Rapunzel – The Mature Version
It was August of 1965, and I was about to start high school.
This called for a significant style change. I was more than ready to leave behind the grammar school uniforms and pick up the makeup.
I remember sitting on a blanket at Burr Pond (a nearby park) with my Aunt Pat. Aunt Pat was quite glamorous in my eyes. She was tall. And blond. And younger than my other old aunts who seemed satisfied with pincurls and red lipstick.
I had a copy of Seventeen magazine. (I was fourteen, but planning ahead.)
This was my favorite picture in that issue:
In case you don’t recognize her, it’s Barbara Bach – who later became a Bond Girl as well as Mrs. Ringo Starr.
I showed Aunt Pat the photo, and told her, “This is how I am going to wear my hair in high school.”
At the time, I looked like this:
(If you squint, I am sure you will agree that I looked just like Barbara Bach – I just needed the hair.)
Well, Aunt Pat smiled. She said, “Nancy, I’ve known you since you were a little girl. You’re hair has always been short and your patience is even shorter. I don’t hold out much hope that you will ever have long hair.”
She was amused. Do you know how irritating it is for an adult to be AMUSED by you when you are fourteen? I was incensed.
“You just wait. I will SO have long hair.”
And NOW… look here Aunt Pat! Take that!
I finally did it. I had the patience to grow out my hair. Just goes to show you how much patience I have! (since it took forty-seven years.)
I’ve grown it out. It’s long enough to warm my neck. And I can even put it up in a very cute casual updo when I feel like it. (Since my hair is still very fine, I need lots of goop to make it stay, but they make great goop nowadays.)
This is the longest my hair has been in my whole life. I’m sixty-one and experiencing long hair for the first time in my life.
But now what happens?
Should I let it grow even longer? Should I really go for it?
When I google “Older women with long hair” I get a lot of images of Jane Seymour.
She looks great. And she was a Bond Girl too. It’s a good omen, I think, that harkens back to Barbara Bach. AND… she is exactly my age. Okay, so I am six days older, but I have taken very good care of myself.
But I see a lot of criticism too. Articles that say that long hair ages you, and makes you look haggard. And worse – that men seeing you from behind think you are hot, but then you turn around and they are grossed out. Grossed out!
And to top it off, lately all over the internet I see criticism for Hillary Clinton’s long hair. ‘She’s too old’, they say. It makes her look ‘unkempt’.
Well, I have to admit that I don’t think it’s Hillary’s best look. But I can spend umpteen hours making sure I am kempt. Whereas Hillary is a little busy right now saving the world. If she looked too kempt, folks would complain that she must have a hairdresser with her, and that she cares more about her appearance than about world peace.
Here’s my theory (and probably Hillary’s too): I have the rest of my life to look old. But I have only a few years left to look young.
I’m going for it.