I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
November 9, 2018
It happened again at my last hair appointment.
The stylist I’d chosen had a great reputation among my friends and rave reviews online. Her Instagram feed was filled with photos of women with long, lush hair coaxed into glorious waves and loose curls or artfully woven into thick braided updos. I could only imagine the magic she’d work on my own long — but lackluster– hair, and eagerly waited six weeks for an appointment with this maven of manes.
“I like having long hair,” I told her once I was seated in her chair. “But I’d love to have a little more volume.” She nodded, tossed my hair around a little, and took me to the shampoo station, where she asked the usual questions about my life. I told her I was a writer, a mom, and a stepmom. “Four kids, two are grown,” I said.
“Wow,” she said as she rinsed the conditioner out of my hair. “You must be busy.”
“I’m very grateful to have a flexible schedule,” I smiled.
Once we got back to her chair and she’d brushed out the tangles, she paused for a moment. “I’d actually like to cut a lot off,” she told me. “If you’re okay with that.”
My eyes widened. “How much were you thinking?”
“Well, how much will you let me cut?” she asked slowly. I grew pale… but then I thought about those rave reviews. Those Instagram photos. Those recommendations from friends. Obviously, this woman knew what she was doing. Maybe she saw something in shorter hair for me that I couldn’t — Something that would make me look just as glamorous and cutting-edge as all the women on her Instagram stream.
“How much would you cut off if you could?” I asked.
“About six inches,” she replied. “I think it would look great right about here.” She held a hand at shoulder level.
Shoulder length? This wasn’t at all what I’d had in mind… But it wasn’t like I was getting a pixie cut, I reasoned. I’d still be able to braid it and put it in a ponytail. Probably. And if I didn’t like it, I’d just grow it right back out again. No big whoop.
“Okay,” I squeaked. “Do it.” The stylist smiled triumphantly, swiveled my chair around to face her, and got to work. Thirty minutes later, she was done.
“Are you ready to see it?” she asked. I smiled hopefully, imagining my hair transformed from plain and uninspiring into something sexy and cutting edge. “Is she a celebrity?” I imagined people whispering when they saw the new me. “She must be important! Just look at her hair!”
The stylist swiveled me back around and as I faced myself in the mirror, my jaw dropped.
I looked like a… like a…
I looked like a Mom.
My hair had been snipped and shaped into an entirely sensible bob and then teased, smoothed and sprayed into a veritable hair shield no crowded carpool line or last-minute school supply run could dent.
“Thanks,” I said in a strangled voice, trying not to cry.
“It’s much better, isn’t it?” she murmured. “I think your kids will love it.”
It came as no surprise when she didn’t ask to take my picture afterward for her Instagram feed.
Sadly, this wasn’t the first time I’ve left a salon with a look only Laura Bush could love. The moment a hairdresser manages to wrest my life story from me (and trust me, it doesn’t take much for me to spill my guts), any style he or she was considering that may be glamorous, youthful, or edgy is abandoned in favor of something ‘fun!’ Or ‘kicky!’ Or ‘sensible!’ The scissors become a weapon used to clearly label me so there’s no confusion to anyone I come across. I’m a Mom. A Mama. A Mother. A Ma. Yuck.
It’s not that I don’t love being a mom — Clearly, that’s not the case. I’d simply rather my hair not tell my life story the moment I walk in a room. Plus, a Mom ‘Do just doesn’t feel like me. Every time I end up with one, I spend weeks afterward scaring myself when I catch a passing glimpse of myself in a mirror at home. What the hell! Who’s that MOM in my house?! Is she going to try to clean something? I’ll think in horror, before realizing: Oh. It’s just me. Slumping slightly, I’ll continue on my way.
I can only tell this tale now, months later, because my hair has finally grown back to the length I love. Now, I get to face a whole new nightmare of searching yet again for a stylist who won’t send me back to the Land of Mom in 30 minutes flat. This time, though, I have a plan. I’m going to invent a new identity for myself to share at my next appointment — the kind of identity that goes with the hairstyle I crave.
“I’m a Pantene model,” I’ll say when the inevitable questions come, batting my false eyelashes modestly.
“I’m starring in the new Real Housewives of Nashville series.”
“I’m an Instagram superstar.”
“I’m a stripper… with a heart of gold.”
Whatever it takes, people. Whatever. It. Takes.