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February 23, 2012

On Short Hair



Nyema writes-

I love your site! I came across this piece on short hair and thought it would be great to share with readers who are in their TWA stage!

ON SHORT HAIR (c1988)
from Vogue
by Joan Juliet Buck

Joan Juliet Buck, a devoted short-hair convert, explains why it makes a difference.

Hair is time.

Women with short hair always look as if they have somewhere else to go. Women with long hair tend to look as if they belong where they are, especially in California. Short hair takes a short time. Long hair takes a long time. Long hair moves faster than short hair. Long hair tells men that you are all woman, or a real woman, or at the very least a girl. Short hair always makes them wonder. Short hair makes children ask each other --usually at the school-yard gate, when parents are late-- "Are you a boy or girl?" Men married to women with short hair should not have affairs with women who have long hair kept up with many little pins and combs. Once you have cut your hair you have to remember to wear lipstick, but you can put away the brush, elastics, and the black barrettes in the form of shiny leaves with rhinestone hearts. When you cut your hair you lose a nose and gain a neck. A neck is generally better than a nose. It does not need to be powdered, except on extreme occasions. It does, however, need to be washed more often.

With short hair you suddenly dislike the month of March, when the wind blows down the back of your neck. With short hair you begin to crave pearl necklaces, long earrings, and a variety of sunglasses. And you brush your teeth more often. Short hair removes obvious femininity and replaces it with style. When it starts growing out a little and losing its style, you have to wear sunglasses until you can get it to the hairdresser. That's why you need a variety. Short hair makes you aware of subtraction as style. You can no longer wear puffed sleeves or ruffles; the neat is suddenly preferable to the fussy. You eye the tweezers instead of the blusher. What else can you take away? You can't hide behind short hair. Your nape is exposed. Men put their hands around your neck instead of stroking your long locks. You can only pray they have friendly intentions. The backs of your ears show, your jaw line is clear to anyone watching, and you realize --perhaps for the first time-- how wide the expanse of skin is between cheekbone and ear.

You may look a little androgynous, a little unfinished, a little bare. You will look elegant, as short hair requires you to keep your weight slightly below acceptable levels. However, the first time you wear a bathing suit with short hair, you will feel exceptionally naked. People who used to look straight at you will love you in profile. Short hair makes others think you have good bones, determination, and an agenda. The shape of your skull is commented on, so are its contents. They can pick you out in a crowd, and you can be recognized from behind, which can be good or bad. But your face is no longer a flat screen surrounded by a curtain: the world sees you in three dimensions.

Chase to the cut.

Thoughts?


CN Says-

"Short hair removes obvious femininity and replaces it with style." #nufsaid

50 Chime in!:

Anonymous said...

Very powerful editorial. I love it! Makes me itch for a cut show I can show off my neck!

mothereartha said...

short hair is definitely the truth. my bestie has been rocking a baldy for about the last 13 years and she is stunning. it shows off her small well shaped "pea head" (as i call it), her beautiful long lashes (no mascara needed), and lovely facial features. her style is pretty classic. she doesn't need a lot. she just ALWAYS looks pretty darn cute...i wish i could rock it and i did have a twa many times in my younger years..however additional weight (agreeing with the poster on that one) and my big block head among other things have left me in awe and admiration of those that wear a short cut. CN, i would love to see a post on ladies that rock super low cuts.

Anonymous said...

I have been wearing a TWA for a while and I absolutely love it. I think I am going to keep my hair short because it is cute and it makes me feel sexy. My husband was unsure when I told him that I was getting my relaxer cut off, but now he is in love with my TWA with the curls. I think short hair is sassy and classy. Great post.

Jessica said...

I love it!

Anonymous said...

I can't fade the short hair(pun intended) lol! But for those who like it, and want it I say do you.

Anonymous said...

Short hair is a very bold look and if you know how to rock it, very stylish. Wonderful writing!

alanna said...

Short hair really does emphasise your facial structure to the point where people will compliment with the 'good bones' comment. No one ever noticed my facial structure with shoulder length even with it pulled back. I was discouraged from having short hair as it apparently 'wouldn't look right' but I did it anyway and bam* a whole lot of approval and regard for my facial structure that suits short hair. Like any hairstyle it is how you wear it!

Anonymous said...

Lol Love this...

Anonymous said...

Beautiful lady in the picture. Her skin and hair are equally gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful piece!

Angelina said...

I worked through major self-esteem issues during the times I have worn my hair in a TWA. It helped me to respect and be kinder to myself, along with surrounding myself with people that would treat me the same. I recommend every woman at least once in her life shave off their hair. There was something about getting rid of the weight of hair that forced me to work on dropping the weight of negative baggage I was carrying around.

Angelina said...

