Friday, May 27, 2005 ______________________________________________________________________________

Thoughts on Pink Hair 

Shortly after I quit the casino, I decided to dye the front part of my hair pink. See photo. I didn't think too much about it at the time, except that it would be nice to do something that wasn't able to do under my previous circumstances. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but the casino has really strict rules regarding hair and dress. I mean, you could get a yellow warning slip (three of these and you're fired) for having nails that are not painted either in a pink or a white shade. (Peach is technically orange, something that I didn't know prior to working for the casino. Neat how you learn things in places you never thought you would eh?) Pink hair to me was just a declaration of summer and an independence from a workplace that had treated me well, but that I had to leave. Besides, I was planning to go back and something like pink hair is nice and reversible.

That was all the thought I had put into dyeing my hair this colour (it's semi-permanent too so with each progressive hair washing a little of the garishness washes out. Right now it's a darker pink than the photograph, which was taken the morning after.) but now that I've worn it for about a month, here are some thoughts.

The first thing that I noticed about my hair is that it connects me with a culture I'm really not a part of. When I wear all black, goths make eye contact with me and give what I can only think is their version of a smile. Not only that, old people avoid me, middle-aged people stare at me and teenagers with skateboards and spiky hair give me a nod. In fact, I was approaching this guy for the time one day and he practically recoiled. Man, this hair thing is really categorizing. Then again, when I'm wearing more subdued colours, like a white sweater on khakis, I don't get people crossing the street to avoid me. I just get alot of disapproving stares from the parent's generation set.

You know, if someone told me that people would react the way they do to my appearance before I dyed my hair, I probably wouldn't have done it. Like I said, there wasn't that much thought put into the decision. I mean it's hair dye people! Probably the most temporary semi-permenent alteration you can do to yourself. With the possible exception of painting your nails. Which, oddly enough is more expensive to maintain than pink hair. Having said that though, there is no way I'm going to dye my hair black again any time soon.

Sure I get weird reactions from people, but who the hell cares? It's a bunch of strangers. I'm not looking for a job, I'm not looking to even make a good first impression. Why? Because I don't have to. I like that. My pink hair says that I am able to go about my life without having to care about what other people will think. It's incredibly liberating, even if it is a cheap thrill. I mean this is the first time I know that I have job security (even if it is just for the summer), and that I don't have to please anyone. Hell I'm even going to change my voicemail to something a little more whimsical than "Hi, this is Johanna, I'm sorry I can't come to the phone right now...". Why? Because no one that cares whether or not I have a professional sounding voicemail is going to call me. Damn, I like that.

Today I went for a walk in a black spaghetti strap top, pink hair and a black skirt that fell just above the knees. I resisted the black eyeliner thing just in case I ran into a few real goths. Then I just looked around and really enjoyed the fact that even though people were reacting to me, I didn't have to give a shit. Man did that feel good! I mean I'm usually sort of concious about others looking at me and forming an impression. Today, who the hell cares! They're not looking at anything other than my pink hair. Alllright. To put this into context a little, I've been job hunting due to a variety of circumstances for three years now. I've always had to make sure that my hair was nice, that my fingernails were neat, that I would make a good first impression, basically, because I never know when the next opportunity would turn up. The jobs I've held have also had dress codes that were upwards of "business casual". I don't have to care about that right now and I'm announcing it to the world with bright pink hair.

I still have more than two thirds of the pot of pink colour. I don't think I will refresh it though because my grandad gives me an anguished look every time he sees it. He also keeps asking when I'm going to restore it. Under the guise that I don't have much free time (which is partially true) I'm telling him that it will get done when I have the time. I mean, last night I noted that there are a great many things that I can't wear anymore from my wardrobe because it clashes with my hair and to be honest, the novelty is wearing off. For the time being though, it still thrills me to bits to think that I don't have to care what other people are thinking about me. For the record, the prof I'm working for as an RA explicitly said that he didn't care and then introduced me to a grad student in our dept. with purple hair. He spikes his purple hair too, which gives it more of a shock factor than mine, I think.

So that's that people. Pink hair. I love it, I like it and I certainly recommend it. Maybe for those of you who are leaving the army behind or something. Or that penultimate term at the university, just before you have to start job hunting and enter the real world. Join the movement!

posted by Joie! at 8:16 p.m.


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