Apr 27 2007

On Being Pink

Published by at 10:57 pm under amy's head,daily

So, while I’ve told you I dyed my hair pink, showed you pictures, told you HOW i did it, and how many times, I haven’t really talked about why I did it, or what it’s been like since.

First, a brief History of Amy’s Hair.

Primarily, it’s red. Dyed red. Dyed as brilliantly and as vibrantly red as I can get it. This is what I think of as it’s normal state, although my natural color is kind of a paper brown bag.

I have gone through some paper bag natural brown spells.. like when I was pregnant with my kids… like the time in college when my brother bet me $50 bucks that I couldn’t NOT do anything harmful to my hair for 1 year (hahaha, i showed him. Nothing harmful, took the $50 bucks and went out and bought a bottle of red dye.) I think I had somehow convinced myself to stop dying my hair for a while a year or so ago, I think I thought it was time to give it up and just highlight a lot. I think I thought that is what the Grown Up Amy should do. So I tried it out for a while. While not bad, I tossed in the no dying towel and went red.

Then I decided to go blonde for the winter last fall. that was kind of fun. I did it in a salon each time, and they never want to do anything drastic. Something about it being “too damaging” or some other hogwash. They just highlighted it each time with a light dye on the rest each time. So it took most of the winter to actually GET it blonde.

So of course, shortly after that I decided to go for the whole pink thing.

OK. Glad we got that out of the way. Now I feel like you know the actual hair backstory. Not much mindset backstory though. I guess the easiest way to fill you in on that is to say that I’ve always felt like a haircut/dye is kind of like a jolt out of personal hygiene inertia. I’m not a girly girl. I don’t love to buy makeup and paint my nails every other day. I like to shower, run a brush through my hair and go, but I know I need to spend more time on my appearance. A haircut or dye job is kind of like a shot of excitement that I use to propel myself into WANTING to do my hair up all fancy instead of prefering to use my blowdryer to heat my eyeballs until they explode rather than dry my hair with a round brush with it.

So pink was something I always kind of thought about doing but never really thought i could or would. Having a job usually precludes that sort of hair color, you know? I used to moan to James that I should have done it back when I stayed at home with the kids with no bosses or clients to be grumpy about it. Until one day last year I mentioned the pink thing to my boss, and she was totally fine, even encouraging about it. I think her exact words were, “DO IT, OOOOH, THAT WOULD BE SO COOL!”

So the thought grew more and more, like a little seed in my brain. As my hair got blonder and blonder throughout the winter, the thought of trying out pink put down roots and lifted little leaves (sorry it’s spring, i can’t help the gardening metaphors).

When someone I know sees the pink hair for the first time, they usually freak out for a bit. Then they always ask, “Why?”

My typical response is, “I thought it’d be fun.”

But if they actually seem to be more interested in my thought process, I will get into it a bit more.. I guess it all goes back to my feeling Not Grown Up. Not just FEELING Not Grown Up, but not WANTING to feel Grown Up. It’s a way to look at myself a little differently. I may be 33. I may be a surburban working mom and wife, but now when someone sees me, they can’t just stick me in that Suburban Wife & Working Mom slot and leave it at that. I’ve forced them to look at me in a different way, and I’m also forcing myself to look at me in a new way. Which leads to my second favorite answer to the question, “Why?”

“Oh.. just to prove to myself that I’m not dead.”

I’ve stopped using that one, because I’ve only once gotten the instant recognition to what that statement means. That was from a husband at the neighborhood ladies bunco gathering. He instantly knew what I meant. He motioned his thumb in the direction of his garage as he nodded and said, “Exactly the reason I bought a motorcycle.” He knew that what I meant was it’s a way to shake things up, get out of your usual routines, get out of the habit of counting the days to the weekend, to the payday, to the summer, to the holiday, to the birthday, to whatever day until one day you wake up and you’re 90 years old and about to die and you wonder why you spent all that time counting the days, and just did something TODAY.

I’ve had the pink hair for.. I think 2 weeks now? I need to check my own archives to check! As I mentioned, I went to my neighborhood bunco gathering last week. I can say that I know at least one woman who saw my hair and loved it. I am not sure how everyone else really took it.. I think that it very likely when I left there were a few, “What was she THINKING?” comments.

I suspected this, but then last night it was confirmed. I went to a Mary Kay affair for a friend in the bunco group just starting her own business. After the Mary Kay stuff ended, I stayed a while with her and 2 others, talking about anything and everything. Just before I was about to leave, one of them started to talk to me about my hair, and it wasn’t for a few moments that I realized that she thought I totally ruined my hair. she started by telling me that her mother was a hair dresser and how she did very vibrant red colors that would look awesome on me.

