When I was a child, my father loved my hair long. I had gorgeous, straight, thick, dark-brown hair. He took such pride in my hair...it was sort of biblical.
When I went to college, I started to find myself and decided a really cool way to rebel against my dad was to cut my hair (just call me James Dean). I went from Farrah Fawcett to short. Really short. My senior picture, which mom kept in her office, elicited comments like, "Dianne, your son is so handsome!" I had on make-up, earrings, and a purple turtleneck sweater. But my short, straight hair made me look like a guy.
Then, a girl at a convenience store asked her mother, right out loud in front of me, "Is that person a boy or a girl?"
Fine. I grew it out.
And it stayed long until our dog Shemya died. My hairdresser told me Native Americans used to cut their hair as a part of mourning. It made sense.
My hair has been short ever since.
Then there's the color. My mother used to color her hair, and my sister and I gave her crap about it. Her gray was so pretty, so shiny, so silver, so complimentary of her complexion. The color-from-a-bottle always looked fake and unnatural. So she let it go gray. And it is beautiful. As my own hair grayed, it felt like the height of hypocrisy to color it. My gray is silver, too.
My sister took the first head shot on my Blogger profile...my favorite photo of my short hair. Plus, the photo makes my nose look not too irregular.
I'd have rhinoplasty if rubber stamps weren't more fun to spend money on.
Last October, I decided to grow my hair long. Again. I was sick of it short, as it has been for the past 12 years. It almost never looked as good in real life as it did in the photo above. Also, the texture of it has completely changed as it has turned gray. Before, it was coarse and straight. Now it is even coarser and given to fits of occasional random waves or kinks. Wire. That's what it most resembles now.
So why not grow it out and see what happens? At least, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Fortunately, my hair grows fast. It's touches my shoulders now and swings when I turn my head. I feel girly again, girly and feminine and middle aged.
Last weekend, my sister saw how long my hair had grown and begged me never to braid it. My mom saw how long my hair had grown and suggested I braid it.
There's a generation gap at work. And a perfect demonstration of the strong opinions people have when it comes to hair. Wear it long. Wear it short. Curl it. Straighten it. Put it up, Wear it down. Color it. Don't color it. Perm it. Tint it. Chalk it. Put a feather in it.
Everyone has an opinion.
I'm aware that "women of a certain age" are supposed to have short hair. We're supposed to cave to middle-age style and not braid it (and wear overalls) or put it in a bun old-lady style. We're supposed to age gracefully but that usually means coloring it because gray makes you look old. We're supposed to look and act our age but not look and act our age.
I'm going to be me. Grammatically and follicularly incorrect, but that's just fine.
How are you going to be you? What conventions and styles do you thumb your nose at?