I agree with mothereartha, I would also like to see more posts with women wearing super low cuts!

Anonymous said...

that touched my soul.as a 19 yo who has twa i feel ugly most days and college life doesn't help.i really needed this today, thank you nikki.

Auset Abena said...

Loved this. Just cut my hair again on V Day after having cut locs about 1 year and 3/4 ago. With short hair, I agree that...
...lip gloss becomes a must have
...arched eyebrows become even more necessary
...baggy clothes become a no-no
...people turn and check you out more
...your hair, or the lack thereof, makes life so much simpler

I am very small, a size 00 (I almost cried when I realized I wasn't a 0 but two 0's). But with a very small frame, shorter hair makes more sense. My fro looked even bigger than it was because my body is so small.

The number of products needed are miniscule. The amount of product needed is liberating. Air dry time for hair is much less than what it used to be. And I always have more confidence with short hair, because I feel you can either be super self conscious, or just WORK IT HONEY.

Anonymous said...

I love this! Go us TWA wearers! :) ~KF519

Anonymous said...

Not just short hair, but short natural hair is the sexiest hairstyle a Black woman can wear in my humble opinion. And I though I am a short woman, I am a very curvy one who is personally in love with my TWA. I do understand that short hair is definitely not for everyone. A TWA exposes everything you love and hate about your face. So wearing your hair close cropped requires ultimate confidence. I'm not a "hair person" so I've not had long hair since I was a child, but everytime I let my hair grow out I realize how much I miss my TWA. The ease of maintenance, the wonderfully relaxing feeling of warm water rolling off my scalp in the shower, the chic polished look whether I'm exercising or formally dressed. Whether it makes you look masculine or feminine depends on the lady and how she carries her bad self! There are so many positives about short, natural hair that I could go on and on. The most important thing about hair of any length is that it works for you. My short hair works for me and I work it! (mzcnnd)

Anonymous said...

OMG this is beautiful! I have stopped wearing makeup to class and nursing clinicals, and only focus on brows and fragrance!

If I could lose these 30 postmenopausal pounds, I would be seriously fierce! LOL!

yoli said...

Absolute love for this! Great writing :)

Anonymous said...

I was so planning to write about my experiences with short hair: I cut off my hair almost a year ago. Before my cut, I had big, wild curls. After the cut, you couldn't tell me anything. I thought I was too cute. My boyfriend said he noticed my curves more and I gained a few years in a good, womanly way. I have a very dominant chin, but the cut atually works better for that facial feature. I haven't decided if it literally/physically makes me more approachable or is it my inner confidence that attracts people.

Thanks for sharing! Love it!
Leigh

Anonymous said...

P.S. I'm so gonna send you a pic and my story. Btw this post is like a poem or I'd call it a prose poem. Just inspiration for the pen.
Leigh

FemmeFox said...

Love this! I have rocked my natural hair in a cycle: baldy, twa, fro, rinse repeat for years. Now that I am entering the 3rd year aka fro phase, I can't wait to cut my hair down to baldy again! I love that it highlights facial features, bone structure, and makes the wearer look undeniably chic.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the statement that "short hair removes obvious femininity and replaces it with style." It is possible to have short hair and still be obviously feminine, such as women who have short hair and a beautiful, feminine, shapely body.

Anonymous said...

LOVE this post! I cut my hair short 3 times for many of the same reasons named in the post! I enjoyed the new me and ALL that came with that!

Anonymous said...

Interesting post!

I've had short hair (both relaxed and natural) and long hair (both relaxed and natural). I love the fact that I have been fortunate (and bold) enough to experience the extremes of hair length and texture. I think it makes a difference in self-perception, lack of length obsession and overall healthier attitude about what hair means to me. I've seen the same thing in friends and colleagues who have have allowed themselves the chance to experience the range of hairstyling options and lengths.

I've seen many a woman with short hair who exhibit more femininity and style in their little finger than some long haired women do in their entire body! It depends on the woman. I've also seen many a woman with long hair who wrap so much self worth into their hair that it makes them extremely unattractive. Again, it depends on the woman.

Short hair can be fly. Long hair can be fly. Everything in between can be fly. Depends on the person underneath the hair.

Anonymous said...

Wow love this! The first time I was natural I wore a super low bald cut and this time around I'm letting my hair grow but have been stalking my own pics thinking about going low again. This make me want to cut even more!

Ariel said...

This article is what I needed, I currently rock a TWA, and I big chopped about 2 months ago. Most of the time I LOVE my hair, sometimes I'm in a dreadful funk about it, but all in all the short, bold cut has taught me SO much about myself and I don't regret my decision at all :)

pOs said...

...yes.

camille1118 said...

Agreed! When my hair was short, I received compliments on my eyes and high cheek bones...2 years later, I get the OMG, you have such long hair..Miss my short cut! Great read!

