Cut to Confidence
Short Hair vs. Long Hair: Part III
At the risk of sounding like a flocculent broken record player, I am re-opening the topic of hair. My hair. Your hair. Our hair. The deduction this time will be different, I pinky swear.
I first cut my locks in early December. What transpired was the result of a rather defeated glance at my boring reflection so one Saturday morning, just after a shower, I thought changing my hair could assuage the boredom. I went to the bathroom with scissors that I had been warned should be used exclusively to cut paper and ambitious packaging. I pulled all my hair to the front of my shoulder blades and in two succinct snips, chopped approximately two inches from the length, directly into my toilet.
It felt awesome.
Three hours later, high (from the previous cut, not drugs–drugs are for idiots) and dry (shower pun), I wanted to feel awesome again. I went back to the bathroom with my scissors and in the same two gestures, cut another inch and a half. For a moment, I was almost sure I had finally reached my destination: French hair was mine. As such, I began trying on my most patriotic clothes (see: overalls, lace turtlenecks,) before I finally surrendered to one more inch.
By the end of the three part haircut, my previously shoulder length hair clocked in at a pretty novel neck length. It was a cut I promised I would never bequeath myself again after one stint in 1993 in which I took to Super Cuts based on far too extensive a cue from Jessica Alba ca. The Secret World of Alex Mack. This time around though, I sprayed a mess of product in my hair and found myself quite pleased with the outcome. I wasn’t expecting too detailed a response to the cut but what I learned was rather surprising.
Over dinner with a friend about two weeks later (she had cut her hair to look rather similar to Leonardo DiCaprio’s ca. Titanic before my predilection for DIY-ing had sprouted), I explained how liberating the shorter hair made me feel. I knew it wasn’t sexy–American Culture had historically taught that babes have long hair–but I felt very attractive. I wasn’t sure why and assumed it had to do with abandoning my comfort zone and pleasantly finding that I’d landed in a considerably more thrilling arena that when push came to shove, still rendered rather comfortable.
My friend responded with an interesting observation, noting that since she had cut her hair, she’d been garnering more male attention than in all the time her hair was long. I stopped to think for a second and realized that I’d experienced a similar response since my own chop, (in spite of my wedding band, and ironically with the exception of my own husband). I could have bet that this was likely the result of my now perennially shutdown man-scout-radar. That’s always the trick, isn’t it? Looking like you’re not looking.
But my friend corrected that supposition. “It’s a fuck-you-I-don’t-care thing that I think men find really sexy,” she reported, which brings me back to the Man Repeller ethos.
Everything is always about confidence, isn’t it? If you feel good, you will look good, and if you look good, because you feel good, you will rule the fucking world. There really is something to stepping away from your comfort zone and recognizing that wherever you settle feels somehow…better than where you’d previously kicked up your feet. Now, in one final effort to galvanize your leap of faith, come on, do something crazy! And please, share the journey.
Photography by Naomi Shon. I’m wearing a Margiela x H&M bodysuit (with nothing on my lower half, really,) until the final shots where you will notice that the outfit behind the hair is wholly inspired by another outfit, not my own, shot on Bowery by Tommy Ton over last Fashion Week. My jeans are Citizens of Humanity (I cut the knee myself), hers must be something awesome, like UK vintage. And though I really like my Givenchy tri-tone calf length booties, I wholly regret having not purchased those light blue patent leather Jil Sander pumps. One comparison remains and it’s in the hair.