I first thought she was recommending me a hair dresser that does wild colors because I obviously like wild colors.. Then I realized that she was saying that her mother could help me ‘fix’ my hair.

My hair, apparently needs “fixing”.

She talked some more, and it was actually kind of sweet, she seemed to be worried about me, and while I can’t really remember what exactly she said, it was along the gist of, really, I can just be me, I don’t have to do weird extreme things, I can just be my sweet self and be happy with that, and she’s so worried about me, and i need to make sure i’m taking care of ME and finally I realized, hey! she hates my hair! a lot!

It was actually kind of shocking to hear it all and realize she thinks pink hair is some sort of desperate grab for attention. It was also refreshing to have someone just tell me right to my face what they thought, even though it was in a round about “concerned” sort of manner. The only other experiences I’ve had with STRONGLY disapproving people have been a couple of older women strangers, and they see me, and then steadfastly refuse to make eye contact, or refuse to use more than 1 word (or 1 syllable, if they can help it) answers when I speak to them. This was when I bought some fabric at the local JoAnn’s – the lady cutting the fabric would have rather cut out her tongue and gouge out her eyeballs than have to serve me, and I took a bit of evil glee in trying to get her to say more than one word to me. (“What do you think of this fabric?” etc.)

So anyway, back to the “i’m just worried about you your so sweet and you can just be YOU and OH MY GOD i don’t think you realize you’ve totally RUINED your hair I could go get you a mirror if you don’t see it OH MY GOD YOUR HAIR IS PINK you must really be depressed about something because it’s something *I* would never do, so obviously something is wrong with you!!”

OK. I’m reading a lot into this. But I thought of a lot of things I *could* have said AFTER I left, and I still have that remorseful burning feeling when you wish you had said THAT, and THAT, and boy, THAT response would have been a real zinger, and so I’m kind of using this as my venting place.

I came home and was still kind of processing my reactions to it all and kept blurting things out to james. I think the thing that made me actually angry(ish … because i wasn’t THAT angry.. actually not really angry at all. just DEFENSIVE) was the fact that she thought it was just a bid for attention.

but it got me thinking. I mean really. Who dyes their hair hot pink who is NOT looking for attention? Did I do this becuase I’m trying to get attention for some reason?

I thought about it long and hard, and aside from the normal attention that we all want on a regular basis (I mean, hello, everyone wants SOME attention or we wouldn’t say a word all day), I don’t think this is really true. When I’m walking through Target and get the OH MY GOD LOOK OVER THERE, SHE HAS PINK HAIR looks, I find it kind of tiring, and in my head, I wish that other people would dye THEIR hair an abnormal color just so it will be more NORMAL and there won’t be the head turns. I actually find myself rationalizing the color of my hair away, thinking \ things like, “It’s not like it’s not a color found IN NATURE. Haven’t these people ever seen flowers? My hair color is perfectly normal in nature!!” Yeah. I know. I talk a lot of sense while trying to get some shopping done, don’t I? –even as I acknowledge to myself that this is kind of crazy talk, OF COURSE people are going to look at the pink-haired lady, I still maintain that I didn’t do this in a depressed grab for attention.

So why DID I do it? I’ve already stated, but here goes again.

I did it to try to define myself in a new way.

I did it so that the definition of “surburban wife and mom” can no longer be applied to me with no other factors.

I did it because I always wanted to give it a try.

I did it because I didn’t want to wake up 90 years old one day and wonder how I got there. I wanted to remember the days when I had pink hair.. and maybe it’ll give me the nerve to do it again. At 90.

And.. I did it because it’s just hair. Just like I thought it’d be fun to go blonde for the winter.. I thought it’d be fun to go pink for the spring.

It’s just hair. It fucking grows back.

You’d never catch me getting a tattoo. HELLO! PERMANENT! I’m way too fickle for that.

Plus, Ow.

It’s just hair. what’s the big deal? You can find this color IN NATURE, PEOPLE.

– amy looks and looks ’til she can’t look no more.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “On Being Pink”

  1. Heatheron 29 Apr 2007 at 2:43 pm

    You should stencil yourself a shirt! Several shirts… one for every day of the week. “It’s just hair” “It’s not permanenet” “Not your typical suberban mother” “At least it’s not green” “Stop looking at the pink-haired lady”

  2. Chrison 30 Apr 2007 at 12:57 pm

    I’m all for anything that is not grown up. I think it’s cool. I used to have hair down to my ass. Some days, I want it back. Damn work. Damn the man!