Anonymous said...

Short hair rocks! I wore a super short TWA for years and loved it. I got literally tons of compliments and there was no such thing as a bad hair day.

Kinky-curly chica said...

Omgosh! I loved it! that explains exactly how I felt when I BC. I had no hair basically but I rocked it and got so many compliments!

cygnet said...

Don't get me wrong: I've seen short hair on a lot of people whom it suits to a T, and I've seen long hair on people who needed to cut it short, because it had turned to straw past their ears. Short hair is made for ruffling playfully by your lover or mother, and it can make eyes go B-B-B-BAM! Lots of big chopped naturals tell of how they really found their inner girlie when they decided to lose the relaxer. Brava to every woman of any age who has the jewels to wear a short cut.

That ain't me. In short, short hair takes a cygnet and turns it into a bitch :-/. Nuff said :-)!

Jewels ain't the problem, it's preference and its effect on temperament. That thing about letting my cheekbones show? Easily solved with a tie back of any configuration, and no scissors needed.

Sonya said...

Well done...

Enough said.

Sophie said...

Nice post! I intend to grow my hair long because it has never been long and I'd like to try it out. I did like the TWA days though, it was so easy! And like people have said, it's all about the face and that was fun too. I have a friend who chops off her hair once about every year and a half, and she looks great at all lengths!

LBell said...

I LOVED this post! Even though I'm currently 16 months into my latest grow-out, prior to that I kept my hair TWA-short for 7 months straight (a new record for me) because I thought I was done with hair experimentation and ready to just keep it all the way simple. Turns out I'm experimenting with keeping it simple on longer hair, lol...but I definitely see a TWA in my future again.

bellasbiosphere said...

i totally agree. the same goes for every part of life. Being a wife, a sister etc... I love being a MOMMY, but I sometimes take time away from the family for ME. No kids, no husband and it makes life grand.

bellasbiosphere said...

^oops wrong entry but I love having my hair short. especially while it is natural. its like you REALLY stand out in a crowd. it a BC (Boost of Confidence) that you are required to rock.

Anonymous said...

it's been really tough for me with my twa. I've dealt with self esteem problems before going natural and I'm the type of person who looks so weird, different from my normal self and downright unattractive if i'm sleep deprived. I've been trying to get a good sleep schedule but it's tough. I don't want to feel like I have to look a certain way to wear my hair out but it's tough.

MJ said...

I've always LOVED short hair on women!

Anonymous said...

I never got more compliments on my hair and appearance than when I cut my hair super short! I had people cross the street just to tell me how much they loved my hair.

Anonymous said...

What a great writer!
-ChillModeSquad

Anonymous said...

I co-sign this ish a million times!!!!!

Anonymous said...

LOVE IT!!! Just what I needed. Where's my lipstick?!

crosecle

Anonymous said...

For people who have hair growing problems. I can still look good in my locks, but this short hair goodness is overexaggerated. Short hair is good but not to this extend unless one is a lesbian or tom-boy. Great article anyway, good for them

Auset Abena said...

Really Anon 1:33pm? Really? Good for "them." Short hair automatically makes you a lesbian or tomboy? Oh, well. With all these positive comments, had to be at least one ignorant one or it wouldn't be a comments sections.

Anonymous said...

LOL!

Amor said...

This is soo me lol I really like the idea of long hair, but I really, really like the low (and cheap) maintenance of short hair..

Anonymous said...

Yes. Just....yes.

Anonymous said...

I love this piece!! I have been natural all my life and have wanted lately (last year or so.. on and off..more often now) to cut my hair (shave my head). I am to timid to do it and don't have any support from friends and family. Most try to avoid the conversation, say it isn't a good idea or that I don't have the head for it. Well, while I build my courage to do it, i guess i'll also build my accessories, jewerly and makeup collection to help with the transition when I do decide to do it.

Anonymous said...

I love my short hair, I keep it shaped up and I don't desire to grow it long. My hair is fine textured so twists and the such are not the best for me as they tend to unravel. I love the simple maintenance of my short natural hair and I look years YOUNGER with it. I will be 50 soon and my friends and family are amazed at how much younger that I look with short hair. Love it!!

Anonymous said...

I wore my hair with a bald fade and really close to it for about 2 years. I've been allowing it to grow for the last year as my desire was to have a really voluminous and full natural. my hair is very thick and curly (3a/b) and I get a ton of compliments on it, as well as with my fade. however, I'm just not feeling it (the natural curls). I don't feel sexy and I find that I'm not rockin it like I did my short cut. With the length that I desire, I estimate it'll take me another two years to get there. don't think I can't wait that long. not to mention, my fiance has been begging me to go back to the bald fade. With this article, I think he'll get his wish. Lol

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