Bil Browning

31 Days: Bon Jovi Browning

Filed By Bil Browning | August 29, 2011 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: bleached long hair, Bon Jovi, Jon Bon Jovi, old photos, Winchester

The backstory behind this photo is after the break.


I'm doing a series of posts for 31 days that will feature a photo from my personal collections and the backstory behind the picture. I'm trying to stick with shots that have not appeared on the site before. I'm using the stories as a writing exercise to help me prepare for writing a book. You can find the rest of the series posts here:

I had enough issues trying to find myself in a small town where I was more used to being ridiculed for my effeminate manners and standoffish-ness than celebrated from bringing the town diversity cred. By the time this photo was taken, I was starting to come out and decided to do something I'd always wanted to do but was too afraid I'd get picked on even more for doing. I dyed my hair blonde.

The first person to tease me about it was mom.

When I was a toddler, everyone thought I was a girl. My mom kept my hair long and, as you can see, without a trim it gets curly and wavy. When I was a kid, my hair was blonde and didn't darken until around the time I started kindergarten.

Mom sent me a bunch of photos last week and there were several of me and my golden locks. In one I'm wearing a dress an in another I have a barrette in my long hair. The photos would be the primary evidence if there was a "nature vs nurture" trial on my youth.

Mom wasn't the only one to giggle at my sudden transition from a dark brunette to a yellowish orange mop top. Schoolmates also poked fun and both my girlfriend and my boyfriend said they didn't like it.

I, however, adored it. I kept my hair blonde - from tabby cat orange to bleached white - until about halfway through my freshman year of college. In later years I died my hair occasionally - usually red or a brownish maroon - but the thrill died quickly.

Safely ensconced in the safety of the university dorms where I didn't know anyone, I decided to reinvent myself. I got my ears pierced a few bajillion times, started wearing cheap bracelets halfway up my arm, and cut off all of my long locks. Now I know it's time to go get a haircut when I can see my hair start to curl, but the earrings and bracelets have long ago gone by the wayside.

Jerame calls this my "Bon Jovi look." I prefer to think of it as "the butch Nellie Olson."

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Bil, this hairdo needs a full beard -- then it would be perfect, complete gender-fuck.

And please don't mis-understand me ... I meant that to be a compliment. (You know, when one is a freshman in college, rebellion is cool.)

Well, I think you were cute as a button. Look at those gorgeous blue eyes! But you've grown into quite a distinguished looking man. We just need to do something with the clothes. :)

I think Sandra Day O'Connor is more accurate. Nellie Olson's hair is too curly.