Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Paint It Black

Oranges are in season. The orange vendors roam the streets ringing doorbells. When Pablo answers the door I usually hide and he buys 100 oranges for 25 pesos. When I answered the door yesterday, home alone, the vendor wanted 110 pesos. I refused. We talked back and forth. He cut open a fruit for me to try. He was hot, tired, and thirsty and wanted to go home. As I walked away, he cut the price to 40 pesos. I bought the oranges. I may have only gotten 50 of them though. But I was disgusted and finished with the conversation.

I think I am attracting too much attention with blonde hair here in Latin America. It seems to cause heads to turn, which I am trying to avoid. I have been wearing my hair like this a few years now and until recently didn’t give it a second thought. I just want to fit in, and get a fair deal on purchases, and feel less discrimination for my very existence here.

The way I look causes prices on just about everything to double, and the general treatment by the people is often less than hospitable. If people see me with Pablo, my young local boyfriend, between the age difference and the cultural differences, we often are treated with yet another discrimination. I am seen as a cougar and he is seen as a gold digger. Neither is true. Only we know and understand why we are more than just friends. And who is to judge us, anyhow.

So, I am thinking I want to dye my hair Mexican brown. Real dark brown. Then see if I get the same treatment when I walk to the marketplace, or go to the supermarket; if they treat me any differently before they know for sure I am a foreigner. I still may be a dead gringo-giveaway since I won’t be wearing spiked heals or heavy black eye makeup. And of course I am afraid I will look like a freak, wearing a bad wig, or appear older than I already feel I look. I have to try something, even if it’s wrong.


Anonymous said...

Don't do it. It won't make a difference.


Theresa said...

Pablo is a man of integrity, who wouldn't want to be a partner like him? You two are so good together, it's obvious why you are together!!

I wouldn't do dark brown or black, it would be too dark on you.Try the temporary stuff first in a medium brown and see, but I don't think it will change stuff much. If you really want to go permanent, I have a box of dye you can have. Than again, my attitude has always been it's just hair, and it will grow back.

Islagringo said...

Don't do anything drastic. Dyeing your hair will not make any difference. I have brown hair, what is left of it, and a man. I get "gringoed" everywhere I go. Trust me, it has nothing to do with hair color.

crazy gone native said...

Hair color never need be permanent. As an experiment I am kind of intrigued about being dark haired for a while. To see if it makes a difference when driving, or just walking..say with hat or at least glasses....

Pablo is all gung ho on the idea because we can always change it back..in a month or so. I am still tossing it around in my head, instead of on my head.

Nancy said...

Yikes. Be careful! I made temporary color permanent by putting more on before the first had gone away. Then you are stuck with it until it grows out.

I'd say don't bother about the hair. The thing that gives us away as gringos is everything, our clothing, the way we walk, the way we gesture, all of it.

Ni modo.

Merida Mikey said...

I say "GO FOR IT"!!!!

I think the change in hair color would do you good! It may, or may not, help the "gringa" situation, but so what. Try it, dare to be different. The fact that you purchased the colorant is indication enough that you want to give it a try and I encourage you to do so. What the hell, you can always change it if you need to.

Get out the paint brush and create a new you!