I have a really bad haircut right now. I’ve had it for a while, actually, and it’s taken me a while to come to terms with this fact.
I’ve never really set all that much store in my hair. I mean, I get it cut and even colored regularly. Always have. But I’ve also had a sort of laissez-faire attitude about it even within that framework. I change haircolor often. I go from long to short to long regularly. If it doesn’t work out? Hey, it’s only hair. It’ll grow back, right?
But I also know I’m a bit of an outlier in this regard. At least, I think I am. Many, many women I know place a great deal of their personal pride and value in their hair. “My hair is where my power is,” my sister says. And she’s only about 15% joking. When I’ve got to various salons, and asked them to cut my shoulder-length hair short above my ears, or to dye my blonde hair dark brown, the stylists will invariably blanch and ask “Are you sure?” I’ve even … and this still floors me … had both stylists and neighbors ask me “Is your husband ok with this?” One neighbor, seeing me with a new short “do” after it had been long-ish said “You are so brave. My husband would never let me do that.”
(My mom’s response on hearing that one: “Then it’s time to get a new husband.” You think she’s joking, but my mom’s been through four husbands.)
In certain cultures, women wear headscarves to keep their hair covered lest they incite untoward passion from men. The Macmillan Dictionary online says:
1: the most impressive and important part of something
2: (humorous) your hair
They say “humorous” but have you ever watched “America’s Next Top Model”? Usually in the first or second episode of a given season they’ll give the models “makeovers”, where host Tyra Banks dictates what kind of look she’s like to see them sporting. Invariably, there’s a model with very long tresses who has to get them completely chopped off. And, invariably, they sob. I even know women who tell me they got their hair cut “short”, and when they show up it’s still touching their shoulders. “I thought you said you got it cut short!” I’ll say. “I did! They cut four inches off!” (Most extreme example … a classmate of mine with hair down to her knees came back from a holiday break having had 18 inches cut off. Nobody noticed. It was still down to her hips. She was so upset! This had seemed like a huge deal to her, how could people have missed it?)
So what’s my point? I don’t know. I have a bad haircut and I’m going back next week to the salon where I know they’re really good at cutting hair and then I’ll have a cute haircut and that’ll be that. But tell me about your relationship to your hair. Explain to me the thinking behind some of the ladies I’ve mentioned. It’s a curiosity to me. Awaiting your comments.