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Your lifestyle, your quirk
I got my hair cut the other day.
I figured I might as well try something new and cute, so I gave my stylist the go-ahead to make it really short.
And she did.
I hate it.
I can’t fault her for trying. I’m sure that it’s a very nice haircut. But it’s too poofy on top (she left in long layers on the top) and too short in the back/bottom, and I am apparently supposed to “play with it” to make it look “fun and flirty” but I’m sorry, do I look like I have time to make it “fun and flirty”? Short hair is supposedly easier to maintain, but that’s only if you have a certain type of short hair – mine actually requires more management when it’s shorter. Apparently, keeping my hair long was the only thing that kept it under control. I can throw it back in a ponytail or a clip when it’s long. When it’s short, it feels free to go wild and I wind up growling at it in front of the mirror.
It looked cute when I left her chair, but I quickly realized I was in no position to duplicate the style every day. Beyond that, the cut is entirely wrong for me, and when I look at it in the mirror I alternately want to cry or burn things.
Hey, it’s no big deal, right? Hair grows back. I’m sure within a couple of weeks I’ll have a half-inch more and it will all look fine.
Except apparently it is a big deal. I had no idea anything hair-related could bother me this much, but it really, truly does. The last few days have showed me a side of myself I don’t usually acknowledge—the vain side. For example, my ears. I don’t usually think about my ears. Except now they’re very exposed and I’ve realized I am not very fond of them being exposed, and now I’m convinced everyone is staring at them.
Vanity, thy name is Suz.
I think of myself as a pretty low-maintenance girl. Yes, I have a fondness for eye shadow and I like to look presentable, but if I can get away with a nice tank top, jeans, and boots, you can bet that’ll be my outfit of choice. If my skin is in one of its rare clear periods, I don’t wear a ton of makeup. Even when my hair was longer I didn’t do much with it. I straightened it or stuffed it into a ponytail and that was it.
Except now I can’t do that, and it’s turning me into a nervous wreck.
I didn’t realize I had this sort of quirk. Maybe “vanity” isn’t the right word; maybe it’s just girliness? Embracing the femininity? Whatever it is, it’s led to me being mortified whenever I look at my poor, cropped hair. I actually stashed away my full-length mirror because whenever I looked in it I couldn’t figure out who was staring back, and why her hair was so…icky.
A couple of years ago, when it became clear that I wasn’t going to have good skin without going back on birth control or some other foul medication (Accutane), I shoved my concerns about my appearance to the back of my head. I told myself that I was okay with how things were that would be the end of it.
The fact that it’s bothering me is really bothering me, though. I really thought I had stamped out most cares about how I looked…or had at least become too practical give a damn. I’m a freelance writer and I have stuff to do, like write columns and manage magazines; I don’t have time for silly things like getting upset over my hair.
But there it is, staring back at me from the mirror. Nope, you’re not okay with this. Nope, you’re not that evolved. You’re just as nervous about how you look as everyone else. SUCKER.
It brings up all kinds of unsettling questions: Do I really care this much about hair? Wait, why shouldn’t I? Looks are important. But are they? Isn’t this just pathetic to get upset over?
And then I get even more upset.
I even went out to the local wig store and looked for clip-in extensions, just something to get me through the next few weeks until the back of my head looks more like my own and less like that of Miranda Hobbes, circa Sex and the City season one. Nothing worked. They had big, fancy extensions that cost more than the haircut itself.
I finally managed to gain five seconds of sanity and realize that expensive extensions were not the answer.
So I went home…and purchased a small, cheap clip-in from Amazon. It’s cheap enough that I won’t be upset if it doesn’t work, but it might be just enough to balance out my hair until it grows back in. My fingers are crossed that my hair – usually fast-growing anyway – will have made at least a partial recovery a month from now.
I’m still a little mystified by my reaction. I suspect that on top of my initial horror over the cut, I’m also letting out pent-up stress over other things; work madness, worrying about the future, the fact that my neck and upper back have been bothering me since I did my little jig in the middle of Orange Circle. It all just happened to come out with that haircut.
Still, it was a weird discovery to make. I don’t know what it means, if anything. Am I supposed to start caring more about my appearance now? Or is this just a nudge, telling me that I’m not truly immune to beauty freakouts? What’s going to happen when I inevitably find a gray hair?
The real question – the one I don’t even want to touch right now – is what it says about my own insecurities. I know I have them; everyone has them. But I don’t know that I want to deal with them right this minute, and in this way.
In the meantime, I’m trying to find ways around it. So far I’ve had the most luck with bobby pins to hold down the floofy top part. And next time I want a change, I’ll just ask for bangs.