Monday, April 16, 2007

Pixie Power!

Chicken got all A's & 1's on her 3rd quarter report card. "What would you like to do for your reward?" I said, beaming with pride. "I want my haircut short!" she gleefully answered.

Hm. Haircut? Before we go into detail, let me bring you back. Way back.

My grandmother, overwhelmed with 4 children and a military husband, kept her only daughter's (that would be my mother) hair very. very. short. This was scarring to my poor mother who had beautiful, bright blond hair that many New Englanders envied (even during the dark winter months). I believe my grandmother forced this "hair style" (I use the quotes on style seriously) on my mother for at least 12 or 13 years.

Remember this story when I tell you what happened 15 years later.

After a long struggle to get pregnant by my father (even though they were no longer in any kind of relationship. Hm. No wonder why I'm so screwed up!), I was finally born in 1981. And I was a girl! I didn't have beautiful blond hair that would forever link me to the Snell gene but I had thick black hair and that was good enough!
So began the 16 year battle my mother and I would have over hair. She kept my hair very. very. long. When I was 7, my mom thought it would be a GREAT! idea if I had a perm (hey, it was 1988, everyone did it, don't make fun!) and clearly did not follow the beautician's advise NOT to perm my hair (she took my mother's $40 and did it anyway). I distinctly remember the beautician telling my mother that she should wait until I was 10 to treat my hair since at the ripe age of 7, I still had "baby hair" (you can imagine my horror) and the chemicals may not "take". I remember the smell of the potion clearly (a cross between ammonia and burning follicles). The perm didn't take (surely because I had "baby hair". Ugh) and I was left with a luxurious head of long, dirty blond hair so thick that you couldn't wrap a single hand around it all.
I wonder if this was the point where my mother decided she would live vicariously through my head? Because for the next 10 years, I was forbidden to do anything to my hair. Especially cut it! I vividly remember arguments (visualize hands flying very fast but no sound) that I lost every time. "When you're 18 and not living in my house, you can do what you want. Until then, you may not ever. touch. your. hair!" "But it's MY hair!" was my argument every time. (Hard to believe I didn't win with that, eh?) When I was 14, I dyed my hair blonder because my dirty blond was not bright enough! Surprisingly, she was ok with this (remember her own, very proud head of very bright blond hair) but I was reminded that I could. not. cut. my. hair!
On my 16 birthday, I realized something: "I have a car. I have a job. I can do whatever I want!" And so I drove to Kool Cuts (why the K for cool, no K for cuts? I'll never know.), Home of the $7 haircut (seriously), gave the nice lady my $7 and asked her to cut my waist-long hair to my shoulders. She tied it in a pony tail and with one swift cut, gone was my hair. She put the pony tail in a brown paper bag (in case I wanted to reattach it?) and I brought it home to my mother. She cried. And she threw things. And she cursed me. And she saved that brown bag with my hair (creepily, she still has it).

When my own daughter came to me, wanting her hair cut, I had traumatic flash backs to all of those wasted battles against my mother. I decided (against Husband's opinion-what does he know?) that she was old enough to decide how she wanted her hair to look.

After all, it is HER hair.

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

Emily wanted the same thing. To cut her hair short! I think they all go through that stage. She liked it short but also likes it every year and a half she cuts it up to her shoulders then lets it grow long again! (with of course trimmings in between).