My dedication to the hair cause has always been a bit zealous. Back when I used to perform, I rarely cut more than an inch off my hair at any given time because I needed the length. As a ballet dancer, long hair is easier to style in a bun or french braid, and as an actor it was good to be able to do whatever a particular character required. Cutting my hair too short limited my repertoire.
Reenacting became an extension of that thought process, especially before I had fake hairpieces to help. Even still, fake hair can’t do all the work unless a person has the money to buy entire wigs. My difficulty is twofold, since I switch back and forth between military and civilian capacities. As a soldier, I can queue my hair without the aid of wigs or hairpieces like men must, and as a civilian I have the option to do something fancy if I choose. And now that I also act as sometimes-monarch with my 1839/39 impression of Queen Victoria, that hairstyle requires some length.
And thus, my lifelong struggle continues: If it’s reenacting season, I can’t do more than trim my hair. The real trouble is that, as I get older, my head grows increasingly intolerant of the weight on my head. If my hair gets too long I’m prone to headaches. And yet, year after year, I am adamant about leaving my hair alone until November, my regiment’s last event of the year for which I absolutely need my hair. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment. Maybe I’m stubborn. Or maybe I’m just so used to the status quo that it’s become a habit. I prefer to think that I’m dedicated enough to my impressions that I’m willing not to touch my hair until each season is over. I’m also maybe a little nuts.
But when I went this past November to have my hair sheared off (roughly 4.5 inches…last year, it was six!), I had an extra request. Recently, my regiment decided to extend its Victorian Era reach almost to 1900, thereby requiring new hair standards for the ladies. One thing my hair doesn’t like to do is poof, and despite everything I’ve taught myself on how to style hair I still can’t manage that Gibson Girl look. I looked at a lot of tutorials and they all suggested hair rats — one, in particular, suggested making your own because a) natural hair styles better and b) if it’s your own hair, it’s guaranteed to match your colour.
So yes. I totally showed up at a beauty salon asking to have all my hair chopped off, holding a Ziploc bag in which to take that hair home with me. I did feel weird asking, but considering I’ve pumped gas in stays and shown up at restaurants in full regimental attire, asking to take my hair to-go is hardly the strangest thing I’ve ever done.
It’s been three months since then. I’ll be able to queue it again by April when the season starts up, and by July/August when I need to do my Victorian female impressions I’ll have enough length to do it.
As for my hair, it’s still sitting on top of my bureau. I’m surprised I haven’t accidentally mistaken it for a small rodent. Work kept me too busy to have the time to fix it proper. But it’s gone by the wayside for too long and I think I’m past due to buy some hairnets and get cracking. Or maybe I’ll just buy a pair of googly eyes and name it Larry.