Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hair today, gone tomorrow

I can still remember the haircut that made me cry the hardest when I was a kid. I had always had long hair. One day my mom and I agreed that I would get a bob. I'm not sure I knew what a bob was when I agreed to the style. Until I reached a certain age -- maybe 40 -- I was more comfortable pretending I knew what I was talking about than admitting ignorance so the joke was on me. My long locks were shorn, I had a chin-length bob and I bawled. Of course, like every hair cut, the freshness wore off within a couple of weeks, my hair started to grow longer and my life wasn't ruined after all. At the time, though, I was Samson and my source of strength and comfort  was gone. I felt like people could see too much of me and I wasn't at all comfortable with that prospect. I liked hiding behind my long hair. I could be whomever I wanted. Without my long hair, I felt so exposed!

I now have three daughters and they all like to wear their hair long. While none of them are daring, one of them has experimented with bangs and layers. One of her sisters had her hair cut over the weekend. When the stylist asked how much she should cut, our little ladyshrugged her shoulders. I suggested 2 inches and she agreed. I looked at her seriously and said, "Listen, no matter what they cut, in the end you'll think it's too much and you'll think you have short hair. It won't be true. But don't worry, it'll grow back quickly". When the stylist was done, our daughter looked fabulous. As soon as we got outside, she made a face and said, "Ugh, it's so short!" Imagine if I had suggested she get a bob! In a few days, the last of the three will get her hair cut. We'll no doubt go through the same thing - she'll agree to the cut then afterward complain that it's too short. She'll feel exposed and then she'll unconsciously regain her strength. Before too long, all three will feel empowered enough to whip their hair back and forth like little Willow Smith (if you don't know what I'm talking about, check out Willow Smith music video on Youtube) and all will be right with the world again.

One of the all-time greatest middle grade and young adult authors wrote the perfect book for this topic. Check out Laurie Halse Anderson's The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes To School. It's perfect for the K-3 set. The hair in wild and the story is wilder!


  1. what this about us women and our hair. I had a hair cut a few days ago and when I done my reaction was the same - It is too short.
    Any way, you have too see Chris Rock's movie "Good Hair"
    And for all of us women - have a great hair day

  2. oh my this reminds me of the time my older sister convinced me to get a shag(!) hair cut in 6th grade. I cried all the way home. traumatic!!