Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Time I Shaved My Head

When Maxie wrote about the possibility of shaving her head while in Las Vegas this weekend & having to wear wigs for the rest of her life, I realized that I've never told a pretty major story on here: the story of the time I shaved my head. Want to hear it? Well, OK, if you insist.

During my junior year of college, I was the Greek life reporter for my campus newspaper, a well-respected student daily where I hoped to work my way up the ranks from my somewhat embarrassing initial beat. As a transfer student late into my college career, I knew just about no one, but I committed to making myself known. That's not why I shaved my head, but, uh, it didn't hurt.

I'd been doing background reporting for a few weeks on an upcoming event to raise money for the Cleveland Clinic's Taussig Cancer Institute. The goal of the event, sponsored by a campus fraternity in honor of a brother they'd lost to cancer, was to break the world record for Most Heads Shaved. I no longer recall what the original record was, but these guys were dead-set on blowing it out of the water.

The day of the event went like this: The fraternity set up shop in the quad on a sunny spring day, local barbers donating their time to take the razor to the heads of as many people as wanted to participate. I? Did not have any intention of participating. I was there to report, & a good reporter stays impartial. With her head full of hair. But when the brother in charge asked me if I'd be joining the head-shaving party, I joked, "If you can find 10 girls to shave their heads, I will, too." Impossible, right?

But he did. And so... I did. I could've ducked out of that bet, this I know. But I was at a point in my life when I'd recently been accused of a lot of things - chief among them dishonesty & an inability to keep my word - & I couldn't bring myself to let them be true. What better time to be spontaneous & promise-keeping than when it's for cancer research?

I'm sunburned. Also: BALD.

We beat the world record that day, topping out at more than 300 heads shaved in just a couple of hours. We raised thousands of dollars. We looked like a campus full of skinheads, but... you know, for a good cause.

So that's it, the fairly straight-forward story of how I became the eleventh & final girl to shave my head that day - the story of how I went bald at age 22. I wish I could say I didn't regret a second of it, that I was self-confident enough to always feel awesome about my decision, to look in the mirror & say, "You're beautiful!" even on the days when a policeman accidentally called me "sir" or when an acquaintance covertly asked one of my friends if I had "become" a lesbian (not a thing). But mostly, I just felt like the bald girl, & then the girl with a bad faux hawk, & then the girl with a Spock-like 'do bordering on a '90s bowl cut.

   

Still, I don't regret it. It remains the most spontaneous thing I've ever done. It was for a cause that matters deeply to me. I stayed true to my word. I learned a lot about myself & about society, about standards of beauty & femininity & bucking them. I focused on my personality instead of my hair. Also? The next semester, I was made assistant news editor of the paper.

37 comments:

Lacey Bean said...

ok 1 - I think you look AWESOME with that short hair!!!  And I give you props cause its something I could never rock like that.

2 - you creepily look like my friend Lindsey in those pictures! *Good thing I swear*

Good Girl Gone Blog said...

 Woah- you look totally awesome with short hair!

Chaviva Galatz said...

WOW! You look beautiful with a shaved head (and pixie cut) -- and now, of course. Mad props for the bold move. A girl in my high school did this, and I'll never forget it, but she did it for a different reason: To prove that hair doesn't make you beautiful. She was one of the most gorgeous girls in the school, she shaved her head, and people were blown away. Most of the girls thought it was attention-grabbing, but who knows. Her name was Maggie. I know I'll never forget that.

Elise said...

That day was awesome. You may not believe me, even still, but you rocked that bald-ass head. :)

Elissa J said...

That's fricken awesome. I've always wanted to do something like that but i firmly believe my head is lopsided. You, however, look like a sexy GI Jane girl.

justatitch said...

 Um, this is the creepiest comment I've ever left you (maybe anyone) but DAMN GIRL. You look SUPER HOT with your hair short like that. Holy cow. GORGEOUS.

Michelle said...

