When a very charming, but also totally random hairdresser unplugged the electric shaver, I was ecstatic. Weightless.
Of course, it was just an optimistic intro to some future self-hatred, where in the morning I would spend precious minutes with a coffee mug in my hand, analysing the shape of my skull, all little awkward bumps, and loathing myself for the stupidest decision ever. Shaving my freaking head.
I was going through a bad break up that summer (as if there ever was a good one), and getting rid of my hair was supposed to start a brand new chapter of my life. I wanted to look as different as possible, I wanted nothing in common with that naive ginger girl who had impersonated every possible cliche of falling in love and failing.
My hair has never been the most impressive part of my appearance. If someone, lets say, decided to take my legs away, apart from some serious logistics issues, I would definitely consider it a loss in terms of beauty assets. With hair, not that much…
Parading my naked head to uni on Monday, I didn’t expect that I would get so many comments on my… personality. I’m not sure, maybe in the eyes of the world I was so ugly, that the only thing they could complement were my internal features. Like “You are so brave”. If every time I was given a pound hearing that, I could have earned myself a decent night out, or at least a Sunday afternoon extravaganza in the launderette.
We keep talking about female strength, our inner beauty, yada-yada-yada, but the moment a girl says goodbye to her hair, we define it as an act of bravery. I mean, really? Are we so shallow that it only takes a razor to move us outside our fluffy comfort zone?
It’s funny, how transformative a buzz cut can be, even for a wardrobe. I was wearing the same clothes, yet my style had changed. Wearing all black felt rebellious. A blue floral top was ironic. When I had no idea how to dress on Friday night, I would dye my 3mm long hair pink, put some matte lipstick on, and I was ready to go. I felt more confident expressing my sexuality, I became more aware of who I am and what I want. There was nothing and nowhere to hide. Funny enough, the majority of guys wouldn’t go for it. Less looks, smiles, less random chats at the bar. It wasn’t the great crisis of 2008, but the rates visibly dropped.
Being a girl, then a woman, the world has always expected something from me. It wasn’t much: I was supposed to be nice, well behaved, and sweet. Visually, simplifying a bit, it translates into pastel outfits and long hair. Shaving my head was like showing the middle finger to all these presumptions about femininity. The idea that I was not attractive anymore, in the most traditional sense, was a revelation to me. To paraphrase a classic: loosing prettiness was freedom.
Now, the winter is coming, and the hair is almost 4 cm long. I dyed it platinum blond recently and I do my best to survive all of the weird-length phases, spending a small fortune on hairsprays, gums, and wax.
I think shaving your head is a great adventure every woman should go on. It’s not climbing Mount Everest, but it will allow you to see things from a new perspective. In the end, your hair will grow back. That’s also the beauty of it. Nothing’s lost forever.