Late one night, lying in bed, I had the idea to shave my head and make a flip-book of it. I don’t know where it came from, but it was such a fun, bold, and crazy idea that I laughed out loud. I became overwhelmed with curiosity to know what I would look like without hair, and to see through photos how my face reacted to witnessing the transformation. To create a new beginning, a clean, minimalist canvas, similar to the way a shower can feel like hitting the re-set button, leaving you refreshed.
The plan was innocent, a bit naïve, with a tinge of adolescent-like provocation. I was conscious of the memories of WWII collaborators a young shaved woman could conjure in Paris. I also knew that my desirability as a woman may be compromised if I removed this sensual part of my exterior. Every man I had ever known had always told me not to cut my hair, and I wanted to know: without it, would they still see me? What would change?
In the days following, I kept a small notebook in my pocket, where I recorded the reactions of the world around me. This experience will soon be completed in book form, but for now here are some excerpts:
I have no hair to hide behind. My active eyebrows give away all my thoughts.
Some people are staring, and some raise their eyebrows when they see my face.
My head feels cold then hot.
I wonder if it’s blushing.
With a head that invites people to look, I forfeit a certain amount of privacy. Today I miss it. I feel like an animal in the zoo. Studied head-to-toe, never the reverse, looking for a reason why.
A man named Alpha sits down next to me on the line 5 metro. He asks me why I did it. His friend did it because she was depressed. He asks me, "Vous êtes déprimée?"
Someone tells me I am more feminine, not less, without my hair.