Most girls chop off all their hair when they go through a crisis. I cannot afford this luxury because I have a face shape that rises the question, "Are you going to eat those marshmallows, or just keep them stored in your cheeks?" Some people call this "Baby Face Syndrome," but since babies look like bald, wrinkly aliens, I'd rather call it "Marshmallow Syndrome." Or, on a highly optimistic note, "I Will Look Young Forever And You Won't Syndrome." This is normally what I go with when I try and purchase anything that has an age requirement.
"Can I get a pack of L&M Bold 100s, please?"
"Ha! What are you, twelve?"
"I'm gonna need to see some ID."
First of all, what is this phrase, "some ID?" Don't you mean "an ID" or "your ID?" What do you mean, some? Like, the corner of it? A smidge of ID? A bit of ID? Do you just need to see a part of it, but not the whole thing?
Second of all, not everyone sprouts six feet upon hitting puberty. I'm short, but I'm not short enough to the point where people are afraid they'll offend me by asking my age. This is complete discrimination. I bet midgets can get away with buying anything.
Third of all, screw you, Indian cashier. What are you, good at math?
The last time I tried to buy beer, the clerk actually laughed in my face after I gave him my ID.
"Uh...is something funny?"
"I'm sorry!" he gasped between chuckles. "I thought you were fifteen!"
AND! What makes him think this is acceptable? What if I started laughing right back at him?
"HAHAHA I thought you were a middle-aged man working at Wal-Mart! Oh wait...YOU ARE."
But I can't do this. That would be rude. So instead, I smile sweetly, tell the cashier I have been of age for a good five years now, give a brief synopsis of round facial types, and drink my fucking beer.
It's this dilemma that keeps me from getting a hair cut. I have not cut my hair since my junior year of high school and I have no plans on breaking that record. (This doesn't mean it's super long. It tends to fall out in giant clumps which either means I've been cursed by some witch like in The Craft or I have female pattern baldness.) So instead, whenever I need a change, I dye it. I've been telling people that I dyed my hair to match my cat. Really, I just have some goals that I cannot possibly accomplish with brown hair. Like becoming Catwoman, for instance. New goals + new hair = the mindset of a woman.
Now, when you dye your hair, you can tell who doesn't like it. From what I've gathered, everyone seems to think that their opinion on your personal decision matters to you a lot. If I cared if you liked it, I would have consulted you before I did it. However, no one realizes this and you find yourself in the following conversation:
person: You dyed your hair.
you: Yes, I did.
person: It's darker.
you: Yes, it is.
person: (nods and walks away)
Well then. Thank you for alerting me of my hair color. I had no idea what I looked like until you pointed it out to me.
Among the terse recognitions, I've gotten some surprising comparisons to famously attractive people who I'm not going to name because I'm here to make you laugh, not to brag about myself. You'll be bored, trust me.
"Oh my god I'm so fucking awesome."
Bored already? Yeah. So am I.
I will however tell you a very uncomfortable experience I had at Wal-Mart. Not that I've ever necessarily had a comfortable experience in The Land of Lard, but this one may have won the gold medal (for now).
"Can I see your receipt?" the worker asks me as my friend and I are exiting the store, hands clad with plastic bags full of cigarettes and Ben & Jerry's.
"Sure," I say, handing it to him. He doesn't look at it. Instead, he stares at me.
"I like your hair."
"And I like your lips."
"Your lips really bring out your hair. And your hair brings out your lips."
"Have a good day!" he says, handing me my receipt.
"Uh SEE YA!"
Well that was weird.
I think the highlight of my dye decision would not be Lips Lurker, but a little girl who came into one of the places I work. My day had already been filled with sporadic exclamations of, "Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!" by several of my co-workers who had come to the unanimous decision that I looked like Winona Ryder. The only safe people I could be around were children, for they lack any cinematic knowledge that doesn't involve talking animals. The girl was there to dine with her family, but I had to put them on a 20-minute wait. That gave her twenty minutes to talk to me.
"Hello," she said, walking up to me and tugging on my shirt.
"Hi there!" I said.
"Ahem...are you hungry? I hope you're hungry!"
"My name's Kayla."
"Nice to meet you, Kayla!"
"I'm four years old."
"That's my brother over there. He's six."
"I have a brother who is 6 years old, too!"
"Your face is scary."
"But I like your lips."
I was repeating the mantra WWCD in my head, because in a situation like this, the only thing you can really ask yourself is, 'What Would Nic Cage do?" For the first time in my life, this didn't work. Probably because all I could think was, I'm never having children.
I don't know how to sum this all up. My hair is black. My cheeks are round. And I'm 22 years old.