About 8 months ago, I stumbled across some pictures of myself from high school. I had a pixie cut and looked like Tinkerbell, except not the Disney version with the severed Lorax tree on her head, and not the Julia Roberts version with the wig plucked out of David Caruso’s NYPD Blue trailer.
I looked great! I was 18!
Eager to replicate the effervescence, beauty and magic of an era in which I once ate a huge plate of Hunan chicken followed by two bowls of Lucky Charms and a taco yet still maintained a healthy weight of 103 pounds, I decided it best to cut all my hair off at once. Recapturing your youth, by the way, is kind of like dipping your hand into a vat of petroleum jelly and trying to palm a rainbow trout. Except less successful.
My stylist, Josh, was stoked to get his hands on the blond tresses snaking down my back, in the way Edward Scissorhands had to get at those judgey potato salad queens in the neighborhood.
Josh did a fantastic job.
I really, really loved it. I looked fresh and exciting, even though it was ten years later and my metabolism ROFLMFAOed when I ate a half-stick of fried cheese.
After about six months, though, I got bored. You can only do so much with a pixie cut, and my attempts at mixing it up only made me look more and more like Justin Bieber. I decided it was time to grow it back out, thus entering the period I like to call:
THE SHORT HAIR CAROUSEL OF PROGRESS
You start out as Michelle Williams, Emma Watson, Edie Sedgwick. You are precocious and fawn-like with alternative, modern concepts of beauty. Your features are gentle yet pronounced. Your life is great. People shower you with praise. They wish they could be you. But all of a sudden, seemingly overnight, you enter...
HARRY CHAPIN PHASE ONE
The top starts to get a little long. The sides curl up, and in no time at all you have what can only be described as Serious Freaking Sideburns. Total strangers approach you on the street and ask, "When you coming home, Dad?" And you're all, "I don't know when. But we'll get together then."
A couple weeks pass. Your bangs catch up with the sides, and you're feeling good about where things are headed. But then, without warning strikes...
PRINCE VALIANT/HE-MAN PHASE TWO
This is also known as the "pageboy." You are sad, very sad, because although you have the strength of ten steeds and the ability to defeat a stampede of Nordic huns, you also have a sissy little girl haircut, and you suck.
The back of your neck starts to feel warm, fuzzy. While you once reveled in the fun, shavey boyfriend feeling of your lower hairline, you realize there is now enough length to gather into several tiny ponytails. You try to tuck it behind your ears, but it only accentuates the obvious. You are deep, deep, deep into...
RICHARD DEAN ANDERSON PHASE THREE
You're going to need MacGyver to get out of this mullet.
You utilize a series of clever headbands and bobby pins to get the situation under control, and for the most part, it works. Your hair is a K'NEX Set, a study in architecture, a fine balance of scaffolding and glue (aerosol hairspray).
You find yourself enjoying a lazy Saturday off work. You take a late afternoon shower and let the whole mop air dry, because, who do you have to impress besides Judge Greg Mathis on your DVR? It's only when you go to the bathroom to wash the Crunch 'n Munch residue off your fingers that you notice...
THE BROTHERS GIBB PHASE FOUR
That's right. All of them.
You run to your basket of hair supplies and grab the aerosol spray, because although you are all alone eating your emotions in regards to no longer being 18, this cannot persist. You spray and brush and spray and brush and spray and brush, but alas, there is no escaping it.
PHYLLIS DILLER PHASE FIVE
While this is the most terrifying phase, it is also the most important. You look like a steel pot scrubber, yes. But there is no denying you are a hilarious and vibrant three-martini woman of considerable confidence once again. And so inner peace comes to pass.
And then you call your hair guy for the 48th time and he fixes it.
(I'm looking at you, Josh.)