The Struggles of a Man with Long Hair


My hair in its current state.

By Mitchell Fasolo, Staff Writer

I’ve had a bittersweet love affair with my long, curly hair for over half of my life. Up until fourth grade I rocked the spiky human-porcupine look, made possible with two handfuls of gel. I remember the day when everything changed, when my trademark was created.

My 9-year-old self was easily peer pressured by the girls I thought were cute. I was due for a haircut, but one day during recess they told me I should grow my hair out; the next thing I know I was being treated as if I was at a salon. I sat at a bench closest to the water fountain while several girls carried water in their hands to wash out the gel that was once so important to my image. Little did I know that this day would mark the start of a serious, long-term relationship.

Since I started growing my hair out I’ve never had a “real” haircut, just a few trims here and there. Once my hair was a respectable length, I wasn’t going to risk going back to the bowl-cut awkward stage that I worked so hard to break out of. I’ve always found it ironic that my mother is a hairdresser; no one believes me when I say this. With this easy access to a hairdresser, you’d expect me to have slipped up over the years as the scorching heat of Sacramento and long hair make a horrible combination. Needless to say, a little discomfort from 110-degree weather wasn’t worth ruining my all-encompassing aesthetic.

My long tangly hair comes with its headaches, no pun intended. Generally, men are expected to take quicker showers; I’m lucky to keep it under 30 minutes. This has caused many fights with past girlfriends who had shorter hair than me.  In fact, my daily shower routine for my hair can compete with any woman’s hair routine.

A day without a headband is a day in hell. There is nothing more annoying than having hair contaminated by backwash when attempting to drink from a water fountain. Eating is also a hassle without a headband; swallowing your hair along with a mouth-full of food happens more often than I’d like to admit.

Most men can jump out of bed and go straight to class without anyone knowing. If I do that my hair resembles a rat nest. Even people with long, straight hair just don’t understand. If I want to brush my hair I have to do it while it’s wet and covered in conditioner. If I brush my hair while it’s dry it turns into an afro. My perfectly wrapped up man bun is no easy task. Reaching that perfect balance between lazy bun and professional bun is something that takes years to perfect.

It’s 2016 and there is still a social stigma toward men with long hair. In a time where gender equality is such a popular subject, it’s surprising that males with long hair are still hindered by the “bummy” stereotype when it comes to employment. Perhaps my years with long hair are linked to my disagreement with this overlooked form of gender inequality, my way of sticking it to the man.

I have ten months until I graduate in the fall, meaning the real world is closing in on me. As much as it hurts me to say, if it’s between my hair and my dream job, my hair and I will have to part ways. Regardless of what the future brings for my hair, I will always remember the great times we had together.