Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I have long hair. The length of my hair is, in fact, currently equal to the length of my leg: 30 inches. That's ankle to groin for the leg, crown to ends for the hair. "Tail bone length," in the shorthand of The Long Hair Community (A friendship-based community for those with a common goal of growing and maintaining long, healthy-looking hair. [This is the Internet. Don't even pretend you're surprised that such a thing exists.])

I've had long hair most of my life for one simple reason: it never, ever even crosses my mind to go get a haircut. For some reason, the Shortening Of The Hair just never took its place in my consciousness as something that one might do on a regular basis. I've cut it short or even super-short from time to time over the years, but haircut maintenance being absent from my skill list, it grows back out again. I tell you one thing, I've learned not to go for bangs.

Obviously, I do like long hair. It's not like I would be incapable of keeping it short, if that were important to me. But long hair is comfortable for me. It's normal. It's part of my identity, and has been for the bulk of my adolescent and adult life.

Still, this is the longest I've ever had it. As much as I like it, it has crossed some kind of a threshold and is not incapable of getting in the way. I once told someone that toilet-length hair would be a deal-breaker for me. There haven't been any incidents, but the potential is there.

So while I do like it, I'm also not that attached to it - apart from in the obvious sense. I could cut it without too many regrets. I mean, it's just going to grow back out, right?

Alex wants me to cut it, more so now that it's this long than in times past. He's taken to pointing out pictures on billboards or actresses in the videos we rent. "What do you think of her hair?" Recently I came home from doing a bunch of errands and he asked if I had seen any beauty parlors I liked the looks of. (Is that what they're called? Or are they salons?...See? I don't even know the terminology.)

Now, it seems like an easy answer, right? I'm admittedly open to the idea, and it would make him happy. But here's the thing.

Tangential anecdote:

I joined the gym last March because it seemed like a healthy thing to do. My neighbor told me about it and the original thought was for us to go together, carpooling to drop off our kids at school and then going down to the gym. Then she changed jobs and ended up quitting before I even joined. But when she told me that high speed Internet was finally available on our street, I was so happy about that I figured I'd go ahead and sign up for the gym as well. My thought was, exercise is good, let's go get some exercise.

As unlikely as it sounds, I never actually considered the whole losing weight end of it but, of course, lose I did.

All of this went on while Alex was working in the States. He knew I was going to the gym and had asked if was seeing any difference. I said, not a radical one, but I think I look good. Other people had noticed I was getting in shape and I looked forward to his moving back home, by which time I had been exercising regularly for nearly six months.

I picked out a good-looking outfit when I went to pick him up at the airport. And then I waited. Wanna know what he said about my appearance as we drove out of the parking garage? He said, "Wow, you have a lot more gray hairs. Did your Mom notice them when she was here?"

First time he saw me in the stretchy workout clothes? Nothing. First time he saw me out of them? Nothing.

Fine. I didn't do this for him. I'm happy with the results and that's what matters, right? Well, I kept telling myself that, but in reality that wasn't all that mattered.

Finally (when he'd been home a week) I told him I had really hoped for some small comment. Wanna know what he said? He said, "I told you you looked good."

Well, no he didn't, but you can't tell him that.

Three months almost to the day after his return, I walked into a room and he took my hand, turned me around, looked at me and said it: You look good.
So you can see where I'm reluctant to make changes on the basis of someone else liking it.

My basic nature is inclined to cut the hair because I know he'll like it. On the other hand, well, everything I just said.

If I were an Internet rock star like Fussy or Finslippy, I would hold an election and let the Internet decide. But there are only about, what? Like ten or twelve of you out there. Still, let's put it to a vote.

Haircut: Yes or no?
If yes: How short?

Let's hear it, people. Casual visitors also welcome to weigh in!

(Oh, and one other thing. Why is it that, unless one of my parents travels to Central America and happens to photograph me from behind, nobody in my life will simply come up and tell me that I'm wearing ill-fitting jeans? This is not the first time this has happened.)


Dad December 12, 2006 5:39 PM  

Well, uh, as the photographer who took the picture in question, I have to admit that I never noticed your jeans. (Either in real life or in the photo.)


Dad December 12, 2006 8:53 PM  

Now as to the hair, I remember liking it when you cut it short after your high school graduation. But, to be fair, shouldn't you show before and after photos to your panel of evaluators (your blog readers)?

The photos on the blog to date are the "after" pictures. I'm e-mailing you a "before" photo which you might choose to post for comparison purposes (if enough readers "urge" you to post it.) People would need to realize that it was from 20 years ago, but hey, you still look like you to Mom and me!

You decide.


Jennifer December 13, 2006 9:28 AM  

Oh noooooo! The dreaded Blogger Beta comment disorder!!!

Julie E-mailed me hers, isn't she smart? If you have trouble commenting, my login is arcetucker and I use yahoo.com!

Jennifer December 13, 2006 9:28 AM  

Julie's comment says:

Hi Jen. Funny timing of this post; I just got my biannual haircut yesterday. I wait until the ends are scraggly with a stringy effect, which this year corresponded roughly with the solstices. She cut long layers and long bangs, which makes for a nice swoosh factor. I don't so much as blowdry my hair, so easy style is a must.

For myself, I like the shoulder-blade length. It's long enough to be feminine but short enough for easy maintenance. (Toilet-length, ewww! That thought never occurred to me.) So I say, yes, cut it, but no need to go extreme. I will be interested to see!

