We Real Women have a very strong, personal, love-hate relationship with our hair. Our locks are a key element in our individuality – they help define our style, our personality, and can even affect our moods. (It can be hard to be Patty Positive during a Bad Hair Day.) Ironically, we often long for what we don’t have. If we have straight hair, we wish it was wavy. If we have fine hair, we want thick. And the color – oh, my, our desires here can change at any moment.
Most of us spend an embarrassingly large amount of time and money on our hair. Between salon appointments, styling products and tools and accessories, the Hair business is Big business. Some Real Women (the brave minority of us) stick to simple styles and go with whatever color mother nature deems appropriate. The majority of us find styles we like, don’t vary far from them, and enhance as needed – especially to mask grey strands. And still others of us, the adventurous Real Women, find every opportunity to try dramatic style changes and color choices on a regular basis.
The enhancement opportunities are astounding. A hair stylist is happy to encourage us to try any manner of dyes, extensions, weaves, and even feather additions. I’m just not that brave. And speaking of stylists, when we find one we like and trust, we will be as loyal to them as we are to our spouses. Our relationship with our hair expert may be one of the longest lasting in our lives. Yes, as vain as it sounds, our hair is just that important to us.
Men’s hair is important to them too – but not to the same level as women. Men find styles they are comfortable with and keep them. Unfortunately, men over 40 tend to experience a wound to their ego and much angst over bald spots. But that’s about the extent of their hair relationship. Ah, they are such simple creatures.
Other than a few unfortunate short ‘n funky experiments in the 80’s, I have worn my hair long for most of my life. My mom used to say women over 40 should not have long hair. Sorry, mom. Because I wear it long, I can often go extended periods of time between cuts. Today I finally went for a trim after almost 3 months…and even though the cut only took my stylist about half an hour, I felt like a new woman when I left the salon. Of course, the pro’s have that magic they can do during the styling process that makes you feel like a model when they are done. I’ve often day dreamed about how amazing it would be to have a personal hair stylist to do my hair every morning. Funny thing, my stylist turned down my offer to live in my closet and be available at a moment’s notice to make me look amazing.
I think the only time any of us might loosen our choke-hold on our personal hair fascination is if we just didn’t have any. When my mom was battling cancer, she lost her hair. Similarly, when one of my dearest soul-sister BFF’s went through her brave (and thankfully successful) battle against breast cancer, she lost her hair as well. Sure, they both took advantage of wigs, scarves and hats, but what amazed me the most is that without their hair, we could fully appreciate their true beauty, strength and resilience – especially because the cruel factor was that they had to lose something so personally precious during their most awful times in their lives. They could no longer “hide” under or behind their hair like the rest of us do every day – they were “outed” by this unforgiving illness. And although I’m sure neither of them felt this way at the time, they both really did look beautiful in spite of it. My mom’s hair did make a return appearance before her battle was lost, and I remember it came back super soft, wavy, and salt & pepper in color. I loved it. And as for my BFF, every time I see her, her hair has gotten longer, more wavy and beautiful. More proof to the fact that you just can’t keep a good woman, or her hair, down.
Perhaps our daily relationship and preoccupation with our hair is silly or vain. Perhaps we have been late to work or appointments because we are struggling to make it look nice before leaving the house. Perhaps we have spent money on highlights or a cut that really could have gone to something important like food. But in the end, being happy with how we look gives us the confidence and courage to take on the world. When we are having a really Good Hair Day, we are FABULOUS. And there is nothing wrong with that.