Husband Mike claims he’s got brown hair and green eyes. I can tell you RIGHT NOW that the man has sandy blond hair and blue eyes. Since I’m all browns, none of my coloring-related features have ever been in dispute, but I put this question to the folks who follow Already Pretty over on Facebook, and got some great responses:
How about you? Ever proclaim your eyes green, only to be shot down? Declare yourself a blond and have someone say, “Really? I always thought of you as a brunette”?
You can read the whole thread right here, but a few highlights include:
My eyes are green. DEFINITELY green. But I have people tell me I have pretty blue eyes. Usually only if I’m wearing something very very blue. But they are definitely green.
I went through my whole life up until I was 30 believing I was a brunette, only to have a colorist tell me that no, I’m a dark blonde.
With eyes that tend to look a different colour under different lights and hair that is naturally neither blonde nor brown its always fairly exciting when someone points out my colouring – the thing is that nobody can ever agree on the exact colours … although i like to think its grey/green eyes with brown hair, much more mysterious and literary.
My hair is very dark brown and people will sometimes call it black. It’s definitely not.
Reading through the responses, I was struck by how some women felt very strongly that observers were flat-out wrong and others were more willing to go with the flow. I also noticed that some women found these misconceptions hilarious while others sounded disgruntled.
But my biggest takeaway? How we see ourselves can clash with how others perceive us, even in matters as simple as hair and eye color. I believe that this phenomenon can spill over into other body-related matters, too. Husband Mike likes to tell ME that I’m short. I’m 5′ 5.5″, thank you very much,* which means that I’ve never bought petite-fit pants and am taller than the statistical national average for women. But to him? I’m short. I fit under his chin when we’re shoeless and hugging. I once had the opportunity to interview musician Dar Williams, and she mentioned how tall I was. Twice. And yeah, I was wearing platform boots, but still. I was really only tall because Dar is a tiny little pixie of a woman.
And even beyond matters of relativity, these kinds of discussions make me realize that other people may not look at me and see acne and cellulite, small boobs and big hips. All of the things about myself that I get hung up on may fail to register, depending upon the observer’s perspective. And that can’t cure me of my body image hang-ups because, at the end of the day, it all comes down to how I feel about myself, not how others see me. Yet the knowledge that everything about bodies is subject to opinion and perception? It’s a little comforting.
My eyes are brown. No two ways about it. But nearly everything else is subjective.
*He says that the mere fact that I lay claim to that half-inch means I’m short. Hrumph.