It’s really strange how much people base their identity around a single physical attribute, like hair color, as the writer of this piece reminds me:
Though I rarely saw it, my natural color had darkened to a medium brown, so my roots were obvious. Not that anyone was really under the illusion that my flaxen hair was natural, though I argued that I was “a blonde inside” and God or the gene fairy or whoever had made a mistake with my dark locks.
Looking back, I don’t know what being blonde “feels like” or, for that matter, what it feels like to be a brunette. I just know I associated being blonde with being beautiful, but also with being something. Some people are sporty, or creative, or adventuresome. I, for some reason, wanted to identify as a blonde, perhaps because I hadn’t yet figured out what else I was of value yet. I projected a weird sort of confidence in being a blonde, but that confidence was about as genuine as the hair on my head.
A few weeks ago, I caught an episode of What Not to Wear (yeah, I know, guilty pleasure) where they begged and pleaded with a tall blond to darken her hair. She agreed with them that it would look better (I don’t remember whether the blond was natural or not), but was in tears over the idea of not being a “tall blond bombshell” anymore.
Ironically, when I was a kid I always wished for long, straight, dark hair; I thought that it would be dramatic and beautiful. My hair was odd and clashed with the pink that was so common for little girls. I remember getting a cheap dark wig for Halloween one year, and trying it on in front of the mirror over and over again, trying to get it to match the picture in my head of the perfect hair.
Now, of course, I’ve come to appreciate the uniqueness of being a natural redhead, and of course, I’m pretty used to myself this way now (though I still feel like I have trouble finding make-up I like). My use of the redhead name is intended to be cute, but I don’t really focus on it that much in real life. I’m pretty uncreative with naming things, so it was really the best I could do. Sometimes I like to kid around about being a separate race, but it’s tongue in cheek to demonstrate the silliness of the societal concept of race.