I’ve been thinking about chopping off my hair for a few months. The motivations were many: I’m craving change and new adventures. When I was in my twenties and thirties, I had short hair, so I associate cropped cuts with being youthful and daring. There was this photo of Madonna and the way I’ve been listening to “I Don’t Care” by Icona Pop (check out Aino Jawo’s cute bowl cut). And finally, there was all the time I was spending blow drying and flat ironing, plus the hair potions and rubberbands and bobby pins and — it was just too much. I realized that I was becoming that girl. I was spending all kinds of time managing my long hair, and I didn’t even like it that much. It had become habit and, if I’m being completely honest, I also harbored a fear that if I cut off my hair, I’d no longer feel girly and pretty and feminine.
I think that last reason was the one that convinced me to do it. I don’t like my stuff to own me, and I certainly don’t want to be governed by my hair. So I watched this video for inspiration…
… and I collected photos of short hair that I like…
… and I called Jacquie Nguyen at Shag Salon for an appointment. I chose Jacquie because when she cut my hair in the past, she was precise and detailed, patient and calm with the scissors. It’s like she goes to a zen place when she’s snipping. I knew if anyone could recreate the bowl cut for me, it would be her. I also decided to measure the hair we liberated from my head so I could donate it to Locks of Love, an organization that makes custom hair pieces for kids who’ve lost their own hair.
Here’s how it all went down yesterday…
The classic “before” photo. Note how my hair is ALL OVER ME. At that moment, I was 100% committed. I couldn’t wait to have it off my neck and shoulders and ears.
But then when Dave showed me the photo of the back of my head, I actually gasped and said, “Oh! It looks pretty.” I was still committed, but feeling just a little bit affectionate toward my long locks.
Then Jacquie called me over to her chair, and I showed her the photos I’d collected. She wasn’t totally convinced of the awesomeness of the bowl cut at first, but she agreed to go for it.
To donate to Locks of Love, I had to put my hair in ponytails that were at least 10 inches long.
Jacquie combed out my hair (and made it look annoyingly nice under the salon lights)…
… then started making the four ponytails we needed to ensure we would get the maximum length.
… and cut one off in the back first. I literally thought, “Well, there’s no turning back now.” This is the first time I’ve ever hacked my hair off completely — my other short cuts just kept getting incrimentally shorter, there was no defining CHOP. Yesterday, it was simultaneously dramatic and a non-event to hear that scrunch scrunch scrunch of the scissors on the ponytail and then to see my hair in Jacquie’s hand.
Ta-da! (Smiling on the outside, maybe maybe freaking out a little on the inside.)
Soon, we were down to the fourth ponytail. SNIP!
For about 5 minutes, I looked like Emo Philips. I have to admit, at this point, I thought to myself, “I could stop here. We could turn this into a cute bob. I don’t have to go all the way short.” But in my heart, I really really wanted to go all the way short, even though my heart was pounding like I was in the middle of a WOD.
There are no photos of the interim work that Jacquie did. And that girl worked! She was a superstar! She squatted and spun me around and snipped and measured and clippered and spritzed and re-checked the photos and combed and sighed and snipped some more. Finally, after about 90 minutes, she looked at me straight-on, mussed my bangs a little bit, then said, “Cute!” and turned me toward the mirror.
I was super excited! I felt giddy! So giddy, I convinced Dave to take me to Happy Hour at Opa! for a celebratory glass of Prosecco.
Looks like I wasn’t the only one with short hair on my mind this week! I found these posts in the last few days — the last one has interesting things to say about beauty norms and hair length.
- Before you say anything to me — or any other girl who crops her hair — you might want to take a look at this Buzzfeed list of 17 Things You Don’t Say To A Woman With Short Hair.
- Thanks a lot, Beyoncé, for stealing my idea. Turns out, Ms. Bey cropped her hair this week, too.
- The Daily Beast’s slideshow In Praise of the Pixie Cut.
- Women in the World has this article called “Politics and Power of the Pixie Cut.”
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