I want to talk about hair.
If you know me for realsies, you also know that I have a lot of hair. It’s long, it’s thick, it’s wavy, and it’s going grey, and I refuse to do anything about it. I like my hair. It’s interesting, it’s a bit crazy, it’s very “me”, and it never gains weight or gets wrinkles or spider veins. There’s a prevailing opinion that long hair is hard to care for. I think it’s quite the opposite. Here’s my routine: 1. Wash hair. 2. Dry it a little bit with a towel. 3. Go. I don’t have to get a trim every six weeks, or touch up my roots. I can pull it up and fool around with it, if I’m going somewhere schwanky. Ponytail for the gym, or if the backa mah neck’s gettin’ dirty and gritty in the heat. That’s it.
There’s another preconception that A Woman of a Certain Age shouldn’t wear her hair long. I don’t get it. I see the same three or four tired, middle-aged haircuts all the time on women my age. If I ever DID get my hair cut, it would be to make it MORE interesting, not less. Something asymmetrical (took me three tries to spell that one); edgier.
I think I’m pretty lucky. My hair isn’t dry, or thinning. I got the Rofe hair, and lots of it.
I had my hair shorter a couple of times over the years, but I didn’t like it, and it felt weird. I’ve also toyed around with different colours, but the upkeep was hell. I hennaed for a while, because it washes out gradually. I didn’t mind that so much. Then they stopped making “Sunny Apricot”, and I stopped hennaing my hair. I don’t react well to change. Do yourself a favour, if you have a product you really like, don’t tell me about it, because if I like it too, they’ll stop making it immediately.
Hair, to me, is also somewhat tied into my femininity. I had a pixie cut as a kid at one point, and it looked stupid. If you’re gonna have a pixie cut, you’d better have some other pixie-ish qualities to go along with it. Looks great on a gamine, like Audrey Hepburn. On me? Not so much. I also have a big giant Charlie Brown head, so – weird. I feel kinda butchy with short hair. It’s just not me. It doesn’t work with my pre-Raphaelite cowboy fashion sensibility. Your what? Yeah. I made it up. I’m the only one, as far as I know.
Also – I’ve yet to find the right hairdresser, in 48 years (although to be fair, I haven’t been to you yet, Vicky). Sometimes, it’s because they don’t listen to me. MY BANGS CURL UP. IF YOU CUT THEM TOO SHORT, I LOOK STUPID. Aaaaand I walk out looking like a volleyball with a little fringe across the top. “Why, Wilson, what a nice hairdo…” Sometimes, they smell weird (I’m not making this up). Sometimes, they talk too much, about people I don’t even know. Sometimes, they hardly say a word and they make me nervous. Sometimes the shop is too “clinical”. I have White Coat Syndrome. I don’t need to feel like I’m at the doctor’s. Sometimes they’re WAAAAAY too close and I get claustrophobic. It’s not you, Hairdressing Community – it’s me. My comfort levels on certain fronts are immeasurably low.
When it comes to hair on men, strangely, I have no preferences. I’ve been with men who had lots of hair, and men who were balding. To me, it’s not a measure of attractiveness. Any fool can grow hair. I also am not particular about body hair. We all have it. Some people have a lot, some people don’t. Doesn’t really matter to me. It’s a non-issue.
I went through a long period when I did not shave anything. It was a political statement and to some extent, a sensitive-skin issue as well. People have body hair. Surprise! Men don’t shave their body hair (well, most men, I guess), so I was damned if I was going to. Also, I wondered about the sexuality of body hair. I started to get seriously freaked out. Follow me here for a minute. Who doesn’t have body hair? Children, right? So, by shaving our body hair, as women, we are making ourselves – more childlike?!??! On what damned planet should that be sexually enticing?
I got over it, kind of got that idea out of my head. But I still think it’s part of the reason it’s done, and it still bothers me. I do it now, honestly, for several reasons. Firstly, I’m a sweaty kinda broad. It’s easier to stay “daisy-fresh” without a big crop of armpit fur. Secondly, people stare. I’ve had people comment. I had it brought up (by a lunatic, however) in a goddamned performance review. Not kidding. Got to say, though, in the winter – all bets are off. Keeps my legs warm. Menopause, however, has been strangely good to me. Slows down the leg hair, which gives me more time to concentrate on my spectacular mustache. I’ve never been a fan on facial hair on women. To each their own, but mine is gone-zo. No can do. I don’t get women who simply bleach a heavy ‘stache, either. So, now you have a blonde mustache? I dunno. I don’t want to offend anyone here, but – not for me. It’s all about your own comfort level, though. Like I don’t have my own idiosyncrasies.
I’ve thought about getting my hair cut off short a couple of times, most notably after surgery that required a long time in bed and after the kids repeatedly brought home headlice from public school. It is, after all, only hair. I’ve blessed in that I’ve never had to go through chemotherapy and lost my hair – hard enough to deal with a life-threatening illness without worrying about the loss of your femininity in the form of your hair. I think that would be emotionally very, very difficult.
Hair grows back, mostly. If it doesn’t, that’s okay too.