Despite the doctrine of my childhood, by which women should not take pride in their “braided hair” (1 Timothy 2:9 “ likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,”), to name just one of the many abhorrent bible quotes dealing with modesty and submission of the female gender, my dad did get shocked, when I got my hair cut for the first time in my life. Maybe women themselves weren’t allowed to take pride in their hair, but their fathers were.
I was about nine years old and up until then, I wore my hair long and in two braids on regular days. The daily ritual of braiding a not so pleasant experience, as long as my mom did it for me. She braided really tight, to have me look “ordentlich”(neat) all day long.
On special occasions I was allowed to leave it open and it floated down my back freely. I liked the swoosh sounds it made, whenever I was allowed to wear it open, so I continuously shook my head a little on such days, to hear it.
I got it in my head to do away with the braids, I thought I had well grown out of. And secretly, I was after hearing the swooshing sound every day. So I begged and nagged my mom for quite some time to let me have my hair cut (later she told me, she was hesitant to agree, because she was worried about my dad’s reaction). Finally, she did take me to the hairdresser’s, who took the scissors to the dark fur of mine with a sigh. I thought, the new haircut looked great, just a little more than shoulder lenght. And my head felt all light, with so little weight left on it. The sensation (and swooshes) only lasted a few days, but I still recall it being great. My dad’s reaction that day was not so great. He was really shocked. His first remark to my mom was: “You brought a boy home.” He turned away to hide tears welling up. This really hit me. Up until then, I wasn’t aware, that he cared at all. I felt really bad, but I couldn’t help liking the new me.
Writing this, I realise, that this little incident was maybe the first one, on which I made a choice for myself, that would hurt my father deeply. Many more would follow.
How on earth did I get here? My intention was, to write about getting a haircut, yesterday. How I made my hairdresser happy, by announcing, she could do what ever she wanted, as I was ready for a change. How she beamed at the mirror from behind, explaining what she intended to do. As a result, I am running around with a pageboy cut. I think, it looks ok, but am not overly happy. The fun, my hairdresser had, makes up for it. Having said that, I am usually not very happy, leaving any hairdresser. I just don’t enjoy going. First, I don’t like strangers fiddling about with my body (this is why I hate massages, too). Second, I don’t like having to sit still. I am impatient. Third, the results of a fresh haircut seem to look unnatural, always. It takes a while, until I and my hair grow back into feeling “normal” again.
All reasons, to keep visits to a hairdresser down to a bare minimum. Depending on how short I wear my hair, that has been on average two to three times a year for the last couple of years. There was even a span of ten or so years, where I would not go to any hairdresser at all. After I left my husband, I decided to grow my hair back to the lenght I had as a child. So I just dealt with the fringes myself and otherwise let it grow as it wanted. Once a year, my sister would cut any damaged tips across in a straight line at the back. That was it. But it wasn’t coming back to the former lenght and glory, of course, with time having taken it’s toll.
One day I realised, that nothing would make me a girl anymore. I noticed a woman in her fifties on the street, with a similar hairdo to mine, even with similar streaks of grey in it and thought, she would look much better, wearing her hair a lot shorter. So I ended my mission and had a proper haircut again. But I still fight any suggestions to colour it. I quite like the grey.