Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Back to School Means Back in the Chair for a Haircut

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Back to School Means Back in the Chair for a Haircut

Article excerpt

When I was a child, the rituals of preparing for any new school year included, without question, a haircut.

I never had the long braidable hair I yearned for in grammar school. My mother appreciated simplicity, and although I loved the flowing manes a few of my friends sported, I certainly didn't want to bother with washing and grooming my own. And so a simple pageboy that barely covered my ears framed my face in every school picture from kindergarten through seventh grade.

My late-August pruning was severe and invariably revealed a graceless swath of white across my forehead where the sun hadn't penetrated for a month or two. So branded, off to school I'd go.

The first time I considered letting those bangs grow out - perhaps at age 12 or 13 - I was wholly unprepared for the local hairstylist's objective opinion.

"She's just too plain," she said perfunctorily, sweeping the front hair back for a moment to reveal my whole face, sans adornment.

My mother didn't agree, but she was my mother. I took the comment to heart, and the bangs stayed until I reached my mid-teens. By then my peers and I didn't need a stylist to decide what looked good and what didn't. I let my hair and bangs grow out, gamely sleeping on the hard plastic rollers I could finally utilize.

By the time I was in college, I had a dark cascade that I had long since ceased trying to curl. With the exception of one or two back-to-basics cuts, I kept it long through years of travel, motherhood, and even dairy farming - a quick ponytail before entering the hayfield or milk parlor kept it off my neck and out of the way. …

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