3 things I’ve learned since shaving my head

So, I finally followed through with taking the clippers to my voluminous afro. Buzzcut season is in full swing.

Monday’s black British music class was a bit chilly, so I opted to keep my Primark beanie firmly on. But, at some point on Monday night, I misplaced it. And so in I waltzed on Tuesday morning, face beat, looking undeniably like the most beautiful, brown, free-range organic egg you’ve ever seen.

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While I did it for myself, I have still been so tickled and delighted by all of my friends’, peers’ and professors’ reactions. The few that haven’t reacted positively seemed simply bewildered.

And you know what? Same, honestly! Every time I go to take a shower or do my makeup, I glimpse a stranger in the mirror.

Well, she’s not completely unknown. She’s got:

  • the same almond-shaped eyes,
  • the same big, curving lips made for the glossiest or mattest or sparkliest or velvetiest MAC and Kat von D and Smashbox,
  • and the same voluptuous, Colvin-family nose.

I mean, if anything, I look more like my dad than ever.

As a whole, the shaved-head life has been great! How could I be upset when washing my hair takes (and I’ve literally calculated this) 0.00833 percent of the time it normally does?

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I slick some Shea Moisture conditioner on to my scalp and rinse it off. That’s it.

So, no regrets. But there are three revelations I’ve had upon entering the shaved-head club.

1. It was hard to do it.
Let me be frank: it wasn’t hard to pick up the clippers and go for it, once I committed. The only thing delaying me when I left Superdrug last week were LSAT concerns.

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No, the actual process was hard. I twisted my hair and cut off a good amount, maybe four or five inches. That was too conservative.

I attached the little plastic comb (meant for longer hair) to the clippers before shaving. My thick curls still got caught.

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I trimmed my small fro some more before I could really start shaving. Even then, I cycled through two more of the three other combs before taking them off completely and using the raw blades. My arms got tired and the clippers got hot.

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2. I feel vulnerable.
Emotionally vulnerable? Maybe. Physically vulnerable? Absolutely, yes.

I made a time-lapse video of the shaving process, but what I should have filmed was the first time I put a hat on with no hair. My God, my whole body cringed. And watch me these days when I don a hat: apparently, I make a face.

It doesn’t hurt, but it feels weird.Β It’s the tactile equivalent of (matte black, claw) nails dragging across (an indie coffee shop’s) chalkboard. Most materials against my naked head are overstimulating.

My afro was a halo and a helmet. Leaning back against walls and the lean-in to hug friends present a minefield of sensations.

3. The temperature will never be right.
Watch me again: as I strip my coat off, peel off my hat, slip my coat on again, massage my cold ears and then rest my warm hands against my head while trying to not draw attention to myself.

Every room is simultaneously hot and cold. That sounds ludicrous, but my body doesn’t know what to do with this new breach of insulation. There is no nuance now. I’m either going to freeze or overheat.

Which does drum up little pangs of regret in me. Did you know the low in London this week is -1ΒΊC?

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This beanie (that I ended up finding yesterday) and this Β£1-scarf isn’t doing it for me.

I say all of this to be critical. Even though I will be spending the rest of my days in London cold, know that I’ll be spending them hot, as well. Sorry, not sorry for reveling in the shapeshifting magic of a nice haircut.Β 

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