And now, the trick is to see if I can write a coherent blogpost at 11 pm while watching an episode of Dr. Who. Challenge accepted!
Approximately two weeks ago, I went to Wicker Park looking like this:
I left Wicker Park looking like this:
No, that isn’t a trick of the light or elaborate photoshop. My hair is pink.
Don’t let my modest and generally mild-mannered nature fool you – it has been a life-long dream to dye my hair pink1. And I figured since I had a job that didn’t care what color my hair was, and since I am young and plucky and just hitting that age where it is no longer acceptable to have pink hair, I knew this would be my last chance before I was left to spend the rest of my life wondering what would have happened if I would have been brave when I had the chance. So, after a lot of deliberation that stretched across several months and multiple time zones, I walked into the salon with the best Yelp reviews and left with a skein of cotton candy where my hair used to be.
Let me explain. One of the people I look up to most in the literary world is a talented woman named Laini Taylor. She is the author of the exquisitely lovely Daughter of Smoke and Bone, as well as the hauntingly beautiful Lips Touch Three Times. Her books make me shiver. The prose is like sun-warmed honey, the characters intriguing and rich, and frankly, the whole experience of reading her books is just delicious.
Ms. Taylor’s books were a big part of what made me decide to pursue a career in children’s literature. In fact, it was shortly after finishing Daughter of Smoke and Bone that I sent in my master’s application. Her work inspired me, and continues to inspire me, and taught me that the integrity of prose and plot does not have to be compromised if you write young adult books.
At the end of this week, I am going to meet Ms. Taylor2. She is speaking at LeakyCon. I am attending LeakyCon. A large part of the reason I am attending LeakyCon is just so that I can meet her. She’s fifty percent, John Green is the other fifty. When I first learned I was going to be in the same room as Ms. Taylor, I wanted to find some way to pay homage to her. And since her trademark is her flaming magenta hair, what better way than to dye my hair pink as well? Though mine is a much dimmer shade: I didn’t want to copy her, just be inspired by her.
And that is the story of why I have pink hair.
Having pink hair was, at first, shocking. Just looking in the mirror was cause for a double take, and I looked in the mirror approximately fifty-five thousand times in the course of my first pink-haired day. And how I felt about it changed every five minutes. For about 48 hours afterward the jump, I waffled between the urge to dye it back to red immediately and absolutely loving it and never wanting to go back.
Having pink hair has meant many big changes in my life. At first, I felt like everyone was staring at me all the time, even though they definitely weren’t. There are so much more obtrusive hairstyles to stare at in Chicago. I got more compliments from strangers about my hair then I’ve ever had before. I also felt like everyone I met had a preconception about me before we ever spoke just based on my hair color. Because, let’s face it, pink hair sort of screams youth in revolt. So when I interact with people now, I feel like I need to make an extra special effort to show that I am nice, normal, and grounded…I just happen to also have pink hair.
Having pink hair also makes it extraordinarily difficult to pick out an outfit. I thought having red hair limited my fashion choices – pink is worse. I wore a red dress yesterday for about twenty minutes before I realized this was the equivalent of white socks with sandals. The pink hair also has messed with my skin tone. As discussed before, my freckles have exploded like popcorn popping on the apricot tree since I arrived in Chicago. The red hair really lent itself to the whole Irish potato farmer look3. The pink does not. Instead of making my freckles look adorable, they instead make my skin look like a tarnish across otherwise porcelain skin.
And yes, I do get occasional disapproving looks from old people. And I do have to endure a slew of “is that your natural hair color” jokes. And it’s only a temporary state – within five days of returning to Salt Lake, I’ll be a ginger again. But for the time being, I love my pink hair. It makes me feel bright and spunky.
And, let’s face it – pink hair is cool4.
- And by life-long, I mean almost six months.
- Cue internal fangirl freakout.
- On an unrelated note, the other day at a store I tried on an adorable dress – it was red with a white Peter Pan collar and cinched waist and pleated skirt. Seriously, so cute….but I did not buy it because I realized that as soon as I have returned to my red hair, I could never wear this dress without being battered by a slew of Little Orphan Annie jokes.
- Had to slip that one in before the end of the episode.