Get a haircut!
In this day and age?
She was putting on her lipstick. It was a deep red. She was pretty and she was clearly looking at me. I am kind of shy and I was trying to pay attention to the line of traffic in front of me. I glanced back at her again and she was motioning something to me. Oh, I see. She had raised one hand and was making a snipping motion. I could read her pouting lips as she mouthed, "Get a haircut!"
I remember getting excited every time old gramps stopped by. Without fail he would ask me about my latest fisticuffs, congratulate me whether I won or lost and say, "That's the ol'jabber!" He'd been calling me that since I was very small. It started when I began to defend myself with raised fists against my bullying older brother and our cousin. There is even an old picture of me in headphones, sunglasses and diapers, in which I am taking a swing at my older cousin for bothering me. There was a familiar sneer on my face in that picture. Jabber became my moniker. Whenever I got in trouble and my mother wanted to spare me my father's version of punishment she would have gramps have a talk with me. He would say, "I'll put a tourniquet on ya, you want to act squirrelly? Come here so I can put a tourniquet on ya!" For most of my youth I had no idea what a tourniquet was, I just knew i didn't want one.
As I grew a little older and began instinctually growing my hair long the game changed. It became, "Come here, let me cut that hair! I got a pair of scissors for ya!" He would actually pull out a pair of scissors! I don't know where he got them but I knew better than to let him get near me. Old gramps was in World War 2. He was a strong old guy and I knew if he wanted to he could hold me down and cut my hair with little difficulty.
A good friend and I walked down the street with our girlfriends. He was very tall and I was always broad shouldered. Even with long hair we never looked feminine. We were atypical metal heads with long hair and permanent sneers. When the carload of whistling dudes rolled by and realized too late we were men they couldn't race away fast enough. We begged them to come back so we could display our masculinity but they didn't dare.
I remember job hunting and shaking the hands of interviewers and seeing the bias in their eyes. There was only one thing I could do to change their outlook on me and there was no way on this fiery orb I was going to do that. Now what kind of metal head would I be if I cut my hair due to social pressure? I would surely lose respect for myself and besides, it took a long time to get my bangs long enough so I could tie it all back into a ponytail. I mean, really!
During fifteen years driving with a medical transportation company I went through a sort of initiation with the local police. It seemed like every cop wanted to know who this long haired freak was that was driving through their town. In the early months of my employment with the company I was pulled over a dozen times at least and each time I was let go with a warning! What? Yes, its true. I was raised right and I respect authority so there was never an issue. I knew when i was being shaken down, I had been a juvenile delinquent after all.
Now that I am forty one years old I have to admit the thought of cutting my hair has crossed my mind. Especially in the heat of summer. I don't know about where you live but here in Jersey the temperatures have been getting higher every year. Those who don't believe in global warming should take a look at all the facts and figures in the Delaware valley. There is no denying it from our standpoint.
I digress. Sorry.
I was seventeen last time I cut my hair short. My girlfriend at the time was a master manipulator and she had me wrapped around her finger, but until that point I would not cut my hair. I had just gotten my first job at Acme making $4 an hour and I was feeling good about myself. She had been playing the "I am leaving you, now I'm not." game with me for quite a while. Finally she bargained with me to cut my hair. She said she would be mine forever! Lol! I was such a sucker!
Two weeks later we had spent my $350 dollars in summer savings and she broke up with me for good this time. Forget how broken-hearted I was, how about my dignity? She stole everything from me, including my own personal flag of rebellion! From that day forward I pledged I would forever be a long haired freak. I would never cut my hair regardless of who didn't like it. Over the next twenty four years long hair went in and out of style but I never changed my look. I never really changed my attitude either. Never disrespectful but quick to take a stand and point in the faces of those who are wrong or misguided.
My hair has become a badge. It tells the world that i could care less what the current style is. I could care less what you as an individual think of me. I am strong and proud of who I am. I do what I want, when I want. Just try to stop me.
Still, I find it is getting on my nerves a little bit. Will it be self betrayal if I cut it? Will I have stabbed myself in the back? Is that even possible? Who will I be without it? How will I get my antisocial, take no BS point across? Will people treat me differently? I am just not sure what to do. I will ponder it though and maybe the heat will make the choice for me. I'll let you know, and then we'll see how things change, or don't.