My daughter has bright pink hair.
Beth claims it is red, but it is more of a neon pink color if you ask me. Or at least that is what it looked like in the picture she sent to my family’s group chat.
It is unclear to me why she decided to go from her natural, and perfectly adequate, brownish blonde color hair to something that looks like it belongs in a Bazooka bubble gum wrapper. All I know is that two of her friends broke up with their boyfriends on the same day last Friday and there was a gathering in Beth’s dorm room where hair was styled, cut and colored and views of the UW-Stevens Point baseball team’s afternoon practice were enjoyed by a majority of those present.
I have been there over the years for the break-ups of several of my male friends with their various significant others and I can swear that at no time did any of us suggest getting makeovers or coloring each other’s hair to unnatural neon pink hues. Heck, even back in high school and the beginning of college where I grew my hair out for several years into a classic 70s stoner look, I would have thought my roommate had gone crazy if he suggested we stay in and do each other’s hair.
Considering I have had the same haircut for at least the past 20 years and have bought the same style and colors of shoes for the past 12 years, I may not be the best person to determine what is normal when it comes to style. For all I know getting together to do each other’s hair is something dudes do nowadays. Although, considering my son’s choice of hairstyle is all about ease of maintenance than anything else, I am rather doubtful about this being a popular activity for many guys.
What I do know is that after 21 years of having a daughter, I am finding that apparently this is a legitimate thing that many women do. The cutting, coloring and styling creates a cathartic experience for those involved where they commiserate and realize they are better off without the baggage of their previous relationship.
My experiences in dealing with my male friend’s relationship woes has typically been to offer to pick up the bar tab as they unpacked how things went wrong and to nod sagely when they express surprise that it took them that long to realize just how crazy their ex was. I usually find it is good to just express some noncommittal agreement and take well-timed sips of beer in these situations.
As the saying goes, it takes two to tango, and by the end of most relationships neither party can claim ownership of being the innocent victim of circumstance. The worst part of these situations is when you were friends with both parties in the relationship before they got together and you are faced with the choice of picking a side, pretending that the relationship never actually happened or cutting ties to both of them as carrying too much toxic baggage - or bright pink hair dye.
Beth’s startlingly fluorescent hairdo will fade over time and eventually she will return to her natural, if nondescript, color and go with a more conventional style. Maybe there is something about using a makeover to get over heartbreak. Perhaps it is that over the weeks it takes for the colors to fade and the styling to grow out, it gives you time to heal and move on with your life.
Or perhaps bonding over post-break-up makeovers is just a weird, woman thing to do that us clueless guys will never truly understand or appreciate.
Brian Wilson is News Editor at The Star News.