Should I shave my head?
(coz I kinda already did)
“ah, that was easily the most satisfying moment of the last while.” So said, wrote I a few hours ago after shaving off the bottom 60% of my hair.
My hairdresser gave me an ‘asymmetric undercut’ a few months back and though I love it, I am *very* tempted to just shave it all off. Pushing the firm metal blade against the nape of my neck and feeling tufts of hair falling to the floor did little to dissuade me.
I have big, troublesome hair. As a child, adults always had opinions about it. Usually their comments fell between complimentary and fawning, but as the person sweating under a few pounds of thick, curly rambunctious hair, I didn’t always agree.
My hair tends toward the triangular (think Marge’s sisters in the Simpsons). Kids used to compare me to a Christmas tree which was unkind but not untrue.
The guy on the right was/is my most frequent hair twin.
It was two decades before I figured out that curly hair shouldn’t be brushed. It’s only within the last few years that I’ve invested in products that reliably tame the frizz/bigness. Though they haven’t been as effective in this humidity, hence the half-head shave!
My hair has been an inconvenience. Sometimes it looks nice and is fun to play with, but usually it’s just frustrating. I wash it once a week (For that, I know I’m lucky!). I spend a decent chunk of time making calculations in my mind about when to schedule the wash so that it’ll be dry before I need to go to bed/be at an important meeting/go out in freezing weather. It varies based on the length but it’s not unusual for it to take 5+ hours to dry.
At the end of Bohemian Rhapsody, I turned to my friend and moaned that I’d missed my hair decade. 70s hair is my natural look. How good does Brian Maye look now that he’s grey?
At my last hairdresser appointment, she cut the bottom 60% of my hair is very short, The top 40% is still curly and big. It grows very quickly so the bottom section gets long and drives me nuts/doesn’t look great. Today, I had enough. I unpackaged my new electric razor and got to work! I HAD A GREAT TIME.
Typically, it’s men who own electric razors. They left some real gems in the ‘customer reviews’ section on Argos:
“It is a very easy to use product. Does it s job (sic)“ male, 35 - 34
" Very good cutter. Recommended “ male, 35 - 44
" It's light and it cuts hair. Not much more you can ask of hair clippers really!!! “, male, 55 to 64
Today’s mini-cut over the bathroom sink was (mostly) a success. It was the best my impatient, hot-headed (literally!) self could manage.
The goal was to trim the bottom section but some long strands came off too, which was honestly kind of thrilling. It’s precisely the kind of thrill that makes me think that I’m gonna do a full lawnmower all over my hot, sticky head one day. Which is why I made some rules:
No head shaving if you’ve been drinking, or are giddy
No dramatic movements ‘just to see what’ll happen’. (You know what’ll happen, baldy!)
DON’T TEST OUT THE DIFFERENT LENGTH SETTINGS ON YOUR HEAD. (Made this mistake, will need to wear my hair down till it grows out a bit. 😐)
But, I am a happy half-bald person. I’ve been rubbing it with satisfaction all afternoon.
When I talk about shaving my head, the same few scenarios always come up. They are our most common cultural touchstones for voluntary female baldness:
When Rachel convinced Bonnie to shave her head on Friends
I think they all look great though I know not everyone agree. I’m not sure that my head shape is nice enough to display without the cover of hair. I’ll also need a cover story for work. A friend of a friend shaves her head every few months so she can donate her hair to a charity that makes wigs for children with cancer. That’s a great reason to be voluntarily bald. I should come up with a story like that. But you’ll know the truth. You’ll know that I was hot and impatient and that I love the feeling of wind whistling along my bare neck.
Part of my urge to be bald is about gender and thinking through what it means to be/present as ‘female’. I sometimes hide behind my hair. Not literally (though it’s big enough that I could!) but figuratively. If I take my hair down and give it a bit of a fluff, people rarely see the rest of me, especially because I also wear big glasses. Maybe it’d be nice/challenging to come out from hiding a little bit. But, I should probably get my ears pierced and find a good bold lip first. Just so I have some other avenues for amping up femininity if I ever have the urge too. (Seems unlikely, tbh)
It’s just hot under all this hair and the intersection of impatience and discomfort is often where crazy things get done.