What's Up?
An exercise in flatulent verbiage and self-aggrandisement
from the Editor of the Webpage...

Salutations, friends, and welcome to another edition of Long Hair Stories, the site dedicated to the literate long hair admirer. Four more stories have been added for your enjoyment this time around.

Once in a while there might be a female reader who stops by this page, who might peruse some of the stories and maybe an essay or two, and might wonder what the fuss is about. It's just hair, right? Well, granted, for some women, it might be merely a style choice: you grow the hair, you style the hair, you cut the hair, it grows back and so on. Well, to the new female readers, particularly the long-haired beauties considering a change, I would like to suggest the following scenario:

Say you're at a mall, doing some shopping. You're debating going to a hairstylist in the mall's upper level for the Big Cut, but you're just not sure. Maybe no one comments on the care and time you put into your hair, maybe you just feel bored with your current style. You let the hair out of its scrunchie, letting it swing across your shoulders. Doesn't it feel nice, swishing across the back of your shirt, swirling over your nape and arms? It would take a long time to grow it back, wouldn't it...

As you're walking along you hear faint noises behind you, muffled clumps and thumping. You look back and you see nothing out of the ordinary, just the regular late-day shopping crowd. You keep walking, letting your long hair sway to and fro, and you hear more thumping. One man drops a bag of groceries, another curses at nothing in particular. These noises melt in with the background din, ebbing from your immediate consciousness. You run your hand through your loose hair, fingering the blunt ends, wondering if the salon requires an appointment of some sort. Another loud thump, some dropped boxes. Is it just you or are the people behind you really clumsy? Weird, isn't it?

I'll let you in on something. That man who dropped his groceries saw how your hair was brushing the middle of your back, and was so taken by the sight he let go of his belongings in a state of amazement. That other guy, the curser - he banged his knee walking into a bench because his eyes lingered too long on your beautiful undulating mane of long hair. You've got a rapt audience of admirers behind you and you don't even know it.

This might not be news to you, but, well, we men are kind of pathetic. We ogle, we stare, we can't help it. You're all just so gosh-darn cute! And with your hair so long and perfect, is it any wonder we're all stubbing our toes and walking into each other? I mean, it isn't like we want to be rude or anything, we can't just come up and tell you what an utter goddess you are and how we would happily beg for the opportunity to run a finger down the length of your locks, that glistening crown of hair that you're - what, are you going into that hair salon? What for? No, you can't be thinking - oh god! Just tell us you're going in to get a shampoo, maybe trimming your split ends? We can do that for you if you want, please! You're not really thinking of cutting that, are you? NO, GOD, NO! Please don't cut your hair! We're begging you! See, we're on our knees all around you, please, please, please, oh god in heaven, don't go into that horrible shop full of scissors and razors and horrible things, don't cut it, no, please, woman, we beg you (sob! howl!) no... ungh (sniff!) no-ho-ho-ho...

Sorry about that... got a bit carried away...

Anyway, you do see the point here, right? Maybe you don't hear enough compliments from us men about how lovely your hair looks long, but we do love it, even if we're too shy to come up and say so. Besides, take a good look in the mirror - it really is too beautiful to cut off, don't you think? And admit it, we do look kind of adorable on our knees, grovelling at your feet :)

Long, pampered hair is the ultimate beauty statement: the longer it grows, the more beautiful it looks. Your friends envy it, little girls are awed by it, and your mate can't stop smiling when you let it all tumble down. If at some point you think your hair is getting too long for you to take care of on your own, maybe you should consider asking your husband or boyfriend to help you out. You might be pleasantly surprised at his reaction.

On the other hand, if he refuses to help, I suggest you dump the bastard immediately. But that's just my opinion, of course ;)

* * *

So what does daytime television have against long hair, anyway? Everywhere you turn, it seems, there's an episode of Montel Williams or Sally Jesse Raphael featuring some variation on 'makeover madness' (how appropriate a term), and the first victim of the ah-teests and consultants is a woman's long hair. I sense collusion with the marketplace, particularly the fashion houses. Or perhaps housewives are easily amused, I don't know.

Anyway, after reading a blurb on the Long Hair Site messageboard about an upcoming makeover show on Oprah, and checking out the Oprah site just to get my facts straight, I decided to stick my neck out and respond. Below is a transcript from an e-mail I sent to the webmaster regarding the makeover shows:

"First of all, I would like to point out that although I am not a viewer of your program, or talk shows in general for that matter, I am aware of the influence your program carries in popular culture (it's hard to avoid, in fact.)

I am what might be called a "long hair lover" - I frequent chat boards at websites such as The Long Hair Site (http://www.tlhs.org/) and your program's seemingly (sic) anti-longhair bias comes up from time to time. In response to a recent posting I decided to check out your website for myself and scan some of your show topics, previous and upcoming.

In most of your makeover shows, there seems to be a pronounced emphasis on haircutting - lines such as "you can have too much of a good thing ... too much make-up, too much hair" come up quite often. While these programmes may be put together with the best of intentions ('change is good,' as the slogan goes) I find it disappointing that the attractive qualities of long, uncut hair are so consistently overlooked.

