(but not quite enough to call it a ‘hairstyle’)
Not long ago, haircuts were a functional, disciplinary thing. I had to have a short haircut for school, because it’s obviously inconceivable that a male person with hair beyond their collar could be capable of intelligent readings of King Lear. As a result, I have spent the first eighteen years of my life with a buzzcut out of sheer practicality, knowing that putting up with barbers’ small talk for fifteen minutes every few months was worth not getting a bollocking from teachers.
But now, there are no such rules in place. I’ve not (yet) grown my hair out, still preferring a shorter style, but I’m now aware that I have this style because I have judged it to look nice, rather than this style conforming to a set of rules imposed by another. My hair is subjectively preferable, not objectively acceptable.
Now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It’s still very much a schoolkid’s haircut, short on the sides and with enough of a floppy spike on top to be indicative of some semblance of individuality without deviating too far from the model of smart-dressed bullshittery we had to put up with as part of our uniforms. But the motivation behind said style is very different: today I decided to get my hair cut so it looked better. I decided that. Purely aesthetically.
And I went and did it! I spent money that could have gone to rent for next year, an aid project in Africa, or my obscene Doritos addiction, on a thing I didn’t need, but thought would be superficially pleasing. And, strangely enough, I don’t care. Not only do I not care, I actually like how my hair looks; this isn’t a source of termly obligation or narcissistic guilt, but of personal pleasure.
I feel faint.
Of course, I’ve been dressing myself for years, so this isn’t a complete watershed moment when it comes to me realising that if I have a physical body I might as well make a bit of an effort to make it not resemble troll dung. But this may be the watershed moment of my hair, the point at which I cared about my appearance in terms of the weird growths on my scalp as well as the sloganed bits of cloth I drape over my patchily-haired, podgy body.
Look out for a similar post this time next year when I discover the wonders of painting my nails, and I get really 2006-My-Chemical-Romance-fangirl on you.