I find that being out in public with extremely long hair is much like walking around with a baby bump showing. Total strangers seem to think this gives them the license to touch and to ask awkward personal questions. Little old ladies in particular, seem to be drawn to touching and petting my hair. For the most part I put up with it, because who has the heart to tell some sweet little 80 year old apple cheeked granny to bug off? The awkward conversations range from the wistful, “I wish I had let me hair grow like that.” or “I had hair like that when I was younger…”, to the downright bizarre “If you cut it off and gave it to me I could make a lovely wig.”
People of all ages and genders seem to think my long hair gives them an opening to talk to me and ask me questions. I’ve gotten used to it over the years. But then, I stopped cutting my hair. I was planning on donating it, so I didn’t trim it last spring.
Would you like to know what the difference is between waist length and knee length hair?
I’ve discovered that the annoyance factor for long hair doubles exponentially once it’s past your behind. Sitting down and realizing you forgotten to swipe it out of the way first is downright uncomfortable. Knee length hair attacks inanimate objects. It trails a couple feet behind me as I walk, and catches onto things. It gets pulled, caught and tangled multiple times a day. When I bend over to pick up my kids toys it trails on the ground. While bent down picking up things, I have actually managed to step on my own hair. A thousand times at least I have said, “I am going to cut this darn hair off!” but left it because I was waiting to donate it. Knee length hair is a serious annoyance.
Do you know what else I discovered? Much like the person walking down the street with the koolaid blue hair or the mohawk, knee length hair marks me as a freak. When I’m out walking with my kids, running errands, stopping in at the bank; random strangers feel the need to yell out to me “Get a haircut why don’t cha?!” Instead of bizarre questions up close and personal, I now get rude comments yelled at me from a distance. This hasn’t just happened on the odd occasion, as my hair grows longer and longer it’s become a standard occurrence. And it’s not rude “kids” either. It’s leering 60 year old men cat calling as I walk out the door of the bank, “Hey girl. Time for a hair cut, don’t cha think?” Little old ladies stopped petting my hair and saying how pretty it was. Instead they started telling me in demanding tones, “You really should cut that off and donate it. Someone else needs that hair more than you do.”
Truly, it’s weird. Up until now, in the twenty some years I have had long hair I have had people suggest I donate it less than half a dozen times. While in the past year I have had dozens of strangers say to me, “Why don’t you donate your hair?” And sometimes I stopped and explained to them that I was planning to, and sometimes I didn’t. But overall it left me wondering, is it that cutting and donating your hair has become more of a common idea in the past few years? Or is it that as I let it grow down to my knees and beyond that it was somehow obscene. The same thing that made some people feel they had the “right” to yell at me to get a hair cut, gave others the “right” to demand I should gift it to someone else.
It got my back up a bit. I wanted to yell back, “I’m not giving this hair to nobody!” But then, I had already decided I was going to cut and donate it to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program so that it could be made into wigs for cancer patients. That’s why I let it grow so ridiculously long in the first place.
Still, experiencing the difference a few feet of hair makes it how strangers treat me has been interesting. Sort of like a social experiment. And after twenty-some years of always having long hair, it will be interesting to see what, if any, the difference is in how I get treated when walking around with “normal” shoulder length hair. No more awkward personal hair questions, right? Can’t say I’m going to miss that aspect.
What about you folks? Ever been treated oddly because of your hair? or some other silly superficial thing?
I’m all about the hair right now, as I attempt to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society. Come February 12th I will be cutting off my hair and donating it to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program, where it will be used towards making wigs for cancer patients. If you’d like to support me with a pledge, you can donate directly to the Canadian Cancer Society on my fundraising page HERE.