The other day, Noodge 2 asks if she can dye her hair blue. “Blue?” I say. “Yes,” she replies. “You mean, streaks of blue in your hair?” I’ve seen this look. “No, totally blue.”
My knee jerk response is, “You’re out of your mind if you think I’m going to allow you to dye your hair blue.” But I didn’t say that. What I did say was, “You can’t dye your hair blue. I’ll think about the streaks but not your whole head.”
Which was met with a series of unpleasant sounds. Part of me is worried how will the world view her with blue hair? I know of a woman in the writing world who dyes her cropped mop blue. Some people may think this is cool and trendy and edgy. To me, she looks like an Easter egg. And I’ve often wondered if she’s exhausted at the end of each day trying so hard. See? I look at this person with eyes filled with judgement. I don’t think she’s cool or hip. Am I forcing my opinions on my daughter’s head?
Maybe it’s not a big deal that she dyes her head blue. Maybe other people will look at her and admire her independence and her fearlessness. Maybe I’m just afraid for her and we shouldn’t let fear drive our choices. Not ever.
But, as a professional speaker for the past twenty-some years, I know we make judgments of others in the first 30 seconds we see them. Thirty seconds!! What are you going to think of when a thirteen year-old girl shows up with blue hair? You’re going to think her parents checked out. That’s what. So, maybe my fears are actually about my inability to be a good parent.
I will say, I do believe this philosophy wholeheartedly: Do whatever you want to yourself, when you’re an adult. Ink yourself up, pierce the heck out of your face, dye your hair the rainbow, but don’t think for one second others aren’t reacting to that image. Why do you think Ted Bundy was so successful? Because he was an educated white male in a suit and those poor women never saw him coming. Now, if he had made his face look a pin cushion and tattoos all around his head and his pants hanging to his knees I bet some of those women would’ve ran in the other direction. And I’m sorry if I just offended all of you who look that way, but if I’ve got nothing to go on, but the image you place in front of me how do I make a decision if I only have seconds to make a life saving choice? Not that I’m talking about life saving choices with the Noodge. I was referring to the Ted Bundy scenario.
Listen, I have a friend who grew his hair past his shoulders, pierced his eyebrows and his lip and God knows what else. Wore army jackets hanging to his knees. He got pulled over a lot for traffic infractions. Was he getting picked on? Probably. Is he a bad guy? Far from it. He’s a sweetheart we’ve been friends since we were five, but his image said, trouble. Noodge 1 has long, wild hair and it’s fine for a 14 year-old boy, but if he truly follows a path into the field of law he’ll have to cut that hair because no law firm is going to hire him looking the way he does. Right now, he fits the roll of rocker and when he’s behind his drum set even I think he looks cool, but the real world is another story.
So, am I being an unreasonable, out of touch mother who won’t let her daughter dye her hair blue? Should I look at this as there are so many other things she could be into, what’s the big deal? She can always dye it back. And I haven’t even brought up the cost involved which I will not contribute to. And what about the upkeep? I mean, what in the world will she look like when her roots start growing in?
Or should I just take a deep breath and relax? Who cares what other people think of you. You’re still the same person on the inside regardless of the color of your hair.
What does your hair say about you, but what does this dilemma say about me?