After four years of colorful hair, I’ve gotten a lot of reactions from people, of every conceivable variety. (Of people and reactions, that is.) From positive to incredulous to backhanded, I can’t hardly leave the house without multiple people having something to say about it. As most of it is positive, I don’t mind when strangers stop me and compliment my hair, and I try to give them a big grin and thank them every time.
But over the years, I’ve also grown a little weary of some of the reactions. Most often, it’s cases of well-intentioned strangers just trying to make a connection or make me laugh, but after several thousand interactions exactly like that, it starts to grind on me. I know they’re just trying to be friendly and give me a compliment, so usually I just clench my jaw and smile, maybe give them a little laugh that I hope sounds sincere. But sometimes, I wish social mores didn’t restrain me with politeness and I was allowed to say exactly what I think…
Five Things I’d Like to Tell People About My Hair
It’s never “for” something.
The obvious one is Halloween. “Oh, was it part of your Halloween costume?” But I’ve also had people ask me if I did it for breast cancer, St Patrick’s Day, even if my purple hair was in honor of Prince’s death. As if my hair was one of those stupid flag or rainbow overlays people put over their Facebook profile pictures.
I think the reason this assumption bothers me the most is because it tells me that the person is searching for what they deem to be a good reason why I possibly could have dyed my hair that color. That by making such a bold fashion choice, I must have something passionate to say. It tells me that they can’t grasp wanting to have purple hair for the same reason other people go blonde or red: because I like the way it looks. And that’s kinda insulting.
I don’t know why your hair got fucked up that one time you tried, but maybe it’s just because you’re an idiot.
Many a time has a stranger complimented me on my hair only to follow up the compliment with a story about the time they tried to dye their hair blue or pink or whatever only to have their hair ruined. And yes, I sympathize, it would totally suck to have your hair wrecked by a bad dye job.
But here’s the thing: I’ve never had that problem. I’ve never fucked up my hair. I’ve never had a color just straight up not turn out. I’ve never had things go tits up and have to run crying to my stylist. Have I had colors that I didn’t like as much as others? Sure. (See: my one attempt at bright red.) Have I had colors that didn’t last as long as others? You betcha. (Again, the red.) But I’ve never taken off the towel after rinsing my hair and said, “Fuuuuck, this is bad,” so I don’t know what to tell you.
So when you tell me that you ruined your hair or fucked up your color, I can only make one assumption: you’re an idiot. Because dying my hair? Not that hard.
No, it’s not my natural fucking hair color, and that joke wasn’t funny the first fifty fucking times.
Or even the first time. That joke almost always comes from a mid-fourties, early fifties white guy, and it’s always accompanied with a shit-eating grin that says that he’s pretty fucking proud of that little gem. What I hate the most about it is that there’s no real good response to it*, forcing me to simply smile and force a little giggle. Which I super hate doing.
*Not entirely true. There’s good responses, just none of them polite. I was once at the grocery store, in kinda a hurry, when some guy stopped me just so that he could bust out that quip in reference to my teal hair. I was so irritated that I looked straight into his eyes and with a stony face and said, “Yeah, my mom fucked a smurf,” and walked away.
I don’t think you understand how matching works.
Auuuugh, this one. If I am wearing an item of clothing, from my jacket to my watch to my shoes, that is in even the same remote side of the color wheel as my hair, someone will proudly point out that they match. As if they cracked my secret code or found Waldo. As if it was something other than the fact that I wear colors other than black and change up my hair often, so at some point my clothes will be a similar color to my hair. (There’s only so many goddamn colors in the world, people.) As if the possibility doesn’t exist that my hair was a different color when I purchased that particular item. Nope, I clearly go to extra lengths to coordinate my clothes and my hair to give idiots like you something to do. I’m your motherfucking walking Eye Spy game, right here.
But what bothers me the most is that nine times out of ten they don’t actually fucking match. Matching means that they’re the same color, not that a three year old would use the same word to describe them. Take this picture from a trip to Maine a couple years ago. My hair is a lilac with pink highlights. My jacket (Kyle calls it Muppet Coat, because when I leave it around he says it looks like someone skinned a muppet) is royal purple verging on indigo. Those colors are both purples, but they are not the same purple. If someone painted your wall with half one color and half the other, you would be pissed because they’re not the same shade, and therefore, don’t match. They coordinate, but they do not match. And yet, if I wear that jacket with that hair color I will have 15 fucking people (all of them very fucking proud of themselves) point out that my jacket matches my hair. And that’s just a mild case. Wear a green shirt with teal hair? They match. Is my hair currently lavender and my boots plum with red undertones? Matching!
Don’t. Touch. It.
Seriously, when did touching complete strangers become okay? What’s that? Fucking never? Then how exactly is it that strangers think it’s okay to reach out and grab a lock? I hate that! It’s not that I’m a super not-touchy person, exactly. If I know you and am comfortable around you, contact is fine. But having strangers reach into my personal space and touch me makes me homicidally uncomfortable. As if my hair color choice negates all social mores about boundaries. And besides, what exactly are they expecting when they touch my hair? That it’s a wig that will slide off at their very touch? That it will feel like plastic? That it’s something other than just hair? Frankly, I don’t give a fuck, I just don’t want them to touch me.