As an adult who is privileged to work with student leaders, I often find myself in ridiculous situations. Mostly, they are of my own making from an inability to keep my mouth shut. Other times, it is from my inability to come up with a hard “no” when being asked to do something in which I have only lukewarm interest. Regardless, nine times out of 10, it’s usually an interaction that is enjoyable for all parties.
Occasionally, it is that 10th interaction that causes me to rethink my level of intelligence and ability to not look like an idiot.
In early November, I was discussing a mutual friend with a couple of students. The conversation revolved around a young man who was preparing to propose to his girlfriend. Since all of us had been asked what our “perfect moment” was; it was hotly contested when and how he was going to pop the question. Added into the mix of suggestions was his girlfriend’s approaching birthday.
Having been the recipient of several awkward and unwanted proposals in my younger days, I had suggestions on what not to do. First and foremost was to not piggyback the proposal on a day, which could pack a double punch. It included not proposing on her birthday — or on a major holiday. If the marriage doesn’t work out — you have ruined your holiday for years, but, if you are married and forget her birthday — you get a double-dose of resentment because you are suddenly the big dodo who forgot two of the most important days of her life. Best to avoid that pitfall if you can. He seemed to be greatly struck by that bit of so-called wisdom.
We knew he planned on proposing soon, they were in their last semester and he was anxious to seal the deal so to speak. When his friends mention they had a betting pool for the proposal, I thought it was funny. When asked if I wanted to be in on it, I declined since it wouldn’t be appropriate. It wasn’t until one of the students commented he would bet the proposal was going to be a birthday surprise, that I decided that was one bet I could take. I was certain it would not be the case. Terms were agreed upon for the original bet and a side bet. We laughed about the whole deal and I forgot about it.
Eleven days later, I received a screenshot of a woman’s Facebook page with a photo of a beaming young woman showing off an engagement ring and a caption of “Best birthday ever!” It came with a side note: “you lose- pay up!!” Well, crud.
I’ve spent years espousing that you must keep your promises, because it shows your true character. I had to pay up. Which is how I wound up with the top of my head being dyed a bright blue. Smurf blue. Raspberry slushee blue. An eye-popping brilliant shade that startled me every morning for two weeks. It certainly made the gray hair less noticeable. The side bet of having to keep the color for six weeks was a bonus.
Once the dye job was complete — I had to hold strong through Thanksgiving, the Michigan game week, two board meetings and Christmas. Maximum exposure for these students who were delighted with the payoff. I had to send weekly photos proving I was keeping my word. This week — my hair is getting cut. Hopefully it has grown enough the evidence of my stupidity will be on the floor of the salon.
Until then, I also maintain the blue hair color was an impulse decision because I was feeling old and frumpy depending on who is commenting. It’s okay if people are not certain which story is true. It has provided a great deal of entertainment and speculation for certain members of my social and professional circles.
Photographic proof of been there, done that, bought the t-shirt and possibly kept my word is on the internet if you know where to look. The New Year brings a new hairdo — a less colorful one. But, February is approaching, so who knows — maybe the wintertime blues will be revisited.
Written and submitted by Sarah Roush for The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.