Long Hair, Definitely Care

Lately, I’ve found myself consumed with the most First World of problems. I cannot stop thinking about cutting my hair. I spend the time I should be working googling things like “short curly hair” (dominated by cute-as-a-button, mid-90s Meg Ryan) and folding my hair under in the mirror to try to imagine what I’d look like with a sassy, flapper-esque bob.

Let me make a fairly embarrassing fact about myself perfectly clear. I am obsessed with my hair. Stupidly, vainly, exhaustingly so. I have Facebook profile pictures of just my hair. It is long, strawberry blonde and curly, but not in that Pepper Anne way (though I am much too cool for seventh grade). It is, if I may say so myself, fairly awesome hair. It’s the feature that people in the grocery store and the women’s restroom comment on, the thing I feel most proud of, at least physically, and most defined by. It’s my signature. And that, I’m worried, is part of the problem.

I’m partially interested in chopping off my long locks because I recently realized that I do not look remotely like an adult with hair that almost reaches my butt. Think, for example, of Hair Goddess (love her or hate her, she’s got luscious tresses) Sarah Jessica Parker. I’m worried I’m more this SJP:

What was I thinking with these bangs?

… when what I’m really going for is this one:

I have so got my shit together.

But it’s more than that. I’m also worried it might be really unhealthy and bad for my psyche, and my chi and my inner peace and whatever else is going on in there, to be so singularly attached to an aspect of my appearance. There is nothing remotely zen about thinking your hair is the most important and self-actualizing thing about you. In fact, it seems like that’s an extremely delicate and dangerous thread on which to hang self-worth.

I think we all do this (ladies and maybe even men — y’all tell me). And in a way, it’s just the other side of the self-consciousness coin. In the same way that we worry our {insert part of body} isn’t {insert “positive” descriptor} enough, we worry that we’d be less worthwhile or less important or liked and admired less if that one tenuous physical attribute we actually like about ourselves ever went away. It’s why, as a culture, we’re so obsessed with youth. We’re completely freaked out that having relatively perky breasts and butts and young, smooth skin is all that’s keeping us even remotely relevant. As Everything Goddess Tina Fey wrote in her marvelous memoir “Bossypants,” “I have a suspicion … that the definition of ‘crazy’ in show business is a woman who keeps talking even after no one wants to fuck her anymore.” Worrying so obsessively about cutting my hair probably has a lot to do with the worrying we all do, whether we admit it to ourselves or not, about walking that fine fuckable/crazy line. Will people in the “real world” take me seriously with mermaid hair? Will I be less attractive without it? Why, oh why, does this even matter to me?

So I’m curious: Do the rest of you have this struggle, with anything about your appearance? Do you feel defined by your looks, or trapped by them, and is that the same thing? Are we all spending as much time as I am secretly freaking out that no one will like us anymore if we chop off all our hair? Probably not, but it’d be nice to know I’m not totally alone. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go ask my mom for the hundredth time if I should get a damn haircut.

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5 thoughts on “Long Hair, Definitely Care

  1. I cut 13 inches of my hair off in Nov 2010 and haven’t gotten it cut since (seriously). I really liked it at first, but I missed my long hair after about 2 weeks. I love my hair too!

  2. I happen to love my feet. They are small; my perfectly manicured toenails are always sandal-ready, and my heels (treated nightly, mind you) are smooth. They are pretty much the favorite part of MY body (not so much anyone else’s feet). You may think this is a poor comparison…until I tell you what happens when your 9 year old throws his bicycle down (when you are wearing trendy sandals) and it pops off your big toenail. That takes as long to grow back as hair and guess what!? Closed toes shoes for a year, because it is ugly!!

  3. Don´t fear. Life is change. Donť forget bring your camera to a hair salon and take some photos before, during and after and write interesting story about your hair change. Can you please show us your long hair before?

    • Hi Jane! Good advice. To see my current hair, you can check out the “Writers” page of the blog and take a look at my picture. If I do decide to take the plunge, I will definitely take plenty of pictures and post about the experience here on Serving Tea to Friends. Thanks for reading!

  4. Pingback: Short Hair, Care A Little Less | Serving Tea To Friends

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