Sitting in the cutting chair

She reached behind me and weighed matters with a quick twist of her arm. "Are you absolutely sure about this? That's pretty drastic…" The feel of the weight coming off my shoulders was dizzying, powerful. Up until that point I had never considered it to be a burden; it was something to be tucked up and away with elastic bands or caps, or carefully restrained with a bow.

I was seventeen, and absolutely certain. "Cut it.""But it's…beautiful. You're absolutely certain you want me to do this? It will take you years to grow this back."

As she spoke, I took my glasses off and tucked them under the plastic robelike drape they make you wear (to protect your clothes from rogue hairs) while sitting in the cutting chairs. Without my glasses, I was blind—and had to trust. Trust felt sticky and warm, like the back of my neck, which was rapidly beginning to adhere to the nonporous plastic drape.

I had threatened to do this for many, many years, and today was going to be the day. I was, after all, seventeen, and absolutely certain. "I have the fastest-growing hair you've ever seen. Between a half-inch and an inch every month. Don't worry; if I hate it, I'll just grow it back."

The blurry outline in the mirror, the one that vaguely resembled my hairdresser, gestured wildly in the mirror to her co-workers. "Can you believe this? She wants to cut all this off! Where in the world do I start?"

Someone from the back yelled, "Pin the top two-thirds up on the top of her head, and cut it just a bit longer than what she wants. Then start letting the rest of her hair down, a chunk at a time, and cut it that way. By the time you even it all up, it'll be where she wants it."

She leaned in closer to me and said, sotto voce, "How short?" as she cleaned her scissors.

I raised my right arm to my neck and mimicked a beheading motion, level with my chin. "Right to the chin."

As over a foot of hair came off, I could literally feel my head gradually unbalancing and then righting itself as the weight of my hair changed. Then, with a whisk of the drape and a quick brush-down of my neck, the deed was done. By most standards of the Western world, I still had very long hair; for me, though, it was extremely short.

I loved it. Until I realized I couldn't pin it up in a ponytail, that is.

Thus began the cycle. My hair would grow, and grow, until I finally got tired of its heft and length, and then, a year or so later, I would have it all chopped off. It would then be another year before I saw another hairstylist, who would then perform the same radical surgery upon my hair.

As of this summer, it will have been two years since my last shearing. The last one was shorter than usual. As I stood in the shower tonight I realized that my hair is now a hand's-span away from my waist.

Jeff and me at the visitation, with a maternal great-aunt and a paternal uncle in the background.Jeff and Amy

Another two or three months, and it—that strange combination of not-red and not-blond, as well as not-spiral-curls but not-straight—will be the longest it's ever been.

I looked in the mirror tonight, while combing it out, and wondered how long I'm going to let it get this time. It's not bothering me now, but I know that there will come a day, as those days have come in the past, where I look in the mirror, nod, and say, "It's time."

On those days I announce to no one what I'm planning on doing. I just swoop into a hair salon, unclip my hair, no longer seventeen but still absolutely certain, and say,

"Cut it."


Amen. I did the same thing when I reached 6th grade. I knew that I wanted it cut, so I told her to cut it so that they could make a wig out of it and sure enough, it got cut. Since then, I've never had that drastic of a cut, mainly because I don't like to go through that period where I can't pin it up. Instead, ever 6 weeks or so, I go into the hairstylist and get 2 inches cut off even though they always go, "That's an awful lot of hair. Are you sure you want us to cut that much if this is a trim?" "Trust me, it'll be back in a matter of a few weeks."

I love my hair short. It is so thin and fine that I can do nothing with it. And overall, fine, thin hair looks better short. When it's long enough for a ponytail, it won't stay up without half a bottle of hairspray anyway. But.. I'm letting it grow out so that if I want to put it up, and roll it, or whatever I may want to do for the wedding, I won't have to worry about it being too short.

A year ago this month, I cut off my long hair. I had never had long hair growing up. My mom always fixed it and I guess she wanted to keep it short. In college and for a couple of years after I just let it grow. Last year, I kept it long long enough to go to my husband's military ball and the very next day I had nearly a foot of hair cut off. I was ready for it. I had been mentally preparing myself for a while, but when I actually saw her cut off that ponytail, it was everything I could do not to cry. Although, now, I'm very satisfied with my chin length bob.

I thought I was the only one that did that! I have really long really thick hair and about every year or two I hack a good foot / foot and a half off and take it back to my chin. I never fail to surprise the lady cutting it. I also never forget how good it feels when the hair is gone...

I can't imagine me having long hair, but I like long hair on women. -shrug-

hmmm I thought I was the only one who also grew hair for a year, only to subject it to a brutal hacking. I am in the growing stage now. It will take until about June to start getting up my nerve to cut it. By August I will actually do it, unplanned, just on a whim drop into a salon with no appointment. Then I will begin again.

I'm a guy with farily long hair... It's an inch or two below my sholders, and I always pull it back into a pony tail. It looks cool and I think all things considered it's better than short hair. With short hair you have to go in to get it cut frequently to get it to look right and if you don't get it cut every month on the dot it looks really stupid and grown out, quite awkard in my experience. With long hair I go in for a trim every year or so, they hack off an inch and no one knows the difference. It isn't subject to that awkard-need-a-hair-cut-but-I'm-too-busy-too-get-one look, becuase it's always pulled back it rarely gets in my eyes, and I'm just one big happy camper. The only down side is that my genes seem to have me cut out for male pattern baldness, so eventualy I'll have to cut it, but so far I'm lucky.

My younger sister had very long hair, and when my other sister gave her a 'little' trim that turned out not to be quite so little (though still past her shoulders), it was somewhat traumatic for her. I, however, haven't felt the business end of scissors in many years - I just take a buzzcut shaver to my head and be done with it for a few months, whenever I start to look like I've just walked out of Deliverance.

/me resists the temptation to quote Deliverance, for the sake of all involved I'm going to be in Noah's shoes soon enough, I think. Of course, soon I won't have enough hair for it to matter. :D I've been mulling getting another haircut, though, because right now, I'm at about 1/2-inch on the sides, and I feel all scraggly.

Awh the fun. My wife has had 5 hair cuts in 35 years..Grows it out to knee or floor length and then walks into the shop for fun drops the bun and says cut it. They all say a trim you mean, as the hair touches her toes or lies on the floor a foot or so longer then she is tall." NO a haircut ya all know what that is right a hair cut." it's been 7 years since I last cut it and want a short feeling. Most cut 97" in 1979. Usually Knee length or ankle length 72"Long cutting 66-69" then a buzz cut to 1 in all around last cut was 1998. Hair is approaching another cut,(2005)#6 now who can we walk in on an shock? Most cannot believe the haircut and customers whispering touching yelling do it don't cut it etc the day is full of memories not to say $1,000 a spire for sale each time>>>Had three other long haired ladies in salon cut thier waist to knee length hair just because the wife looked so good short haired, out from under the mane. What a day that was. Fun Fun Fun.