I’m incapable of feeling satisfied with my hair. If it’s long, then I fret over how it looks and I can’t wait to cut it short, and if it’s short, I know that everything would be perfect and I’d magically wake up a superior person if only it would grow twelve inches overnight. As a result, I spend most of my time in a purgatory of awkward middle-growth; occasionally – so briefly! – reaching the desired length only to hack it all off again, like I’m harvesting a ripe crop.

No doubt this says many profound things about my wobbly identity, and my lack of healthy emotional outlets, but nevermind. Most of us use our hair as an open theatre for our state of being, with or without Caesar’s murder on loop, so I know that many of you will sympathise. It’s never ‘just’ hair.

Anyway, here’s an illustrated example of my average twelve month cycle. At the start, my hair is almost long, but then all of a sudden I can’t stand it: it’s too feminine, or too conventional, or whatever. I shave it down to the quick, and for a week or so it feels fantastic. I’m the coolest person ever. I can fight aliens. All the dopamine on planet earth is coursing through my system, until it wears off and I realise that I’m not cool at all, I’m an animate, life size monchichi doll. Then begins the long wait. Four or five months pass, by which time I’m avoiding public places and daylight in general, and then I drag the mess to my hair stylist – tolerant woman – who fixes it. I briefly resemble a medieval French squire (be still my heart, even if I’m not quite sharp enough to pull off the look), then I’m back into the awkward middle lengths, until at last I loop around and start again.



Filed under Hchom

23 responses to “Hair

  1. shaggykorean

    Your hair reminds me of the beach… How wood can wash up from a ship of the line all mast headed and fierce or handled like gandalfs staff forbidding balrogs to pass.

    • Marian

      I like all these comparisons. Also, Gandalf has been my fashion icon since I was twelve years old, so that’s appropriate.

  2. “It’s never ‘just’ hair”- that is the truest statement. Hair is tied to gender expression and identity expression and effects feelings of confidence SO MUCH! I think about the length of my hair more than any other part of my appearance. This is essentially the loop I go through as well, but I am unwilling to get my hair cut in a salon. It’s ridiculously stressful and I generally hate the result, so I now just get my sister to cut it. She’s actually quite good at this, but lives 8 hours away from me and I only see her on holidays. So my loop goes: hair cut around Christmas; I am happy for about a month. Hair starts to get medium-length; I struggle through for three more months. Hair starts to get too long; I hate everything; I consider cutting it myself; reconsider; decide to hold out until I see my sister over the summer. FINALLY I see my sister when my hair is the WORST; she cuts it; all is right in the world (for a little while).

    • Marian

      Yeah, it took me a long time to get past my fear of the salon experience – it helps (a lot) that the person I see is a one-woman business.

  3. I have the same cycle over a much longer period. Last time I grew it out almost to my knees and then hacked it off to chin level and then buzz cut. I am now in the neck length, over the eyes mess stage. I love the instant mainstream signifier of masculinity that the buzz cut brings with it, but all the masculine type people I aspire to resemble have longish hair – Iggy Pop for example :) and all the feminine folks I admire have short hair – e.g. Tilda Swinton. So I end up feeling more feminine and miserable with the buzz cut contrary to outward appearances. Ah me the vacillations of my non-binary mind !!

  4. MK

    Break out of the time loop with an undercut?

    • Marian

      I’ll definitely consider it as a stopgap, next time I’m there! I know I’d never manage to keep the shaved bits neat, though.

  5. Ugh, hair. I look at my friends and think they look pretty good. I have to assume they do the same with me, but it sure doesn’t feel like it to me. My initial impression is that it’s a rare person who can carry off a medieval French squire’s haircut without it just looking like a dumpy bowl cut. I wish I could carry it off, but honestly, I’d be afraid to try. I used to get my hair cut nice and short like you describe – so freeing, just shower and let it air dry, you don’t even really have to brush it, just run your hands through once and there you go – but then my wife admitted she didn’t like how it made me look. So now, after a period when I just let it grow out past my shoulders, making me look like Meat Loaf with darker hair but void of any cool Meat Loaf may or may not possess (is he popular? I wouldn’t know), I try to keep it long on top but short everywhere else. It’s a difficult balance that occasionally works but seems so often just to make me annoyed. By the time I begin to like how it looks, it almost immediately becomes too poofy on the sides and it hangs just low enough in front to get in my eye and require me to constantly brush it out of my face, which makes me worry people think I’m trying to have an affectation. So I’ve also been experimenting with pomade to keep it in place, which also allows me to frequently exclaim “I don’t want no Fop, I’m a Dapper Dan man!” And sometimes that works, visually, but it’s kind of gross if I want to run my fingers through my hair (or, better yet, get my wife to). Someday I fully expect that I will discover the haircut that makes me look stylish and cool and takes off about 80 pounds, and on that day I’ll shellac my head so it’ll be permanent.

    • Marian

      Oh yeah, one time I got my hair cut at a men’s barber, and the pomade they put in it held for four days, it was so powerful. There were no individual strands of hair to run fingers through.

      I’m self conscious about constantly brushing hair out of my face, too, and all the weird little head and hand movements I’m constantly making. But I remind myself that nobody is paying half as much attention as I am. I think you’re right, about our friends regarding us with the same neutral approval with which we regard them, and not giving it any thought beyond that. Easy to say, of course.

  6. It’s auspicious that I should stumble upon this just as I’m planning to shave my head (for the first time) the day before the next full moon.

    Thanks for this! You’re right. We relate.

    • Marian

      It feels so awesome! I hope you enjoy the experience. Also, always fun to discover the shape of your head.

  7. as i am off to a haircut, my hands stained with ink… i find your blog!!! what a treat! and yeh, well…. do i cut all my hairs on my head? my hair grows out of it like a series of small whirlpools….i rather think squirrels would be a fast improvement! thank you for the bright spot!

  8. I had a visceral response to this post. I had the same problem, and then I shaved my head just before the new year. I have not been fretting about it at all since then, which is an intense relief.
    Not to say you should shave your head or anything. But, oh boy did it work for me.

  9. So simple yet powerful use of words and such nifty illustration! Great!

  10. 99thoughtsandthings

    I just shaved my hair a couple of days back, this was great!! :)

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