I Got Scared About My Hair

I have nice hair. It’s the sort of hair that, when I cut it, people are wont to say to me, like Amy, “Oh, Jo! Your one beauty!” But I’ve never given two shits about my hair, I’ve taken it for granted, like we all do our hair while we have it, and also I really hate the fetishization of women’s long hair. It’s annoying and gross, and it pisses me off. I usually let my hair grow all year out of laziness, and then get it chopped short in summer.  

Here are the primary bad things about long, thick hair (and yes, I know, hair privilege): it’s about as hot as if you were wearing a fur raccoon hat on your head at all times, one with long tails that also cover your neck and most of your back; and if you put it into a ponytail, you have about five minutes of relief before it’s time for a splitting migraine from all the weight tugging at your scalp. With the result that if you’re ever around me, you’ll notice my hair goes up and down so rapidly, it’s like a continuity error in a sitcom.

Every year when I go into the salon to get it chopped, I have to spend twenty minutes convincing the stylist that it’s ok to cut it as short as I’m telling him to — no really, no I promise, no I won’t be traumatized, it was just this short a year ago, no, I swear, it grows really fast, I DON’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT MY HAIR MY INCOME DOES NOT DEPEND ON IT, BUT YOURS DOES SO PLEASE JUST DO WHAT I’M TELLING YOU TO DO.

But here’s the thing — my hair is going a little bit gray around the part. I think. I’m pretty sure. No one will give me honest feedback about this, but they laugh when I bring it up instead of contradicting me, which means that my suspicions are probably correct. That’s fine — I have been waiting my whole life for my hair to start going gray so that I can dye it fun colors, which I never wanted to do before because I like my natural color and I’m way too lazy to keep after my roots. But also, the grayishness is reminding me every time I look at it that I’ll be dying at some point.

The lack of “e” there is not a typo; I mean, as in expiring, not as in coloring my hair. Well, both. But the expiring part is what bothers me.

Anyway, I woke up this morning and went into the bathroom to get ready to go get my hair chopped, and when I looked in the mirror — you guys, my hair looked AWESOME. It has never looked this good, ever (except for the slightly graying part, which I think is actually happening. I’m pretty sure). I suddenly really, really did not want to cut it all off. I felt like if I cut it off this time, it would undoubtedly be the last time I saw it — this hair that’s been a constant thorn in my side since it first grew out of my baby head and that has always looked more or less the same. By this time next year, I felt sure, I would probably be dyeing it black or blue or something, and I would look like a different person than the person I’m used to looking at, and that would be that.

And so I called the salon last minute and left a bullshit voicemail about having a vague last minute emergency and offered to pay any cancellation fee. And now, because I live in the desert, the morning is already heating up, and I’m sitting here becoming increasingly hot and annoyed by all this stupid hair everywhere. And feeling extremely foolish for caring about my hair at all, which is something I’ve always kind of quietly judged other people for, and which I can now no longer feel superior about.

So, score one for the patriarchy, I guess.


  1. If there’s one sure thing in life, it’s that your hair will always look awesome on the day you plan to get it cut off. Just like you magically feel better on the day when you’re going to the doctor because you’ve been sick for two weeks, and when that sound your car has been making incessantly for the past month miraculously stops just as you’re on the way to the mechanic to get it fixed.


      1. Yes, these are both true. Annoyingly true.

        I spent several years in my early twenties trying to seek out someone who would dye my hair grey. That seems perverse now. I’m also sure the patriarchy won there even though I was trying to score against it, so, that’s sucks.


  2. Thanks for writing this necessary post! It’s ridiculous that the society (especially the male society) expects a woman to have long hair, I’ve been noticing this a lot too. Shall we cut our long hair and burn it along with our bras? Just kidding. I’d love to say that I wear my hair short to defy conventions, but well, it also happens to be practical. BTW, your hair IS gorgeous 🙂


    1. Aww, thanks! And yes, my long hair is actually a mostly practical decision, too — every time I cut it short, I can’t get it into a ponytail, which is even more annoying than having so much hair to begin with. 😉


  3. I went through the same dilemma a few years ago, Elizabeth. I have nice hair too. When I swam every day I decided to get a Audrey Hepburn style cap cut because it took so much time to dry it in the winter months. To my surprise after urging me not to cut it everyone loved it. Yes,even men complimented me on it. I spent several years wearing that cap cut but I’m 2 years into long hair again. I refused to dye it and when it reached the Veronica Lake length, I got more compliments from females and from males too. So not to worry because if you have nice hair it will look great either short or long.


    1. I chopped mine pixie short once, and everyone was horrified, but it does pretty well as a chin-length bob. I probably won’t dye mine, either — I live in New Mexico and work from home; luckily, there are really no appearances I need to keep up. 😉


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