6 Highlights From Bleaching My Hair (pi)

*(pi) – pun intended

A few weeks before I moved to Perth, I happened upon a Heath Ledger interview with David Letterman. The first question asked Heath where he was from. Heath’s performance in A Knight’s Tale is my all-time favorite, but I hadn’t known much about his origins. “I grew up in Perth, Western Australia…the most isolated city in the world,” Heath told Letterman. Right then I decided, “I’m going to dye my hair to look like Heath! I’ll fit right in when I move to Perth!” I went to a salon with this picture of Heath, and said make me like Heath.

I learned a lot from this drastic identity switch. Here’s some highlights (pi):

1. Not ALL Australians have long blonde hair
Untitled Design 10With Heath and the Aussie-blonde-surfer stereotype occupying most of what I imagined Australians to look like, I moved to Perth looking the part, except when I got there, I was the only idiot (pictured) with long, blonde hair. On my Australian (country ‘known’ for blondes) Lacrosse (sport known for long hair) team, Blair (front and center with legs spread) is holding up the number of blondes in the whole club: 2 – He and I.

2. Blonde hair and DARK eyebrows raises questions: Untitled Design
The worst was when I convinced someone that the hair was natural, and they’d say, “Yea I know, but what’s up with the dark brows (pictured)?” The first few times I surrendered, “Alright, I dyed the hair.” The “fool me twice, shame on me” equivalent would be, “Ask me three times, I’ll prepare a lie.” As people brought up the contrasting dark eye brows more and more, I crafted a viable answer: “My eyebrows are naturally very light so you can’t see them, and I’m super self-conscious about it, so I dye my brows.” No one questions an honest, self-conscious guy.

3. I can’t surf, but I CAN surf on turf: 

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The theory I clung to was: as long as you can talk the talk, you can convince almost anyone that you’re a good surfer (pictured). I love the idea of surfing, always have. I’ve never been able to surf. I tried twice in Australia and got pummeled by waves for several hours both times. But with blonde hair, I did often get asked if I surfed. Again, ask me three times. From asking real surfers, I was able to hone my own response, “Yea I was out there today, waves were head high – small but fun.” On turf, I’m a great surfer.

4. Know YOUR National Anthem:Untitled Design 7
When I bleached my hair the color of uncooked pasta, I didn’t quite resemble my passport photo. Whenever I presented my ID to a bartender or a bouncer, I often had to answer a passport related question to prove I was in fact the dark haired American pictured. I can’t just blame the hair – 2 and 3 are both about how I misled people to believe I was an Aussie surfer. So one bouncer didn’t just question me about my name or my birthday because he wasn’t convinced I was even American. He said I had to sing the National Anthem to gain entrance. I gained entrance (pictured).

5. Blondes CAN’T go anywhere unnoticed: Untitled Design 8
Phrases like “found a Billy hair” or “Billy must have been here” followed me everywhere I went. Even when I dove the Great Barrier Reef (weird brag) to visit a friend, I returned from the depths of the ocean, climbed aboard the boat, and opened my phone to a text from “Nemo” reading, “Found your hairs in my anemonemone, my amnemonemomne.” I responded, “Sorry Neem.” I’m kidding. Nemo (pictured) never texted me. But I did leave strands of hair in his anemone. Now that my hair isn’t three shades, my trail of long, dark hair can be deflected on any number of people.

6. Blondes actually DO have more fun: Untitled Design 6
I found myself taking more risks and chances as a blonde. I had this weird self-confidence where I felt like I could get away with more. And it wasn’t just the quote on quote, pro surfer, persona I took on. I experimented fashionably with clothes I otherwise would never feel comfortable– ripped jeans, jean jackets, and pants tucked into socks (pictured). I’m way mellowed out since returning to my dark hair – I wear mostly dark clothes. I don’t like to stand out.

Bleaching my hair to look like Heath but not really looking like Heath was a great experiment I suggest everyone try. If you ever find yourself thinking, “Hm. I want to switch things up a little.” Just dye your hair a different color and move to another country – it’s not just for those on a FBI’s “Most Wanted” list.