Sophia Topper
Staff Reporter

Great product. I do switch this probiotic with another brand just to keep my tummy from getting used to one product. Like this one the best. Mexican viagra? There are a lot of legitimate mail-order pharmacies in this country.

I’m standing outside the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, gorging myself on a chocolate-covered Nanaimo bar when I feel a strange sensation at the back of my head. I pause, and once again I feel my hair being tugged. I turn around, and I’m suddenly face to face with a woman, who is currently stroking the ends of my hair.

“Never cut your hair,” she offers, as if caressing strangers is perfectly normal. She tells me she’s a hair dresser and continues, “I’m telling all my girls to grow their hair out now. Long thick hair is going to be big this spring!” I’m shocked, and as she continues to run her fingers through my almost waist length hair, I offer a confused “thank you?”

I’m not as surprised as one might expect. At the time, I had extremely thick, long hair. I was used to my friends asking to braid it, and even mere acquaintances discussing my hair with me, a topic that interested them far more than me. A few months later, I was approached again by two women who stroked my hair and demanded that I never cut it.

I didn’t listen, of course. I cut it all off after getting fed up by the fourteen hours it took to dry, and its propensity for getting caught in doors, sweaters and, most glamorously, my armpits. When I returned to school after the big chop, nearly eighty people commented, most with barely disguised disappointment. My hair raises some very strong opinions, and it isn’t even very interesting.

My personal space violations were nothing compared to what people of colour face every day. Living on the ethnically homogeneous Vancouver Island, my friend Tokoni regularly had people ask to touch her braids, and for anyone sporting a ‘fro, the intrusions are even more frequent.

Why do people think that hair is immune to the keep-your-hands-to-yourself rule we all had drilled into us in kindergarten? Why does anyone even want to touch it? Hair is such a contentious issue in society, from the choice to leave it natural for black women, to covering it up for Muslim women to growing it out for men. When I cut my hair, I even had someone ask “so does this mean you’re gay now?”

Hair is another way to signal our identity to the world, but unlike throwing on a Grateful Dead tee, growing it out or cutting it off takes a lot more commitment. It goes beyond just aesthetics, and how much or how little time we put into it shows a lot about how we feel. Just look at the difference between the hairstyle of choice during the first week of school, all clean and styled, and during exams, when greasy ponytails prevail.

Hair is a method of expression, and identifying what niche one belongs to. To end with the words of Timbuk3, “how well do we use our freedom to choose the illusions we create?”

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