hair6.jpg Who hasn't had a bad haircut? Okay, who among us girls has never had a bad haircut? I know I'm not alone. Thankfully today I received a good one. *sigh* But that's a rarity for me, relatively speaking. And so I'd like to take this opportunity to remember the many stages of my hair, good and bad and worse, to put the new haircut in perspective. Over the years I've been plagued by bad hair. (The photo to the left is a tremendous example... circa 2003). Haircuts, hairdays, hair care, hair size... all of it. In second grade we chopped my long hair to a shoulder-length bob that might have looked becoming on the rest of the girls, but only seemed to highlight my startlingly large eyes and zillions of pronounced freckles. And then there was the chin-length cut in fourth grade that brought out my mousy side. No one can ever forget my first boy-cut. Ugh! Fifth grade ended badly and my junior high years were off to a rough start because of it.

My basketball nickname freshman year was "Big Hair"... while that may seem self-explanatory I'd like to acknowledge that it was no exaggeration. The ponytail I sported all day every day was as big as my head, and it bounced behind me in rhythm with the ball I dribbled at every practice and game. Oh well.

In an unprecedented move towards femininity, I asked my mom to take me out for a hair cut and I wanted to try something new. Layers. All the rage in the late nineties, layers were supposed to give dimension, accent the facial features and... give hair more body. If you haven't picked it up yet, my hair had more body than Pamela Sue Anderson! Not a single haircut in my life has begun without my hearing these words: "My! You have a LOT of hair!" I have learned pass it off with the same joke about being the guinea pig of a mad, bald scientist who desperately wants to grow more hair than ever before on a single human being. Eh... it's funnier when I say it aloud.

Needless to say, layers were a bad idea.

hair3.jpg What I hadn't picked up on by the age of fifteen was the importance of good shampoo and excellent conditioner. Did you know they make intense conditioner expressly for people like me, with hair that is big to begin with and frizzes to twice its normal size when connected with any kind of water or air? I didn't. My whole life I had used the same shampoo and conditioner as my brothers. And they didn't need any special stuff. One day I bought something else on a whim.
And thus I tamed my mane. A little bit. Some. (Left: If I slept on my hair overnight it would squish into something manageable). Anyway... I'd grown it out past my shoulders by the time my senior year rolled around. You'd think I would have defeated the aggregious-hair pattern by then, huh? You'd be wrong. The day before senior ball (no... not kidding...), I was walking by a hair salon with my friend, Julia, and I decided to chop all my hard work right off. Another boy cut, this time with a Meg Ryan influence. But I tired of it almost as soon as the dance ended.

hair4.jpg Real improvements weren't made until Jon and I began dating. Suddenly I had a major reason to upgrade my style and experiment with different ways to soften, flatten, and all-around suppress my hair. Between the day we went on our first date and the day we got married I trimmed my hair twice. But the rest of the time I was growing it out. The need for "wedding hair" was upon me!
I had it. Beautiful wedding hair, down to the middle of my back, thick and healthy. I braved the odds of stifling central valley summertime heat, working at a preschool where children wanted to swing on Rapunzel, the hours it took to dry and style it. Finally, on the big day I had it all curled up high and princessy, accented by a tiara. I had triumphed!

hair5.jpg But less than 48 hours later Jon and I were sitting in a hair salon in southern California waiting for the nice lady with the big scissors to take it away. Not all of it, mind you. I'd become quite attached to most of it. She worked her magic quickly and soon my head was a pound lighter and covered with lovely layers.
By the by, layers stop being a mistake when the hair in question is cared for daily with legitimate products. When I switched from "whatever was on sale at Safeway" to Dove or Helene Curtiss, my hair thanked me by falling softly and healthily where it was supposed to.
Two months into marriage I was stressing about everything from being a good wife to being a good student to being a good daughter to being a good friend... and in that world of so many roles I lost track of the time for hair. My answer to that familiar problem hadn't changed. Chop it. And I did. A late night desperate trip to Cost Cutters (much to Jon's chagrin) left me with a very dull, mid-neck cut that only plunged me into deep haircut-receiver's-remorse. As we all know, though, post-cut there's nothing to do but wait.

It grew out pretty quick. Soon my pony tail no longer looked stunted. Soon it brushed my collar bones the way I'd hoped. Soon I began to feel pretty again.

Recently it had passed my shoulders ever-so-slightly. I liked it. But in the midst of a sweltering Livermore summer I wanted something lighter, more sporty, a bit more youthful (I'm no old lady yet, I ain't!). When the Ya-Yas drastically changed their hair (Cindy dyed her's reddish blond and cut it short; Amy got chunky blond highlights), I hesitated. Had I learned my lesson?

No. While Jon was napping this afternoon I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things and, as I passed the hair place next door, I felt the same old twinge. "Go in," said the little devilish voice in my head that sounds a lot like me. "Go in and make your dreams of a darling summer hairstyle come true." Who can argue with that? Not I, said the little red hen.

hair.jpg Half an hour later I emerged with four-inches of my hair left on the floor of the salon. And I actually liked the cut. No, really, I did. Until I got home and began second guessing myself. Jon awoke to a changed woman, one gazing hopefully at him. I won't lie and say he noticed immediately. It took him a minute or so to wake up and go, "Hey, did you cut your hair?" Hmmmmmm... But he likes it so everything is okay.
A friend of ours maintains that girls grow long luxurious hair simply to entice and trap men. Once married these same girls slice off the alluring locks of their youth and become plain women. I suppose I am living proof. Not that I wouldn't love to have long hair by winter. Great. Now I have to start growing it out again! What can I say? I'm perpetually changing my mind and expressing it with my hair.

Compliments are all welcome any time.