Vanity Insanity by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Hair

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Self Portrait

I have down-to-there hair. It has almost always been shoulder length or longer.

Once, as I was getting into my car, a guy driving by leaned out his window and shouted, “Don’t ever cut your hair!” It’s the first thing people notice about me and, if meeting me for the first time, almost always comment on.

I may be past my prime, but my hair doesn’t know it. The rest of me is typical for someone my age, which is 72 11/12. I wish I could just start at my knees…okay, my ankles and just squoosh myself up into a topknot.

Throughout my life I’ve been told I should cut my hair, that it’s too much for my face, because it’s not only long, it’s thick. True, I’d probably look better if it framed my face instead of just hanging there. It’s definitely not chic, and it may make me look older. And, sometimes I wear it in braids. I know I’m too old for braids, but I don’t care, I wear them anyway.

A hairdresser once told me if she had to blow out my hair every day she’d quit the profession.

My mop is even hazardous to my health. It’s been known to dangle in dishwater and I worry it’ll catch fire one of these days when I reach over the stove to stir something on a back burner. I’ve slammed it in the door getting out of a car…what if the driver had taken off…never mind, I can’t even think about it.

Sometimes I fantasize about jumping in the shower and washing my hair in five minutes, about having a carefree hairstyle that I can run my fingers through, give it a tousle, and I’m good to go. I have moments where I’m tempted to just have at it…but what if I change my mind halfway through, or go into shock once it’s done?

My hair is still healthy, and it makes me feel vital. But maybe I’m the female embodiment of Samson. Because what if, like Samson, I’m only as strong as my hair is long? What if I cut it and my age catches up with me? You know, as in hair today, gone tomorrow?

Profile photo of Barbara Buckles Barbara Buckles
Artist, writer, storyteller, spy. Okay, not a spy…I was just going for the rhythm.

I call myself “an inveterate dabbler.” (And my husband calls me “an invertebrate babbler.”) I just love to create one way or another. My latest passion is telling true stories live, on stage. Because it scares the hell out of me.

As a memoirist, I focus on the undercurrents. Drawing from memory, diaries, notes, letters and photographs, I never ever lie, but I do claim creative license when fleshing out actual events in order to enhance the literary quality, i.e., what I might have been wearing, what might have been on the table, what season it might have been. By virtue of its genre, memoir also adds a patina of introspection and insight that most probably did not exist in real time.

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Characterizations: funny, right on!, well written

Comments

  1. The humor and whimsy of this narrative really appealed to me. (Although I sense profound and non-whimsical emotions course beneath those follicles.)

  2. Suzy says:

    Barb, I love this story! Having met you in person, I know how wonderful your hair is, and it’s great to read your thoughts about it. And what fun that you included an audio clip for us to listen to while reading!

    • And I loved your hair story when I read it almost a year ago…and then I sent you the Frieda cartoon of her saying “People always expect more of you when you have naturally curly hair.” We can relate! Ah, yes…the sinking sensation of a rainy day because of what that means in terms of our hair! I love your description of ironing your hair…just thinking about it I can smell the sweet humid scent that filled the air when I, too, did it. And then came the day, a couple years later, when my boyfriend dunked me in a pool and my hair got wet and curly and he loved it and that was the end of the iron.

  3. Laurie Levy says:

    Love this, Barb. Wish I could have longer hair, but mine simply won’t cooperate. So, I admire my granddaughters’ long hair and pretend mine is not getting thinner and grayer.

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