How Long is Too Long?

Growing up, with a working mom who had no time to tend to my hair and me absolutely clueless of any sense of style, I spent the first quarter century of my life in boy cut and bob cut.  Well I did enjoy a few moments of glory each time someone said I looked like Indra Gandhi. But that was overshadowed by being called ‘Thambi Dey‘ (translated little brother) and ‘Rajini Uncle’ each time I flipped my hair. At 25, tired of my short hair, I decided to grow my hair right in time for my wedding. I’ve maintained the same length ever since!

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Then arrived my little girl. We never shaved her head which is a little contrary to the Indian tradition. As per the tradition one must shave their child’s hair at least thrice, if not at least once and that is believed to increase the hair volume. When we did an online research and consulted a couple of docs, we were told there is no scientific proof for it. So we didn’t and KT, until a couple of months back, had shoulder length hair.

Since growing up I didn’t have the need to own a pair of hair pins or hair band, my all-time time pass became accessorizing her hair with hair bands, hair clips, hair pins… you name it I had it two boxes full. Oh the joys and simple pleasures of having a daughter only a momma with a daughter will know. On a good day, I required a minimum of twenty minutes to comb her hair, put one or two ponytails and matching hair clips before she left to school or church. But things have gone a little crazy on her cranky days.

Summer and summer vacation greeted us in April. It was time for our routine trip to Tamil Nadu to meet my parents. My mom, a psychiatric counselor, seeing KT’s hair spent the first whole week lecturing me how I was causing inconvenience to KT by not cutting her hair.

“Allow the child to be a child – carefree. Poor kid keeps pushing her hair to the sides constantly to clear her pretty face!”

“Let her hairstyle be age appropriate. She looks older with long hair!”

“The heat is making her hair sweaty and wet. Let not the girl catch a cold!”

“Don’t give so much importance to her hair accessorizing it. The child should not grow up being ‘looks’ conscious!”

“Her tender scalp is going to ache with those clips and bands!”

Arghhhhhhh! My head started reeling with her lectures. Although I did not completely agree with all her points, a few things here and there made a little sense to me. The summer heat was so intense that my little girl’s hair was constantly wet with sweat and I felt really sorry. After contemplating and discussing for three days, TH and I finally made up our minds to give KT a haircut, took her to a parlour and chopped her hair!

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My mom, not entirely satisfied with the haircut, said “It’s still not short enough!” But at least she spared me from her long lectures allowing me to enjoy the rest of my vacation in peace.

It’s been two months since KT’s haircut. Now it was mom and dad’s turn to visit us. Her hair grew by an inch. Need I say more? Mom started her lectures all over again! You have no clue how annoying it can get. So before she took the scissors in hand, I rushed ahead and gave KT a haircut – a wedge cut like I used to have back then 😉

A week has gone by. Mom and dad have left. I realize as annoying mom was, she was right. The haircut indeed has freed KT. Those mommies who have had short hair at some point in their lives will know what I am talking about. There’s nothing tightly clinging to her hair like a clip or a band. Her hair doesn’t fall in her face anymore. It doesn’t get wet with sweat even on the sunniest day. Most importantly, it’s freed me too. I’m no longer obsessed with her hair. I’ve got more time on my hands as there’s no need for those grueling combing sessions anymore! Now that her school is going to reopen that’s going to be an added advantage!

I had a very simple upbringing. You’ll be surprised that I didn’t even know lipsticks existed in different colors until I came to college. I grew up in a campus/town where Hawaii slippers could be worn anywhere – to school or even functions. Hence, I didn’t spend my teenage or college years in front of the mirror decking myself with make up. I was taught and I still believe there is beauty in simplicity.

Don’t get me wrong. My daughter is free to have any hairstyle of her choice when she is a little older. As a mother now, I do not want my little girl to grow up ‘looks’ conscious – getting used to fancy accessories and matching-matching stuff, trying out hairstyles and make up rather than channeling her energy and talents in something more constructive and worthwhile. She did look cute with long hair but at the cost of her inconvenience and hours of combing several times a day.  Post haircut, she still is cute – her face clutter free 🙂

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If you’ve got a daughter, how long do you think is too long? Why? Leave a comment 🙂

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