My second-grade teacher Mrs. Kelly had long, straight hair down to her butt which I thought was the coolest thing ever. I told my mom I wanted to grow my hair out too, but I never made it all the way to my butt. I have moderately curly hair, which is kind of high maintenance, so when you grow it long you’re taking on a lot of responsibility. It’s almost like adopting a pet. A pet that lives on your head. That you have to groom constantly.
My hair got halfway down my back in middle school, but that’s about as long as I’ve ever worn it before I got sick of managing it. It takes hours to dry when it’s that long, and it can generate quite the frizz halo if you don’t figure out what products to use. Actually, it can frizz even when you do use products. In addition to that, I shed a lot. Both of my college roommates commented on how much hair accumulated on our rarely-vacuumed carpet. There is always hair to be found in my bathroom sink and on the tile floor no matter how often I clean. So, I’ve generally kept my hair shoulder length which is long enough to keep my neck warm in the winter and simple enough to manage.
In the past year I’ve decided to grow my hair out again. I don’t really have a reason. I know my hair is one of my best features, so I’d like to mix things up see what I can do with it. I’m curious to see how long it can get before I decide it’s not worth the trouble, or until the drain gets so clogged that I can’t shower without filling up the tub. I’d also like to learn lots of different and fun ways to wear it, but I think I may be too incompetent to do this. I’ve braided it a few times and it always looks like I got a two-year-old to do it. I’m not attempting a complex Game of Thrones style either. I just need to braid it! I suppose this is the kind of thing other girls were learning when they read those silly girly magazines. Is there a book or a web page or a video tutorial anyone can recommend so I can figure this out? Also, do your arms get tired mid-braid or do I need to lift weights more often?
Ever since I’ve started growing out my hair I find myself hyper-observant of other women’s hairdos. I saw the movie Sleepwalk with Me recently and felt guilty that Lauren Ambrose’s hair distracted me throughout the film. I wanted to take the character aside and ask her how she learned to braid her hair in all those interesting ways. I complimented my barista on a braid she’d done that started at the top of her forehead and wrapped around the side; she told me she got ideas on Pinterest, but one search for the word “braid” reveals styles with Escher-like complexity and impossibility. I don’t think a lot of those styles can be accomplished by one person working on their own hair. I always feel self-conscious when I wear my hair differently anyway, concerned that bits have slipped out of place or that it looks like a squirrel is nesting in it.
Oh well, I’ll probably get sick of it soon enough and get half of it chopped off. Until then I’ll try to make my braids look like they were done at the very least by a six-year-old.