When I was five years old, my mother cut my hair. Well, she didn’t do it, she took me downtown to the Hair Clinic and had Angie cut my hair. The point is, prior to the age of five, I looked like a girl. When I started kindergarten, though, I looked like a boy. The pictures of me on my very first day of school are about the only pictures of me in existence that look like pictures of my kids. Several of my old teachers are still teaching at my old elementary school, where Tadpole and Tomcat now attend classes, and they’ve said more than once how much Tomcat resembles me. I vehemently disagree with this, as he is the spittin’ image of his father and the older he gets, the more he looks like him. But, at the age of five, with hair so short I couldn’t even put barrettes in it, we looked a little bit a like.
There were two girls in my class who had hair long enough that it reached their waist. Oh, how I envied their hair! One girl’s was dark blonde; the other girl’s was red. Every day they came to school with their hair in barrettes or ponytails or braids and every day I envied their ability to change their hairdo at a moment’s notice.
I don’t know what possessed my mother to cut my hair so short (although at least I didn’t suffer alone – she did the same thing to my sister). For all I know, it could have been some silly request I made that I instantly regretted, but I’ll never know. What I do know is this: regret it I did, regardless of whose idea it was. It wasn’t long after that haircut that I vowed never to cut my hair that short again. And to this day, I haven’t. I’ve kept my vow for 23 years. In all that time, the shortest I have ever cut my hair is chin length. At its longest, it reached nearly to my waist, although it didn’t seem like it was that long at the time. I only realized how long it was later, after having cut eight inches off when Tomcat was born, and its true length surprised me.
Now my hair is roughly shoulder length and, while I miss having hair down to my waist, I don’t miss having to take care of it. It took forever to wash and dry, and it quite often seemed to be in the way. But shoulder length isn’t so bad. It’s long enough you can do something with it, but short enough to not be a huge hassle.
More importantly, it’s long enough that I don’t look like a boy.
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