Hair’s The Thing…

When I was a sophomore in high school, I told my hairdresser I wanted my hair to look like Rachel’s.

She either didn’t know who Rachel was or didn’t know what she was doing (I suspect both may have been true), because the haircut this woman gave me looked nothing like this:

And everything like this:

Oh, yes.  I rocked this hairstyle long before Kate did.  (Dear high school friends, you are laughing right now.  Please refrain from digging up old pictures of me with this ‘do and sending them to me, because if you do, I might have to post them).

It was a disaster.  I was a fifteen-year-old girl living in a town where “different” meant shopping somewhere other than the Gap (me) or having parents who weren’t Republicans (also me).   This haircut went beyond different.  This haircut would be my social demise.

If I let it.

Here’s the thing about my fifteen-year-old self:  she was smart.  Smart enough to know that if she acknowledged that her haircut was horrendous, she would become The Girl With The Horrendous Haircut.  If, however, she acted as though this monstrosity was exactly the haircut she wanted, she would remain the same person she’d always been:  That Lauren.  As in: That Lauren, she always does things her own way. Or: That Lauren, you never know what she’ll do next.

So I pretended to love it, comb-over bang and all.  I became, as husband puts it, A Short Hair Girl.

Why am I bringing this up now?  Because a month ago I cut my hair.  And while it’s an adorable, trendy, cute little haircut, getting it required that I cut off six hard-earned inches.

Let me back up:  after Hair Debacle ’96, I kept my hair short.  Not as short as the original cut (I wisely grew that bad boy out my junior year of high school), but short enough to maintain my Short Hair Girl status.  In 2001, it hit my shoulders for a stint, but it wasn’t long before cut it short again.

Until two years ago.  Two years ago, I decided to grow it out REALLY long, which, when I made this pronouncement, meant to my collarbone.  And grow it I did.  Thanks to all the pregnancy hormones that flooded my body a year later, by the time Lil Mil arrived, I had Long Hair.  Halfway-down-my-back long hair.

And I loved it.  Even though I never felt like it totally suited me, I loved how it felt and how it looked.  It was youthful.  Sexy.  Versatile (in theory at least… I never actually did anything particularly interesting with it).  Most important, it was LONG.

But then two tiny hands started pulling on it, and clumps of it started falling out (bye bye hormones), and suddenly there was HAIR EVERYWHERE.

And so, in a sleep deprived haze, I walked into my hair salon for a trim.

An hour later, I walked out with a bob.

I have regretted it ever since.

Husband thinks I’m crazy.  “You’re a Short Hair Girl,” he says with a shrug.

“So you didn’t like my long hair?” I ask.

“I didn’t say I didn’t like it.  I’m just saying, you’re a Short Hair Girl.”

“You only think that because I had short hair when you met me,” I point out.

“Maybe,” he admits.

“Look at this picture!” I moan, pointing at a photo of me with long locks, wearing the smile of a youthful, sexy, versatile person.  He examines the photo.

“Yeah, you look good there.”

“So you like my hair better long?” I demand.

“You realize you’re being ridiculous, right?”

“Yes!” I shout.  “I know!  I’m being totally and completely ridiculous.  I am not this girl!  I do not freak out over haircuts!  Especially cute haircuts!”  (It’s a very cute haircut.)

“Why are you shouting?”

“Because I miss my long hair!”

I miss my long hair.

Who is this person and what has she done with me?  Where has she hidden the ballsy fifteen-year-old who walked through the halls with her scissor-hacked head held high when most girls would’ve demanded to be home schooled until it grew out (yes, it was that bad)?

What exactly am I mourning?

My youth?  My sex appeal?  My, um, versatility?

All of these things.  None of these things.

I am a Short Hair Girl.  But, for a few months, this Short Hair Girl was a Long Hair Girl.  And during those long haired months, I found this new voice and this new part of me and this incredible and totally unexpected mommy mojo.  I became a New Me.  An I’m-comfortable-with-who-I-am-now New Me.  And that New Me had long hair.  And, as silly and lame as it sounds, somehow that long hair was part of the package.

And now it’s gone.

It doesn’t make any sense.  It doesn’t make sense that my identity could be tied up in my hair.

“You realize you’re being ridiculous, right?”

I do.

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What was the worst haircut you ever got?  Have you ever cried over a haircut?  Do you feel like your identity is tied up in your appearance (even if it shouldn’t be)?  Are you a Short Hair Girl?


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