Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Blues

Yesterday, while my son was asleep, I made my husband cut a good 2 1/2 inches off my hair. I was just sick of it. Here I am, 4 months into living in a new town and I just couldn't face going to a hairdresser to get what I REALLY wanted-- a medium-length bob. I've been talking about it for months. I've been complaining about my shoulder-length, half-assed chunky-whispy-crappy hair.

Mind you, I was at the hairdresser nary a month ago. I wanted him to transform me. To excavate me from under my hairy mop. He ended up mostly talking about himself and telling me that one of my eyes was more open than the other and then switching my part. He styled me and spritzed me to within an inch of my life and I left feeling like a very coiffed cyclops.

I've been battling the blues off and on for the past week. That's normal for most folks, but something that makes me particularly sit at attention. I have a bit of history, shall we say, with the blue bug. And somehow with me, the blues are particularly marked by a strange combo of stasis (inability to move or change) and these wild spurts of impulsiveness. It's sort of like having your fuel injectors clogged. It makes the ride jumpy and weird.

It also makes me for some reason want to cut my hair off.

Until I got married, I pretty much had pixie-short hair almost all of my life. The main prerequisites for being my hairdresser were as follows: 1) You must be a gay male 2) You must not give me little curlicues or licks or whispy things. I want it straight and clean. It helps if you have a cute accent.

I suppose I always saw my ability to wear short-short hair as a strength. I didn't have to hide behind a pelt of anything. Then, somehow, I discovered a form of patience that grew within me slowly, which allowed me to let my hair be. That patience over the past year has turned to a sort of passive armor. I'm not as skinny as I used to be, I'd reason. The flowing locks go with the flowing body.

Yet somehow, the longer my hair gets, the more attention it requires: it has a tendency to go lopsided or for the curls to wildly spring about and then take a dive. In short, it became high-maintenance.

And then yesterday it just hit me. I needn't make an appointment. Or an excuse. Or explain the way I want it to anybody. I just need a pair of scissors. I was already stripped and ready to get into the shower when I approached my husband in the living room. I said, do you want to cut it or should I? I think I freaked him out. He said what it if is uneven or lopsided? Curls, I said, are forgiving. And to be honest, I don't care if it's even. I just want it cut.

And wouldn't you know it, as soon as that thick brown hair began to fall into the sink, it was like years were being stripped away from me. While we were at it, I convinced my husband to lean over the sink and let me excavate his lovely strong face from the throngs and waves of hair that he has been too lazy to make an appointment to shear.

This haircutting thing took two hours. By the time we were both done and satisfied with the shape and length of each other's hair, my son began to stir upstairs in his crib. The bathroom floor was covered in dark brown hair.


My next turn may be one I've put off for a while: blue.

My hair is raven-black. It is the antithesis of color. And, in the past five years and despite the fact that I'm only 32, I have acquired a frosting of white. Actually, not so much a frosting. More like streaks. Think cruella.

My husband thinks they're bitchin'. I did, too, until they began to spread. A half a year ago I started to cover them. But what I really wanted to do (and want to do) is keep my hair color the same. And color the white blue. Not just a little blue. A lot blue. I want a blue streak.

Since my hair is predominantly black, I think I can get away with it without looking like a total misfit. I just want to look a little bitchin'.

Then I stumbled across this little blurb in the NYT sunday magazine with a wonderful drawing. It talks about what one psychology researcher calls "psychological neotony" which perhaps explains whole hosts of unfitting, rebellious or immature behavior in otherwise mature adults. (Umm, like dying your hair punk blue). He states:

...Social roles have become less fixed in modern society. We are expected to adapt to change throughout our lives, both in our personal relationships and in our careers, and immaturity, as Charlton added, is “especially helpful in making the best out of enforced job changes, the need for geographic mobility and the requirement to make new social networks.” In fact, he speculates, the ability to retain youthful qualities, now often seen as folly, may someday be recognized as a prized trait.

So perhaps if I've got the blues, I should flaunt them. Look out world, here I stutter.

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