(This is a post about intentionally shaving my head. I know that a lot of people don’t have a choice about not having hair; if reading about someone choosing to temporarily remove their hair will bother you, then you may want to skip this post.)
Many years ago, a friend and I discussed the possibility of shaving our heads. I don’t remember what sparked the idea, but I was kind of curious about what I would look like, in much the same way that I’ve sometimes gotten curious about what I would look like without my beard. (And once got curious about what I would look like with blond or red hair.)
At any rate, I continued to be mildly curious over the years, but never followed through.
In spring of 2020, I had a haircut at my regular haircut place. I generally went for a haircut about once every six weeks.
But when the pandemic hit, I stopped getting my hair cut.
It had been a long time since I last grew my hair out. I decided I might as well grow it out and see what happened. I like long hair; I just don’t like taking care of it.
(On that last point, I recently figured out that I could go a few days without washing my hair, and still have it look OK; I think previously when I had had long hair, I had tried to wash it every day. So it was easier to maintain this time. It also helped that I wasn’t seeing other people all that often, and when I did it was often on video calls, so just tying my hair back in a ponytail was often sufficient to make it look more or less presentable.)
By mid-2021 or so, I think my hair was at least a little longer than it had ever been before. I started thinking about maybe cutting it off. And I thought that if I were going to cut it off, maybe I should consider completely shaving it off. And I thought maybe I could donate the cut-off hair to one of the hair-donation places.
But a colleague recommended a particular hair-donation place that (iIrc) wanted hair that was a little longer than mine was at the time. So I figured I would keep going for a few more months. But then it was winter, or what passes for winter around here, and I figured I would wait for warmer weather. But then when warmer weather came, I thought I might get a nice fancy frock coat, and that that would go better with long hair than with short hair. And various other things came up, and what with one thing and another, I kept delaying, and kept growing my hair out.
(Side note: When Kam took some photos of my long hair in September, she mentioned that I had a bald spot. That really surprised me; I wasn’t aware of it until then. There’s nothing at all wrong with it; just didn’t fit my self-image.)
Anyway, I recently talked it over with KTO, and she agreed to do the cutting and shaving parts, and I decided it was finally time.
So two weeks ago, Kat followed the instructions on the organization’s hair-donation page, and cut off my hair. And then used a trimmer to cut the remaining hair down to just stubble. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my razor with me, so she couldn’t fully shave my head.
I spent the next week that way, with stubble slowly growing out. Oddly, anytime when I wasn’t touching my head with my hand, it still felt to me like I had hair. When I was outdoors, wind made it feel cold in almost exactly the way that it feels when wind blows through my hair when it’s wet.
When I touched the stubble with my hand, it felt a little bristly. After a couple of days, I used shampoo and conditioner on it, and it felt a bit softer, at least when I moved my hand across it in one direction. (Still a little bristly in the other direction.)
But I was still curious about what it would feel and look like to be completely bald, and it seemed like this was probably the best opportunity I would get anytime soon to find out. So a week after the hair cutting, we talked about it some more, and Kat completely shaved my head, with a safety razor.
As happens with my facial hair, it’s hard to remove enough of my head hair to make it look smooth and non-stubbly. Kat got it to the point where it felt smooth when I ran my hand over it, which was an odd but neat and interesting feeling. But even then some parts looked a little stubbly.
By a day later, of course, it was back to stubble length. This shouldn’t have surprised me; the same is more or less true for my beard. But somehow I was thinking it would stay mostly-bald-feeling for longer.
And though I thought the completely-bald feeling was kinda neat, I didn’t like it enough to want to put in the work to maintain it. And I like how I look a little better with hair anyway. So now I’m growing my hair back.
Remains to be seen whether I’ll grow it out long again (or just grow it to the length I used to keep it at, and then get it cut). I suspect that I will grow it long, because given the ongoing pandemic, I doubt that I’ll be up for sitting in a hair salon yet (even masked) by the time my hair gets long enough to need cutting; but we’ll see.
The main thing that I observed during this experiment is that (to me) I still look like me when my head is shaved. When I shave off my beard, I look to me like another person; but apparently the beard defines my self-image of my face more than the top-of-head hair does.