In the gaze of the other

"My mistress' eyes are nothing…"

Hair

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My older sister played the grooves off this album in 1971. I can still recite every word to some of the songs, and I often burst into a refrain of “Aquarius” when my first-born, Aquarian, squares some of her traits to her zodiac sign. Sometimes I belt out the tune merely because it is such a belting kind of song and the edge of my range register of the song can induce a near spiritual experience or maybe it’s just the oxygen deprivation.

Hair defines. 

My hair has always been a badge of horror and honor. Growing up in the hippy long straight hair parted down the middle fashion era, my hair was a horror. I was mortified that my mother had to cut my black frizzy mop very short, pixie style, to save her the time and grief of taming it, the snarls and fuzz that did not hang but billowed everywhere like a balloon around my head. My hair grew out not down. 

But in the 70s when Jimi Hendrix had already made his mark and died to solidify it, somehow afros for everyone called the day. Then, my hair was perfect. A pic and a shake set the wide puffy do–like a giant woolly black powder puff–for the day. Not a hair primper, that suited me fine. 

When the 80s arrived with its feathered bangs and poof teased hairstyles that required hair to hang up and down vertically not horizontally, I was in trouble again. Though my hair did a bit of a mullet in the early 80s, it was back to the search for the perfect stylist professional enough to make order out of the chaos that was my willful unmatched sides of thick naturally unruly curls doing their own thing. Terri and John did decent jobs with my head for the shearing every couple of months I endured to keep legit.

After the 90s, short hair to medium length hair cuts managed a certain neat professionalism to my look until the end of the first decade of the new millennium when the ever-tightening yet losing the grip of my hair’s will came to an end with Gina, the whispering sideline soccer mom color specialist who subtly wooed me into her kitchen swivel chair for the leap into another’s appearance: long blonde, straight hair. 

And the chorus kicks in:

Gimme a head with hair

Long beautiful hair

Shining, gleaming

Streaming, flaxen, waxen
Give me down to there hair

Shoulder length or longer

Here baby, there mama

Everywhere daddy daddy
Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair

Flow it, show it

Long as God can grow it

My hair

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