I am bored with my hair. Bored, bored, bored. But what to do? I can’t go longer – been there, done that, didn’t work for me. I am afraid to go shorter because I think my face will look fatter. And I can’t change the color because as much as I don’t love having red hair, my coloring would look odd any other way. Sigh.
Let’s go back in time to my childhood. My hair was long until the fourth grade when my mother had it cut short at the start of summer vacation. I stood in front of a mirror and cried. And grew it back. And then came Dorothy Hamill with her much copied short cut. Snip, snip – my hair fell to the floor and stayed short for years. Seems like I got into a cycle of trying to grow it long about every five to 10 years. It was long my first semester freshman year of college; then short second semester. And when my hair is short I mean it is short! Over the ears and off the neck. Easy to manage, fast to blow dry, no styling, no fuss. It was short when I got married. It was long when I was pregnant with my first son. I have distinct memories of having to sit on my bed to french braid my hair for work as I battled morning sickness. But since I wore it back everyday I decided to cut it off again.
Then I saw an episode of Oprah that changed my hairstyle forever. She had women on who looked much younger than their age. Every single one of them had long hair. “Aha” I said to my soon-to-be-middle-aged self: long hair will make me look and feel younger. The old adage of only short hair after 40 was obsolete (as was my 30s). So I started growing it yet again. But this time I discovered that my short straight hair was long wild hair with a life of its own and curls in some places but not in others. It did not look good unless I put on some styling product and spent more time than I wanted to blow it dry. Or used a flat iron that started cooking my hair and causing permanent damage. Regardless of what I did, the minute humidity hit, my hair started frizzing and defied all attempts at control. I had to admit that much as I wanted to join Oprah’s long-haired young-at-heart ladies, I simply did not have good long hair.
So by this point I was deeply entrenched in my yo-yo weight years and looking for a style that made my face look thinner. If that was possible. I could not imagine going back to the exposed look over my ears and off my neck with nothing to hide my jowls or chins. Can’t go short; can’t stay long; a compromise was struck and thus I entered my bob years. Longer in the front than in the back; stacked up off the nape of my neck; requiring some styling but not too much, reasonably neat looking in the morning so I can go to the gym without it being too obvious that I have bed-head; long enough to provide some sense of security and to tuck behind my ears when I want to; short enough to look like I have an actual style to my hair. My hair compromise. The length varied a bit over the years, but the style stayed pretty much the same.
So now I am bored. Which leads me to think about a change. And that leads me to think about the love-hate relationship so many of us have with our locks. Too curly, not curly enough, too straight, not straight enough, too thick, not thick enough, and so on. Gray that needs covering. Color that needs highlighting. Thinning spots that need hiding. Money and time spent. Styles that look great on someone else but not on us. Hanging in our eyes or not hanging over our forehead wrinkles. Bad hair days that suddenly transform into hair perfection on the day our cut is scheduled. Cowlicks. Split ends. Crowning glory or constant frustration. Never being able to get it to look as good as our hair dresser does. The list is endless!
I know that the grass is always greener on the other head. Most days I don’t give my hair much thought at all. But soon I will sit in a chair in front of a mirror with unflattering lights shining down on me as my hair dresser asks, “What are we doing this time?” And I will probably answer, as I have so often lately, “The same thing I guess.” Even though I am bored. And even though I am not having just bad hair day – I am having a bad hair decade!