In my opinion, its hair, not shoes, that makes the woman. Shoes you can take off at the end of each day and replace periodically, which you can’t exactly do with hair. I’ve been growing my hair out since the seventh grade and it’s finally, finally how I want it to be: waist-length and slightly wavy. But as much as I love having long hair to tie into high, swinging ponytails and to twist into large, artfully messy buns, it’s time to cut it. By next year this time, my hair will be down to my butt and past the length of attractiveness.
During third period on a seasonally warm Tuesday afternoon, I ambled over to the booth set-up in the main hall to get my hair cut for Angel Hair, an organization which fashions wigs out for cancer patients. On a table was a box filled with braided ponytails, hair which people had already donated. As I sat down, I felt a slow dread fostering in the pit of my stomach and enveloping my chest with a vice-like grip. This one hair cut was worth five years of shampooing and blow-drying and braiding. I took in a deep breath of air as the hair stylist tied my hair up and violently hacked it off.
My friends, who had gathered around me to witness the deed, gasped as the hair stylist took away the first braid of hair. I smiled back weakly, praying to gawd that I didn’t look as bad with short hair as my kindergarten school picture shows I did. After school, I went to my usual hair stylist to get my hair properly cut and permed. Four hours later, I emerged with a straight-permed chin-length bob, a hair cut I hadn’t had since, well, kindergarten.
I’m still not used to it, not having my hair get caught in my backpack straps, having no hair to tie back, not accidentally whipping people when I turn around. I feel so free and able to perm, dye, highlight, straighten or curl (what little hair I have left, anyways). I feel so light, like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It’s a good change.
To celebrate my new haircut, I made a Strawberry Shortcake. A total classic: luscious whipped cream, fresh berries, and a buttery cake. Light, fresh, and smart-looking, like my new do'.
Who knows, in five more years, maybe I’ll donate my hair again.
Adapted From: Better Homes and Gardens Anyone Can Bake
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1/3 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 cups strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup powdered sugar, sifted
Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease a 8-inch round cake pan; set aside. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in butter until coarse crumbs form. Make a well in the center of the flour-butter mixture. Combine egg, sour cream, and milk and add to the flour-butter mixture. Stir with a fork until just moistened.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Transfer shortcakes to a wire rack and let cool.
In a small bowl, stir strawberries, lemon juice, and sugar together. Let sit in the refrigerator to macerate.
In a large bowl, whip cream with vanilla extract and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form.
Slice the shortcake in half and fill with half the cream and strawberries. Top with the other cake layer and repeat with the remaining cream and strawberries. Serve immediately.