Short Hair, Don't Care?

It sounds funny to write about hair, long or short, it is just hair. But people are funny about hair, especially women - but especially men!

I have cried over one bad hair cut. I was eight years old, and my mom had left (I stop short here of saying the word abandoned) my sister and I with my grandmother for a visit. Juvenile memory recalling events (perhaps exaggerated) but as soon as my mother was on the road my grandma took me for a hair cut, and possibly the worst bowl shaped hair cut of my childhood which was riddled with bad hair cuts. That is how bad it was. There are pictures.

But since then, no matter the cut, I have never cried about it. It is hair, it grows back. I am lucky to not be bald or have a hideously misshapen hairline. I haven't always loved my hair cuts but I have never given them such thought to be upset by them when they are bad.

However, generally I love my hair. I wear my hair very short. I cut it all off to a short bob when I was 30, and then at 33 went even short and there it sits today. One might call it a long, asymmetrical pixie. It is very short in the back (a 4.5 gauge on the clippers), with a bit fuller on the top and longer side bangs. I love it, it's sleek and unusual. As short and dark as it is, I rarely encounter scenarios where a woman in the room has similar hair to mine.

But I read an article the other day about a woman describing her relationship with her hair over the years. She describes herself as a plus sized woman who, even without realizing it, would hide behind her hair. Her hair was long and feminine and was in a way a consolation to her - so she says - for her figure. But she finally took the plunge and cut her hair. In her article she describes how this made her question her femininity and also she describes the difference it made in how others seemed to view her.

And reading it really in a way made me hate how narrow minded people are about feminine expectations.

I do not feel unfeminine with my short hair. On hair cut day and a few days after, if you run your hand up the back of my head it doesn't feel much different than my husbands - except that my hair is super thick and plush! My hair is fully cut around my ears, so there is no hiding behind it.

When someone looks at me, for better or for worse, they get my face. Which, as far as faces go I hope mine is feminine. I hardly wear any make up - I wear black eyeliner and mascara and that is basically it except when I add a little lip color. Between short hair and make up, I can be in the shower, out, and ready to go in 17 minutes.

I am not a skinny girl by any means, though I am fit and have a nearly textbook hourglass figure which perhaps "saves" me in the eyes of some that I can go out with this "brave" haircut. My haircut is not brave. Firemen are brave. My haircut is perfectly safe. Never once has it put me at risk.

Sure, some people don't like it. That is fine. Some people didn't like my bob and some people didn't like my long hair either (namely me!). If I started living my life to make the greatest number of people happy with my choices, I'd have to crawl back into the womb and be reborn as someone else.

Women worry so much about what men think, and what other women think, and it is sad to me that our viewpoint on what constitutes femininity is so narrow that hair length is considered. I think back to 20 years ago when I worked in Canada with this girl who shaved her head in support of someone with cancer. Totally bald that girl was adorable and cute and feminine. Turns out, our female charms don't just hang out in our hair.

When I first cut my hair short a few years ago a coworker said to me, "I love it but my husband would kill me if I did that." All my hackles engaged by that I replied, "Really? My husband loves me for more than my hair." I couldn't be married to someone who was insistent upon my hair being long. I need a more enlightened life partner than that.

I've also had men say to me, "don't worry, it'll grow back." If they only knew how much money I spent each year keeping it this short on purpose.

If hair is a security blanket for women, so we can hide behind it, then I don't want it. I want my face to be seen, this is me and I am liberated by that. My imperfections make me who I am. And without going into too much detail because I don't think it's super productive to dwell on what we hate about ourselves, but my least favorite feature is in the center of my face. And even still I do not distract from it with long hair.

To the girl in the article I mentioned above, I give kudos for stepping out of her comfort zone, for I think that is where we always find the best of ourselves. I think so much about our beauty or attractiveness comes from confidence and once we learn to be confident we can rock any hair style we want. And people then don't see the length of our hair, they see us.