From Mermaid to Pixie

Audrey's pixie cut

I know, it doesn’t sound like a big deal. I certainly didn’t think it was. But plenty of other people did. As it was the first time I’d thought of dramatically changing my look, and the first time I’d had people become outrightly offended by my potential appearance, I thought I’d share a list of some of the stupidest comments I got. That way, if you consider getting your locks chopped, you can use these “what-I-wish-I’d-said” responses to silence those fools.

Firstly, you should understand why I wanted to part with my long mane.

  • I’m a nurse, and short hair is more hygienic and easier to fit under a scrub hat
  • I wanted a haircut that looked more professional than my barbie doll style
  • I ride a motorbike, and having my long hair ooze out the back of my helmet was doing it no favours, even though I kept it in a plait
  • I’m pretty lazy, and I wanted to save time in the morning by not brushing my hair
  • Again, I’m lazy, and I couldn’t help but think how much easier cleaning the shower drain would be if it wasn’t always clogged with my long strays (Gross, I know.)

And here’s what a few people thought of that:

1. “They aren’t sexy and all men hate them”

Um, good. Where is it written that I have to be sexy? That’s not one of my priorities in life, and I’ve worked hard to get to that point. Realising that my appearance can convey more important things, such as cleanliness and professionalism (important for my nursing job), rather than making me ‘sexy’, has been an empowering discovery. And who said anything about doing this for men? I chop my hair for me, and me alone.

2. “You’ll look like a lesbian”

This was the stupidest, and the most frustrating comment. People were saying this as though “looking like a lesbian” was a negative. Which is wrong from the get-go. They were also implying that you can tell a lesbian from how they look, which isn’t true. Gender and sexuality and the expression of both are super complicated. These people were also assuming I was heterosexual. Wasn’t I scared of being hit on by other women? While I’m not lesbian, I do identify as pansexual (I feel attraction regardless of gender – so sometimes I am attracted to women). When people assume heterosexuality they erase the identities of so many other groups of people, and make it difficult for non-heterosexual folk to ‘come out’ or identify as such. But hey, that’s a whole big topic on it’s own.

3. “Will your boyfriend let you do that??”

*Sigh*. Though it’s not important, I’m gonna point out that ‘boyfriend’ had only been around as a casual thing since we met at a party just a few weeks before the hair incident. Already, several people were assuming he should have the final say over my appearance. Which isn’t right. I’ll say it again; I chop my hair for me, and me alone. I don’t want to be with anyone who assumes it’s their right to control my appearance.

4. “If you cut off your hair, I’ll shave all mine off so I’ll be bald”

This one was straight from the boyfriend’s mouth, and it was supposed to scare me out of my decision. I responded with “Your body, you do whatever you like, it’s none of my business”… Anyway, surely he wasn’t with me because of the length of my hair? I started thinking that maybe hacking it off would actually be a good test as to whether he actually valued me for anything else.

5. “Don’t do a Britney!”

This one was a dig at Britney Spears, who shaved her hair off in between psychiatric hospitalisations in 2007. Did my plan for a new hair cut hint at similar mental ill health? Nah, there are much more reliable methods to work out a person’s mental health than looking at hair. (Like, for example, just asking them). The only thing ‘crazy’ about my haircut was the fact that so many people couldn’t believe I would make a major change to my appearance with motivators that did not involve wanting to attract males or look sexy.

Despite all this ‘advice’, I let my hairdresser free me from 18 inches of hair (the most she’d ever chopped off!) and I’m so happy I did. Not only because it’s nice to be able to sit down without trapping myself in a painful hair-under-butt situation. It feels great to know this is something I did just for myself, to control how I wanted to look, regardless of other people’s opinions. Despite other people’s opinions. I guess this was kind of a way to say “screw you” to any expectation of always try to look pretty or feminine or beautiful, above all else. And also a good way to save money on shampoo.

The whole experience has made me feel so free and powerful that it’s hard to believe that, in reality, it really was just a hair cut. ▼

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3 thoughts on “From Mermaid to Pixie

  1. Emily

    Love this! And you look amazing both long and short! Gives me courage to realise I’m not defined by my hair either x
    P.S thanks for gifting me your ponytail! It’s been so handy!

    1. Kathy Post author

      Haha I’m glad you could use it, it just freaked me out once it was off! Like some creepy dead hairy snake…
      Thanks love! xx

  2. G. Gomes

    Over the years, I’ve found that people are always very weird about other people’s appearances, both hairstyles and clothes. They just assume, for some reason, that other people’s choices on how they should look, of all things, are not just something that deeply affects them, but also something they have a big say in, and honestly, I’m still not sure what’s up with that.

    I get thinking that a certain hairstyle won’t fit someone (although if you don’t try, you’ll never know for sure), but to go to the point of saying all the things you mentioned in this article, to me at least, feels a little crazy. Not to mention how dramatic people make the changes sound. I swear, you dye your hair once and suddenly everyone thinks you’ve a) lost your mind or b) going through a rebel phase.

    Kind of makes someone want to shave half their head and dye the rest purple just to fuck with people.

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