Sunday, July 10, 2016

Less is More: On having short hair

In December, I lopped off my long, luscious locks in favor of a layered bob.
How I looked before my last major cut
How I looked shortly after it.
Now this is certainly not the first time I've gone for a dramatic chop—it's actually the fifth, which means I've been following an extended grow-cut cycle for pretty much my entire life, and I've got it down to a science. But strangers don't know that, which might explain why everyone in the salon watched in shock and awe as my lengthy tendrils hit the floor, and the stylist asked me if I was sure what I was doing. And this was actually the shortest my hair has ever been before a major cut! I remember the last time I did this, I also got major backlash from those who preferred my hair long.

People seem to take great stock in long hair, as though its loss is an affront not just to its owner but to the entire world. As though you're a traitor to womanhood if you don't have a waterfall of keratin cascading down your shoulders at all times.

There seems to be a downright stigma against short hair. Sure, there is something to be said about the labor of love that is long hair. A person who spends hours a week caring for her tresses is a person who cares about her appearance. A person whose hairstyle is by nature low-maintenance could be interpreted to be a person who's just lazy.

But the ironic thing is that I think I look prettier with short hair. It has natural body and bounce, which it lacks when I wear it long. With my short hair, I wash it (don't even bother to use conditioner), towel it dry, brush it, and then ignore it while it air dries. Periodically I might fluff it with my fingers if I think about it. I spend all of five minutes a day on my short hair, but it generates compliments like it was created by an entire team of stylists for a Vogue photo shoot! I never heard a peep about my hair back when I was blow-drying it for 30 minutes a day. No one ever had anything nice to say about the elaborate updos that are the one thing I miss about having long hair. There was a time in my life when ridiculously long hair was a source of immense personal pride. But those days are long past, and short hair apparently suits me.
How my hair basically looks now.
Once the dust settles from my big move and I'm ready to focus on my style again, I plan to try out an even shorter hairdo. And then after that ... ? Will I ever grow my hair out again? Do I have anything to gain by dangling a foot or more of easily-tangled tresses from my cranium? Would I be better off sticking with the style that not only requires almost no work to maintain, but also seems to meet with the most critical acclaim?

My last dramatic chop was my fifth, but could it be my last? [Insert stirring music here.] Only time will tell.