by Terry Woolf
I’m getting a hair cut. Big deal. Well, for me it is a bit of a big deal. I’m crowding in on 70. I’ve had a two-foot long pony tail for 35 years.I was a teenager in the ’60s. Crew cuts and brush cuts were the style de jour until the hippies and the Beatles came along. There weren’t many long-hairs at my high school when I started to let my hair grow. I had a lot of hair. It was thick and wavy. My parents hassled me once or twice about it but not seriously.
I hitchhiked everywhere in my jean jacket and jeans, letting my shoulder-length hair wave in the winds on highways such as the 7, 17, 38 and the 401. I was chased out of a small town on the old
No. 2 highway near Lake Ontario. A bunch of farm boys at the pool hall spotted me hitching through. They started calling me girly, said they were going to cut my hair and chased me to the edge of town.
I’ve mostly kept my hair long. I remember sitting on the steps of a TV mobile unit at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal as my friend and fellow TV technician, Susan, brushed and braided my hair. A group of Russian wrestlers took a picture.
In the late ’70s I moved to Yellowknife and worked for the CBC, travelling the North as a long-haired TV cameraman. In the early ’80s, my partner and I spent five months camping in Africa. We started in Johannesburg. The further North we traveled the hotter and drier it got, and the shorter she cut my hair.
When we got back to Yellowknife after a year away, I kept my hair short. In 1984 on a visit to Ontario, my brother was wearing a short rat tail of hair. I’ve never really been a style maven, but I thought this was a cool look. I came home and grew a rat tail. A year or so later I visited my brother again. He still had a little rat tail, while I had a long pigtail. I had misread the style.
I kept the pigtail. It drew some major crowds when I was on a job in China in 1986. A long pigtail, or queue, was an old style in China. Another job took me to Kenya where people weren’t at all shy about pointing and laughing at my long tail.
So now we get to my haircut. I’ve got a job in the bush that means a month without a shower. Washing my hair in a river, combing and braiding it in the bush is going to be a pain. So I decided to cut my pigtail off. It’s time.
Many times with my hair tucked under my collar I’ve run into friends and they’ve asked incredulously, “Did you cut your hair?” I realized I was going to have keep saying, “yes I’ve finally cut my hair.” So I thought, why not make it a public declaration and a fundraiser.
My neighbourhood has had a big yard sale every spring for more than 35 years, about as long as I’ve had this pigtail. It’s called the Back Bay Bizarre. I am going to have my pigtail cut off in public at the Bizarre.
It’s a fundraiser for the NWT Breast Health/Breast Cancer Action Group. A donation gets your name put into a hat. At 11 a.m. on June 2 a name will be drawn from the hat and that person gets to cut my pigtail off. I’m getting a haircut!