Posted by native carolinian (other posts) on October 01, 2019 at 06:25:14 Previous Next
In Reply to: Dealing with parent's discomfort over long hair posted by Avi on September 29, 2019 at 15:10:17:
Ok, so a few things. I have fought off an employer over the "clean" thing. I managed to get the employer to accept that my hair was staying because it was clean because I washed my hair. If I wash my hair, it is clean.
Number two, short does not mean professional any more. What an employer wants is kempt. Concentrate on being kempt, no matter the hair length and you should be fine. Kempt means neat and tidy. As long as your hair is restrained and clean (washed no shampoo or with shampoo it does not matter) the boss cannot say that your hair is not clean, because by definition it is clean. Many people in their sixties see long hair as signifying hippies. Hippies had a reputation for unkempt messy hair that was not clean, rather it was greasy and gross looking for the most part. It also had a reputation for smelling gross. If you use come kind of natural oils such as you would use in making cologne, you could spray your hair with it to give the impression of it being professionally shampooed. Fortunately, the people who do not understand long hair, (mainly white old men) are ageing out of the workforce along with their hypermasculinism. Keep in mind that these men are also the ones who have usually wanted to keep women in the home, or at some secretarial job.
In other words, if you come from a conservative family, and I know that some South Asian families are very conservative and westernized, it can be hard but useful to break out of a rusty mold that is about to be melted into non-existence any way.
My hair is in the "messy" phase when it is hard to tie it back at all. Sometimes I let it down, sometimes I put it up. If your hair is long enough to tie back, I would just let it go. If it is in the messy phase, I would also just let it go. You are at the start of Semester, and I assume that any internships are going to be next semester or next Summer. By that point your hair may be able to be tied back. At that point, just keep it washed and kempt and the employers should say nothing. Part of having long hair is learning to be assertive with men and women older than yourself. This is a valuable skill to have in any job. You are in a point in your life where you are self-defining in a big way.
While disappointing/embarrassing parents can be a tough thing, you are half a continent away from them. Unless you video chat, how will they know, unless they visit, that you are not cutting your hair? I am going to start computer classes soon, and I know that going into job interviews and internships, as long as I have my hair back most of the time, they are probably not going to care. Luckily for you, the field in which you are studying is a very competitive and hard field to enter. That means there is the good likelihood that you can pick and choose your employers and your hair length. It is not like you are studying business or something like that. You are in a creative field. Besides, which is more important, spending your money and time on haircuts or studying for your exams? That two hours every few weeks for a haircut adds up quickly.
Also keep in mind, you cannot control your parents and they cannot control you. You cannot change their minds, they must change their own minds. Being assertive is the best way to influence them to change their minds.
I get taken for a person from the sub-continent frequently by people from South Asia. I have hair down to my shoulders and today I met a South Asian man in a public place. He saw me carrying my groceries, got out of my way, smiled, and said hello. I said hello back, and there was to my knowledge not a bad impression because of my hair. My hair was down. It is slightly curly. Based on his reaction, I would think that at least some South Asians do not perceive long hair as aberrant.
I am American Indian, so my coloration is native to this side of the world and about the same latitude as Central India (combining all my genetic origins from this side of the world). So, I get people thinking I am an Arab or Pakistani, or Nepali, or from India frequently due to coloration, hair color and eye color. African American people take me for being African American.
I guess what I am telling you is, that if you are comfortable with having long hair (I am assuming it is dark) and a complexion that is olive or darker, then go for it. Maybe grow out your beard. I know a lot of people from South Asia have killer full beards. The work world is changing, and that is because there are more people of color being themselves. If you include yourself in this sort of category, why not be yourself, and be assertive?
Women like long dark haired men with full beards. Look at the movie "Prince of Persia", women were swooning all over those characters; Same with "Lord of The Rings".
Hang in there man.