Six months ago I walked in to a salon in Cleveland, Ohio to have all of my hair cut off and my head shaved. I’ve done a lot of scary or intimidating things in my life, but I don’t know if I’ve ever been more scared than I was that morning. I was physically shaking.
My reason that day was because I was raising money for children’s cancer research (St. Baldricks) and donating my hair to Wigs For Kids, but really that was just an excuse. I had wanted to shave my head for a long time, but I let the strong opinions of others dissuade me from following through with it.
This scary experience ended up paying off, because I liked the new look.
I’ve been living my life with a buzzed/shaved head for six months now. As it turns out, something like this is actually a powerful experience. As it turns out, I’ve learned a lot.
People have opinions. It’s surprising that they think they get to have strong opinions about what I do with my hair. Since when is it ok to walk up to someone and tell them you don’t like their hair?
What is it about a woman shaving her head that brings out such strong emotions?
So, I had wanted to shave my head and had been talking about it for years. I had long hair that was always in my way, I hated the wind, and I just thought it would be a cool experience. Whenever I saw someone else do it, I would always say, “I would totally do that if I could pull it off!” There always seemed to be something stopping me. The biggest and obvious fear was that I’d look awful, but I was also scared about the assumptions that would be made. I was scared what people would think about me as a person, my health, or my sexuality.
6 months into this, I have had people make these assumptions or ask these questions.
I don’t care.
The biggest and most surprising part of shaving my head is how much I love it, and how much more confident I feel. This confidence has helped on those occasions when I was asked weird questions or told someone didn’t like it. I will also say that for the most part, everyone has been really supportive about my new look. So many have told me that they love it, that I pull it off, and “I would totally do that if I could pull it off!”
Guess what. If I can, you can.
Obvious Pro’s about having shaved head.
- I’ve been using the same bottle of shampoo for 6 months.
- I can wake up, shower, and be out the door in under 15 minutes.
- No hair all over my apartment.
- I’ve expanded my earring, hat, and lipstick collection by a lot.
- It’s so much easier to go from dressed down to dressed up.
Unexpected Pro’s about having a shaved head.
- It is assumed that I’m an interesting person.
- People remember me.
I had been gliding through my life pretty much under the radar. I’m really bad at remembering names, but it was fine because nobody ever remembered me. Until now. I’ve had many come up to me on the streets of New York City because we had met somewhere before, or even better, they had seen me somewhere before.
I always enjoyed my life of anonymity, but I have to be honest. It feels great to have someone remember my name.
Before I cut my hair, I read about experiences other women had. (41 Things I Learnt From Shaving My Head) One woman mentioned the experience of going out of town for the first time and meeting people who never knew her with hair. As I’ve gone through this same experience, I noticed the same thing that she did.
New people don’t miss my long hair, or make comments about how great I am pulling it off. To new people, I just look like me.
I didn’t cut my hair to make a feminist statement. I wasn’t fighting the man or asserting my independence as a woman. That was just a byproduct. I feel more feminine now than I did with long hair, and I don’t think I can put in to words why that is.
But I will join my voice with the many women who have gone before me. It is something every woman should do at least once.
With those who have known me for a long time, the question is always, “are you going to keep it?”
Yes. I am. Not forever, but for now.
I’m glad that I did something that was scary, because I found the way that I like me the best. I could change my mind right now if I wanted, and that would be fine wouldn’t it? Because it’s my hair, my head, and I get to do whatever I want with it.