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.