There’s something a bit embarrassing about being a grown woman of 28 who still wants to be able to sit on her own hair.
Like still collecting scented gel pens or Beanie Babies with tag protectors on, it feels as though waist-length tresses are something I should have given up as soon as I was too old to have my mother comb through them every Sunday with Johnson’s No More Tears.
But while the rest of the world happily chops and changes with fashion, mood, age, and the weather, there are some of us who just can't give up the dream of lush, arse-grazing mermaid locks. Long hair, do care. Okay, it's not making a radical statement for womankind, but every time we see Jessa on Girls looking like a latter-day Pre-Raphaelite painting, all thoughts of those sensible Alexa-length layers go out the window.
For the past four years, I’ve used Mane and Tail horse shampoo (a cult U.S. brand remarketed for humans – you can buy it in Liberty and Urban Outfitters, but don’t because it’s half the price online from Pak Cosmetics) to coax mine to lengths worthy of a gymkhana rosette. Guys, it works. I don’t know how, but it does; I’ve gone from stubbornly shoulder-length to complete boob-coverage.
“It’s SO LONG,” friends tell me as it whips them in face on dancefloors. “There’s just so MUCH OF IT,” my boyfriend sighs in his nightly fight for pillow space. But I am hair dysmorphic. I want it a foot longer, at least. Every few months, hairdressers will wrinkle their noses and brandish scissors while I shrink away in fear, the voice of Amy from Little Women in my head screaming, “Jo! Your one beauty!”
I know it might be liberating to cut it shorter. How nice it would be not to have to yank it painfully out from under my handbag strap once every 40 seconds, or constantly singe it on the gas hob. But stupid long hair has its uses too — it doubles up as a scarf, a bib, and a mask against bad smells on public transport. By wrapping myself in a blanket of my own dead protein, just think how much I’ve saved on wedding pashminas!
Besides, I’m not talking about mimsy Disney Princess hair. This is not the bleach-battered barnet of a Real Housewife, or the ceramically straightened curtain of Paris Hilton circa 2003. No, the long hair hall of fame is reserved for hair with a whole lot more life in its lengths and oomph in its roots. It's for hair of all shades and shapes that isn’t ashamed to take up space.
And it might be more traditional than a pixie crop or a pageboy, but when society tells us our hair should be mid-length and manageable like the Duchess of Cambridge and then chopped off into a sensible Mum cut the moment we hit 40, there’s something about wild, wandering locks that can still feel rebellious.
So here are the long-locked idols keeping our Lady Godiva dreams alive. Let’s hear it for hair! Hip hippie, hooray.