It is no shock to anyone who knows me that I am prone to impulsive behavior. So when I was sucked into an America’s Next Top Model marathon on August 9 and fell in love with a pixie cut, it’s actually quite impressive that I held out until August 11 to make the big cut. (Up until that point, I was growing out my hair so I could wear it in a ponytail again. Remember what I said about being impulsive?) I wish I could say I had some big reason for cutting my hair. St. Baldrick’s, Locks of Love, or even something about how it was symbolic of the big life changes I was making at the time. Really, I cut it because I felt like it, I’m impulsive, and I’ve never been one to think long and hard about haircuts.
Though I was a little nervous, I went into the haircut thinking it’d be no big deal. Seven months later, I find myself in the midst of some sort of feminist realization about how much my hair changes the way I view myself. It started the morning after, as I rifled through my Gap-filled, preppy closet and started sobbing. “My clothes don’t match my hair!” I wailed, while my husband stared at me in utter disbelief. “I have trendy hair! I’m not a trendy person. I’m a cute little bob haircut person. Or a ponytail with a ribbon person. I am not a trendy hair person!” In the first few weeks post-haircut, I relied heavily on ultra-feminine shirts and dresses, and I never left the house without makeup. For the first time in a long time, I was very aware of my appearance.
Even though it took some getting used to, the super-short pixie had some definite perks. No more time wasted drying and styling my hair in the morning — just a little product, a once-over with the hairdryer, and I was good to go. This meant more sleep, less time stressing about hairstyles, and it was much easier to get ready in a pinch. No longer was it necessary to keep 37 bobbypins in my gym back to tame all of the stray hairs. Still, after about 4 or 5 weeks, the novelty wore off and I was ready to grow it back out — maybe not as long as before, but I’d had enough of the pixie.
There’s just one problem with that. It takes a lot longer to grow hair out than it does to recklessly chop it all off. And in the process, there is apparently a whole lot of vanity and 1980’s style mullets. Until my adventures in growing out the pixie, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had a true meltdown about my appearance. I just don’t usually care that much. It’s a little more difficult not to care when you’re headed to your husband’s work party and realize that your hair looks like Bob Saget’s in his Full House days. Oh, the growing out stages of a pixie cut can get so mullet-y.
So I’m trying to embrace the changes. I never got comfortable enough with my pixie to do fun things like spikes and faux-hawks and hats. To be completely honest, I just force it to be as traditionally feminine as I can and move on with my day. Headbands and bobbypins are my friends. If I didn’t spend 2… 3… 4 hours in the pool every week, I’d probably be seriously considering extensions. Instead, I wait. And though I wait rather impatiently, I’m grateful for the perspective this seemingly simple decision gave me. Until now, I had no idea how much my hair shaped the way I view myself and my femininity. I held firmly to the belief that “it’s just hair.” I considered myself easy-going, far from vain, and low-maintenence.
Ha. Not so. Not so at all.