I was at Dunkin Donuts the other day and an older lady, probably about 55, was behind me in line. She tapped me on the shoulder and when I turned and said “Hi?” with a smile, she said, “Why would you go and have pink hair?” with an ugly condescending tone and matching scowl.
Look, this shit doesn’t normally bother me. I’m used to it and I have really thick skin. I can think of about five times since June that I’ve been questioned/gotten shitty comments about… me. It’s not that I’m the freakiest-looking person you’ve ever seen, it’s just that I live in, well… a rural, predominantly white, conservative county. I don’t have a lot of tattoos, but I have more than them. I don’t have more kids than them, but I started much younger than they did, and I don’t have a wedding ring on my finger. I have pink in my hair, GOD FORBID. (Also, I have a Steelers sticker on my car, which is really just asking for it.)
I’m different than them. They do not approve. I get it. I usually tolerate it, if for no other reason than I’m so shocked at the audacity of the person to make the comment they did that I have no scathing reply. But you know what? Fuck that shit. I’m done tolerating it.
I replied to Rude Donut Shop Lady, “You see, it’s breast cancer awareness and prevention hair. If I rub my hair all over your boobs, it lowers your chances of breast cancer. It’s science. Will you let me help your breasts today?”
I know that a bitchy reply isn’t going to change her mind about me. She’s not going to go home and tell her husband she made a mistake and feels awful for being a condescending cunt to a young lady and will never think that way again. If anything, it probably just gave her more fuel. But goddamnit if it didn’t feel good to shock her and knock her off her judgey throne just a little bit.
So later I was telling my mom about this incident and she said, “You know, you’ve always really enjoyed making people uncomfortable.” After giving it a few moments thought, I had to admit she was right. I really do enjoy making people uncomfortable. That, in my humble opinion, is the best way to see a person’s true colors– You toss them something that is a little out of their comfort zone, and see how they handle it. Making them uncomfortable right off the bat cuts through any bullshit and gives you a good idea of the real person underneath the small talk.
For example, I can tell you with certainty that Rude Donut Shop Lady does not want me to rub my pink hair on her chesticles. If I had not gone out of my way to make her uncomfortable, I probably wouldn’t know that. See? Learning about people, by way of shocking them. Social research, for the winz.