Maa, why do you always cut my hair this short?
She was furious, she thought of how pretty the other girls looked with their beautiful long hair.
“Because they’re easier to manage, Shaleen”.
But they aren’t as pretty as Ridhima’s.
“Now is not the time to worry about all of this, kid.”
She was five.
Long is beautiful was the beauty standard when it came to hair. This wasn’t forced by anyone but the society itself and this image of long is beautiful always remained with her. “Next year, my hair will be twice of what they’re now. They’ll be so pretty” said Rashi to Shaleen on her 7th birthday. Shaleen never understood what was it with women wanting long hair and men short and trimmed. What stopped them from going against the society? Why were they the subject of ridicule when men kept long hair and women flaunted shorter hair. Her mom always kept Shaleen’s hair short because she thought it was “easier” to manage but only until she was eleven.
Her 11th birthday saw aunties telling her mother “Why have you kept Shaleen’s hair this short? She is growing up. She is eleven already! A long mane would suit her to perfection. See, she looks like a boy with such short hair. Look at my girl, look how pretty she has grown up to be. That shiny black long ponytail of hers looks so pretty.
I used to oil her hair twice a week”.
Shaleen’s mom listened but did not reply. Shaleen was standing very close to her. She listened every word of what was told to her mother. She loved her mom very much for as far as she could remember she played the role of both-her father and her mother. She was a working mom. Even she was fed with what is right according to the society and what is not. She never had the time to speculate. Shaleen thought that this insulted her mom and therefore didn’t cut her hair for 7 months or so. Now she was not the same old boy cut girl. She looked more “feminine” as described by her best friends.
Her mother often told her to get her hair done but she resisted citing some reason or the other. The sole purpose of her resistance, however was that she wanted her mother’s head held high. She didn’t like anyone commenting on her looks to her mom or basically anything which belittled her mother. Of course those harsh words often came by Aunties who had no good to say or were having a bad day but little Shaleen didn’t understand much when she was small. All she knew was to make her mother happy. That is how the transition took place. Boy cut Shaleen or “little boy” grew up to become “Best Hair” at her school farewell. Girls would envy her long, silky locks. By the time she was 21, little did she think about the significance of her hair or societal norms. “My hair is good. It is long. That is what everyone says ” she would say to herself.She now lived in a rented apartment in Bangalore and had a boyfriend whom she dearly loved. She had never trusted any guy more than her boyfriend, Sujit. Sujit would often come at her apartment with his guy friends and leave the next morning. She never complained. Then one day he came drunk with a girl. She thought she would be his college friend or something and didn’t say a word. The next morning she discovered the truth. That was Sujit’s partner. She was shattered, she recalled all the times Sujit spent with her. How confidently she introduced him to her mother who didn’t trust men after Shaleen’s father left her.
She thought of the times she went with him to the hospital when he got his leg hurt, they went to their favourite restaurants together, studied in different colleges but went to play Tennis together that is how she got to know him. Sujit would play with her hair, tell her how beautiful they were and knew all her secrets. He knew what her most priced possession were- her long, brown locks. She tried to call him after two days but no answer. Her flatmate threw a party ten days after all this had happened. She was visited by Arshi whom her flatmate recognized as Shalewn’s friend.Shaleen slept early, woke up only to discover brown hair locks on the floor and a letter which accompanied the scissors. “There goes your most priced possesion. Now keep away from Sujit, you bitch” written with black ink. The note was from his supposed partner Arshi.
She ran towards the mirror, looked at what had become of her mane and sat there looking at the floor filled with brown locks and then at her own face. She did not cry as anyone else would’ve expected her to. She smiled at her sight. She dressed up, went to her beautician and got her hair in shape. It was a bob cut. She looked at herself and felt placidity. She walked out of the salon in confidence and vogue. She was not the old Shaleen anymore. She was different. She realised why maybe her most priced possession didn’t matter much. She was much more than her hair or a pretty face. She was ready to be taken seriously. She understood all the videos of girls cutting short their hair liberated them after they broke up. This haircut had given her so much of confidence. She now knew why many successful women flaunted their bob with such elegance and confidence, why it was not the society but them who had to decide the length of their hair. She knew how empowering this new haircut was. She just knew. Whereas for Arshi, she couldn’t digest the fact that Shaleen was still killing it with short hair. Sujit saw her pictures on Instagram and loved the new hair. He regretted what he had done to her but it was too late.
Shaleen discovered why confidence made a man or woman beautiful and not how long their hair is or what is their weight or what is their colour. She was loving this discovery and inspired a lot of other women who never thought short could be sexy as well.
Now, really WHAT’S WITH THE HAIR? 😁
Go out, have fun. Frankly, to me, women with shorter hair look signify satisaction, empowerment and happiness. It takes a lot of guts to go against the society and find happiness in what you think is dead-on. Rightly said, “It is something about women with short hair that screams POWER”.
What do you think? Short or long? Or does it even matter? Let me know 🙂