Years ago, a Rotary club hired me to belly dance for their party in Belize. In the initial call, they explained that they wanted a dark-haired performer. I wasn't going to lie. I told them I was a blonde who owned a beautiful chocolate brown wig. They said that was fine, and I got the job. On the first night of my arrival, the group asked me to do a show at their nightclub. I didn't need to wear the wig until the following evening. It was a great night, and they were happy with the performance. I wore my thick dark hair and danced for their event the next day. The audience was fun, and my hosts wanted the party to continue at their nightclub. They wanted me to do a second show, and I agreed. Now, mind you, I'm wearing a different costume, different music, and I'm a brunette instead of a blonde this time. It's still me, though; yet, a young woman comes up to me after I dance and says, "You're fantastic! I loved your show. You're so authentic, unlike the dancer they had last night. She was blonde with blue eyes and white skin. She didn't know how to dance." I tried hard not to laugh and said, "Well, thank you. I appreciate your kind words." I didn't have the heart to tell her I was the same dancer, just different hair.
Perception is everything. We all have experiences that skew our mindset and color how we see people and events in our lives. I believe that's the root cause of miscommunication between us. We don't always take the time to get to know the people we interact with on a daily basis. Instead, we put them in a box, slap a label on it, and don't see beyond our initial impression. I'm sure it's happened to you; it's happened to all of us that someone misunderstands our intention. It could be the emotional state they're in at the time, a bad day, sad news, or an out-of-coffee moment that will put anyone in a rotten mood. It could be we remind a new acquaintance of someone from their past that they distrust and subconsciously we're disliked before they get to know us.
It could be a myriad of reasons, but the point is, we need to remind ourselves that it may not be about us at all. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt and not take everything personally. If the opportunity arises, I'll ask the person if I've done anything to upset them. Especially if I feel we've gotten off on the wrong foot. I've found this is a great way to open up an honest conversation and clear up any misunderstanding. I gain insight into their impression of me, and I have the chance to learn something new about myself and my new friend.
On a side note, back home in Florida, I wore my dark wig for another show and left it on to go dancing in my favorite rock club. A cute guy asked me to dance, and I accepted. We had a great time talking and laughing at the bar. Then, he walked me to my car and said he would like to call me for a date. I said sure. He tells me that I just proved his point that brunettes are much more easygoing and fun than blondes. He would never date a girl with blonde hair. I told him I was wearing a wig, and he laughed. I then showed him my promotional picture. Without a word, he turned around and left. All I can think is some blonde really hurt him, and he's not about to take a chance with another one.
Let this be a cautionary tale of letting your biases miss out on potential opportunities. Remember to keep an open mind when meeting people. They may surprise you when you find common ground. We're not so different after all. Because the truth is I am fun and easygoing, whether I'm a blonde or a brunette.