After quite a bit of thought (we’re talking years) I decided to dye my hair pink this winter. And frankly, I’ve never felt more me. The color choice wasn’t super well-received by some friends and family and that made me mildly concerned about how it would be perceived while traveling. Turns out, I didn’t really need to worry. In fact, it was a conversation starter.
Arriving in Austria, no one glared at me or looked horrified and the minute we walked into the hotel in Vienna the woman with bright colored hair of her own was thrilled by my pink tresses and it made a bonding moment. I was on that trip with my aunt, and slightly worried about meeting her work colleagues in the cat show judging circuit because of my hair, but two of them had their own hair tinted in hues of pinks and purples. While I was sitting alone having a beer outside of a castle in Laxenburg, a woman approached and asked if she could sit at the table with me. Or at least I think that’s what she asked, there was a lot of German and pointing, but I knew enough words to get the gist. My limited German and her limited English meant our convo wasn’t deeper than asking exchanging pleasantries and where we were from, but she did point at my hair and say “rosa” and smile. Knowing my colors from my German lessons (thanks duolingo), I knew she was complimenting my pink hair. Danke, nice lady.
I also had a press trip to Miami right after that and figured that the residents of the vibrant and modern city of Miami wouldn’t bat an eye at my pink locks, and I was right. I got nervous as a security guard at the airport took extra time with my passport, but it was only because my hair was quite different and then he told me that the pink hair was “fire,” which the young people I know assure me is a good thing.
On our road trip through some more conservative Southern states this summer, the only people that mentioned my hair were those that liked it and had questions about how to get the look themselves. Even an adorable witch at faux Hogwarts at Universal asked me which potion I used to get my hair to look this way. I assured her it wasn’t available at the Weasley joke shop.
Walking in the woods on a fairy trail in NJ, a young kid saw me approaching and told his mother I looked like a fairy. I leaned into that and told him that there were a lot more, he just had to keep his eyes open. The mom smiled, told me she loved my hair and they went off to find more fairies.
For all my worrying, the pink hair actually seems to make me more approachable. People come talk to me about either my hair, or to ask for directions or for me to take their picture, or even occasionally a picture of me. I’ve had some great conversations at bars when I’m alone and it seems to make people feel instantly more comfortable with me, and some people have told me they talked to me because they think I seem fun. Approachable and fun are definitely character traits I am proud to have, so I’m glad that the hair brings that to the surface. If you see me out traveling, come say hello. You can’t miss me, I’ll be the one with the pink hair!