I decided long ago that when I retired I’d grow my hair long again.
I wore it long for a long time. I let it grow till it quit growing, back when I was in my teens and early twenties, but in my mid-twenties I got a job that included a lot of public relations work and I thought that the “aging hippie” look didn’t go well with the job. So I got the name of my office mate’s hairdresser and went to see him, armed with a picture of the haircut I wanted.
I should have known something was up when he turned me away from the mirror to do the cutting. He snipped and shaped and combed and snipped some more, went over the result with a hair dryer, and turned me to face the mirror.
I was in shock. My hair looked like something a Marine barber would have loved. I went from having hair to the middle of my back, to having hair that was barely an inch long all over my head.
When I went to pay the man, I gave him the price he quoted for the haircut. He bristled. “In this profession, tips are expected,” he said. “Really?” said I. “Here’s a tip for you, then. If you ever come near me with a pair of scissors again I’ll kill you.”
After I left that job to become a full-time mom, I let my hair grow till it quit growing, again, and maintained that length till just before my second child was born. It was a long hot spring and I had long hot hair. I cut it short myself.
From then on, I kept my hair short, although I didn’t cut it again myself. Once I went back to work, the shorter hair style was much more practical. And once my doctor started loading me up on medications that made my hair thin out, it was even more practical. It’s a lot easier to make short hair fluff up and hide its shortcomings.
But now, I’m letting it grow out. It’s still thin, and this is undoubtedly not the most practical decision I’ve ever made. But I’ve decided to try the experiment and see what happens when it’s finished growing. I can always have it cut short again.
My hair is just below shoulder length at the moment. I can finally pull it back in a ponytail, for the first time in years. I can roll it up in back and clip it. My grey streaks now look like highlights, although I’m sure a hairdresser would have chosen a different color. While I used to have to do just one lather-and-rinse when I washed it, I now have to do two, and I’ve found some “volumizing” conditioner in hopes of making it look at least a little thicker.
Most of all, though, I’m getting used to feeling it on my shoulders again. I’d forgotten what that was like.
Back to the future? In any case, I like it.
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