It was brought to my attention that I haven’t quite “shaved” my head, rather I just cut my hairs very short. While I concede to the extreme literalism applied to that argument, I still say that since I used clippers my head is technically shaved. It has now been a little over a month since the initial shaving occurred and I have written some reflections for you on my experience.
Things I love: This has been simply, amazing. It feels good physically and otherwise. First, I can drive with the windows all the way down! In the uncharacteristically (is it uncharacteristic when we are experiencing global warming, and year after year is “uncharacteristically” hot?) hot spring weather we have been having here in WA it is a glorious treat to drive with my windows all the way down—no more hairs in my lip-gloss! Secondly, I love that I don’t have to do my hair. In fact I don’t even think about my hair anymore, it’s just not there to be fussed over. My style is free (or very cheap) which is opposite from my previous bleach-and-tone, it takes no time in the morning (literally), it doesn’t get messed up so there is nothing to be self-conscious about throughout the day, and as far as putting myself together in the morning that decision is already made for me. One less thing to complicate my life. You can see my whole face all the time now, and I have discovered that my neck is sexy!
Things that annoy me: My hair grows so fast. I mean, I’m sure everyone’s does, but if I was trying to keep it faded and shaped I could easily get my hair “cut” every two weeks. Two days after a fresh buzz it is already noticeably longer, what a BUMMER! The only other thing that really annoys me about this hair style is the response I get from other women. Mostly it’s just a lot of “Hell yeah!” and “You go girl!” with some “You totally rock that look, it fits you soooo well!” Naturally, I looooooooooooooooooove this kind of attention BUT almost every compliment is accompanied by a, “I could never…” or “I wish I were…” This is annoying because 1) you just hijacked your compliment by asking me to make you feel better about yourself, and 2) STOP TEARING YOURSELF DOWN! Sisters, hear me when I say this, I am not braver/bolder/prettier/special-er than you. I am just as insecure and vain, just as lumpy-headed and far from my “goal weight”, and just as capable of doing of whatever the fuck I want with my hair AS YOU ARE. Of course, of course, of course there is something to be said for choosing styles that are appropriate for your unique look, but I bet 500% more women could “pull off” a bald head than think they can. Do you believe me? When I lopped it all off I definitely thought, what if I’m ugly after this? But now that it’s done I realize it would be pretty hard for ANYONE to look so strange that they couldn’t “pull off” a buzz cut. If this is something that you want in your life, be brave and do it. Then, don’t apologize for it and strut that shit!
Things I’ve noticed: TBH the number one thing I have noticed since I shaved my head is that no one really cares what I look like. This is a lesson in humility that I am re-learning every single time I do something to my appearance. I’m an impulsive person in this area of my life and I also really like attention, specifically the kind that says, “OMG you’re so pretty, I love you!” Whenever I make a big change there is a couple day grace period where my friends fawn all over me, and then its crickets… I expected people to ask me if I was sick (only two strangers have asked if I had cancer, and they were both over 70 so I chalk that up to elderly concern). I expected people to be alarmed, or even offended (I mean, who do I think I am being all counter-cultural and shit?). Over all I expected it to be more dramatic, but the reality is strangers don’t say anything at all—whether out of a lack of interest or because they feel uncomfortable, who knows?—and the people who do know me just accept that this is what I look like now. Even my mother-in-law hasn’t cried, or asked me when I’m growing it back. How simultaneously liberating and disappointing! This also applies to the tiny person inside my head. She now just seems to fully accept that this is what we look like because on the rare occasion that someone does spontaneously ask, “So, why’d you do it?” I just look at them like I don’t speak the language until it dawns on me that they are asking about my hair. Being bald(ish) is so without fanfare.
All in all I can honestly say I haven’t regretted the choice for a second. It hasn’t been as much of an event as I anticipated it would be, but it has quietly given me a new confidence. Subtly I have started to be more and more comfortable with myself, and not just with the way that I look. Now, when I walk into a room the first thing people see is me (unless I’m wearing a killer dress, in which case, yeah, look at the dress). What people are interacting with is me. Removing my hair was like removing a layer of the wrapping that I use to present myself as a package, and in a way that now leaves me bare before people. I like it. I stand taller now that I am free from one of the crutches I used to lean on.