Hair it is

July 13, 2007

My senior year of high school I stopped cutting my hair.  Besides the occasional trimming the wavy locks were allowed free reign to blanket my shoulders and back.  My mom was none too pleased and my siblings were wondering what could have gotten into my head to allow that bush to flourish with abandon.

Things calmed down and that included my mane.  With more length the curls were subdued by gravity’s force and I celebrated the day when those first strands actually stayed behind the ears they were tucked.  Entering college my hair represented the awakening reinvention of this nest-dwelling boy into an independent reckless man.  The hair thumbed its kinkiness at the Man and was a signpost to others that this individual was willing to defy some of society’s expectations.

Collegiate women found this long hair appealing and at times would seek me out because of this lone characteristic.  Sensing a good thing more hair grew upon the chin and sides of the face.  A surprising gush of Irish red below the mouth complemented the flowing browness on top.  The wildness of my appearance began to influence my inner convictions. (Or did it work the other way around?)

I became a beacon for and sought out all things that my hair represented: drugs aplenty, parties til early morn, taking chances just because they were there.  I became more free of movement and speech but only when those intoxicants found there way into my system.  I thought that because I looked different than most of my peers I was by default different.  But I too was caught up in the frivolity of numbing the senses just because I could.  My hair was a reminder that I was willing to take that next step into the void but really I was holding back from facing the truths of my being:

I did not need alcohol to speak deeply about my feelings.

My outward “look” was inconsequential.

Long hair clogs the shower drain much faster than short hair.

The shorning of the once fair head of hair I gave as a gift to my mother on my 24th birthday.  She cut with abandon.  She shaved with glee.  We went out to celebrate at a Steak house and I marveled in my vegetarian irony.  I could feel the wind on my scalp and my mom said that my sparkling blue eyes were no longer hidden behind my unruly locks.

For more strands of hair…

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13 Responses to “Hair it is”

  1. Karen Says:

    “Long hair clogs the shower drain much faster than short hair.”

    How very, very true. And its so much easier to brush when short!! For this promtp I almost posted a pic of the results when I use a snake zipper in my shower drain…but noone really needs to see that.

    Very insightful post. It amazes me how many people are defined by others by their hair alone.

  2. gautami Says:

    Better late than never. You finally found that freedom you were seeking. Thats how I read it.

  3. Paul Says:

    Fascinating insight into the world of hair and what it represents by someone who never went there. The closest I got to long hair and recklessness was being a fan of the Beatles when I was small.

  4. Rob Kistner Says:

    Hair today — raw hide tomorrow… I enjoyed your post Matthew. Thanks for sharing the shearing… 😉

  5. Matthew Says:

    Karen-Thank you, and good call on the shower drain 🙂

    Gautami-I think that is an accurate reading, always looking for freedom.

    Paul-The Beatles were certainly reckless from some perspectives. You go!

    Rob-Thanks for your kind words!

  6. Patois Says:

    What a wonderful post. I love how you tell it. And you’re a very good son!

  7. Matthew Says:

    Thanks Patois on both accounts.

  8. spacedlaw Says:

    Nice to read about the long hair from a man’s perspective.
    Enjoyable story.

  9. Betty C. Says:

    This is something of the flip side of my post – -you say what it felt like to be one of those long-haired college kids! Very interesting.

  10. Matthew Says:

    Thanks spacedlaw.

    Betty C.-I was thinking the same thing. Reading your post I thought that we complimented each other well.

  11. boliyou Says:

    Great post. I loved the part about your vegetarian irony at the steakhouse. Very illustrative.

  12. awareness Says:

    Our personal journeys of young adulthood self-discovery can be mapped out by the way we wear our hair…. 🙂

    You painted a great picture here. Really enjoyed reading it.

    have a great week.

  13. Matthew Says:

    Thanks boliyou, yes irony is always fun to reflect upon.

    You are right Awareness, thank you. I’ve got many more hair tales but will save them for other days. Hope you have a great weel also!


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