Today I got a free haircut.

If you know me, you know I like free things, but a free haircut is never a good sign.

It’s not that it’s a terrible haircut either. Really. It’s fine. It’s just nothing like we talked about before getting it cut. The hairstylist, let’s call her Ray, showed me a picture of something that would look “adorable” on me. It was all one length; a blunt bob. It was exactly what I wanted, and I wondered how she found a more perfect picture in five minutes than I had in several months.

You see, I had been hoping and waiting to get my haircut for the past 8 months.

I’ve grown out my pixie, but it should be really grown before I get it cut.

It’s longer, but I want there to be a little extra so there was something to trim.

There’s a little extra, but maybe I should wait until the front can be the longest.

And then, today, I decided it was time. After living off of self-trims for a year and a half, it was time to get things tidied up.

I wasn’t wearing my glasses, so I couldn’t tell what was happening above my smock until it was completely dry.

“Put on your glasses,” Ray said.

I slipped them on, and the layer above my ear was staring back at me, 3 (4?) inches shorter than it had been when I walked it. That stupid, stubborn spot is the worst to grow out. Anyone who’s grown out hair knows is the TOUGHEST. It takes the longest. You pull and yank and will it to grow, and mine did.

But now it’s sticking out, chopped off above my ear.

Like I said, it’s not an ugly haircut exactly. With time I might even like it, but in that chair, staring at something that I had waited for for over a year, I began to cry.

I tried to hold it in, and I did okay. But I couldn’t stop the guttural groan that left my throat.  Ray continued to flip it around as my hand slowly lifted up to feel. Yes, it was that short.

“It’s so short,” I said.

She assured me it wasn’t. “You didn’t lose any length off of the bottom.” She was right. The bottom layer stayed the same. Literally, the back of my hair–what I wanted cut–stayed the same.

I told her it didn’t look a thing like the picture. She got the picture out, assured me it did. I argued. She said it was her fault. I kept silent. She brought up the picture again and argued more. I kept silent.

I stayed silent as she hugged me. I stayed silent as she kissed me on the cheek, several times. This woman I had only known thirty minutes smooshed her cigarette mouth to my face over and over. “You’re gorgeous. You’re gorgeous!”

I think she did that because she knew. She knew not that it was not what I wanted (though that too). I think she did that because she knew that hair is so stupid for women.

The way we view hair is so stupid. It means so much. It means too much.

And that hit me on the way home. I was being ridiculous.

But you know what? It didn’t make me stop crying. I wish that thought had taught me something about how women shouldn’t use their looks for self worth. In this scenario, I’d wipe my tears, blast the music, and laugh about it over dinner. But just as I was on the verge of reaching for the radio dial, my short layer fell into my eyes and my little giggle at the ridiculousness of it all turned into a full-on sob…

which turned into full-on yelling in the car

which turned into laughing at how stupid I was being for getting this upset

which turned into crying at how stupid I was to go to a stylist I didn’t know

which turned into yelling again.

So it goes.

Is it completely inappropriate to pull out Vonnegut at a time like this? I think yes, but then I touch my hair and my soul screams no.

I cut my hair two years ago because I wanted a change, but I also wanted to not depend on it. I always had this long, thick hair that sort of overtook my look. And when I cut my hair, it was like I saw my face for the first time. I didn’t want my hair to be beautiful, I wanted to shine without it.

If you are lucky, there is a moment in your life when you have some say as to what your currency is going to be. I decided early on it was not going to be my looks. – Amy Poehler, Yes Please

In many ways, I was making a similar decision when I cut my hair. I learned that I was worth more than hair.

Flash forward, and I’m crying about a measly 3 (4?) inches.

And then I laugh at it, and I try to think good thoughts. I really, really try. I know caring this much about hair is stupid, and I’m letting it go.

Right now. Big breath. It’s only hair. Big breath. I’m more valuable than getting the exact haircut I want. And last big breath. I want to be the kind of beautiful that can pull off any hair or no hair at all.

I want to be pretty like this:

A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely. -Roald Dahl, The Twits

I want to be lovely, not because of my hair, but because of my thoughts. I’m making them prettier one. big. breath. at. a. time.

And now I’m also thinking that this entire blog post is so emotional about hair, which sends me into a fit of laughter. That might be the best thing to do, actually. Laugh and laugh and laugh and choose which hat to wear. Luckily, I did do a fashion show the other day.

Photo on 11-22-14 at 2.15 PMPhoto on 11-22-14 at 2.12 PM #2

Photo on 11-22-14 at 2.13 PMPhoto on 11-22-14 at 2.14 PM

growing out a pixie cut is the worst

I know you’re all dying for an update on my hair.

Last summer I trimmed my pixie for the “last” time. It was the last cut before the great grow out, the final feast before the epic quest. I braced myself for the days of graceless hair ahead, but I had no idea of the trials that would befall me in winter. No idea at all.

