Please note that the following post could be termed girly, frivolous, and quite possibly shallow. If discussion of appearance is not your cup of tea, you might want to skip this one. 😉
All right, if you are still reading, I have a question for you: have you ever made a dramatic change to your appearance while your significant other was deployed?
The “dramatic change” percolating in the back of my mind is a haircut. Once upon a time, back when my husband and I started dating (*cough-I was sixteen-cough*) I had long hair. It got progressively shorter over the course of my college career, a little bit longer again before our wedding, and then I chopped it all off into a super-short pixie upon discovering that our brand-new duty station was wont to hit 90° in February. In the two and a half years since moving back to a part of the country that has sensible seasons, I have let my hair get long again.
It’s not a cute, flowing-tresses kind of long. It’s a too-lazy-to-get-a-haircut long, with an a dash of haven’t-found-a-stylist-I-like thrown in for flavor. At least my hair is curly enough to somewhat disguise the fact that I don’t actually have a hairstyle per se, but it is definitely time to cart my mane to a salon. I can tell, because all I ever do with it is put it up in a frowzy ponytail, a look that does nothing to dissuade people from the mistaken impression that I might be a teenager.
My husband, bless his heart, has never made any controlling noises over my hair. When I chopped it all off just a few months after our wedding, he took it in stride and still told me I looked cute. I am not unaware, however, that he prefers my hair longer. Although he has made it clear that he knows my hair is my own to do with as I please, the fact that I know he likes longer hair has played a part in the past couple years’ grow-it-out venture. The status quo has been easy to maintain.
Now my husband is getting ready to deploy. There is a big part of me that wants to mark his departure with a major haircut, perhaps even going as short as the pixie cut I loved so much when we were in Texas. I mentioned this to my husband, and it turns out that not only is he unsurprised, but he rather assumed that was the plan. Guess I’ve been a little more transparent about my state of “enh” with longer hair than I thought. He’s completely at peace with the thing I’ve wanted to do all along! Woohoo, right?
Well… until my silly brain stepped in to complicate matters, at least. As we approach his departure date, I find myself running up against a mental snag. I had initially thought that going in for the Big Haircut was something I would do by myself after he left, symbolic of a fresh start for the upcoming months of living on my own, yadda yadda yadda. Then I started thinking about our actual goodbye before he flies out to the ship, the last memories we would form of each other before saying, “See you in X months.”
I might actually have a problem with immediately changing my appearance from what my husband would have in mind as his last pre-deployment, in-person mental picture of me. My, my. How… sentimental? …of me.
I know everyone changes over the course of a deployment — life goes on, we can’t sit there and stagnate, etc. I’m just not sure I have it in me to email my husband a picture of my new ‘do along with a message that effectively says (no matter what I might actually type), “Hey honey, you left and now I look completely different from how you remember me! Hope you recognize your own wife next time we see each other, ha ha!”
There would seem to be a simple solution to a problem that likely exists only in my mind. My tentative new plan is to get my hair cut before my husband heads out, while he still has a chance to get used to the look beforehand.
Whew. If you’ve made it this far, thank you, patient Reader, for sifting through the above mountain-out-of-molehill mawkishness. Ultimately, I do know that it’s just hair, and the wonderful thing about hair is that it (mostly) grows back. Even if I have a hair “disaster”, it’s not important.
I am still curious as to whether my fellow military spouses have made or thought about making a big outward change during a deployment or other separation. How did it work out for you? Would you do it again? Better yet, do you have any big plans for the next time military exigencies have you spending a big chunk of time away from your love?