Sporting long hair may mean a lot of things. Scientists believe that it plays a part in the natural selection process of human beings, as men often view and associate women with long, thick and healthy hair with the status of her health and fitness in reproduction. Men with long hair, on the other hand, are viewed as rebellious rock stars who do not play by the rules.
As a matter of fact, long hair in men is usually associated with lack of discipline. That is why soldiers and monks usually have extremely short hair, or sometimes even have completely baldheads. In other words, long hair in men is associated with something that is not culturally accepted.
Samson and the Relationship of Religion and Long Hair
That has not always been the case, however. In ancient times, biblical accounts depict Samson as having long hair. Parents who had a difficult time creating a baby conceived him. They were granted their request for a baby on the condition that he would never cut his hair, as it would be the source of all his strength. He would then use this strength to help the Israelites in their struggle against the Philistines.
And true enough, Samson had supernatural strength that he used to fight his enemies. He was strong enough to wrestle with a lion, kill the entire army of an enemy using only the jawbone of an ass, and destroy a temple worshipped by pagan believers.
Samson’s fall from grace began when he fell in love with Delilah, who was a spy for the Philistines. She set about to know the cause of Samson’s strength. When Samson admitted that the source of his supernatural power was his hair, Delilah had a servant cut it. God then left Samson, as the angel promised, in case he removed his hair. His enemies then captured Samson easily.
The Brothers Grimm once told us of the tale of Rapunzel, who let her long hair down to allow her lover to climb up the tower. But other than the fairy tale alternative to stairs and ladders, the significance of long hair is primarily for decoration and adornment. It has always been one of the ways for a person to present himself, as the hair is probably the easiest part of the body to manipulate. The need to show off a good set of hair is the result of natural selection, as having long hair have always been a sign of good health.
The length of hair depends on an individual’s period of hair growth, or anagen. That period may last for up to seven years, followed by a shorter period of transition, or catagen, and resting, or telogen. For a person to grow hair up to the waist, a long anagen is needed.
The hair can then grow by as much as 100 centimeters for normal adults. For children up to the age of 13, hair can grow by 60 centimeters. For infants below 1 year of age, hair can reach a length of 15 centimeters.
Of course, not everything is according to the rules. While those below 13 usually cannot grow hair by more than 60 centimeters, a Brazilian girl who is only 12 years old more than doubled that length. Her hair measured 157 centimeters, which is almost the same as her height. She has never cut her hair in her life.
The girl, named Natasha Moraes de Andrade, comes from a poor family. Her hair, however, requires the use of shampoo, which takes out more than $500 from their income.
Just like Rapunzel being locked up in the castle, the Brazilian girl has become like a prisoner because of her hair. She spends a lot of time cleaning and brushing it, and it limits her from playing and doing sport activities. Ventilators that are an integral part in the Brazilian climate cannot be turned on because her hair might get stuck in it.
The Great Hair of China
Still, de Andrade should look at the brighter side of things. Her hair that measures 157 centimeters is a short haircut compared to the longest hair in the world. As a matter of fact, de Andrade might look like she had just gotten a military-style haircut if she gets to meet Xie Quiping.
The Great Wall of China measures around 6,400 kilometers. It is so vast and long that it can be actually seen from space. Xie Quiping’s hair can probably be described as the great hair of China. Her flowing locks were measured at more than 560 meters. As a matter of fact, the last time it was measured last 8 May 2004, the exact length was said to be 562.7 centimeters. That is more than three and a half times the length of the hair of de Andrade and five and a half times the 100-centimeter length that a normal adult can have.
Just imagine, if de Andrade was already complaining that it takes her an hour just to brush her hair, Quiping must be spending three times that amount of time to fix her hair. Quiping has actually been growing her hair since she was only 13 years old. And unlike de Andrade, Quiping actually seems to be enjoying her long hair. She always makes sure that her hair is kept clean, fresh smelling and beautiful. Her hair has become so long, however, that no amount of ponytail can reel it in. She has now gotten herself an assistant to help carry her hair whenever she needs to go around.
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