Technically, growing hair like Rapunzel isn't necessarily a feature of pandemic life, but I suspect that many of us had at least a brief period when it felt like it was. In many areas, including mine, salons and barbershops were forced to stay closed for a while during the beginning of the pandemic. I remember reading that there was a run on products like hair clippers and hair dye, as people struggled to maintain their hair at home. Pre-pandemic, I typically got a haircut every couple months, and I don't dye my hair. I had just had a haircut in February 2020, and I figured I'd maybe miss a haircut and then get back into my usual hair care routine.
In my area, salons and barbershops reopened in the summer of 2020, albeit with restrictions. A lot of people jumped at the chance for some professional hair maintenance. I decided to hold off. I had become more concerned about the coronavirus than I was in March 2020, when things initially shut down. And there were other risks I was taking that felt more important to me, like going back to my gym, looking to buy a home, and occasionally eating out. I decided to wait and make sure there weren't any major outbreaks linked to salons. Besides--I was low maintenance and could keep wearing a ponytail for a few more weeks.
As we moved into late summer and early fall, the number of cases rose again. I also moved, which brought its own set of risks (ahem, maskless movers). I decided I'd better keep holding off. As time went on, my haircare moved from ponytails to messy braids (I never became a proficient braider in all that time).
Of course, winter brought a lot of cases and deaths. Plus, by early winter, vaccines were on the horizon. After having waited all that time, I decided in only made sense to hold off on getting a haircut until I was fully vaccinated.
Finally, two weeks after receiving my second shot, I got my first haircut in over a year! Scott went with me, having also foregone haircuts for all of that time. His hair was the longest it had ever been in his life, so his transformation was arguably more dramatic than mine.
Nonetheless, it had probably been a good 20 years since my hair had been that long. When it was dry, it hung well past my shoulders; when it was wet, it reached the middle of my back easily. I hated the feeling of wet hair against my back after a shower. I hated having to braid it every day or risk it getting tangled. I hated the amount of time it took to comb it out. I also felt like I didn't look like myself. The long hair was like a younger version of myself, transplanted on an older face and body.
It may be a small and somewhat shallow victory, but getting a haircut was a considerable boost to my spirits. I don't know what the "new normal" will look like for us all as we hopefully move out of constant risk, but even having six inches chopped off my hair made me feel like I was moving in that direction.