I like change; I crave change yet I find it uncomfortable. This conundrum can make for lots of good things in terms of discovery, and lots of ‘what were you thinking” in terms of hairstyles. To begin with I have only six hairs on my head and being 6’ 1” with red hair I can be hard to miss. I know because people have tried and failed, even in bustling Times Square. I am a blonde by birth but went red at forty for many reasons, one being it seemed to match the morphing that was going on, such as my smart-assiness becoming more pronounced. It seemed fitting gift wrapped in red.
This summer I went back to New York to visit friends and family. During the visit I had a conversation with my sister about hair. She said that as woman get older they are told to cut their hair and she was tired of that message was growing hers out again. I had just gotten a very short cut, which I was getting used to. The style was a cross between early Rod Stewart and a whisk broom. I like it fun, spiky and easy but this was a little too little hair and lots of face, not my first choice. I had had it short for six or eight months at this point and thought it might be nice to see how long I could grow it. If you did not hear an ominous cord right there you should have, I am not the most patient person. I stand in front of my microwave and berate it for dragging its fat ass microwaves. So whether it was good sense to try growing my hair out or a lesson in frustration for me, and anyone who had to speak with me over the subsequent six months, remained to be seen.
My friends had to hear the minutia of my frequent bad hair days when looking for a style as the grow out progressed. I had become spoiled with the short and sassy ok, uh-lazy girl version of a hairstyle that was dead easy as it was messy. Not wind, not rain, not even over sleeping could affect its charm. So this temperamental wispy trial and error did not sit well. One friend, a straight man, had been subject to my bellyaching kind of nonsense for months on end and I believe he was scarred for life. At least I thought he was until he started giving me feedback. I now know based on that feedback he is either Helen Keller or truly evil and must be destroyed. How I know this is after the latest attempt at making a ‘new’ grow out hairstyle I sent a picture to him and to my trusty partner in crime Marsue. He came back with the following:
“I like it. You look like Julie Andrews.”
There is so much wrong with that sentence that I have a hard time knowing where to begin, not unlike a fat girl in stretch pants at a pie-eating contest. Note to readers: once upon a time that fat chick was me so I know of whence I speak, but I digress. First off Julie effing Andrews? Really? Did he have to go there? We have nun on one end of the JA spectrum and a nana on the other with Victor Victoria in the middle, none of which help my sex appeal rating. In fact I am sure there was a London based study in the early 1990’s that had proven she had caused shrinkage.
Just hearing that comment made me pick up the phone to my hairdresser and book an appointment for the next day. Marsue’s note came later that night suggesting the style made me look over coiffed, which was not usual, and the style looked older. In the term ‘older’ I heard “blue-hair-bingo-playing-17-cat- owning-cotton-flowered-housedress-wearing –nanna-a-ramma bad news.” The call to the stylist had been placed at just the right time it seems.
I went to my appointment and got confused looks from my team of hairdressers. They knew my plan for the grow out and had supported me even though they knew no good could come from it. They humored me as one would tiny children and those of limited capabilities in cognitive skill and style. The head hairdresser, Trang, waited me out knowing I would crack like an egg. And I did. I told her I couldn’t take it anymore, to cut it off.
“Please,” I implored, “don’t go as short as you did in July but shorter than this.” She told me to sit down and with a wave of her hand that was the end of everything, including the discussion of my hair. The hairs started to fly; five of the six were all but gone. When the frenzy was done there I was, all face no hair. At least I didn’t have bangs like Saint Francis of Assai this time but the rest was back to Rod Stewart.
Granted most folks who had seen both cuts had told me I looked great with short hair, that was a small consolation. Perhaps it was just a shock seeing my hair short again, so I went home and drank a bottle of wine thinking, “tomorrow is another day and it might be longer in the morning.” The good news when I woke the next day I didn’t think I looked like Rod Stewart anymore… my hair was smooshed to the side and had taken an unattractive slant of military. I walked to yoga class trying to unsmoosh it and stop channeling Gommer Pyle, which was surprise, surprise, surprise, the character of the day.
I didn’t tell my friend who came up with the unflattering Julie Andrews comment that I had gotten my hair cut, I wanted to surprise him. Yes, I can hear the chorus in the background as I type, “will she ever learn?” No, apparently I won’t. A few nights later I got a shocked smile from my friend as I let him in the door.
“Hey you cut your hair, I like it.”
If he had only stopped there, so much would be different. But he continued:
“It reminds me of Woodstock.”
“The bird from Peanuts. You know with the fluffy tuft of hair on the top of his head where you can almost see his scalp.”
So you see, out of the two options, him being Helen Keller or “he is truly evil and must be destroyed,” I had no choice. It was a clean kill. I don’t have any regret really, it had to be done. It was hard to get the large standing cast iron candle obera out of his gut but hey it was part of a pair and I needed it. The officers on the scene seemed to understand when I pointed that out.
As you can imagine my haircut is slowly growing out and really lots of the girls here have the same one, so no big deal. I have an appeal on the court calendar and my lawyer says if we pull a judge packing a set of ovaries this time I am free as a bird. Just not Woodstock!