It’s hard having long hair and being in the military.

It’s hard having short hair and being in the military.

The military has a lot of rules regarding women’s hair. It has to look feminine, and it can’t go below the bottom of the color.  Any hair tools like barrettes have to be a matching color for the hair.  It makes for a lot of frustration!

When I enlisted, I cut mine short so I wouldn’t have to deal with it so much.  But short has a problem.  It grows really fast, and sometimes the male soldiers don’t always know the definitions of what the length is.  I’ve had a sergeant yell at me for hair being too long because it touched the top of the collar.  And all the soldier can do is go take care of it because the boss makes the rules.

For a while, I tried a page boy, with all the hair being the same length, but above the collar.  That did not last long.  My hair is really thick, so I ended up with big hair.  It freaked out one of the sergeants who told me I had too much hair and to get it cut.

This is probably why most of the women opt for long hair and put it into a bun.  I couldn’t do that because the hair was too thick and too heavy.  I’d have to put twenty booby pins in it and it’d still fall out an hour later.  Or it the bun would be too big!

I also tried a French braid, but I really hated how it pulled at my roots — and I never pulled it back as tight as I’d seen some women did it.  I ended up folding my hair in half and then using a barrette to hold it in place.  I always had to keep a supply of heavy duty barrettes because the weight of the hair would break them.  All those hairstyles only work if you have normal hair, which I did not.

One of the women decided to get cornrow extensions.  She spent $70.00 (a lot in 1991) on ones that went down to her butt.  Unfortunately, she didn’t think about what to do while she was in uniform.  That was even more hair than I had to deal with!   She kind of rolled it up on top of her head and put her hat on it.  That lasted until we went to the rifle range and she had to wear a helmet.  She perched her helmet on her hair, not on her head.  First sergeant took one look at it and made her get the extensions removed.

I’m so glad now I don’t have to worry about the length of my hair!