Faculty hair survey: how staff ‘do their dos’ and feel about their tresses

  • patricia
    Patricia Taylor
  • brena
    Susana Brena
  • frank
    Frank Vaissiere
  • gould
    Chris Gould
  • msalshuler
    Ericka Alschuler
  • moriarty
    Mark Moriarty

My normal hair routine until recently? To cover my fingers in some hair gel and vigorously mess up my hair. But once I accidentally left the lid off the top of the hair gel container, it dried out and became useless.

A combination of apathy and a refusal to spend three dollars at Target on new gel led me to just start wearing a hat in the morning.

This sparked my interest in what other people do each morning to get their hair ready for the day ahead. I decided to focus on adults, people who have had the time and life experience to settle on a style of choice, and sent an email and Google survey to all faculty and staff at ARHS.

Off the bat, I asked respondents to describe their hair length, style, color, product use, and daily routine to get their tresses looking great.

Special Education teacher Patricia Taylor reported spending 30 plus minutes each morning on her long, partially highlighted (dark brown with rose gold accents) hair.

“My hair can be very frizzy so I have to spend a long time straightening it,” she said. “I like to change hair color, and it is an easy way to have a little fun with my appearance.”

In contrast to Ms. Taylor, English teacher Chris Herland spends no time at all in the morning preparing his “do.” He keeps his hair short and will only “comb back, comb forward, part, and push [his hair],” because that is all that is necessary to achieve the style of “anonymity” that he is going for.

“I take the bedhead I start with and run with that,” said Performing Arts Department Head John Bechtold. He likes the messy look, reporting that “the realization that people seemed fine with it meant less fuss in the morning.”

To prepare in the morning he said that he follows three quick steps “1. Look in the mirror. 2. Mess it up more. 3. Done.”

Latin teacher Will Roundy has a very unique method for maintaining his short and fresh “do” at all times. “[I] cut the bits that are too long and push my hair in the right direction as often as needed,” he said. Magister (a Latin title for a teacher) Roundy finds that this is more cost effective as well.

“Finances [are the reason],” he said. “I decided to stop paying for haircuts by managing my hair myself. I actually spent less money on my shears, hand mirror, and comb combined than I spent on the last haircut I had a professional do for me.”

Across the hall from Magister Roundy is French teacher Frank Vaissiere, who dyes his full head of hair. Inspired by Punk Rock, he said he dyes his hair platinum blonde and spikes it with gel. “Dampen hair. Apply. Spike It. Style,” he said. He also reported that it only takes one to five minutes to do his hair. “[It is] easy to manage,” he said.

School Guidance Counselor Ericka Alschuler likes to keep her hair short and simple.

“I shave my head with clippers, a four (half inch length),” she said. She was inspired by her twin sister. “This is how my twin sister wears her hair and it looked good on her, so I thought it would look okay on me.”

English teacher Mark Moriarty was inspired by “his ancestors” and “cold weather” to wear his hair long, for decades. He said it takes no time at all to do his ponytail and beard look and

When asked “What do you think your hair says about you?” I got some similar responses.

Mr. Bechtold and dance teacher Tracy Vernon both felt that their hair could relate to their professions.  Mr. Bechtold believes that his look gives off the impression that “I’d much rather be designing theater than my hairstyle.”

As for Ms. Vernon, she said, “I love how it flies through the air every day when I’m dancing!”

Like Mr. Bechtold, Music teacher Todd Fruth felt his hair shows how busy he is. “I am focused on many other things besides my hair,” he said.

Social studies teacher Chris Gould had the best response, though. “Hair can reflect personality. I love terrific-smelling hair and gravitate in that direction,” he said. “I also love the names of various shampoos from yesteryear: Body on Tap, Prell, Breck. These days, of course, a little dab’ll do me.”

I got a collection of fascinating responses for the last question that I asked last: “Have societal or cultural expectations or messages about desirable hair affected you?”

Special Education Teacher Emily Pritchard reported, “TOTALLY. For years I had long, curly hair and was told never to cut it. I listened for way too long,” she said.

Susana Breña said “Women have to have nice hair to look presentable. I have combatted that by wearing my hair as I please.”

Ms. Alschuler said growing up in Maine affected her views of her hair when younger.

“I had an Afro growing up.  Kids in Maine thought it was like a brillo pad. What!?! My hair was soft like your favorite fleece blanket,” she said. “But I never liked my hair growing up so I straightened it when I got to college. And I hated that too because it was so much work, plus it didn’t look good.”

Now, she loves it. “I like that I don’t have to dye my hair. Many women my age are already dyeing their hair. My mom is 73 and has only a little more gray than me, so I am hopeful that I will have dark hair for a long time. I hope to never dye my hair.”

Mr. Moriarty also said he “doesn’t mind what society thinks” but he doesn’t “change his behavior according” to societal pressures.

I also asked all the respondents if their hair was unique. “Sure,” Ms. Pritchard joked. “It is on my head.”