Help me think about shaving my head.
September 27, 2018 7:49 PM   Subscribe

I'm considering shaving my head as an outward expression of grief. Am I nuts? I've been considering it for about six months. It's not going away.

Yeah so I'm continually posting questions about the fact that my bestie is about to die, way too early, from cancer. I'm sad and angry. I'm furious, as a matter of fact. I never had a punk rock phase but it feels like that's what I'm about to go through. And I want to express my rage in a way that doesn't get me arrested. How about shaving my head?

It feels kind of epic and total, and like there will be a process involved with growing it out, and this will be symbolic of my grief and processing it and going on and persisting though she died.

What am I not considering? What should I think through? Is this a habit of any particular culture or religion? Are there other death/grief customs I should be thinking about instead?
posted by BlahLaLa to Human Relations (51 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I’ve shaved my head. It’s hair and it grows back if you stop cutting it. I don’t know if it will help you process your grief but I can’t see how it would hurt. Buy some warm hats if you live somewhere cold. Take care of yourself at this difficult time.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:54 PM on September 27, 2018 [27 favorites]

Best answer: I shaved my head on a whim when I was a sophomore in college. I fully endorse this for the purposes you describe.

Based on my own experience:

1. There may be people in your life who feel they get a say over what you do with your body. This may surprise you when they unexpectedly express their displeasure.

2. Be prepared for people on the street to make assumptions about your sexual orientation, and use slurs because of their assumptions.

Those are the only problems I had. (And the second one only happened once.) I say go for it. It can feel really good to make such a radical change.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:58 PM on September 27, 2018 [6 favorites]

(Oh, and it was February in Boston, so I wore lots of hats. If you are in a sunny warm place, don’t forget sunscreen!)
posted by ocherdraco at 7:59 PM on September 27, 2018

Response by poster: Forgot to mention one issue: my friend would absolutely **hate** me doing this. She was against all public displays of this sort, and she placed a high value on personal appearance, albeit in a feminist way. If I was doing this for someone else, she'd tell me not to, though she'd go along if I insisted because she loved me. She's not able to weigh in at this point.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:00 PM on September 27, 2018

One of my metallurgy professors shaved his 2-foot long beard after his wife died of cancer. Because he thought of the gesture, it had meaning to him. There are certainly other rituals you can do. I have always wondered what the underlying history of "burning an offering to the dead" is in Bujold's science fiction novels. You can make your own thing up like that. Or go the opposite way, back into history. I was only going to mention the Jewish tradition of rending a garment, but actually the whole section on bereavement practices makes interesting reading. It's your grief, you are allowed to do it any way you want.

As far as head shaving goes, I shave my head every Sunday morning, and have done so for decades. Hair was just too much effort to maintain. I also have three killer cowlicks that never could be tamed in any fashion. So almost thirty years of experience tells me you will be fine. Also echoing the above recommendation to remember the sunscreen!
posted by seasparrow at 8:02 PM on September 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You’re not doing it for her, you’re doing it for you. The idea has been with you for months. It will give you an emotional outlet. Give yourself the gift of trying this way of expressing your grief.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:05 PM on September 27, 2018 [58 favorites]

Best answer: Your head might be a weird shape. That's what I always think when I consider doing this. But then I think, yes, and if I never shave it, I may never know its shape! It's weird to go through a whole lifetime never knowing one's own head.

It yearns to be free. Plus when the hair grows back there's a brief phase where it's just the right length to feel velvetycool.

I'm sorry about your friend.
posted by Don Pepino at 8:14 PM on September 27, 2018 [6 favorites]

Cutting your hair as an expression of grief has a long history across many cultures. Also, honestly, there is something cathartic about sitting down with scissors and methodically cutting your hair short, chunk by chunk.

If you do it, my advice is to go through that intermediate step first. Sit in front of a mirror. Use sharp scissors. Light some candles. Cry. Grab a fistful if hair, take a deep breath, and cut it away. Then another. Then another.

Then, once you’re done, live with it a few days before you take the final step of either having it tidied up or shaved off.

I can’t tell you for sure if you should go bald. I can say, with assurance, whatever you do, do with ritual and intention.

