I have Donna Reed hair today. I didn’t set out to achieve this, it just sort of happened.
And, as it turns out, this newfound hair height/width/flip has resulted in people responding to me a bit differently. Everyone seems cheerier, more talkative. I’ve been engaged in conversations about how to get super white whites, and how to tackle hard water stains. These aren’t my usual workday (or any other day) topics and I really do think this departure could be due to the coiffure.
This isn’t the first time my hair has seemed to run the show. When I was fresh out of law school, I worked as a judicial clerk. I loved the job, but I might as well have been paid in hugs and postage stamps for how skimpy my salary was. Because of the meager pay, I didn’t do much to maintain a real hairstyle; instead, I wore a high, neat ponytail. I commented once on how older jurors seemed to really like me and a coworker suggested that it was because my ponytail made me resemble Kitten from Father Knows Best. This didn’t bother me at the time, but looking back, my ponytail possibly resulted in my being taken less seriously than I might have been had I sported a sleeker haircut. I was, after all, given an award for “Best Ponytail” at a staff gathering, when some others were given awards that related to their actual work. Though, in fairness, this might have been more of a commentary on the quality of my work; I leave room for the possibility that my ponytail really was the best thing I brought to the table.
I’m intrigued by the idea that something as small (or seemingly small) as a hairstyle could significantly affect the way I’m perceived. Mind you, I would not be surprised to be treated differently (which is not to say it would be right, but just that it wouldn’t catch me off guard) were I to wear something unusual for my office, like a high-and-tight or Nellie ringlets. But it’s something to consider that different hairstyles within a “normal” ““ for lack of a better term ““ range of hairstyles for my workplace could contribute to different treatment.
So in the spirit of completely nonscientific but nonetheless fun and interesting (at least for me) experimentation, I plan to wear a different hairstyle to work each day for the rest of this week and keep a log of the small talk I engage in with colleagues. I don’t really see how I can control for any factors at all, and I don’t expect any legitimately useful data to be yielded, but I might make some unexpected discoveries. And it’s always nice to have contemplation fodder.
Starting tomorrow, l’hairxperiment begins. I’ll recap at the end of the week.