notquiteold

Gracefully Aging – With Resistance

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.

Just before I turn around……

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49 Comments

  1. I don’t know how you do this – tap into every woman’s secrets! I’m older than you are and have only had long hair when “hair attachments” were “in.” I’m still yearning but guess I’ll stick to the pin curls and red lipstick. :) Great post as always and you make me LOL.

    • Thanks, Dor. I never did ‘hair attachments’ – but I did have a wig when that was in fashion – about 1972 I think. Itchy!

  2. Go for it! If you don’t like it, you can always cut it off!

  3. You go, girl! It looks great, and I’m sure it will look wonderful as long as Jane Seymour’s, too!

  4. This is hilarious, Nancy. Poor Hillary. Remember how she was attacked as First Lady for having too many hairdos? She never gets a break. Now, let her go.

    I have fairly long hair — 4-5 inches below my shoulders. My husband hates short hair and colored hair. I told him years ago he had a choice — short gray or dyed long. She scoffed. I have been coloring my hair for 5 years and he still doesn’t know. Men are stupid.

    • I remember on my 50th birthday. A young guy at the office said he was so surprised I was turning 50 (as he was helping himself to cake). “I can’t believe you’re 50,” he said. “You don’t even have any gray hair.” A female coworker said, “Oh grow up.”

  5. I think you should enjoy your long hair. You’ve always wanted it. Love the pictures of you, before and now. I’ve had long hair many times in my life, so now I am happy with my hair being very short. I wish it didn’t take so long to grow, though. I would change every year if it didn’t take so darn long.

    • Yup… it takes so long. 47 years in my case. I’m impatient after four weeks.

  6. Jane Seymour looks like someone photoshopped her eyes to be mismatched. I am going to go against the current and say I think older women should not wear long hair. Especially gray, unless you want to look like a witch, or a crone. You look great, but don’t go longer, especially with straight, fine hair. Just my thoughts.

    • The last thing I want is stringy. So I think I am near my max. But not quite yet.

  7. One should wear one’s hair to please oneself. Mine is short and gray because I’m lazy. Yet it suits me.

    • When I was standing there for what seemed like forever with the hairdryer this morning, I was thinking the exact same thing.

  8. Right on! If it takes turning my back to make guys think I’m hot, so be it. With my sense of humour, they’re gonna be grossed out sooner or later if they actually talk to me, anyway. :-)

  9. Go for it…I had long hair in college and cut it really really short after my first son was born (we’re talking almost buzz cut here)…I decided to let it grow four years ago. Yes it’s higher maintenance but so what? I’ve got really long hair that is fun and I’m going to rock it until I don’t feel like it anymore. Keep going!

    • It’s such a cool feeling. I can whip my hair!

  10. Susan Ritchie

    Take it from one who always had long hair (remember the pony tail when I was little). It’s no picnic. It needs a lot of work to keep it looking good. Yes you can put it up and pull it back (or put it in a pony tai) but it takes a lot of work to keep it that way. Stay right where you are – it looks really good! (Wonderful how you worked Burr Pond and Aunt Pat in at the same time. You forgot, although, Aunt Lil & Lora with the blue rinses in their hair. Never could figure out why they would want “blue” hair…)

    • I still remember that August day at Burr Pond so clearly. Aunt Pat and Seventeen Magazine. And I was so mad at her!

  11. You look wonderful! I think you should do whatever you want. Play and experiment.

    Personally, I keep mine very short these days, don’t own a comb or a brush or any other implement of torture for my hair. Just fingers and goop. It is easy and I like that.

    Twenty years ago mine was very long, down past the the middle of my back. I kept it braided most of the time. I have lots of hair. I had no choice but to cut it off. Two years before my 50’th I grew it again to donate it for Cancer kids, it grew below my shoulders, it was the worst time I wasn’t use to long hair and hated taking care of it. Now, back to my pixie cut! Keep it pale lavender blond and no muss.

    • Lavender blond? Is your hair light purple?

      • No, it is a very pale blond with lavender as the base instead of yellow or ash. In some light it does have a very pale lavender tone to it I suppose but not really purple. We just tried this color, I love it!

        • The way you describe it, it sounds soft and lovely. Good for you!

  12. Good for you! Grow your hair. If you don’t like the way it looks when it is finally the length dreamed of, you can always cut it off. It’s an easy fix.

    • My concern is that I’ve seen so many women that become so emotionally attached to their hair that they can’t bear to cut if even when it looks awful… (ever watch “What Not To Wear”?). I don’t want to be one of those ladies.

