For a time, everyone had long hair. Mine was at least to my waist. So was my oldest brother’s. My other brother did the fro thing as his puffed out as it grew. Short hair was unthinkable. Bizarre. Signaled your support for Nixon or suburban life or the establishment.
But then my boyfriend with the flowy hair showed up one summer day, completely shorn, buzz-style. And instead of bell bottoms and a fringed jacket, he wore skinny pants and high-top Converse. Appalled, I found myself pulling away although I sensed that my response meant something not so nice– about me.
I have a friend who proudly explains that he has THREE different colors of hair. His head hair is brown, see? His arm hair is blonde. His beard hair, when existent, is rust-colored. I’ve heard him say it at least twice, to different audiences. Both times I’ve thought, well, he probably has FOUR different colors of hair, actually. I’ve thought about it whenever I notice any hair color on him. Three colors. Well, probably four. Not something, I suppose, in which I should be taking the slightest bit of interest. But it’s not about that at all – just innocent observation.
I look at the Adam’s Apple first. I’m pretty particular. I always have a bad hair day, but it’s never that bad. If they’re too muscular I don’t like it. I know a girl who wrote her admissions essay on life with curly hair. It’s a plus if they’re in shape. Mine’s not uncontrollable, only thin. I like jeans but not Converse. Like a layer of dust or a quick coat of blackish-grayish paint on old furniture. I like hair that I can play with. The contrast with my pale scalp makes it look even thinner. I want it soft and long and floppy.
It was once straight, short, glistening. In a photo taken when I was four, it looks perfect, cradling my soft young face in a bob, not too choppy but not too straight.
It changed. In middle school, I didn’t know what to make of it. The curls tried to show themselves, and unknowingly I never gave them a chance. I ran a brush through that mane until it was fragilely coarse. I wore a ponytail, high, always.
For years, it had been long, and when I cut it last summer, the unburdened coils, having broken free, sprang out to dance.
I got the worst hair cut in my life once in my life. It was terrible and short and itchy and I had to take a shower after I got it because there was hair product stuck in my head and then my fingers got all greasy and I was even more pissed but then someone at school said it looked good so it wasn’t a big deal. It was because it was short and I liked it long, but then I started getting it short because all of the other fifth grade girls liked it and I looked older.
[…] Hair enjoys a tenuous duality in its life. This duality consists of two states: that of the attached hair, and of the detached hair. These states also elicit divergent reactions from the very hosts that spend hundreds of thousands of hours diligently growing filaments. Upon encountering a hair in one’s food, it is considered acceptable to raise hell But hair has bacteriaDoesn’t it?! So do washed hands. […]