I happen to like my hair generally. I say this because so many women I know do not. Women with straight hair tend to want it curly and vice versa. Mine’s on the curly side but not that thick, which makes it malleable. That’s not to say that I put much effort into it, but it’s easy enough to deal with. But here’s the thing: my best guess is that it’s going to be more trouble than it’s worth on the trail. I mean if it’s cold outside and my hair gets wet, it’ll take hours to dry and could affect my core body temperature. If it’s hot, it’ll get sweaty, which will contribute to the general backslide on the cleanliness scale. Bugs could certainly get cozy in its shady alcoves. Worst of all, my hair sheds like crazy, and in fact it does drive me crazy: hair all over my sleeping bag, tent, clothes. Ugh. I blame my older sister for this distaste of loose long hairs. Let’s just say that we shared a bathroom growing up, and it wasn’t pretty (yeah, I said it, sis. Now I feel better, and we can move on.).
So the sensible solution would be to cut it all off, right? I mean shorter than I’ve ever had it, like “are you a prepubescent boy” short. But now for the downsides. I’m not that vain, but I am a little vain. I mean my sisters have been needling me to pluck/wax my eyebrows for a dozen years, but I’ve held strong. I figure that if someone is judging me that negatively for the (quite beautiful, if I do say so myself) state of my eyebrows, then I probably don’t need to worry about him/her anyway. But super short hair might be another story. See, I have chubby cheeks. They’re not fat, but I don’t have a strong jaw line. Combine that with super short hair, and I think we’d be going with the Elmer Fudd look.
Still, I feel like this is the only time in my life that I would be able to do it without getting too many concerned looks and queries about my health. And it would definitely be a motivator to reach Katahdin: “There is NO WAY I’m leaving this trail until my hair grows to a socially acceptable length!” I do have a friend’s wedding celebration that I plan to attend a couple of months into my hike, but I suppose, if it matters much to her, I can always put an over-sized bow in my hair like new parents do to their child so that people will know I’m a girl.
I’m still tossing this one back and forth but am seriously leaning on the side of a close crop. Oh, I know! I’ll let some company shave its logo into the back of my head. Seems like a small price to pay to motivate someone to sponsor my trip. It’s just hair after all.