I have only lately in life worn a headcovering. I had never heard it taught, and the few times I had ever wondered about I Cor 11, I was convinced that vs. 15 meant that a woman's long hair is her covering.
We had been on the mission field for a few years when I began to reconsider. I had met some Mennonites here, and one young Guatemalan lady in particular was friendly to me, and had done some sewing for me. One day I just came out and asked her why she wore the cap, and she directed me to I Cor. 11.
I went home and read it again. And again. I was not convinced that it was talking about a veil besides the long hair, yet it didn't seem truly "settled" in my soul. I discussed it once with the wife of another Baptist missionary, and she said, "You know, if my husband wanted me to wear a veil, I would wear it in a heartbeat." I told her I was sure that the long hair is the covering, and we dismissed the issue.
For about three months I kept finding the veil mentioned in various passages in my regular Bible reading. I prayed about it. I talked to my sweet husband about it. I finally just begged the Lord to show me the truth, I was so tired of feeling unsettled about it! And that's when He opened up verse six to me:
"For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered."
I tried to read this verse with my long-hair veil in mind, and it did not make any sense. "For if the woman (have short hair), let her also (cut her hair short)??" Nonsense. The verse only makes sense if it is referring to a veil besides the hair. Looking at it that way, the whole rest of the passage falls into place, too.
I showed that to my husband, and he had no misgivings about me wearing a headcovering. I started right away.
Soon after that, we left for a furlough in the States. I was a little nervous about my new appearance and what waves we would make as we visited our supporting churches and our family. But it was silly to worry, and we had a wonderful time. Didn't even lose any support over it! I never felt ridiculed. In fact, I felt that we were just as loved and respected as ever. And a special bonus was that I came across other Baptist ladies who covered, and some others who don't cover but confided in me that they knew in their hearts that they should. I was amazed, and I thought, "Why haven't I ever met women like this before??"
This is not a popular issue, and when it does come up it tends to ruffle some feminine feathers. The only reason I can think of for why it has that effect on women is that it touches on our appearance and our pride. I know I love my hair, and enjoy caring for it. I admit, it's very long and beautiful, and it drew the admiration of others when I used to wear it down in public. It is my glory! And that is a good reason cover it, that I might be shamefaced and modest before the Lord and others.