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
Michelle Pierce says
When I was in college my senior year, I got my hair cut in what I called my “anime cut”: a shorter, kind of shaggy cut that made me look TOTALLY like an anime chick when it was flipped out. I LOVED IT. I wanted desperately to dye it blue or purple, but as I was about to graduate and embark upon a mission to be a productive member of society, I could not.
Three years later, this post has reminded me that, if I wanted to, I could totally dye my hair blue now.
Even if I don’t, it’s still a good reminder to harness the freedom that comes with not having any pointless rules. 😀
Michelle Pierces last blog post..5 Elements of Web Design Alchemy – Part 1: Wood Element
Linda Faulkner says
My favorite color is green. Think it would work the same as pink?
How to Write a Writing says
Many out in the blogoshpere could be legally pink haired ….just thinking about the plenitude of guys *wink wink*
How to Write a Writings last blog post..Internal Business Plan
Jean Gogolin says
Two questions. One, where are the pix???? And two, do you think the pink coloring agent would work on gray hair? I get complimented on the gray all the time, but I’d like a change.
My hair was a lovely shade of lavender for a few weeks about a year ago. Like you, it made me feel shiny and happy, and my kids loved it.
And then, my employer at the time wanted me to do a video webinar. And there was the clear expectation that I would be changing my hair color back to something, ANYTHING, within the natural human hair spectrum, before doing the webinar.
So I died it a nice, nondescript brown.
I miss it every now and then. But then I think maybe it allows me to be a “stealth weirdo.” You think I’m all normal, and then I go and sneak up on you with crazy, wacky ideas. Like a weirdness ninja. You never see me coming. 🙂
KatFrenchs last blog post..The Club You Never Wanted to Join
Heather Leson says
Hi Sonia, I love reading your blog. I have to say though: I have pink hair and happily work for an internet company. They are completely fine with it. Kudos on the list of things it has to do with blogging.
Kathleen, The Savvy VA says
Sonia, you hit directly at the heart of that feeling I get when I
have to follow silly and petty rules. After all, I have common sense
and would not do anything that would compromise the safety of my country….
Thanks for the encouragement to, (as we would say in the early 70’s) burn our bras.
KatFrench: I like the concept of the “stealth weirdo”.
Sarah Mae says
You have inspired me.
Not get pink hair.
To get all “pink” on my blog.
Love the “It reminds you not to be pointlessly judgmental of other people.” Excellent advice!
Karen Swim says
Sonia, I LOVE IT! Of course, I was a rule breaker in Corporate too, it’s amazing how you can do stuff that no one does because they think it won’t be okay and then you do it, the world doesn’t fall apart and everyone else soon does too thanking you for leading a very nice respectable rebellion. I didn’t like pink until I read this post now I’m thinking Pink rocks!
Karen Swims last blog post..No Time For Fishing
I love this. I love hearing about people who have managed to escape the usual standard employee scenario. Although I’m definitely not brave enough to dye my hair pink, I’m ready to take a few steps away from the corporate 9 to 5. Thanks for the inspiration.
Suzannahs last blog post..10 Ways to Tell You Have Author Potential
As long as your hair’s bleached out (which I assume yours is to get that lovely cupcake pink shade)… then Special Effects (I order it online from Amphigory) will last just about as long as any commercial “permanent” hair dye. I’ve got the remnants of purple/magenta/blue in mind leftover from… February? So it can stick around a long while and sometimes the fading process can be as fun as the first dye!
And I love working for Big Corporate Company… and yet having my purple hair anyways. People take a second look. And for all those haters who immediately assume I’m some intern or a visitor? I enjoy watching as they get their stereotyping comeuppance when they find out I’m senior staff and have been with the company for a decade. ;P
just put pink streaks in my hair this morning and sarah mae pointed me to this post! 🙂
i love that i can be a “boring ol’ stay at home mom of four” and have pink hair!
i never did anything “Crazy” with my hair as a teenager… too timid, now with kids i actually feel younger and more willing to just go for it!
Danas last blog post..In the Pink
Janice Chan says
In my office we used to do our fair share of harmless pranking, which is both fun and an opportunity to be creative. (We didn’t stop b/c of HR or management or anything, just b/c we got too busy for awhile, but now we’ve started back up again…)
– putting clear packing tape on the side of people’s drawers so they think they’ve been locked
– changing people’s desktop wallpaper on their computer to something that would bother them (a sports team they hate or something embarrassing like a teenybopper band, etc.)
– covering everything (or most everything) on someone’s desk in newspaper (monitor, mouse, keyboard, chair, individual pens, stapler, etc.)
– the best yet was setting a coworker’s ringtone to a cheesy love song, hiding it in the ceiling tiles, and having everybody in the office call his phone at once
Brett Borders says
When I lived in Japan, there was a booming trend for elderly grandmothers to dye their hair purple. I never had the right opportunity to stop one on the street and ask them directly, but I asked a lot of people for their theories. The best answer I got was “Because they want to feel young and radical.”
I have been getting mighty burned out and would like to do something to radicalize my life a little bit. To remind me to keep it real and not to become a burnt out businessman that I would have despised 10 years ago.
Brett Borderss last blog post..Is Social Media Marketing a Rat Race?
John Williams says
Lovely post Sonia. When I first escaped the world of jobs I bleached my hair icy white which I really enjoyed.
I’ve noticed in the Apple Shop in London now a lot of the guys have Mohicans, almost like it’s becoming a corporate uniform.
PS. Where can I meet the woman in the pic?
John Williamss last blog post..Use your disease
Mark Silver says
Late fall of 1986 I shaved half my head in a strange pattern, and then dyed it a nice color red. Of course, I was a bit of a punk rocker back then. And, of course, I forgot to remember about Boston winters.
But, despite breaking my ankle and freezing half my head and then crutching around icy, snowy Boston, it was great fun. 🙂
Of course, like everyone else, I have the same question: Where’s the hair? I don’t want to see some admittedly cute but random parasol girl. I want to see your Sesame Street look.
Unfortunately, I don’t think I can find my 1986 photo, since it was so pre-digital…
Mark Silvers last blog post..How Many People Do You Really Need to Reach?
Sonia Simone says
I know, I know. I had my husband take a picture, actually. Now I’ve lost the camera. I’ll get it together one of these days, honest.
Sonia Simone says
(P.S., those of you who have reported in on having cool color hair at your day jobs, thanks so much! I love smart companies that pass on the dopey rules.)
Amber Smith says
I love having pink hair, it’s been a few months now. I’ve noticed I can’t be even remotely shy anymore because everyone notices me and most people have a comment. I know what you mean about judging people. I wrote about it in my pink haired blog. check it out.
Amber Smiths last blog post..
This post is absolutely beautiful.
Drew @ Cook Like Your Grandmother says
You should get this blown up and mounted for your office: http://www.viruscomix.com/page449.html