The week before I shave my head is definitively more girly than any other time of the year.
I root around in my jewelry box for just the right earrings. I make my appointment early for my eyebrow wax. Lopping off locks has the effect of making the arches artfully formed by my aesthetician that much more apparent. Ironically, it's the head-shaving process that brings out the chick in me. I am forced to pay attention to the effects of humidity on hair that, when growing, fights to frizz. I paw through my daughter's hair-clip collection, debating whether I can pull off the pink plastic-bunny look at work.
This will be my third year of buzzing my hair for the St. Baldrick's Foundation
, a nonprofit that raises money for children's cancer research with annual head-shaving events across the country. People pony up their ponytails in exchange for donations, and the kids benefit.
The hardest part for me? Having hair before I get rid of it.Click here to keep reading ...Growing Pains
For at least three months before the big shave, I eschew my monthly haircuts in favor of an unruly mop that forces me to pull out the same old bottle of smoothing milk I use for three months out of the year, every year.
For years, hair styling has eluded me. I couldn't do what I imagined "normal" girls could -- no matter how many round brushes and curling irons I packed onto the desk near my mirror. When it came to my hair, I couldn't speak Girl.
The first time I shaved my hair off, it was for fun. Senior year of high school, I skipped a National Honor Society meeting to sneak out to a friend's house and let her pull out the clippers. I'd been begging my mother just to shave it off, but she refused. I went from having hair halfway down my back to bald. Sinead O'Rebellion
I was ready to shock someone -- everyone -- and to shake off my image as a sweet, braid-sporting, preppy, Gap-wearing girl. It worked. I was rebranded. Geeky, sure, but not so sweet. I got the comparisons to famous rock stars, outright laughter and surprising ambivalence from my parents. (I think their exact words were, "At least you're not shooting up in an alley somewhere.")
I got compliments from guy friends, and one has stuck with me: "It takes a certain kind of face to look beautiful with no hair." He called me beautiful. With no hair. He was just one guy, and it takes a lot more than what a guy has to say to make up my mind, but for a 16-year-old girl, it was as good a start as any. Even better, I was comfortable. The Bald and the Beautiful
When you're not spending half an hour each morning fighting a no-win battle with your hair, feeling less and less like a girl with every minute in front of that mirror, it's hard not to feel better about yourself.
So while most women spend that half an hour every morning brushing, drying and coating their hair in product, I go to the other extreme. I cut it down to the skin once a year for St. Baldrick's and the rest of the time keep a close-cropped cut that requires monthly maintenance but no more.
I let the earrings -- and the eyebrows -- do the girl talk for me.Jeanne Sager is a blogger and a reporter for the Sullivan County Democrat. She shaves her head annually for St. Baldrick's Foundation, a children's cancer charity.