Good God, I’ve changed a lot in the last 6 years, haven’t I? If you told my 2012 self I’d cut all my hair off 6 years later completely on my own accord, I wouldn’t have believed you. My dark brown hair was naturally plentiful, shiny, and smooth. It was the only physical attribute that I was ever complimented on when I was an awkward teen. In the following years, doing paid hair modelling jobs (the cut will depend on many zeros there are on the end of the fee) had put me through university. Since then, I’ve always kept it no shorter than mid-length.
But then, life changed and I changed. My brief fling with a low-commitment bob last year planted a seed, and the thing with seeds is that they grow. The “Handsome Short” style that was the top hair trend in Japan acted as a big catalyst. It was sexy and confident without being traditional. I craved that look and attitude.
I solicited opinions, of course, but everyone was against it. They all said I’d regret it and it wasn’t me. But the more they protested, the more adamant I was. I vehemently deliberated my decision on the way to the salon. “Should I really do it?” “I’ve never been given a cut that short even when I was under contact.” “What if I hate it?”
My anxiety fizzled out as soon as I sat in the chair staring myself in the mirror as Taka, my longtime friend and hairstylist, stood behind me. He didn’t try to talk me into taking baby steps — in fact, he suggested cutting it shorter for an edgier look. I had sat down with armpit length hair and left with it barely grazing my ears. I looked completely different with my newly shorn locks, and it was just the shake-up I wanted. The way I thought I would feel was exactly the way I felt.
What followed was the remarkable part. Strangers would often start a conversation with me now. Women would sidled up to me to comment on my hair, and many have revealed wistfully that they wish they had the guts to cut their hair short. It seemed that losing substantial length, gained me approachability.
A month after the drastic cut, I realised I had gone too far down the tunnel to turn back now. Taka booked me in every month for a cut — he was happy to have a head he can often experiment with, and experiment he did! In the last 7 months or so, he gave me an undercut, cropped it shorter and androgynous, and left it longer and shaggy.
People often say a drastic short haircut is liberating or empowering, but I didn’t particularly feel any of that. There wasn’t an emotional or practical reason behind the major haircut. I fell in love with the style at first sight and wanted it badly, but nothing more. While my life and priorities haven’t changed, people’s perception of me certainly did. They assumed I was super confident, adventurous, and fun, and weirdly enough, slowly, I somehow became that person. I had zero fucks to give about what people thought. As someone says “Opinions are like arseholes. Everyone has one.” Inadvertently, I became who I always wanted to be.
Secretly, we all like to rebel a little, don’t we? And when you can do so in such a subtle yet colossally defying way, then it’s all the more fun! Of course, a drastic haircut does not a new person make. Taking risks and going out of your comfort zone, however, that does make a new person.