Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair…
Our middle daughter and her husband got married in June of 2020, smack dab in the center of the pandemic. Consequently, the wedding at their parish was a small affair for immediate family, 13 of us total in the church. The reception was postponed until two weekends ago, July 10, 2021.
Two days before the 2020 wedding, I had my hair cut to shoulder length. Getting my hair done after months of the stay-at-home mandate was a nice experience, but I didn’t enjoy wearing a mask during the whole process. I made the decision that I wouldn’t get my hair cut again until after the 2021 wedding reception.
Even as a child of the ‘70s, I’d never grown my hair long. Looking back at photos from my middle school and teen years, I wish I had gone with the Jan Brady look instead of taking my mom’s suggestion of going with the Mrs. Brady look — the shag.
What was I thinking? After that it was the infamous Dorothy Hamill bob (circa 1976), the Farrah Fawcett feathered do (late 1970s), the gravity-defying high bangs in the ‘80s and then perms for about a decade after until I finally came to my senses and let my thick hair just do its own thing — parted on the side (as opposed to the ’70s center parts), no layers, just straight-ish (or absolutely straight with a little help from a straightener when I was motivated).
Regardless of the era or style, my hairdos ranged from chin-length to shoulder-length. Since I hadn’t ever let my hair grow, I had no idea of how fast or far it would grow. It didn’t take long to discern that my hair not only grew rapidly but showed no indications of stopping by the time we got back from the wedding weekend.
This past Thursday I went to my hairdresser to have my hair cut to a reasonable length. While I really liked the long look, I realized it’s more work to take care of than shorter styles. Washing it took longer (but thankfully seemed to need washing less, so I dropped from two washes a week to one), it needed to be conditioned, and brushing it and putting into my go-to messy bun style was a good five- or ten-minute process each morning (since it was so warm when I wore it down, especially this time of year). Not only that but I was surprised how much my hair seemed to get in my way (sitting down on a couch, I’d find my hair trapped between me and the couch cushion, it wasn’t constantly falling into our granddaughter’s reach when I was holding her and she has a pretty strong grasp for a three-month old).
I had mixed emotions as I got ready for the hair appointment. Yes, it’s true that long hair is more maintenance and can be a bit bothersome, but people really seemed to like the look on me and were amazed at how long my hair had grown over the past year. I’ve never had so many comments on my hair in my life.
Even though my husband’s in charge of vacuuming our house (not only is my hair thick, but I have an abundance of it and it sheds like crazy — the amount accumulated in the vacuum canister each week was somewhat remarkable), he was a big fan of the look (as seems to be the case for most men I know). He’d have been more than happy for me to keep growing it, even though it was already half way down my back.
The hardest part about going under the knife — make that scissors — is that the 10 inches of hair that was chopped off was my original shade of brunette hair that had such pretty reddish blond highlights when I was in the sun. Now I’m left with the infamous salt and pepper-colored hair, or ash-colored hair as my hairdresser refers to it.
Obviously, I could do the thing that 95 percent of the other woman that I know do, and dye it, at this point in my life, that’s just not my thing. It’s expensive, it’s time-consuming, and I’m not a fan of soaking my skull in chemicals. Maybe in time I’ll join the crowd and jump on the hair-dying band wagon and start coloring my hair, but for the time being, I’m going the natural route.
One thing that made me feel better about the whole process of going back to having hair in the chin-length to shoulder-length style is that all the work of growing it out last year was worth it. Not only did I get to have an amazing updo for the wedding weekend but I was also able to donate the hair that was cut to an organization (ChildrenWithHairLoss.us) that takes hair donations even if there is a bit of gray in it. Because my hair is so thick, they’re getting three 10-inch ponytails for the price of one!
Remember the adage about women and bangs? “Why do women cut their bangs? So they can grow them out. Why do women grow out their bangs? So they can cut them.” It’s pretty much the same with hair in general. Why did I grow out my hair? So I could cut it (and donate it). Why did I cut it? So I can grow it out again. Who knows how longs I’ll let it grow this time around, only time will tell!
2021 Wedding Reception