Got the pink hair blues

I dyed my hair pink.

This was not the impulsive act of a 16 year-old girl. It was the impulsive act of a 51 year-old woman.

Dyeing my hair is not a new thing. My hair has been brown, blond, red, and as close as I could get to black without looking like Marilyn Manson. It’s been short, long, very short, even shorter, spiky, sleek, and permed a la the 1980’s. My philosophy has always been “it’s only hair,” and my hair grows fast. So when I saw the picture of the messy pink crop in the magazine I thought, “why not?”

I don’t ascribe to the idea that women “of a certain age”  have to conform to some acceptable form of dress. What does that mean, anyway? Aren’t we all a certain age no matter how old we are? I only question when people dress not as themselves, but who they wish they were but fear they are not.

Therein lay my problem. Did I want pink hair or did I want to be the kind of person who would dye her hair pink? While I was in the salon, I felt all badass and cool. Then I left the salon and went into Talbot’s.

I generally don’t shop at Talbot’s, but it was a 70% off sale. 70%–that’s a good deal, but I was not prepared for the looks. It wasn’t so much a look as it was a “I’m looking at your face and not at your hair” look, like when you’re talking to a guy with bad toupee. I left the mall with major wtf was I thinking regret.

My husband  knew I was considering the pink, but didn’t know I was actually doing it. He was complementary and said all of the right things, but he knew that I was a woman on the edge of a breakdown and behaved accordingly. My husband is awesome. He poured me a large glass of wine, gave me a reassuring hug and told me to own it. We decided that I’d imagine I was an Anime character–some sort of pixie librarian with a magical Almanac.

The next morning when I went to the grocery store, the pixie magic had worn off. I wore a hat. I never wear a hat. I just wasn’t ready to be conspicuous. I wasn’t sure I’d ever be ready. I’d have to stay in my house for the next six weeks. Thank god for Amazon prime.

I’m a stereotypical self-torturing artist. I am individualistic and self-expressive (hello, I have a blog) but as an introvert, really don’t want to draw attention to myself. I was afraid of what people assumed about my motives for having pink hair. I questioned my own motives for having pink hair. Was I trying to recapture my youth? Was I making a statement about aging, or fashion, or art? If I went to my stylist the next day and went back to brown hair, what would that say about me? Was I a coward, or just a woman who made a mistake in picking a hair color that clashed with everything but black and gray?

I had a good cry over it. My husband reminded me that I am not my hair, nor does my hair define me. It’s hair. I decided I would keep the pink hair and learn something from the experience. It was at least good for a blog post.

After all of that soul-searching for the reason why I did it?

Because I could. I thought it would be fun. If I was looking for some great revelation about self-perception, I didn’t find it, and If anyone else thinks I have a greater agenda, too bad. As for my judging people because I think they’re trying to be something they aren’t, shame on me. I don’t know you any better than I know myself.

I’m not keeping the pink hair forever, but I’m keeping it for now. For one, I’m afraid that if I bleach the pink my hair will fall out. Two, it fades quickly. My white towels are a sweet blush color at the moment. Three, I’m learning a lot about myself walking the universe with pink hair. I’m learning how to sit with my discomfort. I get a lot of positive reinforcement, which is nice, but the real challenge is owning my uniqueness and not being afraid of it, whether it’s my hair, or my politics, or my writing.

I suspect when my hair is brown again, I’ll miss the pink, but if I embrace this offbeat color while I have it, maybe some part of me will always bear a little streak of highlighter. And that’s nothing to feel blue over.

13 comments on “Got the pink hair blues

  1. aviets says:

    Wow. You go, girl. I’m impressed. And about Talbots? I have a feeling that no matter what hair color I sported or what I was wearing, the workers there would look at me the same way. I’m simply not the right “class” for that store.

  2. whimsygizmo says:

    I love this, Jeannine. I’m with your hubby: OWN IT.
    A couple of years ago, I had a brief but terrifying month or so of breast cancer scare. During which I pondered what life might be like bald and boobless. I decided I was gonna skip the pink, and go straight for my signature color, turquoise, and own it until it started falling out. Thankfully, I didn’t have to ponder past that month, once things came back all clear. I’ll tell you one thing: I didn’t complain about my hair OR my figure for a good 6 months after that. Sometimes, I have to recapture that thankfulness and bottle it up and drink it deep.

    I am not yet brave enough to go turquoise anyway, though I think about it often. You have inspired me to remind myself that I’m a creative soul, and if I do get the bug to do so, GO FOR IT. Why not wear our hair like a layer of clothing, to express our colorful, creative selves?

    • When it’s all said and done, I would regret not doing it more than I regret doing it. Although I have some clothing I can’t wear outside of the house. Neutral colored-hair does have its advantages.

      • whimsygizmo says:

        Heehee. I get that. I have a friend who dyes hers purple, and she wears whatever she wants, including glitter. I usually hug her just to have a tiny bit of sparkle rub off on me. But then, she’s a hardcore extravert, whereas I am, like you, an introvert. Give me black yoga pants, a black tank top, my computer and my warm pup, any day. 😉

  3. is your hair to do what you please. Reminds me of an ad I saw where both ladies got purple streaks in their hair and they were not 16….I loved it….LOL

  4. Oh me again…LOL….when are people going to just mind their own business….Sigh

  5. Ooh, I’m impressed. I’m too chicken to dye my hair pink or any exciting color like that, but I usually love vibrant hues on other women.

  6. Your hubby is awesome! You won’t be surprised to hear that I resonate with absolutely all of this – introvert, self-expression, the whole nine yards. But the one time I got a perm (called ‘body wave’ I believe but it came out hard and immoveable) my partner said I looked like the queen mother. I spent the night pulling and tugging, all to no avail. I did start to wear hats – and not just outdoors in the cold weather. Kudos as always for filleting the tender pith and putting it out there for us all to savor according to our own tastes. Brava!! And do post a picture of The Hair, will you?

    • I’m generally picture-phobic. Yesterday I decided that the pink had to go, so the countdown begins. I suppose you never understand where your boundaries lie until you push beyond them. It is hard to be the observer while you are being observed.

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