Sometime around grade 9 (1989) an older guy I hung out with told me, "grow your hair long, you only live once!" As I respected him and looked up to him, I did. At the time I had just gotten out of Air Cadets, and really had no reason to keep my short, respectable haircut. I had always been a nerd and a geek, so while I tried to keep as low profile as possible, I didn't think this could hurt too much. So I told my parents a while later, "I'm going to grow my hair long." They, being good parents and not trying to infringe in my occasional strangeness, didn't object (I don't think they completely approved either, however).
As anyone who has had long hair knows, the absolute worst part is that ugly transitional stage where your hair isn't long enough to fit in a ponytail (or only slightly better, when you can only fit a few strands through), but it is long enough to flip out at the sides and give you wings (and give all the nerd haters more ammunition to insult you with).
The Ponytail Years I've had my hair long since then. Every couple of years I'd go and get a trim, just to get rid of split ends and to take a bit of weight off of the top. Other than that, nothing other than a wash in the shower in the morning and tying it up for the day is done to it. I sport the contemporary style of a computer programmer, long hair and a goatee, dressed in blue jeans, hiking boots, and a vendor-ware t-shirt with a long sleeve shirt overtop. The other programmers I work with dress the same way, and have the same hair and goatee style.
(We figure this represents a stage in one's programming career)
We refer to ourselves as the "long hairs", and note that we can be almost intimidating when we all wear our leather jackets. We're the long hair club, and no one is going to break that.
Engel came down and told me he had a job interview the next day, and as it was with a vice president, he didn't think that they appreciate long hairs as much as a standard herder or programmers would. As our other friend, Fozbaca had been talking on his blog about getting his head shaved (amid protests and wonderings from the rest of the long hairs), he was hoping to find him to get it done together. Well, Del was looking for a "respectable" cut, not a shave, but when you're getting rid of that much hair, you may as well do it all at once.
Fozbaca wasn't around, but I went with him, camera in hand to document the whole thing.
In the end, he didn't look all that bad. Respectable even. That night I made up a list of pros and cons of getting my hair cut or shaved in my weblog. Though it was unintentional, the lists were even at 10 each. I also found a picture of myself and did a bit of (intentionally bad) photo-editing in the GIMP to see what I'd look with no hair.
The reason that Fozbaca had come up with this crazy idea was, well, something different. A side effect was that he was going to donate his hair to Locks of Love, an organization that makes wigs for children with cancer. A worthy cause to be sure. In his attempts to convince me to join him in this expedition, he reasoned that while there is a danger of looking like a dork afterwards, I look like a dork now, so there's no change. I couldn't argue with that logic. Besides, if anyone did insult me or make fun of me about it, telling them that I did it to donate to a wigs-for-kids-with-cancer organization would be a good retort (this fact would almost certainly be a great in with the ladies). The fact that once Fozbaca left the long hair club it would only be me left would be a factor as well. Del had short hair for his interview, Darren had moved back to Edmonton, and that left just me and Fozbaca....
I guess in the end I wanted a change as well, and as I didn't need to find a girlfriend anymore, why the hell not?
Armed with a girlfriend with a camera, and courage, we went out. Choosing a place called "Eutopia" in Abbotsford (it had the reputation to be expensive but good, and giving great head massages), we headed down. The first reaction of the ladies at the front was Noooooooooooo! when we told them what we wanted to do. After explaining about Locks of Love and the donation, they were ok with it. We obtained two barber chairs right next to each other, had our glasses removed, and then it began.
The barber made a bunch of small ponytails all over my head to maximize the length of hair they got. Then, after asking me "are you ready?" one last time, she began cutting. She cut the ponytails off first, trying to get as much as possible (without hitting the skin of course). After that, more chopping, then shaving. All the time she and her partner working on Fozbaca were having a grand old time, laughing and joking. Other people in the shop were pointed towards us so that they could watch the event, and at least a couple of the other ladies that worked there came over to take pictures.
I stood fast in my resolve not to look or touch until it was over. I don't see all that well without glasses, so that was easy. In my eyes, Fozbaca went from a blob with a dark hair blob to a blob without the hair blob. They went down on us with the number 1 trimmer, as any shorter would irritate the skin. After they were done with the razor we got a head massage from heaven. The sensation was.... "different" to be sure.
Only when they were done did I replace my spectacles and look. My first thought was "Oh fuck where the hell is all my hair?" and my second was "actually, that's not all that bad." Examination by hand resulted in a soft prickly feeling that was kinda cool. To be honest, the last time I had this little hair was the day I was born.
Routines will have to change. My hands still want to flip my long hair back when I put on a shirt, or squeeze the water out just before grabbing a towel after a shower, but these will come in time. Instead of being cold like I thought they'd be, my head is actually quite hot, almost like I'm radiating off an afro of heat. Walking under air vents or sticking my head out of the window in the car results in more cool and interesting sensations.
So this is day one. I spent a fair amount of time last night touching my head and feeling the bumps and grain of my hair. The fact that I have longer hair on my arms or chest than on my head is still a shock, and, given the right clothing, I'd fit right into some sort of gang with the no-hair-but-goatee look. I don't know if I'll shave it down to nothing (my SO seems to like the feel of my head right now), or let it grow or keep it clipped. I still haven't seen anyone I know other than the people I got it done with, so I don't know what reaction I'll get from my parents, in-laws or friends. I figure when asked "why?" I can always respond with something like:
Whatever happens, it'll be interesting. Who knows, in a couple of years I might be a long hair again? Time will tell...
Since this was originally written, I did in fact shave everything off, down to skin. No razor burn thank $DEITY, but sadly, I am now velcro head. The stubble is fine if you move your hand with the grain, but instant stubble burn if you move it against. Luckily, it seems to grow relatively fast, and day by day (it's been a couple now) it's getting better. I have to admit, I look forward to being fuzzy again.