One of the first thing young women do upon graduating from high school in Japan is dye their hair. Most opt for a fairly subtle brown – nothing outrageous, nothing that would leave an elderly fellow shaking on his cane, mouth agog at what has become of the youth of today – but opt for change they do. Those that I have asked about it say black hair is a bit boring because everyone has black hair. That is largely true in school. But it is also true that most college students have a variation of brown and why that is not boring I have no idea. It seems people want to be different by being the same.
Anyway, why am I rambling on about dyed hair? Well, because I have once again been left hopelessly trying to fathom the reasoning behind a rule. You see, I sort of understand rules against dyed hair in schools. After all, the people there are still children, they wear uniforms and are held up as representatives of their learning institutions and, well, they are schools and schools have rules. Don’t dye your hair in school – fine. But driving schools? What in the name of Jeremy Cockswab would possess a driving school to forbid learner drivers from having artificially colored hair? Yet that is a rule at a place not too far from me.
It’s one of those places where you can pay an inordinate sum of money and go to driving camp for a few weeks, lodging and driving and with any luck getting a licence at the end of your stay. One of my students wanted to go. She read up about it, discovered that dyed hair was a no-no and promptly elected to learn elsewhere. My student is twenty years old. She is an adult. She has hair that is a subtle shade of brown. It is apparently a color not appropriate for driving.
Not since I was obliged to wear a swimming cap on a completely shaved head have I been so utterly at a loss about why such a rule is in place. I have, however, learned that it is usually pointless to question even the most nonsensical rules. That there is a rule is frustratingly sometimes seen as reason enough for there being a rule. My student evidently agrees. I asked her, ‘Why won’t they let you go with dyed hair?’ She shrugged her shoulders in a delightfully off-hand manner and said, ‘They just stupid.’