As I mentioned in a post last week, I recently cut my hair off. I didn’t shave my head but if we are going to compare the length of my hair now to what it’s been for the last, say, fifteen years, I might as well have.
I’ve had all positive reactions to it, even if some people clearly preferred my long hair no one ever seemed anything less than genuine when they complimented it.
It has got me thinking about hair, though, and what hair signifies for a person, specifically for women. I’ve found it so interesting the amount of women who have come in to the cafe I work for, or even random strangers when I’m at the grocery store, who have commented not only on how much they love the cut, but also that they’ve considered doing the same in the past but they’re not nearly as brave as me.
It may sound a little dramatic to some, but there is definitely a certain amount of ballsiness necessary to decide to let go of all your hair. Unfortunately for us women, if you hadn’t noticed yet, ballsiness isn’t a natural trait if you know what I mean.
The thing about a woman and her hair is that it so clearly defines who she is and how she feels about herself. When my hair was long, if it was thrown up in to some sort of bun-like object on the top of my head, you knew that I was either running late that day or feeling incredibly lazy (it was 99% of the time the latter, let’s face it). If I decided one morning to get up and throw in the mousse and whip out the blowdryer, straightener, and hairspray, the amount of comments along the lines of “Wow where are you going tonight?!” would come pouring in. No one would ever make any such statement about the bun-like object.
Whether we like it or not, how we wear our hair is a crucial accessory in how we represent ourselves to the world. I don’t want to judge another woman but I can’t help but think that those of us who have kept the Farrah Fawcett or refuse to tame the tresses in any way aren’t, as they usually claim, bucking the system – they probably have no idea what else they would want their hair to look like. So they stick with what’s comfortable, even if it doesn’t show off the woman she really is.
On top of having to consider our hair defining our personality, we all know that women look at hair from an attractiveness standpoint. That seems obvious, I know, but it’s not simply a, “What will look good on me?” thing, it’s a, “What will men (or women) think looks good on me?” thing. When I say attractiveness, I mean sexual attraction. It factors in to how we look on a regular basis, not because we are looking to get all frisky with every man we walk near, but because it’s nice to look nice. And it’s nice for people that you’re attracted to, to think you look nice as well. What’s so scary about cutting all your hair off as a woman, then? The answer is simple: men like long hair and there is some weird part of society that has implanted in our brains that we are less sexy without it. As a single girl in her mid-twenties, looking less attractive (let’s not say sexy because that word is a little uncomfy, yes?) is not the look I’m going for.
I don’t know if men have the same emotional attachment to their hair. I suppose they do given the amount of griping I’ve heard about receding hairlines or patchy beards. However, I think that their hair issues stop at the what-was-given-to-me-sucks point. I’m not sure if hair cuts are as anxiety-inducing for men as they can be for women but for most of us it takes a good six months to simply make the decision to make a change to the way we wear our hair.
It will probably take another six to actually go ahead and do it.
I’ve been thinking about cutting my hair off for quite some time. I’m lazy with my hair and it’s too thick and hot in the summer. Since it’s straight, it always ends up just hanging there, embodying the qualities of that shaggy dog you see sprawled on the pavement when it’s forty degrees outside. That’s not cute. I never had the desire to find products to fix this and even if I did I hardly used them. Half the time I would leave my hair down and it would end up in a ponytail by mid-day because I just couldn’t take the oven happening on the nape of my neck. I got to the point where there really was no point.
So I chopped it.
I didn’t feel brave when I was doing it. I didn’t feel scared, either. I think that having thought about this change for so long and thinking about it for a few weeks leading up to the appointment helped decrease my level of heart palpitations. I was a little scared to unveil the new look to everyone I knew, though, not because I thought they would laugh at it but because when you change something about your appearance so drastically, you somehow naturally change in other peoples’ eyes as well.
I oddly didn’t think about being less attractive to men during the process, to be honest. My opinion on this is that I knew that I would like it, that I would think I looked better, and I would just say fuck ’em to anyone who disagreed. If we’re going to talk about my level of sexiness (blech), I’d say that the hair cut has actually increased it, if only because I now have the desire to take care of my hair on a regular basis and not look like the aforementioned overheated shaggy dog. And if I’m allowed to get totally vain for a second (which I totally am because this is my blog), I think it’s made my face and shoulders way more attractive and overall I look thinner.
So, to sum that up, I’m looking like a pretty good catch.
I just want women everywhere to stop thinking about what other people are going to say about what you want to do, whether it’s the way you cut your hair or how you flick your eyeliner or whether you want to wear flats or heels. None of this matters to anyone else and if it does, they’re stupid. Seriously. Be who you want to be. Show off what you want to show off. Be classy but free, made up but still natural, self-aware but confident.
And honestly, if you really want my advice on this whole thing, here it is:
Cut your hair off. It takes a weight off, and not just in the literal sense.