I listened to this audio of two girls explaining a haircut (very rational, very cute).
“Everyone does that kind of stuff sometimes. It happens like once, or twice, or three times in every life. Once. Or twice. I mean once.”
I got my hair cut two days ago. It wasn’t dramatic, but I lost an earring on the ground and found it near the end of the haircut, amidst hair balls. I used to only get haircuts if they were dramatic. Now I’m trying to grow out my hair (like a lady) and only cut it for maintenance purposes. This means about every year.
There is something about haircuts that is so weird. What other bodily items (besides hair on legs and faces and elsewhere) do we try and get rid of all the time? Nails. Maybe like ear wax. Dry skin. Gunk on teeth. But hair – we love our hair. And still, we chop it off.
The main character who has been following me around for years has long dark straight hair. This is non-negotiable. Her name is now Jillian and she is the purpose of my novel. She used to have other names; she lived in failed stories. Always with long dark hair. Nothing else mattered. Maybe she didn’t speak as much or as quickly as I did. But mostly she just had long dark hair.
“I can’t imagine her hair long anymore. It’s been so long since I cut it.”
What if I made Jillian get a haircut? How would that change her? I got a hair cut. I’m not undergoing an identity crisis. Jillian would be (or I would be for Jillian).
What would a haircut mean symbolically in my story? I got a haircut. I’m not on a new path in life. Jillian would be. Or I would make her be.
Cutting hair is taking something away. It will grow back, but from the other end. The hair you cut lays there on the floor. All hair, once it’s escaped your scalp, is already dead. It’s just waiting for you to separate yourself from it. But you hang on so long.
I wonder if when I finish Jillian’s novel someone else’s hair will be my focus. Will hair always be my impetus for character? And if character is the driving force behind novels, then will hair always make my novels? I imagine a girl with dreadlocks. A woman with red hair. I imagine someone who has lost their hair – all of it.
We read a story every Christmas, The Gift of the Maji by O. Henry. It’s the story of a haircut, of how a haircut transformed a couple’s life together. So maybe this isn’t so far off.