Regrouping, and searching

I’ve reached the segment of our program where I’m finding it difficult say much, to anyone. Never mind writing about my delicate feeeeelings, Otto’s customary “How was your day?” query as we’re getting settled in bed at night is enough to render me speechless. How was my day? Ummm, Chickadee remains medically fragile and I think Monkey has another sinus infection (which you understand to mean “He says he feels fine, but he’s being a complete butthead at school and has a nasty cough, so that probably means he’s sick”), so my days mostly feel like a mad dash from here to there, cradling a dozen raw eggs in my arms, hoping that none of them drop and go splat. If everyone got everywhere they were supposed to go and no one had to go to the hospital, I guess it was an okay day.

Inbetween driving children to more doctors’ appointments than I ever realized were even possible, arguing with our insurance company, and filling out paperwork for everything from summer camp to next year’s high school schedule, I choose to focus on the things I actually have some power over. Because that’s HEALTHY, sort of.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the suckage I cannot change, the courage to find a decent hairstyle, and the wisdom not to schedule that stylist appointment while the kids need a ride somewhere. Amen.

Yeah, that post about my gray hair wasn’t the end of that particular saga. Despite the legions of people (including MY OWN FATHER, the traitor) assuring me that I am far too young to go gray, the fact of the matter is… I already AM gray. And I am tired of coloring. I’m kind of curious to see what my hair will look like in its natural state, given that I have just a few strands of gray up front, but a wide swath of silver sprouting from the crown of my head. I’m kind of hoping to end up all striped so I can pretend it’s a fashion statement.

This means I need to cut my hair, at least for now. I will probably grow it right back out again, as 1) I’m incredibly lazy, and long hair = ponytail = lazy, and 2) wearing my hair longer tends to stretch my curls out and make them less poodle-like. But at the moment I just look like I gave up, and it’s not a good look. For reference, 3 – 4 inches of gray roots on your too-long, very dark mop is the hairdo equivalent of going out in public in your 20-year-old college sweatpants.

So. I’m in the market for a short style I can live with for a while.

The truth of the matter is that if I go to my stylist and say “It’s time; cut it off,” she’ll do something cool that probably won’t make me cry. I trust her. But the control freak in me wants some idea of where I’m going to end up, so that it’s less of a shock.

There are countless websites out there with hairstyle galleries, so I’ve just been clicking along, looking for that perfect style. The problems with this approach are many, though:
1) It’s hard to find someone with my same hair type and/or face shape, and the “upload your photo to try this hairstyle on you” tools just kind of freak me out.
2) If I search for short, curly styles I am invariably presented with a gallery of beautiful black women with afros. It’s true that I could do a ‘fro without too much trouble, but… that’s not really the look I’m going for.
3) There is a LOT of crazy to wade through to get to useful pictures.

I started on this site, where I found two possibilities for my hair, I think:

I’m a little worried that the one on the left mostly looks like bedhead, and a little worried that the one on the right is a case of me thinking that woman is gorgeous more than that the hairstyle in question is right for me. And for both of them, there’s a decent chance that my hair is simply too curly to end up looking like that, anyway. BUT! I can at least take the pictures to my stylist and say “Whatcha think?”

But then I wandered over to this site, and that’s when the wheels started falling off the bus.

First, there was this:

Is it just me, or does this seem like kind of a nice, cute ‘do in the pic on the right, but from the angle of the pic on the left, she looks like she has BOTH a horrendously choppy cut AND persistent bedhead?

I actually kind of love this haircut. Could my stylist thin out my hair sufficiently such that I could have something like this? I have no idea. Furthermore, would I need to go blond? Wear a toga? It’s not clear what the compulsory components of this look really are. (The site’s description of this look says it “presents a glimpse of yesteryear.” If by “yesteryear” they mean “the model’s shoulder,” then I guess that’s true.)

This one was in a section called “on trend.” Yep, this look is definitely on trend… if it’s 1984. Pretty sure I had this exact haircut when I was in 8th grade, and I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty stylin’. I’m just, uh, not quite ready to go back to it.

It was just a short downward spiral from there to the Gallery Of Crazy Hair, with everything from the chic “Look like the building caught fire halfway through your cut” look to “Mullets Are Totally In If They’re Technicolored” to “Flock of Seagulls… Landing On Your Face.”

I still haven’t found THE cut for me, but as long as I stay away from false pink eyelashes and Aqua-net, I think I’ll probably be okay.


  1. Arnebya

    I love going to the sites but I’ve never done the ones where you can try the style on yourself because, um, freaky. I’m curly too. I would love to go short but my option is just that — short. And curly. Like an inch all around. Anything else is pointless b/c the flat iron hates me and there’s the laziness to contend with too. I hope you find something you can live with, that you walk away from your stylist knowing there’s a reason why you like her.

