Four years ago I made a bet that I couldn't go longer than a month without cutting my hair. I promptly lost that bet. Double or nothing and I started growing my hair out. Four years later it hung to almost the middle of my back.

Yesterday, for my 36th birthday, I cut it all off.

I have never had long hair before. In junior high I flirted with a mullet--thankfully the pictures from that period of my life were mysteriously destroyed by a lighter--and in high school my hair was about chin length, and purple, because I was a guitarist in a rock band.

Somewhere along the way growing out my hair stopped being about a silly bet, and became something much cooler. With my friend and co-worker Amanda Miller, we decided to grow our manes and donate them to Locks of Love.

From the Locks of Love site:

Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. We meet a unique need for children by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics. Most of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure. The prostheses we provide help to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.

I had to get my hair to ten inches in a ponytail to make the donation, and I have to admit that it was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I thought that--at max--it would take two years to hit my goal, but it took all four years. But I did it. I made it!

I already have "phantom long hair" pain where I keep trying to play with it, or brush it behind my ear, but I certainly enjoyed my shower this morning. It was a lot shorter, there was no need for conditioning, or blow drying afterward. It was an amazing trip to make the donation, and I wouldn't change it for the world, but I am never, ever growing my hair out again.

But my head is cold.