I hope you can find peace and joy within your mourning and memories.
posted by anastasiav at 8:14 PM on September 27, 2018 [25 favorites]

It's hair, you feel compelled to do it, and you've certainly given it enough thought. You don't need anyone's permission and certainly not mine...but go for it. Humans need ritual. You know what you need.

I hope it brings you some peace.
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:32 PM on September 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

I've been following your questions, and I'm so sorry about your best friend.

I lost my hair to chemo (I'm fine) three years ago. I was 36 at the time, but I looked older thanks to chemo stress and some gray. I don't know how old you are, but once you seem like a middle-aged lady, shaved hair will mean cancer (usually breast cancer) to many people. They will assume you're doing chemo. This may be weird and jarring when it comes up randomly. (The dry cleaners! The gym! Any doctor's office!) I hated my stupid wig but wore it to avoid emotionally taxing conversations with inappropriate strangers at inopportune times.

When I was bald, I found myself less willing to go into the world just to take a walk or do the daily activities of normal life, and staying in a lot made my already bad mood worse. If the prospect of these conversations seems like a thing you can handle, don't worry about people's assumptions and go for it.

Like a previous poster, I recommend cutting it off in a couple of steps with a breather in the middle. Very radically short hair is a dramatic statement too; you may or may not feel the need to cut the last half inch off.

But as a formerly involuntarily bald person, I fully support you and this symbolic gesture. Again, I'm so sorry.
posted by purpleclover at 8:54 PM on September 27, 2018 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I haven't shaved my head fully, but I've buzzed my hair quite short (I think I generally used the 1/4 in guard) in response to deep pain and sorrow in my life. It was immensely helpful and healing, and I don't regret it at all. I get why Britney Spears shaved her head, you know? Sometimes you just really, really need a good ritual, and cutting off all your hair is a good ritual. There's beauty in it too; I loved my velvety head!
posted by kalimac at 9:26 PM on September 27, 2018 [9 favorites]

Best answer: My Dad used to say, "The difference between a bad haircut and a good haircut is about six weeks." In other words, there's no serious downside to doing this because it will grow back. So, if it makes you feel better or helps you cope now, when you need it to, there's not a compelling reason why you shouldn't. And if you find that the way it looks does affect you negatively, there are headcovering options to get you through the growing-out period.

While I don't know about any religious or cultural significance, I've absolutely known more than one woman, including myself, who has rage-cut their own hair in times of great stress.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:34 PM on September 27, 2018 [8 favorites]

I didn't shave my head, but like the above poster I had what was essentially a buzzcut while coming out of a period of really bad health. It felt necessary, and over a period of years I grew it really really long. When I was finally getting better, I chopped it off again to about chin length. All of those felt like really vital stages to go through and did help with emotional processing. So yeah, go for it. Style and fashion is symbolic and meaningful and hair is real powerful. I'm sorry about your friend. I'm glad you guys have each other.
posted by colorblock sock at 10:18 PM on September 27, 2018

I think this sounds like a meaningful thing for you, and a way of acknowledging and honoring your pain. You've been thinking about it for a while, and if you'd done it when you first started thinking about it, you'd be back to a pixie cut by now if you wanted to be. The worst-case scenario is that you spend a few months feeling a little out of sorts about your hair--and even that might be helpful to you right now. (It has been to me, in the past.)

I'd advise against going razor-short, though. My experience (I've had some level of buzzed hair for about half my life) is that going all the way down to the skin makes people assume you have cancer. Keeping even an eighth of an inch will get the occasional cancer comment, but most people will assume that it's a choice, or at least that it could be, and won't say anything.
posted by mishafletch at 10:29 PM on September 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

A lot of people will assume you're in chemo yourself, or have shaved your head out of solidarity with someone who is. So, be prepared to have conversations about cancer with a lot of people who wouldn't otherwise speak to you about something so harrowing. Baristas, cashiers, randos at the gym, classmates, parents of children's friends, oh the list goes on. But that might be good for you? By bringing the grief into physical space, that makes it into a talking point, and perhaps speaking about it briefly and regularly will help you process it?

