A Day of Firsts

Yesterday was a day of Firsts, the First Time that I’ve cropped my hair – it is now the shortest it’s ever been, by a good few inches. It was a pre-emptive, two stage strike (to put it in vaguely army lingo – at least from the explosion films I’ve been watching).


I’m going to try cold-capping (I have mentioned my vain streak, right?) which I believe will be easier with short hair. Silk pillowcases help too apparently and work with the Princess Vibe I’m going for….

Imagine the trauma, as well as the mess, if cold-capping doesn’t work or I bottle it (it’s deeply unpleasant apparently – a real test of vanity) and I started losing very long hair. I am not the best at brushing my hair anyway, A. is constantly teasing me, my moulting clogs up the vacuum – magnify that to the power of 100! I’m fond of our vacuum.

When this whole thing started, I’d been growing my hair, it had just reached chest length – ironically enough. It was the longest it’s been for at least 10 years. I thought it would take me and others (my Dad mostly) time to get used to shorter hair again. So I’ve cut it in two stages, with an option to buzz-cut later on…..

Incidentally, the above photos are to serve as a public service announcement – I managed to scare the crap out of my Brother in a crowded cafe (where he wasn’t expecting to see me), having neglected to mention I’d had the first cut…. I shall never forget the abject terror on his face, as he tried to place the person hurtling, too fast, towards him.

That first cut was a sort of cropped bob thing, that description does nothing for the actual miracles my haircutter D worked, sorry D. This, turned out to be the emotionally trickier cut. The cruuu-ack, cruuu-ack sound of scissors cutting off my ponytail – not a sound I’d care to hear again.

The second cut, I feared the worst but I actually handled it better. Having had a month to get used to shorter hair and bringing Miss Z along for company helped. Last time I’d sent A. off, as I thought if we made it a big deal, it would be worse. If you’re doing this yourself, take someone, it’s a distraction if nothing else – providing their poker face is up to it.

D.  turned the chair around to face Miss Z, so I was only dimly aware of what was going on. Does anyone else have that thing, when sitting at the hair-dressers, staring at your own face – it just becomes a jumble of features and you can pick out each and every flaw? After 34 years of this, I’m pretty convinced that my eyes are wonky and I have more pores than anyone else, ever.

I feel very grateful that I have D. as well, he’s been cutting my hair for 4 years now, so I trust him.

Yesterday, was also the First Time I noticed how much long, flippy hair is out there – cropped haired females are out gunned by a good 25:1. This could be because I was walking home through prime University real-estate, the Bristol Uni girls always seem to have the fashionable crows nest thing going on, they’re mostly blonde too or ombre (surely this has died a death now, you are not a t-shirt from the 70’s).

My First walk home with cropped hair, was a bit of an eye opener, there I was feeling completely exposed but sort of brave and it turns out I’m invisible. As a long flippy hair person, I found, people generally make room on the Zebra Crossing or the pavement at least, and cars slow down when you cross the road. The world seemed to be drinking the kool-aid of the long flippy hair. D. told me that, it was very rare for people to cut their hair from very long to very short. It’s just not done.

When I was 14, I longed to cut my hair off, just like Winona Ryder but I knew I’d be ostracised for doing so (Mean Girls). That feeling has stayed with me for 20 years. If I hadn’t been pushed, I doubt I’d ever done it.

As a female. there’s a confidence, a self belief you need to cut off your hair. It takes balls and a strong knowledge of who you are. I don’t have that at the moment, who I am changes hourly. So yesterday, armed only in the knowledge of who I was - long, floppy hair person – and who I thought you had to be to rock short hair. I turned myself invisible.

I don’t mind being invisible, especially not at the moment. If I do lose my hair completely, from what I remember from being around mum, invisible is preferable to the stares and the pity.

I hope my sense of self rises from the ashes. I hope I can do the crop proud.

Oh, also, yesterday was the First Time I’d ever come across a rotten egg – argghhhh – I could of gone another 34 years without that. It was the First Time I’d ever discovered yesterday’s pants in my trouser leg too – while out in town no less. I guess I was more nervous than I thought.

I’m actually grateful for these Firsts, it meant yesterday wasn’t all about hair.


Top Five things I’ve discovered, so far, about short hair

Swimming feels amazing.

First time ever my hair looks better now I’ve slept on it.

You can save 10 minutes of drying time (imagine what I can do with that*)

I can now get rid of all hair bands. A. is most pleased about this, my hairbands used to multiply colourfully, all over the flat.

I can spend all the shampoo money on lipstick

* list to come