blue hair (image credit: thinkstock)
Four years ago I traded in my life as a lawyer to be a stay at home mom. I’ve wanted to do something creative and fun with my appearance ever since. Specifically I’ve been itching to try wild hair color that would have landed me in contempt had I worn it into the courtroom. My husband has seen me pinning endless photos of Ombre pink and purple hairstyles. He’s heard me talk about the merits of pink hair versus blue and wondered aloud with me if any color I put in would fade in time for my sister’s upcoming fall wedding. But when I actually pulled the trigger on dying my hair blue, my husband didn’t even notice it.
Although I had been debating it for over a year, the decision to finally change up my look happened spur of the moment.
My four-year-old son asked to color his own hair bright blue as an end of preschool treat. With my husband on board but at work, I went to the store and grabbed a box of temporary dye in bright, Crayola blue. While waiting for my son’s color to set in, I spontaneously decided, “Why not.” I grabbed a large section from the underside of my hair and drenched it in the thick concoction before I could change my mind.
My son’s color experiment didn’t go as planned (his scalp was blue for days but his hair remained stubbornly dark brown). My own blonde tresses loved the blue dye, leaving behind a vivid, impossible to ignore streak of color. I primped in front of the mirror for hours, so excited to see my husband’s reaction when he came home.
I’m not usually one for secrets.
Typically, I’d send him a photo while he was still at work for something like this, but since I figured bright blue hair was impossible to miss, I kept my mouth shut until he got home. I greeted him with my hair carefully spread out across my shoulders.
He gave me a perfunctory kiss on the cheek and walked past me into the living room, where he immediately started laughing over our son’s failed hair color and stained forehead. We segued into the dinner/cleanup/bathtime/story time/ bed time/okay fine, one more story routine of the evening, all the while me waiting for him to look over and see my trendy new hair addition. But it never happened. I went to bed that night feeling sorry for myself, like I was the babysitter rather than the woman he supposedly adored.
He didn’t notice the next day, or even the day after that.
For eight whole days I waited patiently and hopefully for my husband to notice that a sizable chunk of my hair was the color of a freezer pop, to no avail. I did everything I could to make it obvious. I wore my hair in ponytails and braids to show off the blue. I swung my hair around like Ariana Grande in a music video. I even hopped on top during sex and kept the lights on, because there was no way he’d miss blue hair swinging in his face, right? Right? Wrong.
At first I got angry. I’m supposed to be the love of his life, the Rachel to his Ross. How dare he not notice such a drastic change in my appearance?
There’s a comfort in knowing that when my husband says he loves me, it’s truly me that he loves, not merely my appearance.
Then I grew concerned. What if he couldn’t see it? What if he’s colorblind or has some rare tumor on his optical nerve? I don’t want to be a widow. I gave him an online colorblind test, just to be sure. Once he passed I went back to being annoyed again.
On day 9 of the “My hair is blue and my husband is oblivious” saga, I realized something. I was doing my nightly ritual of admiring my hair in the bathroom mirror while I searched my chin for stray hairs. After plucking a particularly long one from my neck, I wondered why my husband hadn’t noticed it himself in the 3+ hours we spent side by side in the car that day. In fact, he failed to notice it the day before too, when we had a rare hour of quiet together as we walked with our kids passed out in the stroller.
He’s definitely not seeing me, but perhaps that’s not his fault.
With twin-four-year olds that require constant attention, we really don’t have the chance to really look at each other anymore. Loving someone while raising young children with them forces you into a survival mode, where anything that’s non-essential gets pushed aside in favor of things like making sure the kids aren’t playing on the stairs and keeping track of when we need to get more milk.
And admittedly, when I look at him, I don’t really see him either. I’m not noticing whether his hair needs a trim or if his nose has a zit. I’m sure my eyes may absorb these details on a subconscious level, but what registers when I look at him is the fact that this is my person, the one who I’ve joined my life with, not the details of how he looks in that exact moment.
This is what loving the same person for years on end really looks like. It’s may not be the complete infatuation, “I want to know every detail about you” type of love we had when we first met, but there’s a comfort in knowing that when my husband says he loves me, it’s truly me that he loves, not merely my appearance.
My blue hair is already starting to fade to a pretty aqua, and I’ll probably point it out to my husband before it goes away completely, if only so I can show him that I was cool and trendy, just for a little bit. But first, let’s see if he loves me enough to not notice that I’ve stopped shaving my legs.