Happy Hour Haircut

Right before I left for Wisconsin at the end of July for the Milwaukee Brewfest, I was introduced to a scenario I have only ever encountered once before.  The only difference was that the first time was on my own terms…when I was 6, while this time was on a set date for a specific cause and all I had to do was decide to show up.  Bear with me, this post does involve beer.

I have had long hair for a good majority of my life, with very few random clips here and there where I was just sick of the effort it took to wash, brush, and just generally care for it and decided to chop it off in increments of 3 or 4 inches at a time.  I never went shorter than my shoulders and I was always very hesitant of going to a salon regardless of my particular affinity towards my long locks at any given time.  However, my very first haircut that I dictated myself happened when I was just 6 years old and about halfway through first grade.  My parents had let me grow my hair long and wild*, to the point that when I sat cross-legged on the floor for story time, I had to be careful not to sit on the ends of it.  It trailed just past my hips and was as thick as my wrist when put into a ponytail.  Needless to say, it was an awful lot of daily tugging and brushing and untangling, especially because I hated putting it up in any sort of fashion.  The most I would let my mother do was a half ponytail or a braid when I had a soccer game, other than that, it flowed free and knotted constantly until I snapped.

*I’m not sure why, but I can’t seem to find any photos of me from this time period where I’m not naked, or at least topless…so for now, no pictures

I seethed the whole bus ride home from school, angry at my hair for being so difficult, when all I wanted was for it to be long and beautiful and easy.  I stormed off the bus and grabbed a pair of scissors from the drawer as I passed through the kitchen and went to sit in the bathroom.  My father arrived home from work not long after and my mother pointed him towards my hideout (she had been in earlier to make sure I didn’t hurt myself).  He came in and sat down and asked me what was going on.  I pouted for a good while before telling him I didn’t want my hair anymore and complained about how it hurt my head and how my arms were so tired from brushing.  I’m sure he was chuckling to himself as I shoved the scissors in his hands and squeezed myself between his knees so he could cut my hair.  I pointed to a spot just under my ears on my jaw and told him that was where I wanted my hair.  I didn’t want to look like a boy, but I also didn’t want to brush it anymore.  He gathered my hair into a ponytail and quietly, slowly snipped the scissors through the thick rope.  After a few minutes, I stopped scowling and realized he was holding my hair in his hand…and that it wasn’t connected to my head anymore.  I felt like I could float through the ceiling and had to grab onto the sink to keep my balance.  He tousled what was left of my hair, kissed my head, and walked out with the tail.  I found out later that my parents kept that hair in a tightly sealed plastic bag in my baby book up until the day we moved, about 10 years later.  I don’t remember much after my dad lopped off my hair, but I do remember that I was pretty sure I never wanted it that short again, and continued to grow it out past my shoulder blades – up until a month ago.

Now, I promised beer, and I’m here to deliver.  On July 20th, Four Peaks hosted an event for Locks of Love that involved people coming into the brewery to chop off 10 inches of hair and getting a free beer and good karma.  I pondered it for a few weeks when I first heard about it, emailed them for details, weighed the pros and cons, and ultimately decided that I really had nothing to lose.  Plus, apparently I’ll do anything for a free beer.  If you haven’t seen a picture of me with long hair, you obviously haven’t looked at the “About Lys” section on the upper right corner of this page, you don’t follow me on Twitter, and we’re not friends on G+ or Facebook.  There, shameless plugs out of the way, moving on – I anxiously awaited the day I lost all of my years of hair growth, and all I knew about haircare.  When July 20th finally came around, my ever-supportive husband drove me to Four Peaks an hour before we had to be there, so we could sit and relax before the hacking.  I met Melissa, the brewer, who was also cutting her hair for the event, and we ended up getting our locks chopped off together alongside 9 other women.

The whole event was certainly an interesting experience, and one I may participate in the future, when my hair eventually grows out again.  I am very proud and honored to have been able to donate a little part of myself to an awesome organization; and just knowing that my hair will be made into a high-quality prosthetic that will help a child with long-term medical hair loss in restoring their self esteem and confidence…well, I don’t know that I could ask for a better reward.  I’m sure that when I was 6, I would have donated my hair if I had known about Locks of Love, but I’m still grateful for the opportunity now and the memories of one of my first haircuts.  Overall, 110 inches of hair were donated to Locks of Love and everyone had a great time.  It’s not everyday you get to go to a local brewery and do something good for others while sipping a craft beer.

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