This morning husband called me on his way home from the grocery store to tell me that he heard there’s free admission at the zoo today and asked if I wanted to go.
For those of you that know my husband well enough, you’re probably doing a double take of that last sentence. For those of you that don’t know my husband, here’s a quick story:
In elementary school husband had a life altering experience at the zoo. In fact, it was numerous traumatizing experiences. Every year his school took a class field trip to the zoo.
His description of the events: They went during one the coldest Wisconsin months of the year. The teachers forced the kids to avoid wearing gang colors because the zoo was in the city and they wanted to avoid trouble. This left husband wearing layers of sweatshirts instead of his Green Bay Packers coat. Then, boy did they have the gall, he had to pack a cold, smooshy peanut butter and jelly sandwich that would end up getting sat on at some point or another. Then the teachers had the audacity to force him to fill out worksheets while on the trip.
I know. What an absolutely miserable experience. worksheets and smooshed sandwiches? Forget the awesome opportunity to see foreign animals and not have to be in class. What an awful, awful idea those teachers had to take him to the zoo.
Now, the one thing you can take from this story is that, even as a child, Husband has always hated change. He’s a creature of habit. It’s a comfort thing for him. He has no desire to travel or move away from Wisconsin. He likes to eat the same foods at the same times. He likes to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. He likes the same TV shows and the same hobbies. I could go on…
Now, imagine my delighted surprise when Husband calls me to suggest a family trip to the zoo. This was totally out of the ordinary.
So, he gets home and unpacks the groceries he bought and pulls out a box of hair dye. A box of very dark brown hair dye. Very dark brown. Like… nearly black. He announces that he saw this and thought it’d be fun for me to dye my hair. I could have taken this one of two ways:
A.) Insulted. He clearly doesn’t like me the way I am and wants to change me.
B.) Proud. He went way, way out of his typical comfort zone to try something new and exciting.
I went with B. See, I know this was technically my hair he suggested I dye, but that’s the reason I was kind of shocked and proud. He’s very particular about my hair. He likes it long. He likes it a certain color. He likes it a certain style. That’s not to say that he makes me do these things, it’s just what he prefers.
Recently though, I cut about a foot off of my hair because I was just sick and tired of the same thing day in and day out. When I told him what I was doing, he tried incredibly hard to be supportive, but I could tell he was really fighting the change. His first response in seeing my hair cut was, “hmm.” Then he immediately back pedaled when he saw my glare and tried to cover his tracks with some lame attempt to explain away his terrible first impression. “Err… Uhh… I mean…“
A week later, he brought up my hair cut again, saying, “You know, I don’t even notice that your hair is short anymore.”
I responded, “Oh, really? I actually really like it once I got used to it! Does that mean you like it now?”
Now comes today. He brought home a box of hair dye that’s not his typical preference. I had to hand it to him. He’s really trying. Now, although this wasn’t my preferred color, we were finally getting somewhere. He’s showing me he’s willing to stand aside and let me ruin my hair even though it makes him cringe a little bit on the inside. I set the box aside to decide on later and we started getting ready for our family trip to the zoo.
We called up a friend to join us, packed up the kids and headed out. (I’ll spare you additional pointless details of our day and just say it was a typical fun day at the zoo with the family and a good friend.)
I will quickly add here that Buddy hasn’t been in public for more than an hour during his potty training. So going from that to an incredibly fun and distracting place for hours on end without bathrooms immediately available was going to be interesting. We figured this was kind of his test to see how far he’s come along. He did awesome! Not only did he not have a single accident, but over a four-hour period he only needed to go to the bathroom twice. Woot!
So, after a day of fun and excitement, we dropped our friend off at home and headed for home ourselves. When we got home and got settled in, husband brought up the hair dye again. Now I had no choice but to decide. While I was proud (extremely proud) that he went out of his comfort zone and was willing to let me try something so different, I was actually fairly apprehensive to dye my hair that dark. Dark brown is very hard to pull off yourself because you almost always end up with jet black hair. I’m not a ‘black hair’ kind of girl. Especially in the dead of winter with pasty white skin. Yech.
I expressed this opinion and he seemed a little disappointed that I didn’t want to use the color he picked out specially for me and got all quiet and glum. I felt kind of bad for shutting him down when he was so excited about it. So, before I hopped in the shower I opened the box and took a good long look at the color. After a couple of minutes I decided I’d go for it. My hair will grow out if I don’t like it, right? The point of this was to show him I’m proud of him for trying and I supported him. (Afterwards I realized he totally pulled the puppy dog eyes on me and I fell for it hard. Damn him for being so cute and miserable.)
Instead of leaving the dye in my hair for 20 minutes the directions called for, I only did 5 minutes. I went from bottom to top so the underneath would be darker and the top would look lighter (or at least not black). After five minutes, I hopped in the shower and frantically washed it out, praying that it wasn’t black. I hopped out and dried it and… drumroll… it was exactly like the box! I have to say, I actually really like the color.
I’m not going to make my hair dying into some big philosophical life-changing event like Husband’s zoo experiences. But I will say that I’m very happy with the direction that husband is headed. He is opening up to change, and for him, that is an enormous step forward.
After husband realized I dyed my hair for him he hopped over excitedly and examined my hair and noted, “It could even be a little darker and I wouldn’t hate it.”
I know this was a great compliment coming from him, but I really should teach him how to compliment a woman properly… *facepalm*