March 08, 2009


The time has finally come. Sometime in the next few weeks, I will be trading in my two-foot ponytail for a crew cut. Don't panic. I do this every few years and every time, someone panics. Last time it was my friend Noreen who was doing the cutting. She flatly refused the buzz I wanted and I had to spend two weeks convincing her that I really could take it.

This time I don't know who I'll get to cut it. I may just do it myself. Mom still has the clippers we always used on our dogs. The ponytail will go to Locks of Love as usual. I keep thinking that there must be some way to leverage this - to raise some money for a good cause, to publicize it, to shake people up a little. I'm not sure I want to go for the generosity or vanity angle. Maybe both. I know I am going to cover it in my weekly column, including running two mugs that week, the before and after. My blog friends don't get to see, but in the printed paper, all of our columns run with a mug shot. Mine is particularly unfortunate this year (I look grumpy) so this is a good chance to change it.

However, beyond my column, I'm thinking there must be something else I can do. I could auction it off a lock or an inch at a time, but I'm just not sure I have the energy to organize something like that. David and Wendy have already agreed to pay me $5.50 each, so I'm up to $11. Personally, I think my hair is worth far more than that. It's thick and wavy and very, very healthy. This ponytail is probably enough for four wigs, once you cut the length in half and then split the thickness.

I'm actually surprised it has gotten this long. I have a pattern of simply letting it grow until it just becomes too much of a hassle. Then I cut all off and donate it. I've basically been a hair farm for the last fifteen years. In the last five years or so, my hair has become a barometer for my patience. The more patient I am, the longer I let my hair grow. Last year, when it finally hit the length it was at the last cut (about two-year's growth), I started wondering when I would get tired of it. Instead, I found myself simply enjoying it more and more. Long hair is very sensual. I find my hair to be one of my most beautiful physical traits, even if I don't bother to do much with it. Plus, it's nice and warm in winter.

I never really did become fed up with it. The length now is a bit inconvenient. I have to comb it out in the shower while it's loaded with conditioner, or not at all. Plus, I could do without finding shed hair all over everything, to the point where it clumps up into ugly little rat-balls which I pull off of my socks and blankets. However, now I am just looking forward to short hair again. I have the hot chick with the buzz in my statistics class to thank. She rocks that crew cut! So as much as I love my Rapunzal-esque tresses, it's time to say goodbye and look forward to the ultimate spring do. Still, how? Hmmmm....

Do I hear $5.75?


john said...

Include in your calculations the joy that the sight of your hair has on others. A thing of beauty should not be discarded lightly. I have had many a sad and joyless day transformed into a wonderful day by the sight of a beautiful woman.

Monica said...

Well, it's a good think I'm beautiful with or without my hair then, isn't it? :-)

john said...

Very true.

Kavita said...

Very interesting post as always, thank you, Monica.
Indeed, John.
Long,lustrous hair is synonymous with feminine charm. People in India used to be obsessed. Incidentally,Indian Sikh men too wear their hair long, usually in a topknot & the women aren't supposed to ever cut theirs.What of Samson & Delilah? Is there something to it?
Growing up, I thought about this a lot & then chopped off my knee-length locks,
a. in rebellion
b. to keep attention off
c. to keep sweat from trickling down my neck in humid Mumbai.
My head feels light, I've saved hrs & hrs of washing & drying, effort, shampoo, discomfort when it wouldn't dry in the monsoon.I feel & look younger I'm told.
I can't stand the sight of strands around the house either; invariably there'll be a few when even male cousins visit.Do you know of the temple in south India where people offer their hair & the tonsured locks are sold for millions?
What about the time, effort & expense on nails?