A few years ago for a charity fundraiser at work we organised a headshave. Trying to get people to participate, you would think we had asked if we could chop off their arm (or worse, their left mouse click finger).
I thought in a workplace which is predominately men, men with short hair, that it would be relatively easy to round-up volunteers for a good cause. I didn’t expect the women for the most part to volunteer, after all most women spend the GDP of a small nation on their hair weekly and many had spent years growing, colouring and styling their hair to its current state of perfection.
I’d never considered myself to be too hair conscious. I often bike to work and often go through the day with “helmet hair“, so I thought that it would be easy for me, but increasingly as the day of the shave approached I was increasingly getting stressed and nervous about the whole thing.
Why? I don’t usually give my hair much attention. Heck, I never even pay for a haircut (my Mum cuts it for me). I consider if I have to brush it, it’s too long. I often go on week-long trips without a hairbrush. So why would shaving it off to a crew cut cause me so much anxiety? I confess I have been know to hide the silver highlights with a touch of colour, but even then, it usually fades out well before I recolour it.
But hair is a core part of your identity, for me it signifies my femininity and my desire to not been seen as a man – especially in a male dominiated career.
The funny thing was, once my hair was shaved off and I got over the first shock of looking in the mirror, I actually found it very liberating. Oh the joy of not having to even give my hair the slightest consideration. It also felt amazing.
Leading up to the shave, I needed a new passport photo, so a few days before the shave, sporting “long” hair, I went and got it done. In hindsight, I wish I’d done it afterwards as my photo is truly awful and my hair looks like its been styled by an orangutan. Hooray for 5 year passports.
Even more surprisingly though, were the positive comments I got from people, usually other women who said how fabulous it looked and how they wished they were brave enough to do the same. Whether they were being polite I don’t know, but it was experience I’d happily do again.
So once again this year, Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand is doing Shave for a Cure. If we again do it for work I’m in. Watch this space.
Update : we are aiming to raise $1000 this year. If you’d like to donate, the click this link to support me and my work team.