Reflecting on hair shortage provides unexpected insight

If there’s one thing I’ve realized in the past nine months, it’s that hair grows really, really slowly.

I might be a bit late in writing this column, but when I donated a foot of hair back in July, I was not expecting it to take this long to grow back.

I’ve done everything right – I bought a new brush, new shampoo, some arbitrarily selected bottles of vitamins, even this weird-smelling coconut oil that supposedly prevents split ends.

I’m still waiting to see the results.

It’s like those commercials for the Shake Weight or the Bowflex. Do these people honestly expect to drop 37 pounds after stepping on the Stairmaster 3000 for 2 1/2 weeks?

Well, of course. If that weren’t possible, why else would the commercials show these miraculous before and after pictures of Tony, who lost half of his body weight and Martha, who went down six dress sizes in just nine days?

I can’t be too critical, though. My dad buys into that stuff pretty seriously. Good thing he’s already in shape.

Those are the kinds of results I was expecting from Mane N’ Tail horse shampoo. It’s not really for horses, though.

I got it at Sally’s so it has to be the real deal. But now, months later, I’m still waiting to have that breakthrough, where I wake up and think, ‘Hey, my hair is so much longer this morning!’

I still get a weird feeling when I think back to holding that thick, blond chunk in my hand after my longtime hairdresser hacked through it following a lot of tearful coaxing.

I remember sitting in that chair for at least five minutes, trying to explain to her that even though I was crying, I still wanted her to cut it all off.

It would have been a million times better if my hair were thinner, though. Just one clean cut and I could have walked out of there without that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

For about 30 seconds my hairdresser channeled Henry VIII’s headsman, who tried to behead Henry’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, only to find that he misjudged the thickness of her neck.

If one stroke doesn’t do it, that second stroke has got to be torture. And so it was with my ponytail.

In all honesty, though, donating my hair was one of the most productive things I’ve ever done for someone else. It doesn’t seem like much, but every time I think about that ponytail I mailed in to Locks of Love, I know it could have meant the world so some little girl who needed it way more than I did.

In addition to that, I got some serious personal gratification out of it. There have been way too many times I have “made my mind up” to do something, and have bailed out halfway through. I made sure that time was different.

As summer draws closer, I keep going back to that day I was liberated from my overgrown mane. And the more I think about it, the more I realize that instead of regretting the decision to cut it off, my only regret is that it isn’t long enough yet to donate another foot this summer.



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