Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Long and Short of It

So not too long ago, I was looking at some comments on another blog. The main post had mentioned that the blogger had gotten her hair cut shorter than she normally does. One commenter mentioned that she thought that long hair does not look good on a woman generally past the age of 28.

I have long hair.

I'm 34.

Am I committing a horrible fashion faux pas with my long hair?

I have had what I consider to be a fairly good relationship with my hair over the years. It mostly does what I want, but it does have the tendency to look better on "normal" days than for special occasions.

While my sister was able to revel in her girlhood with long hair since toddlerhood, for some reason my parents chose a different route with me. For a long while, I had the classic bowl cut. Oh, was that only supposed to be for boys? Well, I bucked tradition because there are more than a few pictures of me with my (then) very blonde hair in the obvious shape of Tupperware.

And then for a very short period, my parents relented and allowed me to have somewhat longish hair, enough to put into some good, curly poytails. I remember that it was actually my father who got my hair done before school, as my mother was a nurse on the graveyard shift and was in bed while we were getting ready. For a man with absolutely no previous experience with rubber bands and the like, he was pretty good.

Somewhere around 5th grade or so, right at about the point I got seriously into playing sports, my hair went short and stayed for a good long while. Through middle school, I suppose it was just a generically short haircut, nothing much to it. Short enough that it was out of my face when I played, and that was mostly what I cared about.

Cut to high school, and I was deeply into alternative/ new wave music. I met my best friend M a few months into the school year, and we had similiar sensibilities about our hair. We wound up going to the same hairsylist, a great guy who although he was gay, would constantly position his crotch near our shoulders while cutting our hair. We couldn't really figure out why, but figured it was part of his fabulous technique. He loved us because we pretty much gave him carte blanche with out hair. I swear we should have been hair models, because some of those cuts were pretty out there. One style on M was a truly asymmetrical cut, with a traditional bob on one side, and short short on the other. On me, a favorite look was something a bit like the one on the left, minus the extremely long bangs. But it was fun, the styles didn't last long because of the shortness of length, and people always commented favorably on our hair.

Going into senior year, I chose probably the worst time to begin growing my hair out. It wasn't too bad, but I am pretty sure that my senior year was probably the worst hair year of them all. It had no particular style, it just hankered to be long, and seemed to take forever to get there. Somewhere along the midway point, I decided to get a spiral perm, which were all the rage back then. I permed for probably five years, then suddenly swore one day that I would never subject myself to paying someone to pour hot, smelly, disgusting liquid onto my head that burned my skin if it crept past the little cloth thingy. Which it invariably did.

Since then my hair has stayed straight and long, no bangs. It mostly goes down to about my bra line, but can stray a few inches up or down. I part it on the side. I don't use a curling iron, or hairspray, or even a hair dryer. I spritz some liquid gel on it when it is wet, let it dry, brush it out, and voila, my hairstyle for the day. Usually halfway through the day at home, it gets on my nerves and up it goes into an extremely unkempt bun.

Hubba-hubba likes it long, and probably takes it for granted that I will just keep it that way. I don't think I will ever go back to extremely short hair, although one should never say anything for certain. And it wouldn't be because he didn't want me to, but because I like it long.

But am I just kidding myself? Are people whispering about me and my "dated" look behind my back? Will I be on Oprah for a bad hair makeover?

I could only wish.

20 comments:

Anvilcloud said...

See my head in the picture? So tell me about your troubles, eh? :P

Elizabeth said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Elizabeth said...

hahahaha anvilcloud!

Uh...does this person know who Angelina Jolie is? How about Catherine Zeta-Jones?

I think long hair looks good on a woman as long as it looks good on her. Some women who are 60 look good with long hair. Some women never look good with long hair no matter what their age.

If you look good, like your hair long and it makes your husband's motor run then...(everybody sing!)

You've got to
maaaaake your own kind of music
Sinnnnng your own special song
maaaaake your own kind of music
Even if no-bod-y else sings aaaaalonggggg.

Now, no more taunting me.

Suzanne said...

Yeah, I think that age restriction is rather, umm, restricted. If it looks good, go for it!

Gina said...

AC- Bwaahaahaaa! You had me on the floor with that one!

A current "trendy" thing for men who are, um, follically challenged, is to just shave it all off. Like Patrick Stewart. I happen to think it looks pretty good.

Suzanne and Elizabeth- Well, that's the whole problem! I mean, just because I think it looks good doesn't necessarily mean it does. Most of the women on Oprah who get makeovers have gone years thinking they looked pretty hot.

Elizabeth said...

Look at yourself. With all the objectivity you can muster do you look like a crunchy granola California girl from the 70s? Tell the truth and shame the devil! If so, then you don't necessarily need a short hair cut you just need a better long hair cut because you're not too old to wear long hair.

I think you should go see Jonathan. You know who Jonathan is right? For $500 he can give you his signature long hair cut and if you tell a really sentimental story you can probably make him cry because he's always crying on his show... then...the botox and ...the big boobs. You live in the OC after all.

WordsRock said...

