Hello! Is it Sunday yet? I’m breaking my self-imposed radio silence because this article was too good not to use as inspiration.

Rubi in Albarracin

As you can see from my photo — yes, finally you get to see Rubi! — I’ve got rather curly hair, and rather a lot of it, quantity-wise. And this summer in Madrid’s heat, I had it cut much shorter than it’s been in years.

I’ve changed the length of my hair the way that my sister and I used to play with our “Crissy” dolls — long, short, flat-top, bob… After years of childhood pixies and shags, and one disastrous early-adolescent perm, in high school I decided to grow my hair out.

And it got long — reaching well past the middle of my back, though hardly anyone ever got to see it loose, instead spending most of its time being subdued in a bun or a long braid. And it stayed that way through most of high school and college, until my junior year in Paris, when a shocking hair abuse incident on the Metro convinced me to bob it.

40th Birthday with hair too short to curl

(After the dear woman I lived with got over her upset at seeing me shorn, she asked — ever the practical Parisian — how much they’d paid me for it at the salon. You should have seen her face when I told her they hadn’t.)

Flash forward past a lot of versions of short hair — some lovely, some horrid (see photo, right, ugh) — and find me living in New York, where I discover (courtesy of my friend Katharine) Lorraine Massey’s Curly Girl philosophy and Devachan salon and end up with the best-behaved hair I’ve ever had. It got long enough to curl, and I learned that leaving it alone was the best way to deal with it. The prices were devastatingly expensive, but since I only went every six months it amortized pretty nicely. And man did it look good! I kept that curly bob for years…

$400 worth of very good hair + one adorable nephew = gorgeous!

A few years into my forties, I had an early mid-life crisis and moved to a very small coastal

Meh. Not so much

town in California. There were no haircutters there who could begin to approximate the way my hair looked in New York. So out of a spirit of experimentation (and not a little boredom), I decided to grow my hair out again. The results were impressive — long, tight ringlets — but not all that flattering. Sometimes for fun I’d flat iron it, which always freaked people out since I didn’t look like me. But I could flip it, and swing it, which you know we curly-tops can’t really do.

Four years on, I’m back on the East Coast, back to my curly bob, and back to looking like me. I’m closing in on 50 now, and I’ve figured out that this is the look that works best. Just last week, I went to my hairdresser for a cut, and we were looking at a couple of ID pictures with me in long hair. She said, “You just look more alive with short hair.” And I plan to keep it that way.

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