Whenever there's a hair question here, I always say go for it. The worst that could happen is that you could be very cold and have only itchy hats to wear for a while, and it wouldn't help you grieve. But you can try other things for that, and shop for soft hats. Tons of people wear wigs - way more than you might expect - and you might find you like to as well, if you'd like to get back to having longer hair before it's grown out enough for you. You might love having short hair, too. But it's helpful to have an outward expression of grief. Wearing black for mourning was so enduringly popular for so long because it sent a clear signal to everyone without the wearer having to speak. I think your idea isn't for everyone but it sounds like it's a good idea for you.
posted by Mizu at 10:41 PM on September 27, 2018 [6 favorites]

Do it, it'll be cathartic for you and you will always regret it if you don't. A sacrifice and an open display of grief is clearly what your brain wants you to make and I think you should honor that.

You absolutely do not have to talk about it with anyone if you don't want to. When someone is wearing the equivalent of a black armband it is not the time to have a nice chat with them about the time your grandma had cancer too. Jiminey crickets, you can just walk away if you meet people like that.
posted by fshgrl at 11:53 PM on September 27, 2018 [3 favorites]

> Forgot to mention one issue: my friend would absolutely **hate** me doing this. She was against all public displays of this sort, and she placed a high value on personal appearance, albeit in a feminist way. If I was doing this for someone else, she'd tell me not to, though she'd go along if I insisted because she loved me. She's not able to weigh in at this point.

It's. Your. Head.

You're doing this for you.

That your friend would hate it is irony, innit? Go ahead and embrace the gallows humor of that.
posted by desuetude at 12:05 AM on September 28, 2018 [8 favorites]

I actually like the idea of doing something that would annoy a person who's not with us any more. I like to remember them grumping at me and ranting- it keeps them feeling vibrant and alive and specific, not faded into saintliness that doesn't feel like them. I think it can be an expression of love for that person to annoy them a little, in a siblingy sort of way.
This is a hard time; sending you good vibes.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 12:06 AM on September 28, 2018 [25 favorites]

Best answer: After my best friend died, sometimes I had to tell random people about it (“Can I have one of those bank forms? Oh, what’s it for? It’s because my best friend died and I’m her executor”). And almost to a person those people froze and looked terrified, which, though I understood why they did it, still left me feeling isolated and annoyed.

So, I think if you shave your head you will probably wind up having more conversations with strangers about your best friend’s death, and you might have a similar experience of seeing people go all deer in the headlights about it. Maybe it won’t annoy you the way it annoyed me.

That said, cutting one’s hair off is a really satisfying gesture. And angry mourning is super important. People try to skip it and go straight to “well so and so is not suffering anymore” or whatever. Whatever to that. I salute you in your angry head shaving ways.
posted by hungrytiger at 2:07 AM on September 28, 2018 [9 favorites]

Oh also I think head shaving is a mourning thing in some Hindu and Buddhist traditions. And as far as other traditions go there are mourning armbands and sitting shiva and memorial tattoos. Wakes and second line jazz funerals and not wearing anything decorative for a year. Yahrzeit candles and Dia de los Muertos.

This is more of a grief book than a mourning book but I wish it had been available when I was going through it: It’s OK That You’re Not OK
posted by hungrytiger at 2:17 AM on September 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I cut my hair really short between my daughter’s death and her funeral. I say go for it, whether in stages or no.
posted by warriorqueen at 3:15 AM on September 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

I shaved my head to raise money for charity a few years ago (see profile picture). It was an act undertaken for a specific reason and to embody a specific commitment to something. Your logic is similar, in my mind - you are signifying a very specific emotion and embodying a commitment to a ritual recognition of that emotion. It doesn't matter if no-one else knows or understands what that emotional commitment is, because you will know and you will be honouring your friend in your own specific and meaningful way. You absolutely can do this and I think, given my experience of the growing-out process, you will find it cathartic and comforting.

I also posted a question about something that happened after I had the haircut, which i won't link to here, but be aware that as mentioned above, some people may have less than positive reactions to your choice and may for reasons unknown decide that you need to be made aware of their opinions. You don't have to interact with those people or explain anything to them - don't give them headspace.

I'm also someone who has noticed your questions about your friend and I am also very sorry indeed that you are experiencing this loss. My very best wishes go to you, and to their family.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 4:23 AM on September 28, 2018

I think you should do it.