  2. Stacy

    I absolutely love the first three hairstyles, but then again, I’ve been wearing variations of those for the last 12 years. And yes, they’re supposed to look like they have bedhead. I’m not sure how your curly hair would work with them though. I wish I had curly hair. Wanna trade?

  3. Little Bird

    Bedhead is a look these days. And has been for a few years. I had really short hair for the longest time and it always looked best when somewhat rumpled looking. But don’t be fooled. It takes a LOT of time to look like you’ve just rolled out of bed!!!

  4. Sassy Apple

    Have you tried this site? I find useful tips there for curly hair.
    Good luck. I’m in the ‘growing it long so I can put it up’ phase right now. :)

  5. Kelly

    I think you can do the short ones early on but the later ones gave me a good laugh so thank you!

    A good stylist is key! I’m debating growing out a little further for maybe short ponytail length (but it still has to be thinned or else they give me headaches), or go even shorter for summer. Guess i”ll schedule an appt and figure it out.

    I wish I was brave enough for the Gennifer Goodwin short do – but I’m not. And my hair probably wouldn’t do it anyway!

  6. Amy

    Have mercy some of those hair styles are awesome! They remind me of looking through the hairstyle books at the Beauty Parlor when I was a child…and when stylists were called “beauticians”.

    Oh, and don’t feel bad about the grey. Grey hair is very distinguished. Also, my mother’s hair turned grey completely when she was 35 years old (and actually all four of her sisters turned grey that year too). And btw, you’re pretty with grey hair, brown hair, or even pink hair if you so choose :-)

  7. dad

    The problem with any of the last 4 styles is that they would provide no space between “unusual” and “what were you thinking?” for Chicadee to have a “defiant rouge teen” doo.

    I will probably like you no matter what you decide.

  8. Patricia

    Have you found the book Curly Girl? I’m not even half as curly as you are and I LOVE the method. My hair went from fighting the crappy wave to have honest loose spirals — which my mother thinks I might have permed.

    Anyway, I see someone else mentioned — which is a great resource for such stuff. I’d also suggest that you look and see if there is a Deva trained stylist near you — they cut curly hair DRY and with the curls. (I might have thrown up a little when you said ‘thinning’ — because that’s a huge no-no….tends to cause frizz.)

    The process is completely different and can be a little overwhelming (no shampoo, wash with conditioner — no ‘cones; lots of leave-in conditioner, and no blow dryers and brushes.) But my hair hasn’t looked better — and on the lazy factor it ranks TOTALLY!!!!!

  9. Nelson's Mama

    Little Bird is right, bedhead is hard to achieve – I try all the time and fail!! I have very short hair and would LOVE to have one of those looks!!

  10. Jamie

    Thank you for the laughs today! I hope you can find something awesome you can live with!

  11. Otto

    I’m with dad. It’s hair, it doesn’t define you.

    Okay, maybe it decorates your personal vision but it certainly isn’t a definitive illustration of it.

    the guy who’s had the same haircut for about 20 years so maybe you shouldn’t trust my opinion on this

  12. diane

    As a fellow curly girl, I feel your pain. If you can, find a stylist in the area that specializes in curly hair. Seriously, it was the only thing that saved me. Otherwise I was perpetually wandering in with pictures I liked and discovering either 1) that wouldn’t work for me or 2) the stylist would *attempt* to make it work for me, but really, it didn’t work for me.
    Curls bond together in weird ways that can make the cute/flippy/wispy just flat-out damn sloppy/crazy. You have a cute little face so I have faith that you’ll find the short cut that works for you!

  13. Damsel

    I LOVE reading the comments from your dad and Otto on your posts!!

    If you really trust your stylist, take in more than just a few pics. A fantastic stylist will take a look and immediately tell you which ones WON’T work for you because of your face, hair type, lifestyle, etc. She’ll whittle down to two or three to choose from and help you make the best choice. I fell in love with my favorite stylist that way. She’s in Texas, but from England… which is closer to where I am in Italy than Texas… so maybe I can meet her there for a haircut!

    Anyway, I’m sure you’ll look super cute and professional with a short ‘do!

  14. Dawn K.

    I think the very last one, a la Flock of Seagulls, would look fabulous.

    I’m a curly/wavy girl as well, and as much as I’m enjoying my longest length in years, the preview of Kansas summer humidity has me contemplating a serious chop.

    I, uh, never have heard of, so thanks to the above posters for the suggestion!

    I also thought I would help your search out-I googled practical short curly hairstyles (practical because really, we’re not young spring chickens anymore), and there are some images out there of Jenna Elfman that don’t look half bad.

