For weeks now, I've been discouraged by my five-year attempt to grow long hair. I'd finally grown out the bangs and gotten it long enough to do pretty much whatever I wanted--wear it down, in braids, or in dressy up-do's. I'd gotten where I'd tried to go, but ugh! My hair refused to be the lush long locks I had envisioned when I decided I'd grow it out come hell or old age. Thin, graying, thin, and flat w/out tons of hair stuff, (did I mention thin?) and just generally dismal. I'd fought the urge to chop, every day for at least a week, talking myself down from the ledge and putting it up in clips to get it off my face.
Yesterday, I snapped. Driving home from the doctors appointment, I pulled into a little salon, aptly named: Hair Salon; Open. Seriously. To be honest, I had put in a call to a good friend to ask for a recommendation, but she didn't answer and I was ready to do it NOW before I chickened out. It's only hair, right? It'll grow back.
So in I go to Yolanda's Hair Salon. The lack of cars out front did not deter me. Behind the desk was this tiny, elderly Hispanic lady. Presumably Yolanda herself. I told her I was ready to have an actual hairstyle, asked to peruse her hairstyle magazines. She barely spoke English, but reassured me that I could take all the time I needed. I went through an old issue of Hairstyle Quarterly, or some such 'zine, and after maybe 6 & a half minutes, had made my decision. I'd have a longish shag, reminiscent of the 70's.
If there was an Olympic Event for Patience with a Salon Client, Yolanda would wear the gold. She started w/ bangs, began to layer, all the while murmuring in her broken and sometimes incomprehensible English, that short is MUCH better for "teen" hair. Since I'm 47 yrs old, I can only assume she was saying 'thin'. After a half inch here, a half inch there, she'd hand me the mirror and ask me to see. I'd say, "No, shorter. Less bulk here, and more volume there." She had managed nicely to approximate the look I'd asked for, especially since the model in the magazine was a gorgeous young blond and I'm a somewhat faded middle aged pale brown...but looking backward in the mirror, I could see that what I'd managed to do was find that very haircut that I'd fought against for YEARS.
See, to me, cutting your hair because "older women shouldn't try to wear their hair long" is bullshit. I LOVE to see long hair on old women. It's like a celebration of the crone, a victory that says "I am still a woman, no matter how gray and wrinkled I become." To cut my hair was to concede to a "Should" and I resisted in the name of aging women everywhere. But here I was, looking at that Compromise that middle-aged women can fall into, afraid of the really short hair because we're convinced that it's only for
a. Adorable toddlers,
b. Waif-like super-models or
c. Elderly Ladies w/ blue permanent curls.
The Compromise, while not ugly--indeed my hair actually has soft waves when it's not weighed down--made me feel more depressed than the original straggly longish un-style I'd walked in with. At least then I was a rebel. Now I was a Conformist. Oh no. This would never do.
"Okay, Yolanda, don't be mad, but let's try this one instead." I turned the magazine to a style I'd seen (and longed for) earlier, but hadn't had the guts to try. "This one...only a little whispier around the face. Whispier proved to be problematic English, but we got through it. Only she didn't believe me about the really short style, because it took another half hour to get her to really start CHOPPING. When I felt actual chunks of hair falling down, I said "There you go! NOW you're doing it!" She laughed and said "Djou reelly are reddy!"
I really was ready! The finished results look a little like this, only softer, not spiky, in a mousy brown instead of the hot auburn, and on a much plainer me instead of this beautiful lady. But when I left the salon, I floated, head up, feeling the breeze on my newly liberated nape. I think I was taller, too.
When the hubby saw it, he reminded me that my hair was even shorter than this when he met me and we fell in love. I bet butterflies feel this way when they finally get out of the cocoon.
Edited to add: Pictures. Please note--I had no makeup, it'd been a long and breezy day and I hadn't actually BRUSHED my hair all day. But we had beers, a camera, and he'd been teasing me about how different I looked. So...pics of the 'do.
(Click on the pic to enlarge, and use the Back button to return. I'd advise against enlarging, but there y'go. :~)