To understand the dimensions of this seemingly commonplace act (after all, which woman doesn't get a haircut when she thinks her life needs a shake-up?), it is best to give a little explanation. I NEVER go to hairdressers. I seek one once a year, when the situation is too calamitous and I need a little help in order not to look like a bag-lady. In my teens I used to be my local coiffeur's best customer, changing lengths and colours according to my hormonal moods, but since I've left Brazil I simply decided to let the thing grow freely and do whatever I needed to do on my own. It was a decision firstly based on money, obviously, and then later based on the principle that I would not waste my precious time worrying about my looks more than I was already obliged to. I could be reading a book instead.
But 4 years down the road, and I actually realised that my long unrestrained hair, which got endless compliments from people who would always say in the end "Don't ever cut it!", was actually imprisoning me. The longer it got, the more demanding it became. The more I took care of it, the more attention it got, consequently, the more pressured I've felt to take care of it.
If there's one thing that defines me as a person, this is thing is my resilient insubordination. I DON'T like to be forced to do what I don't want to do. I get depressed and bitter if I see myself wasting time by not being myself (which is most of the time. It's not that easy to be original in Western society). And MY HAIR was doing that to me. It was time to do something about it.
So after calling my previous job and saying "Sorry guys, I'm taking the rest of the week off. See you whenever," I went to Central London and wandered in the first dodgy hair salon I found in one of those narrow SoHo streets. There were four hairdressers labouring over the heads of skinny and tanned over-40s men, so when the affected giant black men asked me if I had any preference, I simply said "no. Whoever is available first."
A blonde, nonchalant woman was the first to finish. She got my overwhelming mass of hair out of my low ponytail and said "So, what you wanna do?", I promptly replied "Just get rid of it. Or at least half of it." She didn't bat an eyelid. I took out my mobile phone, started making a few phone calls, and half-hour later I remembered I had a mirror in front of me. The final result was definately not the most amazing haircut I have ever had - it actually reminded me of the first time my hair was stylised in endless layers back in 1991, making my 9-year-old self look like a midget wearing a monumental wig - but it was different enough from the girl who has been a slave of her own long manes for the past 5 years.
Not many people have seen it yet, and the ones who have didn't say much more than "Honey, it's a matter of time until we get used to it." To my immense satisfaction. Because one of the most rewarding realisations is knowing you did what you wanted to do without giving a single thought to what other people think of it.