Have you ever walked into a room and immediately felt judged? I attended my very dear friends' wedding rehearsal (I'll be performing an original poetry performance piece blessing their marriage) and it was very clear, from the moment I set foot in the ceremony space, that there were a number of people displeased with my particular choice in hair dye jobs.
Sidelong glances, whispers, a bridesmaid who literally refused to talk to me and a groomsman who insisted on treating me like I was going to carry off the silverware at any moment — I had no idea what to do.
Afterward I was informed that my blue hair — the blue hair that I've had for about five years now — is not welcome by the People Paying For The Wedding. It became clear I was dealing with hair color judgments.
My friend apologized profusely. But I get it. I do. I understand that not everyone in the world is going to be excited about a blue-haired hooligan waltzing through the doors on their daughter's wedding day. I accept that, and I respect my friend's parents' right to judge me based on my decisions in hair color. I know that I make a choice every day that I wake up and put a little more blue dye on my hair (and hands). I make the choice to be a little different and to stand out a little from the crowd. My hair color is a way for me to express my individuality.
I have been extraordinarily lucky in my life. I've been able to perform my poetry for past and current presidents, ambassadors from foreign nations, for royalty, for sometimes actual cash money and spoken to thousands of students across the county, on national and international stages — and not a single one of them ever found an issue with my hair. In fact, most of them complimented me on it.
But, at a rehearsal for one of my best friend's most important moments, it was obvious that the People Paying For The Wedding were NOT excited about my hair and were Very Opposed to me “ruining the wedding” with my blatant disregard for common decency.
It fascinates me that my hair became the subject of so much concern — really, I just kind of feel important knowing that I have the power to Ruin The Entire Wedding with my ridiculous hair. How dare I, really? Who am I to come in and be myself when there are relatives (who I don't know and will never see again) to impress?
But is it their right to insist that I cover it up? They are the ones paying, after all, so, technically, I suppose they do “own the rights” to the day, but my friends — the ones getting married, who I am there to support and celebrate — have never seen it as a problem. They love me for who I am, not for my hair color.
Dealing with hair color judgements
This has gotten me thinking. Here I am, being more than a little miffed about this whole experience, but what would I do if someone showed up wearing, oh, I don't know, a skin-tight glitter leotard and bright green hair? Okay, that'd be awesome, but you know what I mean.
I know that I could easily be in the same situation as my friend. I know, already that my mom is in the same Disapproving Boat about some of the more offbeat ideas I have for my wedding, and I know that in the future, I might catch a lot of flak for choosing to wed with blue hair, or pink hair, or in tennis shoes and jeans or… well, who knows, really?
So I did something that I swore I would never, ever, ever ever ever do.
I offered to dye my hair.
I figured well, it's only hair, and it's only for a day — if this is going to help allay some of the drama and allow the day to run more smoothly, why not?
But it got me thinking… How do you determine the line of what is “appropriate” and what is “not welcome” at your wedding, especially when you're not the one paying for it? Who should get the final call when there is a huge financial disparity between the couple being wed and the people paying?
Oh, and if you're wondering, I bought a wig the next morning. I figured there was no sense in wasting a good dye job. Because, seriously, my hair looks so good right now.