Yesterday, against my will, I had to get my picture taken for our work website. Apparently the snapshot taken hastily in my living room isn’t corporate enough for my boss, so after a huge event we hosted yesterday, I was corralled while the photographer was still there, dragged in front of the backdrop, and commanded to turn this way, look that way, smile this way, turn my feet that way…until I was left wondering why I couldn’t just post my baby picture or senior high portait, and be done with it already.
The photographer was a woman with very short hair. As she approached me to arrange my long hair over one shoulder, she said to me almost apologetically, “I used to have long hair.” Then fondled my hair and stroked my hair until I wondered if we needed to book a motel room.
When I was little, my mother made me keep my hair short because I was far more interested in making mud pies, chasing my brothers with baseball bats, hanging out in trees, and tearing things apart to ever keep up with combing my hair every now and then. I didn’t want long hair, except for the fact that she said I couldn’t have long hair. That left a burning, insatiable desire to have long-ass hair that I still haven’t outgrown! See, it really is your fault, Mom. (And I’m sure that streak of defiance has something to do with you making me go to Catholic mass.)
Long hair is something I have not been able to give up. It’s almost always in a ponytail so it stays out of my way, but I love sitting on the floor after brushing it out and letting Dove pretend she is cutting it, styling it, and putting all the knots right back into it (oh wait, that last part is not pretend). I love the feel of my loose hair against my back, and I love when Gary strokes it gently and practically puts me to sleep. He also likes to flip my ponytails from the back of my head and over my face…repeatedly. It amuses him but doesn’t quite have the same effect for me.
I’ve had long hair, short hair, and every length in between, and I strongly prefer long hair. Sure, short hair is easier to care for. Long hair definitely takes a commitment to maintenance. But every time I see a woman with short hair, I just think, that is not for me. I would feel like something was missing if I chopped it all off again.