I’ve never been pregnant, but I’ve always had long hair. As an observer of one and a participant of the other, I can tell you that both conditions make people touchy-feely. When my mother was pregnant with my younger brother, folks discovered their inner Buddhist and had to rub her belly. Me, they pet like a Shetland pony. Yes, even now, when I’m no longer young and cute, total strangers come up to me, comment on my hair, then stroke it like I’m the main attraction in a petting zoo. Sometimes they ask, most times they don’t; I half-expect to be offered a cracker afterwards. I’ve grown used to the attention, but if anyone is with me when this happens, their jaws drop.
My hair is beyond waist-long, but doesn’t reach my knees yet; it’s very thick, yet somewhat fine, and I keep it braided most of the time, which fascinates people. Even braided, it nearly reaches my waist. Combs? Ha! I’ve broken brushes in it, and lost a curling iron in its depths some years ago. Since I often wear a bandanna over the braids, people have asked if it was a wig. (Uh, no.) Some petters have pleaded with me to never cut it, even though they themselves have short hair, which makes me feel a bit like a spotted owl: you don’t want one in your own house, but you feel good just knowing it exists somewhere.
“It’s so pretty and long, why don’t you wear it down?” some people ask. Because with one stiff breeze, I have more knots than a Boy Scout camping trip. Plus, I’m always sitting on it accidentally, shutting it in doors, and experiencing other humorous but painful mishaps. Don’t get me wrong, I do love my long hair. It does that wonderful mermaid shimmy when I swim, and I could whip someone with the braids if I really wanted. I wouldn’t keep it around if I didn’t enjoy it.
But now it will be someone else’s to enjoy.
Yes, I cut it yesterday, with the help of my scissor-wielding husband. The ponytail is 26 inches long, not counting the little bit above the rubber band. I haven’t decided which charity to send it to, Locks of Love or Pantene Beautiful Lengths. I have a couple of days to decide, because the silly thing isn’t dry yet; another fact of long hair. If I get enough feedback in one direction or another, that's where the big hairy deal will go, so let me know what you think!Until then, I'm going outside. The sun is shining, there's a nice, strong breeze, and I have some Mary Tyler Moore-style hair flipping to do.