What do you want done? she wanted to know.
If I knew the answer to that question, I would have been here weeks ago, I thought. “I was thinking of growing my hair but I can’t stand hair in my eyes. I am wondering about having my whole head shaved,” I said.
Oh dear, she said. From here she began picking. It is a thing hair dressers do after I try to explain myself. Their fingers go in and out of my hair, pulling it out here and there. Hmm, they say.
You know, she said finally. (They always say, you know, even thought it is extremely clear that I do not. Another cause for long suffering. Now that I’m Catholic, we’re supposed to practice that kind of thing, so I guess it’s ok.)
You know, you have a very long face. Pause.
So I’ve heard, I thought. But I said nothing.
I never noticed it before. But now that your hair is longer, I really see it. You have a really long face.
What does this mean? I ask myself. Is this how the famous are discovered? One day they are sitting there all round and unnoticed and then someone sees them at just the right angle, realizes they have a long face, and wala?
Then again, there are horses. All the, “why the long face?” jokes don’t seem to point in the right direction.
I have a long face too, she says. I think I detect wistfulness, but I’m not sure. She pulls at my hair a few more times. See? She points to herself in the mirror. I nod wisely, still trying to decipher if we are linking in sorrow or greatness.
That’s why I keep my hair up. My face is too long. She sighs and laughs.
I relax. The code has been inadvertently shared. A long face is something you are supposed to work to minimize.
Of course, mother’s former model acquaintance had said so when I was ten, but that was when leg warmers were in style. Now that it has been a bad thing twice, I am assuming that long faces are like warts and permanently out of style. I hope so. It would be rather frustrating to think that they’d been all the rage three times over the last thirty years while mine was busy flying under the radar of my traditionally shorter hair.