I've always loved the lyrics, "I check my look in the mirror. I wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face," from Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing In The Dark." I think this sums up our need to look drastically different when we feel drastically different — Or WANT to feel drastically different. Given that new wardrobes are pricey and getting a new face is even more so (unless you want some dangerous youths to re-arrange it on your behalf), most of us opt for a change to the old 'do.
Since, growing hair takes the kind of patience that drastic change seldom can tolerate, we tend to take a hacksaw to our locks when life throws us a curveball. If any of you remember when bars had 8-foot high ceilings and everyone was smoking, it's pretty easy to see why shearing can feel so cleansing.
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There is also an elegant simplicity in the care of short haircuts. That being said, if you have amazing hair, don't cut it off just because this guy you really, really like would rather be naked with someone else than you.
The good folks at College Humor have noticed the tendency for American ladies to turn relationship lemons into face-shape-inappropriate bobs. In their estimation, the greater the romantic trauma, the more substantial the coif-carving.
There is a vast human history of cutting or shaving our hair due to tragedy. Hindu culture is famous for shaving their beards and heads during periods of mourning. Some Native American cultures, who may've prized long hair, did something similar. The practice was so standard in the ancient world that Leviticus had a passage to specifically forbid the Israelites from this mournful ritual (it was, however, acceptable for gentile women to shear their hair whilst mourning). Many of the prohibitions in Leviticus have some root in practicality (not eating raw shellfish, for instance) but it's a little unclear why a bummed-out member of the tribe should lay-off a sad-time scissors party.
Maybe, however, that old Talmudic book was onto something. Maybe we shouldn't take out our frustration on our head drapes. Jungian dream analysis often associates hair with virility and health. And, remembering Samson, dreams about having our hair cut are often associated with a loss of strength. Don't we want to improve ourselves after a breakup? Don't we want to take that Italian cooking class that he wouldn't go to? Don't we want to lose that 8-pounds of baby fat that made our older jeans a touch too tight? Let's forget the breakup haircut and embrace the breakup power-up. The locks you're saving could be your own.
I'd like to point out that I did once buzz my hair after a breakup, but it was only because my ladyfriend did not like the shaved head look on me. I really showed her. #TooFatForAShavedHead
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