Last June, after a particularly nasty break-up, I decided to do what so many women before me have done in an effort to regain control when everything around them seems to be falling to pieces: I cut off all my hair.
Back then, my bleach-blonde hair fell a few good inches past my shoulders. I had spent my whole life with long, ridiculously thick hair, constantly battling tangles and a permanent damp spot in the middle of my pony tail whenever I put it up after having a shower, no matter how long I blowdried it for. (You know what I’m talking about, thick-haired people).
I always had great hair. I was blessed with naturally straight, rich brown locks that would nicely frame my face without even asking them to. I loved my hair. But that summer, I got fed up. I was fed up with paying more than $200 every time I went to the salon in order to maintain my very faux-blonde. I was fed up with the back of my neck sweating up a storm every time I dared to go outside in the summer heat with my hair down. And, I was fed up with maintaining all of this for the benefit of…who, exactly?
I questioned whether it was even for myself.
I decided I needed to shake things up, so as to shake off the feeling of intense failure and lack of judgement that I was left with after a toxic relationship went up in flames. So, I booked a hair appointment, and prepared to let go of the blanket of hair that had kept me safely feminine for all those years.
I sat in the chair, and told the stylist, who I had never met before, that I wanted to chop it all off, and dye the remaining blonde bits back to my natural brunette. She looked at me like I was crazy. “That’s a lot to do all at once,” she said. “Are you sure you want to do both? What if we cut it just a little shorter and keep the blonde? Or go brunette for now, and then cut it short next time?”
I faltered. She, a hair expert, thought this was a bad idea. But I looked at her, with her long, straight, ombre hair. Her fake nails that extended into claws. Her flawless, made-up face. And I realized that she was concerned I was giving up something more than just hair: In her eyes, I was giving up what made me attractive. When I realized that, my doubts went out the window, and I remained steadfast in my decision.
Two hours later, it was done. I paid, again, a ridiculous amount of money. But I hoped that would the be the last time.
I walked out of the salon feeling liberated. It might sound melodramatic, but I really felt like a new person. I still had nerves about what others might think of me. It’s hard not to. And I looked like a new person, sure, but it was more than that. It was the beginning of my rejection of waking up every morning and ensuring I looked good, not for myself, but for other people. Specifically, for men.
Since then, my style has changed. I dress much more comfortably, and while I like to look cute, it’s all for me. I take more risks with fashion, because frankly, my dear, i don’t give a damn what you might think. As previously written about, I’ve grown out my body hair. And I sleep in longer, because I have so much time to kill without all of that hair! (Men really figured that one out for themselves. Short hair is such a breeze.)
Now, it takes me a whole 2 minutes to style my hair in the mornings. Five minutes max if I’m blowdrying it, which I only really do on cold days when I don’t want my head to freeze. The problem I am currently encountering with my hair is still being charged a full $60 at the salon just because I’m a woman. Men, with similar haircuts to me, get charged half that. Eventually, I decided to hell with it and to go to a barber shop instead…but more on that next time.