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In the spirit of Hair Week here at Racked, writer Cynthia Drescher talks about her relationship with her super-long mane—which she hasn't cut in years. Read Part 1 and Part 2, and enjoy this final Part 3.
Yes, I am wearing a three-corner hat in the picture to the right. And a mask. And a full, black velvet hooded cape. You see, in the middle of college I got restless and swept off for a year of study abroad in Rome, Italy. Alas, I got an internship and stayed on longer than that year, time which allowed me to get away and do things like participate in Venice Carnevale festivites?that explains the get-up.
Now did you notice the hair? My hat may be tri-cornered, but my hair was bi-colored. Some time during those pre-Rome restless days, I made the spontaneous decision to head over to the nearest Meijer's store, grab a box of blonde hair-dye and see what that would do. Alack and alas, there's not enough dye in one of those boxes to contend with my lengthy hair, and the result was something I call "splotchy blonde." It was fixed at a real hair salon to the tune of more money than I had, which mandated that I sign up for my very first credit card.
Being very lackadaisical about my hair, you can probably guess that the blonde color didn't last long. I didn't once get my roots touched up and my hair grows pretty quickly, so by the time I was half a year in Italy, my hair was blondie brownie-inspired and oddly attracting quite a bit of male attention.
A warning: do not hang out at the Vatican. This is a hard lesson to learn, because St. Peter's Square seems like the safest place to do a little shady sitting, right? Well it also seems like that to a whole sort of Italian man that preys on solo female tourists, the longer the hair and innocent the face, the better.
"Che ora è? What time is it?"
One man will approach, with an innocuous question said in both Italian and English, even though he already knows you're foreign. He will attempt to chat you up in a friendly manner, and since you're safe in the close of St. Peter's Square, you may let your guard down a bit and reply. And then, when you must go, they will lean in for a cheek kiss and (even if you resist) grab you, doing all sorts of things, the least of which may be sloppily licking your neck, until you can fight your way out or scream for help. I've had it happen, I've seen it happen and I've had friends with the same stories of these guys.
Since the Vatican was on my walking commute, I couldn't easily avoid it; a small country stood between home and work. Eventually I learned to wear my hair up in a tight bun so they couldn't compliment or grab it and to not reply at all if a solo man said anything to me. Any exchange of words and they won't leave you alone.
Moving on, these run-ins didn't exactly dissuade me from Italian men.
Image at left: a post-trim pic in the Clubhouse bathroom.
There is one place where getting my hair caught wasn't such a bad thing?around the fingers of a boy kissing me. I know the statistics, of how men prefer long hair to short, but this reaches a whole other level with some guys. Like an Italian ex-boyfriend of mine, who once admitted that the reason he was always chapping my lips was because he enjoyed the feeling of kissing me while twisting my hair around his fingers. Okay?weird. He later went on to grow out his own hair and find a girl to marry who was down with all that.
These days, I've made peace with my mane. I'm lazy, so it's long and it's there and I deal with it. The blonde has long since grown out, I don't date Italian guys anymore, and during moments of boredom I can amuse myself by fashioning my tresses into a turban.
I even managed to have a quick cut early last year while traveling through the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London's Heathrow Airport. There's a whole free salon in there, and I grabbed the trim and tea before a flight. And in my opinion, that's truly the best way to do it.
· Diary of The Girl With the Super-Long Hair, Part 1 [Racked National]
· Diary of the Girl With the Super-Long Hair, Part 2 [Racked National]
· All Hair Week posts [Racked]