So, a couple of nights ago I was sleepless. This can be a dangerous state for me to be in, a time when I am prone to impulsive online shopping and also to chopping off my hair.
I controlled the urge to shop but not the urge to chop.
I took this picture after going to the Loreena McKennitt concert tonight at the Palace Theater in downtown Columbus, Ohio. But before we turn to the music of McKennitt, we must thrash out this topic of cutting your own hair. As it so happens, the November edition of U.S. Vogue had an article about cutting your own hair and how liberating that can be, even if the resulting haircut is not totally awesome. Lena Dunham, of the TV series Girls, reflects:
I will never forget the first time I cut my own bangs: the power, the adrenaline. I was twelve years old, standing in the fluorescent light of my parents’ bathroom with a pair of orange-handled craft scissors, unaware that I was standing on the precipice of self-definition.
I, too, took self-definition by the scissors at the age of twelve. But instead of just trimming my bangs, I cut my entire head of hair, which had been styled in very long ringlets that my Mother called finger curls. And I cut it VERY SHORT. Pixie-cut short. My best-friend-forever Josie was at my side as I sat, in the middle of the night, on our bedroom floor with the vanity mirror propped up in front of me and whacked away at those golden locks. She was too wise to warn me off: it would not have deterred me one whit and may have forever put a crimp in our friendship.
So, my chopped-off hair all over the floor, we repaired back to our beds for the rest of the night.
The whole house was awakened by my shrieks in the morning. What on God’s Earth had I done???
My mother and Josie tried to console me. Really I had not done a bad job at all, and I looked quite cute with short hair.
My father left the house and went to the solace of Hull’s Market (aka Junior’s) in Morrisville, about a mile down the road from our farmhouse. There he could gather round the furnace and drink Pepsi with the other men and be safe from the shrieks of womenfolk.
I went on, from that day of ignominy, to a life in which I cut many people’s hair, not only my own but that of my whole family, father and brothers included and that of many friends. I never had one day of training, although there were instructions that came with the electric clippers I used on my Dad and brothers, because that was the era, in the early 60’s of Short Hair on Men. Those instructions represent my entire training in things cosmetological.
My fall-back career, if being a lawyer didn’t work out, was to be a professional hair-cutter. But that never came to pass and a good thing too, because I wouldn’t have been able to hack spending all day on my feet. Think about that next time you are in the salon… think about their poor feet!
So now, to the Loreena McKennitt concert. She was doing a tour called A Trio Performance:
I took this shot of the ceiling at the Palace before I was made to put my little Canon Elph camera away (no photos were allowed at the concert, but I mistakenly thought it was permissible to shoot the concert hall beforehand–I could have gotten away with it with a smartphone, I saw, but I’m not that high-tech!). The Palace Theater is one of our historic theaters in downtown Columbus, along with the Ohio Theater and the Southern:
And this one of the stage before the performers arrived:
I was in the aisle seat on the center aisle about ten rows back, an ideal position for both hearing and seeing the concert. McKennitt performed with Brian Hughes on guitars and bouzouki and Caroline Lavelle on cello, recorder and voice.
I was particularly interested in hearing McKennitt because in the days when I performed semi-professionally on Celtic harp and voice, people would come up to me and say I reminded them of her. Tonight I ordered some of her CD’s and of course I heard her live: I can hear some resemblance between the two of us although she is, of course, a Celtic goddess, whereas I am simply human. 🙂
If you have not heard her, I suggest you listen to almost anything of hers on YouTube. I can no longer download songs from there, because the apps that permit one to do so all screw up my laptop now, making my keyboard non-functional. So I can’t include one here. But I encourage you to go listen to her there!
As to the concert, it was mesmerizing, if way too short. Hence, I ordered her CD’s. 🙂
And as to my first self-administered haircut: I sobbed my way to acceptance of it and then actually began to enjoy having it short after being burdened with long hair my entire childhood, which had kept me in thrall to the ministrations of my mother. With it short, I could care for it myself. A few months later, I experimented with a bottle of peroxide, once again occasioning hysterics that gradually turned into delight.
But I must add here that once in high school, I both stopped bleaching it and grew it out long again. 🙂
I know and love Loreena McKennitt’s music – have a lot of it on disc. If you want any of it in your blog, you can find a lot of YouTube videos of her stuff that are good. Just copy the ‘share’ URL and paste it on a separate line (with a space in between it top and bottom) and it should appear on your post automatically.
I always cut my own hair these days – have done for many years. My mother used to do her own, too. I’ve never chopped it very short, but I think I’m as good as a hairdresser at cutting it! 🙂
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Thanks, Val, for the advice about pasting in the YouTube URL’s! I can’t wait for my Loreena McKennitt disc’s to arrive, but I’m even more breathlessly awaiting the arrival of my new Celtic harp, which I’m hoping I’ll be able to play notwithstanding the arthritis that caused me to give away my old one. 🙂 And I think we are probably both as good as any hairdresser could ever be with our hair–who else knows our heads as well as ourselves?
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I’m very jealous that you got to see Loreena McKennitt in person. I’ve loved her music for a long time.
As for your new haircut, I don’t know what style you had before, but the elfin look really suits you. I’ve been toying with the idea of having mine cut short for months but, when it comes down to it, I think I’m just a chicken. 😀
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Thanks! It is daunting to go very short. Mine hadn’t been that much longer to begin with, just rather short and shapeless. But twice in my life I’ve gone from waist-length to pixie length hair: the time I wrote about, when I was 12, and then again in college, after I had spent all of high school growing it very long. Each time it was a liberation. Go for it! 🙂
Your old photos are lovely! You were a pretty young lady – and one with lots of talent, too. As for hair length … mine isn’t long either, but shapeless doesn’t begin to describe it at the moment. It’s a definite basin cut and it’s going to be lopped off before Christmas! I’ve never grown mine to waist-length but I do love long hair on younger people. You may well have inspired me to do the pixie thing! 🙂
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I love my pixie hair and get constant compliments on it. And it’s so very easy to take care of and still have it look great! Please keep me apprised of your hair developments. 🙂
And thank you for the compliments on my old photos. A friend is going to convert to mp3’s an old cassette tape of some of my lutesongs recorded in my livingroom, all first takes, warts and all, back in 1991. If that happens, I’ll post some on my blog and make sure to let you know! 🙂