Also seconding It's OK That You're Not OK; it has been immensely helpful in the year+ since my mom's death to cancer.
posted by augustimagination at 5:57 AM on September 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think it is a really nice idea. As someone who has done dramatic hair cuts: in the future you may react to pictures by thinking "oh this is about a month/year/whatever from when friend died" based on how long your hair is. I have found it useful, it's a landmark, it's a distinct phase in my life that is tagged that way forever.

I might try a nkrw temporary big change to see if that scratches the itch while you keep thinking. Black clothes? eyeliner? no make up?

So sorry for you and your friend.
posted by skrozidile at 5:58 AM on September 28, 2018

I have both shaved my head with a razor and had a buzzcut. There's a big difference in that 1/3 inch of hair. I would go with a number 2 buzzcut. That little bit of hair helps with warmth, and looks less severe.

Also, when I had a truly shaved head I got a lot of unwanted comments from strangers.
posted by MadMadam at 6:51 AM on September 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

I would also suggest a buzz rather than a shave just as a practical point; shaving can be painful, patchy, etc. A buzz cut is easy and soft.

I don’t see anything wrong with this. I’ve never cut off all my hair and been unequivocally happy about it, tbh, but that hasn’t stopped me from doing it multiple times and it does grow back. If you eventually want long hair, plan for the fact that it will take 2+ years to get back to normal depending on how many times you cut it in between. I cut my hair off when I went back to school as a way to take the pressure off to be pretty all the time and it was helpful from a practical and symbolic standpoint.

I assume there are no professional reasons to stop you, so in that case, go for it. I actually agree that it can be powerful in a way.
posted by stoneandstar at 7:44 AM on September 28, 2018

So, I think if you shave your head you will probably wind up having more conversations with strangers about your best friend’s death, and you might have a similar experience of seeing people go all deer in the headlights about it. Maybe it won’t annoy you the way it annoyed me.

This depends on how you deal with it, and it gets easier over time. I have a medium sized really lovely and colorful memorial tattoo for my mom. It's on the inside of my arm so it's super visible and gets a lot of attention, and over time, I've gotten pretty good at just saying "thanks!" when someone says it's nice, or talking up the shop I got it at, or whatever. Hair is the same way - you can say "it was time for a change!" or "isn't it great, it takes no time to take care of!" Hair and tattoos are a lot easier to play off than bank books. Hungrytiger is right, though; if you do engage, it's likely to be super triggering, so keep that in mind.

I am also on team Embrace the Anger and The Haircut, though. (Though buzz cuts feel super fantastic and you might just get used to it and never grow it back out.)
posted by joycehealy at 8:11 AM on September 28, 2018

Oh, stoneandstar reminds me -- kind of another vote for a close buzz cut is that shaving down to the skin is difficult and kind of painful, if you (and your scalp) aren't used to it. I've shaved my undercut to the skin, and it took forever and was really uncomfortable, both in the doing and in the growing out. That might be a bonus to you -- this will not be a quick process -- but just be aware!
posted by kalimac at 8:11 AM on September 28, 2018

Best answer: I had all my hair chopped off as a two-months-delayed reaction to the election, though didn't shave it. (Woke up 11/9 wanting my hair gone, put it off until the new year to make sure I really wanted it and so that I wouldn't have to explain my actual reason at work.) I've been gradually going shorter every haircut or so, and with it this short, that means every 3-5 weeks. (Sadly, given how often I get my hair cut now, it's no real cost savings on an annual basis, even now that I go to the "haircuts for men" shop.)

There's something to having a physical manifestation of how I feel inside that makes me feel a lot more satisfied with myself when I look into a mirror. (Even when that month's haircut is kinda crap, like the slightly-uneven one I got this week.) You've been thinking about it for a while; you know your own mind. If you hate it, it will grow back faster than you think. If you love it, it will grow out faster than you want.
posted by asperity at 8:12 AM on September 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

A bald head requires so much thinking about sunscreen, even on non-hot sunny days! Other than that, it's fine. Go for it if you want to.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:18 AM on September 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, when I first started losing hair, the chemo nurse told me to cut it really close instead of shaving; the skin on your scalp can be really delicate, especially when it's been under a full head of hair for years.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:21 AM on September 28, 2018

This dust was Timas and they say
That almost on her wedding day
She found her bridal home to be
The dark house of Persephone

And many maidens knowing then
That she would not come back again
Unbound their locks and all in tears
They cut them off with sharpened shears

-translation from a verse by Sappho

I think the main consideration is that it might not work. If you are hoping for catharsis and end up only with a fashion statement it would make you feel even more futile. So if you do this, I advise making it as overwhelming as possible, and as ritual as possible. Lay out all your equipment and put on some music that is significant to her and get a little drunk and get some ashes ready and then really rip, so that you annoint your hair with ashes and howl with your grief. Rocking and wailing and calling to her who will never reply to you, and then do the cut job. You might want to do the messiest hack job possible, rather than tidily shave after you trim and wear a knit hat covering it for a day or two before you make it look more conventional.

