers at BJ's: I'm fine, really. Everyone yells at their kids sometimes.
  • Some people think that it is REALLY FUNNY that I am a librarian. Note to old men in bars: you have NO IDEA how diverse librarians really are. Except for the fact that we are almost all women and almost all own cats. So, actually, only kind of diverse.

Also, if you have to ask:
  1. Yes it's natural. I was born this way.
  2. I get it this color by eating a lot of shrimp, like a flamingo.

So far, nobody has asked my WHY my hair is this color, except very small children. Small children get a pass. Small children get it when you say, "Because I think it looks pretty." Small children sometimes buy the line about the shrimp. Small children sometimes don't even look twice. Tiny babies don't like it though. They are not sure what's going on, but they know it's not supposed to be that color. Older babies assume it's part of a toy, and try to eat it. But of course, older babies try to eat everything, so the color of my hair may not be a factor.

But the most common comment I get is, "I like your hair." Most of the time I am pleased to say, "Thanks," and move swiftly along. I mean, who can argue with a compliment?

That last question was rhetorical. I mean, obviously the answer is, "Me, that's who." I can argue with a compliment. Oh yeah. I can get downright riled about a compliment. Because, you know, it might sound innocuous, but in fact there are at least three distinct versions of "I like your hair."
  • There's the actual compliment, which usually comes from a person to whom I can truthfully respond, "Thanks! I like your boots!" 
  • Then there's the "I like your hair" that comes from a place of, "I am quite threatened by the fact that you are different looking and I am going to throw it right back at you." 
  • Thirdly, there is a species of man who says "I like your hair" but who really means "You have pink hair, I bet you are a unusual in other ways too," which can be further translated to, "I bet you put out." No, I am not kidding about this. Really icky guys have assumed that any female whose physical presentation runs counter to what they are familiar with is EASY ever since... ever since the friggin suffragettes. Ladies - if you have ever been a punk rock girl, a hippie chick, or a goth, and god knows if you're a roller derby mama - you know what I'm talking about.

It's pretty awful. The most vicious, sarcastic responses roll through my mind sometimes in response to the innocuous, "I like your hair."

"My what?"
"Well that's a relief. I did it just for you and I was hoping you'd like it."
"Thanks. You must really know a lot about grooming - I've been appreciating your odor from all the way over here."
"Thanks. I like your attempt to provoke a conversation with me."
"No I will not give you a blow job."
"Thanks. I like your facial sores."
"Well, shit. Now I have to dye it back to blonde."