I just ran the clippers through my hair. It's my every-two-week routine: pass a pair of clippers with a #3 guard over my head, then fade out the sides and back with a #2. Then, carefully, measure out an ounce each of color and developer and apply it to the stubble on my head and let it rest for twenty-five minutes. When I remember, I dye my eyebrows as well. My eyebrows have gone white, as has the hair at my temples and the nape of my neck, and it's nice to have at least an outline to pencil in in the mornings.
Here are the people who love my hair:
1. Black women of any age. "Rockin' that 'fro, Boo" is what I hear from Friend Lisa at work, and I hear its equivalent from other Black women of varying ages, all day long.
2. Black men in their 60's. On Sundays when everybody comes to visit their fellow parishioners in the hospital, Black men Of A Certain Age are complimentary of my buzzcut.
3. World War 2 veterans of any ethnicity. It's surprising how many centenarians and men in their 90's comment favorably on a woman with really, really short hair.
4. Punks, people with excessive numbers of tattoos, and people with piercings in places you wouldn't necessarily want piercings. The fact that I have no hair breaks down barriers.
5. White women who've had cancer and who miss the ease of a buzz, but who hate the psychological implications of no hair. I can totally understand that. After my surgery, I grew out my hair to prove to myself I could, then cut it off on my 43rd birthday because I hated having to keep up with it.
And here is a comprehensive list of those people who hate my hair:
1. My dad. Bless his heart, I don't think he'll ever imagine me with anything but the curly, wild, shoulder-length red hair that I had in my early 20's. I feel bad for him. Not only is curly, wild, red hair a distraction and a pain in the ass to take care of, it's just. Not. Me.
Sometimes I wish I could go back to the days when Beloved Sister took a picture of me, all hair blown by the wind, on the beach near San Francisco. What that picture doesn't show, though, is the stress and horror of being in California when I didn't want to be, the stink that came from my hair not reacting well to California water, and the exhaustion of trying to keep together a marriage that was coming apart.
Mom is undecided. I think she thinks something chin-length with waves might be more flattering, but she understands the discipline of long hair and why I can't deal with it.