Archive for September 16th, 2011

September 16, 2011

Hang on Scoopy

by Tabitha Kidwell

About 18 months into my Peace Corps service in Madagascar, I walked into a random salon, held up a picture of Jessica Simpson, and asked them to dye my hair the same color as hers. I may have been the first white girl to ever walk in their salon (let alone ask for such a drastic color job), but they happily obliged. Two giant bowls of blue peroxide solution later, I walked out with hair roughly the color of plastic baby doll hair. Radioactive baby doll hair. It was bright. To be fair, though, it was much closer to Jessica Simpson’s hair color than my natural color.

Looking back, I’m not sure I even really wanted to be a blonde. I haven’t had any desire to dye my hair since. I just thought it was worth a try once, and why not do something so ludicrous when you are already an object of curiosity to everyone around? I was one of only a handful of white people to ever come to my tiny town, and I was a source of great entertainment. Kids would chase after me on my morning run; ladies would gossip about what I bought at the market; babies would take one look at me and burst into tears. So I thought dyeing my hair would be fun for me and for them. Unfortunately, to Malagasy people, white girl hair, whether brown or blonde, is still white girl hair. The first thing my neighbor said to me afterwards? “Ah, Taby, you are so fat!” Seriously? I gain half a pound and you notice that, but not the neon yellow mess on top of my head?

In any case, I just made a purchase here that I feel is in the same vein as my Malagasy hair-dyeing escapade: I bought a Honda Scoopy Motorbike! A month ago, I was adamant that I would not get a motorcycle here. “Quality motorcycle helmet” was literally the only thing on a long packing list that I didn’t bring. I thought motorcycles were too fast, too dangerous and unnecessary.

But then I got here, realized how difficult it is to get around, and realized that, instead of a big, fast, scary motorcycle, I could get a little, wimpy, pink scooter. One look at the Scoopy in the shop window and it was true love. I really tried to talk myself out of it during the several days that my bank transfer was going through, but every time I saw one zooming down the street, I was seized by a feverish desire I haven’t experienced since Tamaguchis hit the stores in 1996. So I bought it, and it’ll be delivered in a few short hours!

The Scoopy is totally absurd. For one, it is called the Scoopy. It’s also markedly different from 90% of the motorcycles on the road here – they are all designed to look like, well, motorcycles, not something a Japanese schoolgirl would ride. But I can’t help it. I love it. It’s silly looking, but when better to look silly? I’m already the tallest, whitest person around. I might as well take it to extreme. Maybe I’ll dye my hair blonde again.