I swear, so much emotion is attached to our hair. It can be our shield, comfort, and identity. As you know, I switch mine up often, but the one constant is I keep it long. About a year and a half ago I took it up a couple inches and even that felt significant. However, this past week it happened. I cut my hair!
Let's backtrack to why this is such a big deal...the lead up to my hair trauma. C'mon, I know you've had one...we all have one! Picture it, Washington DC, 2006. I was ready for a serious change and CHOPPED my hair. Right before doing it the gal (this was one year before I met my current friend/hairstylist) was like, 'You haven't just gone through a breakup, right? Girls always cut their hair after breakups and then cry. I've learned my lesson and always ask now...' Nope! The opposite. I had gone through one like 6 months prior, was totally healed, and was ready for something super fresh. She chopped away and I was in love.
Now at the same time I had been flirting with this guy, Sausage*, but we hadn't gone out yet. Obviously, this was pre-Tinder or any of that nonsense. No, this is a very old-fashion love story. I was working for Gucci at the time and he had a restaurant near where I worked. I happened to go in one day on my lunch break, and he sarcastically asked me who's funeral I was going to (my uniform was all black at the time). Ah yes, the guy who's kinda a dick to get your attention. Naturally, I was intrigued, but I wasn't about to let him know that. He started having cute notes typed into my receipts that the servers would make sure I noticed--'lettuce, tomato, I love you, pickles, no onion'--and in the evenings after work my friend and I would hang around outside the restaurant in a little courtyard area and he'd bring us beers in to-go cups. You could say by now I had a full blown crush.
So the day after my fabulous haircut I went strolling into the restaurant to show it off. He wasn't there and I was so bummed because you know there is nothing like that fresh blowout, this was the best it was ever going to be--it would only be down hill from here.Thankfully, all was not lost though! The hair Gods were on my side. That night, for the very first time, he texted me! He had been at a hockey game with his brother and asked me to meet him at Cafe Citron, in Dupont Circle. My perma-wingman who would get the beers in the courtyard with me happened to be at my apartment and was like, 'Yes! We are going!!'
My new hair and I strutted in that bar where he was waiting right by the door. We said our hellos and he introduced me to his brother. His brother said hi, and gave me a very odd gaze for a moment. I didn't think much of it because I knew they had been going hard on the booze for awhile. He then looked at my crush, back at me, then back at my crush and said, 'You said she has long, beautiful hair. I just see hair.' But here's the real kicker. When he said the word 'hair' he fake flipped my nonexistent long hair over my shoulder!!!!
First, my internal monologue went something like this, 'oh.my.god. My crush told his brother I have long, beautiful hair?!?!?? Guys never say that kind of stuff to other guys! They talk about your boobs or ass, not your hair! He told his brother about my hair!!!'
It was so simple and then it hit me like a sledge hammer to the face.
He told his brother I have long, beautiful hair.
He told his brother I have long, beautiful hair. That I don't have anymore!
How unspecial that fact is, and yet at the time it was all that mattered. We were inseparable for a year from that day forward, and I proceeded to grab my hair for every day of that year and say, 'Look how long my hair is getting!' All the while he never once indicated he preferred it either way. He wasn't thinking about my hair, yet to say it had given me a complex would be an understatement.
Shortly after we broke up I met my now friend Dell, who is also my current hairstylist. Dell did my hair in DC, I'd fly to see him when I was living in Boston, and thank God (for a million reasons) we both now live in LA. The two of us have been through it all together, and over the last ten years he has taken me from nearly black to platinum, yet he has never seen me with short hair. He is all too familiar with this traumatic story and felt a slight victory when I let him give me a [very generously long] lob a year and a half ago. Ever since then he has been trying to take me up, and up, and up.
I started thinking about why we are so impacted by the few negative comments we receive, when we receive so many positive. Countless people loved my pink hair, but I vividly remember the few who gave me a big ol' eeeekkk. I have lived ten years of life between now and the 'long, beautiful hair.' I went from early 20's in my second apartment, to early 30's, 3 cities, and 9 apartments later (for those of you who are doing the math, yes, I really did move 8 times in 10 years). I've changed jobs and relationships. For crying out loud, Mojito would be going into the third grade if he weren't a dog...am I really still attached to an idea about myself that may not even be true anymore? I used to like cilantro and I hate that shit now. Did I really not cut my hair for all of my 20's because a drunk frat boy said something he probably doesn't even remember today? So I did it--and I feel oh-so chic. I walked out of the salon and suddenly felt like it was a decade earlier, and I was about to enter the happiest time of my life. Because here's the crazy part...there was nothing about that short hair chapter--friends, work, relationship--that I wasn't in love with. Few moments in life have such synchronicity. I cut my hair and my life changed. How did I spend ten years thinking so negatively about what very well may have been my good luck charm!
*My girlfriends and I have always given guys nicknames (get your mind out of the gutter about this one!), they're much more fun to talk about that way!
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