  15. Sheila

    I loved loved LOVED your hair from your wedding photo. Why not go back to that?

    You’re a doll no matter what you do. Have fun deciding!

  16. Jen

    Um. Funny story. The building once DID catch fire midway through my cut. Hand to God. We all spent an hour outside in the cold, at night, with wet hair. One woman was having a facial and had her hair wrapped up and only a coat on over her bra. At least no one was mid-Brazilian. But not my best haircut, no. ;)

  17. divrchk

    I just got a Deva cut (my first) and I’m totally smitten. Check out this site for some styles for the curly haired folk. It was a radically different experience going to someone that knows how to cut curly hair. They actually cut it dry and then wash and style it. It was very enlightening and I’m trying to embrace my curls.

  18. diane

    Oops, overlooked the part where you said you trust your stylist. No ill will intended. :) But I stand by my observation that curly hair behaves differently!

  19. elz

    I know you’ll look pretty whatever you decide. I think we have similar face shapes (HA!) and hair-though yours may be more curly where mine is wavy-and the thickness combined with the wave, combined with the face make me look terrible in really short hair. Like, absolutely, positively hideous. Which would have been nice to realize before I chopped it all off just before giving birth to my first daughter. Every picture for the first few months of her life, I think, “Oh God, my hair, is f-u-g.”

    Be ye not so stupid. Go for a longer bob if you are going to chop it.

  20. bonuela

    i am all for letting your gray out to play! have you thought about using a temporary rinse so you can continue to color until your roots are long enough to just trim off the dyed stuff? i am just thinking of extremely short curly hair and georgia summer and the potential for pouf. you have had enough challenges this year don’t tempt the hair fates.

  21. Tenessa

    As a person with curly-curly hair, and also someone who considers hair the BEST place for style experimentation (because hair GROWS) and someone who like radical change when it comes to haircuts, I can say with authority that if your hair is kinky curly, it will not do those haircuts without all kinds of effort on your part. I, also, prefer haircuts that I can wash, product and go. I do not like blowdrying my hair or ironing it or curling it on a daily basis. Occasionally…like when I wear make-up (oh, wait, that’s never). With a short ‘do like the ones shown above, you WILL have to finger comb your hair as you dry it to achieve that wavy/flippy effect, unless your hair is wavy/flippy all on its very own. So.

    Short is good and can be fun. What you need to ask for is something that can be wash and wear with a little product added to chase away the frizzies.

    Wow, that all sounds really bossy. What it boils down to is it’s hair and it grows so have a haircut adventure and get something cute or funky. It will grow.

  22. Kim in Minnesota

    Have you read the book, “Going Gray” by Anne Kreamer? Fascinating look at how gray hair impacts everything from romance to careers … and the gray hair came out on top every time! A great read. Keep us posted on your hair adventure, Mir.

  23. Stimey

    I have had a gray streak in my hair since my early 20s. I spent a lot of time coloring it and now I just lead people to believe that it is a style statement.

    I can’t wait to see what you come up with. Deciding on a new hairstyle is totally hard because it’s like you’re deciding on a whole new personality. Good luck and may the hair goddesses be in your corner.

  24. Zuska

    Am I the only one who, upon reading this, was immediately transported back to a pre-Otto short hair crisis of Mir’s? Yes?
    I was also going to mention Diva Shan, and/or Ouidad. My Curlygirll’s curls look awesomer than ever since we found a Ouidad shop.
    Promise you’ll show us the new ‘do!

  25. Ann from St. Peter MN

    Those last four hairstyles? I swear I saw two of those on the latest American Idol final twelve contestants! :)

  26. Amy

    Next time you are in Atlanta, you need to go see Mark Dotson. He is seriously a hair, I don’t even know what you call it, GOD. He will make you look and feel like a million bucks! If anyone can tame your hair, it will be him.

  27. Jen

    I am also incredibly lazy, but have very straight, very thin hair that will hold no kind of style without copious amounts of curling and hair product, which due to the laziness will never happen. I only get my hair cut about once a year, and after several instances of making myself insane trying to find the right cut, I now just leave it to my stylist, and cross my fingers. So far, so good.

  28. Tara

    Go buy some hair magazines! They are expensive, but they have tons of pics to look at and you can share with friends and keep them forever.

  29. liz

    I still wear sorority formal sweatshirts from 1992. ‘Cause I’m cool that way. And also because they don’t have holes in them.

  30. Nancy R

    Have you consulted Sarah James of Hair Thursday? :)

  31. Midj

    I love the topmost right picture! May I steal it and take it to my stylist? I told you I was getting my gray shoulder length hair chopped in April… I’d love this style! I go short once a year and this weekend is the weekend…

    I hope you find a style that makes you feel like a million, gray or no gray!

