Being A Woman With A Shaved Head: Some Thoughts

Katie Fustich
6 min readMay 13, 2018

To my knowledge, I have never brought a stranger closer to tears than when I arrived at a Supercuts in Chicago and asked the first stylist I saw to shave my waist-length hair into something vaguely resembling a hedgehog.

“But why!” she gasped, mournfully stroking the thick mat of Old World hair. I shrugged, and she proceeded to whisper to the other stylists re: my abomination of a plan. This is not intended to aggrandize my hair as though it were an ancient relic lost to the ages, but a realistic depiction of what a 62-year-old Croatian woman with dyed black hair and chalky eyeliner would say if presented with such a situation. Though the stylists collectively laughed and shook their heads, I was a paying customer and therefore, an hour later, I left, head shorn (and admittedly a bit breezy in the November air).

I had wanted a shaved head for some time. It was an ever-inexplicable urge that drew both guffaws and faintly-impressed nods from those with whom I shared my plan. The strand running through it all was the notion I was somehow making a sacrifice; that I was laying down my femininity in exchange for something hard, invulnerable, and asexual. Perhaps I was challenging myself in some way, or participating in some secret ritual only my heart could explain? Nevermind the freedom from the constraints of hair (particularly…