Archives for posts with tag: hair

degas 1
How to Cut Your Own Hair
by Janet Banks

1) Admit desperation:
    Bangs tickle your eyelashes
    Gray roots grow beyond an inch
    Favorite earrings are now totally invisible

2) Observe others:
    Scroll through hairstyles on Pinterest
    Watch how-to haircutting videos on YouTube
    Find a photo, an “ideal” look, post it, study it often

3) Assemble tools:
    Order a cheap barber’s kit on-line
    Buy a professional long-toothed comb
    Search for your hand mirror

4) Picture it:
    Get comfortable with the scissors’ little finger brace
    Practice how your stylist lifted hair between two fingers
    Strategize the sequence of cutting

5) Find courage:
    Give yourself a pep talk — how hard could it be
    Open a bottle of wine and pour a glass
    Repeat pep talk, pour another glass of wine

6) Start small:
    Trim hair around your face, the bangs, the sides
    If the mirror’s reverse image confuses you, don’t panic
    Use your fingers to see/feel what needs cutting and do that

7) Mistakes happen:
    Wear a hat or a scarf and smile a lot
    Remember, during the pandemic you’re safer at home
    The pandemic won’t last forever

8) Celebrate success:
    Admire your natural color emerging, enjoy becoming silvery
    Although terrifying, you’re proud to have survived the challenge
    Open a bottle of wine and pour a glass

IMAGE: Woman Brushing Her Hair by Edgar Degas (1889).

Janet Banks

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I am so looking forward to a professional haircut, the last of which I had in February 2020. When the pandemic required salons in Boston to close, I’d already made the decision to grow out my gray hair but was counting on a really good short cut to help me along. When the salons reopened, my husband and I, both in our mid-seventies with pre-existing conditions, decided we’d be safer at home. I let my stylist know I’d be back once vaccinated and when the infection rate in Massachusetts dropped. It was my husband’s idea to order the barber’s kit, a lifesaver we’ve come to depend on. Our haircuts are choppy, but sufficient for now. Every time I reach for the scissors, I feel anxious, coaching myself to take it slow. Sometime in late March or April, I hope to sit in the salon chair again and let my stylist work her magic.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTO: My husband, Arthur Banks, took the photo in November 2020. We were walking the Hellcat Interpretive Trail through a freshwater marsh at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island, Massachusetts. The park is only 45 miles from our condo, so we typically visit it often—however ,this was our first day trip out of Boston in nine months due to the pandemic. It was windy, cold, and absolutely wonderful. I was just so happy to be there.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Janet Banks is a writer who is exploring the joys and challenges of aging in real time. Her personal essays have been published by Cognoscenti, The Rumpus, Entropy Magazine, Silver Birch Press, and Persimmon Tree among other on-line sites. Shortly after retiring from a corporate career, she was published in The Harvard Business Review. Her essay is included in HBR’s Summer 2020 Special Issue: “How to Lead in a Time of Crisis.” She began writing poetry during the pandemic of 2020. Her poems have been published in Poetry and Places and in Poetry and Covid, a project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Joe the Barber PRIME MOVERS photo copy
@ Joe the Barber’s
by Lisa Wiley

We walk into this world
wallpapered in Marilyn Monroe—

Audrey Hepburn is Sabrina
on the only screen in the shop.

You wouldn’t let her go to Paris alone?
Would you guys?

I’m the only girl in the shop.
Joe grips the electric razor like a mike,

Fly me to the moon,
let me play among the stars.

Don’t tell your father I’m singing to her;
don’t wanna lose you guys as clients,

he winks, bending over between haircuts
to tie his sneakers.

A page of his 1955 Golden Eagle yearbook
is taped next to Monroe leaning over a balcony,

he still wails like the top-scoring dreamboat,
hands us all red lollipops on the way out.

