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I'm thinking about cutting my hair. Right now you are asking yourself, “Why should I care?”. You shouldn't – but thinking about cutting my hair got me to thinking about hair in general and all the absurd amount of time and money human beings spend on hair, why we do it, and why we think it's so important, so now you are forced against your will to read about it. Sorry.
The thing is, I try to think about and mess with my hair as little as possible by mostly ignoring it and as a consequence it has grown very long – almost to my waist, in fact. I got so tired of spending mountains of money on having it “styled”, in some fashion that I almost always didn't like, that I decided to just leave it alone. My hair grows so quickly that maintaining a style required having it cut every 4 to 6 weeks, which ultimately became both a financial and time devouring problem. I have nothing against hair stylists and I think they should make a decent living, but I was not in a position to contribute on that scale to their livelihood, so I decided to just ignore my hair and see what happened.
What happened is, it grew. A lot. It's like the old saying about a watched pot never boiling – if you ignore something it appears to happen a great deal faster and one day you wake up with boiling water and really long hair. Along the way I have experimented with various ridiculously simple ways to put it up and get it out of my way, a pony tail, braid, a simple bun. In the end I found that the easiest and quickest thing to do was to just roll it up and stick a single hair stick in it like Asian women have done for centuries and it stays nice and secure all day long. I spend about 2 minutes on my hair in the morning and don't think about it again until I take it down at night and braid it before I go to bed. It works. For most of my life I had to wash my hair almost every day because it became oily or I engaged in physical exertion that made my scalp perspire. Since I have become older I only have to wash it once a week and let it dry naturally. No blow dryers or curling irons or styling products are involved. Simple. I never wear it down in public because I think that a woman of my mature years might look a little silly walking around with hair flowing down nearly to her waist. I don't know if this is true, but it is one of those rules like not wearing white shoes after labor day that we grow up with and stays with us all of our lives.
The problem with having hair you wear up all the time is that for some odd reason, people get all curious about it. I cannot count the number of times complete strangers have asked me how long my hair is. Sometimes they want the answer in actual inches. How the heck do I know? I don't measure my hair. I get lots of unsolicited advice, almost always from women. They say things like, “You know, older women look better and younger in shorter hairstyles”. Really? Am I supposed to care about that? I gave up caring a long time ago. One hair stylist in a department store told me that all hair has what is called a 'terminal' length, where it just stops growing. This terminal point is based on all sorts of factors like genetics, health, nutrition, and (gasp!) age. Fine with me. If it stops growing I can really ignore it. I trim the ends of my hair every month myself and it is growing just as fast as it ever did. I await the terminal point with great enthusiasm. I have no idea if and when this terminal point will occur. My chief goal is just to not let it get long enough to sit on. That just seems silly.
Back to the choice of cutting it or not. The other day when I washed it I asked my teenage son if he thought I should cut my hair. I asked him only because he was the only person around at the time I was thinking about it. I didn't really expect an answer, it was mostly a rhetorical question. What 17 year old boy cares about his mother's hair? He answered me with a question.
“Why are you thinking about cutting your hair all of a sudden?”
“I don't know,” I said. “Maybe women my age should not have such long hair.”
“Women your age had long hair for centuries, Mom,” he stated. “It's not like you go around with hair flowing down your back. I like your hair. I like how you wear it up. It's kind of sophisticated and mysterious. I always think of you with long hair. Don't cut it.”
Alrighty then. Chuck never has an opinion on anything I wear or how I dress or whether or not my eyelashes are curled, so when he actually states an opinion, I listen. No hair cut for me. My boy likes it. The rest of the world will just have to deal with it.
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