What do Rapunzel, Cleopatra and Claire Underwood all have in common?
Why, a great hairdo, of course.
After 50-some years of sporting long locks, the time had come to seek out a new style. In this year of transition, it seemed like the right moment to make the change. With a new blog, new responsibilities, and a new outlook, why not a new ‘do, too? I had toyed with the idea for a while and wondered, if not now, when?
As a teenager, my thick hair was my nemesis. Unruly and bushy, I had no clue how to discipline my rebellious waves. I hid them under kerchiefs (a look best left to aid workers and pirates), tried to master electric rollers (with burn marks on my fingers to prove it), but no matter what, my hair always looked poofy and, well, big. During my college days in Texas, that wasn’t always a bad thing. On those rare moments when my hair did behave (every fifth Saturday), it looked absolutely exotic. That said, this girl who parachuted into Dallas from upstate New York was already a rare dodo, indeed.
Once I moved to Paris and lived in an apartment two flights up from not one but two side by side ‘coiffures’, I discovered the joys of weekly blow-dries. Considered frivolous to some, a saving grace to others, visits to the hairdresser were as much part of my routine as buying baguettes and confounding pronouns.
Once they were controlled, I began to love my tamed tresses. With the help of skilled BaByliss wielding hairdressers, I learned to flip my hair with the best of them. Parted on the side, pulled back in a chignon, my hair became my weapon, my one-up, my best asset.
Returning stateside, I kept the up the ritual and for years my hair remained my crowing glory.
It wasn’t until recently, after looking through a box of old photos, I realized that my ‘look’ was best suited to another time and perhaps another person.
At age 50 something, my long hair had lost its oomph and wasn’t taking orders from anyone. When I looked in the mirror, instead of appearing glamorous like the swans of New York, I saw a Real Housewife of Poughkeepsie staring back at me.
It was time.
Usually, this yen for a pick-me-up occurs closer to my birthday, when my vision miraculously improves (thank God for silver linings) and I notice lines that weren’t there a month ago. Or maybe it’s that back-to-school mentality that we all experience as autumn approaches, only this itch wouldn’t be scratched by newly sharpened pencils or a Brady Bunch lunch box.
I floated the idea by my trusted beauty consultant, my daughter. The conversation went something like this:
“I’m thinking of cutting my hair,” I said.
“Oh, gee, Mom, are you sure,” she asked. “You always regret even getting a trim.”
“Yes,” I replied, “but it’s this or a face lift.”
“Go short, Mom,” she exclaimed. “Go really, really short.”
I know what she was thinking, and I was wondering the same thing; would I look like a middle-aged cliché? Would I have to start buying Mom jeans and sensible shoes? Weighed against the idea of looking like an aging starlet, I decided to trust my instincts and go for it.
By the next afternoon I was seated in my hairdresser’s chair. There was no hesitation on her part (since my weekly blow dries usually aggravated her tennis elbow).
Armed with photos of Chelsea, my favorite soap opera character, it was time to go bob or go home.
Snip…snip…snip…off they went, and faster than you could say ‘Bob’s your uncle’,
4, 5, 6 inches were gone.
I looked in the mirror and saw…me! A modern, lighter, brighter version of Mimi. I loved it. It was freeing. Not quite Young and the Restless, but certainly not a Mom cut, either. This new hairstyle left me feeling invigorated, like I could take on the world.
I was beaming as I sashayed out the hairdresser’s door, and sped home to show my husband. His smile said it all- and this from the man who loved my long hair. In reality, I think he was reacting to my joy, because let’s face it; when a wife is happy, a husband is happier.
Two weeks out: still loving my new ‘do, but it should have come with a warning. Since I felt 20 years younger, I attempted lifting heavier weights at my gym. Weighted squats? Bring it on.
What a bad, bad move.
I pulled a muscle in my hip and have been limping ever since.
But at least I’m shuffling with a new attitude; sore but sassy.