Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair—unless you’re over 50. Then it’s time to cut that sh*t off! Or so pretty standard conventional wisdom would have us do. BTW, just who the hell is “conventional wisdom?” Those nameless, faceless forces we also address and refer to as “they say” and “according to them?” Someday I’d really like to meet “cw” and “they” and “them,” ‘cause, man, do I have questions . . . but back to today’s topic of hair. (Betcha thought it was going to be about something else, didn’t ya?)
Mine has always been a thing with me. Maybe because I grew up in the hippie, Haight-Ashbury “be sure to wear a flower in your hair” hair days—when long and straight and parted in the middle was the look to have? Vividly do I remember my sister and I competitively comparing whose was longer. It was probably 1967 or 68. (The fact hers was blond and mine wasn’t always gave her the edge, regardless.)
Over the course of my 61 years, I’ve had every hair style imaginable, beginning with those hideous Mamie Eisenhower bangs in the 50s and the aforementioned flower child look of the 60s, to be followed by the permed ‘fro of disco and the Farrah Fawcett wings of the 70s, with a grand finale of the 80s’ Dynasty “big hair.” (Needed, no doubt, to balance out those shoulder pads! What were we thinking?) It’s been long to my waist and short. Like above the ears short—usually after each pregnancy—‘cause no new mother has time to wash and care for long hair. Besides, the little sucker (pun intended) just loved to grab on and yank the crap out of that crap. I’ve been permed, dyed, frosted, streaked and highlighted. (Remember those caps and that freaking crochet hook?) Curling irons, flat irons and styling wands . . . yeah I’ve had a few. Colors, too. Dirty dishwater natural to fried and dyed peroxide blond to red and even black. (Trust me—not a good look on me!) The need to reinvent, the desire to improve, the constant search for “better” than what God gave me . . . yep, been there, done that. My most drastic change was leaving school on a Friday afternoon with mid-back blond and returning Monday morning with a red shoulder bob. But I digress . . . but thanks for the trip down Memory Lane!
Nowadays it’s long again, some odd color that is natural grow out, incoming gray and leftover “caramel” from my last saloon visit—nearly a year ago. She left me with an orange stripe down the middle, and I’ve not been back since. I’ve not had it cut or trimmed either. So it’s below my waist. I know I should cut it. “They” say I should. But it’s become the representation and symbol of a personal struggle. Five years ago I started to lose it, not everywhere, but in the front. I used to have a widow’s peak. Now I don’t. And along with the added inch of forehead, I’ve lost my eyebrows—all a result of some stress-induced auto immune disease I fight to keep at bay. (Let’s see . . . my mom’s passing, the end of my marriage, my son’s 2 deployments, another’s divorce, my ex’s death—yeah, I’d say there’s been stress.) Ironically, as the forehead grows, so too the length. Go figure!
So back to cutting it . . . I occasionally think maybe I should. But my dermatologist says no. She says it’s my “signature” and she’s devoted to saving it. I get compliments on it all the time—but sometimes I wonder (because truthfully, I have a lousy self-esteem)—if they aren’t backhanded ones. (As in, Geeze, lady from the back you look one way—but when you turn around . . . damn, girl! The hair and the face just don’t go!” And as “they” say . . . no fool like an old fool . . .)
I’m not alone in my hair dilemma. I saw a Facebook post the other day (which actually inspired this diatribe) in which a fifty-something woman posted pictures and flat-out asked “Should I whack it?” Naturally there were lots of comments, opinions and suggestions. It’s what we women do: comment, opine and suggest. So here’s my 2 cents on the subject: Regardless of age, some women just look better with short hair. If you do, do cut it. But if the cause for your cut contemplation is because it’s easier? Then I’m not so sure. Easy isn’t always better. But ultimately it’s your hair and your choice. But if the reason you are considering a whack job is solely because “according to them” you should—then hell no!
There are damn few positives about being 61—but the biggest one is the fact I don’t give much of a f**k any more about “they,” “them” and “conventional wisdom.” It’s me, myself and I these days. And we are all fine with doing whatever the eff we want to. Whether it’s venting in a blog or candidly addressing unconventionally unconventional subjects like sex after 60, I’m letting my hair down.
So to the woman over 50 who wants to rock her long locks . . . Rapunzel on, babe! I’ve got your back, hair covered or not.