A 9th-grade philosopher once told me, “When you get a haircut, you never look better. At best, you don’t look worse.”
I’ve been thinking about my first real boyfriend, George, of the haircut quote ever since getting my hair slashed from shoulder length to the bottoms of my earlobes, a bit longer in back.
Now that I no longer have hair to my shoulders, I compensate for the haircut headaches this has caused. I wear makeup–even lip gloss sometimes–and a scarf wrapped around my neck, as though by obliterating my neck I am raising my shoulders to share borders with my hair and transporting myself to my pre-haircut appearance.
Every time I pass a mirror, I peer at myself, hoping that this time I’ll look better than I did an hour earlier. And how do I know what others really think of my new do? I’ve been noting friends’ comments:
Female friend #1: “It’ll grow back.”
Female friend #2: “You got your haircut.”
Male friend #1: Toward the end of an evening of movies then dinner, during which he’d said nothing about my haircut, I decided I could trust him to answer frankly. So, with a preamble of “I am trusting you to tell the honest-to-goodness truth,” I said, “You must have noticed I cut my hair. Tell me honestly what you think.”
“I like it,” he said. I no longer trust him to tell the truth.
Male friend #2, a former Mr. Wrong, who notices everything and seems to derive pleasure from being critical. (Even when he says something he thinks is flattering, it’s along the lines of “How come you’re wearing such a nice sweater?”): “You cut your hair,” he remarked. “Nice.” Unsolicited, he repeated later that he liked it and did not add a snarky tagline.
It also reminds me of what my cognitive therapist said after hearing that I okayed my ex’s girlfriend joining us for part of the family vacation. I told The Cognitive that with her there, it was less fun for everyone, but that I had agreed to it because if it turned out badly I would have good material to write about.
But then I realized that really I couldn’t write about it because I didn’t want to be mean. Regardless, The Cognitive pointed out, it’s a really dumb idea to make choices that might turn out poorly simply because then I can write about them.
Back to Mr. Wrong, who added that my haircut looked very Jane Fonda.
So here’s the thing about Jane Fonda. Right before the cut, I showed my stylist a photo of Jane Fonda and said that was the style I wanted. How could I have overlooked that I would not look like Jane Fonda, even if I had the best cut ever and she had the worst ever?
I write slowly and, in the time since I started this, my hair has begun to grow. I like that shorter hair is easier to wash and that I can just ruffle it in the morning and don’t mind a bit that my hair is now more early to middle Meg Ryan than current Jane Fonda.
As for color, it has been nearly seven months since I had highlights applied to my hair, and I have decided, at least for now, to go natural. You cannot imagine how liberating this is. I no longer have to pay the cost of dinner for four at La Moolah for the privilege of sitting for hours to have tiny hair strands wrapped in foil.
In return I look somewhere around my age, though I’ll be checking with Mr. Wrong to confirm that.
How do you feel about haircuts, changing your hairstyle, coloring your hair?
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