Since I chopped all off my long curls in February, a week before I turned 37, so many of my female friends have asked, WHY?
So, why did you cut your hair? What made you cut your hair? Is something going on? they asked.
Even my own sister asked if I was going through a mid-life crisis.
When a woman cuts her hair super short, there must be a reason, so it seems. It’s a defining moment. One that people asked me about more than I imagined.
Why did I cut my hair short?
Because I basically wore my hair the same way since I was 16: pulled back, off my face, in a bun or pony tail.
Because I wanted a change.
Because, turning 37, I finally felt like an adult.
Because my crazy curls were so difficult to manage that I never wore my hair down.
Because straightening my hair took an hour.
Because I don’t have an hour. Don’t have a minute.
Because I have two sons, both who pulled/twirled my hair for comfort.
Because I spent too much money on gel.
Because I love a slick-back wet look, as if I’m just getting out of a swimming pool.
Because I thought — since I wore my hair back — it wouldn’t be that big of a change.
Because I’ve always had a hate-hate relationship with my hair.
Because when I was little, boys called me the “atom bomb” because my badly-cut fro poofed out like an atomic bomb, apparently.
Because my curls were not soft; they were coarse.
Because men tell women they should never cut their hair.
Because women tell women they should never cut their hair.
Because I felt like it.
The truth is I miss ponytails. I miss headbands. And now my gray hairs stick out more. The truth is I’m typing these words as my hair dye sets.
Some days I look in the mirror and wonder why I did it because I know it will be a painful process to grow it back. Instead of spending money on gel, I’m spending money on haircuts: I now get it cut every month.
Other days I look in the mirror and love my new look. A male co-worker once told me, “Don’t ever wear your hair another way.” Surprisingly (or not), it’s men who like the cut — and compliment it — more than women. And men never ask, why.
Female friends want to know my husband’s reaction. When I came home from the salon that day, he was surprised. He said, “Wow, I didn’t know you were going to cut your hair.” I replied, “I didn’t know either.”
Because it felt like the time was right in the moment.
Because I knew I wouldn’t hear, “Why the fuck did you do that?” when I got home.
Because my husband loves me and I trusted that.
I might grow my hair out, but I know it won’t be easy with my natural frizzy hair. I’ll probably wait until fall or winter when it’s less humid. I wish I could wear my hair short but not-super short.
I wish women, like me, didn’t care about our hair, our bodies, our skin, so much. I wish we all could stop the judging — especially the judging of ourselves.