I have had long hair my entire life. When I was a baby I was bald for almost two years and I’ve just been making up for it ever since.
When I was 5 my mom convinced me to get a real hair cut. It was called a boy’s cut and she promised me it wouldn’t be too short. I’m not sure what I thought a boys cut was, but it was too short, and that was basically the first and last real hair cut I’ve had.
At some point in Junior High, I ended up with a mullet. I still can’t quite figure out how that happened. When you are 12, there is no such thing as an ironic mullet… I was the target of much ridicule.
One summer at the hippy, and somewhat communist, wilderness camp I attended, I decided to wear my hair in a braid. It got much less knotty and was easier to manage. On the first day of school that fall, a kid I sort of knew from previous years was behind me in line and asked who the hot new girl was… I turned around feeling pretty embarrassed. Not that I should have, he was the one with misdirected misogyny. Somehow my 13 year old self didn’t let that get to me and I wore my hair braided for the rest of 8th grade.
I have always seen my hair as a litmus test. If people are going to discount me or when I was younger, tease me for my long hair, then they are not worth my time. Take the kids that relentlessly teased me in elementary school. In 3rd grade I was the new kid, with long hair and striped shirts that my mom dressed me in. I was the target of much abuse. But I found people that still wanted to be my friends. I’m not saying it was easy, but I also would never want to go back and cut my hair so I could be friends with the people that were teasing me. Little hint, they haven’t changed all that much and still aren’t doing cool things with their life.
School picture vs. Running ragged
If you’ve seen Freaks and Geeks, there is a great scene where Sam approaches Gordon Crisp, “the fat kid” about how he smells bad. Gordon explains that he has a medical condition called trimethylaminuria that makes him smell. Sam asks if he will smell for the rest of his life? and Gordon responds that he will, but he doesn’t mind because “The nice people don’t mind and it weeds out the jerks.”
While, I am not advocating that we all just embrace our BO to figure out who really likes us, the idea is there. The people that will accept us as is, are the ones worth our time, and the people that tease us are jerks and are not worth our time.