Sports & Leisure Essay
Written by Amy Bugno
As a twenty-something middle-class American, self-expression is a part of my daily routine. Everything I do and say reflects my beliefs, preferences and personality. It is a constant struggle on the path toward the unique that I face every day in a peer group that is constantly judging, envying and imitating, all ironically in the name of being original.
I don’t consider myself to be especially different. I’m pretty mediocre when it comes to art, fashion, talent, and everything else that makes the cool people cool. I try to be myself, wear what I want, say what I want, etc. Most of the time, my self-expression is released through writing, because it comes naturally. But last Tuesday at 1 p.m. I faced the same conundrum of self-expression I come to every five weeks. It was time to get a haircut, and I needed to figure out what I wanted my hair to express about me.
I’ve been highlighting/dyeing my hair since the 5th grade. Cursed with naturally dirty-blonde, thin, straight hair, I discovered the art of hair alteration at an early age. It started with regular blonde highlights and differing cuts (I went from shoulder-length to long to barely chin-length and back again three times through my middle and high school years) after high school graduation I was ready for another reinvention. The day after graduation I chopped my hair into a spiky, short, blonde ‘do that got me through my first semester of college. Since then I’ve been light brown, dark brown, blonde with purple tips, deep auburn, fire-engine red, chocolate brown and subtle red, with a variety of cuts to accompany the color changes. My mom says I got addicted to hair dye, but I think I just discovered that it was a great way to express myself as whatever kind of person I thought I was at each given time.
So last Monday night, on the eve of yet another transformation, I surfed the web in search of a new look. I googled until I could google no more, instant-messaging links to a few select friends for approval. I asked myself how I’ve felt over the last few months, and what kind of hairstyle might suit that feeling. I pondered growing out the bangs, chopping everything or letting it grow long again. I didn’t know what I wanted, I just knew I was ready for a change. After a 2-hour search for the perfect cut, I finally landed on one I thought to be appropriate for my current state of mind. Super-short in the back, a bit longer coming forward, side-swept bangs, and a few long pieces in the front for effect. To me it said, “I’m young and like to have a good time without going absolutely crazy.” Perfect.
I walked into Sanderson Place on Tuesday with a picture in my hand and no idea what to do with the color. I spent another half hour searching through color book after color book and finally landed on a dark reddish-brown, which I think I may have rocked sometime in the past, but haven’t seen in the mirror for quite some time.
Two hours later I walked out with a totally new look. My mom didn’t like it, but I felt exhilarated. It said exactly what I wanted it to say, and it didn’t require me to speak or write a word. Mission accomplished.
Maybe I’m crazy for putting this much thought into a hair cut. I mean, I like to think that people won’t pass judgment on me solely for my outward appearance, but rather on my personality. It’s going to grow out in a month or so, and by that time I might not even be feeling the same personality. But for now, I’m proud to say that the extensive search for the perfect haircut paid off and as superficial as it may be. Though I’ll probably be back on Google searching for something new in five weeks’ time.