Monday, January 30, 2012

The Pixie Cut

When I was five, my mom took me with her to a hair salon, and for the first time, she told me I could choose my very own hair cut.  Up until that point, my grandmother, a retired hair stylist, had always cut my hair at her house.

I flipped through one of the waiting room magazines for inspiration, and I knew right away that I wanted a pixie cut.

The pixie cut is a short, boyish hairstyle, thus named because it only looks good on petite girls with wide, orblike eyes and small, dainty chins.

I, on the other hand, was a square-jawed Irish child, but I was convinced a pixie cut would be extremely flattering on me.

I could tell my mom and the hair stylist didn't have as much faith in my choice.  I withstood their psychological assault with a grace and courage of conviction that were impressive for a five-year-old.

The hair stylist tried to stall as long as possible, giving me every opportunity to relent.  As she fastened the smock around my neck and ran a damp comb through my hair, she kept pausing to show me exactly how short it was going to be.

"Okay!" I invariably chirped.

Finally, with the scissors in her hand, she had me take one last look in the mirror.

She started cutting.

When she whirled the salon chair around to show me the finished product, an unfamiliar five-year-old boy returned my gaze.

I walked out of that salon like a girl who was rocking her pixie cut.  Only on the sullen car ride home did I admit to my mom that the pixie cut had not turned out as planned.

And that's why, from age five through seven, I looked like a dude.

Whenever someone sees the group photo from my sixth birthday slumber party, they ask in a tone of surprise, "Who's that little boy at your sleepover?"

Then I have to tell them, "It's me."

But of all the times I got told I looked like a boy, I never once heard it from my mother.

In my defense, that hair stylist basically gave me a bowl cut.  I should march back in that salon and demand that she do it right this time.  Also, I went through a phase in third grade when I put clever little thought-bubble stickers on all my cherished childhood photos, unbeknownst to my parents.


  1. I feel your pain. I remember how excited I was when My mum took me to a fancy salon and let me pick out my own haircut. The only difference is I was 29. I had little boy hair on a 29 year old mother of two's head. My hair is down to my waist now; I haven't been able to make myself go back into a salon since.

  2. Haha, its okay i had a bowl cut too!

  3. Hair stylists are some of the scariest people on the planet. In 30 minutes or less, they can perform a sex change operation... with an insidious name like pixie.

  4. I can't have hair above my shoulder either - looks like aaaarrrggghhhh!

  5. Ah, poor five-year-old you. I STILL fall into that trap, and I'm in my 30s. I pick out a really cute short cut...and then remember - a little too late - that short hair makes me look like a poodle is napping on my head.

  6. You're inspiring a future blog: why my mom loved sister more. For years, I had the boy cut and my sister had long, luxurious locks. I have so been there. Thanks for the reminder. Painful as it may be.

  7. That's awesome. I reckon that's why I've never seen any pictures of you as a kid.

  8. LOVE this! now go pick up your MOV award over at my blog........

    ps-- my hair disaster was dying it red one time. Two words: never again.

  9. I feel your pain. I didn't even get the semi-dignity of a pixie cut. My mother gave me a bowl cut, which I'm beginning to think is an Indian Mom thing (seriously, every toddler picture I've seen of an Indian girl, they have a bowl cut) until I eventually rebelled because I wanted Goldilocks curls. So I grew out my hair and tried to curl it by wrapped it around a spoon and then trying to free the spoon by tugging it free. It did not work. And now, twenty years later, everyone tells me that I look better with longer hair (including my Mom!) which, when you live in a desert, is a mixed blessing.

    (By the way, I am thoroughly enjoying your blog and reading every post instead of folding my laundry. I do not know whether to thank you or not...)