The Mane Event

Shania Twain.
Jane Seymour.
Julie Payette.
These are just a few of the women I can think of who are over 50 years of age, and who are rocking long hair.
I know, and hope, there are many more.
I remember someone once said that short hair makes an older woman look younger.
Well, as someone who has had short hair for most of her life, I am enjoying having long locks now.
I don’t think long hair is strictly a younger woman’s do-mane any more.
The image of three, old witches stirring a cauldron full of toil and trouble no longer swings.
For, finally, at the age of 55, I have finally learned how to manage my hair.
My mother had always kept it short when I was young.
I was often mistaken for a boy.
I believe she had neither the desire nor the know how of how to manage my hair.
For it is an entity unto itself.
Entirely too thick and unruly, even the many hairdressers I have known throughout the years have had their challenges.
When I was 13, I put my foot down and said I was never going to cut my hair again.
That was around the same time I insisted to my parents that I would start wearing makeup.
And get my ears pierced.
Those kinds of rebellious things.
They pale by comparison to teenagers today.
(Think belly button rings, nose rings, eye brow studs, tattoos…)
So, by the time I was in high school, it was the mid-1970’s, and I was sporting some heavy duty hair.
We did’t have a blow dryer – I don’t even know if they had been invented yet.
But I did have one of those hooded dryers you could sit under.
I remember many a night rolling my locks into pink, sponge rollers, and sitting under the dryer hoping it would create a manageable do.
I can’t remember if it did or not.
I do remember hurling my hairbrush on numerous occasions when my hair would have its way, and I could do nothing about it.
It was a scene which prompted my brother, many years later, to ask me, “So, have you come to terms with your hair yet Sharon?”
In those fabulous 70’s, when the Farah Fawcett style was so popular, I took it upon myself to cut the front of my hair in the hopes it would feather back and look just like a Charlie’s Angel.
Well, it just sort of hung in two big clumps on either side of my face.
Not even a barrette would help.
But it did prompt the nickname “Barretta Girl” from some unkind kids in school.
My best friend’s brother even went so far as to call my do “The Great Golden Bush In The Sky.” (The subject of another blog entirely…)
A child I was babysitting once told me I had “really big hair.”
Not sure if he was scared of it, or what.
But that was my lot.
My burden to bear.
A burden many would love to have, perhaps.
But the grass is always greener.
An overly thick, overly curly and wavy head of (then) unmanageable hair.
In my early 20’s, I decided it was time to get a haircut.
I was living in Montreal at the time, and so what better haute couture city to get my first haircut since I was a teenager.
I went to La Coupe, a trendy place at the time.
Her name was Vivian.
And she did wonders.
She said she would work with my waves and curls, and cut a series of notches and “V’s” here and there.
When she was done, my waves had been released, to be free and stylish and natural.
I still have a picture somewhere.
I loved it.
I kept my hair longish for the next decade.
Then I got a job in television, and decided I needed something professional and manageable.
The next decade saw a shorter version, easy to care for, wash and wear.
It was great, at the time.
Professional and manageable.
In my 40’s, I decided to let it grow out a bit, and then relenquished and cut it again. It was a decade of change, in many ways.
Now, in my mid-50’s, I can finally say I have come to terms with my hair.
I have not cut it in about two years.
Just a trim here and there.
Although it is an event of major proportions to wash it and dry it every other day, for now, I am enjoying it – and it is worth it.
I am loving being able to choose various styles – shall it be up in a pony tail today? Or shall I put it in a headband? Or perhaps a pony twist?
I am experimenting with all sorts of different looks.
There are now, thankfully, all sorts of products on the market to help frizzy hair become smoother, softer, shinier.
And blow dryers galore – along with giant round brushes to help smooth it out as I dry it.
I even have a blow dryer that has a rotating brush on it to help smooth it even more. It is hairstyling bliss!
And I don’t think it makes me look overly old.
I think I am still young enough in spirit to rock long hair.
And long hair is making a comeback.
If it ever went away in the first place, which it probably didn’t.
So, I have come full circle.
I wish I had the knowledge and expertise and styling products that I have now, way back in the day when I was a teenager in high scool.
But, we can’t cry over spilt mousse.
So, here’s to old chicks with long hair.
Long may we mane.



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