It's been a week since I decided to buzz my hair, mostly because I was curious and because I've always wanted to do this, just to see if I could pull it off. Honestly, yes, it was scary. It was a decision that reeked dangerously of commitment--at least to a few weeks of beanies, if this turned out to be a glorious failure, as some of my more daring fits of spontaneity have proven before. Anyway, I did it, in my friend's kitchen, without a mirror, which made the whole thing a little more of a gamble, but also a whole lot more fun. Anyway, here's the final result and I love it even more than I thought I would. There's something intensely liberating about the whole experience, no hair to hide behind, but also--and this might easily be my favorite thing--no hassle at all in the morning. Hair straighteners, workout hair, and worst of all hat hair, are things of the past now and it's been pretty glorious, and, to be honest, more than just a tiny happy dance of my Inner Feminist. Sure, I probably could have picked a better timing than the dead of winter to do this--freezing scalp is freezing without that added hair--but again, NO HAT HAIR! Give me all of your nerdy beanies, because I love them, wear them, and won't have the tiniest trace of rumpled hat hair afterward. This may be the beginning of an army of nerdy beanies!
Aside from my own reaction, I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive of the reactions I would get from everyone else: friends, family, colleagues, students, random strangers on the street. That's where the social experiment bit of this came in and here are some of the reactions I got:
1. The Double-Take.
Apparently buzz-cuts among women are rare enough that random strangers definitely tend to look twice--most of them suddenly very busy pretending that that's totally not what they've just been doing. That's when I usually just smile and pretend I didn't see them do it, although, let's be honest, of course I did, and yes, it made me laugh probably more than it should.
2. Helpless Confusion.
There definitely were some among friends and acquaintances, who suddenly found themselves dumb-struck and initially unable to communicate with me at all. That one was a bit bewildering. Like, they legitimately seemed at a loss for words at first. I'm not quite sure what to make of that one. Part of me mentally went, "That bad, huh?" while the rest of me wondered if loss of hair=loss of words? Woman-hair=does not compute? Yeah, the vote's still out on that one. You tell me.
3. The "Did you MEAN to cut your hair this short?"
Um. Yes? Yes, I did. Is it that inconceivable? Interesting.
4. "But you had such beautiful hair! You know there are people who HAVE to cut their hair this short--why did YOU have to do that?"
Because I wanted to, Mom. And because I can. And because short hair is beautiful in its fierceness and I wanted to prove that. But hey, at least it's back to my natural color, right? (I love my mom, but this is the most mom of mom questions. <3)
5. "I've always wanted to try this, too! Do you think I can pull it off?"
Well, there's only one way to find out...
Really though, I've had two students cut their hair really short right after I did. I call on my mighty enabler powers. You're welcome, world.
6. The Feminist High Five.
Or some more feminist equivalent thereof. Seriously, this has been my favorite, especially because it usually comes from older women who are totally into this and think me full of feminist awesome. Just as I would like to be. All the love for this reaction.
7. Overwhelming Positivity.
Really, despite the inevitable looks and the occasional speechlessness, people's reactions have been overwhelmingly positive and complimentary and yes, of course I care about these things. Yes, I did this for myself, mostly to prove to myself that I could, but I would lie if I didn't say that the positivity and compliments help, especially on those days when I fear to be looked at and to be judged and force myself to make a statement, just to prove to myself that I can.
And so, to conclude this social and physical experiment I bought a hair trimmer, because this look is here to stay for a while.
P.S.: Also, no, no one has tried to rub my head yet. That would be terrifying and would probably result in someone getting punched. And, no, just don't. When are these things ever okay?