Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Big Hairy Deal

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.


Unknown said...

I always donate mine to Locks, but that's only because I didn't know about the Pantene one until I saw it on Oprah recently. :) So, I'd be torn as well.

Rebecca Laffar-Smith said...

I've not heard of either charity but it's a great idea. My sister has very thick, long hair as well and my daughter (7) wants to grow hers very, very long too. It is hard with her to convince her to keep it BRUSHED. lol She has fine hair like mine so the longer it gets the harder it is to manage. Even just below her shoulders a flick of her head tangles it in knots and for some reason it just won't stay up.

How does it feel to have lost so much? I imagine it would feel a little like a lost limb. The ghost of your hair is still there. Then again, there would be a great relief off your neck. Lighter, freer.

My sister recently had her long hair layered. It's still as long as it was before but she rejoiced in how much lighter and more managable it was.

Anonymous said...




I can't say that I blame you one bit for cutting it, but Oh My Gosh!! Will I recognize you when I see you next? lol

Personally, I'd donate it to Locks of Love, but that's probably because I've donated to them before.

Nita said...

I'm like Jenn, I didn't even know about the Pantene charity so I have no clue. Helpful aren't I? I've never donated mine, because the one and only time it might have been long enough either there wasn't a Locks or I didn't know about it. Since then I haven't managed to let it grow long enough before going after it with scissors. Have fun making your choice.

the Bag Lady said...

Did you cry?

I would have. In fact, when I went from long (nowhere close to as long as yours - mine was bra-strap length only) to short, I cried like I was cutting off a limb!

Melanie Hooyenga said...

Wow! That's as long as a toddler! Yay for you, making a change and donating to help others.

Amy Mullis said...

I'm with the Locks of Love crowd. Same reason; it's the one I know, and I'm familiar with the work they do. I don't blame you a bit for cutting it. Mine's fine but thick and if it gets any length at all, it's like sitting in a briar bush peeking around knots and tangles when the wind blows. You're mighty brave to do it yourself, though. May the best charity win! 'Course how can you have a "best" when it's charity? Amy wanders off mumbling.

Kappa no He said...

I bet your head feels so light. Must be strange...I bet either place would be tickled pink to receive such a lovely donation.

Anonymous said...

I have never had hair long enough to donate upon cutting, but locks of love is where I would. It's an amazing organization... and it helps kids. I'm a sucker for kids!

Unknown said...

Thanks, everyone, for your input. the vote is in, and its...Locks of Love! Woo-hoo!
I didn't cry when the scissors went through, although I had about a quarter second doubt...but by then it was too late. Now, I love it! I do feel a bit light-headed, and my neck is a little sore from flipping my newly short hair back and forth. I'm having way too much fun with it. And it's soooooooo much easier to take care of, plus the cats don't swing like little meow monkeys on my braids anymore. I think they may miss it more than me.

And Jen, you'll still be able to recognize me. My hair may be shorter, but my rear end is the same size! ;)

Amy Mullis said...

Yay! Good for you. Now, if you find anybody to donate that rear end to, let me know. I could probably keep a whole string of charities in business!

rosemerry said...

When I got my hair cut. It was 12" the salon asked me if I wanted to donate it. I said sure I don't need it anymore. It went to locks of love. What's the Pantene charity?

Sonya said...

WOW! I used to have down-to-my butt long hair, mostly just because I don't like going to salons and having people fuss over me or having to make awkward small talk with the stylist. But I finally got sick of it and cut the darn thing off myself--I think my ponytail was 24". It was a capital-L Liberating experience. :)