(Scroll down for the Hungarian version - A magyar cikket lejjebb találod)
My hair has always been a hot topic, no matter who I met in my life. I’ve heard little girls whispering to their mums on the tram, telling them to look. I’ve heard teenagers have discussions about it. When it was superlong, I’ve had countless questions about whether it was my own hair or not. Hairdressers never wanted to give it a proper trim, unless I begged them to. Men and women are both fascinated by it. Shop assistants stop to compliment me on it and ask if they can touch it. There is a limit, of course. While I am very friendly, open for discussion and love a nice compliment, I am not comfortable with strangers touching my hair. My hair holds secrets, each strand, a memory of encounters.
Once, a little girl in Croatia caught me underwater. My hair was undone and flowing, like a huge magic carpet flying behind me. She jumped out of the water and shouted to her mum, that she thinks she had just seen a mermaid. That little girl followed me like my shadow all through the holiday.
A few years ago, in Venice, I was sitting in a tiny restaurant, the one that has tables squeezed so close to each other, you can hear the couple next to you chew their food. I’m not a big fan of dining like this, but it was a very crowded time of the year, plus the restaurant had amazing reviews, so I accepted the table in the middle. Soon enough, an older couple sat down to the table next to me. The lady to my right, the gentleman opposite me, also to my right. I had my hair in a plaited ponytail, high, on the top of my head. People, who know me, know, that it’s my signature look. The man looked at me a couple of times. His wife noticed. She didn’t say a word. She just turned once, to look at me. Then, she disappeared to the ladies room and came back, wearing a shorter version of my ponytail. Her husband smiled, so did I. We all took our glasses and saluted each other.
While I was working in an office, a colleague of mine told me that there is a certain age, from when hair this long is unacceptable. She told me, that I am no longer a teenager and should consider a more professional way of wearing my hair. I looked at her and just smiled. She was older than me and had already started wearing her hair the same way as I did. She didn’t even notice. Fun fact about this crown of hair I wear, is that no matter how women try to come up with the same style, it will never really work. The mass and thickness of my hair is very rare. It’s a blessing and a curse all in one. Even a simple wash and dry takes 2 hours. And then, it would be nice to style it, right? Not much time left for that, this is why, it’s usually up on my head in a ponytail.
People also think, they have a say in what I do with it. It’s amazing. If I decide to cut or trim it, I get questioned about it. Why? How could you do this? If I had hair like this, I’d never cut it short. Honey, if you had hair like this, there would be days when you would do anything to be a short-haired version of yourself. You’d give anything to just step under the shower, give it a rinse, then towel dry it and be ready in 10 minutes.
I’ve had long hair most of my life. This is how people know me. I have accepted it, I am grateful for it, I have grown to love it. It holds secrets and memories of all the ways it has been touched all these past years. I love remembering how carefully my grandmother washed it for me and she always told me to sit in the sun, to let it dry naturally. She had the tiniest hands, but they never got lost in my hair.
Even tinier than my grandmother’s hands were the hands of my niece, when she was still a baby. After giving her a bath, I used to dry her soft skin with a towel, while she was lying on her back. My hair fell over her, covered her completely and made her laugh. That’s when she grabbed my hair to pull me closer and we just laughed and laughed.
I remember, my sister used to threaten me, that she’d cut my hair in my sleep if I fell asleep before she did. When we were kids, we shared a room and had a bunk-bed. She slept on top. I spent years listening to her breathing every night, to tell if she was asleep or not.
Of course, there were the men in my life. Lovers, boyfriends, who couldn’t get enough of it. It was usually one of the main things that caught their eyes. And then, their hands and fingers. Ponytails and buns came undone, a fistful of hair got pulled tighter, then released. It was a soft sea they could fall asleep on. Play with. My hair has absorbed all the pillow talk, all the secrets shared and has kept it close to my ears. It has broken combs and hearts, but it has been there to protect and shield the people I love. They could always disappear in it, in a big hug. My hair means many things to different people. My hair laughs at order, it’s wild and untamed, just like me.
Titkokkal teli haj
A hajam mindig központi téma volt, mindegy kivel találkoztam életem során. Hallottam kislányokat a villamoson, akik a mamájuknak suttogták, hogy nézzék meg. Hallottam tiniket, akik hosszasan beszélgettek róla. Amikor nagyon hosszú volt, számtalan kérdést kaptam, hogy a saját hajam-e. A fodrászok nem akarták levágni, hacsak nem könyörögtem nekik érte. Férfiakat és nőket egyaránt lenyűgöz. Az eladók megállnak egy bók erejéig és megkérdezik, hogy megérinthetik-e. Persze van egy határ. Nagyon barátságos vagyok, nyitott a párbeszédre és persze nagyon jólesik a bók, de nem érzem jól magam, ha idegenek fogdossák a hajamat. A hajam titkokat rejt, minden szál egy találkozás emlékét.