April 10th, 2012
Don’t Mess With My Hair

By Lorraine C. Ladish

I write about self-improvement and empowerment. I believe inner beauty trumps good looks. I know that a positive attitude is more empowering than wearing makeup. And yet, inner and outer beauty are not mutually exclusive. So just don’t mess with my hair.

I’m a hairdresser’s worst nightmare. Before I’m even in the chair, I will give the stylist all kinds of warnings, and let her know that I will be watching every snip of the scissors, because I am in love with my mane. I’d rather lose one thousand bucks in cash than five inches off my locks. Heck, two inches, even one!

I’ve mostly defied the impulse many women – including me – have, to cut their hair when undergoing a major life change: being pregnant, having a baby, turning forty, or being divorced! I will happily contradict the advice of books and articles that tell you those are good times to go short.

I say that when you are so huge – as in pregnancy – that cutting off your mane will make you look like a brontosaurus, you should ask your best friend to lock you in the house and swallow the key!Until your urge to get a haircut has subsided, that is!

And what’s the deal with bobbing it when you hit 40? Why would you want to sport the middle-aged bob, which will make you look 10 years older, when you could be downright stunning well into your fifties with beautiful waves flowing down your back?

Every woman is different, and whereas some may look cute in a pixie cut, I know I don’t. For one, my ears stick out and I’m not inclined to undergo plastic surgery. My long mane is my signature look, and it makes me feel powerful, beautiful or sexy, depending on the moment.

When I was 31, fresh out of a bad breakup, I did hack off my hair – shoulder length – and it took me all of one minute to realize it was a bad mistake. My best friend’s husband said to me: “Before, you were striking. Now, you look like everybody else.”

His comment simply validated my feeling of loss. I felt naked, almost invisible, physically and emotionally weak. I very patiently grew it out, and I eventually wore it long during both my pregnancies, after having babies and well into my forties – which is now. I plan to keep it this way for many years to come. I will continue to care for it, wash it, trim it, condition it, style it, touch it, fondle it and otherwise enjoy it.

I know hair is fickle … anything from anemia, to alopecia and in an extreme case, chemotherapy, could take it away from me. What then? I would strive to keep a strong sense of self, despite outward changes, just as I cope with the onset of wrinkles and sagging skin. But in the meantime, I will continue to love my hair.

They say long hair is high maintenance. I know it isn’t. When pressed for time, you can pull it into a ponytail, a bun or a braid. You can learn to work with its nature, instead of against it, and thus cut down on styling time.

Besides, even if it were high maintenance, it would be worth it! Nothing beats the feeling of letting down your hair, literally, andfeeling it brush against your naked back, right down to your waist, when having sex or just wearing a strapless dress.

While I continue to nurture myself spiritually, emotionally and intellectually, I see absolutely no reason to cut my hair. I may end up an elderly longhaired lady with silver tresses. And, why the heck not?

When everything else about me changes with age, if I can hold on to my long hair, I will have one thing about me that I recognize, that I love and that has been with me, forever. 

You may follow Lorraine C. Ladish on Facebook and TwitterE mail her at @voxximujer

[Photo by goatling]

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