Monday, November 23, 2009

"Oh my GOD! You chopped off ALL your hair!"

On Saturday I got my hair cut – I mean, big time cut. I now have a pixie cut – it’s as short as my husband’s – and I’ve gotten a lot of strange, albeit well-meaning, comments. Comments like, “If you were ugly it would it wouldn’t look good, but you’re pretty so it works.” Thanks? Or, “You have a lot of guts! But it looks good” (emphasis on the “but”). Someone said, “It’s so cute; it works because you have a feminine face!” Well, thank you; I’d be a bit worried if my face wasn’t feminine, so I appreciate that. Other comments were very flattering, “You look so sophisticated!” or “You look like Audrey Hepburn!” (I wish, but thank you).

The back-handed compliments made me think about the relationship women have with their hair. Why is long hair deemed sexy, whereas short hair is always “cute”? And why did I get asked – no less than half a dozen times – what my husband, Matt, thought about it? Frankly, honey, I don’t care what he thinks (fine, maybe a smidgen of care, if we’re going to be 100% honest here). And anyway, like a good husband, he’s been trained to say I always look beautiful, so I’m guessing he’s fearful of ever saying anything lukewarm. (On the record, he said he loves it, said I’ve never looked better and seemed very genuine.)

Even I fell into the, “Well, it’s perky and cute but not exactly pretty” trap. Matt said I was being ridiculous, and I hated myself for making that comment, but said it anyway. Now, it’s not like I had lush, long hair before the big cut: I had slightly-below-shoulder-length hair that was baby fine and always (always) pulled back. I put it up in a clip, puffed it at the top (not to the height of the Palin poof, mind you), and thought it looked good pulled back. So, having a cut so short that it’s essentially pulled back isn’t that far out of line. But, yesterday, at the grocery store, I made it a point to seek out short-cropped women. There were three, and two of them were above the age of 60.

I was wearing sweats and sneakers and, again, felt…boyish. Again, I blamed society and not my own insecurities. I went home and looked in the mirror – it’s a big change – but I know a lot of women who use their hair as a security blanket and decided I wouldn’t be one of them (let’s forget I never had fabulous hair). Now, I’m not without hypocrisy: I wear make-up almost daily, and that’s just as much a security blanket. But hair is just silliness. It grows back, and should be fun. Why the, “Oh my god, you chopped off all your hair!” comments?

So, today, I’m rocking it. I have a black headband on and a berry lipstick. My hair took three minutes flat to blow-dry and style. And next week? Maybe next week this 5’10” girl will wear heels…but let’s not push it.


  1. You go girl! This 5'11", not super skinny, girl with short hair will wear heels, makeup, and rock the short style with you! We should plan a night out or something! And we definitely have to show some leg! (My inlaws aren't reading this, are they? ;-)

  2. Post a picture, please!

  3. Lauren, I'm still laughing!

    Let's band together in solidarity. I've seen my share of thin, volumous-haired girls; enough! And absolutely on the leg; oh, that goes without's a tall girl's best asset!!

  4. To Anonymous:

    You don't need a photo: think of a tall, elegent, regal lady: there you have it!

    (Okay, fine...maybe a photo in the coming days...we'll see. I'm thinking "sexy face" from the Illini Bar post. That's always a winner.)

  5. We do still need to get together! Are you guys horrendously busy between now and the end of the year? And do we want to do with kids or a night out on the town ;-)?

  6. Yes, lets! I'm going to go out on a limb here - and out of my comfort zone - and say with your kids, only because I'd like to be a mom within the next decade and I have to get used to them.

    In fact, just two weeks ago I held my first newborn. Awkward situation for all involved (and unfortunately another friend insisted on capturing the moment with her camera!), but I'm making big strides!!

    We are certainly not busy (can't you tell by the blog?! haha); you guys should come down sometime! I will email. So, kids or no kids, I'm cool either way. (And it goes without saying, so is Matt.)

  7. I want to do maybe an inverted stacked bob with mine with some fringe bangs to offset the puffiness thanks to the pred. Plus, its growing in more now so the top is thicker. I have weird hair.

    Anyway, I think you can totally rock it. Try some cute barettes or clip in things (whatever they're called). I have no clue why society is all whatever about short hair/long hair on women. I personally don't want a guy with long hair. It screams immature and shaggy to me. I know a lot of magazines say its supposed to represent your fertility. Screw that. People are just used to their sterotypes. Whatever. Rock the hair. If you have enough confidence, you can rock whatever.

  8. Hey Kathryn!!
    I want to see the new hair cut!!! Post a pic!!
    Glad to see Charlie made the blog...well the comment section at least!!!
    Miss ya
    Leigh Ann

  9. Lindsey,
    My husband is very hairy, so maybe there is an upside to that.

    Leigh Ann,
    I am going to get all the baby/kid interaction I can get! Soon, when you think of Kathryn, you're going to think "kid-friendly"....well, that's the thought process, at least.

  10. Oh wow, what a close-to-home topic. I had long hair all the way until after university, and my hair is naturally very dry and stringy, and wavy. So trying to get it to look good long requires constant brushing throughout the day, and a de-tangling regimen every morning.

    In my mid twenties I cut my hair to my chin, layered it, and went with the 'curly/windblown' look. And I LOVED it. No more detangling. No more going to bed with wet hair. I looked better and my confidence was up.

    But lately, my boyfriend has been complaining and nudging me to let it grow out. Even threatening not to keep his beard shaved if I cut it short. *sigh* So it is now about 2-3 inches longer than I like and is starting to look stringy and frumpy again. Obviously this isn't going to work, but I don't know what a good compromise would be. Ack!

  11. Oh my, there is only one ancedote to this, and it involves a bit of 12-year-old petulence: if he asks for you to grow your hair, you shoot right back and ask for him to, oh, I dunno, shave his back! Or work on his stomach pudge! Or something similar (these are just no way am I suggesting he's hairy and overweight, haha). Or another juvenile way to go is the withholding method (cooking, cleaning, watching sports with him, anything you do...the women of Liberia withheld sex to end a bitter and deadly civil war!).

    Employ both methods for optimal results.