I was at the store last night, minding my own business, waiting to pay for my snackies so I could get back to the saving the world from The Three Evils, when I hear behind me, “Get a haircut, hippie.” I turn with an irritated look, and I see an old, slovenly man with a big bottle of liquor. He immediately says, “Oh, I’m joking, you know I’m joking,” then proceeds to prattle on about some dude he knew with long hair or something. I wasn’t really paying attention, because I was busy trying not to pass out from the alcohol fumes spewing forth along with his slurry of words. I paid for my stuff as quickly as possisble and made a hasty retreat before he could try to start in with his life story or some other bullshit.
I hope this guy didn’t drive to the store to get his fix, because he was clearly not in any kind of shape to do anything, other than kill more liver cells.
I used to work for the World’s Worst Nonprofit, in a building in downtown Durham, NC. Downstairs from us worked the World’s Meanest Optician, this sour, cruel, conspiracy-obsessed old man with a kind word for nobody.
I have long red hair.
One day, as I’m rushing from the mailbox to the office upstairs, he stops me, calls me in, and holds out a ten-dollar bill. “Can I give you this?” he asks.
I stop, puzzled. “What for?”
“For you to get a haircut!” he cackles.
This is after I’ve worked there for six months. Goddam he was pleased with himself.
I left without saying anything else, but I now wish I’d just taken his money. If he asked me about the haircut, I woulda just said, “fuck off! I’m not getting a haircut because the World’s Meanest Optician asked me to!”
Meh. I’m a guy with hair down to my chest, and I get comments from drunken/down-and-out folks all the time, and the truth is that it’s usually meant as a joke. I remember having the crap scared out of me one time when I walked past a dark patch by the sidewalk and this guy suddenly jumped and said “Let’s cut that hair and vote republican!”. Once I figured out what was going on we had a laugh and kept going.
And I can expect that every time I give some change to a panhandler, their parting words will be something like “rock n’ roll!”.
In other words, calm down. I’m not a hippie either, but I’m also not so high strung that someone implying I am upsets me.
Note: I’ve also had some belligerent shitkickers and ultra-squares try and start something over my hair. I can’t imagine what kind of lives these people live. You want to fight me over my hair? Insanity, AFIAC. Also, cops seem to be set against me from the start, especially when it’s not tied back.
For my sake, I don’t mind someone joking about it. I got upset about the optician because he was just a mean fuck in general, and this was just one more occasion of him being a mean fuck. I hate it when people I have to be polite to are mean fucks to me.
I had long hair years ago (oddly, I now realize that this was back when I was far more conservative than I am now). I was driving down the street one night when a bunch of short-haired drunks pulled up beside me at a light. One of them hollered, in what I guess was supposed to be irony, “Hey, hippie! Nice haircut!”
I looked over at him and gave my best confused-dirty-hippie look. “Haircut?” I shouted back, “What are you talking about? I haven’t had a haircut in years!”
The light changed just then, so I have no idea what the response was.