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The Highlight Zone: Being a blond becomes odd


I left high school with an affinity for two things: dark-haired boys who smoke Marlboro cigarettes and the color black, the darker the better. My hair, my clothes, my accessories ... all the color of coal. But recently I broke the first rule in my Goth girl bible: I dyed my naturally blue-black hair blond (a sunny yellow blond, not even platinum). Ever since then, I feel weird. As if I’ve fallen into some parallel universe. Like Morticia Addams goes to cheerleader camp. Or better yet, an episode of The Twilight Zone (part of this might be due to the influence of reality television shows on my psyche). I’m not sure how a me with blond hair should act. I mean, I’ve spent years and years working on my black-haired personality. I have clothes I wear, things I do. And none of it seems to work with the blond. The other day I was at the Blue Monkey. It was a Monday; there was a band. I went up to the bar and ordered two beers and the bartender carded me. That’s not that unusual. But then, when I gave him my driver’s license, he told me he couldn’t serve me. I didn’t know what to say, as I am a ripe old 23, so I weakly protested and he said he would send a server over to my table to take my order. I never really fully understood the logic. But it didn’t matter because he was lying! No server ever came to the table; the bartender thought I was underage and just wanted me to leave. I have never been completely denied, shut down, not served in my life. Believe me, I’m flattered, but also wondering if I’m ever going to get a drink in this town again. Or am I going to have to get a new driver’s license? Should I get a new driver’s license? Already my choice in clothing has changed a little bit (as black doesn’t look great with my new coloring) and, as odd as it sounds, I can feel my personality changing. The other day I was at Zinnie’s with a friend and a man with a laptop approached our booth, asking where we were from. To avoid confusion, we told him Memphis, but that didn’t seem to satisfy him. He asked again and my friend and I give each other a look -- you know the look, puzzled, a little wary -- and I say, “We’re from Orlando.” (Why Orlando? Why not?) Laptop Man sees the look and says that he isn’t interested in knowing, but that someone else, someone he doesn’t know, asked him to come over and find out. With that he leaves, but soon he’s back and asking us again where we’re from. Now, my friend is Indian and after we say “Orlando” once again, he turns to her and says, “No, where are you from? Originally?” “Who wants to know?” she says. He then points to an Indian man in the bar sitting with a bunch of friends, so my friend tells him what part of India she’s from and he scurries off (Did I mention he’s still carrying his Laptop around?). But I can see him talking to someone, presumably passing on the information, and it’s not the Indian guy he pointed to; it’s another guy, someone very much not Indian, sitting at the bar. Again, he comes back a few minutes later, only now he’s carrying a tray with three drinks on it. He gives us each one, but doesn’t sit down. Instead he says, “I don’t work here; that guy sent these over,” and again points to the Indian guy. But as far as I’ve seen -- and I was facing his direction the entire time -- Laptop man has never spoken to the Indian guy. Ever. And after he leaves the table, I see him go over to Non-Indian guy at the bar and give him one of the drinks. Does he think I cannot see him? Because I can. Through all this, though, my friend and I are not overly concerned about what’s going on. It’s just so random. Then Laptop guy leaves the bar and in his wake, Non-Indian guy at the bar comes over. Before, I think raven-tressed me might have told him to go away. But as a blond, I just don’t feel as tough. Which was fine, because that makes this story all the better. Or, at least, it makes this story passable. “Hey,” he says as he sits down, “that guy told me ya’ll were asking about me and said for me to come over here and talk to you guys after he left.” He did? We did? Hello, Candid Camera? I ask: “Did you know that guy?” And no, he didn’t. It was just some guy who gave him a free drink (and said it was from us, I assume). And then he says, “So ya’ll are from New Orleans?” Orlando, New Orleans, close enough ... especially since we weren’t from Orlando to begin with. The whole thing was so weird. We ended up talking to Non-Indian guy for probably an hour but, during that whole time, probably only told the truth once. This is all to say, perhaps not very effectively, that this blond thing has its up and down sides (if you consider lying to someone for an hour as an upside, which of course, I do, because it was fun). And I’m starting to really like the upsides. Even if it means buying new clothes and giving up the color black altogether. Just don’t ask me to give up dark-haired boys who smoke. That’s out of the question.

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