In Which I Speculate About Why I Used To Have Long Hair (PICS)

Once upon a time I had really long hair for a boy. I was 18, 19, and 20 during that time.

Classic rock destroyed any hope I had of being cool. An obsession with crappy mainstream rock throughout high school led me into a hopeless devotion to classic rock during my senior year. I idolized Axl Rose, which is, by any stretch of the imagination, completely embarrassing. I thought Axl was the coolest, and because of him I wanted to be in a rock band. But before any of that could take place, I had to look like him. As a result I let my hair grow out, wore leather jackets, and perched a pair of aviators over top of a bandana around my head. There is even a picture of me in my senior yearbook that captures this look. It is horrendous, and I am glad that I grew out of that phase.

(I am pretty proud of my ability to match clothes here)

But I thought it was cool then, and continued to grow my hair until just before my twentieth birthday. By that time it reached down to my nipples and had started to wave and curl in ways that didn’t know my hair could do. My hair took multiple hours to dry and I would shed like crazy, but at least I could headbang like nobody’s business! Eventually I cut it because I got a job working around industrial machinery and really, really didn’t want my hair to get sucked into metal rollers operating at high speeds.

But ever since I cut it I’ve been wondering why I let it grow out as long as it did. I can think of two main reasons, besides wanting to be a rockstar.

First, I was too lazy to maintain it. My hair has a awkward point at which a certain cowlick refuses to stay down, but once it passes that length, it is OK and I am not embarrassed about it. I hate maintaining my hair, so it has to be either really long or really short. If it is short, I can wake up and start my day - no worries. If it is long, I can wake up and throw it in a ponytail and, likewise, no worries. I don’t have to mess with blow-drying or gelling of moussing or anything. It is simple and nice.

My second reason was that I thought it made me more accessible to a certain type of people who I wouldn’t be able to talk to/ hang out with nearly as easily if I had had short hair. I thought that it would be great - that I would be able to hang out with kids who I normally wouldn’t get a chance to, like maybe some non-Christian kids who wouldn’t give clean-cut Christians the time of day. What really happened was I spent a lot of my time with long hair at a Christian college, where most everyone was already clean-cut. Nice. And ultimately the impression I think that other people got of me was that I was secretly a potheaded hippy. I did walk barefooted everywhere, but I didn’t do any drugs.

(I suppose it is easy to see where they got that from)

The long hair did afford me some fun experiences though. I had my wet hair freeze outside in an Illinois February. I went to rock clubs and headbanged like a rockstar. I went to dance clubs and had guys dance up on me, thinking I was a girl. Ok, so that wasn’t so fun, but at least my friend Danielle got a kick out of it.

Would I do it again? I don’t think so. I don’t think the benefits outweighed the hassle and false perceptions that came along with it, and, when you think about it, being clean-cut makes you more accessible to a wider range of people. Besides, now I own clippers and cut my own hair for super cheap, which is a super minimalist thing to do. I like it that way.

(Look at how ridiculous we look!)

_DZ submit to reddit


I Was in a National Newspaper!

Anybody who has googled me recently (try it today!) knows this already, but a couple months ago I was interviewed by Sandra Block for her column in USA Today. For those of you who don't want to click on the link, here is the part mentioning me.

"...many consumer experts say that responsible use of credit cards is one of the most effective ways to build a good credit record. Those concerns haven't swayed Dann Zinke, 22, of St. Paul, who works at a gas station to save money for college. He's never owned a credit card and doesn't plan to get one any time soon. 'I refuse to recognize it as a rite of passage into adulthood,' he says. 'I don't want to go through the hassle of signing up and receiving other credit card offers.'"

I don't remember saying the second line, but the first line of my quotation I found rather clever, if I do say so myself.

Surprisingly, it wasn't that hard to contact a reporter of a major newspaper. I had heard her being interviewed on MPR, talking about how she was soliciting stories from twenty-somethings who didn't want credit cards. I emailed her about that, and she got back to me right away, wanting to set up a phone interview. She called me the next morning and we talked for maybe fifteen minutes, tops. I had over-prepared for it, of course, and had three pages of notes detailing what I might say, none of which I had time to use.

Overall I found the article encouraging. Despite it opening with a non-sequitur (Emily has never had a credit card, yet she has also never felt comfortable owning one?) I thought it provided a very balanced view of the pros and cons of credit card ownership. In particular I appreciated the highlighting of the increased use of debit cards, because without mine I would be up a serious creek without a paddle. Or in a serious supermarket without a checkbook. I only write checks for rent, and am guaranteed to make a horrible checkbook-balancer. Though the article claims debit cards as less secure than the credit kind, as long as I keep mine in my wallet and use it only when I need to, I think I will be OK.

_DZ submit to reddit