About My Lack of Hair

The full moon is coming and it’s almost that time again. I’m getting a little twitchy.

I have to admit it: I’m addicted to haircuts.

Like many women, I have always have been overly interested in my own hair, and through the years I’ve had long hair, short hair, curly hair, straight hair, Bettie Page bangs, spike-y layers… almost anything you can think of. I’ve also been many shades of brown and red, both single-step and highlighted. I’ve briefly veered toward blonde. I don’t want to think about the total lifetime cost of my hair. I’m sure it would look like the gross national product of an emerging nation.

Anyone who has met me in the past 5 years would find this funny, I think. Because for a long time now, my hair has been its natural salt-and-pepper (like me, getting saltier by the day), and cut very close to my head.

While my head isn’t exactly shaved, on any given day, my hair is still shorter than any of the guys who went out for basketball at my high school.

And I love the feeling of it freshly cut. I love the velvety feeling of the back and sides.

I don’t have to tell you, hair has strong gender association in our society.

Ask any kid under six years old and they’ll tell you “girls have long hair and boys have short.” Or as my son once said, swooning over a girl in his elementary school class: “She has long hair – like a princess, Mom.”

I originally cut mine short out of practicality. It stays out of the way during my yoga practice, looks the same in any weather, requires no “product” to hold its style, and takes no time at all

But, I also like the fact it’s a little extreme and messes with perception of my gender identity.

In fact, the lesbian community may hold to hair stereotypes more strongly than six-year-olds. Butch women are supposed to have short hair, and femmes are supposed to nuture and primp their long locks, right?

I’ve dated a few butch women who were freaked out by my hair, assuming they were somehow less butch in my presence. Some felt challenged and cut their hair shorter than mine. At least one really liked it, but I could almost see the wheels turning as she wondered “OMG. Does this make me gay?”

(I’m only joking and I’m sure you’re just as butch as you were before you ran your hands over my hair, I promise.)

I’m one of those women who never looks like a guy, even devoid of hair, mascara, and my favorite lip gloss. And ironically, I feel the most feminine with my hair shorn.

In fact, when I look back at old photos of myself with long, tended ‘dos, I feel like I’m looking at myself in drag. And I’ve never liked obvious hair products on anyone. Nothing looks less sensual and less appealing than artfully mussed hair that is gelled, sticky, and so stiff it looks like you would risking scratching your cornea in an embrace.

Over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that many, if not most, women look better without their hair.

I wouldn’t say I’ve developed this into a fetish, but I definitely sit up and take notice when there’s another woman around with buzzed hair. And I thrill to the tips of my toes (and other places) when an actress shaves her head on screen.

Recent years have provided a flood of actresses without their hair, and most look better than they did with it.

Really. Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta, anyone?

I even think Britney looked better when she was briefly bald.

While I appreciate the tough circumstances that made Melissa Etheridge lose her hair, I think she looked stronger and more vibrant without her hair than she looks with it. Her hair is usually sort of wishy-washy and without much style. Cut it all off, Melissa!

Here’s a little gallery of women I think look incredibly hot without their hair. If only they were all lesbians… sigh.

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4 responses to “About My Lack of Hair

  1. I loved that scene when Demi Moore shaved her head. Loved it. I’ve never shaved my head but I do have very short hair and I love it.

  2. Natalie Portman wins it for me. OMG.

    I shaved my head Oct 2008, down from long loosely curly hair. It was a HUGE thing for me, very scary and very interesting and ultimately pretty liberating. Men treated me differently – for a while, I felt invisible to many of them, which was kind of great. Women as well, obviously.

    For the first while, I found myself stepping up the makeup and the earrings (neither of which had been normal for me before) as though to reassure myself that I was still adequately feminine. I was fascinated to see myself doing that! Ultimately, learning that I could feel hot AND feminine without hair was awesome.

  3. I was about 17 years old when I first saw (and heard) Sinead O’Connor. let me say this: I was a goner and I didn’t even know why. Her raw emotions spoke right into my heart and I wished I had the guts to cut off my hair. But I didn’t.

    Not long after that I had a dream which I remember clearly till this day: I was in my parents house. There was a party going on. I was in the bathroom with my mother and she was telling me, mockingly, about a girl who was as free as a bird. All of a sudden that girl came into the bathroom. She had a crew cut and a gun. She took one look at me and without a word shot me in the head.

    You don’t need to be Freud to figure that one out, and to make a very long story short, later on I “killed” the old me and broke free . The short hair cut soon followed.

    Nowadays, my hair goes from being buzz cut short to a little bit longer (though still very short in “feminine” standards). I have yet to shave it all off. A girl needs a goal.

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