Saturday, July 28, 2007

Blonde, Eh?

So, astute observers of my Medellin post (including mother, brother and Caryn), and not-especially astute observers of more recent posts, have noticed/will notice that I´ve gone blonde.

What could explain such a strange phenomenon?

Well, I´d been thinking about it for a while and realized that this was my last chance to do something crazy like this before going home and back to work.

I went blonde once in college as part of my costume for a party I hosted called ¨Insanity,¨ for which guests were invited to ¨dress insane.¨ Interestingly, this party was only a few weeks before graduation (well, fake graduation for me--but I walked), so I was speckled in all my graduation photos.

I kind of liked it and so did some others, so I always thought perhaps one day I´d do it again. I´d thought about it in law school, but I was always working part time so never had a large stretch where I could be sure I wouldn´t be called to a meeting in DC, etc. So, here was my chance, and on a whim one day in Medellin I took it.

So, how do you feel about your decision, Adam?

To be honest, I have mixed feelings. I like the change of pace and still think it looks decent (for once in a blue moon).

But, it´s a lot different than the first time around.

First of all, when I did this at Duke, I was surrounded by people who knew me well. They knew that it was kind of a joke, or at least a whimsical change of pace. Now, I´m constantly meeting new people--and they don´t have the context to know this. So, it´s kind of strange meeting new people as someone other than your usual self. I sometimes wonder how people might react differently to me if they just met me as regular Adam.

But, more importantly, I´ve realized that by going blonde I´ve put more distance between myself and the local folks I meet, and made myself stand out that much more. This can be cool and fun, but it also has its downsides. To the extent I´m trying to blend in and absorb the culture, it´s not helpful to stick out like an even sorer thumb. And, when I complain about having a big G or target sign on my back for locals trying to make a buck off gringos, to a certain extent I have only myself to blame.

So, bottom line is I enjoy being blonde for the time being, but I wish I had done it earlier in my trip. It would have put less distance between me and locals, and made me less of a target, to be bleached in Argentina than in Colombia or Central America.

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