Hair is a big deal. Not as big a deal as in the 1960s and '70s, when boys were sent home from school if their hair touched their collars, and my dad would say of them, "They look like (insert expletive here) girls."
But hair still matters. It's as much a reflection of who we are as the clothes we wear. For younger people, hair is often their first statement of individuality, be it dyed, mohawked, curled, crimped, waist-length or shaved down to the scalp.
While women may pay more attention to their hair than men, don't let any guy tell you his hair doesn't matter to him. Show me a man who claims he's never stared intently into a mirror while holding another mirror behind his head, checking worriedly for bald spots, and I'll show you a man who'd fail a lie detector test.
Speaking of hair loss, a few weeks ago I went to Anne, my hairdresser, and said, "Give me something different."
Boy, did she.
Now, I trust Anne. She's been my stylist for almost 20 years. But when I park myself in her padded swivel chair I take off my glasses - which means all I see of myself in the mirror is a blurry peach oval topped by a thatch of brown. Whatever happens between the shampoo, scissors and blow dry is a mystery.
So you can imagine how unnerving it was to hear "Wow, Anne, you're taking a lot off," from the stylist at the station behind me.
"Are you going to pay for that haircut?" her customer called to me. "Just kidding!" she hastily added.
"Ha, ha," I answered weakly, wondering what in the name of Vidal Sassoon was happening to the brown thatch atop my peach blob.
When Anne swished off my cape and handed me my glasses, I was amazed. I was astounded.
I was someone else.
My wavy, shoulder-length locks were scattered on the floor. The hair Anne had left me fluffed around my scalp in short, layered feathers. I decided I looked either artsy and stylish or like a baby duck.
"Do you like it?" Anne asked.
"Uh, I think so," I said, still staring into the mirror. "Yes, I do," I said firmly. "I like it! I think."
"I like it, I think," was the theme of the day. My vanity pendulum swung from Love It to Hate It each time I peeked in a mirror.
When you get a radical haircut no one will ever tell you if they hate it. Friends will say, "Wow, that's really different," which is code for "Never, ever do that again."
Fortunately, my friends were unanimously complimentary. My daughters, initially taken aback by their mom's radical clip job, eventually gave me two thumbs up.
My son didn't notice my haircut until I called it to his attention, then declared I didn't look much different. I wasn't offended. Guys can be oblivious about hair. Unless it's their own, and it's starting to look a little thin on top. Then, trust me, hair is a big deal.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Deb Pascoe is a Marquette resident, mother of three and full-time editorial assistant in The Mining Journal newsroom. Her bi-weekly columns focus on her observations on life and family. She can be reached by phone at 228-2500, ext. 240, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Read her blog online at www.singlesobermom.blogspot. com.