Over the years, a lot has changed about me. My personal style has gone from super feminine “never met a pair of heels I didn’t like” to being one of those sneaker loving, beanie wearing, “all black everything” people. I have found a passion for fitness, health and the outdoors after a lifetime of swearing the only reason I would ever even consider camping would be for the s’mores (plural). Yet, through all of this change, one thing has remained consistent—my long hair.
Sure, my hair has gone from black to auburn to chestnut to its current ashy blonde ombrè situation, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is its flowing length. It all started back when I was 16. I saw Britney Spears (don’t judge me—it was 2002) had cut her long hair into a short, fringed bob. Wanting to be like Britney (this was pre-meltdown so once again, don’t judge), I did the same. Only the result was not the same, like at all. I’ll spare you the details and myself the PTSD of having it memorialized on my driver’s license for years, but it took a lot of tears, prayers to hair gods and a solid year to turn my disastrous bob into socially acceptable locks.
Since then I have vowed to not make the same mistake twice. You know the phrase “long hair, don’t care”? Well I do care—actually, a lot—about my long hair. I have a pretty vigilant routine that involves several (or like eight) well-researched products, weekly masks and regularly scheduled trims. My long hair has very much become a major part of my identity over the last 10+ years. I secretly/not-so-secretly have strived to be known as “the friend with pretty, long hair.” (I’m somewhat vein, sue me.)
But then the lob happened. Everyone from Alexa Chung to Emily Weiss to Taylor Swift to my sister chopped their locks and was looking effortlessly chic. And those early-2000s internal rumblings started again. What if I went under the scissors? Would this be an “Oops I did it again” situation? Who doesn’t want to be classified as “effortlessly chic”? It’s just hair, it can grow back. Think of how much quicker my morning routine would be! I could actually sit down to have a cup of coffee…
Sure, I love coffee more than the average human medically probably should, but the biggest question still remains—in cutting my hair, am I cutting away at my identity? My hair has been my constant during my 20s (which—spoiler alert for you younger folks—is a period of major change). If I am not “the friend with pretty, long hair,” who am I really?
The reality is we often define ourselves by some superficial marker. For me, it’s my long hair. And while I have still not mustered up the courage to take the big chop, that doesn’t mean I don’t debate it on the reg (or have a stock pile of hair-spirational images to show my hairdresser when I do make the plunge). I have come to terms with the fact that whether I have long hair, go for the lob or pull a Britney and shave it all off (I’m not going to do that, mom, relax), at the end of the day, I’m still Melissa.
I know I won’t always be “the friend with pretty, long hair,” but I’ll forever be the friend who “is always down to brunch,” “writes witty exposes about culottes,” “Instagrams photos of her exceptionally adorable dog” and, most importantly, I’ll always be considered simply as “the friend.”
And maybe, just maybe, I’ll eventually be known as “the friend with the effortlessly chic lob.” Stay tuned!
To lob or not to lob? Sound off on social media using the hashtag #collegefashionista!