My hair is too long. It’s ridiculous. I can nearly sit on it. It hasn’t been near a pair of scissors in ten months and it needs to be chopped. Nothing dramatic, but I want to be able to look at the floor and see plenty of it down there – two inch lengths. A. could do it for me, she has done it before, she has a good straight eye, but maybe I’ll go to a pro. Hairdressers are quiet in January, at least I’m supposing they must be because they all seem to have offers on, promotions displayed prominently in their windows. Cut price cuts.

A new adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Little Women’ aired on television over Christmas. I had forgotten how wholesome a story it is. Not that you would want a diet of ‘Little Women’ all the time (it’s as sugary as ten cans of coke), but it was a relief to watch something gentle, laced with a bit of decency instead of some of the tawdry tales with questionable messages that are peddled to our youth. No bad thing to have a character like Jo as a role model, selflessly losing her luscious locks in favour of the gamine-look, all so she could help pay for her father’s medical bills when he got injured playing his part in the Civil War. Ah, there’s nothing quite like a bit of genteel poverty for daughters to go selling their hair! Wouldn’t it be great if all the young ones opted to have their crowning glory chopped to raise money for good causes? Although, maybe the market for long hair has changed from what it was in Massachusetts 160 years ago.

Then there is the opposite of the Jo-special: the imperceptible cut. Where you just get the ends lightly snipped so that nobody notices but you, and you maintain that perfect length and look. E. did this a few weeks back, “just the ends off”, isn’t that the instruction? They say that anything goes in this more tolerant age, but the workplace can still be a bastion of conservatism, especially when it comes to men like E. who have slightly more flowing locks. Apparently the boss kept asking him when he was getting it cut, and on this day he was able to say: “I did, yesterday.”

When my hair gets really long, like it is now, it is often easier to wear it in one plaited pigtail – definitely not two, even Britney Spears was too old for that when she sang ‘Hit Me Baby’ in 1998. The odd time I wonder what it would be like if I just asked them to cut it at the top of the pigtail and be done with it! I shan’t do it, though. I shall let the plait be faithful to my back, albeit, not quite reaching so far down. I wonder if anyone will even notice?

‘A Tragic Story’, by William Makepeace Thackeray

There lived a sage in days of yore,

And he a handsome pigtail wore;

But wondered much and sorrowed more,

Because it hung behind him.


He mused upon this curious case,

And swore he’d change the pigtail’s place,

And have it hanging at his face,

Not dangling there behind him.


Says he, ‘The mystery I’ve found –

Says he, ‘The mystery I’ve found!

I’ll turn me round,’ – he turned him round;

But still it hung behind him.


Then round and round, and out and in,

All day the puzzled sage did spin;

In vain – it mattered not a pin –

The pigtail hung behind him.


And right and left and round about,

And up and down and in and out

He turned; but still the pigtail stout

Hung steadily behind him.


And though his efforts never slack,

And though he twist and twirl, and tack,

Alas! Still faithful to his back,

The pigtail hangs behind him.

One thought on “Cut!

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