  32. Heather

    You will be beautiful no matter what you do with your hair! Also, kudos for embracing the grey … and being awesome, in general.

  33. Nicole

    Have you not considered the Brazilian blowout or keratin treatments? (I get the BB). Either will loosen your curl into a wave and last about 3 to 5 months. After the treatment, no blow drying, straightening required. It’s a relaxer without all the chemicals and your hair is super soft afterwards. Its expensive but the price has come down considerably over the last year and, for me, it’s worth every dime.

  34. Kira

    Last month or so I went to my hair stylist and said, “Cut it as short as you can without making me look like a poodle.” And lo, she did. Chin-length-ish bob. I like it well enough (how’s that for a ringing endorsement?).
    When I got home, Clay said he liked it. A few days later I asked him, “So, now that you’ve had a few days to get used to it, what do you think about my hair?” And he looked at me like I’d just pointed a gun at him and said, “I…like it? Didn’t I say I liked it the other day?”
    I do not have a point here, except that Otto reminded me of Clay just now. Some things are just bewildering to our men.

  35. matinyoupi

    My advice is to go for very very short hair: 1) the cut lasts longer before you have to go back to the stylist; 2) no frizzy hair to tame for a while; 3) you won’t have to sport different shades of colour for very long; 4) and it’s very easy to manage in the morning.
    Also, as the hair grow longer, my micro hair straightener is my best friend: it takes me about three minutes to manage my “front” hair so that it doesn’t look like a pompadour. And I also use very little wax to domesticate the really unruly frizzy hair.
    I’d say the first four pictures are good cuts for grey and curly hair. Forget about the blond one, too much work… you’ll end up spending hours straightening your hair and possibly singeing them. About the sixth picture… hmm… reminds me that i’ve had such a haircut too and they were calling me Cleopatra (which was totally idiot since in my opinion she must have had straight hair).

  36. Karen

    Mir, I just got a shorter haircut too, and I feel LIBERATED! Also, I look not quite so haggard. At 47, I can’t get away with the grow out and deal with it later thing. I am emailing you a few cuts that I think would look fabulous on you. These are nice too, just giving you more ideas.

  37. Brigitte

    I agree with a previous commenter that Ginnifer Goodwin’s short do is really cute (a good pic of it on

    I like Meg Ryan’s curlier do on,
    and there’s an OK looking one on (though I don’t like the model for that one).

    Keep doing your research, and don’t get lost on the crazy-do sites! (says the woman who’s had the same ‘do longer than Otto has)

  38. Lizneust

    What about Eden Kennedy’s hairstyle? I think her hair is a little less curly than yours, but not by much. I know a number of women with very short curly hair and I always think it looks so chic. Alas, I have chipmunk cheeks, so pixie cuts are not for me

  39. Megan

    Phew. THANK YOU! I was semi-kinda-maybe contemplating chopping my hair for the first time since… um… 2000 maybe, and that Flock of Seagulls just scared me back into sanity!

    Also? I totally had an asymmetric haircut when I was about 15 – thanks to an overnight orchestra trip and a persuasive ‘friend.’

    Also also? Hair should be fun. [I keep saying this to myself. Let me know if you figure out how to make it true]

  40. victoria

    I haven’t read all the comments so I may be repeating somebody: what if you dyed your hair grey? Towards the idea of blending with what is happening to your hair naturally (good-bye roots forever) and then you can decide if you really wish to cut. If having an option of a ponytail helps one iota in your day :) (rather than cutting and waiting for it to grow, again)
    2 weeks ago, I choped my half-way down my shoulder blades hair to my chin level- this to meet where my bangs were now at. I’m quite happy- but also plan to regrow :)

  41. Rinatta

    The “Flock of Seagulls… Landing On Your Face” got me! You have a way with words. Laughing now and will prob continue to laugh at that all day.

  42. liz

    I also love the first three hairstyles. And bed head is IN.

  43. Lori N

    I have no help for you — I can’t figure out what to do with my own (stick straight & hating it) hair.

    Good luck & you’ll look great no matter what you go with.

  44. Jackie Joy

    Mir, I’ve been looking at your hair in various styles (slash lurking on your site) for like…5+ years? I want to say 7 years but I am prone to exaggeration. And I think you could totally rock the look of the blonde in the…toga-tourniquet thing. And why not go gray? Gray hair is totally having a moment right now.

  45. Therese

    To your question about the horrendous chopping and bedhead in the second set of photos, the answer is YES! The picture on the left looks like she slept on that one side of her head and it’s still mashed to her head!

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