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October 20th, 2010

marcmagus: Ten the hard way (ten the hard way)
Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 12:46 pm

[Edit: I was wrong; I have curly hair, not wavy hair.]

I think I am very seriously considering cutting my hair. Not a bit shorter like last time but a lot of it, so it's short, in the hope that it might be more manageable. Which it won't, because the reason I grew it out in the first place was in the hope that gravity would help me tame it since no combination of frequent cutting and application of significant amounts of assorted chemicals seemed to do so.

It turns out that gravity, at least combined with tension through binding, does the trick. However, it only does the trick when my hair is relatively slack and heavy, a state it's in when it's wet, but not when it dries. Which is only achieved when, well, my hair is wet and heavy. Which is itself uncomfortable, as it gets my back wet.

Also, caring for my hair requires frequent brushing and rebraiding, which causes me observable physical pain in my arms every time I do it. Which, unsurprisingly, leads to my procrastinating doing so, which leads to it being in worse shape, which results in my feeling unfit for human company.

So I'm contemplating chopping it off for real, back to a point that doesn't require painful care. Except when I remember my childhood, I realize that's probably not a realistic goal, and would probably require getting it cut every 2-3 weeks to have any hope of achieving any sort of desirable effect, which I flat out can't afford.

Plus, at this point I have a significant amount of identity in being the guy with the long braid. I'm not sure if I could cope psychologically with a change that big. It would seriously affect how I thought of myself, and probably not in a good way. I'd be tempted to dye it or something, because I'm having trouble with the idea of having "normal" hair, but of course there are social and theoretical economic pressures against doing so.

I think the big deal is the social pressure from the people who are close to me, though. After something like 15 years my mother has finally largely stopped commenting on my choice of hairstyle (although every now and then she'll still remind me of how it would open doors to jobs if I'd switch to something more normal). I'm not such a fully grown independent man that the idea of a conversation where she congratulates me for finally coming to my senses about it is very palatable. Nor is the idea of the conversation where she chastises me from changing from one unpalatable to potential employers style to another.

Finally, at various times over the past couple of years, I've mentioned considering cutting my hair to my girlfriends. Their reactions have been negative in ways which have made me really uncomfortable (e.g. joking pouting/"noooooo"), and suggested clearly that my making this sort of radical change to my hairstyle would reduce their happiness. Not that I wouldn't do it anyway if that were the only thing on the con side, but it certainly makes it harder with uncertainty.

These last two combined make it a lot harder to talk about, because it kind of seems like thinking aloud about the issue to someone whose opinion I trust has a tendency to result in someone saying something which makes me regret mentioning it. If you can't guess, I'm feeling a ton of anxiety about posting this, in anticipation of getting responses which are upsetting, of hurting people I love just by what I've said, of people potentially saying hurtful things about people I love, of of an incredibly uncomfortable silence because everybody's afraid of hurting someone.

OTOH, I keep saying to myself I want to write here more, and a lot of what's keeping me from doing so is this sort of fear, so I guess I'm just going to post it.

BTW, hair care tips targetted to the sort of hair I have [thick and wavy curly, prone to absorbing a lot of water and trapping it for a long time, but with an outer layer that gets dry and kinks up rapidly, generally surprisingly resistant to split ends] would be quite welcome.

[Comment Policy: This post talks about real people who may be reading it in a potentially unflattering light. Please keep their feelings in mind if you choose to comment on that aspect of what I've written.]

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marcmagus: Me playing cribbage in regency attire (Default)
Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 02:43 pm

[I think this is about to become a series. Yay?]

I was thinking about this a bit more while I showered and washed my hair and shaved [I feel much better emotionally as a result, but my arm is hurting a lot more and it may be the only physical push I can accomplish today], and I realized that my hair is a political statement and action, and it's one that I'm not particularly excited to give up.

The cultural narrative that there's something wrong with long hair on men, and the new one emerging as demonstrated by my mother (see this comment) that shoulder-length hair is now manly, but longer hair is unacceptable because it's too girly is homophobia, is transphobia, and is mysogyny. Unapologetically wearing my hair "like a girl" (because apparently that's what most people think) and living my life is something I can do to combat problematic cultural narratives, and that is not something I want to give up.

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marcmagus: Me playing cribbage in regency attire (Default)
Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 03:12 pm

I appear to actually be serious about this at the moment, although I don't know if it's going to last. But the medical purposes argument is working in my head right now (I won't hurt myself in hair care, so I might feel and heal better; hair will also be less of an impediment to exercise such as going for a swim, so ditto, etc.) The reminder that it's not a permanent change, would be back to "long" within a few months and back to normal in a year or two helps.

So, soliciting opinions time. If I decide to cut my hair "short", what style should I go for. What reflects my personality as you know me? What do you think I'd enjoy and have fun with and would be a source of happiness?

Considerations: Part of the goal is to take a load off my arms. Required care probably shouldn't be too much more than washing in the morning and brief maintenance in front of the mirror afterward. My hair is very prone to what's commonly referred to as "Jew-Fro" in an unpleasant way; this should be accounted for.

Also, should I employ use of dye to render my hair a color human genetics never intended? If so, what color?

Links to photos of suggested cuts totally welcome.

(Note: because of the poofiness, shoulder length with option to gather worked quite poorly for me in 1997. I believe the defining quote was "It looks like a squirrel climbing up your back." I'll entertain ideas for long but not so long, but they'd need to account for this, offer significant improvement over the current state of affairs, and not result in my commonly having hair on my face. Hair, even/especially a single hair, touching my face is a thing—it freaks me out at a visceral level and I can't concentrate on anything else until it goes away. Kind of like feeling something with lots of legs crawling around on your back.)

Have fun!

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