Contributions by other people

Chantal Zakari, USA

i went to an all girl highschool
many rules
no jewelry
no make-up
only white, navy, or black socks
or tan, white, navy, or black stockings
white, navy, black, red, green
or gray sweatshirts

oh, and pony tails
or braided hair
if longer than shoulder length

my first year there i was eleven
right out of elementary school
i used to braid my hair
later my best friend said
she thought i had indian blood

my hair was long
always very long
i wore pants
all the time
except for when i was at school
so i thought i needed long hair
that's what makes me a girl

once, when i was five
i went to my cousin's elementary school
her teacher said to my cousin
"i didn't know you had a little brother"
after that
my hair was long
always very long

at the hair dresser i watched my mom
from the mirror
making gestures to the hairdresser
telling him to cut it even shorter
than what i had asked for

my hair was long
always very long
until my dad convinced me to cut it short
"i'll get you a pair of gold earrings,
they'll be more visible if you cut your hair"
he said

second year in highschool
my girlfriend went to the u.s.
as an exchange student
she didn't bring a lot of things back
except for a new perm
"they make better perms in the u.s."
she said.

the following year
another student went to the u.s.
for a summer vacation
she brought back
a permed head, too

that september
perming or coloring hair
was not allowed anymore

i got a perm the day after my graduation

i can't look at those pictures now

my first year in college
my hair was always loose

i wore a lot of jewelry too

they said
"you'll cut your hair
shoulder length
when you get married"

six months into my marriage
and I still have long hair

my dad gives me money
everytime i go home
for christmas
"go to the hairdresser"
he says
my mom looks at me and says
"is that how you will wear your hair

only trim my hair