- Business and Employment
Dressing Professionally With Long Hair as a Male
To Spread or not to Shed
To let your flowing locks catch the breeze like wings or bind them in the vise grip of taboo.
If you’re a woman it is more or less your personal choice how you want to have your hair, if you’re a guy there is no choice if you want a paycheck and thereby to eat.
If you have long hair as a guy your can pretty much kiss goodbye any chance of getting a “decent” job even if your overqualified unless you can hide it really well. I speak from personal experience on this one. I could work for myself so I did, but whenever I worked for others which I had constant occasion to do over the past two decades I got the same treatment, unless I could slip under the radar that I had long hair I never got called back.
Why do they discriminate?
I don’t know why exactly employers are never really honest about blatant discrimination based on some things. I can only guess it is partly jealousy, partly fear of the unknown, having long hair somehow marks you as unstable, psychotic, sexually deviant, a drug addict, or a potential massive distraction to female employees. I can’t speak for women as I don’t have telepathy but I don’t feel I am a distraction in a work place and as for the other three things well I am not those either. (There are no typos in this paragraph by the way.)
There is a rare exception where you can find a more liberal employer who either doesn’t bend to the stuffy group-think conservatives or actually likes having a “long-hair” around to aggravate them and stir things up. Personally I like to stir things a tiny bit and give people a non threat eyebrow raiser once in a while; it lets them tell you who they really are by their reaction to you. It adds a wild card to competitive office politics among other things, as long as you do your job seriously and with the utmost integrity like I do.
With long hair as a male I honestly believe I must work harder than anyone else just to be treated equal and with respect. Don’t tell me I don’t know what discrimination feels like I am not part of the “Good-ole-boy club” or their junior wannabe division in training, as far as they are concerned I am the epitome of the enemy. There are no scholarships for me, no mentor’s, no one making things easy by any means, in fact just the opposite. I don’t even get the help of minority assistance groups, yes I could just cut my hair, and I could also be “born again” for a fifth time. The best I can hope for from any subgroup in the American experience is either a friendly nod from a hippie or a salute from a biker. I am in a tribe all by myself without a reservation.
Is this a choice on my part, well yes of course it is. It is a choice to have long hair, not a choice to be discriminated against, passed over, or ignored, it really doesn’t matter whether it is a choice or not in my opinion, discrimination is wrong period. Do people choose to wear wigs or toupee? Do they choose to shave bald? Who should care?
Why does this matter? There are some very good reasons why some things matter like if you have long hair and your asked to work with machinery that could potentially catch it and injure you or worse, however if your hair is neat and controlled not loose it should not be any different than for a woman. Unless you are advocating by the reciprocal implication that women are not equal to men in ability in a random work environment.
I have worked in situations where the very fact I had long hair no matter how well kept and tightly out of the way it was led them to assume that I was gay and therefore someone to make rude comments to, snide remarks, focus group attention on with hateful glares and comments toward, and generally attempt through obvious disgust to drive me to quit and leave. This juvenile ignorance is jammed packed full of other issues as well I know but I am not here to talk about gay rights.
That is something that I did not think directly affected me but as you can see hate uses a scattergun and the ignorant may seem to only target one group at a time but when they can’t tell us apart it is pretty clear that once they kill off all the other minorities they think are not like them, they are coming gunning for long hairs to. The only funny thing in all this is that in my travels the few times I have met a gay male, they never had long hair, in fact they didn’t like mine, and they said “It’s too feminine looking”. Yet they all seem to have no doubts as to my straightness. I am sure there is something ironic and maybe even funny in a sad way in all this. But I am glad to have the experience of seeing first hand how yet another minority group is mistreated.
You can’t really understand people until you walk a mile in their shoes is one of my favorite truths in life. I thought that my running a business for a decade and having an MBA would make my employment options as an Executive Assistant a sure thing.
