Yeah, I get asked about my hair a lot.
A LOT a lot. And weirdly, the questions are almost always the same three. I understand that, for the asker, this is their first time having this conversation, so I try to be friendly and funny and glib and I know that really all they are asking is, “Can I have something to tell people about when I tell them I met a woman with hair down to the ground?”
So here are Frequently Asked Questions in Rough Order of Frequency:
- “How long have you been growing your hair?” — the most common question I get, and the most nonsensical, because if you take it on its literal meaning, they are asking when my follicles started producing hairs, which is, well, shortly before birth, same as you. What they’re really asking is:
- “How long has it been since you cut your hair?” — The literal answer is usually “It’s been about a year,” because I cut my ends once or twice a year to keep them healthy. This answer always disappoints because what they are really asking is:
- “Have you NEVER had a hair cut?” / “Have you EVER cut your hair?” — I know what they want to hear is “No, I have never, ever had a hair cut,” because that’s what they are thinking and it’d be a great STORY, right? But I’m too honest. Unless it’s a sleezy smelly guy I want to get away from fast, I answer truthfully, “My last major hair cut was in my junior year of college, when I had it cut to shoulder length. My hair was short when I was a child. I wasn’t allowed to grow it long. I guess I showed them!”
- “You must have a LOT of patience.” LOL I respond with “I’m just really lazy” or “I never could decide on a haircut.” Okay, not really a question, but it gets said a LOT, usually right after:
- “Is that your real hair?” Honey, if I could take it off and put it back on, I so would.
- “Will you ever cut it?” When it turns grey, it’s gone. I’m vain and dye is expensive. I’m thinking of a really short bob, maybe blonde or some color not found in nature.
- “Do you braid it yourself?” This is most often asked by women who braid their hair, and is often met with admiration when I say, “Yes.” It has its own follow-up questions: No, my arms don’t get tired. It only takes five minutes. I start at the top and twist it to the front half-way down and use my elbow for tension.
- “How do you wash it?” / “Do you use a lot of shampoo?” I wash my hair standing up in the shower. I gather my hair up on top of my head and scrub. Doesn’t anyone with hair longer than shoulder length have to do that? I use about a tablespoon of shampoo. Maybe less. You know, a dollop in the center of my palm. Yes, it’s enough. The shampoo companies are lying to you. I take less time washing my hair than my husband. I use 2-4 dollops of conditioner, depending on how long it’s been since I last washed and brushed.
- “Do you wash it every day?” / “How long does that take to dry?” I do not wash it every day. Truth is I wash it maybe once or twice a week. It takes eight hours to dry. Yes, that’s why. I wash it more frequently when I sweat. Football season is an exercise in dampness.
- “How much time does it take to braid/wash/comb/do your hair?” I got asked this enough that I actually timed myself. Five minutes to braid. It takes me 15 minutes to shower, so the washing and conditioning is, like, what? A quarter of that? A third? I dunno. It takes 15 minutes to comb or brush my hair, more if I was a dummy and wore it loose in the wind.