The long and the short of women’s hair
Our babysitter handed over a wad of cash last week to go a little blonder. And when I say “a little”, I’m talking the degree of difference between two adjacent shades on the Dulux chart - you know, tendril green and fern green, or buttercup and daffodil. Apparently, her boyfriend didn’t notice the change.
As she went to leave our house though, something, perhaps my second X chromosome, or perhaps the fact I have always been strangely drawn to paint colour charts, alerted me to the subtle change. And I complimented her on it. The look I got back was so full of warmth, I couldn’t help wondering what that young man was going to be missing out on that night.
Unless we were watching replays of Octagonal’s most glorious starts, I wouldn’t rush to describe my partner as observant. He certainly doesn’t notice what I do with my hair. Though this suits me. Since noticing can lead to discussing, and discussing can lead to cost. And the cost of professional cuts, colours and highlights is something that is generally inexplicable to heterosexual males.
In a break with tradition, my partner noticed my haircut last week. This is probably why:
The aftermath of this haircut looked like it needed a collar and obedience training. If he hadn’t noticed this cut, one of us would probably be sleeping on someone else’s couch this week.
Long hair is work. In some cases a great deal of work, in other cases rather less. But even if you go for a Neolithic look, long hair is still prone to being hot and knotty. So, if you live in the north of Finland in a village with limited leisure activities, long hair could be a no-brainer.
Since pre-school I have maintained, if not a strong work ethic, a strong work policy. This policy dictates that I need solid answers before I crank the motor. Before performing work, I need to know why, and I need to know for whom.
When I woke up the other day and asked myself why and for whom I had so much doggone hair, I didn’t have any satisfactory answers - so it had to go.
As a little girl, to grow or not to grow long hair wasn’t a difficult question. It wasn’t even a question. Once adolescence arrived, my friends and I learnt that we could grow our hair as rope – rope for catching boys. That was more than enough reason for me.
As a young adult it was clear that the wider world of sexual relations was a jungle. “Who wouldn’t want to take rope into a jungle?” I figured. Did losing interest in long hair now mean I had lost interest in wrangling? Or had I just lost interest in what you can catch with rope?
For four decades I wondered why a woman would cut her hair off. Now I’m wondering why she wouldn’t. Losing the long hair feels like getting rid of an ungrateful pet monkey - one that required a strictly controlled diet and insisted on sitting on the back of my neck.
I had long envied boys running in and out of the surf, the pool, the shower or bed, and then off to work, dinner, a date or wherever without a hair care in the world. While I calculated the time necessary to shampoo, condition, de frizz and blow dry before heading anywhere.
Still, going boy short hasn’t exactly liberated me. I left the salon with a stash of “product” that I’m told is all that stands between me, and life as a dandelion. But a short back and sides can only take up so much of time. Which is good because I’ve started calculating the hours I’ve blown on hirsute pursuits and translating that into other activities. If I’d done this a few years back, I could have been writing this in Espanol, amigo.
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