I was utterly amazed by the huge response to my last post about whether or not a med student can have pink hair. I wanted to thank everyone who left a comment. I read every single one, and rather than reply to each one individually, I thought I’d write a post to respond.
By and large it seemed that a good majority of people in the medical profession think that pink hair is simply unacceptable for a med student or doctor. The number one reason people gave is because it could potentially harm patients or threaten quality patient care.
Now if you read the comments closely, you’ll note something quite surprising. The vast majority of patients who commented actually said that they wouldn’t mind having a med student or doctor with pink hair. Some even said that it would be a refreshing change. Of course I can’t take this as fact. The response group is obviously self-selected, and this is in no way a valid study. However, I thought this finding was quite ironic.
Since so many people expressed interest in finding out how this story ends, I thought I’d share my solution to this problem. I decided to shave my hair into a pseudo-mohawk. I shaved the sides super short, and left a two-inch strip of hair down the middle. I then dyed the sides a dark brown color, and the “pseudo-mohawk” portion light blonde.
The result? I guess I have a new age mullet (as the saying goes, “business up front, party in the back). If I want to be more conservative, I simply press the hair down into a less obvious style. But if I want to be a little funkier, I simply spike up the mohawk portion. Voila! I stayed within the range of “human” colors, but still have a non-traditional cut and color combo.
Today was the first day of my psych rotation. I have a lot to say about how my day went, but I’ll save that for a later post. So, how was my hairstyle received? Actually, incredibly well. The doctor who runs the program didn’t even notice my hair, and my attending physician had absolutely no problem with it. None of the staff or patients gave me any strange looks, and in fact, a few of them complimented me on my hair.
If I had to do it all over again, I might have kept the pink. I really got the feeling that although I might have gotten some strange looks at first, I wouldn’t have been sent home, and many of the people would have actually enjoyed it.
Perhaps I will dye it pink sometime in the future. But for the time being, I have found a happy middle ground. I feel pleased and confident with my new style. I don’t feel like I’m trying to be someone I’m not. And honestly, because I felt so relaxed with my new style, I think it came through in my interactions with my colleagues and my patients. I felt like I could really be me. And maybe that’s the best way to treat my patients.