For a long time, I was known for having short hair. It was my distinguishing feature. "Who's Andrea?" "The girl with short hair." I first cut my hair short during my Osaka days in 2002, having been influenced by the trend for short, cute women's styles in Japan. I kept it up for a long time, shifting through many different short styles as seen in the mosaic below. I found the length suited me then and I liked the feeling of not being weighed down by hair. During the first few years, I rocked a version of a 'lady mullet': fortunately, this was before digital cameras were commonplace so there are no photos.
I got my last proper super-short pixie cut in November, 2009. From then, I decided to grow my hair out. One reason was that I'd been short for nearly eight years and I really wanted to try something else. Another reason was that I was hoping to spend some time in Bhutan and as a tourist, at least 20 Bhutanese informed me that my hair was too short. "Oh. You are quite beautiful but your hair is too short." (as stated by many complete strangers). It was kind of annoying even as a two week visitor. I didn't want to have to hear that for months on end if I returned. So I stopped the frequent cuts. [Note! When I did go back to Bhutan, the new comment got from many strangers was, "Oh. You are quite beautiful but you are too fat." Can't win, I guess.]
What followed was a grow-out phase of about 24 months to go from pixie cut to something workable. It sucked. The length of my hair wasn't the only issue: the remnants from the layering left pieces of hair flicking outwards in an awkward, unmanagable manner.
The bottom right picture is from last weekend. I finally feel like I've passed the grow-out phase.
I get predictable reactions from people who knew me as the short hair girl, or new acquaintances who see older photos of me. I've noticed that men invariably tell me the long hair looks better while women invariably encourage me to chop it short again. I think it's because women want to vicariously experience the thrill of a really short cut although they don't want the risk themselves.
It is so thrilling and refreshing to get a very short hair cut. Only once was a cut too short for me. Stylists would usually trim the back of my head with clippers but one stylist, without asking me, buzzed my entire head with the clippers. After the first pass, there's nothing to be done but finish cutting everything to the same length. It was an all-over 1" buzz cut, totally unstylable. It was not cute. I looked like Monchichi. I have no photos from that time. But it grew back!
Anyway, I've got hair on my mind today because I was invited yesterday to a promotional event at Blo Blow Dry Bar for Pantene where I got my hair styled with a new product line, Aqua Light. It was the first time I ever really had a professional style on longer hair. The result of the product was very soft, weightless, bouncy hair. Getting styled like this made me feel that I've made it to long hair at last and it's going to be good!
As an aside, THIS is why I love Instagram, the photo app for iPhone and Android. On the left: iPhone mirror pic posted to Instagram. On the right, taken just seconds later: professionally shot event photo. I know which girl I'd rather look like in real life. To be fair, the flash angled directly under my chin did me no favours! Obviously, my hair looks fab in both photos, though.