Hairstyles, Habits, and Holiness

Parts of me, unlike my thinning hair, are going to last for eternity. I don't want them to stay the way they are.

BY: Terry Mattingly


When I was a teenager, it took forever to get my hair right. There was this one place that was really bad, behind my right ear. My hair wanted to flip out. I wanted it to flip under.

Every morning, with a freshly-washed head of hair, I'd try to get the flip behind my right ear under control using one of the crude early forms of male hair-drying technology.

I did this year after year after year. The ritual became a part of me. Three or four years ago, I noticed that it no longer took nearly as long to carry out this duty. In fact, I rarely have to curl that flip under any more. It meekly does the right thing, pretty much on its own.

For better, or for worse, I have won that battle.

The flip behind my right ear is still there. But it has been brought under control, through years of training.

I guess if you do something long enough, it changes you.

There are many, many parts of me that are not under control yet. Believe me, I know that. I need to confess that, over and over and over, year after year after year.

When I became an Orthodox Christian, I didn't mention this hair ritual thing in my first confession. Perhaps I should have. I am sure that this tale says a lot about me.

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