(A flashback to May 4, 2007, two days after my first ever buzz cut. Classy, Myspace-style photo was taken immediately after the haircut.)
My hair is gone, suddenly. I’m adjusting to some changes:
1) Everyone in the world wants to to rub my head. On one hand, I love love love this; I’m a touchy-feely female—but single+introverted, and therefore often craving the human touch. (Note that touch deprivation is a recognized phenomenon, common among those with herpes. It’s not just me, honest!)
On the other hand, being petted makes me feel like a dog. I halfway expect people to stratch behind my ears.
Back to the first hand, I like having people rub my head; it’s fun to see grown-ups (including some university staff and faculty members) transformed into giddy little kids, which they invariably are when they play with my hair/head.
2) None of my clothes look right with my scalp. Earrings look worse
3) Waking up looking like a different person is deeply disturbing. My short term memory is lousy, so I FORGET the baldness at least ten times a day…. I only remember when people gawk at me. Every time I walk past a mirror, I have a heart attack. When I see myself in the morning, I feel sorry for that boy in the mirror with acne and sad eyes.
4) When I’m not feeling like a sad little boy, I feel gorgeous. THIS is a huge adjustment, as I rarely even feel cute, let alone pretty. Gorgeous is more than a little out of the question.
But now I have no hair! There’s nothing to hide behind! I’m twice as naked as most naked people… and it looks nice. Even when I look like a little boy, he looks like a sweet, thoughtful boy. That’s got to be worth something.
5) Getting ready in the morning is a breeze. Priceless.
6) I spend a lot of time noticing hair, still, how much it defines a person’s image. It’s creepy that one aspect of your whole persona can say sooo much about you. I’m not sure what the suedehead look says about me yet. I’m dressing very carefully until I figure it out.
7) Interesting discovery: when I bike, the wind in my hair tickles my head. It feels craaaaazy.
I have to say… I haven’t gotten used to this yet. I spend hours a day running my hand over my head, sprinting to the nearest mirror to see if the sad boy or the model will be staring back at me, gawking at my profile pictures over and over again, trying to reconcile the smooth, rounded head in the photos with the one I live inside….
About the ducking and dodging— several times, friends have come up to give me hugs, and I don’t realize they’re coming for a hug—- I assume they’re coming to feel my head ( like everyone does), so I duck my head down. Then they don’t know what to make of it. Only minutes later will I realize what happened…