I won’t point the finger at anyone in particular.
And I can’t really explain it, other to say that my personal rebellion as an 18-year-old took a strange form:
I know. What a shocking past.
In the last 8 years, I’ve been almost every shade of hair color you could be: platinum blonde, strawberry blonde, dark blonde, light caramel, honey brown, chestnut, dark brown, black, bright red, auburn…you name it, I’ve had it.
It all started right around my 19th birthday, when on a whim I decided to dye my hair black. Where did the whim come from? I have no idea–I had never even touched my hair with even so much as a highlight before that fateful night. With my roommates egging me on, I chose the darkest shade possible at our local drugstore.
The rest is a blur of uber-dark hair, shocked friends and relatives, an angry stylist, a failed attempt to restore me back to my natural color, an overly zealous stylist dying my hair platinum to “even me out” (and then subsequently bleaching my eyebrows because she screwed up), and several years of throwing up my arms and saying, “Whatever, it’s just hair. It’ll grow back.”
A few days ago, someone curiously asked me if people treated me differently, based on what color my hair was. I’d never really thought of it before–although once I thought about it, I realized that they had.
So to summarize how I’ve been treated as a blonde, a redhead, a brunette, and with gothic-black hair, read on, my friends.
This is my natural color, and probably my most-complimented by random strangers. People often remarked, “Is this your natural color? It’s beautiful!”–and boy, do I regret not appreciating the color now. Apparently, having dark honey-colored hair is unusual enough that people took notice and felt compelled to talk about it.
I had two experiences with platinum, one with bleached blonde eyebrows (as I explained, a horrific mistake), and one with my naturally darker eyebrows–and thus, I had two different experiences with this hair color.
With the bleached eyebrows, I truly felt like I was treated like a ditz. It was subtle, but I felt that many strangers wrote me off as an impulsive shopaholic. It was at this point in my life that well-meaning strangers tried to evangelize to me the most–probably thinking, “Boy, that girl sure needs it”. I was once shopping with a friend in the mall, when a middle-aged man came up and attempted to tell me about Jesus, and despite our efforts to politely decline the conversation, he had a hard time leaving us alone.
After undergoing the unpleasant process of having my eyebrows grow back to my normal dark color (and boy, is it fun to have different colored eyebrows for a period of a few weeks), I noticed a change in how strangers treated me. I received a lot more random male appreciation, most notably, often in the form of freebies from restaurant servers and store clerks.
With this hair color, I literally felt invisible. My friends often overlooked me in the crowded university cafeteria, and not a single person ever told me they liked the color. I felt like a plain-Jane, nameless face in the crowd with this color.
This was the most striking hair color I’ve ever had, for my fair complexion. Strangers would regularly stop me in the street and say, “My goodness, you have the most amazing blue eyes!” Oddly, I received a ton of attention from people with this hair color–especially men. I’m not sure if it was because when I had this color, I was living in Southern California (the land of blonde-haired beach babes) or if it was because I’m naturally so pale-faced–but regardless, I got a lot of looks from your average Joe on the street (and even got a number
from a much older police officer with this hair color). Several of the guys at my college told me that they “loved me” with dark hair, much to my surprise.
Regrettably, however, was an unpleasant experience I had in being compared to a whiny actress from a show I absolutely loathe. That was enough to persuade me to get rid of this hair color as fast as possible.
If I wanted to be a magnet for teasing for the rest of my life, I’d stick with red hair permanently. I can’t even begin to describe how often I was made fun of by total strangers, friends, and co-workers when I had bright red hair. Usually, it was accompanied by some cliché taunt about how I must have a fiery temper–unfortunately, in my case, this is true–which only made me a bigger target.
Perhaps it was a childhood of adoring Nancy Drew, but I had always wanted to have strawberry blonde hair. Always.
Until I actually had strawberry blonde hair. It’s just not for me, and it’s so darn hard to match it to clothing. I felt washed out and dulled by literally everything I wore. I don’t know a single person that liked it–not even me.
There you go. How the world treated me, based simply on the color of my hair. It’s been an interesting social experiment, and only one real question remains:
What color will I dye my hair next?