Should I have named this post, “Buzzcut Season”? Is that a missed opportunity?
“Maybe a 2 all around?” I suggest. “I don’t want it to be see-through, you know? Like, I don’t wanna see my skull.”
She looks at me dubiously. “You know it’s gonna be short?” But she’s Hispanic, so her accent swallows up the t in “it’s” and makes “You know” into a purring Juno.
“Yes, yes, I know.”
She apparently sees the quavering resolve in my eyes and says, “Okay, I’ll do a 3, and we can go down from there.” She clicks the razor clip into the hard, molded black plastic of the buzzer and slicks up my sideburn.
At first, when it’s still an undercut and I have a thick sheath of hair of top, I am calm. Then, with one swipe, she cuts across my bangs and reveals the scraggly hairline underneath. Now, I’m not quite certain what happened next, because I blacked out for roughly five minutes.
The hairdresser, after buzzing away roughly 90% of my hair and doing the whole “Let’s pretend that we can make your sideburns symmetrical” bit, flashes a mirror showing me the back of my head. Like any well-meaning hairdresser, she wants to show me what is happening on the back of that shizz. And like always, I don’t know what the fuck to say. It’s not as if I can take a look at the back, ponder for a moment, and respond with, “Actually, I’m not happy. Could you put the hair back on?”
So I nod and smile and say something generic like, “Looks great!” or “Awesome!” when on the inside there is a 12-person heavy metal orchestra of just screaming as I pick my way across the auburn shag carpet that used to be on my head.
I keep looking at myself in the reflections of shop windows, car windows, and my rearview mirror, and alternate between squealing with joy, wiggling my eyebrows, and trying to control the icy grip of panic.
My haircut is almost universally hated by my family and friends, but weirdly it makes me like it more? My sisters said, and I quote, it makes me look “like a dickhead.” Like, a literal penis-head. My mother literally grimaced—like actually couldn’t control her facial muscles moving into a half-snarl—and then later denied that. But I try not to let that bother me. Like, nothing means that I’m doing something right more than when everyone thinks it’s wrong. I’m positive that there is some psychiatric reason why I’m programmed to be the black sheep, but I only have a certain amount of minutes in therapy.
And frankly, being a dick-head isn’t that different than me saying that I look like a thumb, so I guess I haven’t really gone up or down in the hotness scale. Maybe a lateral move, if anything.
Someone asked me if it was an impulse decision, and it was and it wasn’t. At the end of sophomore year, I was kinda drained—emotionally. It had been such a year of change, and as I was walking out of my last therapy session of the school year, one hand on the doorknob, I turned back and said, “I think I want to shave my head.”
My hair is very much a part of my aesthetic, and what I think is part of my charm. It’s thick and shiny and auburn, and can realistically attain—as I have written before—a pretty excellent swoosh when needed. It was part of my look, and, also, a complete security blanket.
The idea of shaving my head hadn’t even occurred to me before, and it was kind of a whim, but once I had the idea in my head, it never left. So it was an impulse, but I’m lazy and vain, so I didn’t do anything about it. First because I was like, “oh, it’s the summer, I wanna look cute,” and then I went to London and I was like, “oh, it’s London, I wanna look cute and not regret that haircut in photos,” and then it was the holidays and so on. So after New Year’s, I was working out—I’m so swole—and pushing back my sweaty bangs for the millionth time, I just decided to fuck it and make the snip.
I keep having flashes of realization where I look in the mirror, don’t see my old hair, and realize that I’m stuck with this until it grows out. And unlike when I bleached the absolute living daylights out of my hair, I can’t throw some CVS brown dye over it and make it look okay. But that’s kind of what I love about it. It’s so unapologetic.
My hair was completely a security blanket, and I shaved it off—besides the reckless impulse—was to shock myself out of needing it. I completely feel underdressed without the thick swoop of bangs, but I want to push myself out of the comfort zone. I’m completely ruthless sometimes when it comes to my own comfort. I went to London when I have issues with new places. And now I’ve shaved my head to stop being so vain. I swear to god, I have self-destructive tendencies.
It sounds silly—“I want people to see the real me”—but I want to see if I can exist without this security blanket. I want to see if I can enjoy myself and love myself with this stripped down, spare aesthetic I’m living.
When I look in the mirror at 2 am, which I did because I was suddenly convinced that it was actually a much worse haircut that I had originally thought, I really like it. My head is—slightly lopsided, I’ll admit—but much more smooth than I thought it would be. And the short hairs are soft and feel like the back of a deer. It doesn’t feel quite like me, but there’s something almost enticing in the alienation. This is so outside of what I ever do. I usually build fades upon fades upon fades, and I’ve just demolished everything with one buzzing razor.
But, like every amazing celebrity, I have to have a short-hair moment. John Krasinski, Andrew Garfield, Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 50/50, Miley Cyrus, Rose McGowan, Halsey, and obviously the queen of the shaved head—Britney Spears. All of your favorites—me especially—have to have a shaved head moment, and you can’t deny that from us. This is my Britney time.
I still have moments of “Oh my god, you stupid dum-dum” and wonder if this was the biggest fucking travesty since I thought baby-blue workout pants were my aesthetic, but right now I’m feeling my GI Joe fantasy. I feel like it would look so good with like a denim shirt and my glasses. Maybe that’s less GI Joe and more GI Hoe. It’s very “masc 4 masc.” Like, I finally look butch enough to write that on a Grindr profile!
Anyway, I’m back with the non-holiday posts! I feel like I’m back, on track, and in style!