Editorial: My Hair And Everything That Goes With It, By Micaela Bensko
My hair. It's a moan every woman has exhaled throughout her life. Rarely do you hear a woman expound upon the exquisiteness of her own locks.
My hair has teased me my entire life with its fine tattles of do. Others found it thick and envied its mass while those who knew me would rue it too. My hair lobbied a lounge of a thousand fine strands; when they gathered it was wrangling gnats. Fly-always taunted my lips, getting stuck in their gloss at the slightest passing of the wind.
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My days of shooting weddings grew longer with every annoying piece of hair that launched into my eyes or across my lens. I tied it back into a strangled tail, but the wisps still proved too wild. So I slicked them back with spray. Still to no avail - they arched in a limping el across my face. So I pinned them down. Like a school girl going to gymnastics. The pins were the first thing real men saw. So I tried gel. Super Gel. Hair Cement. Surfer's Glue. The more I pasted the harder I looked. The lines of time upon my forehead read like War and Peace. Bangs. I needed bangs. To hide the lines and hardened face.
Bangs are the bane of a girls' existence. We are prodded into chopping them by false advertisements of celebrities on red carpets with a team of architects who work into the night to create their masterpiece of men. Bangs. They should be shot.
They torture women and make us wonder why we are so weak that we cannot control the frailest of things. The hours spent attempting to master this quarrel leaves us exhausted and in a cap.
It was then that I cut my hair off into a cut so short a pixie would find it long. It was as close to a Brittany Spears meltdown as possible without the celebrity, baseball bat or news. Because I was calm when it transposed. I was so calm you could hear the stillness of my heart. Because I was done. I was done fighting the battle of the hair. I was done with hands tied by locks without a key. I cut it off.
I was alone that day on my way to a shoot at the beach with time to kill. Visions of whipping strands danced in my head - of hair getting caught in my lips on the sand. I was heading down San Vicente and saw my old salon coming up. Deja Vu - no, not déjà vu as in I thought I had been there before.
The name of the salon was Déjà Vu. I actually had been there before. So I pulled over and stopped. Without a second thought I entered the salon and their opening was mine.
Nothing delights a European stylist more than when a woman asks for him to take it off. It reminds them of home. Of women with pixie cuts and long lean bodies who allow their beauty to shine from within. Or so I found out. The salon began to buzz with my bravery.
"She is cutting it off!" As though I had commenced the bravest battle of my life. When, to me, it was the most natural thing to do, because I was done.
I was done being a slave to my hair every moment of my life. Not because of how it looked. I had lost that war long ago. It was about how it had prevented me from living my life. I found myself jealous of men and their ease throughout the day. From waking to sleep the very last thought for most was their hair. In boardrooms, the gym, the beach or the street, jogging and sweating or black tie or briefs - their hair was an afterthought of gods.
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All of my life I felt that in order to be a goddess I had to have long flowing locks. But after a lifetime of roiling ringlets around my fingers for the perfect coil, I could roil the coil no more.
The assistant draped the black cape around my chest and buttoned it close to my neck. An offer of coffee or tea I normally refused was accepted with resignation that this was indeed a special day. I did not look up. It didn't take long for my life to change. Then he asked me if I would like to see the back. He spun me around and placed a mirror in my hand. I raised it to reflect the image on the looking glass behind my chair.
And for the first time in my life I saw the elegant nape of my neck. The one my husband had placed in his hand the night we said I do. I accepted its grace as it ran from my shoulder to my ear. The skin untouched by light at a hairline I had never met. The shape of my head was revealed. A thought rarely seized unless reviewing brochures on cancer at my annual review. When I wondered how I would look if I were bald.
Or had very short hair. I used to think women recovering from chemotherapy were the most beautiful in the world. There is something about the shaving of hair to its shortest point, or the re-growth of hair at the verge of a life, that reminds me of how fragile and beautiful life can be - if we just don't worry about the little things. Like hair. I removed the cape and stood to a thousand remnants of who I used to be.
Women awed at my bravery and the shedding of a skin. One said I looked French. I felt different. I felt new. But most of all, in the birth of ecstatic glee, I had never felt more like me. It has been years now since I cut it off and I have not once looked back. Except after a cut when I am spun around and see my self in the looking glass.