The Samson Effect

While eating a pleasant dinner of Bill’s most excellent chicken schnitzel, a back-to-college commercial came on that featured a cute blond with Alice in Wonderland hair who was obviously enchanted with her newly decorated dorm room thanks to the wonderful selection and prices available from Target.  Suddenly, Mom got a serious look on her face and asked “I wonder if that girl’s going to have problems later in life because of her long hair.”

Bill and I looked across the room at each other and with the up-lift of his eyebrows and the rolling of his eyes, he signaled “you take this one because I’m not touching it!”

I figured I’d bite.  “What do you mean by problems?”

“You know,” she said.  “Problems with her strength.”

I tried to choke back a laugh, but it didn’t work as well as I hoped because the applesauce I was eating came out my nose.  This, in turned caused Bill to almost gag on a green bean.  Mom, on the other hand, seemed oblivious to the fact that food was spurting out from parts of my face that didn’t involve my mouth or that her son-in-law might require the Heimlich at any moment.

“It’s a known fact that having long hair can drain you of strength.”

Wiping applesauce from my upper lip, I asked “Known by who?”

Bill chimed in “Samson maybe?”

“Well, there’s that.  But it’s a scientific fact.  Hair’s alive and the longer you let it grow the harder it is on your body.”

“Mom, women have had long hair forever.  I’m sure Eve didn’t have a hairdresser.  And look at all the female movie stars when you were young.”

“They all had short hair.”

“No they did not.  What about Veronica Lake and Rita Heyworth?”

“Short hair.”

“Jane Russell?  Kathryn Hepburn?”


What movies did this woman watch, I asked myself.  “OK, you win.  I’m going to go into the bathroom and cut my hair now so I’ll have the strength to clean up the dinner dishes and get your ice cream.”

“Very funny,” she responded.  “It isn’t that long yet.  But in a couple of months you’d better think about a hair appointment.”


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