Shaving My Head

By: Christine Hersom

(4 min read)

So, I did a thing last week. I have thick hair that I keep short and kind of spiky. In the last five years or so, I have also developed a couple of obnoxious cowlicks. In case anybody is wondering what a cowlick is, it is when the hair grows in flat swirls. When looked at closely, it looks just like a cow licked that spot on your head. Are you picturing it? Being a farm girl, I am picturing the saliva that is matting my head from the cow. But I digress.

I have this one cowlick that suddenly grew longer than all my other hair. My head in that spot looks like I touched that electric ball that used to come to all the schools when I was a kid. If you touched the ball, your hair would stick out straight all over. It was so cool. But everybody looked silly. Glad we didn’t have cell phones then. So back to my hair…it only stood up in this one spot. For whatever reason, the rest of my hair lay flat. No amount of gel, hairspray, or paste would change the look. Now I normally don’t have a problem with my hair. It is just hair, and I grow it out and shave it off whenever the whim strikes me. Now that the “blessed” menopause is here, I prefer short hair. I am hot 99% of the time. Long hair just exacerbates the heat.

This cowlick annoyed me, so I checked to see when my next hair appointment was.  Not for three weeks. I wouldn’t last three weeks. I would be crazy by the end of the first week. I looked for available appointments, but with prom and graduation, my stylist was booked solid until my regularly scheduled appointment.

I thought about sneaking out to the barber down the street. However, I couldn’t do that. I am loyal to my stylist. I decided in the end to fix my cowlick myself. It couldn’t be that hard. I cut my husband’s and grandson’s hair with the shaver all the time. I grabbed my mirror, my shaver, and stood back to the large mirror in the bathroom. You know the adage, “Measure twice and cut once.” You wouldn’t think so, but that applies to hair too. Everything in the mirror is backwards. I didn’t give that a thought. I was on a mission, and I consider myself to be an intelligent person. I’m not. I applied the razor to what looked like the cowlick. It wasn’t. It was the other side of my head. Now I have a real quandary. I still have the cowlick, and I have shaved a piece of my head that I didn’t want shaved. All I can think is that my stylist is going to kill me. I moved the shaver to the other side and shaved the actual cowlick. Now I have two spots shaved on the back of my head near the top. It will be fine; I can’t see the back of my head. It will grow back by the time I see my stylist. I am in the clear. Whew!!

It wasn’t fine. I looked like an alien. My sides and back are kept shaved short, and my top is about two to three inches long. I now have two bald spots on the back of my head where the shaved hair meets the longer hair. My family laughed at me like a pack of wild hyenas. Again, I don’t care about my hair, but my pride was hurt. Remember earlier when I said I was intelligent? It is safe to say that with this decision, I was not.

I decided at that point that I would shave my head entirely. My best friend is getting to begin his chemo and has shaved his head in preparation. I will do it to show my solidarity during this fight. I get out the shaver and have my grandson shave my entire head with a number two blade shield. Before I know it, it is done. Having my head shaved completely was so freeing. I felt light, cool, and free. I mean, with a shaved head, I don’t have to style my hair at all in the mornings. What could be better than this?

Now I see people shave their hair in solidarity with friends fighting cancer all the time. It is a gesture they do so the friend doesn’t feel so alone being bald and sick. It’s a beautiful gesture but becomes more than a gesture. Having hair helps us to regulate heat in our body. When a person is cold, the first thing most people say is to put on a hat. Since shaving my head, I have had to wear a hat daily. I am freezing all the time. So much for being free. Like most cancer patients, I would give anything to have my hair back. Not for looks or style but for the warmth that I never realized it truly provided me. I am fortunate in that my hair grows fast, and I am not taking chemical pills that cause it to fall out.

In the future, I will show my solidarity with my friend by being there for him whenever he needs something. I will also always have a hat and blanket for when he is cold.  

Christine Marshall Hersom
All Things Wellness, LLC

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