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I’m the Kind of Person Who (Has Brilliant Self-Perception)

self-perception

I’m the kind of person who could be anyone.

Except someone with blond hair.

I found a piece of blond hair on my jacket this morning as I was stepping off the bus before I went to my dentist. My dentist works in Sloane Square, and taking the bus is the easiest way to go see him because I’m always running late and the bus is fast.

I love going and I hate going to this dentist’s office. It’s in a rich part of town and has a tiny entrance. I’m always passing flashy women on the way in and out and always stopping and waiting for them to go. Because the unspoken social etiquette is that I, not flashily dressed, am the kind of person who will wait and they the ones to go. I’m the kind of person who notices and understands social courtesies like that.

I can’t see how one dentist can serve so many people at one time, but he does. So many flashy people. And me.

The bus only takes me so far, so I have to walk the rest of the way. Because I prefer to walk fast, and because I’m always running late, I don’t wear heels. Although I own them. And I’d feel more comfortable if I did wear them, given the other clientele in his waiting room.

That’s a QC, but you’d never know, would you?

That man is the man who discovered Naomi Campbell. Saw her in an off-licence in the 80s.

That guy out there, the one in tweed, he is one of the ten richest people in England.

My dentist tells me everything about everyone. I wonder what he says about me. He never tells me about me. Leaves me to my own self-perception.

I was headed to him for my six-month checkup, and I found a blond hair and picked it off. The bulb was still intact. I find great pleasure in squeezing it and seeing if I can feel it between my fingers. Popping. I don’t think it does pop, but I always try. I’m the kind of person who loves making things pop.

I once told my doctor (not my dentist) I thought I had trichotillomania. That’s where you like to pull out hair. He raised his eyebrows – which were very hairy –  and asked me where I had heard that word. I told him that I watch reality television, and that I like the ones about people with addictions and neuroses. Then I felt embarrassed I had shared both of these things, and shrugged, like it’s no big deal. I’m not someone to make a big deal.

“I wouldn’t call trichotillomania a neurosis. It’s a real psychological disorder. What makes you think you have it?” asked my doctor. His eyebrows looked like gate-keepers to his thoughts.

“I’m the kind of person who might have it. I like to pull out my hair.”

“I see.”

“I like how it feels. It’s like a little pain, bearable but not ignorable,” I add.

“Do you do it for the pain?”

“Perhaps. I might. And because I like my eyebrows neat.”

“I see.”

“So, do I have it?”

My doctor looked at my face, my eyebrows, my hairline—which was high genetically but nothing to be alarmed about—and then my arms. He noticed, I’m sure, that I have ample soft hair on my body, and I probably hadn’t been pulling out my hair.

Many people with trichotillomania often don’t have any hair. They paint on eyebrows where the skin has given up growing hair.

“How often do you pull out your hair?”

“Well, once a month. At least.” 

“You most likely don’t have trichotillomania.”

He’s probably right. I’m not the kind of person who has a real psychological disorder.

But in all that time of possibly being or not being a trichotillomaniac, no hair I’d ever pulled or not pulled, appeared blond.

It must have been a hair from the bus seat I sat on. Except, I didn’t sit on the bus. There was a woman with a stroller who needed the only seat left, and I’m the kind of person who gives up her seat when there is only one seat left, but not before. I congratulate myself on that helpfulness. And I found it easier to stand, my arm twined around the yellow pole, bracing my feet when the bus stopped but otherwise feeling thoroughly supported by the wall next to me. Checking out my reflection in the window when we passed something dark. I always look better than I think I will. I’m the kind of person who keeps company with the fact that I’m ugly. 

I decided to bring it up at home, to the kind of person who knows me best.

“Is my hair ever blond?” I asked my boyfriend.

He answered without looking at me, “Your hair looks blond in the sun.”

“No it doesn’t. Does it?”

“Yes.”

“You know, I never knew that. I feel like I should have known that before. Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

You never think you’re the kind of person who will continue to find out new things about yourself or the ones you love. Like that day I found out my boyfriend was colorblind.

It’s not my hair. I’m not the kind of person who has blond hair. I probably got it at the dentist’s office. It’s the hair of an MP, or a Royal, or someone who represents movie star.

Someone who doesn’t look like she is anyone, but who really is everyone.

I am not everyone, but I could be anyone. I am not someone with blond hair. I guess there is some comfort in that.

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