I was on the fence about writing about this, but then I saw KC's post about his hair and figured why not? I don't think the woman in question reads PIC, and if she does, well, I'll deal with it.
Not too long ago, I was leaving work for the day. A woman came out of the same office I did—she was presumably one of our clients—and headed for the elevator. Being a gentleman (in the streets of course—I'm a bonafide freak in the sheets), I let her get into the elevator first. The following conversation ensued. (Actual conversation in regular typeface. My thoughts in italics.)
Woman: Aw! How polite are you!?
X: A little, sometimes, I guess.
Woman: Those are some mighty long dreadlocks you have.
I'm clearly dealing with an extremely observant woman here. Her incredulous tone puts her only a couple notches above children who tug their mothers' sleeves and ask "why that man has a face made of chocolate."
X: Thanks, I grow them myself.
This, of course, isn't true. I pay a frail Indonesian child 3 dollars a month to grow them for me. I then glue them to my head using Elmer's finest and beeswax.
Woman: You should cut them shorter.
Was her third sentence to a complete stranger hair criticism?
X: You know, I've spent all this time growing them out, it's hard to let them go so easily.
Woman: Oh, I know. But there's a difference between being hip and looking like you should sell purses.
I was actually flabbergasted at this point. A litany of biting remarks scrolled through my head but I decided just to keep my tongue; I figured no good could come of what I actually wanted to say.
X: You know, I've actually never considered going into the purse-selling business.
Snatching isn't the same as selling, now is it?
Woman: Oh I know, you're obviously a very hip guy (gestures to my outfit, which is my usual psuedo-hipster nonsense). Just the hair is too long!
This elevator ride is taking forever. This woman clearly wants to say, "you almost look like a non-scary black guy, but the hair is making you look scary! You should look more like a friendly black person, like Wayne Brady or…"
Woman: Whoopi Goldberg cut her hair shorter, even!
X: You know, I actually don't follow Whoopi that closely for my own personal aesthetic. Not that she's not fabulous, I just don't know if her look is *quite* right for me.
(We've gotten off the elevator, but she's continuing to talk.)
Woman: Oh, but she's so nice! I met her on 3 separate occasions. Once, a long time ago. She was so nice to me!
Whoopi Goldberg is nice. She cut her hair. Therefore, I should cut mine. Thank god this woman never came across Ghandi's wiki entry, otherwise she might have tried to convince me to shave it all off.
Me: She sounds nice.
At this point, I'm not even trying anymore.
Woman: Your mother has never asked you to cut it?
Me: Nope. Never.
I decline to tell her that both of my parents have locks longer than mine, and neither happens to sell purses. I don't want to melt what few remaining brain cells she was left.
Woman: Oh, what do I know. I'm just a 39-year-old Jewish woman.
Me: Oh. Hey, I have to go that way (please don't let it be the same direction), but it was fantastic talking to you. Have a good night!
One of us should.
There aren't any recent pictures of me with short hair (obviously), but here's a picture of my purse-selling locks: