It was officially the start of summer. The sun was scorching, the entire city was hibernating in air conditioned caves and all I wanted to do was sit in front of my fan, drinking my ice cold lemonade. Except I made plans to go out for dinner with an old friend visiting the city and I had to get ready soon. As I begrudgingly walked through my apartment trying to figure out how to look decent in public while wearing the least amount of clothing, the thought of blow drying, straightening and styling my elbow length hair made me want to hide in my air conditioned room until the Fall! It may have been the heat, but for one split second, I thought how blissful it would be to just cut my hair off. All of it.
Throwing my hair into a braid, I met up with my girlfriend and we chatted about our culture’s fixation with long hair. We’re told that boys like girls with long hair, and that short hair makes girls either intimidating, crazy, or lesbians.
In the South Asian community, girl’s hair is idolized so much that even the thought of cutting it is considered sacrilegious. Any aunty would tell you that good, wholesome, girls have long hair. Look at the movies- how could the hero affectionately tug the heroine’s braid during a love song if it was all chopped off? How else would the heroine strut down the street, as the crowd gawked at her, without seductively flipping her hair over her shoulder? Even in the movie Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kajol with short hair was considered the friend, while years later; Kajol with long hair was considered Shahrukh Khan’s lover.
Even Western society's beauty ideals exemplify women with long hair. If the advertising on tv, magazines and Instagram hasn’t convinced you that we’re a hair obsessed culture, then take a look at Chris Rock’s documentary, “Good Hair”. There’s a billion dollar industry that doesn’t just sell hair extensions and weaves but all the feels that come with having the luscious Victoria Secret-esque hair.
Yet, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to cut my hair. I didn’t want to spend an hour each day on my hair- the brushing, curling, straightening, spraying, frying, damaging. Frankly, I was ready for a change. So I took the plunge. With each snip of the scissors, I felt more and more carefree. I was no longer hiding behind my hair and as the locks of hair fell to the ground, I felt lighter. #shorthairdontcare
In the end, I chopped off 10 inches of my hair, and it has to be one of the best decisions I’ve made. I wake up in the morning with a little bit more confidence. It only takes 10 minutes to style and even the most traditional of the traditional aunties have complimented me on the cut.
While the new haircut makes me look good, it was the feeling inside that really mattered. I donated the 10 inches to Locks of Love, a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada. So girls (and guys), if you’re thinking of cutting your hair short this summer- do your research. Search online for pictures of haircuts you like, talk to your hairdresser to see which cut suits your face, and most importantly, remember that hair grows back!
For more information on where to donate your hair, please visit: