Forget the dentist.
There was nothing I dreaded more as a kid than getting a haircut. Everyone has experienced the horror of having a hairdresser spin your chair towards the mirror to reveal that the one-inch trim you asked for turned into four inches of your hair on the floor. As you gaze at your reflection, eyes wide with terror, your mom coos over “how much healthier it looks!”
Then you realize that while you were telling them to cut nothing off, your mom had secretly allied with the maestro of flocculence to ignore your dreams of long, beachy waves and instead chop it off so it’s “easier for summer.” After I experienced this very horror, I spent years growing it back out to a length that I refused to compromise or give up, until one day recently.
Something kept tickling my butt. After realizing it was my hair, I decided it was time to cut it into a long bob. I never thought that my baby face could work a short ‘do, but weeks of pulling my layers forward and looking at photos of Alexa Chung convinced me it was time for a revolution.
I thought I might regress to kindergarten and shit myself. But once seated in the chair, a few things kept me going, and hopefully these bulleted slivers of advice can help you too put the scissor to the sideburn, if you know what I’m saying.
- Tell everyone — Once I told my friends, the barista at my coffee shop, and my grandparents over the phone, I realized that there was no way I could back out. Call it a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I’m no coward. They all expected to see me sans-hair, so sans-hair it would be.
- Do it for the right reasons — In this case, the hair/ass tango was good enough. Remember when Hannah gave herself that awful bowl cut at the end of Girls season 2 in an OCD panic attack? Don’t do that. Do not succumb to post-breakup impulses, peer pressure, or oncoming thoughts of “YOLO.” Do it for you.
- Consider what you know — which is what will look good on you. Not all of us have the bone structure of Natalie Portman that would allow us to shave off our heads and still look chic. Recognize if you have chipmunk cheeks and spend copious amounts of time googling what kind of short hair will look good on you.
- Don’t be afraid to wait — Cutting it is a step. Ask yourself repeatedly if you’re ready until you literally are about to cut if off yourself because you’re so excited. Then ask yourself one more time.
If you were wondering, I really, really like new hair. There are many cultures that shave your head as a sign of maturity or spirituality or new sexuality. For me, it was just amazing to be able to naturally dry my hair in less than an hour.
Would you ever do it?
-Amina Khan, edited by Leandra Medine
Image shot by Patrick Demarchellier, via Vogue