I returned to the YMCA a few days after Christmas to begin running again after a self-imposed "holiday break" that, truth be told, began long before the holidays. A man walked into the gym. Not particularly cute, mostly only noticeable in comparison to the octogenarians who generally frequent the joint during my hour of running which also happens to coincide with The Price Is Right, which, as everyone knows, is a program the elderly very much enjoy, Bob Barker or no.
He wasn't cute and I'm married and yet, as I left the building I found myself dismantling my work-out ponytail to... To what? Catch his attention? To see if I could catch his attention? Probably the latter. A gal who is getting on in years can't help but notice whether the boys are still watching. Shameful in and of itself, that.
I was annoyed, and yes, even embarrassed by my shallow behavior and as I drove home one thought rankled above all others. The desire to be appreciated physically is fairly harmless but the fact that I resorted to letting down my hair in a desperate bid for attention from a stranger really bothered me. Rapunzel I ain't. And is that what I'm about? Hair? Is that what I think makes me sexy? Hair? Is that my big go-to move? Swishing my stupid bleach ass blonde hair around?
Long hair. As if that is what makes a woman attractive or even womanly. But it was instilled within me very early on when, in junior high school, I considered cutting my hair and a friend's mother told me that men only like women with long hair. She knows who she is and her denials will fall on deaf ears as the fact that she has had long hair her entire life will betray any protestations otherwise.
This woman went on to say that if two women are walking down the street the dude will turn to check out the long-haired girl every time. Mind you, this was twenty years ago and I have no idea whether she still subscribes to the same theory, and who knows? Maybe she's right, maybe she isn't. I'm no dude. Nor do I give a rats ass if a dude is checking me out... Or do I? My behavior at the gym last week would suggest otherwise. But I think this woman is on to something as the fact that 9 out of 10 supermodel types are long-haired vixens.
So my attachment to my hair really started to piss me off. The fact that I was afraid to cut it made me madder still. And then thinking about all the time, energy and money I've devoted to hair... Well, that just sent me over the edge. It's just hair. It doesn't define me. And yet it has. For more than 30 years.
And so, this afternoon, with my son as witness, I took matters into my own hands. Perhaps I'm having a nervous breakdown. Maybe I'm more sane than anyone else although that's highly doubtful.
Whatever the reason, I am certainly feeling out of sorts. I'm sure at some point in the coming week I will flip out and wonder what the fuck I've done... But again, it's just hair.