First on my IVF bucket list was to dye my hair a crazy color. I sort of got there.

Monday after work, I went to a hairdresser I’ve never been to before on a friend’s recommendation. I’m pretty sure I love her: reasonably priced, good ideas, and cool tattoo sleeves (seems like every good hairdresser in the town where we live has tattoos). I’d had the idea to dye just a few locks on the underlayer a crazy color. She’d already talked me down from blue to purple over the phone, for the reason that blue fades so badly. When we met, she explained that any kind of fashion color requires regular upkeep if you want to keep it from looking trashy… and since I don’t think I want to be worrying about getting home from my purple-hair-dyeing appointment in time to give myself an injection of Gon.al-F in a few weeks, I agreed that maybe purple isn’t in my immediate future.

But black, on the other hand!

It was her suggestion, and I love it. We cut about six inches off the ends to give me a cute bob, and then she dyed a big part of the underlayer black. Sounded weird when she described it, but I pretty much love it now, and it looks way better and more stylish than I thought it would.

So hair: CHECK.

But I think I figured something out. Given that I was there for an hour or so, I got to chatting with the hairdresser, and I told her that I was going to start IVF soon and that was part of why I wanted a cool new haircut. Now, I’m pretty realistic: I don’t expect anybody, let alone a hairdresser, to have the perfect response. Nor am I looking to everybody I meet for an in-depth conversation about infertility. At the same time, I don’t feel like hiding this enormous experience, and often there are opportunities to educate others without making a big deal out of it.

So I mentioned it. She more or less spent the rest of the time talking to me about babies and the standard “Just you wait, when you’re pregnant, you’ll find that…” crap that every woman who’s ever had a baby seems compelled to spout when the subject of babies comes up with a woman who hasn’t had one.

What I realized was that a lot of people feel so uncomfortable with the idea of infertility that they leap to the assumption that modern medicine must have Figured It Out, so of course my treatments will be successful. Like, next week, right? So let’s all just assume there will be a happy ending and then we can feel good about it. All this uncomfortable stuff will be gone soon.

This is different than optimism. This, I think, is a well-intentioned avoidance of reality.

I let the hairdresser get it out of her system and changed the subject as best I could. After all, she gave me a great haircut and dye job, so I’m not gonna hold anything against her.

But hey: I’m getting a mani-pedi next week (late addition to the bucket list, a gift from my mom). Just think what kinds of revelations I’ll have then.

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