Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Rapunzel, Rapunzel... (now how does the rest of that go?...)

It goes "let down your hair", not "Cut if off and throw it down!"

Geez. Is this what happens when we forget?

Just kidding! Just kidding!

Valerie here.

For many years I've known a woman with a glorious Gibson Girl topknot on her head. Her hair is white, and I've often wondered what it must look like loose. So one day, after more than twenty years of very short hair, I just decided to grow it down to my derriere. Here's what my hair looked like when I made that decision. I know it's out of focus. That was before I mastered my 10 second timer. And yes, those are Cookie Monster finger puppets covering the boring plastic buttons.

So, I knew it was going to take a very long time. Anyone who's tried to grow out short hair knows that there are all sorts of silly tricks one has to play while the hair grows to a reasonable length. I did a lot of gluing it down with gel. Really one wants to just wear a paper bag over one's head for several years. Too bad paper bags don't come in designer colors.

Luckily for me, one day Jean and I went to Obscura, focus of the tv show Oddities, where we talked with Evan, one of the store's two owners. I adored her haircut, and got up the nerve to ask her who did it for her. Evan kindly introduced me to Ping, hair stylista extraordinaire (available Wednesdays only, by appointment, at Uliana's, in the East Village). (THANK YOU FOR THAT, EVAN!!!) Ping did the above cut for me, which I loved. It took into account all my hair's foibles, including its many different lengths. But the goal was to grow it out, so I didn't see Ping all that often, and after a while my hair got out of control, like an English garden.

When I saw my photo two weeks ago in the New York Times at the Arts of Pacific Asia Show, I realized enough was enough, and called Ping in desperation. I couldn't possibly look like that at the Easter Parade!

Well, Ping was very firm with me. She didn't pussyfoot around. She just said I needed one length, and gestured to show me how much hair she thought should come off. One hates to see five years' worth of labor (yes, five years!) go down the drain, but you folks out there who've grown your short hair out, you know this is the price you pay. There are detours along the way. Ping put a rubber band around my hair, and cut, with my permission.

I don't have a foot long ruler, so in the next photo I'm using my arm as a kind of measuring stick.

Below is what I look like now. Jean and I figured it's better to come clean now, so when we upload the Easter photos this Sunday, all will have been revealed already.

Didn't Ping do a great job? It's a bit ironic, but she cut it at different lengths to capitalize on the volume I already have, and give my heavy hair more lift. My hair's wavy, and now that it's shorter the waves are more visible.

But, I hear you say, how short is it in the back? Below is a picture of the back, taken with the camera propped up on my chest of drawers, and the 10 second timer on.

Notice I didn't crop out the hat boxes. I'm already finding I have to adjust my hair so it plays nicely with my hats. The things we fail to think of when we make these radical decisions!

Jean says: Halleluia!


  1. It looks fantastic!

  2. OMG,'s gorgeous!!!

  3. Stunning! Can't wait to see it with some of your hats.
    jill in Ontario

  4. Drop dead gorgeous!! She took years off!!

  5. I agree, you look gorgeous with your new cut. Ping knows what she's doing!

  6. You have a gorgeous head of hair. Beautiful!!

  7. Beautiful - coming and going! What courage it must have taken to take this leap after five years. With your creativity I'm sure that you will manage to do both hair and hat!

  8. Your cut is amazing, you look wonderful, and the best thing is if you tire of it, you can grow in back! I think it is great to change and re-fresh yourself.
    I recently chopped my long grey hair off to a 'bob cut' too, only to shoulder length though. I had been growing it for 15 years. When I started, I only had a small streak of silver in the front but now I am 70% grey.

  9. See, all you have to do to get a lot of comments on your blog is to cut off your hair!!
    I love the "New Do", very funky and flattering. Kudos to you for taking the plunge.

  10. How lovely! Finding a stylist who understands curly/wavy hair is key.

  11. Lovely! I agree that it looks very flattering. Enjoy your new hairdo!

  12. ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh you look amazing!!!

  13. Oh I'm groaning in envy
    Pam from Perth, W.Aust.

  14. LOVE! Is it wash n' wear or does it take a bit of styling time? It is super flattering and very sexy!