Seriously, the pixie cut is hot!  Like super hot.  I could never pull that off.

Bri Z. said...

i totally remember the article in the stater, but don't remember that many bald people around campus. though i guess if it was mostly guys it wouldn't have been as obvious? but how cool that you did that! you look great bald and with short hair :)

Quarterlifelady said...

You look great. What a beautiful thing you did. But I guess that's just cause you're beautiful.

April said...

That is so bad ass! I admire the dedication to the story that you had, did you end up writing a different angle than you planned?

Allison Blass said...

That is very impressive! And I think you look cute. :) 

mandy said...

That is amazing! What a great way to be spontaneous and for a great cause as well. I dont know that I would have had the balls to go through with that. 

phampants said...

That is so awesome!  I'm proud of you for doing that.  I'd be too scared.

Deidre said...

I think you look fantastic in all the images you posted! And I think it's incredibly brave to shave your head. Well done.

Liz said...

 Dude. So many props to you for doing this and for the record...you look HAUTE bald. Srsly. I would like like an alien. You look beautiful. <3

Heather Murray said...

 I always loved your hair when you rocked it short! It was so cool. 

alexa @ cleveland's a plum said...

dude, shut up. i'm impressed.

Jaclyn said...

I am inexplicably tearing up right here. You are beyond beautiful. 

Arielle said...

Dude you look awesome with short hair! The fact that you did that is super amazing because...I would never.

Jaclyn said...

Yes! I'm wondering this too. This had to turn into at least a first-person sidebar? 

erin c... said...

 Oh, I love it!!! Youlook gorgeous!

gingermandy said...

shut the front door, that is awesome! you look great with short hair too... seems like it would be a fun "adventure" to experiment with as many styles as possible while it's growing. and doing it for a good cause makes it 10x more amazing.

Suburban Sweetheart said...

I think the hair adventure would've been for fun if I could've afforded a good stylist. But I was in college, so I just let it grow... it was a rough period there for awhile! But thanks. :)

Suburban Sweetheart said...

No, actually. I wrote a first-person sidebar, but they didn't run it. Le sad.

Stephany said...

 Wow, Kate! This is amazing! I think you look adorable with your shaved head and I know I could never have gone through with that! And I love the faux hawk look on you!!

Alycia said...

wow thats rad!! you are so brave for doing that!

San said...

 Man, how many more totally awesome stories do you have up your sleeve, girl? ;)

Drew said...

Such a great story! Your hair looked really cute growing out!

Ashlee Gadd said...

Girlfriend. I am impressed. Like, I will probably read your blog forever because of THIS post. I agree with San--how many more totally awesome stories are you hoarding? 

Andrea (Caffeinate Me) said...

This is amazing. You are amazing! Also, you look great with a shaved head!

Awmber said...

I can't believe how amazing you looked with no/short hair!!! Props to you girlfriend!

suki said...

you look really great with short hair! or even with no hair. :) i think my head is shaped weird, so it's best left covered up. hehe.

Becky said...

This is AMAZING! Thanks for sharing this story! (Oh, and p.s. your new design is fabulous!)

Ashley said...

That is so gutsy and something I've always had in the back of my mind to do.  And your short hair was adorable!

Reen said...

Oh, man! That is SO gutsy, and respectable for you sticking to your word! Plus you totally pulled it off (I would NOT be a cute bald gal).

robrobrobyn said...

What an amazing thing to be able to say you did!

Tiffany said...

I was catching up & when I saw this post I was like, "Whhhaaa?" I shaved my head (completely, like yours) in August of last year. I felt like such a badass since it was something I normally would be too chicken to do. Winter was brutal. My poor scalp was missing it's "blanket". & like you, I learned a lot about myself & my confidence level boosted a bit. 

Funny thing though, before I shaved my head, everyone figured I was a lesbian but afterward I was cool & suddenly people were looking up to me for my bravery & such.

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