PHOTO: Joe the Barber in his shop pictured with the author’s son (December 2019).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Joe the Barber returned to the front lines with his razor and scissors to serve his many beloved clients as soon as Governor Cuomo allowed barber shops to reopen after COVID-19 shutdowns. This poem is a tribute to Joe, who lost his valiant battle with cancer in early August 2020. He served as a barber for more than 65 years.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Wiley teaches creative writing at SUNY Erie Community College in Buffalo, New York.  She is the author of three chapbooks, including Chamber Music (Finishing Line Press, 2013). Her latest chapbook, Eat Cake for Breakfast, a tribute to Kate Spade, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press.  Her poetry has appeared in The Comstock Review, The Healing Muse, Journal of the American Medical Association, Mom Egg Review, Silver Birch Press, and Third Wednesday, among others.  Visit her on Facebook and Twitter.

by Crystal Cook

Her image was taped up high
on the wall in the record store (you remember those, don’t you?)
It was her hair that caught my eye,
it was was lovely and brown
and ten thousand times longer than mine.
It was the seventies (you remember those, don’t you?)
and it was all about the hair.
The longer the better
and hers was the longest,
the best,
and most beautiful.
Her name was Crystal Gayle
and I thought it must be fate
that she and I would share a name.
I wanted to be
like her one day
with hair down to my feet,
and while I waited
and wished it would grow
I wore my nightgowns upon my head
like cotton wigs,
flowery fabric trailing behind me
wherever I’d go.
I listened to her songs
on the radio
pretending she was me
and I was her
until one day I simply forgot
and I cut my hair
while hers continued to grow.
The poster came down,
the record shop closed,
the seventies
and Crystal Gayle
became memories
except every now and again
I think about her hair.

PHOTO: Singer Crystal Gayle, circa late-1970s.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I think back on my childhood memories, Crystal Gayle and her long, flowing hair are always among them. I was never the little girl tiptoe dancing along in the ballerina dresses, I never played princess or dreamed of shooting high into space in a rocket like the other girls in my neighborhood did. I simply dreamed of having hair down to there, just like Crystal Gayle did . . .

crystal (1)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Crystal Cook — otherwise known as Qwietpleez here on the interwebs — goes by many names, most notably “Mommy.” Proud wife and mother four, she is an Autism Warrior Momma and an advocate for those with special needs and their families. She writes about about life and love, the good and the bad, the serious and the silly over at, and sometimes to make some spare change for Venti iced coffees, she writes about other things. She has been a guest writer for Sammiches and Psych Meds, Mamolode,The Mighty, and a contributing writer for the books Lose the Cape: Never Will I Ever (and then I had kids), and Fall in Love With Writing.

Leslie as Leslie with a Pixie Cut
by Leslie Sittner

She is Franco-American. Exotic.
I, plain old American.

She is a gamine, a waif, a sylph.
I, sturdy, full, solid.

She learns ballet and to sing.
I, tap dance and sing in church.

She is a film actress and dancer.
I, a kid in middle school.

Her mother prepares her for performing.
Mine, for me to have Caron’s pixie haircut.

Her pixie cut is perfect. Her shaggy bangs smooth and flat.
Mine, cowlicks and curls.

She continues to be in the public eye, appearing with various hairstyles.
I, continue. Delighted to have once tried one of hers.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The photo at right is me in junior high school with that darn pixie cut. That’s what it was called at the time. My mother adored Leslie Caron (pictured at left in the early 1960s) and was obsessed with that haircut. Since I had the cowlicks in my bangs, she would wet them down, straighten them out, clip a band of tissues to my forehead to keep them flat and a make me sleep on my back so I wouldn’t disturb the corrective set-up. I adored my mother so I really didn’t mind. The system kept the cowlicks at bay but, alas, could not correct the sideways curling.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Leslie Sittner, born in 1945 in upstate New York, is a new Creative nonfiction writer just finding her voice. While Leslie Caron published her autobiography, Thank Heaven, in 2010, Leslie S. is still working on remembering things. And oddly enough, their current hairstyles are often quite similar.