Time for a Change or a Haircut

A friend noted she was thinking of getting her hair cut short and wondered how people would react. Her mother (whom I’m guessing is a rocking awesome mother) promptly shared the famous essay “On Short Hair” by Joan Juliet Buck, a woman who knew a little bit about fashion.

Here’s just a smidgeon of it so you can get the right mojo going.

Hair is time.

Women with short hair always look as if they have somewhere else to go. Women with long hair tend to look as if they belong where they are, especially in California. Short hair takes a short time. Long hair takes a long time. (continue reading at The Poetical Quotidian)

Hair is time. Yes, Ms. Buck, you were certainly correct on that one. And hair is so much more than that.

Hair is an extension of ourselves and our perceived place in this world of ours.

And now, if you take a gander over there to the margin, you can draw your own conclusions about how I feel about hair and time and my place in the world.

I certainly never set out to be the poster-child of both short hair and naturally colored hair, but my hair has become that.

At least once a month I have a woman come up to me and say something like “I just love your hair!” If I’m performing, that number goes up. Way up.

And I think it is because of precisely what Ms. Buck wrote about: wearing your hair short as a woman shows the world that you have taken back something of yourself. It might be time, it might be your features, it might be the nape of your neck, it might be your spirit. But you have noticed something missing from life and have taken steps to retrieve it. Bravo.

These days I wear a pixie – 2 inches at the crown, only 1.5 at the fringe. It’s short, and I love it.

But what I really love are the micro-conversations I have with people because of my two inches and shorter hair. Women lament that they’d feel like a boy without hair. That their husband would never let them cut their hair. That short hair takes too much up-keep. That short hair would show to the world their weak chin, bulbous nose, drooping lids, sallow skin-tone.

And here’s what I have to say about that.

The length of my hair has nothing to do with my femininity. Femininity (like masculinity) has nothing to do with hair length and everything to do with a person’s body and gender as expressed via self-identity. In other words, how I wear my hair doesn’t make me more or less feminine. What makes me feminine is how I express how I feel about the body I am in. I identify as female so I express that identity through things decoded by others as expressions of femininity.

I am blessed to be married to the perfect guy for me. The bedrock of our relationship is our deep and abiding friendship for one another. Real friends respect one another. Totally. And because he respects me, he respects my decision to wear my hair however the heck I want to wear it. I care about his opinion and I would probably not do something to my hair that I thought he would hate (shaving a reverse mohawk comes to mind), but aside from having an opinion about my hair, that’s about as far of a say as he gets in the matter. Why? Because it’s mine. We don’t share a joint-custody of my hair, it’s mine, all mine. Since I’m the person who has to take care of it, I get to decide.

Short hair does require a person to accept that it must be maintained. I’ll give you that one. I squirrel away cash from each of my paychecks to pay for a professional haircut and I’m okay with that. Some folks buy Starbucks everyday. I save for a haircut every 6 weeks.

Whether you wear your hair long or short, curly or straight, colored or not, it does not actually change the look of your features. In other words, if you have a big nose, wearing your hair to your shoulders isn’t going to magically change that. I fully support people wearing a hairstyle that adds to their confidence, and if wearing your hair in a bob to accentuate one feature over another makes you feel more confident, then go for it. But the hairstyle doesn’t, of itself, actually change what you look like. However, it is important to focus on that word “confident” because a confident person is also a sexy person. And what relationship doesn’t improve when the people in the relationship feel better about themselves? As for me, short hair makes me feel playful, sassy, free-spirited, and even a tad bit sexy. When I’m feeling that way, I stop worrying about the crappy jawline I got blessed with and I have more fun.

I just got home from a haircut this afternoon and I am loving it. Aside from smelling like unfamiliar hair products, I feel like I found myself again. Back are my eyebrows and the wrinkles around my eyes. Back are my ears and the moles sprinkled across my cheeks. Back is my nape. It had been a bit over 6 weeks, but it was time to find myself again.

13 thoughts on “Time for a Change or a Haircut

  1. Great post. Funny how hair is such a topic of conversation. As a woman who sports a faux hawk, people always comment that they love my hair but “they could never pull it off”. (This is a comment I get almost daily.) Seriously people? You can pull off whatever you choose. The secret is owning your style, whatever that may be.

    It’s obvious you do.

    (And how do you get away with a cut every 6 weeks? I’m going crazy after 3.)

  2. and i loved what you said, about your husband’s relationship to your hair… I always cringe a bit when I hear “oh, I’d LOVE to cut my hair like that but my husband wouldn’t let me.”

    (there’s a point where you don’t wait to do something your partner would just hate… but really, seriously, come on.)

  3. She is most definitely a rocking awesome mother (and my best friend) and I’m totally getting the pixie cut. You’re spot-on about my specific hesitations; my husband won’t like it, I won’t be able to hide behind it, I’ll be less feminine, etc. In actuality, however, short hair is dead sexy and uber feminine (“the actor commonly known as Hermione”, Victoria Beckham, Halle Berry, Natalie Portman, Michelle Williams, and many others) and will give me far more creative license with my eye makeup and ridiculously huge earrings. I’m rather excited about my soon-to-be exposed nape. My marriage hits the 15yr mark next month and a dramatic change (we’re talking more than a foot of hair– Locks of Love, maybe?) has romantic potential. It’s going to drive him wild! Thanks for inspiring me!

    • A foot of hair? Brave move. Definitely consider Locks of Loveโ€”and good luck with the husband.

  4. Um.. yeah. I could never have short hair. Not because of confidence, but because of that whole “upkeep issue”. If my hair gets cut once a year, that’s a lot.

    I do a few trims, but mostly grow it long until I can whack 10 inches off and still have hair below my shoulders. Then I donate it to Locks of Love.

    You my friend, totally rock the short hair.

  5. I envy your hair choices. I am heart broken that I will never again be able to pull off a mohawk(ok, I never did before either). I’m not sure I’m able to picture you with a different hair cut, but I’m sure you could pull it off.

    Good post. Thanks, Kristina

  6. I love your hair. ๐Ÿ™‚

    My hair reflects my inherent grooming laziness. I wear a bob, ranging anywhere from chin length to mid-neck length, depending on how long it’s been since my last haircut. (I found out long ago that the classic bob is a haircut that grows out without turning to crap if you miss your regularly scheduled haircut appointment.) I don’t dye my hair, either, which has resulted in what my stylist refers to as my “extreme blond” hair. She tells me she wouldn’t dye it for me if I begged her.

    Since there’s no way I would have the patience to deal with roots, I guess it’s a good thing my white blends with my blond in a pleasant enough way. (That’s my story, anyway. Could just be my laziness talking.)

  7. I have a tousled pixie with a longish bang and I love it! Like other posters I cringe when I hear, “I love your hair, but my husband would never let me get mine cut.” I can’t imagine what being married to someone who controlled the length of my hair would be like, but I would imagine not very fun!

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