After two years of growing out my hair, I finally got it cut.
I’d been lazy about cutting it for a few extra weeks and discovered it was more curly than expected. Upon realizing this I decided to see what it would look like longer. Two years and almost twelve inches wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I started, but it was a fun experiment.
For this round of hair growth I’d discovered a high school friend and his wife had grown out their hair for donation. He too had lost family to cancer (for him it was his sister, for me it was my father) and seeing their photo sparked the idea to do the same.
As I near 40, I’m starting to see more and more friends and acquaintances impacted by cancer and chemo – people all younger than me. Whether it’s aplastic anemia, stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, successfully fighting tumors for seven years, or, in one case, not winning the battle, it just felt like the right thing to do. The hair will be going to a program run by Pantene for women with cancer.
It turned out to be a bigger commitment than I realized. I can’t say my wife was a fan. While she was supportive of the idea of donation, having a husband with curly footlong hair was not anticipated. I remember a specific conversation just before we started dating nine years ago about her disdain for men and long hair.
Beyond that, there were some logistical issues as well. With a newborn in the house, I quickly discovered long hair gets pulled and straight into his mouth.
My wife and daughter similarly have long hair. Our floors started looking like tumbleweeds blowing through the desert. It was constantly getting caught in my laptop bag strap.
Then there were the looks. I found people either didn’t care or were very intrigued by my hair. A woman walked up to me at an event and told me I had “beautiful curly hair.” In a hardware store it was more of a “what’s up with this person?” sort of look.
While I don’t think I’ll ever get the support to do it again, I at least now know what it’s like to have significantly longer hair. I may sneak an inch or two extra from where it is today, but it’s doubtful you’ll see me with hair past my shoulders again anytime soon.