This time two years ago, I decided to drive to a fancy salon (dear, brave friend en tow), and have my hair cropped to my ears. At that time, it fell four-plus inches below my shoulders and had remained in that general vicinity since the sixth grade. One-length, haphazard layers, and simple for years. I wanted an air of maturity, so I commissioned my stylist to make it something like Reese Witherspoon's 'do in Sweet Home Alabama. The finished cut looked nothing like the picture I brought, but it proved a cute style nonetheless. It felt so airy and sophisticated and cost less than I anticipated. I was hooked.
Over the course of the following year, I changed styles every two or three months. Stacked, a-line, choppy, razored, pixie--I tried them all. For a solid month, my hair matched my boyfriend's exactly (unintentional and hilarious and surprisingly stylish on both of us). The hair salon near my house in Demorest took me as a regular. I had a stylist, and this, right along with my shiny new college diploma, made me feel all grown up. She, Debbi, took to asking, "Hey Ali. What would you like to try this time?" She liked my adventuresome willingness and indecision. I'd let her try nearly anything she wanted, brought in new pictures, and gave her the opportunity to practice whatever she had learned at the latest beauty convention. No dyeing, though. I've never been able to venture from my original color; I like it too much.
Short hair was cute and trendy and I relished playing with styles, but I began to miss the femininity of length and flow. I missed having those last few inches brush my shoulders and upper back when I wore strapless. I missed ponytails. I missed twirling stray pieces when I felt pensive or sleepy. And so I've allowed it freedom to grow over the past year or so. Know what I've decided? I think every young lady should have the chance to feel the surge of independence in chopping her hair to that risky length. Go ahead and try it. As for me, I've had my hair-cropping adventure. It's length I like, and length I will fight to maintain.