  13. I have long hair and am not much younger than you–long hair forever!

  14. Michelle Gillies

    I think style and colour have a lot to do with how old long hair makes you look. I can show you 2 pictures of myself with very long hair taken 4 months apart one with the auburn colour I usually sport and the other blond, blond,blond. I walked into He-Who’s kids house one day and little Eric said, “How come Auntie M looks so old?”. Out of the mouths of babes. I’ll stick with the auburn.

    • Ah, I think that’s a good idea. When my great-niece says, “Aunt Nancy, what HAPPENED to YOU?”…. I’ll cut it off.

  15. Your timing was slightly off. I had my haircut yesterday. As usual I went full of high hope and came back a good bit shorter than I hoped! Your hair looks wonderful. Wear it until you can’t stand it anymore. I always had long hair and prefer it for myself but my hair doesn’t stay silky and shiny anymore. Poor Hilary. Personally, I think it’s her job that did this to her. It’s not only her hair but her face too. I’m hoping she gets some rest after she resigns.

    • She looks more like Madeleine Albright every day….

  16. pharphelonus

    I’m a big fan and doing what you want, Nancy, and I think your hair looks great.
    Live that dream!

  17. I’ve had long hair most of my life though have occasionally gone short. When I was in high school, looking like Julie from the Mod Squad was THE look and with my straight fine hair, I could do it. My hair was a wee bit past my waist. Now, at 55, my hair is a little below my shoulder blades and I like the way it looks.

    If long hair makes you feel young and YOU like the look – go for it!

  18. I have a vivid memory of being on summer camp as a kid, and one of the volunteers was a lady with waist-length iron-grey hair, which she coiled into all these intricate buns. It looked amazing.

    You want long hair? You go for long hair. Hillary’s looks untidy because it’s at that really awkward length where it just sits on your shoulders because it’s not heavy enough to hang past them yet – it’s nothing to do with her age. A thirteen year old would look just as awkward. But another couple of inches of growth and she’ll be fabulous again!

  19. I”m with those who say do what makes you feel good. I’m 65, my hair is several inches below my shoulders and white-blond, which is what is has “grayed” to. I’ve worn short hair before, but I love it like this and frankly don’t care what anyone else thinks.

  20. I love it! Are we going to get a photo update somewhere down the road? Pretty please?

    I was honestly considering leaving my hair short for a long time to come, but now I look through my long-hair photos and find I’m a little nostalgic for that long hair. I’m not sure if I’m nostalgic enough to make long hair happen again, but . . . maybe?

  21. I say go for it and have fun! Surely when we pass birthday #60 we get to not care what others think. It’s taken me this long to decide I look okay. Nobody gets to rain on that parade. (My daughters will let me know if I go too far, I’m sure.)

    • Over 60 has not made me care less about other people’s opinions. I am still as desperate for approval as I was at seven.

  22. I think it looks great on you, Nancy! I know two other women your age who have recently gone from short to shoulder length and they look stunning! I do think it can make women look younger, not older. It’s the platinum-bleached and teased ones in the tiny tank tops and tight sparkly jeans that border on haggard and ridiculous. And I think that look is bad at any age.

    • Thanks. (And I was just going out to by a tank top and sparkly jeans.)

      • You don’t fool me for a minute, Ms. Cardigan Collection.

        • Well, I planned to top my outfit with a rhinestone cardigan.

          • Right on!

  23. I say go for it!! I, too, have grown mine out (took quite a while, I must say) and am enjoying it to the fullest. Mine started to wane so I began taking Biotin vitamins and Calcium, which helped a lot. There are no rules anymore—do what suits you!

    • I’ve tried Biotin before for my nails. Maybe time to give it another try.

  24. Jo

    There are no rules – well, if there are, they’re made to be broken! I’m 48 and a half, and have shoulder length red-blonde hair and absolutely no plans whatsoever to go any shorter in the next couple of decades!! Short hair on me is hard work – it does what it pleases without any weight/length to it, and grows so fast it needs cutting every few weeks. I love your hair!

    • Thanks. I’m definitely going blonder, but maybe not too much longer.

  25. That part about guys being disappointed when someone with long hair turns around is just too, too sad. Shame on them. Go for it – you look great!

  26. JSD

    I think you look great! As you can see, I once had ‘long’ hair. But I have now graduated to the short, spikey grey hair common for my age (67)…only wish it was thicker. But I have mastered the goop thing. Hey, have you seen the Big Sexy Hair brand?

  27. dragonhavn (@dragonhavn)

    Hair … mine has changed colors as fast as my clothing occasionally, blonde to black to red to … er, fuscia? yep, fuscia. Currently reddish brown mediumish. and just past shoulder length. And i have extensions … that don’t quite match the current color (laughing). I think one should do as one wishes with one’s hair as long as it pleases the wearer. BTW, you look fabulous! Keep it up.

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