A couple of months have passed, but I still have a clear image in my head of that look on his face.
I had just flown into Anchorage after an excruciating 12-hour journey from Michigan. Since no one can meet you where your plane lands anymore, I hiked through the airport with my carry-ons until I reached the long escalator down to the main level.
Our eyes didn't connect right away. My husband, Mark, was looking for someone else -- someone with longer hair.
I vividly remember the expression on his face when he realized what was different. Although I couldn't hear the words quite yet, I could read his lips: "What have you done to your hair?!"
The phrase was repeated over and over for about 10 minutes.
"Don't you like it?" I finally asked.
"It's going to take some getting used to," he muttered, still in shock and still fixated on my lack of locks.
About once a week for a month, I would occasionally throw in a "So, now what do you think of my hair?"
This was met with a halfhearted "I'm getting used to it."
So what is the big deal? I've met a lot of men out there who have this thing about women and long hair. Mark happens to be one of them.
Funny, when I met Mark, he had longer hair than I did, although his is naturally curly, so he looked more like a Chia Pet than Fabio. In fact, when I first laid eyes on the guy, I couldn't find his eyes. He was just one big fuzz ball -- hair, beard and all.
"How nice it was for this guy to come off the mountain to meet me," I remember thinking.
But there had to be something there. After all, his best friend and my best friend -- who happen to be married to each other -- wanted us to get acquainted and see if anything sparked.
By the time we had our first real date, Mark shaved the beard. It was a great improvement.
By real date, I mean it wasn't our friends' kid's birthday party or another presocially arranged encounter by them. No, this time I actually asked him out.
I never have been very patient.
When Mark and I began to realize there actually might be something between us, things slowly started to change. For some reason, his hair got shorter and shorter and mine grew longer. He liked it that way, and I was willing to accommodate.
After all, it was love.
There are lots of things you can do with long hair. You can tie it back, get a permanent, tie it back with something different and let the permanent grow out. This was all very entertaining to Mark, and sure, I fancied buying all kinds of hair accessories, which soon required that I commandeer one whole dresser drawer. Eventually, an entire cardboard dresser was purchased -- and filled.
Things went on blissfully for quite some time, and when Mark joined the fire department, he cut his hair so short it almost became nonexistent.
Then one day, I got tired of how I looked. I decided I needed a change.
Actually, I had been thinking about it for quite some time. Ever since I started doing dog agility, I wondered what it would be like to run an entire course without hair flying in my face, despite the fact that it was tied back.
With the upcoming summer agility season, I thought it would be the right time to make the cut. The trip to Michigan just spurred it on.
Upon telling my mom and sisters about my plan, they urged me to do it while I was there.
"Then Mark can't kill you."
Hmmm. Good point.
So, hours before I was set to depart, I found a nearby salon and left my wavy locks on its floor. I even saved one long one for Mark -- which he didn't find very amusing.
I think he was finally starting to get used to it when the other day I did it again -- this time even shorter. I tried to explain to him I wanted to be more aerodynamic, but he didn't buy it.
"Pretty soon, people aren't going to be able to tell us apart," he said.
That's the charm of Mark. He always sees things in such a different light. I suppose that's why I married him.
It's hard to believe that's what happened six years ago today. I can only imagine what will happen in the years to come, but I suspect our marriage will continue to be "shear" entertainment.
Happy anniversary, honey. Here's to many more interesting years -- and haircuts.
Dori Lynn Anderson is the features and copy editor for the Peninsula Clarion.
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