Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Middle Age Woman's Handbook

I’d been thinking of lopping off some length on my hair for a while now. I felt like I needed a change and my hair had been getting pretty long. So Saturday I had an appointment with the fantabulous Rhaya from Q Salon (you should so make an appointment with her!), and told her I was ready. So she did it – cut off about 5”. She did a great job, and I really liked how she styled my hair.

I felt so much “lighter” without all that extra hair and I kept tossing my head around, which was probably annoying to anyone standing in close proximity to me, but whatever.

But Vince’s response when he saw my hair? “Well, it probably won’t take as long to fix now, will it?” I think this is Vince-speak for “I am trying to find something positive to say.” Oh well. He likes my hair long. At least until he vacuums and then has to deal with all the long blonde hairs that fall off my head and onto the carpet, which then clogs up the vacuum cleaner.

But it’s not like I can glue the hair back on, so we’ll just have to deal with shorter hair for a while. And it's not like it's super short either. It's more shoulder length. So I'll live with it until I get bored and decide to grow it out again. This has been happening my entire life, with longer hairstyles winning out far more than shorter hairstyles.

Probably the biggest reason I’ve kept long hair all these years is that I’ve been defying my mother. When I was still in my 30s, my mom said that women over 40 shouldn’t wear their hair long. This was apparently some archaic law that no one bothered to enter into the Middle Age Woman’s Handbook. I still had long straight hair, but the closer I got to my 40th birthday, the more I dreaded the deadline. And it wasn’t just that fact that I was turning 40 and would be immediately branded Over The Hill, either.

I wondered if there was some secret ceremony where black-hooded hairstylists wielding sharp scissors converge upon your head on the eve of your 40th birthday and cut all your hair off and style it in that short, poodle curl old-lady hairstyle that I’ve always hated.

So I went into hiding (in Steubenville, Ohio) and had fake IDs made that subtracted 6-7 years off my age just so I could keep my hair long for a few more years.

But, eventually, you have to come out of hiding and attend family functions. Like Mother’s Day. And Thanksgiving. And since mothers always know how old their children are, there was no fooling Mom. So she’d make those veiled comments that are Mom-speak for “You look ridiculous with long hair!” But she never came right out and said anything, mostly because she knew I was being defiant and we were doing the classic mother-daughter passive-aggressive dance.

So probably I have caused my mother stress for over 10 years now just because of the length of my hair. What a bad daughter I am.

Well, she should be happy now. I’m still about 5” shy of that poodle curl old lady hairstyle that I hate, but it’s only a matter of time. Maybe Rhaya will save me and will refuse to give me that hairstyle when I give in and request it.

Now, I’d love to say that Mom was right and that I feel more “age appropriate” (whatever that is), but I’m not so sure. I’d also love to say that Vince was right and that styling my shorter hair is a breeze.

But I can’t. I can state unequivocally that it takes far more time to take care of shorter hair. Sure, it takes a little less shampoo and a little less conditioner, but it adds at least 20 more minutes to my morning routine. And have I adjusted my schedule and gotten up 20 minutes earlier? No, of course not.

So Vince is sitting at the table downstairs waiting for me to show up while my eggs congeal and my coffee grows cold. Meanwhile I’m upstairs wrestling with my curling iron in an attempt to achieve that tousled look. I then spritz and spray my curls into some semblance of a sassy style – only to have the curls droop and fall out by the time I hit the door to head to work.


I need Rhaya to come over every morning and fix my hair because I clearly cannot do it myself.

And I can’t throw it back in a ponytail anymore because it would look ridiculous. I’d look like one of those show horses that have only a little stub left of their tail. And my little stub of a hair tail would be sticking straight out the back of my head. Not a good look for anyone, let alone someone my age.

So I’m resisting the idea of getting a perm to give my hair a little body and maintain the curl. Because you know what the next step is, don’t you? You have your stylist lop off that last 5” and just go with the poodle curl look.

Fortunately, I think the Middle Age Woman’s Handbook states that you can wait until you’re 60 before you are forced into that style. But maybe I should check with Mom. I’m guessing she’d have an opinion.

Meanwhile, I’ll figure out how to deal with my new hairstyle. I’ll get up 20 minutes earlier. I’ll practice with the hair styling implements. And I’ll get the hang of it. But probably not before my hair grows out, oh, about 5”.

Hey, I never said I played by the rules. And the Middle Age Woman’s Handbook? It has an entire chapter on “hot flashes.” I want no part of that!

1 comment:

  1. No comments? I simply must rectify that.

    My mother thought long hair was immoral on anyone after high school. I am Sikh and have always had long hair except that one time she lobbed mine off when I was 7. She was not Sikh and had that poodle hair from my first memory of her till her dying day. I am 60 and still have my long hair...and I still feel just a bit defiant, if not naughty. (BTW, I found your blog looking for a picture of old lady hair.)