I went for a decent ride today. I did about 400km or so over the afternoon, and while my ass hates me for it, every time I go out I realise how much I love doing it. If I hadn’t gone out I may have had to nominate myself for some level of Darwin award. I was attempting to use some deodorant, and while my finger on the can was pointed under my arm, the nozzle it seems was not, and suddenly I found myself with the same scent, but noticably less depth perception. However much loud cursing and some eye-washing later, all was well. Over the rest of the weekend I looked at more of this living in Perth stuff and I’m regularly assaulted by the fact that living is expensive (yet somehow maintains incredible popularity in the open market) and while my attempts to land another job so far have been quite reasonable, they’ve yet to really acheive much. But something underwent the thought microscope for the umpteenth time when I was in the Socmobile with Glen discussing my vocational deficiencies when we drove past some web development company’s offices. “You should get a job there” he proclaimed, “you could slip right in doing the whole long-haired hippie thing”. Now while he was suggesting it as more of a covert operation to wilfully exploit the promised land of some hippie corporation’s back pocket, it got me wondering about my hair again.
There’s something there you see, and on a couple of occasions in the past couple of months I’ve wondered if losing the locks would up my chances of getting employed. I mean this might sound microscopically paranoid or something, but it’s happened before. I mean there’s something that clicks in people when they see the thing attached to my skull. I went to one interview, asked for the interviewer, sat down, got up, did the handshake and thought for some reason “This interview is over.” Like I said before, I’m aware that this sounds a little farfetched, but the thing is I do a lot of sitting and watching, I sit and I watch people’s faces and eyes when things happen and when they’re changing subjects or spinning some untruth or other. The way this man’s face moved just shot down the deal from the start. We shook hands, “Dwight, was it?”, and his pupils shift to the left as he tries to get a better view over my shoulder and his face just does this ‘thing’, the way peoples faces move when they’re not thinking about it seems to say a lot sometimes. All I could think of in my head was “crap”. The rest of the interview went very dryly and there were sentences like “Yes, well, I mean you’ve got all the right things here and the experience…” that just trail off when he decides not to finish them. Old guys seem to be the worst. Males under 40 seem to be reasonable in general, they’ve all grown up being teenagers in the seventies and eighties and have had some rock music hero with long hair or they’ve toyed with the idea of growing theirs out when all the girls in high school swooned over some heart-throb movie star, and some have been there and done it themselves. Women are probably the best about it as a large percentage of them (similar to the percentage of say, people that have nipples) have had long hair and many still do, so they think nothing of it. I mean a lot of women don’t find long hair attractive on men, but I’m looking for work, not a date. Most of them just continue on, but some get wide-eyed and stop me in the street and bars to ask if it’s real and paw at it. Some of those go on to ask if they can have it, with the intention of attaching it to their own scalps somehow, which is really quite flattering, in a quirky, silence of the lambs kind of way.
But sometimes you run into people that have something to say about men with long hair and have some uncontrollable urge to let me know about it. I once worked somewhere where one of the managing staff turned to me after I’d done something useful or handy and said thankyou, commenting that they “usually didn’t trust guys with long hair”. I think the best response to that one is “Oh.” and that’s in a declarative sense, not questioning. Questioning would probably lead to some discussion of imbecilic stereotypes that would either lead to one of us leaving, or him being lit on fire. I can only compare it to the kind of comments that send you wide-eyed like “wow, the girls with big tits are usually pretty bad at this” or “yeah, asian women make good housewives.”. Another fellow a few weeks ago mysteriously appeared breathing heavily in my ear while I was on an escalator and thought it was his duty to tell me I was lucky that he wasn’t “The Ponytail Bandit”, then proceeded to tell me a story, complete with actions, about some fellow in Melbourne that supposedly snuck up behind people with a pair of scissors and lopped off their hair and ran away with it. Obviously my facial expression conveyed my thoughts on the matter, but he assured me he’d seen it on “Australia’s Most Wanted”. He closed with “Just thought I’d let you know”. While I was of course incredibly appreciative of my newfound knowledge, it would take more of a pair of bloody great shears than a pair of scissors to start hacking at my hair, and even then it would probably be a simpler task to remove my head entire than try to sever the hair itself, unless of course you have one of those El Paso pawn shop Hattori Hanzo swords in which case you could just do the lot in one fell swoop (yeah, I saw Volume 2). I might save the anecdotes about being mistaken for women for some other time. I don’t really know if looking like a long-haired lout is jinxing my job prospects, but I don’t think I’m in the mood to cut it quite yet.