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Short Change

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I got my hair chopped. Chopped as in scissors liberally snipping at my increasingly exposed scalp. A salon chair surrounded by little piles of my locks. And the white skin on the back of my neck revealed for the first time in years.

I went in for a “trim” and left with seriously short hair.

To be fair, there was an interim haircut between my longer hair and this pixie do. That haircut was a great tousled look, layered and funky. Friends commented on my “cute do” and offered how flattering it was. It was a change and a welcomed one.

Today I happily plopped myself back down in the salon chair with my outgrown hairstyle, fully expecting a return to that fun look.

I could tell things were going different than expected when I saw the stylist’s pointed shears angled farther and farther up the hairline, but I decided to see where this venture would go given my full faith in my hair stylist.

I followed her discerning eye as she pulled sections of my hair with a fine comb before snipping closely this way and that. Fun, flippy wisps of wet locks appeared.

She commented on the way the “line” of the hair was flowing and for once in my life I caught on to the lingo.

I did notice that the sides seemed a lot higher and that my long bangs were now short. It was definitely a different look, but what do I know?

You see, I’m not a hair person. I guess if I had gorgeous thick hair resembling a shampoo ad that requires a saw to cut through, I would worship my mane. But while I have a lot of hair, it’s baby fine. It’s no lion’s mane, even when it falls past my shoulders.

In my youth I pined for the dazzling photos of happy girls with thick, curly hair. I fully expected that the right hair cut or perm would accomplish the same for me. A bad bowl haircut and Mom’s sponge curlers with extra Dippity-Do couldn’t manage such a feat. Neither could the many perms I endured back then—that created serious trauma to hair and psyche. Poodle perms are never good for adolescence.

Various styles captured the years (yes, even an attempt at feathered hair with lots of hair spray). Somewhere post-college I realized through all the different hairstyles, the short, and the long, that my hair grew. So why not just try new styles and see what works?

Even so, it’s hard to embrace short hair when long hair is worshipped everywhere. I can’t recall the last time I saw short hair on a fashion magazine cover. Within the glossy pages models flaunt their lustrous, flowing and healthy locks, which graze the cleavage of sexy sundresses and playfully cover exposed shoulder blades.

Even celebrities, desperate to emulate the look, glue-gun yardstick lengths of fake hair to their heads.

I have girlfriends who swear that they will never cut their hair. One announced that she will be an old women with long hair twisted at top her head in a Kaiser roll bun. But why? There is a baffling security of keep hair “long” even if it doesn’t “work for you” (i.e., looks dumpy, frumpy, and just brings down your face). Shouldn’t face-drooping hair be in the same category as Mom sweats worn all day? Ditto for hair left wet and pulled tightly back into a big plastic butterfly clip?

There is something about hair just hanging limply like a dishrag that reminds me of an old rock star still trying to hold onto his long hair. Honey, sometimes we need to change with the times and accept what is—and isn’t.

My husband looked stunned when I arrived home with my new look but then offered, “But it looks really good.” My eight-year-old who’s our truth serum confessed, “I don’t like you with short hair but I notice your beautiful face so I like it.” That was the best.

Hair grows. Styles change, as does our appearance as we age.

Perhaps we need to celebrate what we have, rather than what we wish we did. And for me right now that means short hair. Maybe next will be a longer short style.

As I acclimate to this newest change I must confess that I’m trying to determine whether adding a headband will make my hair look longer. And as I do, I imagine a lion’s mane cascading down my back.

Change might take time but it’s still good.

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