It’s Just So Much Better!
I was at a bar in a mountainous town, enjoying a little apres ski, where I met a fellow from the Czech Republic over a few cold ones. As often happens sooner or later, the topic of long hair came up. After describing our little project to him, he looked at me directly across the table and flatly told me I should cut my hair. Dead serious.
Did you not hear that part about the hair ties, and the global fraternity for men with long hair?
I was somewhat stunned, like, that’s the most preposterous thing you could possibly say to me. But beyond the shocking absurdity of his recommendation, it wasn’t that he was being an asshole. Rather he was interested in my well-being, and believed life would be better for me with a high & tight haircut.
He kept taking his hat off and showing me his super short hair, rubbing it to apparently demonstrate how nice it felt, how easy to deal with and how great it looked. So great, in fact, that I should cut mine off too.
Perhaps sensing I wasn’t fully on board with his proposal, he asked me, “why have long hair?”
Just as I prepared to launch into a full-blown dissertation at the bar, we were interrupted and pulled into another conversation. I was further distracted and eventually drifted to the other side of the saloon, we never made it back to our little chat and I never saw him again.
Having missed the opportunity, what better place to answer his question? So, friend, here is my response.
You Make A Good Point
Maybe I should cut it. There are some compelling arguments for short hair.
Long hair is a pain. You do learn to deal with it, after a while you almost forget about it, but there are regular reminders.
Like working out, playing sports, being outdoors, eating, sleeping, dressing for any occasion, riding roller coasters, making out, brushing your teeth and virtually every activity of daily life.
Then there’s having to shampoo and condition, blowdry, brush it, tie it up, and generally deal with it, rather than simply waking up and walking out the door.
Also it costs some money. Whether it’s shampoo or hair ties, you’re compelled to spend a little money on it which you wouldn’t have to spend otherwise.
Finally there’s all the shit you have to deal with from other people. Which, to me is meaningless, but it’s not to everyone.
I get it. The idea of not having to deal with it is appealing.
All Things Considered
At this point we are clearly invested in this community. To say the least.
Let’s pretend we weren’t operating a community based on the premise of long hair, and that my livelihood wasn’t literally connected to my long locks. Let’s say I was just a regular guy letting the long hair flag fly, and that I’d entertain the notion of cutting my hair off.
Having considered the benefits of short hair, the answer to the question of “why grow it long,” falls into several categories.
Long hair is an instant differentiator. Walk into a room with a hundred guys, five or 10 at most are gonna have flow, depending on where you pull your sample.
Granted, it’s not always good to be different, but I think of it (ironically) like a job application: you immediately want to set yourself apart and be memorable. Like it or don’t like it, long hair does that.
And while there are plenty of other ways to be different, none are quite so obvious or instantaneous as your appearance including a streaming mane cascading down your shoulders.
A Confident Man
Along with being different comes a certain required self-confidence. It takes a little bit of “I don’t care what other people think.” It’s not easy being different, and as we’ve seen more and more often, that’s especially apparent for little guys with long hair.
With confidence comes self-respect, self-esteem, and belief in your powers and abilities. If you ask me, those things are important. Maybe the most important.
That’s not to be confused with overconfidence, arrogance or presumptuousness, because at the end of the day you gotta back it up. But if having long hair can help build and develop those self affirmations, then hell yes let it ride.
Keep It Independent
For me long hair symbolizes independence. It means I’m not in a position where someone else decides how long my hair should be, and that’s good because I prefer being the person who decides.
This is mostly with regard to employment. There are a lot of excellent and highly respected jobs and careers where you’re compelled to keep it short, and with respect for those positions, they simply aren’t for me.
The idea of someone telling me I have to cut my hair to work for them, choosing between a job or these golden tresses, is ridiculous. And lucky me, not everyone has that luxury, but it basically means I’m the master of my own fate and I hope to keep it that way.
Another reason I choose long hair is it’s all natural. It’s a sign of health, vigor and vitality. It’s a natural biological function, we only get short hair by augmenting that.
Not to say we should all grow out all the hair on our body, ok, but you get the idea. The hair grows for a reason. And there’s a lot of people who can’t grow it out, so why not take advantage of the good fortune of follicle freedom while we have it?
It’s a Culture
There’s also a cultural aspect. Long hair in Native American culture, for example, is a spiritual artifact and for some tribes represents a connectedness with the earth. I’m not Native American, but I can respect and appreciate their beliefs, and I do believe long hair creates a certain connectedness to our environment.
Beside the historical cultures of ancient tribes and people, long hair is a culture in itself. We have a community. We have beliefs and customs. We do #HairWhipWednesdays and celebrate our locks. Even guys who have never heard of The Longhairs know when they see other guys with long hair, it’s appropriate to respond with a subtle nod of understanding.
And We All Know
Lastly, it’s just badass. There are limitless long hairstyles to learn and experiment with. I can wear it with a hat or a beanie, tied up, straight or wavy. Not to mention I can rip off a hailstorm of hair whips at any given moment, twist up a sick braid or choke someone out with it if needed. Hopefully it won’t come to that, but in any case the locks are just sick and I love having them.
With That Being Said
The bottom line is, long hair makes me different. It’s unconventional. It makes people guess, keep ‘em wondering, “is this guy some kind of loose cannon?” or make their own assumptions.
Deep down, it forces people to recognize it’s not a person’s outward appearance, but the quality of their character and depth of purpose. Which in itself is a greater platform for equality across the spectrum, for everyone who’s different.
I Call The Question
To the fellow in the bar. Thanks for the kind suggestion, but I’m going to keep lettin it ride.
I’m not going to insist you should grow your hair long, I think you should wear it however you like. But consider this: I’ve had short hair. For 30 years. I’m quite familiar with what it’s like, and so have the good fortune of experiencing both sides.
You didn’t mention if you’ve ever grown it out, but if you haven’t, maybe give it a try? Then you can fairly and objectively decide your preference.
And if that continues to be short, please enjoy the benefits for the rest of us, it must be nice. In the meantime I’ll continue to enjoy the benefits from our end and deal with it, because to me, it’s worth it.
Did we miss anything? Any other reasons why we should cut it…or why we should keep lettin’ it ride? Why not share in the comments?