Hey, folks! I got my hair cut last week on Saint Patrick’s Day. No big deal. Right?
Wrong! It was a big deal for me. I hadn’t had a haircut since March 17, 2020, right at the start of our fractured COVID world.
When I got that haircut, I was as hopeful as every one else that COVID would fade away just as quickly as it had emerged.
But COVID continues to hang around longer than any of us expected. And you guessed it. During the last two years, my hair grew longer than I ever expected. No problem. I secured my little ponytail with a little rubber band, and it didn’t look too bad at all. Really. It didn’t. I kept the sides and top cut about as short as usual. I kept my hairline and neck trimmed, too. I did it all, all by myself.
With my new “do,” whenever I walked toward people, I always got the usual greeting. “Hey, how’s it going?” But as I walked past, I always heard, “Oh, my God! You’ve got a ponytail. It’s so you.”
As my ponytail grew longer and longer, I decided to play it up with colorful hair ties for my longhairs. Purple. Blue. Green. Rainbow. Bling blings. Psychedelic. Celtic. They were the Raddest. On any given day, I’d usually pick my hair tie to match my shirt color. From that point forward, “That’s so you” became music to my ears, always making me smile a little wider and a little longer.
Finally, the ponytail was hanging down below my shoulders. It didn’t look that long because my hair has some natural curl. But, still, it felt just a little too long. Since I didn’t want to cut the glorious mane that I could always feel but could never quite see, it seemed to me that a man bun was a perfect–perhaps even a trendy–solution.
Mind you: it wasn’t much of a bun: I’m balding on top and the rest of my hair is thin. What mattered was the simple pleasure that it gave me. Actually, it pleased me a lot, so much so that I had every intention of celebrating the bun with a pair of hair sticks, ideally a little pair of sterling silver chopsticks. Sadly, I could not find any that were short enough.
Nonetheless, my ponytail/man bun made me feel more Rad than I had felt since my twenties and thirties when my Scandinavian stylist Hilda always whipped out her long matches after cutting my hair and horrified me as she singed the ends to keep my hair from “bleeding” and to encourage it to grow. Before that my mother sometimes used nothing more than her fingers and scissors to give me a feather cut. Both my mother and Hilda had an easy job, because in those days I sported a full head of hair. How can any stylist go wrong? Hair. Glorious hair. Those were the days, my friends.
In college, I flaunted a pompadour. In high school, a ducktail. In grade school, a Mohawk, and before that a buzz cut.
My mother was always unfazed by my haircuts, however much they surprised (or mortified) her. She knew what many other mothers didn’t. In time, I would get over my cut and move on.
And so it was with my ponytail. I guess I got over it. Maybe. I’m not really sure.
But I am sure of this. I’m trying my best to believe–even if I can’t do more right now than give my belief an elbow bump–that what seems to be a sharp decline in COVID numbers, at least in the United States, heralds better days ahead. Hopefully, it’s more than a temporary lull before we move on to the next surge.
Either way, I’ll be heading out with a new haircut to greet whatever awaits us.