Having recently lost all my hair last year to cancer treatment I can say that everyone saw my bald head and instantly presumed correctly what was going on and were either discrete and pretended not to see, or were supportive. I think you are more likely to get that reaction than people thinking you are some punk girl, unless you make it clear it is a matter of style. You may have to tell people that it is not you that has/had the cancer, but your besties as they might assume it is you and tell you that you are brave and wish you luck.

If you also shave your eyebrows they may not grow back. Ever.

My hair, lost a year ago in August is now about an inch long, stands up straight in humid weather displaying much pink scalp and has no intention of cooperating with my hairbrush.
posted by Jane the Brown at 8:27 AM on September 28, 2018 [7 favorites]

Just stopping by to note that if you end up maintaining a shaved look for any length of time, I highly recommend these clippers. I've been shaving my head for 25+ years and these bad boys completely changed my life. They're waterproof, cordless and easy to use and maintain. An investment in some quality skin products is also warranted - I like to use the St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub immediately after shaving to reduce dander, followed by Johnson & Johnson's Baby Oil Gel after the shower. After a day or so I switch to a lighter moisturizer - make sure to use something with SPF if you're going to be outdoors.
posted by Banky_Edwards at 8:33 AM on September 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Semi-regularly go down to a fuzzy head, it may not be attractive on me but my god it feels good. Wiping my head with a washcloth is like having freshly washed and dried hair. And do wash your head regularly since you will be rubbing your dirty hands all over it all the time. But, to the point.

When I read your post this morning I had a thought that someone else has already touched on and that is the aspect that your friend would be against this. Well, you're against them dying, so there's that. Anger is a legitimate and important stage of grief and I think this could serve you well as a pretty mild but clear little "well, fuck you hon". It will grow back, time will move on, the anger will subside, and while the loss remains, you will heal.
posted by Iteki at 10:38 AM on September 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

I have problems with dandruff and my irritated scalp was visible when my head was fully shaved. (Though having it exposed probably helped it heal a little once it was done.) So that's something to consider if you have dandruff or other scalp issues.
posted by serathen at 11:09 AM on September 28, 2018

You mentioned two things: 1. your best friend is, as of now, still alive. 2. your best friend would hate this.

Shouldn't you prioritize your best friend and what would make her feel best at this time, in her last moments on earth?

You can always shave your head after, in memoriam, if it feels right.
posted by namesarehard at 11:26 AM on September 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

I just want to say as a stranger, shaving your head as an expression of grief makes complete and utter sense to me. Like, I didn‘t need to read anything else, it‘s just...YES. And part of it is that it‘s a known tradition in other cultures.

That said, everyone you know is going to ask you about why you did it, are you willing to deal with that?
posted by Omnomnom at 12:06 PM on September 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh, and one practical thing to remember: scalps sunburn super easy. You'll want a hat or something if your head is still bare or nearly-bare come sunny weather.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:11 PM on September 28, 2018

I have multiple times shaved my head out of grief and anger. It feels really...good is the wrong word, but right, i guess? It is also in the long run freeing about all sorts of things you think you're already comfortable with. Shave it all, keep a tuft of bangs, make a mohawk - whatever you need to do. It's just hair, it grows back.

As to your friend being against it if they could tell you that right now - I promised my granny on her 80th birthday that I wouldn't shave my head again. After her funeral, which I hope is still many many years away, I will be shaving my head. Mourning and grief is about you. It sounds selfish, but they can't help us through the grief, we have to do it on our own.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 12:31 PM on September 28, 2018

I think everyone should do it once, just to see how interesting it feels. If you are going to shave it to the skin, I really recommend the HeadBlade, which is well-designed.

