My hair is an unusual shade of strawberry blonde. I don't find it particularly remarkable, as I look at it every day and my brothers have the same color hair. In fact, sometimes I find it quite annoying, as in Arab countries (as well as parts of the US and many places I travel), people stare at me and little kids grab my braid, which makes me want to dye my hair a less remarkable shade if only I could solve the eyebrow/eyelash problem. Nevertheless, random strangers (in the US and elsewhere) often stop me to compliment me on my hair, and sometimes to even ask if it is a natural color. I think this is a little weird, as I cannot imagine walking up to a random stranger and complimenting them on anything, but generally I just say "thank you" or "yes, it's natural, my brothers have the same color too" and move on.
Sometimes, however, someone's interest in my hair results in a truly bizarre discussion that leaves me speechless. Until this weekend, the most bizarre conversation I'd had was the following.
A new salon opened in my home county, and I decided to check it out over the summer while I was home from college. I got the cut, and as the stylist was blow drying my hair, another stylist walked by, paused right behind my chair and proclaimed in a loud voice:
"God's color." I was taken aback, and so was my stylist.
"What?" (God has strawberry blonde hair? What on earth?).
"Your hair, it's God's color" she continued, "I could never get that color out of a bottle, only God can make it."
"Thanks" (I guess? What on earth is an appropriate response to this?)
However, this pales in comparison the the conversation I had Friday night. I was flying from Summer Town back to University Town, and the TSA agent checking my ID before security gave me a long stare (keep in mind there was a long line behind me).
"You have beautiful hair."
"My hair used to be that color, but now look at it." (He pats his bald and white head) "You can still see it in my eyebrows, though, look (points at his eyebrows, which have the faintest hint of orange). "Do you see it?"
"Yes." (There is a line, why are we discussing this?).
"It's really a great color"
"Um, yeah." (Can I please have my ID back and go through security?)
He holds my ID out and gives me a piercing look. Lowering his voice, he glances around and proclaims in a low voice:
"You know, we're the minority now"
Uhhhh . . . and I grab my ID and hustle towards the conveyer belt as quickly as I can. Should I have called him out on this? Probably, but with what? Not to mention the fact, that holding up the line even longer hardly seemed like a good idea. At least I now have an even stranger story than the God's color one.