They say the eyes are the window to a person's soul, but I disagree. I'm pretty sure it's the hair. Seriously.
For the sake of this article, I'm going to go ahead and admit that I judge people, and I judge them by their hair. I'm not saying everyone does this, I'm saying I do this, and I'll go ahead and tell you why.
You can judge a person on their shoes (Louboutins or Converse?), or what they wear (Armani or Anthropologie?), and that's fine. And hey, you'll probably get somewhere with that, maybe by going a little deeper and analyzing how they wear something: Does she mix Versace with vintage? Are her jeans skinny or flared? And just how flared and how expensively distressed?
All important factors. They might tell you how much money (or credit card debt) she has and if she lives on 73rd or somewhere between Bedford and Lorimer, but what they don't tell you is how much fun she'll be three-beers-deep on a girl's night out. What will? Her hair.
So, without further ado, here is my (highly abridged) Guide to Judging Someone By Their Hair.
Hair: Blonde. Perfectly highlighted and/or sun-kissed. Roots, a ¼ inch to 7/8 inch. No split ends or flyaways. Either crisply styled or artfully mussed.
Judgment: Has some combination of too much time and/or money. Reads too much Vogue, specifically the Julia Reed's article on "How to Get Perfect 90's Roots" in the October issue. Hopes that "Fredéric's" root job will give her that "It's a jet-setty thing" mystique.
Fun (on a scale of 1-6 beers): 2. Which is all she'll need to get drunk, because she either doesn't drink enough or because her prescription drug cocktail has already kicked in.
Hair: Brunette. Long and straight. Again, no flyaways, but not necessarily styled. Has been long and straight for the last 7 years.
Judgment: Supposedly low-maintenance. Has some guy issues. Isn't necessarily insecure, but is aware that guys like long, straight hair, and more specifically, long, straight hair on her. Mantra: If it ain't broke, don't fix it, and god-forbid she end up with a bad haircut; it would take, like, forever, to grow it out.
Fun (on a scale of 1-6 beers): 3. She'll be a blast, dancing up a storm and being the first to wrangle a free beer tab from the sucker at the bar. Then she'll take one shot too many and be drunk-dialing her ex-boyfriend. Tears will follow. As will a chaperoned (that would be you) and early cab ride home.
Hair: Red, long, and curly.
Judgment: No judgment. Who doesn't like a redhead?
Fun (on a scale of 1-6 beers): 6. See above. That is, until the angry drunk in her comes out, but don't worry: she'll be taking it out on the cab driver, circa 4 am.
Hair: A natural shade. Medium to long. Layers and/or side-swept bangs. Conditioned and lightly blow-dryed.
Judgment: 90% of the female population of Manhattan, though she grew up in San Francisco / Minneapolis / somewhere in Virginia. Funny, friendly, and probably talks behind your back (but only a little bit). Has dinner parties with her friends, and spends Saturday nights dancing on the LES.
Fun (on a scale of 1-6 beers): 4.5. Depends if she's your best friend from high-school / college or if you've known her for more than a year. Otherwise, she might just blend in with the crowd. That said, she'll buy her fair share of shots and won't bail without saying goodbye.
Hair: Bleach blonde, or any obviously non-natural shade (see: jet black, pink streaked, scarlet red). Pixie cut, rockabilly bob, euro-mullet, or heavily fringed. Styled, with wax and bobby pins.
Judgment: Probably wears vintage and works a job you wish you had. Swears like a sailor but writes / sings / paints like an angel.
Fun (on a scale of 1-6 beers): 5. Will take you to a hidden-door lounge where she knows the DJ, the bartender, and the band. Life of the party, until she ditches you for the drummer. But that's ok, because you were leaving with the bassist anyway.
Now, I'm sure there are a few sayings running through your head about throwing / casting stones and I'm sure there's probably something in there about a glass house as well, so I suppose it's only fair to turn the guide on myself.
(That said, fellow judgers, two things to keep in mind: I'm a big fan of sarcasm and after four beers, I can't even remember what my own hair looks like, let alone anyone else's.)
This was originally published in November 2007.