Rolling Evangelists of Hair
Anyone who has happened across my blog, or me, will probably agree that I’m a little … different. Between my many foibles and my affinity for heights, my shy extrovertedness, my artistic geekiness, or that I’m a tall feminine lesbian, I may raise an eyebrow in passing. And yet I consider myself to be a member of “normal” society. I think we all are, in all our glorious uniquenesses.
But there is one thing about me that gets a little more (and thoroughly undeserved) attention than anything else: My hair.
It’s a little long. Okay, it’s a whole lot of long. Nowhere near as long as my paternal grandmother’s, whose DNA I happily blame for this situation, but longer than most people expect to see walking down the sidewalks of Portland. As you can see from this faux-candid picture taken just now at a local Starbucks.
No, that’s not the backside of Cousin It.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t like the random attention it gets at times. I just wish I wasn’t so damn shy to make the best of it. Thankfully it’s only now and then, and not too creepy. Well … most of the time…
Most of the time it’s downright funny the reactions I get. I feel like I’m part of a social experiment, one devoted to the perceived miracle of long hair. I get called many things, most complimentary, often from a great distance at high volume, sometimes behind my back as if they don’t think I can hear.
Things I’ve heard so far . . .
- Top pick: “How long have you been growing that hair?” (uhm, all my life)
- (Yelled from a block away) “Rapunzel!” ( … eek!)
- “Oh, you’re like Crystal Gayle,” (only taller! and blond! and not as talented!)
- “I bet that takes a long time to wash/comb/brush” (yes, it truly does)
- “Wow, it’s Venus de Milo” (seriously?)
- “Are those extensions” (uhm, why?)
- “Wow, that’s dedication right there…” (it is? oh, yes, of course it is…)
- “That’s the longest hair I’ve EVER seen!” (where have you been?)
- (drunkenly) “I just bet my friend your hair is real. Well, is it?” (go away)
- “It’s lighter/whiter at the top” (that’s 7 years of hair, but thanks so much for pointing that out)
- “Holy crap!/Oh my fucking god!!” (you okay?)
- (from a guy) “You know, I could really get into that . . . ” (no. just … no)
- “Don’t ever cut that hair, girl” (thanks for your support!)
- “You could be that girl, the one on the white horse . . . ” (no, I’m not taking off my clothes for you)
Except for the last one, from a trio of men in a park–who I’m so glad didn’t follow me–most of the comments are very complimentary. Some even funny. I don’t have any tattoos (yet), so I don’t mind that my hair is a good conversation starter … even if it tends to stall after I smile sincerely and say, “thank you!” (and facepaw later when I think of the possible life friendship/soulmate I may have just missed out on).
For someone who has spent most of her life feeling invisible (my secret super power) it’s kind of nice getting a little random attention now and then, even if it is something as useless as hair follicles that grow out of my head–for free! Sometimes I feel a little guilty about this … I mean, people think I’m putting all this work into growing my hair long, when actually I’m just too lazy (and poor) to go get it cut and styled. So I let gravity do it for me.
That and it does feel kind of nice when it brushes against the tops of my calves when I walk. ~hehe~
Not all of the reactions I get are positive. This seems to be a universal fact of life as a human being: No matter what you do in life that makes you happy, there will always be someone to come along and try to take that away from you. Maybe it’s jealousy, or they don’t feel you’re worthy (which usually means they don’t think they deserve it, so why should you), or they’re just mean hateful assholes.
I met one of them today, in fact. I was walking down the street (actually I was on the sidewalk, a pedestrian can get killed on these streets) minding my own business, when a woman drives by in her car, slows down in the middle of traffic to yell out her window at me,
“Give your hair to a cancer patient!”
Now I totally agree that this would be a very sweet thing to do for someone in need, and there are quite a few people who would benefit from it. But when is it okay for you to make that decision for someone else? I mean I have a couple of very functional kidneys, a healthy liver, corneas like an eagle, a happily pumping heart and various appendages that would benefit quite a few people right now. I imagine you have a few of these things, too. But I’m not about to scream at everyone I see on the street to donate these things; nor am I lining up to have myself chopped into little bits either.
Perhaps she thinks hair has a lesser value than organs. Well, not to ME! It’s all part of my body; part of what makes me ME. This is not really up for discussion. My hair is a part of me. When unknown men (or women) ask if they can touch it, that’s not terribly different than asking a total stranger if you can touch their breast. Get to know me first, show me that I can trust you (and I know you wash your hands), then maybe we’ll see.
All this went through my mind (again) as this woman’s command echoed across traffic. I was about to let it go, knowing there is really no point in arguing with an idiot. But another part of me thought, maybe this woman has never had anyone tell her this was inappropriate behavior before. So … I quite childishly yelled back, “mind your own business!” and walked on.
Darned if she didn’t turn the corner, park her car across the street, get out and yell at me further, “It IS my business! God talked to me and told me so! Bitch!”
Oh, well. There you have it. This woman speaks for God. And God thinks I’m a bitch. And if she says so, then it must be true! I guess I’ve been told. ~giggle~
Crackpottery aside, I only wish instead of my initial response I had said what (of course) came to me 23 minutes later, when it was too late (not that it would have mattered at all). In response to “give your hair to a cancer patient!” I should have come back with, “sell your car and give the money to the homeless!”
Seems like a reasonable response to me.