Wednesday, March 14, 2007

It's HAIR, people.

So last week I ended my failed experiment at growing out my hair and wearing it darker by sitting down in the stylist chair and telling Summer to cut it all off and make me blonde again.

"I knew you'd come back to short. Short hair is you," she said.

Summer is also taking glass class at Fredrick's and we talked about what a great instructor he is, then moved on to the inevitable subject of what a wasteland life is in terms of decent men, and soon I was done. Short hair, blonde. Fine.

That Monday I walked into work and Maurice made a sizzle-finger on my shoulder.

"You are H-O-T HOT," he said. "I love a woman with short hair."

Many comments from co-workers, which puzzled me until I remembered that they didn't know this was my "usual" style. Even H--the female analyst who TO THAT DAY had never -NEVER!- said hi to me, stopped and said, "cute hair!"

Suddenly men are holding doors for me, being courteous in the El, not forcing me to ride with their armpits in my face. Men make eye contact, they smile.

Nice, huh?

No. It isn't. This is F*CKED UP.

I have not changed. My HAIR has changed. So what, this makes me someone worthy of consideration? Why was I not worthy of consideration before? Why was I not deserving of good manners and chivalry before?

My friend Muriel is a striking woman. A man recently told her that she was really cute.

"That's nice," she said.

"No, I mean it. You are really cute."

"OK."

"Oh, what, you get that all the time, and you're used to getting all this attention?"

"Sir, yes, actually I do get that kind of comment a fair bit. And like I said, OK. Fine. I know that you think you're giving me some kind of compliment, but the thing is, my being cute to you has nothing to do with me."

Amen.

5 comments:

SP said...

Well, as much I love Muriel, there is nothing wrong with being paid a compliment. I think people should learn again how to accept them with grace. Oh, and say thank you when having the door held open for them.

JC said...

In your supreme goal of being contentious, you miss the point (purposely, I suspect): whether someone finds a person physically attractive or unattractive has nothing to do with the person being admired, and to tell a stranger that they look cute is not an acknowledgement of any accomplishment on their part, it's simply an observation of your own reaction.

To push the point further, to think that someone should be flattered that something outside their control or direction (and irrelevant to their character or personality) resulted in pleasing you is really the height of arrogance.

I'd encourage people who may think this ungrateful to consider the flip side, which is being dismissed because the way you look (height, hair color, clothing)doesn't fit the observer's particular fetish, or wont' make his friends high-five him at parties. We rail against people who never try to know The Real Us, but in reality, both responses come from the same self-absorbed perspective.

I'm not saying that physical attraction is irrelevant or even undesirable; I'm saying that physical attraction in the absence of any other knowledge of a person is meaningless, whereas physical attraction as a response to personal attaction is the real deal.

JC said...

Oh, and I'm not saying we shouldn't accept compliments with grace, or that paying a compliment isn't good manners, or a nice thing to do -- I do it all the time, compliment someone's clothing or new glasses -- beacause I know that makes someone feel nice. This is different from suddenly Liking someone better or wanting to be someone's friend because they now look cool. I spent too much time as a nerd to buy into that.

Here I'm mainly referring to the idea that if a guy suddenly finds me attractive or worthy of social effort because my hair is different, I'm not sure why I should find that a good thing.

SP said...

And this is why women will never rule the earth.

Amen.

JC said...

If we do, it only means we'll have to clean up the mess you've left behind, but that's nothing new.