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Jul 14, 2014

The Haircut That Alienated Everyone I Love

My sister stared at me in disbelief, straining to find words but unable to express her disgust out loud. My mom barely muttered over the phone, after an excruciating pause, "...why?" My friends flooded my phone with missed calls and exclamation points and infuriatingly red emojis. Everyone was in shock, including me. What did I do to deserve this? This devastation, this discomfort—what did I do that unknowingly forced my loved ones to step back and sincerely question if they could ever trust me again?

I cut my hair. I cut my fucking hair, and didn't tell them.

A key statute in the Rules of Feminism is Code §4.1: The Permission Clause. This section lists what services and/or products you cannot purchase unless you ask your friends about it first. Don't cut your hair unless your friends have verbally analyzed your face shape, skin tone, blood type, and relationship goals. Don't talk to any boy without asking your friends for their full history with him, including penetrations, interactions, and any other form of dibs. And most importantly, don't ever buy a skirt without asking your friends first if it looks good on you.

These rules are obviously not codified, yet we gals still treat them as seriously as an eleventh commandment. But these rules, we don't abide to prevent the wrath of God, we abide to prevent the wrath of a left-out friend. Think less locusts, more passive-aggression.

Since I am, by definition, a girl, I honestly thought these negative reactions were because my haircut was really that ugly, and my friends just weren't sure if my personality was pleasant enough to compensate. (It's not.) However, I later realized this wasn't about looks at all—it was about trust. Today, "I'm thinking about getting bangs" is right there with "Do these jeans make me look fat?" in crossing the line from legitimate concern to being a joke in itself of whiny-girl banality. But we still blab about these every few weeks, because it's an unspoken assumption that our friendships depend on it. We consult our friends so much about our looks, that not consulting them before a major beauty procedure forces them to think that you consulted with other, cooler, better friends that they somehow don't know about—because there's no chance on YoncĂ©'s green earth that you could be trusted to make a decision as critical as this by yourself.

Join me, as we travel to an alternate fantasy universe, where mosquitoes don't exist and Kali is a lover of glitter and puppies and is a perfect friend to all. I activate my crystal ball to communicate with each and every one of my friends (we're in my fantasy universe, remember) and gripe to them about my Lady Godiva-length hair. It's always tangled, takes forever to dry, and worst of all—it's just so, blah. They warmly advise me against a haircut. It could be cute, but you're not Emma Watson. Boys will be intimidated, turned off. You don't want this. Don't cut it. So I don't. I continue wasting hours of each day washing, drying, brushing my mane so that I don't intimidate boys—hours I could’ve been spending galloping around, casting spells on people, and other fun shit I could breeze through sans six extra inches of hair.

Back to reality- cutting your hair should not be a group decision. Do whatever the hell you want to do, and real friends will dig how you didn't need to ask them for permission. Granted, I'm currently growing my hair out, since nobody was there to remind me my hair is too thin to cut off without looking like a Lord of Dogtown. Still, I made the spontaneous decision on my own to chop it off, and I'm forever proud of myself for doing that. Female friendships are precious, but we must never lose ourselves in their tangled co-dependency. This, my friends, should be the real rule of feminism.