Musings on a haircut

12 Sep 2012

Recently, I got a short haircut for the first time in my life, chopping off nearly a foot and a half of hair.

This decision, like most of my most drastic ones, was made spontaneously without much reasoning. Ironically, I tend to spend hours on hours hemming and hawing over tiny nuances of the heart and mind yet act rashly and boldly on all else. One day, I woke up, and simply needed to cut it all off. I couldn’t even wait for an appointment– I made my mother hack at it with kitchen scissors. Snip, snip, snip: and months and years of long brown locks fell into the garbage.

How interesting it is that we as humans have this special ability to transform and redefine ourselves with a mere reshaping of cells already dead. A lion doesn’t wake up and think, maybe it’s time to grow out my ‘fro. There are long-haired cats and short-haired cats and they are born that way and remain for life. Usually one species has the same coverage, or, at most, one variation for the female and one for the male, and perhaps a protective camoflauge for the young. But here we go in the most human way, imposing all sorts of rules: short for men, long for women; gingers are sassy, frizzy hair unruly, blonde hair dumb, brunettes boring.

Of course, since it’s me, the implications that stand out the most are the gender ones. Last week, one of my friends and mentor showed me off her new pixie style, joking that this was her “dyke haircut”, and when I asked another about her opinion on my short hair, she replied that I was “feminine enough to pull it off”. The first thing my friends asked me when they saw me was whether or not I felt “so much freer”. The physical answer is not really– short hair sits surprisingly heavily on the back of ones neck and it’s a hassle not to be able to sweep it up into a big ballerina bun. They are, of course, mostly talking about the mental implications– and that makes ponder the true state of women’s liberation, if even in the era of iphones we still stop ourselves to fuss about a hairdo.

I feel less pretty with short hair and maybe that’s a good thing. Some dresses and shirts don’t look as cute anymore and so I’ve simply stopped decorating myself for them. I have this theory that for every inch of hair you cut off, you have to make up for it with an inch of personality and I wonder if that’s true. I guess I have still quite a few feet to grow.

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