Those of you who know me, know that I love to change things up. From simple style changes to complete makeovers – I do it all. With every change I make, I get different reactions from people that know me well and that don’t know me at all. I am always amazed at the things people will say or do because of my appearance. It sometimes becomes like a social experiment. Because of a recent change I made, this blog topic seems very timely. For those of you looking forward to the Skinny Fat post…it will come next, promise!
There is a lot of weight around first impressions. People say that they can make or break you. I really didn’t want to believe this, but more and more, I am starting to think they’re right. I have seen, first hand, how my appearance can make people uncomfortable, intimidated, angry, happy and even excited. Oprah did a show that highlighted this very thing. The camera crew followed a lady into a jewelry show that was dressed in every day clothes, hair in a pony. The sales associates wouldn’t help her because they assumed she didn’t have money to spend. The next day she returned to the store after a makeover and experienced the exact opposite. She was even served a drink and taken to a special room to preview exclusive merchandise.
I’ve had EVERY hairstyle you can imagine. Here are some of them and the reactions I’ve received:
Long, natural, dark brown hair, in a high ponytail or slicked back: Paired with my fit physique, women always thought I was a stripper. I was also told I was unapproachable, snobby, intimidating and that I belonged in a video game.
Long, blonde, curly hair: All men were attracted to me. Women rolled their eyes at me, like I was immature and stupid. They were always somewhat annoyed to learn the curl was natural.
Short, pixie, black hair: Women loved it! I was no longer intimating. Instead people described me as being adorable and said I reminded them of Halle Barry. Hispanic men, no longer looked at me, at all. Caucasian men were intimidated and even questioned if I was gay. African American men loved it and were more attracted to me.
Short, pixie, bleached hair: “Oh My God, It’s PINK!!!” Everyone loved my, short, bleached white hair. They described me as sassy but when I wore it as a faux hawk, I was again questioned if I was gay.
Short, red hair: People said I looked sassy, sexy and a bit feisty. One went as far as saying I looked bitchy.
Dreadlocks: Someone asked if I was bi-racial and even asked if I was making fun of the African culture. I was ignored by a clerk in a drugstore and denied a discount at another store. Two women in a parking lot even pointed and laughed. But I also have gotten a lot of positive feedback…especially from the younger generation.
And then there are my tattoos…
I have had people move in a restaurant so that they did not have to look at my Ivy Vine tattoo on my back while they were eating. And people always ask me if I am worried about what it will look like when I am 80. I always say the same thing….”probably a bush, on top of my tush.”
I once had a client who I helped save from having surgery on her back by getting rid of the pain. She didn’t realize I had tattoos and piercings. She voiced her opinion that people with tattoos and piercing are not well educated and don’t have a place in society. I instantly showed her my tattoos and tongue piercing and said, “If you hadn’t met this, uneducated, tattooed, pierced, low life, you would be having back surgery right now.” She was shocked. Let this be a reminder that by being quick to judge people, you could miss out on great things.
I honor and respect all cultures and all races, styles, and groups. I love expressions of the soul. DON’T JUDGE, DON’T HATE, DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE UNIQUE. EMBRACE ALL!!
How about you? Have you been mistreated, or judged because of your appearance?