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The long and short of it

June 24, 2012
By KELLY VAN DE WALLE ( , Times-Republican

Not long ago I heard my wife utter something that many husbands hope they never have to hear.

"I think I'm going to cut my hair really short," she said.

It was the last thing I heard before blacking out.

"Let's table this terrible idea and I'll make Jell-O instead," I replied, understandingly, as I awoke.

I figured if we handled the situation the way our politicians do, it'd take six years before ever seeing a vote on the matter and it'd die in subcommittee anyway.

The shock-induced coma would've lasted much longer than 30 seconds in most mortal husbands, though, even if my wife inaccurately claims it had more to do with me consuming what she calls an "inappropriate amount of chicken" before standing up too fast.

I've tried being publically supportive of this endeavor, though I may have enacted a few private schemes to ensure her idea doesn't come to fruition. I called the OP "Project Long Chicken" and it had a three-pronged attack.

Prong #1: Whispering, "You don't want to cut your haaaaaiirrr" into her ear as she sleeps.

Result: I'm met with whom I call the Angry Innkeeper at 2 a.m. that threatens an overly aggressive vasectomy procedure done entirely with fists.

Prong #2: Attempting to bribe her stylist.

Result: One of those people with "honor" and "principals" that cannot be bought for $4.

Prong #3: Pointing out how attractive other longhaired women are.

Result: Let's just say this did not go as planned.

"Don't you think that's fun?" she asks, showing me a picture of some model with short hair.

"Boy, howdy!" I reply, which is my standard non-answer said energetically enough that it sounds like an agreement.

No. I do not think it is "fun." I think it is short. If you want a fun head I can buy you a helmet with a red propeller on top. "Wheeeee!" we can shout together as we play with it in the corner like dumb people.

"Fun" would be a hairstyle that dispenses licorice or cheese Combos.

Unfortunately she fails to see all of the potential innocent victims of her decision, whom are all me. Maybe I can get Sarah McLachlan to compose a sad song pleading my wife to keep her beautiful hair long while the camera slowly pans to various images of me and my sad eyes.

Of course, there are reasons why my wife feels this needs to be done.

Unreasonable Reason #1: "I just want something different"

In this instance, she believes that "different" equates to "good." But there are plenty of examples where things that become different aren't necessarily better. Examples of this include: a mutated virus, the "Friends" spin-off television show "Joey", an Earth-destroying asteroid, Hugh Grant, the Holocaust, etc. I know, it's not right comparing cutting hair to something as horrible and tragic as Hugh Grant. That should be saved for the most terrible things in human existence.

Unreasonable Reason #2: "I'm tired of spending so long taming it."

What are you doing, battling a lion in the bathroom? I suppose that would explain why you need all those tools I don't understand. But let's be honest, I could shave off all your hair and you'd still take 45 minutes to get the shine on your new dome perfect and you'd use the same amount of bottled sprays and gels.

I've suggested being her hair assistant if that would speed up the process, even going so far as to price commercial car wash air dryers that dry entire cars in less than 60 seconds, to no avail.

The only positive aspect of this idea is that I'll be able to come up with some new nicknames for her, one of which will be "Sport." I'll call her that while mussing up her hair affectionately before hitting home runs.

I know what you might be thinking, that I'm some sort of Neanderthal jerk that thinks all women must have long hair to be pretty. Well, nothing can be further than the truth. Science backs me up. According to one study done at the University of Pecs in Hungary, men overwhelming prefer long hair to short, and researchers think this may have something to do with the idea that long hair means good genes, since it takes years to grow healthy, long, thick hair.

See? I can't help it. Biology decrees I desire women strong and fertile, with healthy bodies good for breeding. When I tell her this she calls me, of all things, insensitive! It must be unfortunate to not understand science as well as men. I'd be jealous too.

I can't restore her hair afterwards, either. There's simply no way to collect the hair during The Butchering without seeming incredibly creepy ("Hi ladies, don't mind me. I'm just going to hang on to this.") and rifling through a trash bin filled with stranger hair and hoping I can stumble onto the correct batch doesn't sound all that appealing. This doesn't even get into the complicated matter of trying to re-attach it while she's sleeping. I mean, what would I even use as adhesive? Hot glue? Duct tape?

Also, let's be realistic; I'm having difficulty with my one-year-old's 10-piece puzzles, which I imagine are slightly easier to assemble than attempting to re-attach all 1,200 strands. There's no corner pieces.

Knowing I cannot save her hair, I think I might have a solution that can help the real victim in all of this (again, me). However there is a problem: I have no idea how to slip a wig onto a sleeping lady. Do I do it an inch at a time as not to rouse her? Or do I plop it on really fast like pulling off a Band-Aid (she's sure to wake up, but if I do it fast enough I can pretend to be asleep and, as she drifts back, I can peek at the flowing locks)? I suppose this is my burden to bear.

However I have determined that this act has granted me permission to modify my own appearance. If she is going to cut her hair short, I'm going to grow facial hair like a musketeer.

Our Christmas photos are going to be incredible.


Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative writer for Briscoe14 Communications ( He can be reached at or via banana flute music, which is something that's not real but sounds amazing and delicious.



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