A photojournalistic essay, with blurry selfies.
Stage 1. Chickening out
You don’t like your hair.
Every time you go to the bathroom mirror, tilt your head to one side and flatten it down with your hands. “I’m gonna do it,” you tell your friends.
“So do it,” they say.
“I would look good, right?”
“Sure,” they say.
“I mean I’ve done it before and I looked good that time, too,” you say.
“We remember that,” they say.
“Oh, but it took so long to grow it out,” you say. “I don’t know if I should.”
“So don’t,” they say.
You dye it instead, hoping to satisfy the itch.
It doesn’t work.
Stage 2. Getting pissed
Your aunt ambushes you and your girlfriend at a family gathering and says, “It’s so nice that you’re such good friends!” even though she knows perfectly well that you sleep in the same bed.
You ask your hair stylist to give you something low maintenance and she proudly unveils something that “just” has to be towelled, spritzed, scrunched, spritzed again, blow dried, and styled, “and then you’re out the door!”
The creepy guy who hangs out in front of the deli says he likes your hair, and when you turn your head to say thank you, it turns out he just wanted to make sure you were paying attention before he shared his true feelings about your ass.
Stage 3. Taking action
It’s like jumping into cold water. You can’t think. You have to throw yourself in. You might have to trick yourself, though.
Okay. Okay. I just want to see if the clippers are still in the box. Yep, still here! Let’s check if they’re working. Good, good, still working, excellent. Okay. But I could cut to like a 3, though, or a 4, that’s fine, a 4 is good, or no wait, maybe I’ll shave it all at 2, which is good, right? A 2 isn’t totally ba–
BZZZZZZT! Right up top, right down the down the middle. No turning back. Now you have to shave the whole thing.
Stage 4. FEELING THE FREEDOM
You grin at yourself in the mirror, running your hands along the soothing contours of your own head, remembering, “this is me.”
It’s so soft! It’s so scratchy! It’s cold like you just put your head under the faucet! You can’t stop touching it!
Stage 5. Regretting everything
A 2 is totally bald.
No, it’s good. You’re fine. It’s okay that you did that.
You look fine and you’re gonna take a whole bunch of selfies to prove it.
Also… it’s still hat season.
Stage 6. Confronting reality
Your aunt says, “Well, you still look very feminine to me. Like Natalie Portman! Doesn’t she look just like Natalie Portman?” (You do not look like Natalie Portman.)
The creepy dude who hangs out in front of the deli says, “I still love you, baby!”
Stage 7. Not giving a fuck
Not giving a fuck is the core aesthetic of the shaved head. This is the most important stage, the pinnacle of the experience, the essence of lesbian enlightenment.
You were never the girl who didn’t know she liked boys yet. You were never the girl who could’ve been pretty if she would only try harder. You were never the stuck-up bitch who couldn’t even take a compliment.
You were always just you.
Now you’re you without your hair.
And they can all just fucking deal with it.