Bad Hair Days and the Red Head Blues

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!



Filed under aging, appearance

15 responses to “Bad Hair Days and the Red Head Blues

  1. I wanted red hair so bad when I was young. I was completely enamored with Anne of Green Gables. My hair was blond, but turned to a mousy brown. Thank goodness for hair color!!

    I had short hair most of my life. My mother made me get the Dorothy H. cut too. I hated having short hair. My hair has been long a couple times, but it really does look better short. So…I’m with you…I’ve had a bob forever!! It’s boring, but I guess it works.

    Even though you aren’t crazy about your red locks, there are some of us who want them 🙂 Always wanting what we don’t have I guess..

  2. I can so identify with this post. My hair was super short when I was tiny so I grew it long in high school. Since then it’s been between shoulder length and longish. I do like it long, but it’s a bit of maintenance.

    I envy your red hair!!

  3. I go through this so much too! I have naturally curly hair so if I go “too” short things get way curly and shrink up. I’ve recently been thinking I need a change… I just don’t know what…

  4. I’m ready for a change, too, but since I developed alopecia, my stylist is doing well just to cut it in a way that doesnt display the bald spots. 🙂

    Cute cartoon!

  5. You poor thing! I so don’t care that much about my hair…that I color AND cut it myself! I keep mine, as you can tell, shoulder-length. The natural curl it had as a child and teen apparently left me right along with the estrogen. LOL It’s flatter than a board, and requires curling iron help now to have some curl. But, it is what it is. It’s getting thin at the top, something I NEVER expected because it’s always been so thick. Oh well. It’s passable. Sorry you don’t feel that way about yours. 😦

  6. It is hard for me to fathom anyone wanting red hair! Funny thing is that mine gets curlier as it gets longer which is the opposite of what most hair does. And that thinning thing – sigh. Mine is happening around the part at the crown and the dermatologist told me that is typical. I actually tried Rogaine but it didn’t seem to help. Oh well.

  7. Jenn

    I cut my hair the shortest I’ve ever cut it before 2 years ago when my mom died – I was at my heaviest before that and think I was about 10 pounds heavier than I am now and it THINNED out my face.

    Or at least, everyone told me that.

    That’s at it shortest, the day it was cut (I was VERY unsure). But it was fun when it grew out too:

    baked falafel - cakes

  8. I have the kind of curly hair that gets curlier as it gets longer, too. I still love my hair. My natural color was a dark brown/auburn (and my hairdresser does her best to maintain that :)). Haven’t seen the the thinning yet, but since I’ve just entered into the big M I expect it is in my future. I totally sympathize with the hairdresser thing. I’ve thought about growing my out again … it’s been short for the last 10 years … but I don’t think I’d look as good as I do with short hair.

  9. Long hair does make you look younger. I was carded twice last year, after several years of not being carded once (with short hair). Though my hair now is shoulder length and not really all that long. It is probably just a bit longer than your norm.

    I’m a yo-yo haircutter. My problem is I like my hair long. I really do. But it is just too much work to take care of. Short hair is so easy, but a couple of years ago someone called me “sir” and it was back to longer hair for me after that. Now I’m stuck in the middle, not willing to go for either long or short. I hate the middle the most, but there I am.

  10. Stopping by from Lady Bloggers Society!

    I have always had a stylist I’ve trusted, so I just tell her to do whatever she thinks will look good! I always get compliments on my hair. And it’s nice because I don’t have to think about it 🙂

  11. I keep mine long, one length, no bangs, I don’t colour it … I don’t have time to do anything else. No fuss, no muss.

  12. Heidi

    Isn’t it funny how we always love everyone else’s hair and aren’t satisfied with our own? I didn’t like how thick and heavy mine was as a teen and young woman. It took forever to dry and a braid or pony tail was freakishly fat. I kept it layered most of my adult life because that made it easier to manage. Now I’m in my 50’s and it’s growing thin and limp. I still have to keep it layered so it will ‘fluff up’ some and hide my scalp. lol

    One of my closest friends is a redhead. She’s always loved the color of her hair – but hated the dumb remarks/questions about her temper. lol

  13. Heidi – You were able to comment! Yay:) Thanks for trying again.

  14. Diet Buddy

    That is a fantastic cartoon!

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