Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tressed Out

If you can use your own hair to floss for dingleberries, is it time for a haircut?

If your houseguests comment on how brave (they don't mean brave) you are to have carpet in the bathroom, and you don't have carpet in the bathroom, is it time for a haircut?

Lest anybody tell you otherwise, I have a lot of hair. It's just that half of it is no longer attached. It's all over the house. It gallops along the baseboards, it clumps up in the recliner, it lurks in the drainpipes. There's no denying it, either. When your guest begins pulling a strand from the casserole, and is still pulling it a minute and three feet later, it's mine. Lazy birds scope out my hairbrush for pre-fab housing.

Most of my life I've had either very long or very short hair. Mom used to stab a barrette in it that would stay all day. The clotted blood probably helped. As a teenager I grew it out. I parted it in the middle and sent it to my waist without detour. I dried it into a perfect curtain while pressed up against the back of the sofa, and if an unauthorized pleat showed up, I ironed it out. There wasn't a crinkle in it. It was perfect mid-1960s hair, and it was my adolescent ace in the hole. I may have had to shop at Lerner's, but I didn't have to sleep on soup cans to straighten my locks.

My favorite all-time haircut was a buzz job that stood straight up if I put enough product in it. If I got it cut in the evening, it would look fabulous until about four o'clock the next day, and then I needed a haircut again. I've never been able to part with the cash for makeup or frequent haircuts, so I had to let that one go. Various in-between efforts were stick-straight and limp, so sometime after age 50 I went for the long again. I braid it to keep it from jumping ship every minute of the day. But it's falling out, and here's the thing: now it's not coming back. I finally realized this one day when I had Section One in my hand to begin my braid and went for Sections Two and Three, and they weren't there.

This is another of those tricks that those comedians the Hormones play on you. After a certain age, your hormones inform you that you are no longer of any use to the gene pool, and so you will not be needing your looks, and that includes your hair. Where once you had hair with no body, now you have body with no hair. Without getting into too much detail, this can be okay in some areas, but in other areas you're going to miss it.

So now I have a braided tail that would disgrace a damp whippet and my face is getting wider and taller. Am I keeping it long because I have so little left? And if so, how much less pathetic is that than a comb-over? Something must be done. I have an idea what a lopped version might look like, but it is Ursula Le Guin's literary prowess, more than her haircut, that I aspire to.

So I hesitate. But I had the right hair when I was thirteen years old and it mattered the most, and you can't take that away from me. And when I'm sitting on the toilet, I still have a couple of options available to me: turn my head, and coif.

38 comments:

  1. Go for it. That short do was very attractive.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think you look terrific in short hair! It was my favorite. You or Dave can learn to cut it very nicely.

    ReplyDelete
  3. My mother once ordered me (at 45!) to cut my hair off, since it was not okay for anyone over 40 to let their hair touch the shoulder. I sure don't know where she got that rule, but she lived by them. My hair is short and the only problem with it is that it grows out so fast! I hope we get to see what you do with it, if you change it, that is.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh the mid 60s do. Me too only I had to iron my naturally curly/wavy tresses which lasted until I walked out of the house and into the steam bath we call air here on the gulf coast. It's been long, short, long again and now short again. Getting long again since I haven't had a haircut since May. Once or twice a year is all I can manage.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Take it slow. Get it cut just at the shoulder blades, and if that is manageable. cut off another few inches in a couple months. Get it wet, comb it straight down your back, and let Dave cut a straight line across. All the cut, none of the cost.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Like Ellen I can't be bothered to get my hair cut more than twice a year or so. In fact, it's about time for my bi-yearly cut, but I'm afraid I'll go crazy & tell her to whack it all off - it's too cold for that this time of year!

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Go for it! I agree, that picture of you with the short cut is fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Well sure, and it's the only photo ever taken of me that makes it look like I have a neck. Now I have so little hair if I tried it I might look like Dill in Cul-de-sac. Still...there's always Product.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Keep it, Murr! The birds would miss you!

