In eighth grade — the climax of my awkward stage — I chopped off my elbow-length hair. It was a decision prompted in equal parts by 14-year-old angst and the fact that I had no idea how to properly use a blowdryer. Rather than learn, I walked into a $9.99 hair cuttery and told the stylist to have her way with me. The result? A bowl cut. And not an edgy, ironic sort of bowl cut. Just your run-of-the-mill, social-suicide-in-middle-school type of bowl cut. And the trauma of it all has never really left me.
The above is why I sympathize with women who go their entire lives without ever lobbing their locks. It’s a decision on par with choosing a favorite of Brad Pitt’s many looks — a paralyzing task, if you ask me. But here’s the thing: if you don’t ever embrace a more androgynous do, you’re totally missing out. And not just on the novelty of a new look.
As Coco Chanel said, "A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life." And honestly, it's totally true. And so, I'm here to present you with the eight reasons you must go short before you die. At least once — once in this world of hair mishaps and faux-pas. Just go for it!
1. It’s inspiring
Whilst there might not be any scientific evidence to back up the aforementioned Coco Chanel quote, I wouldn’t dream of arguing with this très chic legend. Would you?
2. It’s liberating
Admit it, we have all — just like Pamela Anderson and Ariana Grande — hid behind our hair. Because when nothing else lives up to society’s idealized version of reality (our jobs, our love lives, our waist-to-hip ratios) at least we can make our hair fit a certain mold, right? Sometimes we love our 'do, sure, but sometimes we dry it, flatten it and curl it into submission, because that’s what men like or what magazines romanticize. The other option, of course, is to say, "To hell with all that," chop it off, and get back to owning our own hair. Sounds kind of freeing, doesn’t it?
3. It's versatile
Who says short hair means committing to a more linear look? Because you’re dealing with less length, experiments in texture and color take less time to do… and less time to undo. Evidence: Carey Mulligan, Miley Cyrus, and Jennifer Lawrence.
4. It’s healthy
Know why Jennifer Aniston chopped off her tresses during the first season of Friends? Not because she intended to send shockwaves through mainstream America, but because her hair was so brittle and thin that her manager called it “horrible” and sent her to Chris McMillan's salon. The famous stylist may have been stoned when he chopped it, but "The Rachel" STILL became the most enviable style of the 90s. Sometimes, no amount of hair therapy can help; all you can do is ditch the dead ends and start anew.
5. It’s healing
No kidding, there really is something to be said for the obligatory post-breakup haircut.
6. It's rebellious
Circa 1920 flappers sported short bobs as a means of rebellion against “stodgy” standards of beauty imposed upon them by society. Sinead O’Connor’s shaved head in ’97 was called an “act of personal defiance” by Rolling Stone. Jessica Biel disobeyed producers on the set of 7th Heaven by chopping her hair and dying it blonde. In fact, examples of short-hair-don't-care attitude are endless, but when it comes to the ranks of wonderfully misbehaving women, there's always room for more.
7. It’s fun
How else are you going to see yourself with hair at every stage of the growing out process? Think of it as your chance to channel Madonna.
8. It grows
True, Keri Russell’s infamous haircut during her tenure as Felicity Porter on the hit ABC show Felicity may have been responsible for a major ratings drop, and people might still be struggling to cope with the gutsy move 15 years later, but even that pixie (which was awesome, by the way) grew out. Because — repeat after me — it’s only hair.