The Weird Truth Behind Why I’ve Been Using a Caricature

If you’ve been following me on Facebook, you have probably seen this image in your feed any time I post something:

It was originally posted almost two years ago with the caption, “if you look close enough, that high horse people like to ride on is actually a donkey.”

For years and years, you all knew me as the dark haired, dark bearded, single dad blogger. I kept the look up for about five straight years:

Holy shit, was that ever a lot of work to keep up. Since I am naturally very blonde, I had to keep it dyed constantly or the roots would grow in and make me look like I was thinning out badly. I had to dye my eyebrows. I had to dye my beard. I even had to dye my fucking eyelashes to keep up the appearance of a naturally dark-haired person.

I decided to try it after my hair stylist wouldn’t stop begging me to go dark. This was when I had probably 30,000 followers or so. And let me tell you… When I first shared a picture after they all knew me as blonde, you would have thought the apocalypse was upon us. I’ve never seen so many people have an identity crisis on someone else’s behalf before. It was a month before people stopped mentioning it and putting pressure on me to go back.

I kept it because I’m a stubborn sonofabitch.

And then my following grew.

And it grew.

And it grew.

And suddenly I was trapped as a brunette because hundreds of thousands and eventually millions of people knew me as that, and not as the blonde I naturally am. To think about changing it and going through exponential backlash to the first time kept me keeping it dark.

Of course, with that many followers, I began being recognized in public. Very occasionally at first, and then in more frequent and more strange and passively creepy ways. Three mind fucking examples come to mind:

  1. Someone messaged me a picture of me driving down the freeway with a woman I was dating, and asked me if we were dating. I never saw another person taking a picture at 80 MPH.
  2. Someone messaged me a picture of me playing at the park with my son and asked if it was us. I never saw another person at the park sneaking a photo.
  3. Someone figured out where I lived and began what started as leaving loving gifts on my doorstep, then escalated to pounding on my door and running, and eventually even jiggling the doorknob to see if my home was unlocked. I never was able to catch this person to find out who it was.

Ummmm… How do I put this nicely? I didn’t fucking like any of it. At all. So many people think that fame would be awesome. I grew to hate it, and my hair became something that I tied to it. I felt like I couldn’t change my own fucking hair because of what my followers would think. I simply didn’t want to deal with it.

With time, I longed to ditch the dark more than I care to admit, and with it I longed to ditch the quasi fame that I had somehow accidentally acquired.

Eventually I got to the point where I said enough is enough, and I went back to blonde.

Strangely, nobody cared.

Like… Literally. Nobody. Fucking. Cared. The internet was over it in a matter of minutes. Sure, there were a few comments about which look they liked better, but there was no apocalyptic backlash even though my following was like 60x bigger.

I had stayed trapped in something that is so ridiculously personal out of fear for something that never even happened. For years.

Of course, when I went blonde, it just happened to coincide with one too many creepy invasions to my privacy by fans, and so I commissioned my cousin to do a caricature of me that I could use as my Single Dad Laughing profile picture. That way, very few people would ever recognize me in public, and the weirdness could stop.

That’s why I have used a caricature all this time.

And… It worked. Nobody recognizes me in public anymore. I don’t get creepy stalkers or creepy messages with photos of me. I stopped being kind of famous. It has actually been really nice.

That being said, to avoid fame altogether has also come at a different cost of its own. It has kept me from keeping up blogging and sharing with all of you, which has actually impeded my own personal ability to be introspective, and to grow as a human. It has limited my abilities to give back. It has kept me from having all the conversations we have always had. It has kept me from the amazing groups and incredible people that have come together because of this blog (such as the Single Dad Laughing Health Club). It has led me to be a more selfish and self-absorbed person. It has made me a more cynical person. And maybe most importantly, it has kept me from finding myself anew every single day through my own writing.

Because of that, I’m going to stop hiding now, and start being a good and giving part of this world again.

Just do me a favor, and if you do recognize me in public, just wave, or come say hi. Don’t do creepy things, especially when I’m with other people, and especially especially when I’m out with my kid. I’ll never be mad if you just come and say hello the way humans do, no matter who I’m with. In fact, I’ll appreciate it.

Fame is all an illusion anyway. It’s a silly notion and it doesn’t actually exist. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together and we’re also all in this alone, so let’s just all be good to one another.

Dan Pearce | The Single Dad Laughing Blog