When I shaved my head it was a moment that changed everything. I was 26 years old. A pretty enough girl, I guess, with longish blonde hair past my shoulders. I had a big night the previous evening and was feeling a little dusty. It was just another ordinary Saturday evening and as I sat in the dark on the balcony with my then boyfriend, he noticed the shadows playing tricks on my profile. He told me in a moment of inspiration that he thought I would look good with a shaved head. I laughed and shook the comment off in disbelief. After all, I had a fairly round face and my ears kind of stuck out a bit, like a pixy. Well, that was my perception anyway. So the thought of shaving off my long locks I had been using for 20-odd years to cover my ears felt like an impossibility.
It wasn’t long before my cheeky bf decided his idea was better than brilliant and he relentlessly egged me on with his genius vision. I remember being amused and my curiosity was sparked. I told him to f-off initially, but as the hour turned to the next, I realized I had caught a bug of excitement at the idea. It was just daring enough that I might actually do it. In a moment of irrational mischievousness with a dose of rebellious indignation, I ran inside to the bathroom mirror and covered my hair with my hands. Hmmm, perhaps it would look good! That was enough for my rascal of a bf to know he had succeeded in his mission. He had me. He handed me the clippers and in a moment of quiet calm, I grabbed a huge clump of hair in front of my head and hacked it off. Whoah! It was done. No going back now. No redemption. I had nowhere to go but all the way and as I shaved the rest off, I could see my bf’s big grin in the mirror where he stood behind me.
I will always remember that moment of silence after the deed was done. We both stood there looking in the mirror. He now had a bald girlfriend and I had nowhere to hide. I was exposed. I felt reborn. In retrospect, I would never have had the guts to shave my head had I not had a boyfriend who loved me. I knew he was impressed by my gutsy move and it actually kinda suited me. I had a good smooth head free of bumps and bald spots.
The next morning when I awoke and lifted my head off the pillow, it felt so strange. I had no need to wash my hair in the shower and I skipped right over my usual 30-minute hair dry and straighten routine. This was going to cut down a lot of prep time when it came to leaving the house in the morning! I had a little trouble choosing what to wear though. It felt really odd to be wearing a dress with a shaved head so I opted for slacks. I could roll the window down in the car while I was driving and not a hair would fall out of place, or blow in my eyes. What a nice benefit!
Now it was time to face people. I was a little nervous and I wrapped a scarf around my bald head to disguise my new look. As I walked to my desk at the office, I eyed those around me to make sure I went in undetected. It worked and it was only around lunchtime when I knew I had to walk over to the photocopier that I decided to make my new look be known. I ripped the scarf off and boldly walked over to the centre of the office. Wow! Ha-ha, the best feeling ever. Just seeing my colleague’s faces, wide open mouths, confusion, shock. It felt worth every hacked lock. Over the next few days, I had a few standard reactions; genuine concern (I must have cancer), spiked interest in my bold personality, or interested and slightly awkward glances from females (I must be a lesbian, that explains everything). I estimate about 100 people told me I looked like Sinead O’Connor (was she the only bald woman back in 2006?).
I noted the judgment and the strong reactions, from friends and strangers. I noted the way I was treated, both positively and negatively simply because of my hair. There was one incident where I was volunteering as a waitress for a friend’s event and I was treated cruelly and like I was scum, simply because I had no hair. It was one of the most eye-opening adventurers I have ever been involved in, even to this day. It became a very liberating experience as I let the idea of my feminine hair and its former protection melt away. I had older family members regretful that I had cut all my beautiful hair off. But I finally embraced what it really meant to be female. It was actually quite a shock for me to realize how much my hair had defined my life and the lives of all the other women around me every day.