Thursday, June 4, 2009

What Does My Hair Say About Me? Apparently, That I'm a Pirate

Growing up, my hair said I was a follower. I had a short Twiggy shag and a Farrah Fawcett feathery flip, Madonna's teased hair and a Molly Ringwald poodle perm bob - always well after the trend had caught on.

The pattern stops at The Rachel, the bouncy, long, layered hairstyle introduced and popularized by Jennifer Aniston in the first season of Friends. That was the year I transitioned from late majority follower to trendsetter. I use the term loosely, because I was not setting trends that generated followers: the oddly placed barrette, the female combover, the office beret, the synthetic strip of bangs velcroed to a baseball cap.

Let's be clear: I did not want to separate myself from the crowd. I was dragged away kicking and screaming. For some of us, that's the only way to cross the chasm from one way of thinking to another.

If my hair hadn't fallen out, I probably wouldn't have adopted a style of my own, especially one that sends such mixed messages. Today, I am Pañuelo Girl, the girl who wears scarves. It means different things to different people, and I'm okay with that.

Sean said he thought I was a motorcycle chick.

Jane said she thought I was stylish.

Every now and then a guy - usually an African American - thinks I am a hip hop girl.

Of course, there are those who think I have cancer.

Kids have their own ideas about scarves. One day I was working the volunteer registration booth for a trail cleanup project, when a four-year-old boy approached me, cocked his head to the left, and asked, "Are you a pirate?"

"Why, yes, how did you know?" I laughed.

"Because of that thing on your head!" He was talking about my black scarf, tied do-rag style, with a double knot at the back of my head, long tails hanging down my back. He grinned and turned to the man behind him. "She’s a real pirate, grandpa!"

I had to smile.

People will always apply their own perspective to what they see, but that doesn't change who or what I am.

What does my "hairdo" say about me? It says I'm comfortable with myself, that I don't mind standing out in a crowd, that I embrace my individuality. It says I'm more than my hair.

What does your hair say about you?

Read this Oprah magazine story to find out what other women are saying about their hair.

© 2009 Christy Bailey

4 comments:

mojee said...

the pirate story is one of my favoirtes. children reflect the world they know and they know a pirate when they see one.

Joanne said...

What does my hair say about me? Short and sassy? Long & sexy? At differnt points in my life, I've had the saying, "change your hair change your life." Of course, my changes have been much less dramatic than yours. In some way, I suppose the panuelos you choose each day reflects your mood for the day, or do they reflect something else?

Mel said...

The scarves say that you are exotic, open-minded and a risk-taker. It is much more interesting than the copy-cat hairdos you used to have, and that the rest of us still have! After all, no one ever asks me if I am a pirate. They just assume I am an average, almost middle-aged suburban gal.

ljrenfrow said...

Mine speaks to acceptance. Though losing ones hair as a man is not the same as losing it as a woman (some of us are expected to go bald), it still challenges your perspective when you realize at 18 that you're starting to lose your hair. In my 20's I used Rogaine for a while. However, for various reasons, I got to a point where I opted to let nature take it's course. Of course this was followed by an insistence on hanging on tending to whatever fringe that was remaining. Eventually, after several comments from friends who said I should shave what was left off, I did. It felt odd at first, but I've never gone back (little doubt it helped that bald was "in" for African American men) and the fact that there's not much to go back to. My "hair" is what it's meant to be, and I'm happy with that.