    ReplyDelete
  11. My wife tells me she needs a hair cut. So she makes an appointment with Joyce, she's gone for about three hours, she comes back $95 less in the checking account, and she looks damn near exactly the same as before she left!!

    I think she's having an affair... but more importantly, where did the $95 go?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Sigh. I adore your long hair. But my taste in such things was formed in 1971, I admit. When I proposed growing my hair out again, and wearing it in a discreet pony tail, Martha issued one of the handful of vetoes she's made in our 35 years together. So you're in there for both of us now, Murr, and I hope you take your responsibility seriously.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Martha was right. The aging boomer pencil pony tail is very bad. I trust her judgment--ask her what I should do. We can still be hippies in our partially-blocked old hearts.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I like the short hair in the picture. Very pixie like. In a sophisticated way. I know what you mean about heads shrinking. Mine did that after I broke my ankle and left a slight hole in the hair. Most unpleasant at the age of 26. Never grew back.

    ReplyDelete
  15. That short do was really cute but you really do have to get it cut often to keep it nice.
    You had me laughing for I can so relate. My once bothersomely thick hair is thinning. I can take the pains of aging, just leave my hair alone.

    ReplyDelete
  16. The best thing (aside from a couple of recitals-hah) I've done in the last couple of years was to get my hair cut short. The last time I'd cut it was when my oldest (now 35) was in high school. He looked at me and asked, "Why do middle-aged women always get their hair cut short?" So I grew it out. It was okay until the last few years, when it started to get thin and not so, how you say, attractive.

    I haven't used a comb or brush since I got it cut, but I do use product and it's ricidulously expensive to maintain the cut. But it's worth it.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Murr!! I will never forget the time that Harry Tuell ran his hand down the back of your long, straight hair and said something like, "I've always wanted to do that. It looks so s-l-i-i-c-k." Everyone thought the incident was a little odd, creepy even. Especially since Mr. Tuell was our sophomore-year English teacher and literary magazine advisor.....

    ReplyDelete
  18. Wait a sec! There *is* something that is in between choosing long, straight hair, OR short-n-spiky hair.
    What about that f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s haircut you sported whilst living in London -- I think that you and all the gals were going to the Vidal Sassoon School and getting that distinctive "Vidal Sassoon" Look.
    It was straight, parted in the middle, and cut just a little past the jawline. Then blown dry with the ends slightly curled under and forward, to sort of highlight the jaw?
    Oh, I remember it well -- a little **orange** eyeshadow (Mary Quant, 1973?), a pair of clogs, and voila! The look of youth..............

    ReplyDelete
  19. Ed! I was totally counting on you to chime in on the Harry Tuell story. I told Dave that story myself and he kept cracking up, more than I thought normal. Finally he said "you aren't serious--you had an English teacher named Hairy Tool?" It hadn't once occurred to me in all those years. Poor Harry.

    But it there's one thing I don't want to highlight it's my jaw. Or, more accurately, that little doughy spot the new robust hairs are sproinging out of. Those, I don't lose.

    Carole, whatever you've done, you're gorgeous.

    And Arkansas Patti, you've made me think: everyone reminds me to give my hair to Locks Of Love if I cut it. Maybe they should make hairpieces for US. It's not like they won't match.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh boy, this one struck a nerve. Right with you about the moulting, Murr. Every decade I seem to have lost about 6"...I'm now at the just-long-enough-to-tuck-behind-the-ears stage of life.

    Refuse to use "product". I dislike words which don't use articles in front of them.

    I've kind of given up. When I leave the salon all sleek and tamed, and wake up the next day looking just like myself again, what's the point? Those tough Scottish/Irish hair sproing genes just won't be denied.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Speaking of long hair. I just had five inches taken off of mine today. It immediately stopped dangling into things like the cat's litter box when I'm cleaning it and my bowl of soup. It can no longer get caught in the car door as I slam it. Finally I don't have wet drippy ends hanging out of the towel when I make the after shower turban. It's still long enough for the braid though. Keep your braid Murr, it's lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oh yeah, Tricia, the litter box and the soup. And the drippy ends hanging out of the towel even though it's an enormous towel. And sometimes in the middle of the night I can't roll over because I've pinned my own self down. And when I inadvertently dead-head my own hair when it's hanging in the coreopsis...and...and...gosh thanks, it's lovely? I'll keep it then.

