My grandmother the storyteller and her baby brother. She cut off all those beautiful curls.

My daughter who at the age of five decided to follow in her great grandmother’s footsteps.

A woman’s hair is her crowning glory until it is cut off. This article from The Telegraph is overly long but one might think that’s appropriate considering the subject matter.

It was cutting hair that inspired Alexander Pope’s most famous poem, marked out young women who fraternised with the Nazis and soured the Samson and Delilah relationship.

Yesterday it was a matter of a ponytail, a pair of kitchen scissors and a bedroom in Dudley that prompted the learned minds of the High Court to consider the legal, moral and philosophical implications of the unwanted haircut.

Two senior judges spent almost an hour debating issues such as whether hair is dead or alive, what hair means to a woman and whether it is “intrinsic to the individual”, before reaching a decision on whether it was a crime for a man to cut off his ex-girlfriend’s ponytail against her will.

I will leave it to the reader to discover whether the judges found for the young woman shorn of her glory or for the cad who cut it off.

Our hair, my mother taught me, is our crowning glory so I endured many thousands of hours during my childhood sitting on a little wooden stool at my mother’s feet while she brushed my hair, fussing about all the rats that resided in it. When I was little she curled it, braided it and taught me how to care for it. When I was in the third grade and wanted a “Pixie” haircut she grudgingly took me to her hairdresser who entertained me while cutting my hair by telling me stories about eating ants on crackers when the electricity went out.

My mother liked my hair long and I decided that I did too when I was a teenager but one night when I was a junior in high school I tired of it and on a whim let a friend cut it but only to my shoulders. I tried to hide my much shorter hair under my coat collar when I returned home and ran into the bathroom to wash it but I was caught. My mother grounded me for two weeks for cutting that crowning glory behind her back.

After I became a mother I learned the hard way how possessive I could feel about my children’s hair. Both my daughters, when they were little, managed to cut their hair when I wasn’t looking… just a little, the other a lot.

One summer we visited my grandmother, the storyteller and she sat my daughters down and started to brush their long, beautiful hair. One daughter is a blond with very sleek, straight hair and the other a brunette with naturally curly hair.

My grandmother told them a story about the time when she was five years old and had long black curls. She found her mother’s scissors and cut off all her pretty curls. Her mother was so upset about it that she made her sit in her little brother’s baby bed when her favorite cousin came to visit. To add insult to injury my great grandmother let the cousin play with my grandmother’s favorite doll.

The day after we returned from our trip my youngest daughter (pictured above) who was also five years old decided to cut her hair off. I caught her after she had cut off one side of it. We were off to the beauty shop that very day, both of us in tears.

If I were a judge in the case of the cut-off hair I would convict that cold-hearted cad because he committed a crime against the young lady and her mother.