Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Growing my hair

Some people have a thing about their weight - it's never right and they spend half their lives dieting then giving up. I'm far too undisciplined and self-indulgent to diet. For me, the thing I always want to get right, but never quite manage is my hair.

Of course, I blame my mother.

When I was at primary school, I had long dark brown hair. Mum liked to 'experiment' with it. One day I'd go to school with Heidi plaits across the top of my head. The next day it would be Princess Leia loops around my ears (and this was in the days long before Princess Leia was a twinkle in George Lucas' eye, so I couldn't even pretend it was an intentional choice on my part).

When I decided I'd had enough, Mum took me to the hairdressers, where between them they came up with the idea of a 'pixie cut' - yes, that's right, my own mother agreed with the hairdresser that I should look like a pixie. A pixie!

That left me entering my teenage years with no credibility and a longing to grow my hair. And it's been pretty much the same ever since.

I managed it for a while, when the kids were growing up - it was easy to find an excuse for avoiding the scissors - no money, no time, no self-image.

But once I'd gone back to work, I fell for the notion that I should attempt to look stylish / smart / sexy /sleek;  and so off I went for a cut. As soon as the tresses hit the floor I regretted it, and ever since I've been telling everyone that I'm going to grow it out.

This has largely been just an idle threat - I've been far too scared of my hairdresser to risk offending him by suggesting that a) I could decide how I wanted my hair to look or b) it really didn't need cutting quite so often. But things finally came to a head (sorry - unforgivable pun) last year, when I was asked to play a man in our village production of Much Ado About Nothing. In my imagination I was the beautiful Beatrice; in the eyes of the village I was the evil bastard Don John.

And so, the last great hair-growing adventure began.

I think, perhaps, hair doesn't grow quite as quickly as you get older. It seemed to take forever to grow down past my ears. Many times I tried to scrape a few stray strands into an elastic band, only to be ridiculed by those I thought I loved.

But I've stuck with it. It's gradually crept longer and longer. I can make a little pony tail of it now. I can even sweep it up in a faux-elegant clip.

And I'm generally quite pleased. Except....

When is that you become 'too old' for long hair? Have I already reached and gone past it without realising? Will my final ignominy be when I'm cast as the mad old witch in the next village panto?


Shopgirl said...

Honored to be the first to comment on this. I battled with the same - hair not diet, and agree with you on both. Mine is just a fist long, short enough to still be simple and age appropriate, long enough I can pull it up during Yoga. In my humble opinion, if long hair suits your face, you haven't grown out of it.

caterpillar said...

lol... a nice read...and i don't think no one can get 'too old' for long hair.. personally, though, I'm tired of my look and want to try the pixie style...the only thing stopping me...a threat to ban me from home if I did anything as crazy as that!

Pearl said...

You're never too old to take charge of your follicles!


Shruthi said...

When I was a little girl, I had the frocks and other trimmings, but I had very short hair. Boy cut the lady at the salon called it. I looked like a boy too. I had very, very, above-my-ears hair until I was 14. Then I decided that I was sick of people making fun of me and grew it out. But then, I live in stupid Chennai where it's humid even on a cool day, so my hair had to be constantly tied up so I wouldn't get a rash on the back of my neck...

these days I wear my hair a little long... I know I'm going to get bored with it soon. It's quite painful to style and maintain.

I need to keep it long because as an Indian girl who is on the brink of getting married, short hair is a bad idea. I mean, if I had short hair, how will they pin the flowers on it?!

Story of my life. :)

This post brought back so many memories.

Starlight said...

Lovely blog post!
I think you're never too old for a long hair. Except if you can't wash them and it looks awful...
My hair grow with a speed of light that's why I always experimented with it and it was short until one day a year ago I decided that I wanted a long hair. And now I'm geting bored with it...

Pat said...

Change your hairdresser. For 20 years I was bullied into dreary hairstyles by one man who thought he owned every tress.
The freedom I have had for the last two years is intoxicating.
I think there comes a a time when long hair is a no no but I don't think you are there yet.

Elisabeth said...

Do as you will with your hair. It's a personal choice. Even so long grey hair can render a person witch-like but then again who cares. Let your hair grow wild and free.

Mr London Street said...

I loved this. I think there's an awful moment in many women's lives when they decide to go for the short mumsy haircut. It puts 15 years on overnight and they never recover. Don't do it. Put it off as long as you possibly can.

I love the way you write. The spring clean on your blog has worked beautifully, too.

Baglady said...

I totally agree (partly because I have given up dieting lately and resigned myself to being... plump).

I am a yo yo hair stylist. I try to grow it out and get bored and frustrated so I cut it off (usually at great expense) and then feel angry for not sticking with it. I'm aiming for a bob at the moment though most days it just looks like a short haircut grown out.

We can compare haircuts next month :)

Madame DeFarge said...

You keep it as long as you feel it looks good. I used to have very ling hair, but it seems to have shrunk in the wash over the years. Can't get it much past my shoulders now.

Schmutzie said...

This weblog is being featured on Five Star Friday!

Sandy said...

And here I thought I was the only who ever went through the trauma if "pixie's." when I was in the 4th grade a really mean lunch lady at school asked me, "are you a boy or a girl." At least I've got boobs now so that doesn't seem to be a question that comes up anymore.

I agree with another comment, change your hairdresser if your nit comfortable with her.

My second advice from personal experience is to get a bunch of magazines and start cutting out pictures of hairstyles you like. Look for cuts you like with women who have a face shape similar to yours. Show them to your hairdresser and ask, would this cut work on me.

Sometimes I think it's hard to convey what your looking for without pictures.

I've even seen someone on tv that I like their cut and I'll use my iPhone to snap a shot.

Great post.

Jane said...

It's your hair so you should keep it the way you like it whatever your age.
Saying that after I reached 50, I grew out the red dye & had it cropped to reveal silver white.
I love it & fully intend to be the mad witch in my old age :)

BarkyMag said...

I read this a few days ago and it was kind of at the back of my mind before I went for my regular haircut so I thought I'd come back with my 10 cents worth. I too am always thinking "shall I, shan't I cut it all off? Am I too old for long hair?". Well, my hairdresser talked me into cutting 6" off and now it's quite short and I'm wondering shall I ever grow it past my shoulders again! (Plus he cut off all my expensive highlights which I am rather peeved about!) So, keep your long hair, you're never too old for it, it will take ages to grow again and you can always pin it up!

Kerani said...

I love your writing style...very whimsical. It kind of reminds me of mine in my blog. I like how you dug deep into a seemingly simple element of life and made it philosophical :D

Happy Frog and I said...

I loved this post as it really hit home with me. On New Years Eve 1999 I walked into a hairdressers where I had not been before and asked them to cut my hair quite drastically. Thirteen inches of hair came off. I then spent most of the Noughties growing it back again! I'm in my late 30s and I to worry that I'm getting too old for long hair. But I think I'm just going to stick with it anyway. My gran had long hair even in her 70s and she looked great.

Sally-Sal said...

I grew my hair out.

It's been short and spiky for years, but somehow I left it alone for long enough and it's past my shoulders.

Tracey said...

I know it takes ages to grow your hair. I lost my hair through chemotherapy and that was the worst bit of the whole process. I know relish when I have to get my hair done. I feel like a new woman afterwards. My hair is now shoulder length and I am going to grow it longer! It is much better quality and thicker now, I love it.