Friday, January 18, 2008

Me, My Hair and Where Do We Go from Here

Mrs. G is talking about hair today and she weaves a pretty mean narrative of her many haircuts in all their goofiness and glory. (Don't take my word for it, go read for yourself!) I have been known to spend a great deal of time thinking about hair. As you may know from here and here, we have a lot of hair in our house. And while you can't tell from that slip of a picture up there, I have a lot of hair too.

As a child, the well-meaning adults around me tried to brush, comb and generally flatten my hair into submission. It was red, and thick, and had a curliness that defied logic and the laws of gravity. It did not take kindly to the pixie cuts that were forced upon it. In high school, I fried the poor thing with hot rollers and curling irons and on one particularly bad day, a chemical straightener that was so stinky and awful I'm surprised my hair didn't just all fall out in protest. But at some point, a wise and knowledgeable hairdresser at the mall (gasp) suggested that I get a perm to "control" my curl and that really worked for a while. I had a head full of loose kind of bouncy curls (not poodle-like at all) and I was happy with my hair for the very first time in my life. I am a creature of habit. I kept my hair that way for a very long time.

Then I moved to Maine. Something about the first cold days of winter gave me an uncontrollable desire to grow my hair out. So I grew my hair out – long. The weight of my thick hair sort of pulled the curl out into waves, which was nice. It got very long. When I started graduate school I was that poet with the long red hair. I wore a lot of black and the contrast certainly worked in my favor. My long hair became an important part of who I was. I finally loved my hair in all its uncontrollable glory.

This long hair phase continued for a good long stretch of years. I'd get it trimmed occasionally. Cut three or four inches off at a time, and my beloved hair just kept growing. Right before The Kid was born, I cut it to shoulder length and kept it in a ponytail when he was a baby. Over the past seven (gasp again) years, I've grown it out and cut it to my shoulders several times. I wear a braid or a ponytail most of the time. Wearing my hair "down" has come to signify a special occasion.

I'm afraid to cut it now because keeping it long is so incredibly low maintenance and I really don't want to have to use any devices or products, and besides I have no idea how I might like to get it cut. I have no idea where my hair wants to go from here.


  1. My daughter has your kind of hair exactly. And I would kill it. My grandmother had it as well, and she kept it long until she died. Everywhere she went, people complimented her on her hair. I think your hair is beautiful.

  2. Oh, thank you. All this talk about hair has made me think that perhaps I don't want to cut it after all...

  3. You have gorgeous hair!! Hair envy over here. This is funny, because I blogged about my hair cut on Thursday/Friday -- I cut mine after three years without a cut and after having the same do for 20 years. Long and straight. Now it's just a little layered but I wish I had done MORE of a change rather than regretting the change I did make. Change is good, where hair goes -- and it can always grow back!
    Looks like your family has plenty of back-up hair and potential, should some fall to the wayside!

  4. I would love, love, love to have hair like yours. Alas, I am thin (my hair, not my body), fine, and blonde. I must work at my hair.

    Keep on the lookout for people with hair similar to yours, whose cuts you like, and ask them for their hairdressers name. Then you will know you're in good hands.

  5. Thanks for the advice and for the nice compliments. I feel better about my hair already.

    Now let's talk about all these freckles...