For the past few days the topic of hair has been on my mind. Long hair, short hair, straight, curly, etc. The thought was inspired by a conversation with my Mum, who at the moment has medium to long length hair, but has convinced herself that she wants to cut it short. I’m not just talking bob down to the jaw-line length, but short short. She was specifically inspired by Maggie Gyllenhaal from the TV series ‘The Honourable Woman’.
The thought of cutting my hair that short terrifies me. I’ve spent the best of 6 years growing my hair to the length that it is. As you can see, my hair is pretty long, so cutting it short makes me feel all the years of waiting and gradually growing my hair this long while trying to keep it as healthy as possible, would go to waste. As my Mum and I agree, one of the scary parts of drastically changing your hairstyle, is finding it’s not as fantastic as you hoped, and then having to put up with hair you’re not happy with while you wait for it to grow out.
The reason I’m so caught up by this is is probably because of the concept my Mum told be about called ‘Samson complex’. Which is a metaphor that stems from the Bible story of Samson and Delilah: Samson who has extreme strength given to him by God because of his hair which has never been cut, is wooed by Delilah who is paid to learn Samson’s secret of the source of his strength, and upon learning this secret, cuts his hair so that can be captured by his enemies since he has only has the strength of normal men. The story doesn’t end here, but you understand what I mean right? My Mum explained that her interpretation of the story relates to the fact that she’s worried that by cutting her hair short, she’ll lose a part of her confidence if she doesn’t like her short hair, similarly to how Samson lost his extreme strength. I have to say I feel the same way. I know if I were to cut my hair, I’d feel like a huge part of me was missing – even though I often try to convince myself “it’s only hair”. This is an attitude I’ve had since childhood: I used to hate going to the hairdresser’s and watch bits of my hair fall to the floor. Nowadays, I enjoy going to the hairdresser’s but I can only handle having my hair trimmed, and feel very conflicted about changing my hairstyle even slightly.
But saying that, it made me realise how important our hairstyle plays as part of our visual identity. How many times when you’re asked to describe someone to a friend who they may know, that their hairstyle can make the difference between whether they recognise that person or not? Or another way to put it, think of Disney’s movie Mulan? Mulan cuts her long hair short in order to change her identity so she can pose as a male. It has made me realise how big a difference our hairstyle can have, especially since today’s society is obsessed with how we look – for better and worse.
Do you enjoy cutting your hair? Or have you recently had a hairstyle change? I’d love to hear your views on this kind of thing. Perhaps one day when I find a new hairstyle I want, I’ll find the courage to change it.