Those of you who saw me at South by Southwest this year know that I’ve dyed my hair pink. *
Along with What do you do?, I find Why did you dye your hair pink? an unanswerable question. But if I can’t answer it. I might be able to address it.
(By the way, if you’re newish here, the babe in the photo is not me. She sure is cute, though, isn’t she?)
Making the break
The simplest answer is that a head of pink hair signals to any and all that I don’t work for a Real Company.
No cubicle. No 401K. No HR department. No chain of command. No receptionist. No big-name agency to work with. No meetings. No set schedule.
Some of those things are good and some bad, and most a mixed bag. I had a lot of good years working with companies, and I’m not knocking it. But pink hair is a very visible signal that I’m not doing that right now.
Freedom from pointless rules
There’s a huge category of things you can’t do in a Real Company because it Wouldn’t Be Professional.
Some of these make sense, like No Getting Smashed at Lunch, or No Sexually Harassing Adorable Eddie in Accounting, Even Though He Is Admittedly Extremely Cute.
Some of them don’t really have any logical underpinning at all. Like No Having Pink Hair.
Of course, I’d be allowed to have pink hair if I just told people it was an incompetent dye job. That I was trying for red hair, but my hairdresser is an idiot.
I could probably get away with that for years, explaining to new managers as they came in, “Oh, no, it’s not pink. It doesn’t look pink to you, does it? It’s red.”
So I could have pink hair if it wasn’t my intention to have pink hair.
This is getting at the reason(s) why I don’t want to work for Real Companies any more.
Embracing my inner muppet
This is the real reason: I like having pink hair because pink hair is bright and pretty and special. It makes my little boy especially happy. It’s our own little bit of Sesame Street right at home.
Pink is a pretty color and now I get to have it all the time. And if I feel like a change of pace, when the pink wears off I can have turquoise, or sky blue, or violet.
Does any of this have anything at all to do with writing, blogging, or communication?
Of course it does, silly!
If you can’t dye your hair pink at the moment, you can still write like someone who does.
- Sing with your own voice.
- Break as many stupid rules as you can get away with.
- Do what makes you feel shiny and happy.
- Define yourself. When you let other people do it, they just mess it up.
- Try something (that’s ethical and doesn’t hurt anyone, of course) that invites a lot of pointless judgment. It reminds you not to be pointlessly judgmental of other people.
Love you all
Sorry to go dark like that for ages and ages here on Remarkable Communication. I was, let’s just say, insanely busy with the Marketing for Nice People course.
(Which is going AMAZINGLY. Tip: when you define your customers as nice people, that’s what you get. Our students are a giant stack of awesome.)
But the major huge chunk of work is done and I’ll be around more regularly, at least until the next insanity rolls along. I miss you guys so much when I don’t hang out with you here.
Footnote: * Actually, it’s more accurate to say that I’m dyeing it pink, as no one seems to sell permanent pink hair dye. Which is sort of fun as I can try out different variations of pink and find the one I like best. Right now I’m sporting a sort of cherry coke color with hot pink highlights. Most enjoyable.
Flickr Creative Commons image by kalandrakas