All that follows is just IMHO, only opinion -
I'm 50 years old, have blonde dreads down to the small of my back, am male, have worked in professional settings and in retail, to be honest, I've gotten nothing but kind questions or compliments from the older generations. The only strange looks I get are from the neo-nazi types. The shaven head thing gets to me because that was a symbol of monk-hood or slavery for centuries, and when I see the neo-nazi set doing it I wonder, do they realize they are not showing off their manhood but rather showing off their feelings of fear and inadequacy? wink But that's just how my mind works.
In the professional world, shorter hair is useful as it's a sign of conformity, and like the Buddhist monks a mode of not distracting the mind to things of beauty and pleasure. It's a sign of a person who lives to work, to function in a system. I know you hear, 'oh its easier to maintain' but whenever I hear that I think there is something more going on inside the speaker. The chieftains and warriors of old kept their long hair, a sign of strength, even virility, of independence and personal liberty. The Roman soldiers often wore their hair shaven on the sides, or in 'raven's wings', again a sign of submission to an authority.
These dreads are taken from my time in the Hindu temple, a legitimate root of a very ancient custom. The only trouble I've had with the deeper questions is the assumption they are a sign of a drug-addled lifestyle. Anyone that gets to know me for more than five minutes realizes this is not true.
To the high schooler - rock and roll, do what you feel! I've managed to survive a half-century transgendered, or as it is referred to professionally, gender dysphoric. The best way to survive with your sanity in this society is simply to be who you are, and hope like crazy that the times get more and more progressive. We fought in the 60's and 70's for our personal freedoms, let's not let them keep slipping away.
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