Sunday Scribblings-Hair

My mom and I have always been very close, and so far have managed to escape most of the usual mother-daughter conflicts. However, when I was a pre-teen, my hair became a huge battleground between us.

My long, thick, wavy hair was my mother’s pride and joy. She delighted in curling and brushing it until it hung like smooth auburn silk, flowing in gentle waves down my back to my waist. Personally, I despised it. I desperately wanted my friend Lisa’s stick straight blonde page-boy, that framed her face perfectly and fit nicely underneath a baseball cap.

Then, there were the bangs. Oh, how I longed for those forehead covering bangs all the 60’s models wore, the kind that grazed the eyebrows and tickled the eyelashes. But no, my mother insisted on trimming my bangs high up on my forehead. “Why in the world do these girls let their hair hang down into their eyes?” she’d say, coming at me with those dreaded scissors. “Because it’s cool!” I wanted to scream. But, I was a good girl and kept my mouth shut, letting her trim away, all the while seething inside.

The last straw came in the form of a comment from one of my friends – the aforementioned Lisa, actually – who was describing a classmate in the mean -spirited way only 12 year old girls can.

“Her hair is so stupid!” she declared. “And her bangs are the worst! They’re so…” here she stopped and looked at me thoughtfully. “Well, I was going to say they’re so short, when I realized that yours are like that too. Why don’t you grow them out?”

The jig was up. Now my friends realized how totally un-cool my hair was.

“I want my hair cut!” I announced when I got home from school that day. “I want short hair, and I’m letting my bangs grow long.”

“You’re not cutting off that beautiful hair,” my mother answered. “Someday, you’ll be glad you have all that thick, wavy hair. You’re not cutting it.”

For once I was persistent. For days, weeks, months, I complained rudely every time we completed the hair washing/drying/curling ritual. Finally, she relented.

Alright, you can cut it,” she said. “On one condition. Have your portrait done with long hair.”

GOD, if there was anything I hated worse than short bangs, it was having my picture taken. And a portrait would entail posing endlessly for a stranger. It was a mark of my determination that I agreed.

The portrait wasn’t too bad. It turned out so well, in fact, that the studio asked if they could hang it in their display window for the summer. It still hangs in my mother’s living room, a young girl dressed in the pale peach colored dress chosen by her mother, her long, dark tresses artfully arranged to lay smoothly down her back, grazing the bow tied at her waist. In her eyes is the slightest sly smile, knowing that with this portrait, she’s stepping into a world of her own choosing, independent from the wishes and tastes of her parents.

I got my haircut, and began a battle of my own with my hair, struggling to tame those pesky waves into the smooth, sleek looks so popular in the 60’s and 70’s. I’ve never had long hair again, much to my husband’s dismay. (Do all men love long hair, and if so, why?) Much as I love him, I’ll never let anyone dictate my hair style again. I fought that battle already – and won!

here are more hairy tales

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13 thoughts on “Sunday Scribblings-Hair

  1. Fun read Becca.

    Men like all kinds of hair — women can look very attractive in short, medium, or long hair. The important thing is, does the hair fit the person, and the personality — does it instill confidence, which is what brings beauty to the eyes.

    My wife’s hair has been many lengths, but I think she looks better with medium length, approaching her shoulder. She has a small head, is very slim, and only 5’4″ in height — medium ahir fits her person, and pulled into a pony tail, it fits her athletic personality.

    Sorry I rambled…

  2. I have been on both sides of that argument! I was the daughter, but I wanted long, long braidable hair and my mom insisted that I keep it short because it was easier. Then I was the mom who had the daughter with beautiful wavy waist long blonde locks. We compromised at shoulder length for years, then when she graduated she cut it super boy-cut short. Now she is growing it out again and I have to say I am very happy about it, but it is her choice and I do respect that.

  3. Silly as it seems, hair is a big deal to women (and men too!). I’ve fought my own battles with my hair and continue to walk on both sides of the fence.

    Your story was beautifully told, Becca. I’d love to see that portrait 😉

  4. Of all the rebellions kids can conjure up, hair is the least permanent and benign. I’m always tickled to see kids with mohawks and wild color – I can’t help wonder how they bargained their way into that.

    My mother hasn’t liked my hair since the last pixie cut in the 70’s. It’s been all colors from blonde to red to burgundy to very dark brown and every length from very short to mid-back. It’s a quick cure for boredom with myself.

  5. This was such a fun read! And my father must be the only man who prefers SHORT hair…he’s always badgering my mom to get hers cut. 🙂

    I loved the visual of your sly smile as you contemplate your imminent hair victory!

  6. A very entertaining story! And I think men like short hair as well as long hair – it depends on the woman and what suits her best.

  7. Third times a charm, yes? I too would love to see the portrait – a young girl who is ready to declare victory!
    I’m a first time visitor, but I’ll have to peek again to see if it goes up, and the telling of this story was wonderfully entertaining.

  8. What I wouldn’t give now to have those curls and some body! What is it with men and long hair? I don’t get it. My husband is the same way.

  9. In my early teens I had my hair all cut off and my Mum was like: why don’t you grow it? I did, because I realised that really short didn’t suit me. As soon as it was below my shoulders though my Mum was like: why don’t you get your hair cut. But I didn’t and its still really long. I like the sensuality of long hair, I think that may be why so many men like long hair on women.

  10. When I was younger my parents never let me cut my hair as it was a part of our religion, for years and years I used to shout and scream about geting my hair cut but they never relented.

    It didn’t make matters any better that my hair was super frizzy and super thick (frizzy only because my mother would insist on combing my hair). From the age of about 10 until I was 17 I was never allowed to cut my hair (even though my brothers cut their hair and my father cut him) as Sikh girls are supposed to have long hair. There was an end of year party at college and somehow I convinved my mother to let me get my hair cut for it and she did, so I went a bit mad and got it cut into a bob. Now going from hair which skims your hips to a bob is a big change and my mother nearly had a heart attack when she saw it but it was my father’s reaction to the hair that made me realise that I had won the war. He was in love with the hair and apologised profusely for not letting me cut it whilst I was younger. The ironic thing was that a few weeks later I finally realised how much I missed my hair and now I wish it could be that long again, I have been growing my hair for the past 4 years and it is nowhere as long as it used to be. It is still long, long enough for my husband to call me curtain head, which is his way of showing me some affection, it’s quite cute in his own little way.

    The funny thing is, my mother never had a problem with my dying my hair, it was always the cutting that caused problems. Strange how damaging my hair with cheap dye was ok yet cutting it so it grew more healthy wasn’t. Mothers are strange in their own little ways but I wouldn’t change mine for the world.

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