A few years back, while I was attending Pensacola Junior College, I met a strange individual. I encountered this individual while patronizing the local Bad Ass Coffee house, which stands right across the street from the college. It had been ages since I had a girl friend who would make me biscuits and gravy, so I went to the coffee house in hopes of finding just the right girl. I frequently visited this coffee house, as often as five times a day, in order to help keep me awake during those long boring classes that seemed to last an eternity. I liked sitting inside while drinking my House Coffee blend and watching all of the college girls, in short skirts, walk in to order their Frappe Latte’s with whip cream on top. While sitting there watching, I would listen for the rustle of lace underneath their less than conservative dress. But on this one day, a lady customer walked in who resembled an old parrot I used to own as a child.
Her hair was wildly arrayed in many exotic colors including: red, green, orange, black and of course pink. Now, I have people watched for many years and have met hundreds if not thousands of people, but never had I seen such a variety of colors upon one’s head. I recalled receiving a fine, brief, education from a conversation with my old platoon sergeant that I had in Iraq about girls who dyed their hair:
“If a girl has pink highlights, it usually means that she is a daddy’s girl who wants to rebel. If her hair is highlighted orange, it means that she is looking for some attention in the bedroom. However if her hair is highlighted green, it means that she is very promiscuous and probably has had more fun in the bedroom than a five year old jumping on a box spring mattress.”
So as I gawked at this multi-colored hair, trying to apply the knowledge given freely from a comrade in arms, I decided that it was important to see what this girl was made of and what made her want to dye her hair so many colors. I was trying to get past my pre-conceived notions and prejudices.
She slowly walked to the corner couch, taking a quick glance at the worn out Alabama baseball hat I was wearing, and sat upon the brown cushions with a ballerina’s ease. As she crossed her legs in that mini-skirt I heard the slight rustle of lace, which only intrigued me more, so I walked over and sat down.
“Hi, I’m Jonathan,” I said to her. Now for many years people have called me “Thornton” or cut my name short with only “Jon,” but when I introduce myself to people, especially girls with exotic color hair, I like to introduce myself using my full name.
“Well I’m Linda,” she said snobbishly to me.
“Well Linda,” I said in a slightly sarcastic tone, “I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind chatting a while. I don’t have class for another hour and a half and I’m trying to kill some time.”
“Well Jonathan,” she said with a voice that seemed to suggest she wasn’t interested, “I am actually waiting on someone to come join me…”
I cut her off in mid-sentence and responded, “Well wait no longer, here I am! Now I couldn’t help but notice that your hair is wildly-colored, but that you also carry yourself very gracefully. So I was wondering what sort of look were you trying to achieve when you dyed your hair so many colors?”
As I sat there with eager anticipation awaiting her response, I couldn’t help but notice that her eyes actually rolled to the back of her head. At that moment, I thought that I might have to give her CPR, or even better, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but her eyes rolled back to their original spot, and she stared blankly into my curious face.
After a moment of silence, she finally responded to the question at hand, “To keep assholes like you from talking to me.”
I have met many girls who were very willing to just talk about life, love, and what their interests are. At those encounters, I never try to sound like I am flirting or trying to come on to them. I simply try to strike-up a conversation and find common interests that lead to a pleasant discussion. Usually the topics turn to “American Idol” or MTV’s “Real World.” Even at those times, I try my hardest to sound “cultured,” (as some would put it) and add something worthwhile to the discussion of those topics, but, simultaneously, I also try extremely hard to find a way to change the subject because I don’t waste any of my time watching such programs.
So when I heard her response I was taken aback. Never in my short twenty-three years of life had I ever heard such a statement. I’ve always prided myself in being easy to talk to and even easier to get along with. I always wore a white, dilapidated Alabama baseball cap, which I thought, looked entirely unintimidating. My smile, which I had worked on since I was a child, was one that I thought was very friendly and inviting.
As I sat there, open-mouthed, gazing at her shamelessly, I wondered how I could ever recover gracefully from such a harsh accusation, the only thing that came out of my mouth was, “Well I can see that you don’t want to be bothered so I am going to leave you alone. Hope you have a nice day.”
She gave me a “eat shit and die” smirk and turned her head back toward her opened laptop, which was currently displaying a MySpace page with some rapper’s video. “She really needs to catch up with the times and get on Facebook,” I thought to myself, “MySpace is so outdated.”
But as I walked away from my colorful friend I realized what it really means when a girl has hair that has more colors then a rainbow. It means that she is self-absorbed and in need of attention. Just like the peacock from Greek mythology, it means she is stuck-up. So, in all of my subsequent times spent people gazing, which just happens to be my favorite past-time, I always remember this unwavering truth: if I can’t tell what color her hair really is, I’ll never be able to get her to make me biscuits and gravy.