Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Blonde? Brunette? Red? Check one.

What is the hair color of a bald girl?

As I consider big changes in my life – new places to live, a new job, making new friends, maybe a new boy – this is the question that keeps me up at night.

It’s such a trivial thing, but I have to be prepared. It comes up. When I get a new driver’s license, I have to check a hair color box. If I sign up for online dating, I have to identify my hair color, so that men with preferences can find me in a search. If I meet friends of friends at a bar, I have to be able to explain how they’ll know it’s me. Usually this is accomplished with a quick “I’ll be the fiery redhead in the Kelly green shirt.” Or, “Just look for the blonde with pink streaks in her hair.” Real people don't carry yellow roses on blind dates for the purpose of identification. They tell you their hair color.

Do I say I’ll be the one with three wiry hairs that spring from my forehead? Look for Squiggy’s twin sister, with hair squeezed into a point at the top of the head, minus the grease, and with a much sparser point, dishwater instead of jet black, and without the full head of hair behind it?

Is my hair the color of these three wiry hairs?

Is it the color of my eyebrows? My eyelashes? The random stray hair on my leg? That way, there’s still some authenticity in the response. Does it have to be scalp hair?

Is it the color of the wig I have to wear in the driver’s license photo? I can’t wear the scarf for a license; head coverings are not allowed in official identification photos. Trust me, I found this out the hard way. If I wear the fancy hair – the auburn, vacuum-seal, custom, natural hair piece made of fine European hair, do I identify myself as a red head? If I wear a cheap pink wig from the costume store, do I say my hair color is pink? Will they let me be photographed for an official identification in a pink wig?

Is it the color of my childhood hair? Until about fourth grade, I was a tow-headed blonde, with white, almost colorless hair. At the start of puberty, I had yellow, golden blonde hair. In middle school, my hair darkened to an ash color. When I was fourteen, I sprayed my ash-colored hair with a lightening product, which turned my hair orange, yellow, and then a platinum blonde only seen on strippers. Should I pick my favorite from among these hair colors?

Is it the color of my hair just before it fell out? The natural color or the enhanced highlighted version? With or without the perm? (Yes, perm. Remember when we all had perms? It's been that long since I had my own hair.)

Is it the color my hair might be if it hadn’t fallen out? I sometimes say that just the gray hairs fall out, which explains why every year I have fewer hairs than the year before. Aging.

In a world where hair color can be changed in a quick visit to a hair salon, with a home coloring kit, or a few spritzes or dabs of temporary hair color, in a world where women change their color on a whim, or hide their gray for years, why would we want to lock in to one hair color on a license? Why should we have to?

And in a world where a driver’s license lasts 10, 12, 15 years, how useful is that information?

Of course, this doesn’t answer my question. I live in a world where hair matters, and the revelation of hair color is the password to enter.

So back to my question: What is the hair color of a bald girl?

What do you think?

© 2009 Christy Bailey


mojee said...

tough question. any color you choose. i would say the color of your eyebrows.

Joanne said...

This post is very insightful. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I think you're right: there is no point in having hair color as an official identifier. I checked my actual driver's license and hair color does not appear on it, but it may still be a question on the application to get a license. (And I wonder what bald men would indicate....)

That, of course, doesn't solve the "meeting unknown people for drinks" situation. I guess one advantage of being a "panuelo girl" is that you're easier to identify in a crowd.

I'm enjoying your blog! Keep it coming!

L.T. said...

Maybe your hair color is invisible? Is that a color? Or the same identifier you use for your race? Tough question.


North Carolina driver's licenses post hair color. Colorado licenses don't. So I guess it depends on where you live. But the question remains...and I don't know if there's a right or wrong answer. But thanks for all the great comments!