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What does your hair say about you?

Mine, apparently, says a lot of things about me, many of which just aren't true.

From a mass of dead fibres, a lot of people have made a lot of inference.

My hair is really long, it is its natural color and natural texture. Hence, apparently, hippie hair. Yay, me.

I can't count how many times people have asked me, unbidden, where they can score some weed, or whether or not I'd like a toke.

I also get the joy of watching a sickly, disillusioned expression drift across people's faces when they discover I am not quite the granola they thought I was. Like when I wore a leather skirt to work. Or joined up in the office coffee club. “But I thought you were 'all natural.'” But, I thought that was none of your damned business. Leather shoes, check. Miniskirt, waistcoat, and vintage trench, too. Wanna make sumpthin of it?

Sure, I have long hair, I recycle a lot, mostly eat vegetarian, bike practically everywhere and own a highly fuel-efficient car. Doesn't mean that I have to tie in with every other nitpickin' element of stereotypical hippie subcultural values.

No crystals.

No vegetarian catfood.

Woah, dude, I *bathe*!

I don't live in a commune with 14 dogs, a marijuana patch, and a sweatlodge.

But wait, that's not the only inference my hair has prompted.

Did you know I've also been taken for a Mormon, a 7th-Day Adventist, a Mennonite (huh?) and “A Good Christian Woman”? Because a woman's hair is her crowning glory. Err-hum. Sure. Granted the vegetarianism thing probably lent to the 7th-day-adventist guess, but still–whuh? Nobody asks my long-haired husband if he is Sampson. (though he is often solicited about the purchase or sale of marijuana) To be fair, I have had pagans and New Agey type folks latch onto me, too, thinking I had the whole earth-mother-goddess thing going on, especially if it was known to them that I am not a Christian. Because being a shaggy-assed Cousin It implies deep, abiding spirituality, doesn't it?

My hair signifies modesty, docility, and “traditional values” to a lot of cultures, as well. It is a cross-cultural thing, apparently, as I've had guys from a plethora of ethnicities and nationalities make overtures to me, based on the (false) impression that my demurely-styled braid creates.

Sometimes, when I get up early enough and can be arsed, I will do something different with my hair. Braids looped up over my head. Dual buns, placed high like Minnie Mouse ears, placed low, like in the early 1920s. Rows of “tuning knobs” across my forehead. Sailor Moon bun-pigtails. A pompadour. A French Twist with little spiky bits out the top. On normal days, however, I do not have the time and the energy to style my hair, and so it gets worn in a braid, straight down, or pulled back with a barette.

Anyway, I have been thinking of getting a haircut (a proper haircut, not a trim–a real style) for quite a while. I am tired of my hair, and obviously I am too lazy to style it 90% of the time, so what is the point of having it, really? There is an adorable cut that I think would suit my hair very well, where the hair is cut in a short “wedge” in the back and angles down to below chin length in front. I think this style is hellaciously cute, and I think my wavy-ish hair would take well to it. Wash, towel, anti-frizz goo, go. When I mention this to people I usually get “Oh, don't cut it, it is too pretty.” So. Not. The. Point. The point is that my hair seems to define me a lot more than I am comfortable with, and besides, don't normal women change their hairstyles from time to time? The last time I had a significant style change was when I was 13 and got it cut to below-shoulder length and had bangs cut. Then, at 15, I grew out my bangs. Thus, I have had the same stinkin' hairdo for a decade!

Oh, yeah, back to the rant at hand. I am thinking a lot of these perception/inference problems arise because so many people adopt the “Let me encompass a stereotype in lieu of developing an actual personality” approach to youth. Gothics, hippies, gangstas, skaters, cowboys, hipsters. You buy the uniform, you listen to the music, you speak the slang, you subscribe to the political philosophy. The package lifestyle deal. Here I am, all young(ish) and seemingly pigeonholeable(is this a word) into one or two of these categories, and so people who don't want to bother finding out or thinking a bit end up getting confused when I don't fit into Stereotype A or Stereotype B.

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