01 May 2007


As a child, and even long into adolescence, I had really, really long hair. My dad thinks that little girls should have long hair, and since I was terrified of disappointing him, even as a rebellious teen, I never cut it until after I was legally an adult. There's a couple of pictures on my myspace page of what it looked like when I was 17, before I began changing the color and length.

No matter what I did, it always grew into a V shape down my back. Hacked off at an even length, by six weeks later, it would be back into that V. Drove me nuts.

The first time I cut it, I cut seven inches off of it, and still had long hair. I constantly toyed with the idea of getting it cut really short, but never did. When I met DH, (in 1994) it was long enough to sit on. He is a fan of super-long hair, and I left it long for a while because he liked it.

I hated it. I always hated it. Long, lacking the natural curl that both of my sisters inherited from my mother's side of the family, it was too thin to hold a curl for more than a minute, too mousy for my tastes and just dull.

About four months before our wedding, (in 2000) I cut it to shoulder-length, a manageable length, but still long. DH was annoyed, I was ecstatic. It no longer took almost a half hour to dry. That was also about the time that I began making the color lighter. Not quite blonde, but with definite blonde streaks. I've never liked my natural hair color, ever.

One day, while working for the big ol' bank, I looked around and realized that the women who were where I wanted to be, the power brokers, they didn't have long hair. They had short businesslike styles, easy to manage, but not long.

I cut mine into a shorter bob, very practical, but still long enough to pull into a ponytail, or put into a french twist, or a stern bun. I finally stopped playing with blonde highlights and went fully blonde. I'm far more confident as a blonde. DH will tell you "She's bitchier, too." I don't think so...but maybe that confidence comes off as arrogance. I don't care. I like it blonde. And there it had stayed for the last six years or so.

Until about two weeks ago, when I cut it short. Short, short. I can no longer pull it into a pony. When I washed it for the first time after getting it cut, I was shocked that there's nothing left to pull the shampoo or conditioner through. There are layers cut into it, but it is so short! And so cute! It looks a bit like the link. I look nothing like that, but the hair is similar. Or maybe like this, without the bangs. And not red. It is fuller with the shorter style, that thinness somewhat disguised by the layers and bounce that it has now.

So much else in my life is spinning out of control. My hair, though, is still mine to do with as I wish, and I have control over that. I wanted to cut it all off, into a man's style, and dye it black to match my mood, but reason prevailed. I'm far too pale to have black hair, I'd look like I was ill. So instead I went lighter blonde than it had been. My hairdresser suggested a brighter hair color for a brighter outlook. Great idea, but it isn't working. :-)

I'm thinking about the connections that society makes between women and their hair. Remember Eve, the model who shaved her head and had a dragon tattoo on her skull? Or how about Sinead O'Conner? What I remember most about the two of them is the comments from everyone in my Midwest conservative community, who thought that they looked awful.

I have a few male friends from my school days who are bald now. It takes a certain physique to be able to rock that whole Vin Diesel look, but my two friends pull it off pretty well. It is all right for men to be bald, but women, oh, no, that's another story.

Our femininity, and our sense of self, is very wrapped up in our self-image, which includes our hair. We're taught, at a very young age, about what girls should and should not look like, what they should and shouldn't do with their hair. Very few of my female schoolmates had short hair. Which makes me sound like I went to high school in some subdivision in the 1950s. I didn't; I'm not that old.

I love my super-short cut, but I'd happily hack it all off to avoid having to fuss with it. The price I pay for the shorter style is more time messing with it in the mornings, it now must be dried and styled, a little bit, to look presentable. No more tying it back while it is still soaking wet.

And it is a right pain in the ass at the gym, being too long to stay out of my eyes and too short to tie back. I'd wear a headband or some other such thing, but I end up looking like Hillary Clinton, circa 1996, if I wear headbands.

After wearing it this way for about two weeks, I'm tempted to go back to the hairdresser and have him cut a little more off, and make the color more radical, but at that point it would be just change for change's sake and that's not going necessarily a good idea either.


Erin said...

Pull back your bangs with bobby pins! That's what I do!

*~mad munky~* said...

i've had long hair for most of my life - back at uni it was like your's - long enough to sit on!

i cut a lot off last year before i went on a sabbatical to canada, and it was soooo much easier to handle...but i missed having long hair :oS for some reason, it's become a part of my identity over the years, and now i've let it grow again...

much to the joy of my mum (!) - long hair's seen as a good thing in our culture (Indian), and religion...

on the other hand - i'm not 100% comfortable that my hair is what distinguishes me from others in people's minds... *ponders*

okay - end of ramble!!! ;o) xx

Lucy Arin said...

Hey Cosmic!

I know exactly what you mean...when I run into people from my school days now, they don't recognize me as a blonde with shorter hair...they're always stunned. So I guess that mousy style was kinda my signature for a while. *shrugs* I will probably grow it out again, it seems so strange for it to be so short.