November 17, 2006
November 17, 2006

Extreme Hairstyles Create Unwanted Perceptions

I was at a London England subway waiting platform were a few teenagers stood talking who had rigidly upright hair done in vivid colors of orange, red and blue. One ot the males called out to me, “Could I have a word with you?” I had visions of being held up for all the money I had on me, but I suppressed my impression and said, “Of Course.”

The young man came within a foot of me and said, ”Would you mind answering me this question? What do you think of having to pay to get into the Royal Palace?”

I let him know that I was not bothered by that at all. He told me that he and his friends thought it was awful that anyone, citizens or tourists should have to pay to see the inside of Buckingham Palace. I assured him that it was not offensive. He stated that it was to Britons and that the Royal family was amply supplied with money from its citizens and should not need more from other sources. He then turned and walked towards his companions saying, “See I told you she wouldn’t mind answering my questions!”

If he only knew what my first impression was! People do not realize that their clothes, hair styles, colors of hair or makeup, sends a message. Depending on whom is the interpreter depends on the perception of the message. Our appearance is analogous to a book cover. Whether it is acceptable to read depends upon how it strikes others.

Deviancy from the mainstream norms frightens others because the message being sent is muddled, the interpretation is questionable on all sides and therefore the communication often may cause the owner tragic consequences or at least unpleasantness.

I am accepting of people and do not let first impressions sway me into rash reactions, but the general public can be much more jittery. If you are not certain of what message you might be sending by your choices ask a teacher or a stable citizen. Also the activity you are engaging in and the place in which it transpires may make a difference; for example: work related clothes, beach clothes, Halloween outfits, sports related requirements and so forth. You get the idea? Right?