And then in my mid 40s I let it start growing long again in some sort of mis-placed nod to femininity.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
H is for...
H is for...hair.
The human being's crowning glory.
Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen
Give me down to there, hair, shoulder length or longer
Here baby, there, momma, everywhere, daddy, daddy
When I was a little girl, I would have long hair until my mother got tired of having to comb it and then she would take me down to have it cut.
It stayed mostly short until I was 14. That's when I decided I wanted to let it grow long. My parents humored me through 9th grade but insisted I get a haircut the following summer. Against my wishes, my mother dragged me down to the salon and when the stylist was done, I looked into the mirror and burst into tears. My mother couldn't understand why I was so upset.
'It was only two inches', she exclaimed.
It was more than that to me.
The following school year I was given an ultimatum. Cut it or wear it up. So I would go to school with my hair in a french twist or a sort of top side bun and when I got to school, I would let it down. Of course, I had to put it back up before my mother arrived to pick me up from school and one day I forgot.
I got lectured all the way home. And then lectured again when my father got home. my parents were very image conscious and long undone hair was not part of that image He threatened to come in my room at night and cut it while I was asleep.
For the next year, at least, I fell asleep holding my hair in my fist.
Eventually they gave in or gave up and it was probably 10 years before I got another hair cut.
I started parting it in the middle and ironed it to get rid of the natural curl. I braided it, held it in a clip to get it out of my face and off my neck in the summer.
Eventually, in my mid-20s I did get it cut. I kept it shoulder length and shorter around my face for many years after that but it was always in a state of growth because I only got one or two haircuts a year.
There's not a whole lot about me that's feminine. I don't wear make up, I don't shave, I don't color or otherwise mess with my hair, I don't do my nails, I don't obsess about clothes or shoes, I don't carry a purse. And I look silly in ruffles.
It was probably another 8 or 10 years before I cut it again and it had grown well past my waist. Once again it was either bunned up or braided and one day someone told me I looked like Georgia O'Keefe, which I thought at the time was a great compliment. But oh, wait. She was an old lady wasn't she? I got it cut not too long after that.
Now I try to keep my hair between my shoulders and the nape of my neck.
Last year I got the shortest haircut of my life. Nice experiment but I don't think I'll repeat it. It's been growing out ever since.
When I started writing this, I didn't intend for it to be all about the various lengths of my hair. I actually thought I would write about hair in general. Maybe the different cultures around hair...the soldier buzz cut of the 50s, the long hippie hair of the 60s, the big hair of the disco era, the no hair of the gym, the hair of the menopause. Wait, what?
I have almost no hair in my armpits now. It's all migrated to my chin.
ages in the pictures in order: 7, 10, 15, 17, 20, 25, 40, 49, 50, 60 and 3 weeks shy of 61.