As a child, I had short hair. I don’t really know why, but my mum said long hair was hard to look after. I envied little girls with beautiful long hair. This was the 70s and short hair on girls was a bit more normal than it is now, but it was still fairly unusual. Photographic evidence suggests it did start to grow at around the age of 7, but for some reason it was all cut off when I was 8.
Strangely, I loved it. It was very short and I was mistaken for a boy on a daily basis until I was 13. I was bullied for my short hair when I started secondary school, but it was me and I liked it.
Then one day I saw a girl with a beautiful short, sleek bob. I wanted that bob. So I started to grow mine.
My hair wouldn’t grown into a sleek bob. It was curly and frizzy. So I just kept growing it.
After all those years with short hair, I loved having it long. I dreamed of growing it down to my waist, but it didn’t quite make it that far.
My mum made me get it cut regularly to keep it in good condition. I obsessed over split ends, using the best conditioner, brushing it the optimum number of times a day…
When I was 18, the hairdresser cut too much off it on one side. I was horrified. And I absolutely refused point blank to let him cut the other side. I didn’t mind wonky hair. Wonky hair was better than short hair.
I carried on having haircuts every few months through adulthood, then it became every year and at some point I just stopped having my hair cut.
Between that awful haircut and my childhood short hair, I now realise I’ve been left with issues. I always swore that no daughter of mine would ever have short hair. So she didn’t.
My daughter was a late starter. She was a bald baby and had very little hair as a toddler. We squeezed her hair into a couple of short plaits when she started school. And it just kept growing.
It grew and it grew and it grew. It grew right down to her bum.
To this day, she has never been to a hairdresser.
I couldn’t bring myself to ever trim her hair, so my husband has always done it. And it scared me every time that he would take too much off. She started to get scared of having too much cut off too.
When she was in year 7, it was starting to get really straggly. She needed it trimmed more often. By taking a little bit off more regularly, we could get rid of the straggly bits. She wasn’t sure.
But we conquered the straggly bits. It looked neater, so she started to ask for more regular haircuts to keep it that way.
At the start of lockdown, she asked to have two or three inches cut off. I was slightly horrified, but it was OK.
Last week, she had about four inches cut off – totally her own choice. But it has made me really sad. It just doesn’t look like my daughter any more. To me, it’s taken away the essence of her and what makes her unique. Which has made me realise I definitely have deep-seated issues about hair.
My daughter’s hair is actually shorter than mine, although it looks a similar length or slightly longer, because it isn’t frizzy like mine. It looks thicker, which is a good thing. On the whole, my daughter is happy with it, but even she admits that she has gone maybe an inch or two too far, but it will grow. She will have it to the length she wants it by the time she goes back to school. And if she wants it to go back to being really long, she can grow it again.
I know it’s silly, I know she’s growing up and it’s none of my business. But I liked her really long hair. I need to get used to her not-that-long-at-all hair.