Ponytail Elastics: Free For All

posted in: Day In The Life, Tips 7
The elastic is safe … for now. Image: Wikipedia.


Tea. Light and heat. Transport. Cell service. Socks. Aspirin. Butter.

Some things in life have to be purchased over and over and over again. There’s no way out. If you want to stay alive, you’re going to need supplies, and supplies wear out, run out, break, go missing, or you decide you hate yours, or the ones you got don’t work out, or you just want new ones. Not everyone needs the same supplies, but everyone needs some supplies, so you’d better get yourself some money because there’s no such thing as a free pair of socks.

For those out there with long hair, however, I’ve got good news: If you’re in a city, there is one supply that you will never, ever have to buy again, if only you pay attention.

I’m talking about ponytail elastics.

Maybe you call them “hair ties” or “ponytail holders” or “hair elastics”. You may go for the thin kind, where the two ends are joined with a speck of pinched metal. Maybe you prefer the thicker, fuzzy ones that are less likely to result in horrible snarls when you take them out. Whatever your preference, if you’re in a place that has miles of sidewalk, there are free ponytail elastics waiting for you. Some of you know what I’m talking about.

I’ve walked a lot of city sidewalks. A month after I turned 18, I moved to Chicago and I’ve been crossing her pavement ever since. Longtime readers of PaperGirl saw me walk through New York City and cross sidewalks in Washington, D.C. after I left. I didn’t write much while Eric and I lived in London, but you can bet we covered a lot of cement over there. And in each of those cities, without exception, I found many, many ponytail elastics on the ground. When you’re next in a city, look down. You’ll find them too.

And they’re all for the taking, my long-haired friend.

I’ve always assumed they got there by accident. Personally, I’ve never thrown a ponytail holder on the ground in a fit of anger. I can’t remember throwing a ponytail holder on the ground at all. If the one holding my hair back breaks, well, it goes in the trash. No, the sidewalk ponytail holders soaked in rainwater or baking in the sun got there by accident. I’m sure of that. Someone pulled off their scarf from around their neck and the hair elastic came with it, falling to the cement. Or an already loose ponytail holder was dislodged when someone put on their bike helmet. Its innocent, pink body was flinged into the air, alighting for a brief, glorious moment on a smelly, city breeze before dropping to the ground to be stepped on for eternity, or until the enormous spinning brooms of a street cleaner vehicle whooshes them into a gutter. Where they go from there, I cannot say.

Will you save them from this sorrowful fate? Will you, ponytail-having person, pick up the poor ponytail holder — a free supply that in the drugstore cost way more than necessary — and give it a home? The next time you need a ponytail elastic because somehow you’ve succeeded in losing all of the ones you got at the drugstore a frickin’ month ago — will you pick this city fruit and restore its dignity?

Are you insane?? That is like, so gross.

7 Responses

  1. Patty
    | Reply


  2. Marianne ten Kate
    | Reply

    Wash and wear, I say. Whilst walking the dog, I have amassed an impressive collection of hair elastics which, since the post-pandemic hair cut, are now surplus to requirements. But, keen crafters will tell you, they make excellent fastenings on pouches when tethered to a flap and hooked over a button on the pouch front. Low hanging — very low hanging — city fruit indeed!

  3. Glenda L Sheaffer
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    Walmart parking lot is the best hunting ground!

  4. Lesley Gilbert
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    I have short hair but I do see them on the ground. They are very useful in crafty projects & great for keeping usb wires etc neat & tidy.

  5. Wilma Bland
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    LOL Thanks for reeling me in for a great belly laugh –I needed that. It has been a bright day in the middle of dark time for me –a friend passed from cancer the end of March — I was with her 24/7 for 6months until her last week. The past month was spent helping her family get the bearings and accept Mom is in a better place— driving the PT Cruiser with her hubby riding shotgun –racing down the cloudways of Heaven. Her great grandson was diagnosed with aplastic anemia on his 4th birthday —today there is a post that his body seems to be producing good platelets on its own — so I was ready to laugh today. Thanks Mary!

  6. Marcia
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    No reason why you can’t scoop them up, take them home and pop them in that utensil tray in the dishwasher that one never uses. You know the one that flips up and you can put tiny little things in that would otherwise flip out and clog the inner workings of the beloved workings of your hallowed dishwasher. Go ahead, set it on sterilize and live dangerously!

  7. Jim( Marjim)
    | Reply

    Now THAT’S funny!

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