Life is hard enough as an Asian. Not all of us can get perfect SAT scores, graduate from medical school or trick out a Honda Civic. The pressure to embrace our culture remains but sometimes, we just don’t want to. How To Be A Bad Asian is an ongoing series of personal essays by the 8Asians writers about what sets us apart from the API community, how we deal with the stereotypes that we put upon ourselves and why we all can’t be that perfect Asian. It’s time to be bad.
Xxxtine is a bad girl who think she’s a good girl trying to be bad … when she really is just bad to begin with. Her caveman boyfriend likes it.
My natural hair is black and straight. And while I would like to thank my ancestors for my rather luscious healthy locks, I damage it, on a fairly regular basis by dying it.
Colour of preference: blonde. Champagne blonde to be exact.
I actually started dying my hair red when I was 18 to the great opposition of my mother. I grew tired of my black hair that didn’t do anything except fall straight and hang. To me that was boring and I disappeared among the Asian population in Toronto. That irked me, being invisible. As if what I looked like could be easily replaced with someone else who looked similar and if I could be easily replaced, I could be easily forgotten. Going red was fine, but got played out quick and it wasn’t my style to go with daring colours like purple, blue or green – so I went blonde when I was 25 and immediately wondered why I hadn’t done it sooner.
I LOVE the blonde despite not ‘being natural’ in any way possible. I like how it makes me feel confident and free. It’s almost as if my personality shines even more when I’m blonde vs. when it’s dark. It grabs people’s attention and often makes them do double takes. I get a kick out of it – particularly at conservative events. People are sometimes embarrassed when one stands out.
Friends and family seem warm to the results and almost everyone has a comment about it. Generally the reception is always good, but occasionally I get the odd criticism usually directly relating to perception, ie: Good girl = natural hair colour, Bad girl = dye job. One guy I was seeing at the time said it looked like I was “trying to be white.” Another said I looked more Asian when I wear my dark rimmed glasses. As if the purpose was to hide my Asianness when in fact I wanted to become more visible as myself.
The blonde really works for my fair skin and pink undertone. Granted maintenance is a pain and it’s tough to keep my beige bathroom sink clean from all the fallen follicles. My hair feels thin, dry and brittle which means I have to grow it all out, then dye which can take several months to a year depending on budget.
I near killed my sister during one of my dark phases (re: growing out period) when she showed up at my door blonde like Tila Tequila thereby halting my blonde exploits. She too noticed an instant change in the way people treated her, the looks, the double takes, the people actually turning around and staring. She didn’t like it as much as I did and after a couple of years, went back to her jet black locks. I immediately went blonde again.
The caveman boyfriend met me as a blonde, but likes the dark hair I’m currently sporting during this festive season better. Not that he has a say come spring or maybe he’ll be surprised sooner.
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