Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote, “In the spring, a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.”
Well, maybe so; but it's different for women.
As long as I can remember, the advent of nice weather has kicked my inner Hunter/Gatherer into a search for the same two things: a new blouse and a shorter haircut.
The coveted blouse differs year-to-year; some seasons the ideal top is yellow gauze, some years it's a lace-trimmed tank or a peasant blouse. I find what I'm looking for about 10% of the time. The perfect haircut is even more elusive.
In the first excited flush of, “I think I'll look at this year's new short cuts!” I am always exuberantly drawn to pixie cuts, asymmetrical bobs and carefully casual spikes and curls. I used to actually get these cuts, and though they were extremely ill-suited to my features I would feel edgy and with-it until the cut started to grow out.
Then came the neck-cowlicks, the heartbreak and the agonizing two-year wait until the whole mess grew out and I could start the process over again.
Now I'm married to a man whose mother was apparently frightened by Cher while she was pregnant with him, because the only type of hairstyle that Lance can abide is long, smooth and straight. In the car, he will rant for 45 blocks about some random chick at a crosswalk with a big frizzy 'do, or a spiral perm, or (the horror! The horror!) a really short man-cut.
Thus, there is a certain amount of friction between us in the spring. He is, after all, the one besides myself whom I am trying to impress, so I glean down the hair-hunt to the top 5 photos and then ask him what he thinks. The froth flies from his growling teeth as he tells me. I growl back, on the defensive, something about how, “in the olden days, when someone wanted a haircut she would choose what she thought looked nice.”
Usually at this point somebody else will wander in with a bloody wound or a bad report card and the follicular crisis will be averted. I might get a mid-length A-line bob (shorter in the back than the front, no bangs, straightstraightstraight) – a compromise that doesn't really excite either of us – but it's far more likely I'll just give a wistful little sigh over what might have been and keep on growin' my hair out.
Now, the fact of the matter is that I have a very round face and a splendid assortment of chins, so very short hair makes me look less like Halle Berry and more like a scrub brush balanced on a beach ball. Longer hair is far more flattering on people with features like mine. I know this. The whole exercise, including the blouse, is much less about how I want to look than about how I want to feel.
Spring is a time of renewal! Things are blooming, growing, being reborn! In the spring it seems possible that maybe this is the year I'll be That Girl! The girl with the cute pink-polished toenails winking up from her sandals (they'd have to be orthopedic sandals), wearing a strappy little sundress (do they make sundresses with long sleeves and turtlenecks?), tripping down the street swinging a sassy straw tote bag (I don't trust purses that don't zip, and besides, all the crap I carry around would rip the bottom out of a straw bag in sixty seconds flat). The Girl, in short, who's confident and stylish and READY FOR ADVENTURE!
You know – the girl (in the new blouse) who can rock short hair and look gamine and cute instead of inflatable and mannish . . .
Maybe I'll just dye it red.