In my defense, I trimmed the mullet along the way. I knew that much from pinterest, but not even mullet trimming can prepare you for the ear-length-bob-now-I-look-like-a-Bob months. That’s right. Months. The hairs (all of them) beg to be pulled back into a half-updo, yet cannot reach the clip. The agony!

What they said–no idea who “they” are–is true: growing out a pixie cut is one of the worst experiences in the world. Growing out a pixie cut should warrant some sort of major award. Off the top of my head, I’m thinking automatic stellar hair-days forever or a year’s supply of Propel water. (Am I the only one still drinking those things?)

Growing out a pixie cut requires a six-month hiatus from mirrors.

Growing out a pixie is like carrying the One Ring across Middle Earth to be destroyed in Mordor. I took on this impossible mission and began the trek.

But then February came, and like Frodo, I failed. I got to the edge of the Cracks of Doom, but couldn’t complete my task.

In other words, I got my hair cut on Saturday.

I even had a stylist (Sauron? Gollum?) that said, “I wouldn’t keep your natural color. It’s kind of dead mouse brown,” and then she washed my hair. “What I’m putting on your hair is called shampoo. You should try it sometime.”

I’m not kidding. But I think she was?

Then I stepped out of the salon (Mount Doom) with cut hair. Short hair. Looks-like-I-never-beared-THE-ONE-RING hair.

Oh, well. The good thing about short hair (one of the many) is the reminder that it’s just hair.

Maybe next time I decide to grow it out I’ll keep that in mind. For now, I’ll just enjoy making it stick up in weird ways.


pixie disasters

Here’s the thing about short hair, about having a pixie cut: there are times when you cannot pull it off. There are times when you lack the self-confidence, the hair gel, or the time it takes to shower, to properly rock the pixie.

In those most desperate of times, you don’t even like yourself anymore.  No, you are a caricature, a man, a smelly mother of twins, or sometimes all three.  It is a sad day, and unfortunately it occurs at least once a week (for me, anyway).  There are unique manifestations to each pixie failure.  Here are the horrendous looks that no pixie wearer can escape.


The Paul Dano in Ruby Sparks

This occurs when the androgynous look goes horribly, horribly wrong.  Imagine you let your hair air dry without any product.  You want the sort of sleek, touchable look.  You’ll wear extra makeup and collared shirt. It will be edgy, but you’ll totally pull it off, like this lady. 17-pixiehair01-073

But then you run out of time to do your makeup, and realize you threw away your contacts and don’t have new ones.  You stick on your glasses, and figure you can at least put on the collared shirt.  Uh-oh, you now look Paul Dano in Ruby Sparks and the cashier says, “Here’s your change, sir.” This is not a good day.


The Hillary Clinton

No one wants this. Hillary Clinton doesn’t even want this.  The look is the result of too much styling.  You decide to put hairspray in, on top of the paste you already gooped into your mop, and then it all becomes a bit too much, resulting in a look worthy of a news anchor.  I did this on purpose for Halloween and several times not on purpose.


The Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men

This gem is usually a result of growing the pixie out, which is its own terrible, terrible battle.  You wait and wait and wait, and then I think, “Yes. I’ve done it. I can finally make this thing a bob.”  You trim the back, part it on the side, and… now you have an alarmingly strong jaw. Congratulations, you’ve got the Bardem.


The Brother

There’s no escaping this comparison.  It will happen as soon as you cut your hair and your family sees you right after a shower. “I never realized how much you looked like your brother.” This shall be the quote on everyone’s lips.  You are now a twin, an identical twin, and you are a boy.



The Edward Cullen

Most likely this is the most accidental of all the bad hair days. On this day, you really go for it.  You decide you’re going to look like Natalie Portman, circa SNL rap.  You fluff your hair up, total punk style, and then halfway through the day things are looking a little less like Queen Amidala and slightly more like a certain vampire. It’s most depressing. Probably the most depressing of all these horrendous pixie hair days.


throwback thursday

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I think about the sixties, the 1960’s that is, and I think about everyone and their mother smoking and drinking, pregnant or not.  How unusual.  How hilarious.  Thank goodness we don’t have something that embarrassing going on in the time we live, am I right?!  Then I remembered, I used to love to play with this metal container in the back seat of our van growing up.  It made a super annoying sound, and being the youngest child, I flipped it open and closed very often, sure to fulfill my role of aggravating little sister.  Now, it just hit me the other day what that silver container was.  It was an ashtray built into the backseat of the car, so, you know, everyone in the car can smoke with the windows up and not get ashes everywhere.  How hilarious.  How weird.  The only hope I have for this is that my neon t-shirts and stirrup pants will someday be looked upon with the same retro nostalgia of the Mad Men skirt suit. A girl can dream, and I do, often of dole whip and long hair of yesteryear…