Friday, February 5, 2010

Growing my mojo back

I feel old. And washed-up, physically and emotionally.

I think it started when I got my hair cut, somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It had been long - halfway down my back - and the weight of it in my ubiquitous ponytail was giving me headaches. I figured it was getting to be time for my once-every-two-years haircut, and I looked forward to a change.

In the hairdresser's chair, I confessed that I am not "good at" hair, and that I'd like a 'do that is low-maintenance while still stylish and youthful. She was excited by the challenge I presented, bringing forth countless hair magazines and style books for study. "What about this one?" she asked of a hairstyle that, to me, looked identical to the last three she had shared. I shrugged (again) and said, "Sure - whatever you think."

Eventually she settled on a look sported by Sandra Bullock on the cover of some woman's magazine. The cut was just above the shoulder, with sexy toussled waves and long, side-swept bangs. Sandra looked like she'd just had great sex while being done up by a makeup artist at the same time.

Yeah, okay, I'll have what she's having.

The stylist started snipping, and I felt good. Lighter. Ready to embrace my new look. Not scared at all, because it's just hair, right? And I felt proud when she held up the two fat braids that we were going to donate. Oh, and relaxed because I was there on a Saturday when Jason could be home with the kids, and I was sitting in a comfy chair with no little people trying to show me artwork or asking for another snack. Life was good.

Then the cutting was done, and it was Styling Time. A sinking feeling hit me hard as I looked at my reflection in the wall-sized mirror two feet in front of me. A professionally-trained stylist in a fancy salon, with all of her tools and products, came up with this look that I would never, ever be able to duplicate...and I hated it.

I looked ten years older. I had lost my ponytail and gained a head of wavy, shoulder-length, housewife hair. And it wasn't just me who thought I looked older. I stopped getting carded at the liquor store - all of them. Restaurants? Nope. Bars? Nope. The way the servers look at me now, they're more likely to ask me if I've had a chance to look at the senior specials.

So, since I lost my long, unkempt ponytail, I feel like I've lost something else, too. What happened to my sense of humor? Lately I'm just as likely to get teary at my husband's teasing than to snort and chuck a pillow at him. And where's my patience? Granted, I was never a champion in this arena, but I used to be able to sit through a guess-what-happened-at-recess-today story without fidgeting like a crack addict.

I used to be - on occasion - fun. I had some energy and some ambition. I liked the feeling of my ponytail swinging back and forth rhythmically as I walked with purpose into the gym or onto the playground. Now with my farty, motionless hairdon't, I walk more tentatively, and I no longer possess that "I can DO this!" spunk that made me the Horshack hand-raiser when volunteers were needed. Now I feel like a wrinkled-up raisin on the inside.

No, wait - a prune. That sounds older.


  1. OMG i feel the EXACT same way! when i first got my short cut i really did love it. but as the months passed i realized i desperately missed my long hair. i feel frumpy now. boring. i'm trying to grow it and it is in an AWKWARD crap style now. ugh.

    we'll power through and by summer it will be back to something resembling what we had before.


  2. Christine - isn't it funny how something superficial like hair can influence the way we feel in so many ways? I was never one of those people who freaked out over haircuts - I've never even had a salon or stylist that I go to regularly - so I wasn't expecting this one haircut to hit me so hard. I guess I was starting to be a little concious of getting older to begin with, and then the haircut exploded those insecurities. But, yes, I am hoping to be in ponytail heaven by summer. (fingers crossed)

  3. I think I'm the exact opposite! I love going to the salon for haircuts and it's been years since I've had ponytail-length hair.

    I bet you can feel younger, more energetic, and more fun even before your hair grows back. Maybe a set of killer heels? I have some pointy spiky boots that make me feel powerful whenever I stomp around in them!

  4. I am right there with you! I need my ponytail too --- and much to every hairdressers dismay, I also like having bangs. I always dread going for a haircut because without fail the stylist tries to convince me that I want to grow out my bangs for a "more grown up look". Well, maybe I don't want to look "older", I can already buy alcohol thank you very much!

  5. I like your idea, Bhuvana! Of course, I'll have to buy a new outfit that I could wear with the fancy shoes...been a stay-at-home mom for almost five years now, so the wardrobe is a little more "Malcolm in the Middle" than "Sex in the City." Hmmmm...I guess the problem goes a little deeper than just one unfortunate haircut. Mama's got work to do!

  6. Well, good thing for you, I haven't seen this "farty" haircut. So as far as I know, it doesn't exist. But it has me pondering.... What does a farty haircut look like? Does my hair look farty?

  7. KM - your hair does NOT look farty and you know it. Of course a shorter 'do isn't farty in and of itself. I've had shoulder-length hair lots of times before, but for some reason it worked better and crushed my spirit less. Maybe it's the addition of the weird bangs this time? The ones I don't bother to style and instead hide in a headband?

  8. I haven't seen you in a long time, but last time you had short hair it looked really hot, but you hated it. I don't see why it should be any different this time.

  9. I am sorry that you are feeling this way, Craff. It's a terribly awful feeling when you are depressed by your reflection. Have you thought about trying a couple of new hats or scarves to jazz it up for a while? Or try to work with the bangs - I just got some cut a few weeks ago and I'm still a newbie at them - but give them a try. Or maybe a new flat iron would help give it a more youthful look? I don't know. I want you to feel comfortable in that awesome skin of yours. Hair may seem like a superficial thing but it is a major feature so I can understand what you're feeling. Chin up, beautiful, I betcha don't look half as crappy as you think you do! :)