As soon as I hit my 18th birthday, I not only cut it all off, but dyed it red. The rusty hue, courtesy of Clairol, didn’t suit my olive skin, and I quickly dyed it back to brown. Enthralled with the coloring process, I was curious if I could get it to blonde, and I had it professionally bleached. The bleach was so harsh against my scalp, and the fumes so noxious, that I had to leave the salon and sit outside, breathing fresh air and resisting the urge to find a flowing fire hydrant so I could douse my head under streams of cold water. The final result was jarring—lighter than an egg yolk, but vivid, and certainly not natural.