The Art of Dyeing: Realizations of a Filipina Turned Blonde

Going blonde was one of the worst mistakes I’ve made in my entire life–literally and figuratively. If you are a Filipina and you fancy sporting a blonde hair, please read on and learn from my mistakes.

The Bleach Is a Bitch

For a woman who has always considered herself as a strong human being, my reaction when my scalp was exposed to the bleach’s harsh chemicals was pretty lame. The original plan was to dye my hair gray, but I ended up with a blonde hair instead.

Realization#1: I hired the wrong beautician.

The Bleach Beautician Is a Bitch

When the chemicals started to take effect, I began to feel an extreme tingling sensation on my scalp. Perhaps the mixture was three percent too strong or the beautician was just plain dumb, but its effect on me became more intense as the seconds passed by.

I’ve heard tales about the bleach’s effect on the scalp before, but I never imagined it would be this worse. Little did I know, my skin was slowly suffering from a chemical burn. When I couldn’t take it any longer, I asked her to wash my hair. She told me that it was a little too early to do that, but I insisted. Fuck you, I thought.

Realization#2: Thanks to my inefficient, incompetent beautician, my hair was exposed to the chemicals for too long.

For these reasons, allow me to put the blame on the beautician–the original culprit–and not on the poor bleach.

Result:

I’m not a fan of taking selfies (and I didn’t have a smartphone at that time), so my blonde hair moments were only documented when I took pictures with my boyfriend. The only selfie that I found on my boyfriend’s profile was this:

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Pak

A Filipina’s Struggle

Let’s face it: a blonde hair does not suit all skin tones. I believe we’re free to express ourselves however we want to, but not everybody can rock a spot-on blonde hair. This holds true for Filipinas, especially for morenas. I had to make sure that the hair color goes well with my skin tone or else I would have to dye my hair black once again to avoid looking like a pokpok.

Sadly, as much as I want to change my hair color depending on my mood like Clementine in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I simply can’t because 1) can’t afford salon treatments, 2) don’t want to damage my hair further, and 3) ain’t nobody got time fo’ that.

Realization#3: I am a fucked up girl looking for my own peace of mind like Clementine, but I am not Clementine.

The Unsolicited “Compliments”

For over two months, I endured the additional catcalls that I received from random guys on the streets. These fuckfaces think that seeing a blonde is a free pass to a steamy, dirty sex. Yuck. When a woman walks the streets, perverts automatically see a walking vagina. It doesn’t even matter what she’s wearing. Worse, when a blonde dares to step out, it instantly translates as a “fuck me” sign in these assholes’ eyes.

On one occasion, I told my boyfriend about my unfortunate encounters with these perverts. We ended up fighting.

Him: What did you expect? You gave them a reason to insult you.

Me: Fuck you. How can you possibly blame me for dyeing my hair? *mansplains societal sexism, feminism, morality, religion, the essence of our relationship etc.*

Him: Well, that’s how society works. If you want people to respect you, don’t dye your hair.

Me: Fuck you fuck you fuck you… (repeat 13,000x)

I was so angry at him that I posted a Facebook rant, which I also deleted after some time. I realized that he only meant well. He said it pains him to know that I was constantly receiving those “compliments” just because I was blonde and that he didn’t mean it’s my fault. He just wanted me to realize that it’s useless to battle with societal sexism. After all, it’s just me and him against the world.

After eight long weeks, I decided he was right.

Realization#4:  I wanted to make myself believe that I could handle all those unsolicited “compliments,” but I’d rather not risk it. It’s not worth it.

The Moment I Knew

Last February, I took the plunge. Due to lack of funds (LOL), I asked my boyfriend if he could do the honors and dye my hair at home. He agreed without hesitation because he’s cool like that. We braved the afternoon heat and went to Hortaleza to buy the materials.

My medium-length hair is naturally thick, so the poor boy had a hard time applying the mixture. It took us over five hours to finish the process. We started at around 6PM and ended before 12midnight. By 10PM, our stomachs started to rumble. We took yosi breaks every once in a while, but we couldn’t take a really long break because half of my hair had been exposed to the chemicals for too long already.

Realization#5: Eat your dinner before starting the dyeing rights.

The only thing I could do to cheer him up was to play The Beatles and Franco songs on my laptop. And because we forgot to buy gloves, we used plastic bags as a substitute, which resulted in 1) a stained favorite shirt and 2) hands tattooed with ugly, massive forms of black dye.

Realization#6: He’s the person I want to spend the rest of my life with.

Ha! Fooled you! So, this blog post is really my somewhat late attempt at greeting you a happy, happy 8th anniversary. I know I’m two days too late, but let me tell you the things that I wanted to tell you but couldn’t last Monday. But first, let me set things straight.

On the day you dyed my hair, I realized I have always been the lucky one. If I were in your shoes, I would complain every now and then about how thick your hair was and how the dyeing process was taking up too much of our time. I’d complain about my hunger, my lack of sleep, and above all, my tired legs. But you didn’t. You were always the patient one. You always believed in us even when I kept pushing you away. You always stayed, even though the only things worth staying for are the memories we shared. And for all of these reasons, I am grateful.

When I realized that last week’s writing prompt was about hair color, I couldn’t contain my giddiness because I already knew what to write. A blog post about my realization when you dyed my hair to be published the day before our 8th anniversary? The timing couldn’t be more perfect. Sadly, I’ve been pressed for time lately so I wasn’t able to finish the rough draft, much more hit the publish button.

But now that I’m ready to show it to you, I love you! I love you! I love you! I promise to be more patient and understanding with you. I love you and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you. I love you.

 

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A photo of us taken on the day of our 8th anniversary

***

This is my entry to my college friends and I’s weekly blog challenge.

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