of hair + color [the reactions]

I doubt there are few sentences in the world that sound more arrogant than, “I am an enigma.”

I’m going to say it anyways.

Honestly, we are all enigmas in various types of wrapping. Some of us are wrapped in pretty tissue paper. Some of us are wrapped in concrete. Some of us are wrapped in the price tag stickers that pretend to peel off nicely and then DON’T and you’re left with stupid sticky pieces of sticker and you break your fingernail trying to get it off cause you can’t find the Goo Gone.

Where am I going with this?

I have bright, unnaturally colored hair. But 95% of the time, I want to be invisible.

It’s an introvert thing most of the time. Sometimes it’s a bad day. Sometimes it’s my anxiety. Sometimes it’s my depression. I take medication to keep those last two from overwhelming me, but some days are just hard. Regardless of the reason, it’s very hard to be invisible with blue hair.

People will react differently to you. In my experience, it’s mostly been nice complements and questions (that “How did you do that??” question). That doesn’t sound so bad, right? If you’re an introvert, you’re probably getting that knot in the pit of your stomach. Strangers looking at you. Strangers pointing at you. Strangers talking to you.

SMALL TALK.

If at this point you’re thinking, Really? You dye your hair blue and then complain about people noticing you?  I guess that’s the enigma part (alright extroverts??!!). Anyways, the point of this is not about me and how I feel, the point is to say, hey, just a friendly fyi, after you dye your hair a bright pink, there will be people who notice and react to it.

Sometimes they just look. Sometimes that look is very disapproving (usually the 60+ crowd). Sometimes it’s admiring (usually the 5-13 year old crowd). Sometimes it’s very confused (usually children under 5). Sometimes they say things. Sometimes it’s to you and sometimes it’s to whoever they’re with. Sometimes it’s super creepy or weirdly sexual, but most of the time it’s just nice. Sometimes people shout from across the room. Sometimes they get really close and want to touch your hair. Sometimes they ask before they touch your hair and sometimes they don’t.

People react differently to different colors, which I find fascinating. Reds and pastels seem to put people more at ease than blues and greens. But my favorites are always the kids. Most kids seem to like brightly colored hair, although it seems they’re not entirely sure if their eyes are deceiving them. “Mommy, that girl has green hair…….right?” Some kids do not like it and are not shy about saying so. Then I’m left trying really hard not to laugh after a little kid has just very loudly vocalized to the entire store that he does NOT like green hair and his parents are so horrified and embarrassed. Other kids will shout excitedly “Look at her blue hair! Mom, look at her blue hair!” which also leaves the parents horrified and embarrassed and me trying not to laugh.

If you’re looking for an ice breaker, colorful hair will do it.

Then of course, there is the whole adult, professional world where respectable people have one of only five hair colors. I am lucky in that I am a graphic designer. That makes sense to most people. Oh, well, yeah, she has pink hair, but she’s a designer. That’s like one of those artsy things. But not all graphic design firms would see it that way. And in most other professions, colorful hair is actually banned. The stereotype of people with colored hair and/or tattoos and/or piercings is incredibly outdated at this point, but it’s still very widespread.

But hey. You be you.*

 

*Colorful hair is not recommended for people on the run from the mafia, people regularly engaging in illegal activities, escaped convicts, or international spies unless you are in a superhero group a la The Black Widow.

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