I mean come on if I was still running a business and needed an assistant that could understand my pressure as CEO and yet was not after my job and had three times the qualifications with only the aspiration of serving me to the best of their ability I would hire them so fast I would burn a hole in the space time continuum, long-hair or not. It sounds like a no-brainer when you also consider I don’t care about holidays or time off, I wear suits and keep the hair out of sight unless it is demanded to be presented for inspection by my boss. (Yes I have had that happen, it was a weird feeling like I imagine a prized horse feels being shone off then trotted back to the stable.)
But therein lies the problem, “no brainer” the assumption is made that because you have long hair you have fewer brain cells by people who have shining models such as the leaders of car manufacturers, savings and loans, and other so called respectable ruthless industry captains. Tell me one thing, if they are so smart with their conservative hair cuts and their expense accounts and three hundred thousand plus incomes why can’t they simply know the difference between wrong and right? It is wrong not to hire someone because of their hair length, skin color, gender, sexual preference, and etcetera. As surely as it is wrong to embezzle, miss appropriate funds and their other list of expensive accomplishments. HR people won’t hire someone they discover has long hair because they are afraid they will be penalized when the higher executives see the person for the job has long hair. I don’t agree with it but I understand the nature of sycophants and parasites even the necessary ones. We can’t all stand up for integrity although I wish I didn’t have to walk alone so much.
How to make it work
There are so many expletive tangents in this writing I have to compare it to a healthy head of hair, and like the policy of don’t ask don’t tell if you want to work and your potential boss has not seen you work yet you best not let them see your hair. Slick it back tight, a bit of gel not too much and a really tight hair band, like all male attire you have a super selection of choices ranging from dull black to very black on the dull side or a super dark brown if your really desperate and your hair is that color to camouflage it. Make sure the ponytail starts at the base of your skull not halfway up you head. They key words are “hide” the “hair” and hide the means of hiding the hair also. Then proceed to add more hair bands tightly very tightly to the ponytail fairly close together since if your going to pull it off for longer than it takes to walk through the door you must be sure that head movement does not work the hair into a ball at the back of your neck.
I recommend you add the hair bands every inch to no more than two inches. Continue to lock your hair in a vice all the way down to the end or as far as you can. It will of course be a nightmare to undue and you will lose half of them in the process, but they really don’t give you any option if you want the job and your hair. Next make sure you like your suit very much that you are comfortable wearing the jacket ALL the time. A white shirt or other button up shirt by itself is not going to hold down and hide that mane you will need the jacket or at the very least a vest. When you pull your jacket on make sure your hair stays inside, if done properly you should have invisible hair now. It won’t be comfortable but then again you forfeit your rights to being as comfortable as everyone else the moment you stand up for yourself.
The next trick is convincing everyone you slept funny and you have a stiff neck, not always necessary but it can help maintaining your invisible locks longer. The less you bounce about and twist your neck the longer the illusion lasts. It kind of sucks walking about like you have a stick up your butt all day, however the prospect of not paying your mortgage, going hungry or not being able to afford to get to the next job assignment should motivate you to keep up the act.
I worked at Citibank Financial directly under a VP for almost a month (my hair reaches my butt) before anyone really noticed and by then I had proven I was a bargain for their dollar, so they not only never said anything to me but they asked me to continue on after my contract expired. They didn’t however think they could give me a raise or risk promoting me to where even higher management might see my lack of obvious hair. Or just maybe it was that on Friday’s and virtually every other day of the entire year I was the sharpest dressed person in the office perhaps that made them uncomfortable the way you feel around someone who just never lets their hair down, ironic isn’t it.
Oh and for the record just because you eventually prove yourself until you are the CEO you will have to be uncomfortable especially in bigger long time established companies where there is any chance of an executive coming from another area and running into you, if they see your hair especially out EVER, the answer is two words you may never even see "Disruptive Influence".
It is easy to see why if a ponytail corrupts their ability to think clearly that such people can become so corrupt and engage in the very worst larceny and fraud of their own people. Who knows maybe it was a stray ponytail seen out of the corner of an eye that caused the Enron scandal. Even in Biblical times hair has had serious power at least when grown on men.