The other day I went to my hairdresser for a bang trim. I'm 59 years old and I still wear bangs. Bangs are cute on a three-year-old, perky on a teenager, sexy on a sultry twenty-something, but bangs at 59? Isn't there something more sophisticated I could do with my hair?
Probably. But the fact is, I like my bangs. I've had them for so long that they're who I am. When I pull my hair back in a hairband or mousse it off my face, the person who stares back at me in the mirror is someone I don't recognize, someone older, more severe, my evil twin. I feel exposed. There's something comforting about hiding behind a soft fringe of bangs.
During my early twenties, I overcame my distaste for a fully-exposed face and grew my bangs out. I felt comfortable and, at times, even pretty without bangs. But after a few years, a hairdresser persuaded me to let her cut bangs and the instant I saw them I knew I had rediscovered my true self. I've kept my bangs, more or less, ever since.
Still, I worry about what my banged-up state signifies. Am I fated to live in a perpetual limbo—years away from childhood, yet not quite a full-fledged adult? It's hard to say whether the bangs keep me feeling young or whether it's because I still feel young that I keep my bangs. But now that I'm about to turn 60, I find myself wondering, will I ever grow up?
Until my recent bang trim, I'd been once again toying with the idea of letting the bangs grow out. I hadn't cut them for several months and had even trained my hair to go back, off my face. I got somewhat used to letting my wiry eyebrows see the light of day. Sure, I looked older. Yes, those lines between my eyebrows were no longer obscured. But hey, I am older. At almost-60, isn't it okay to look old? I decided I should flaunt my age, not hide behind a youthful fringe.
But then, in a moment of weakness, after catching sight of the lines on my forehead in a harshly-lit mirror, I backed down, went to the hair salon, and undid all those months of growth. Last night, I saw some friends for the first time since the recent cut. One and all, they said how good my hair looked. That clinched it. I'm a bangs girl. At least until it's time for the next trim. By then, I may have changed my mind again.