Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Poem of Sorts

Today, I wrote a poem of sorts to Mr. X in an email ...

http://dianelmajor.blogspot.com/2016/01/fractured-light.htmlYes, that wasn't written today. But it's my heart again today.
I want to cut my hair. I want another piercing in my right ear. I want a new tattoo.
I want you.

The thing about cutting my hair ... it would be hard for anyone who has never met me to understand just how "big" a statement that is. My being long-haired is so much a part of who I am it's almost a point of stubbornness. Well, it IS stubbornness. Resistance of my mom's utter loathing for long hair. Resistance of What is Expected of me - of women. Resistance of making anybody happy but myself.

So it's weird, these thoughts - this near-obsession I've been nursing for a couple or three months now, of cutting my hair. I'm forty-nine, for goodness' sakes. I resisted cutting it when I reached A Certain Age - now I want to chop it all off?

But here's the thing.

I look around myself, and more and more women my age - and older - are long-haired, and what they seem to be resisting is their age.

Hmmm, sez I. Hmmm.

When I was very small, I had long hair and bangs for a very short time. Tangles and my sensitive headbone screwed that up for me. I was horrible for my mom to work with, brushing my hair - and so, in the seventies, when super long hair was in, when hippie chic was my equivalent to Disney Princess glamour, I lost my long hair and got a PIXIE cut.

I hated that cut. I hated the shags that followed, and every iteration of NOT LONG HAIR my mom dictated to every stylist she ever dragged me to. I managed longer hair in middle school, but somehow (still under maternal control as under the paternal roof) ended up yet again with Mackenzie Phillips's layers come high school. If you look at the old photos of me at the link above, though, you'll just manage to perceive - I also managed a sort of take on Cyndi Lauper's hair, senior year. The cut as produced by a stylist was as seen in the purple sweater, but as it grew out, I would razor it myself, and it was much shorter. I kept it this way for some time, but eventually I tired of maintaining the shaved-right-side.

(Side note - being My Brother's Little Sister, he of the punk rock and scariness: I did not know at all that shaving one side of my head was the least bit odd, for many years. It honestly was just easier for doing schoolwork - I didn't have to constantly throw my hair out of my own way.)

By my freshman year in college, it was plain old shaggy, and I had my eyes on the prize: out of mom's control, my hair could be under my own control. I grew it out. And grew it, and grew it.

I never got Crystal Gayle with the stuff, but it was long enough at times it'd get caught in my armpits sometimes. Heh. That grossed my sister-in-law out once, when I said that. I never could sit on it, but I've always sat BACK on it. Even today, if I didn't wear it up most of the time, it would be long enough to hang between my back and any seat-back.

But I wear it up most of the time.

Hmmm, sez I. Hmmm.

There was a time I didn't wear my hair up all the time. I liked to let it fly. I wore it differently all the time; one of the hallmarks of my style was the time in my teenage years when someone said to me my hair was different every day. I liked that.

These days, it is limited to knots, braids, and very rarely I'll do a barrette on top (and then I end up knotting the hanging length half the time) or a hair band (and then I end up knotting the hanging length more than half the time).

Even when I am alone at home, I twist it out of the way. The stuff is almost never down.

And these women - a lot of them even older than I - with long hair. I don't like their aesthetics. I don't like the sense they're clinging to youth gone by. The sameness. The sadness. I never had much problem with ageing, even though people do tell me I am relatively poor at it. Jamie Lee Curtis's story about Jessica Tandy has long stuck with me. JLC kicks copious amounts of bootay. And she has uber-short hair: undyed.


And the older I get, the more keeping up with my roots annoys me. I got to about an inch and a half of white showing last month, and my most recent dye job is already growing out. Not obvious to anyone but me - YET - but the point is, the upkeep is constant. And it takes two bottles for me to dye my hair.

Mind you - I LOVE my contrasts - the fair skin and dark hair. The light brown eyes and freckles. Playing with makeup and coming out Morticia.


I have said for maybe 15 years now, that when I get around 50 and I have "enough" white hair (my hair is WHITE-white, like my mom's and my grandmother's; not steel, not grey), I'd strip it and cut it. I had images of a 50s style and a body wave, something soft and sophisticated.

With the onset of the earliest symptoms, I think, of menopause, have come more concrete ideas in this direction. It began amorphously - jokes with my friends about using bright color in it, once I do go white. Random interest in certain haircuts. The realization of just how edgy it could be, even before I let it go white. A glossily dark bob, curled. A crunchy zhush of short, crispy layers, framing my face. Letting the bangs grow out. One long, soft dark wave.

And, frankly: the fun I would have, shocking the crap out of everyone I know. Not least of all: my sainted mother. She would love me to cut it, of course. She'll both hate and laugh with anything more subversive I do. She will never believe it. That's a fun mental game, right there - just showing up one day, shorn and  super stylish. Crazy colors or spiky bits or no, she would DIE.

The thoughts: they have become more specific. More focused. And they're sticking with me.

The Gift of the Magi
I had a beautiful moment recently with my beloved friend Cute Shoes. She gave me an absolutely stunning hairpin; a vintage Deco piece, with grey rhinestones. Graceful. Meaningful. Gloriously beautiful. I had my hair down the day she gave it to me, and immediately put it up. I've worn it several times since.

I had all but set an appointment for a cut that very Thursday. Of course I could not bring myself to do it, suddenly.

A few days later, I researched ways to wear a hairpin in short hair. (This is, by the way, almost as tricky as researching ancient Carthaginian women's names.)

The cut I had in mind, I don't know how well it would work ... but hair grows, too. And I have many styles in mind; I plan to change things regularly.

It came over me again today - how exactly I want it to be, how I'd need to explain to a stylist about the inconvenient cowlick on the wrong side. Working out twice in a fitness room filled with wall-sized mirrors, I mentally pictured it. Looking at those high school pictures, I looked at that short-on-one-side thing.

Tonight, I'll let my hair down. And leave it.

And tomorrow, I'll be wearing a beautiful, gorgeous hairpin. And I love you, CS. And I'll figure this thing OUT.


Lilac Shoshani said...

I love the poem, Diane! And I love it that you have an edgy streak! As for your hair, you are beautiful. You can do whatever you want with it. My hair is extremely long. So is my mom's hair. I don't plan to cut it any time soon. It will just look bigger and messier…Haha. :-)

DLM said...

I haven't felt my hair was pretty for years, and realized at some point I have kept it in a knot almost constantly for a long time. Yesterday afternoon, after a couple errands, I walked in the salon I had researched and chosen, and got something on the order of 14 inches chopped off.

Not being one of those obnoxious reformed long-haired women who insist on enthusing joyously about getting rid of it (like reformed health nuts and reformed smokers, these people are insufferable), I'll leave it at this: having a case of it for the first time in many years - bed head was actually kind of fun and amusing this morning!

Lilac Shoshani said...

Chopping off 14 inches is impressive, Diane! You are very brave! I'm sure you look wonderful. <3