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hair
I have a lot of hair.

Those of you who know me personally know just how much. It’s black, mostly, brown on the ends, and I have a few of what someone kindly called “sparklers.” I figure everyone has them, they just show on me more; and since I seem to have more hair than most of the population, I get to have twice as many. {Once, a hunk of it was blue, and then green. Really.} And in the song “Hair,” * when they say “give me down to there hair,” the there in question is pretty close to my behind.

I get comments on my hair all the time, ranging from “Boy, you have a lot of hair,” to “You’re too young to have that much grey in your hair,” to “Wow… how long does it take for all that hair to dry?” These are comments from people I don’t know passing by on the street or in a store, and in some cases, they are people I will never ever see again. {And why do people who don't know you make personal comments? That's a whole other topic of conversation.}

I just don’t understand why my hair is all that interesting. I enjoy talking to new people; I just never thought my hair would be my passport to an interesting conversation. On the bright side, a woman sitting behind me on the Metro once told me I had beautiful hair and a great braid in it. We had a nice chat about french braids. I’ve also known people who wanted to trade… oh, if only that were possible… want half?

In the summer, I have a support team. When it gets around 90º, I get this terrific urge to just take a pair of scissors and hack it all off. This is when I call the Team in to encourage me not to. Part of the reason is because I like having long hair; I just don’t like having big, frizzy, heavy hair. I have this dream vision where I have really cute Audrey Hepburn-type hair or a curly bob…something that takes less than 24 hours to dry completely… The fact is, the second I cut all that off, I will have an instant Afro. When I was about five years old, that was cute; I really don’t think that would be all that good a look for me now. So my support team talks me out of it, knowing that when cooler weather comes, I’ll be happy again, and have warm ears!

I have had short hair, normal hair. I hated it from the moment I got it cut when I realized you couldn’t do anything with it. My hairstyle for a day at the pool was the same style as it was for my 8th-grade graduation ceremony. Boring. And it was still fluffy!

Now I braid it, weave things in it, wear pigtails, ponytails, clip butterflies into it…. like the lyrics say, “I want it long, straight, curly, fuzzy, snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty, oily, greasy, fleecy, shining, gleaming, steaming, flaxen, waxen, knotted, polka dotted, twisted, beaded, braided, powdered, flowered and confettied, bangled, tangled, spangled and spaghettied.” I’ve had my hair most of those ways, at one time or another. {“Spaghettied”, I’m still working on. I’ll let you know when I figure out what that is.} I allow myself to buy the kind of barettes that 5-year-olds would love; my husband's favorite hairstyle is when I tie it all back in a low ponytail and tie a scarf in it — it's the way the women wore their hair when we went to Italy. Anything that reminds us of Italy is a good thing.

I know I’m follicle-ly blessed. So don’t let me put you off. If you really want to make a comment about my hair, go ahead! {No pun intended. Really. Okay, maybe a little bit.}

“Flow it, show it, long as God can grow it: my hair.”

*Hair, by James Rado, Gerome Ragni and Galt MacDermott ©1966


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