Britni de la Cretaz.
When I’m not emphatically grateful that you complimented my hair when I never asked you to, it doesn’t mean I’m a bitch. It just means that I don’t appreciate comments from dudes about what I look like.
Dear Men Who Think I GAF What They Think About My Hair,
Yes, my hair is brilliant. It’s vibrant, it’s fun, it’s candy-colored deliciousness. To say I stand out in a crowd is an understatement. My hair has been blue, purple, pink, red, teal, and combinations of all of the above. This Technicolor hair is such a part of who I am and the identity that I present to the world that I had it at my wedding and when I gave birth to my first child.
Because my hair is so distinct, people comment on it almost every time I leave the house. Usually, the people stopping me to tell me that they like my hair are men, like you. And, truth be told, I just don’t give a fuck what you think of my hair. I really and truly don’t. I know that you think you’re giving me a compliment when you tell me you like it, but you’re not. Because, while it might feel like a compliment to you, unsolicited comments about my appearance feel intrusive and threatening.
I know that my hair is really bright and noticeable, but I really wish you would stop using it as an opening to try to get my attention. And honestly, you’re not the first guy to try that line on me today. It’s tired, bro, and I’m exhausted. I mean, CAN I LIVE?
When I’m not emphatically grateful that you complimented my hair when I never asked you to, it doesn’t mean I’m a bitch. It just means that I don’t appreciate comments from dudes about what I look like. Especially random dudes on the street that I don’t know. Please consider what it feels like for me. I’m just trying to go about my day, and men that I don’t know keep interrupting me to tell me that I’m pretty or my hair is awesome. Maybe that sounds nice, but it’s not. I’m immediately on guard, because I’m not sure what response you’re going to be looking for, and if I give the wrong one, sometimes you get angry, and then I feel frightened. Therefore, I dread any interactions with men on the street because I don’t know how they’re going to end.
And I know it might seem odd, but I actually don’t dye my hair because I “want attention” or because I care what anyone thinks about it. This may be hard to believe, but I actually dye my hair these bright colors for myself. Not all women’s behaviors are done with the end goal of appealing to men (SHOCKING, I KNOW). My hair makes me happy and I dye it for my own enjoyment— not for yours. I mean, that’s cool if you happen to like it, too, but you don’t have to tell me about it. You can keep it to yourself, write it in your dream journal, take it to your grave. I don’t care what you do with it, I just know that I don’t need to know about it.
The other thing that happens when you use this very distinct thing about my appearance as an opening is that you assume that I want your attention (spoiler alert: I most certainly do not). You assume that I’m single, despite the ring on my finger that indicates that I’m not. You also assume that I’m straight, and interested in being hit on by a dude. And, of course, you assume that you’re entitled to my attention or conversation or gratitude. And I hate to be the one to burst the bubble of male entitlement you’ve been blissfully shrouded in, but men are not entitled to anything from me.
Men, please do me a favor. The next time you want to tell me, or some other girl, how much you like our hair, please don’t. This also applies to telling us that you like our dress, our tattoos, our necklace, or any other thing on or about our body. Because even if your intentions are good, we don’t know that.
And really, if you want to make me happy, allowing me to go through my day uninterrupted would make me a heck of a lot happier than you “complimenting” my appearance. I don’t need validation from you that my hair is badass (though if you want to tell my hairdresser, I’m sure she’d appreciate it) because I already know that. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be walking around with it looking like this, now would I?