The Haircut (Alternate Title: “I Guess It Just Wasn’t Meant To Be.”)

My hair has never been long, thick, and glorious.

It’s been long. That’s it. One out of three? Not so great.

I have always wanted to have bouncin’ and behavin’ hair that has just the right amount of curl and looks just as full at the end of the day as it does in the morning. I have always wanted to put my hair up in a messy-on-purpose-but-still-looks-cute ponytail, or a casual bun with pretty tendrils gracefully hanging down on each side of my face. I have always wanted to have hair that allowed barrettes and other accessories to cling to it rather than sliding off almost immediately as if to say “Are you kidding me?”

Unfortunately, I received the thin, stringy hair gene from my dad’s side of the family (THANKS, DAD’S SIDE OF THE FAMILY.).

It worked for me when I was a little girl in the 1970’s.

Melisa tiara profile pic watermarked

As an adult though, not so much.

Though I know full well that the best length of hair for me–the one that gives the illusion that I have average, healthy, almost-full-bodied hair–is just slightly shorter than shoulder-length, in my mind I still see myself as having the potential to grow hair that is worthy of the likes of Jacklyn Smith (a childhood hair role model), Andie McDowell MacDowell (edited: Thanks Cy!) (a teenaged years hair role model) or Jennifer Lopez.

That’s why, every other year or so, I go through the painful (<----so dramatic, right?) process of growing my hair out as long as I can, hoping that I will magically get tresses that are worthy of a shampoo commercial. I’m persistent, you’ve gotta give me that.

At the beginning of 2011, after having gone through another attempted grow-out, I got my hair cut to shoulder-length for my author headshots. I vividly remember saying to Lynn, a friend who is a Hair Master and has been cutting my hair since the mid-90s, “Don’t EVER let me grow my hair out again. This is the perfect length for me!” She just smiled.

I loved the way my pictures turned out (my sister took them, by the way!).

MW Headshot

After that, of course, I went back to my old ways of fantasizing about fantastic hairstyles for myself, imagining how wavy and shiny and resplendent my hair could be if I grew it out.

The next time I went to see Lynn I told her I was growing my hair out again. She shrugged. “Okay!” She relayered it, trimmed the ends, and off I went. This process was repeated all year long last year, and into January of this year.

I had an appointment with Lynn last week, and before I went to see her I anxiously waffled back and forth about what to do. J suggested that I make a “decision matrix” for my hair. The decision matrix is used in this house when a boy is doing a college search or a car search: it’s basically a fancy pros and cons list.

I really struggled with my decision matrix, because all of the evidence that I should indeed cut my hair was right in front of me, but I wasn’t ready to accept it. I left for Lynn’s still not knowing what I was going to do.

When I arrived and sat in the chair, Lynn asked, “Well? What are we doing today?”

“I don’t knooooow!” I whined. (<----seriously, I did.) I thought back to January of last year when I emphatically told Lynn that she should never, ever, ever let me grow my hair past my shoulders again because it was the perfect length for me, and realized two things: 1. I should have been talking to myself, not Lynn. 2. I should listen to my instincts more often. I told Lynn we were going to the shorter length again, and off came about three to three and a half inches. As I left Lynn's chair to leave the salon I caught one more glimpse of my hair in the mirror and actually thought it was bouncin' AND behavin'. It's about time I learn how to work with what I've got. By the way, I know you’re looking for a picture of my new hair. I don’t have a good one yet–the ones I took with my phone were icky–but will be vlogging at some point this week. Stay tuned!


  • Cy

    Ahh…hair. The mane of my existence. < Hah! Doesn't every woman have a ton of bad hair stories to tell? I know I do! Now that I am all grown up (and middle-aged) I keep my hair just at my shoulders. I'd love it longer, but my hair don't play like that. I'm sure some people view it as long and others view it as short. It's all in the perspective. I can still do a ponytail and that is all that matters. But, like you, Melisa, I finally figured out what looks best on me. Acceptance! Oh, and it's Andie MAC Dowell. I know because I'm a Mc, not a Mac. Now if you could figure out why I'm aging and she's not, I would be forever grateful to you.

    • Melisa

      Thanks, Cy: I edited Andie MAC Dowell. I would love to know why she’s not aging too: I’ll keep you posted if I find anything out as long as you do the same. 🙂

      And yes, acceptance feels really good. I’m going to look at this post the next time I feel like I want to try again. 🙂

  • Tara R.

    I have a hate/hate relationship with my hair. It’s so thin, and fine, and frizzy. I still haven’t found a cut I am happy with and can leave alone. Your ‘do in the photo looks great.

  • tracey

    I loved your hair at that length. I agree that it looks way fuller and bouncier when it has the layers that allow it to curl up at the ends. You can call me next time and I will remind you that you like it better short. I can be rough when the situation calls for it.

    That said, will you please remind me to never “go red” again? M’kay? I am brown. BROWN. Not red-brown. Not blond-brown. BROWN. I need to remember this.

  • Flawless Mom

    Got my hair did last week. Wanted some lightness around my face, but got pretty much dark, dark, dark. I was bummed. And I don’t feel like sitting in the chair again for two hours to get foils put in… Even though it’d be free. Plus, a very long layer got cut very short. By accident? On purpose? Not sure. Not happy. It honestly doesn’t look bad, but it was frustrating. Whatever. It’s hair. It grows back!

  • As Cape Cod Turns

    I know my family could do a show on all my different hair styles. It would be a comedy, of course. Just remember, it’s not your hair that makes you you, it’s your bubbling personality 🙂

  • Heather

    I can’t really see you “whining” about anything. Hahahaha. But I’ll take your word for it 😉 That being said, if this makes you feel better? When we hung out last summer, I was so jealous of your hair. I think it’s SO CUTE! (and it was shiny when we hung out!)