As long as I can remember, I have a had a weird relationship with hair. Growing up my hair was always kept short, in a sort of pageboy style. Thick hair, like my dad. Unruly, like my mam. I high school, when most of my friends had long flowing locks, I went shorter. In grade ten I decided to grow it out until it would be french braided. A friend french braided my hair on a bright sunny day the summer between grade twelve and grade thirteen. And because I was, well, still am, quite fair, I sunburned on my neck, back and scalp. Ugh.
The fact of the matter is, I'm lazy when it comes to my hair. I want something that is wash and go. And yet I have cowlicks that make that quite trying.
AND SO, I started wearing a pixie cut after my undergrad. And it was a fairly consistent style, sometimes a micro-pixie, but always short. For many reasons I don't like anyone playing with my hair or running their hands through it. I have joked for years that when my hair is long enough to comb, it's time to get a haircut.
A few years ago I started reading about women who shaved their heads. Some did it because of a medical condition. Some did it as a middle finger salute to the beauty industries standards of beauty. Some did it to feel empowered and others did it just because. A seed was planted and began to germinate.
During COVID I couldn't get to my hairdresser for many, many months. My hair grew to a length when I could use a curling iron. I could use clips and hair bands to keep it out of my face. And it added HOURS to my day when I wanted to look less like a yeti and more like a person when I went out. Ugh.
When the salons re-opened I talked to my stylist about shaving my head. Not right to the scalp but as tight as possible while still seeing hair. She told me it would be possible, and I would need a "good" set of clippers and to remember that hair does not grow in only one direction. She also said it would take practice. The last time I had a professional hair cut was before Christmas when I had a pixie cut and dyed bright pink.
It was great fun, and as it grew out the itch to shave my head became stronger. I bought cordless clippers and trimmed it back with the highest guard. It looked pretty good from the front. The back...well, I asked a neighbour to come and help me. My stylist was right. Practice was needed.
And so every couple of weeks I would move the bathroom mats, pull the broom and dustpan into the bathroom, close the door and choose a guard. I like starting in the middle then working my was to the sides and finally the back. After a couple of months I felt I was getting the hang of it and feeling more comfortable as my hair got shorter.
Heading into Lent I knew the time was coming soon when I would use no guard at all. And Cedar Sunday (Palm Sunday) I woke up early and put the shortest guard on the razor. It started fine, until I got to the back. It was looking like the rows you get when mowing a lawn. Unacceptable. I kept moving the razor around back and forth, side to side to even out the back. I stood the razor on it's edge to get closer and it worked really well. But then I had to even up the sides and front. When I was done I was ecstatic. My hair was very very short and felt like the sticky end of velcro. Off to Church I went.
Reactions were mixed. I loved it. And when I was on camera (we use Zoom to broadcast our services online) I noticed that my scalp looked very pale. My hair is very thick and I wear hats most all of the time. I haven't trimmed my head in a couple of weeks and my thick hair is lovely and soft and it's getting "long". It will be trimmed again soon, likely not as short as Cedar Sunday...or maybe it will.
I like shaving my head. I feel powerful when I do it. I have a nicely shaped head if I do say so myself. Public reaction has been mostly positive. And at the end of the day I really don't care what anyone else has to say. It's my head, I'll do with it as I please.
Shaving one's head is messy. I'm now at the point that I can do more by feel so I don't have to stand as close to the mirror, which means the mess is more concentrated. Which means it's a bit quicker to clean up. It saves SO much time getting ready. My hair is dry as I towel it off.
I don't know that I will want to grow it out again. I may. But likely not.
I love the freedom it gives me. I love the strength it gives me. A kind of reverse Samson. His strength came from his long hair. Mine comes from my shorn head. Go figure.