Jennifer December 13, 2006 9:33 AM  

And in response:

Yes, I happen to own a blow dryer (as you may recall), but using it to actually dry or style my hair is quite a foreign concept to me as well.

Schnozz December 13, 2006 9:52 AM  


Just stopping by to let you know that the kindblog site has moved, and your sidebar link is no longer working. Please update your link to http://chookooloonks.typepad.com/kindblog. Thanks!

Sandy December 13, 2006 10:23 AM  

First, I like baggy (ill-fitting as you say) and I think that is part of your look, is it not? Second, don't cut your hair. It is absolutely "you"...Bohemian. Trim the ends from time to time but leave it alone. If Alex needs a change...go to Victoria's Secret! By the way, you look GOOD!!!

Anonymous December 13, 2006 11:06 AM  

Julie neglected to tell you about her studious research into the subject on her blog! Be sure to follow the link to the scientists!

I leave my hair long for the same reasons you do. It's cheap, easy, and I like the look. I also think of George Fox's advice to William Penn: "wear it as long as thou canst."

You have a round head and wavy hair. Your options, then, are long, and long. You could maybe donate about eight inches to leukemia patients. Please, no bangs.

Jennifer December 13, 2006 11:25 AM  

Oh, that is a great post - it predated my discovery of her blog by a few months, so I hadn't seen it before. And definitely, people, do follow the link to the scientists.

Also: my hair is actually closer to straightstraightstraight than wavy. It looks like it does in that picture after it's been in a bun for a while. Still, I'll count your vote as a "don't cut."

And: I was leaving a comment on your blog at the very same time you were here. Aww, it's a small world after all.

meredith December 13, 2006 12:01 PM  

I agree with shoulder length hair and no bangs. Your jeans are just a little baggy because you are so svelte now! Oh, and I want to see the photo your Dad is talking about!!

Kit December 13, 2006 2:31 PM  

I'm also a long hair because-I-hate wasting-time-and-money-on-a-haircut person. Never do bangs, and shoulder-length is a good radical move from bum-length hair - you can still tie it out of the way but pretend to chicness too.
I did all the short haircut styles in my teens and was never happy when I walked out with my new haircut so long hair is great.

Jennifer December 13, 2006 2:36 PM  

(Red-faced) I noticed the jeans right after I looked at the hair. My first thought was, she must have lost weight, because she looks great, but the jeans are a couple sizes too big. Been there. Which is probably why I noticed.

As for the hair, I don't know. It's a tough call. I am on the other end of the spectrum, always wanting to grow my hair long and then when I do I hate it and cut it all off. It's always in a pony tail anyway.

Our husbands have something in common. Mine prefers my hair short. When he met me it was boy short. He loved it.

I loved it too, because it made me much more assertive.

Do you get that too? Does your hair style affect your personality, or at least how you present yourself (as a person) to the world? My hair cut affects me tremendously that way, and I think I like myself better with short hair. I am more assertive. And happier. Less of a complainer.

Maybe you are happier with long hair.

So fine. In the end I reached an answer.

Just get a trim.

Joan December 13, 2006 6:38 PM  

My daughter says she wants to grow her hair out for the Locks of Love program. So far it's 6 inches past her shoulders and becoming a little difficult for a 9 year old to care for. One night she decided her wanted to get it cut in a short bob. I told her maybe try shoulder length first. Then after she went to bed she yelled out she didn't want to cut her hair. I told her that was fine. We continue to work on those tangles.

mom December 14, 2006 10:10 PM  

I like chin length to shoulder-blade length as a rule - no bangs. I like hair to frame the face, not hang down the back. Never could see the attraction for Crystal Gayle.

Wish I could wear my hair longer, but thin and thinning hair on a 60-year-old does not seem to be the thing to do!

lisa December 15, 2006 11:35 AM  

Yes, cut it. (I like shoulder length.) It's the first thing I thought when I saw that picture. I've gotten the same way, now that I'm wearing mine long. I don't EVER think about it, until people, en masse, start telling me how long it's gotten. Then I start to notice, and spend another 2-3 months trying to get around to trimming the ends. So last week I finally trimmed the ends. And then the next day someone said how long it's gotten. So I guess I succeeded in not being too drastic.

Ooh. You just got told that bad jeans are "part of your look." On that, I did notice your jeans in Dad's photos. In a sisterly way. Like, okay, I'm not the only one still wearing bad jeans. I mean, you write about getting all svelte and all, and we e-mailed about trying to update our wardrobes. So I thought maybe you'd moved on without me. But it seems maybe we need to spend a good afternoon thrifting together.

Dad December 16, 2006 8:56 PM  

Okay, time for me to weigh in.

I think between chin length and top-of-shoulders length would look great. Longer than in the photo I sent, no longer than in the Christmas tree photo, more like the one between those two.

That would still leave plenty to donate to Locks of Love like someone mentioned.

I had heard that name, but knew nothing about the organization. I got curious and checked out their website. Actually there are a couple of people in the Donors Photo Gallery who have hair similar to yours, with before-and-after pictures. Check out the woman in the blue tank top, and the one in the lime green turtle-neck sweater.

(But then, I'm just a man. What do I know?)


lisa December 17, 2006 10:37 PM  

Does anyone else picture a child somewhere in the future finding a baggie full of great-great-great grandma Tucker's hair? Maybe with a piece of mummy? Locks of Love is an awesome idea. I'm just sayin'.

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