    ReplyDelete
  23. My personal history of hair makes me want to write a stupid parody of that passage from AS YOU LIKE IT. Well, I didn't like it--my hair, that is, and I don't; but bad hair and less hair beats no hair--except that the flimsy stuff flies out in the faces of tortoises who try to breathe sweet nothings into my ear, to their great irritation. Nitchkin used to bite it off.
    So let's see.
    All the world is aging,
    And all the women with their hair are playing.
    Hair had its entrances, now exits;
    And a woman in her time has many parts.
    . . . .
    Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, and oh, sans hair.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Love the word play "those comedians the Hormones". There are books and YouTube videos on how to cut your own hair. You look great in short doo. What does Pootie think?

    ReplyDelete
  25. You could always go out and buy the Jessica Simpson clip on hair extensions. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  26. I LOVE the short do...I used to have long hair to my waist. I cut it some time in my mid 50's. Now I wear my hair short...but it too grows out so quickly. Ideally, I need to cut it every month. I can't afford it now that we have both retired. I have very thick hair and the longer it gets, the more I seem to lose. My face is getting wider, so the last thing I need is thicker hair on the sides of my face. Now that we are growing older, I say do whatever YOU WANT.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Very short is so handy. Did you see mine??

    ReplyDelete
  28. I've finally accepted the fact that my hair no longer grows long gracefully. Used ot be better (although never great) but now it just gets scraggly if it's longer than my shoulders. So shoulder length it stays, where I can at least put it in a pony tail or braid it.

    ReplyDelete
  29. This struck a chord with me too. Very thick, fast-growing hair runs in my family. I spent my first 17 years with short hair, and because my mother had no fashion sense and was a real cheapskate, I always got my hair cut at a place called Shear Delight, where failed beauticians got another chance. I always came out looking hideous. When I left home, I grew my hair out and at one point, it was close to my knees. I kept it long for decades, lopping it off every 2-3 years to send to Locks of Love.

    I'd do a lot to have hair that behaved as well as yours does in a buzz cut. I'd say cut it, wait until hair color is no longer in, then dye it purple or turquoise. That's what I want to do.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Guess what? I've never colored my hair. And at this stage, it's about four colors. Gray underneath that stripes up my braid, dark in back, blond at the bottom (it's been in the sun for years longer)--all over, I'd say plaid.

    Once at work we tried to figure out which women had never colored their hair. There were three out of eighty of us, and one of them was bald.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Looks like your writing is right up my alley, so I'm happy to join up!

    All my best,
    Beth

    ReplyDelete
  32. I tell my younger friends that I'm in the age when hair stops growing on your legs and eyebrows and starts growing on your chin. In hard curly strands. Aaagggghhhh . . . !

    ReplyDelete
  33. I am 66 and have just grown my hair long after 35 years of short cuts. It is thinner for sure but I keep it a little longer than shoulder length and I love that when it gets messy or maybe a little dirty I can put it in a pony tail and it looks fine! With short hair I had to wash it every day and blow dry and use "product". Now I feel free!

    sgsmith

    ReplyDelete
  34. I am 66 and have just grown my hair long after 35 years of short cuts. It is thinner for sure but I keep it a little longer than shoulder length and I love that when it gets messy or maybe a little dirty I can put it in a pony tail and it looks fine! With short hair I had to wash it every day and blow dry and use "product". Now I feel free!

    sgsmith

    ReplyDelete
  35. Go for it! I agree, that picture of you with the short cut is fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  36. My mother once ordered me (at 45!) to cut my hair off, since it was not okay for anyone over 40 to let their hair touch the shoulder. I sure don't know where she got that rule, but she lived by them. My hair is short and the only problem with it is that it grows out so fast! I hope we get to see what you do with it, if you change it, that is.

    ReplyDelete