Posted by: emjb | October 20, 2005

While the Hasidim softly chant…

There are singing Hasidim every night in my neighborhood; last night it was a bunch of men next door repeating one chorus over and over, at the end led by a young boy whose voice was on the verge of cracking.

This morning, a cluster of small kids frantically singing on the sidewalk as I walked to the train.

Tonight, farther down the street, some sort of amplified sound system blasted someone’s lecturing in Yiddish or Hebrew. Next door, children chattered excitedly after midnight as they ran in and out of their Sukkah for the Festival of Sukkot, which has about another week to go.

My normal inclination is to disapprove of young kids being up so late, but you know, not my kids. So I won’t complain, except about the fact that the only (Jewish) grocery store around here is closed for much of the holiday, making me send poor Matt out on longer grocery expeditions. And the one good thing about everyone being up so late (much of the celebrating seems to start at 9 and go till 1 or 2) is that the streets are pretty quiet until late afternoon, making my daily expedition to the drugstore for a Diet Coke and maybe some chips less stressful. Normal afternoons around here involve dodging double strollers and yarmulke-clad bicycle hooligans on the sidewalk.

I’m slowly getting the hang of the stay at home thing, but it’s a new concept still. This maternity leave will be the longest I haven’t gone into an office since I graduated high school. I’ve never been unemployed more than 3-4 weeks. I am technically still working, and keeping myself from being a total slug by getting up at my normal work time and checking email, letting my office know I’m around. Of course, this is often followed by a nap, but my boss doesn’t need to know that.

Today, instead of napping, I made my way into Manhattan briefly to get my new, punk-rock do. I will post pics as soon as I can wheedle Dean into taking one for me. Suffice it to say, it’s short. Super short. Omigod short. No piece of hair longer than 2″ short.

It could look a bit butch to some people, and I was afraid it would look that way to me too. Halfway through the cut, I had an “oh shit” moment when I wondered if I would have to wear scarves and hats until it grew out again. But when he was done…I wasn’t freaked out at all. I was pleased. It’s a strong cut, if that makes any sense. It’s no-nonsense, a bit aggressive, and the kind of cut you only get when you’re confident. And it works with my face more than I thought it would.

All my life, my hair has been a problem. I would have preferred the Felicity kind of hair, thick windblown romantic ringlets, like a princess. But no. I got ultra-straight, lank, perm-and-product hating hair. Grown long, it’s lifeless. Medium length cuts tend to be dowdy (the eternal bob) or problematic (shags that look good on other people but mullety on me). Short cuts that I’ve had before always seemed to have an unfortunate Dorothy Hamill-esque quality to them. Barrettes, headbands and clips slide out of my hair as if it were greased. And hats are not an option until you’re about 50 at least.

But this works. There is no styling, hardly any goo needed. No clips, bands, or ponytail holders. No straggly little hairs on the sides and back that require me to use a tiny curling iron and lots of hairspray. No need for a hair dryer. The only thing easier would be going bald–and heck, that’s not true. I’d have to shave every day.

It’s practical for after the baby, of course. But I’m pretty sure that I did it for me. I just wish I’d had the guts to try it sooner.



  1. Ugh… I’m sickeningly jealous. My hair is half wavy, half curly, thin strands but TONS of them… like Sarah Jessica Parker’s hair, only… less glam. Look forward to pics! Sounds cute… you bitch. 😛

  2. Can we look forward to pics? It sounds like it looks really good.

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