something about the hair

January 14th, 2022

I was in the waiting room at the dentist’s when the woman sitting across from me said, “I love your hair.”

This happens quite often. Of course, people who think otherwise aren’t likely to say so.

A few years ago a woman called to me from across the parking lot at Whole Foods. “I love your hair,” she shouted, and then she walked over to me to inspect it.

“I could never do that because I don’t have the right-shaped head,” she said.

That happens quite often too. In fact, I don’t think that anyone has ever said that they like my hair and hasn’t immediately followed with, “But I could never wear it that way.” Their head is too flat or their cheeks too round or their ears too long or some other disqualifier that is always held at the ready, like all our reasons why not.

I say thank you, although I don’t have much to do with my hair or how it got this way.

Still, I wonder what prompts the outburst. Is it out of kindness, shock or maybe pity? Compassion, curiosity, or discomfort? No, I don’t think so. I think it springs from a deeply held wish, a wish that I have too, a wish that unites us. The wish to be free from ourselves and all our reasons why not.

Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash



  1. Amen.

    Comment by Phil Odom — January 14, 2022 @ 12:54 pm

  2. I am in a sort of class, someone in my class also has the same hair, I think she looks gorgeous. Before she had the hair almost every woman has and I can’t even remember what she looked like. Her face is very sweet and pretty with this hair.
    A while ago I read about projection (on Wikipedia) and I guess that unusual things in people are the perfect means for projection.

    Comment by Simone — January 14, 2022 @ 3:37 pm

  3. Before gray hair was “in” and I was still in my 40s, women used to approach me all the time with the same comments. It always left me scratching my head. I appreciate seeing it from your perspective.

    Comment by Amy Baker — January 14, 2022 @ 3:39 pm

  4. I have very curly hair, and I don’t color it, so it’s various shades of gray and such. Since I found someone who knows how to cut curly hair, I get comments all the time about my hair.
    I think of being a kid, and when I wanted it to be long, blonde, and silky, and what I tried, unsuccessfully, to get it so. Now, it is m=just wash and wear.

    Comment by Debra H Bures — January 14, 2022 @ 4:57 pm

  5. I love your take on this. It’s so true: Free from ourselves. Most women have an inner glow when their hair is shaven or short cropped. It feels so liberating too.

    Comment by Vicki — January 14, 2022 @ 9:21 pm

  6. You always make lemonade out of lemons! I experience this as a watercolor painter, artist. My work so far is not gallery-ready for sure. Nevertheless, saying that you paint, or showing something you’ve painted to another, usually coaxes out a “I can’t paint, I’m not artistic, or I could never do that.” I know they can but I could never convince them. We have to release ourselves from our own bondage, don’t we! Larry

    Comment by Larry M — January 15, 2022 @ 7:19 am

  7. I wore my hair like that for many years and loved the way it felt physically as well as psychologically. Since COVID, I’ve been wearing it longer on top. I like the way it looks, but miss the way it used to feel. Maybe this summer I’ll get it all shaved off again.

    Comment by Kathy — January 20, 2022 @ 12:45 pm

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