As a male, I do not pretend to be an expert on women's fashion, grooming rituals and such. Granted, certain accoutrements such as outdated shoulder pads or gaudy makeup can detract from one's appearance. On the other hand, they could also be seen as extensions of a person's character. I figure that if someone wants to wear excessive jewellery or blue eyeliner, that is their choice. If friends have informed them of how most others might view their grooming habits as tacky or undesireable, then they have done their job. "Turning them in" for makeovers, as one of your recent show bylines suggests, may be meant in fun, but I fail to see how putting these people on (inter)national television and humiliating them in the supposed name of self-improvement is doing good for anyone. Friends should not turn loved ones into the fashion gestapo for questioning. They should accept them for who they are, loud clothes and all.

"If you know someone who needs a make-under and is hiding under a 'disguise'... big big hair, or way too long hair, turn them in so we can help them "take it off"!" Over and over in these bylines, amidst the list of style don'ts such as bad toupees and false eyelashes, excessive hair length or bulk keeps coming up to top off the list. I would put forward that while some women may just let their hair grow without putting too much thought into it, usually it is a conscious decision. Long hair is not like a bracelet you try on at Wal-Mart. There is a commitment involved. It's not simply a matter of cancelling a handful of hairdresser's appointments.

Hair that is neglected and allowed to deteroirate into a tangle of split ends may require a trip to the salon for something more manageable. On the other hand, long hair that is well-tended is always beautiful, and a tribute to the woman wearing it - the term "crowning glory" is as apt a description as any. If family members think it looks hippie-ish or old-fashioned, that is their problem.

It is not as if the Oprah show is the only offender here. Most of the daytime shows have aired similar makeover episodes featuring teary-eyed women having their long hair harvested at the behest of others. The results, more often than not, are decidedly unflattering. A few shows have featured the unwelcome cutting of knee-length hair, or even headshaves, which more often than not could only be included for shock value. Very rarely is long hair shown in a positive light.

Long hair requires care, and a commitment of time, but the results are always pleasing. Long swinging hair is always a visual and tactile delight - 'poetry in motion,' if I may be so bold as to employ the hoary (hairy?) cliche. Furthermore, the options for variety of styles, braids and updos are innumerable compared to conventional short styles. And on behalf of my fellow men, there is no woman alive who does not look better and sexier with a long, thick mane of hair framing her face and shoulders. It's nature's wedding veil.

I would suggest that your program might consider a show dedicated to the beauty of long hair, in all its varieties. It would be a welcome counterpoint to the makeover shows, and an overdue one in my opinion.

I would like to recommend some web resuorces, including The Long Hair Site (http://www.tlhs.com/), and Long Hair Lovers (http://longhairlovers.com/) as places to check out hair care tips and general long hair worship. These sites are more woman friendly than some of the sites you might find on the internet (us guys mean well, but sometimes we get a little, er, too excited over long haired women :) and are excellent points of reference for those interested to hear the viewpoint of long hair lovers. I also invite you to check out my own site, Long Hair Stories (http://www.interlog.com/~geddy/) which collects fiction about long hair and long haired women. You might find my love of long hair to be strange and perhaps obsessive (you're not the only ones, ergo the alias I prefer to use,) but then again I have trouble understanding your love of scissors. To each his own.



So there you go. A lone voice in the wilderness still makes a noise, I figure. Suggestions have been made from time to time that more people should write in to these shows to protest - maybe it will make a difference, maybe not. We're in a minority, unfortunately, and history overlooks the minorities time and time again. Mind you, I did get a prompt response letter from them:

From: show@mail.oprah.com
To: riffage@hotmail.com
Subject: Thank you!
Date: Sun, 6 Feb 2000 11:20:50 -0500 (EST)

Thanks riffage,

This is just a quick note to let you know that your message went through.

As you may have assumed, we get too many messages to answer personally, but we do read them all. If a producer takes interest in what you wrote, you'll likely be getting a call or an email back. That could be soon or later on.

We are grateful that you wrote to The Oprah Winfrey Show!

The Oprah Online Staff


I often wonder how much software designers make on putting together these automated e-mail response programmes. That said, there's a possibility that more letters of this sort might at least encourage at least an acknowledgement of the long-hair loving minority. Who knows, maybe they'll consider making an episode promoting long hair if there's enough interest, in particular from female long hair fans who would otherwise make up the audience for these types of shows.

In any case, this is one of the reasons I started Long Hair Stories. If this site encourages just one woman to cancel that makeover, or one hair stylist to put the scissors down, then I am happy. All of us long hair fans are. That said, it's also nice to be able to read about the wonders of long hair without risk of stubbing my big toe at the shopping mall. Or wearing out the knees in another pair of pants, for that matter.

Stories - you got 'em, I need 'em.
E-mail forthwith to: longhairstories at tlhp.de. (Please use the regular @ instead of "at")


Keep it growing and flowing...

February 12, 2000

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