A few minutes ago I was eating lunch and browsing my Twitter feed. I came across a Tweet about this article in the Huffington Post (one of my favorite online news magazines): The Truth is Out Ladies: Your Long Hair is Killing Your Career. I was immediately concerned. You see, a couple of years ago I turned forty and made a decision to stop cutting my hair. It’s now quite long. In fact, I’d venture to say that it’s longer than it’s been since I was twelve years old.
So of course I clicked on the link. I read the article by Maria de Cesare, who cites another news story by Vivia Chen on The Careerist (Too Old for that Joni Mitchell Look?). Ms. Chen says old women (women over 40, evidently), shouldn’t have long hair because it’s a youthful hairstyle that clashes with our features, which begin melting off our skulls at that age. Or something to that effect. Ms. Chen says long hair on older women just doesn’t work on older women. Ms. de Cesare points out that if your boss is more concerned about your hairstyle than your job performance, you’re probably in the wrong job. Oh my. What to do? Two very intelligent women giving opposing opinions about the state of my chosen hairstyle. I read on, hoping to find some guidance.
The one thing Ms. de Cesare and Ms. Chen did seem to agree on is that your hair needs to be well-kept, by which I’m assuming they mean shampooed and brushed on a regular basis. I breathed a sigh of relief. Oh yes. I do shampoo. And I brushed my hair this very morning. I looked down at my hair with pride. Unfortunately, at the same moment, I happened to squeeze my hot pocket a little too hard and a glob of cheese plopped out…right onto one glossy lock.
Crap. You can’t exactly call that well-kept. I snatched a napkin and wiped the cheese away and that’s when I made the discovery of how my hair had saved me.
You see, I happen to be wearing a white blouse. I look pretty good for a Saturday when I don’t plan to go anywhere. I don’t actually want to change, but if my hair had not been there to impede the cheese, it would have landed smack on top of my left breast, leaving a large yellowy-orange stain in its wake. Imagine the horror! And my hair actually saved me from it!
And so, the hell with detractors and critics and fashion police. I have long brown hair. It even has a grey streak. Deal with it.
I’m constantly amazed at the time spent by “experts” writing articles and debating things like this, but I guess that gives them something to do. For my part, I come down on the side of Ms. de Cesare, and if your boss is worried about your hair, then you really are in the wrong job (or have the wrong boss). I manage a newsroom, do the hiring (and hopefully retention) of all the editorial folks here. At the top of my list for considering hiring and retention are ability to do the work, experience, dependability, and a willingness to stretch and grow and improve. Not sure hair length is even on the list (even hair with cheese in it).
Then again, what do I know? My youngest son (he’s 15) and I were at the gym working out this morning, when halfway through our routine he asked me why I was wearing my shirt inside-out. I had been up (and dressed) for five hours at that point and never noticed.
I’m sure your son had a great deal of fun pointing that out to you! I know my kids love it when I make a gaffe like that. 🙂 Thanks for weighing in, JP. It’s good to know there are bosses like you out there.