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OP-ED: I Wear My Hair Up Because It's Trendy and Also Because I Haven't Washed It in a Week


Photo by Elizabeth Beugg / The Daily Pennsylvanian 

A person’s hairstyle speaks volumes. Stick straight hair can say “I mean business,” or “I have a lot of time on my hands.” A drastic buzzcut can let the world know you like to take risks, or maybe that you got lice from a dirty mattress in the Quad.

Most of the time, I wear my hair up. I like to pull my hair back and tie it up like a tiny palm tree sprouting from the top of my head. I do it because it’s easy and because it’s trendy to look like a vaporwave middle school girl, but also because I literally haven’t washed my hair since last Monday.

When people see me walking down the street in my half-up, half-down party ponytail, I want them to know I’m hip to the growing popularity of the toddler aesthetic, and that I have been awake for the last 48 hours writing a 10-page paper about a book I never read for a class I never attended.

My friends say that I look better with my hair up. They say it accentuates my features and makes me seem connected to today’s youth. My friends are right, of course—my commitment to looking like a tween girl at a Billie Eilish concert is admirable—but they are quick to forget that my hair contains enough oil to keep a local fast food restaurant in business.

During finals, I like to keep my hair out of my face because it helps me focus, and because my hair hasn’t been clean since I started going to school at Penn. I don’t have time to learn the ins and outs of 17th century Russia, so I definitely don’t have time to shampoo, rinse, and repeat.

So maybe my hairstyle says I’m stylish and fun and not afraid to look like a grown woman who can’t let go of her youth, but mostly I think it says my hair is disgusting.