I think we need a picture to be able to offer an opinion on whether your hair looks good.

I personally adore long hair. I'm envious of those whose hair actually grows down instead of out. I say keep it long if you like it that way.

Wendy keeps hers long just because I like it.

Gracie said...

Gina - I've been reading and enjoying your blog for bit now (found it through the next blog button) and I've thought several times of commenting but this post compels my comment:

I am 35 and I have long hair too. Like you I grew up with short hair. It was also baby fine and very straight. When I was preggy with my first kid (she's 10 now) my hair turned thick and wavy and stayed that way. I love long hair and I've heard that women over 30 (or 35) should not wear it long but I think it is something said by women who are over 30, have short hair and wish they could pull off long hair. Maybe I am being catty - Ok - no question about it but I still think it's nonsense.

My best friend's mom is pushing 60 and she still has hair past her shoulders. It is turning silver and it is lovely. In spite of the silver and wrinkles she still manages to look youthful.

Mel said...

Well, I'm practically 41 and I have shoulder length, almost long again hair. But I look like a cocker spaniel, so I am in no position to judge. I do know, however, that Oprah says you should not have long hair past 40 and as we know, Oprah is the Fashion God.

Piece of Work said...

I think that restricting your hair length based on your age is as ridiculous as not wearing white after labor day. I saw you in real life, Gina, and your hair looked fine to me! I tend to look better with shortish hair since I have a horse face and bad, fine, thin limp hair. But that didn't stop me from having it long for the last few years.
But I do think perhaps you should post a photo so we can all give you our opinion!

theyellowwallpaper said...

It's silly to say that age dictates the length of hair. I do think however, that many people get stuck in a rut with their hair, never changing the style as time goes by. For most women, hair is a big deal and a bad hair cut can make us feel more vulnerable then a gynological exam.

Personally, my hair styles change all the time for a couple of reasons. One, I just think it's fun to mix things up in style in color. I always figure the worst that will happen is a bad cut that will grow out in a month. And two, I think I'm always looking for that elusive one cut that does it all. Fashionable, easy to maintain, and looks the same everyday.

Oh, and I had a Dorothy Hamill haircut growing up and then in Middle and High school went through an extreme perming phase. I can still recall the smell of those chemicals. Thank God straight, messy hair is in.

Gina said...

Gracie- Hi there! I appreciate your taking the time to comment, and I agree with you that there may be a cattiness factor going on. Feel free to expound at any time, none of us bite! Uh, except for maybe Elizabeth, but we'll try to keep her under control.

Mel- Yes, the fashion God does say no long hair after 40. Well, at least according to that, I have six years to decide what to do.

Amy- WTF? What are you talking about "horse face?" I think not!

Dani- You are right in that it seems silly to have hard and fast rules for hair. I am probably stuck in a bit of a rut, I admit.

And looky all you angling for a picture of me! Seriously, I personally have no good ones of myself, as I am the main picture taker in the family. I will ask around and see if anybody else has any that I could bear to show the internet.

Gracie said...

Thanks for the welcome Gina. About three times over the last 18 months I have spent an hour clicking that next blog feature and I have gotten lucky.

For years I had the same long hair cut...very little shape with eyebrow length bangs. Then, I finally got a "Rachel", just as it was about to go out. One of the main reasons I have long hair - aside from the fact that I think it is really easy - is that I can get away with only getting my hair cut every six months. These days - I have a few long layers and no bangs...I like to think that if I made a little effort I could be like a Charlie's Angel. Mostly though my hair ends wound up in a clippy on the back of my head.

Gina said...

Grace, I have never found any good blogs on the next blog thingy. They are either advertisements, some guy moping about a girl, or some cutesy site that hijacks my cursor and turns it into a butterfly.

But, happy to hear somebody found something!

I am with you on the few and far between haircuts that you can usually get away with when you have long hair. When I do finally get to the salon, they have to chop a bunch off because the ends are so ratty. But somehow I feel as if I am saving money by only getting three haircuts a year.

Liz said...

I found you with the next blog button too!

I agree with yellowwallpaper above. I am in the midst of growing out a really bad haircut. It's so bad that I have felt very self consious about it for the past 2 months.

By the way, I am 43 and I am going to grow my hair back long again. I don't think I could bring myself to get another haircut in the near future!

Gina said...

Well hi Liz! Thank you also for taking the time to comment.

Welcome to the party! :)

A bad haircut can affect your entire life sometimes. Either that, or you just have to find excuses to wear hats all the time.

Liz said...

Thanks for the welcome, Gina!

Karla said...

Wow. Nothing like blatantly displaying your age pool for all to see by confining to ones preconceived notion about hair do's and dont's. Perhaps a visit to the salon to chop off our manes on our 28th birthday is a right of passage for turning old? hee hee.

I think a more balanced approach would be to find the right hair style for the shape of your face, lifestyle (time available to style it etc) and personal preferences.

Peronally, I'm a fan of long hair.

Gina said...

Karla, you crack me up.

Gina said...

Just me. I wanted to see what having 20 comments looked like, as I have never had that many.

Pathetic, I know.