So, I was grocery shopping this morning at 5 AM – as one does – when the attendant at the self-checkout mentioned that he liked my haircut, and that not every woman could wear short hair well. Compliments, as a rule, are nice things, and this one was no exception – although I admit it did almost make me laugh; at the moment, my grown-out buzzcut resembles nothing so much as a head full of dark brown dandelion fluff. (Not bad, if you’re a fan of dandelions. I’ve thought about dying it white.)
And so we chatted about hair. His daughter, once upon a time, had really long hair. She came home from college one summer and announced she was cutting it – which she did, into a short, spiky pixie. She then dyed it bright fire engine red – and her dad let her, because “it looked good, and you’re only young once.” That reminded me of my mother, who once told me that your mid-twenties are for re-visiting all the crazy and potentially dumb things you wanted to do in your teens and deciding which ones were genuinely bad ideas and which ones would be the sort of fun you seem to only get away with in your mid-twenties. (By the by, as of the 11th, I’ve passed officially from “mid” to “late” twenties – is there a maxim of some sort for that age group too?)
Unfortunately, check-out guy’s daughter’s hair didn’t last long; she got a job at a grocery store, and they required her to change it. “We don’t do that sort of thing here,” they said. It was the check-out guy’s considered opinion that people like that should loosen up and “get a life.'” Can’t say I really disagreed.
Before I left, he mentioned that he used to wear his hair short too – and sometimes gelled spikes into it. This last he said with a sort of conspiratorial twinkle in his eye, as if he were telling me about the time he dipped a girl’s pigtails in an inkwell or conned all his friends into whitewashing a fence. He wears it longer now.