ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

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Years of attending school have conditioned most of us to think of summer as a time to relax, and to do things we might not consider doing the rest of the year.

But commentator Laura Lorson has this warning for those about to let their summer guard down.

LAURA LORSON: All right. So apparently, summer is here, and that means we are all once again faced with very serious decisions with far-reaching implications, choices that seem like a good idea at the time, and yet almost invariably are not. You know, like capri pants, dating a drummer, having that sixth shot of Jagermeister. And to this roll call of questionable choices, I will also add, cutting off one's hair.

I know. It's always tempting at this time of year. It's hot, it's humid, it's horrible, and you're thinking, OK, I'm miserable. I might as well take advantage of already being in a terrible mood and go get bangs. And then once you get to the salon, you see a picture of Tilda Swinton or Audrey Hepburn or someone in a magazine and you think, yes, yes, that is a fine idea. Short hair will be cooler. It will be practical. I can remake myself into an intriguing and mildly terrifying European actress - or maybe an adorable French gamine. I'll wear one of those cool, stripy, French navy shirts with ballet flats. I'll live breezily on baguettes and red wine, like I'm in a Jean-Luc Godard film. I can almost guarantee you, though, that it will not work out that way.

You'll be caught up in the moment and forget that ridiculous Dorothy Hamill cut you had in the fifth grade. You'll get excited about the prospect of buying cool new hair products like pomade, and you'll forget that one girl you went to college with who wanted to look like the lead singer of the Cranberries, and ended up having to buy a wig.

But every year, nonetheless, I get to the first hundred-degree, 75 percent humidity day and think that a short haircut sounds like a great plan. And then I mentally hear my mother's voice telling me that I would look better with short hair - because for half my life, my mother has told me that: I should get that hair out of your pretty face so people can see your eyes. Also, stand up straight and don't mumble. So of course, I naturally hesitate and dismiss the short hair idea out of hand.

But then I remember, oh, yeah, I went to graduate school. I studied semiotics, and I understand that I'm just rejecting the idea because what I'm actually hearing my mother saying is: You would look better desexualized and powerless in the intellectual and sociological marketplace that values traditional Western commercial stereotypes of feminine beauty. And also, stand up straight, honey.

Then I remember the haircut I had for most of the late '80s, which I loved. I thought of it as skate punk. But in reality, it was more of the German electronica artist, marginally successful boy band look, with the long bangs and the shaved sides. Think Dirk Nowitzki in 1989, or the guys in New Order.

Anyway, last week, I, myself, got the pixie cut because I pretty much am the queen of questionable decision making. So go ahead. Live on the edge. Get the haircut, date the drummer, have the electric-blue-colored shaved ice, ride the roller coaster six times in a row. After all, that's the sort of thing summer is for.

SIEGEL: Laura Lorson is over the haircut thing, and is now considering getting sleeve tattoos in Perry, Kansas.

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