I don’t really have a clue why my hair is so much a part of my personal identity, but it is.
Nearly twenty years ago, I cut it all off to start wearing it short, and stupid as it sounds, I actually had a major identity crisis for a good several weeks just over having short hair (or not having long hair, whichever way you want to look at it).
But it goes back even farther. When I was a young child in Girl Scouts, we went to a beauty school for a tour. My mom was the only parent there who could consent to a cut for her child, so she did. Neither one of us realized that the stylist/student would cut *all my hair off*, and leave me with a buzz cut (literally shaved at the back and sides).
I cried (and I very, very rarely cried, even back then). I vowed not to let anyone other than my mom cut my hair again (and never short), and I didn’t, until I was nearly thirty and decided it was time for a major change. My hair was waist-length at that point, and I cut it in stages, up to my shoulders, then into a bob, and then into the pixie I’ve been wearing ever since.
Here’s the thing that I found interesting after I got over the whole “OMG! What have I done?!” shock:
Women complimented me more when I had long hair. Men seem to find me more attractive with short hair.
I’d experienced that occasionally before when I had long hair, as I often wore my hair up for work and going out (especially as I was getting ready to cut it), and I definitely noticed a difference in how those two genders reacted to the different hairstyles. But after I actually cut my hair, women rarely mentioned it at all, and I swear, men expressed a lot more interest in both passive and far bolder ways. I honestly wasn’t really equipped to deal with that sort of male attention, having always just been the girl-with-guy-friends rather than the girl-guys-wanted-to-date. I was engaged anyways, so it was a moot point, but it was a weird feeling, that just changing my hairstyle could make me that much more physically attractive to men.
My personality did change a bit, though not until I made peace with the new ‘do. I always had my hair to “hide behind” before, and when I cut it off, it was like cutting off a security blanket. I definitely ended up more confident, and relatively more outgoing. I say “relatively” because I’m still not all that outgoing – the fact that I’m an introvert isn’t going to change no matter what my hair looks like.
So…why am I thinking/posting about this now, those of you who aren’t Facebook friends with me might ask?
Recently, the hair stylist I’ve been going to for nearly as long as I’ve had short hair moved away without a word. She ghosted me – when I texted her for an appointment, she just never texted back. I called the salon, and they said she moved to the other side of the state. Cue my panic and anxiety at the thought of finding another stylist, especially *this* year in the midst of a pandemic.
I’d been considering growing my hair out again since last spring, and while I made an appointment with another stylist at that salon for two weeks out, I had an uneasy feeling about it. I thought about it for a week and a half, and then in the shower one day, I made a decision.
Time to go long again.
It will take awhile, as growing anything always does, and I need to start taking better care of my hair now that I’m not going to cut it off every 6-10 weeks. I also need to figure out how to dye just my roots to keep my color up. That…could be interesting. We’ll see. But, I’m committed to growing my hair to at least the middle of my back before cutting it off again. I will eventually do that – cut it all off again, if nothing else just to cut the colored part off when I decide to stop dying my hair. I think it will be easier to cut it off again now that I’ve done it once, and I’ll have gone through the growing out process as well.
Sometimes finding the courage to do something is just a matter of doing it once, and living through it. It’s always easier the next time around.
It helps that my hair grows very quickly. As I write this, I’m nearly a month out from when my last haircut should have been to maintain the pixie cut, and the lowest layer is already down to the middle of my neck. I will probably find a stylist to maintain the layers at some point, because my hair is also naturally very thick, and I really did enjoy the layers of the pixie cut keeping it thinned out a bit.
Having different lengths of hair is a complete change in lifestyle, and I’m kind of ready to go back to the lower maintenance of having long hair. Not having to wash it every day just to style it for work (yes, that is necessary with a pixie cut, or my preferred one, anyways), and being able to style it different ways (there are no variations with a pixie – you just always look the same) will be a nice change of pace. I miss braids and pony tails and pretty/fun hair clips and ties, so it’ll be nice to have those options and shiny baubles again.
In any case, it’s been fun having short hair, and having people interact with me the way they do with that cut. I feel like I look sophisticated and chic with a pixie cut. But when I had long hair before, I really didn’t take care of it or maintain it much (or at all), so this time, I think I’ll make more of an effort to keep it layered and styled and looking more…well-groomed. We’ll see how it goes.
Anyone interested in hair-growth pics? If so, I’ll post monthly photos of my progress (or rather, my hair’s progress, as it were). Let me know if that’s of interest – comment on your soc. media platform of choice, or right here, whichever you prefer.