In the Bible, shaving one's head was a sign of an oath. Perhaps your oath could be to continue to love and support your friend?

All the best to you and your friend.
posted by 4ster at 1:17 PM on September 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

I say go for it. You're shaving your head not getting a tattoo so it'll grow back. Also having a shaved head/really short hair saves a lot of time as far as grooming is concerned.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:17 PM on September 28, 2018

I’m not sure if I understand. Your friend, who is dying, would ‘hate’ for you to do this and you still want to do it? I absolutely understand your grief, but maybe it’s not the time yet? What if she sees you and feels bad? I think you might feel bad in response to that.

I would maybe sit on this desire. There seems too much risk that it would be upsetting to her.

I am so very sorry you are going through this.
posted by MountainDaisy at 6:56 PM on September 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

But, to add, yes, it can be very empowering and transformative to shave your head, and you should absolutely do it if you would like.
posted by MountainDaisy at 7:02 PM on September 28, 2018

I assume, from the OP's update that her friend is not able to weigh in at this point, that she is unfortunately at a place where she will not be noticing people's haircuts.

Do it. There was an article I read that I cannot find now about how many woman cut their hair off after the election, as an expression of grief and rage and frustration; I think this emotion is very very human and a normal way for us to express our feelings. It is a catharsis. If you absolutely hate it, well, you're going to be miserable anyway, and it might make you feel better. It will grow back regardless.

I am so so sorry this is happening.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 10:10 PM on September 28, 2018 [5 favorites]

I didn’t realize you were thinking of this right now. To be honest I think it would be appropriate after the funeral when that time comes. I think it’s a good idea and I think that your loss is legitimize and deserves to be acknowledged, but I also think if I were in the nearest circle of family or so I might consider it (in my own anger and grief) a bit premature and a bit distracting from the friend herself.
posted by Iteki at 2:35 AM on September 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

I didn't shave my head but I cut a foot of hair off the day my stupid, pointless, torturous LTR ended. It felt fantastic, because it was hair I grew during the thing, and now the hair and the relationship were both off of me. If you cut off hair you grew while you were with your friend, I predict you will feel similarly right about this way to mark the change, though for opposite reasons. You might cut the hair off and keep a lock of it as people used to do. If it's long enough, you could send it to one of the charities in honor of your friend.
posted by Don Pepino at 4:06 AM on September 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I would not do this until after Friend dies, but yeah, even if I did it now it's unlikely she'd notice. There won't be a funeral. There may be a memorial, but it would be weeks or months down the line.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:29 AM on September 29, 2018

That changes everything. It sounds like it would be very meaningful for you. Hence, yes, you should absolutely participate in whatever ritual holds meaning for you when your friend is no longer there to be affected by it.
posted by namesarehard at 2:55 PM on September 29, 2018

I missed this question before but just saw it referenced in your MetaTalk thread. I had cancer three years ago and lost my hair. I have three things:

1. It takes so long to grow back. So, so long. There are so many awkward stages. Long, awkward stages. Think about the long-term ramifications. I'm three years out now and finally feel back to myself. Mine was involuntary so perhaps a bit more traumatic to power through the growing out process. But really. It takes a long time.

2. Being bald is cold.

3. People will definitely stop you on the street and talk to you about their assumption that you're going through cancer treatment. You may find this difficult after losing your friend to this disease.
posted by something something at 7:31 AM on October 5, 2018

Also - in addition to people assuming you have cancer, you'll also have many, many conversations about why you did it and how great you look with short hair and "oh, your head is such a nice shape" and on and on and on. Again, these conversations may be more traumatic for someone who lost the hair involuntarily. But until your hair is a normal length again, you are going to have to talk about it. A LOT.
posted by something something at 7:34 AM on October 5, 2018

Response by poster: I shaved it! It's...weird and gray and I'm excited and happy and also sad for my friend and still absolutely racked with grief but also excited and happy. It feels like I've definitively put a stamp on This Moment in My Life and I think at the core that's really what I wanted to do. Thank you for your advice.

(Also: I used a #3 trimmer because at the last minute we couldn't find the #2. And it turns out my head is a normal shape. Or normal enough, anyway.)
posted by BlahLaLa at 3:27 PM on October 20, 2018 [8 favorites]

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