Does My Pixie Piss You Off?

I got a pixie cut, and I love it so much that it doesn't bother me that no one else does. And to say that no one else likes it is an understatement. The fact that I cut my hair -- going from bra-length to pixie-shorn over a period of three months -- actually appears to have pissed people off. Mostly male people, but a significant number of female people as well.

Although I assume that it goes without saying, please allow me to clarify: I didn't cut my hair to piss anyone off. I cut it because I had grown to hate my long hair. I'd worn my hair long nearly all my life - with two exceptions. The first was when I was ten, and my mom had "Mr. Tony" give me a "Dorothy Hamill". I cried when I saw myself in the mirror and swore "never again." Then I lost every hair on my head to chemotherapy when I was thirty-six. Even then, I wore long, flowing wigs for as long as I could -- until my hair had grown too long for a wig to stay securely attached to my head. For the next year, I waited anxiously for my unintended tiny little pixie to grow back to how I liked it: long. Long. Loooong. Once again, I swore my forever fealty to long, flowing locks.

What both short-hair interludes had in common was that I lacked choice in the matter. Having had short hair foisted upon me, I felt bullied by it. I never expected to wake up one day more than ten years later and realize that I felt bullied by my long hair. But that's what happened towards the end of this past long, frizzy summer. I got out of the shower and was pulling my hair back into a high ponytail - for what felt like the zillionth day in a row -- and the thought occurred to me: if I liked having long hair so much, then why don't I ever wear it down?

The answer was painfully obvious: because my hair looked like crap. It didn't know whether to be straight or curly. It fell in awkward cowlicks. It made my neck sweat. It felt unkempt, and the inevitable ponytail made me look like I was too busy carpooling to give a damn about what I looked like. I looked in the mirror and saw a soccer mom staring back. And my kids don't even play soccer.

I started by just cutting some bangs. But as most bangs turn out to be, mine were unfortunate. Next came a chin-length bob. I liked it until I realized that I had shaken off "soccer mom" to channel "recent college graduate looking for first job". That's how chin-length came to be ear-lobe-length. And I loved ear-lobe length -- until I realized that it didn't look like an intentional style so much as that awkward middle stage of growing out a pixie.

Wait. Did someone say "pixie"?

Suddenly, thoughts of a sassy little pixie - a fully intentional pixie, a pixie by choice, rather than a pixie that was foisted upon me by a well-meaning mom or a life-threatening illness - danced in my head as I obsessed over photos of Robin Wright, Michelle Williams, Mia Farrow and Emma Watson and followed "NothingButPixies" on Instagram.

Please allow me to say this again: I did not cut my hair to piss anyone off. I cut my hair because I was tired of wearing my hair in a ponytail every damned day. I cut my hair because I was feeling young and sassy and creative, and yet my hair looked old and tired and boring. I cut my hair because I cared about how I looked, while my hair made me look like I'd given up. I cut my hair because I wanted to look more feminine -- and nothing puts the g-rated lady-bits (lips, eyes and cheekbones, not to mention ears, neck and collarbones) on display like a pixie.

Although I didn't cut my hair to piss anyone off, I seem to have done just that. When my husband first saw my new do, he gasped and told me, "I can't look at you right now" (although he has since apologized and gifted me with jewelry to make up for his gaffe). A day after I posted my first pixie-selfie on Facebook, a comedian friend posted, "Women, when you cut your hair off, you are basically admitting that you hate men." A little laugh at my expense much? Click. Unfollowed.

Among women, the most popular response to my short hair is, "My husband would kill me." While I understand the sentiment, I'm inevitably left wondering how we transitioned from my hair to her husband. But some women will ask me directly, "What did your husband say?" Either way, the message I'm gleaning is, "You suck as a wife, and I'm inexplicably pissed off by it."

"You're so brave," some women tell me when they see me for the first time since I went pixie. Most would swear that this is meant to be a compliment. But really? What am I "brave" for exactly? For disobeying my husband? For walking around with short hair? For daring to look like me? Sorry, but I call bullshit -- as in passive-aggressive bullshit. When someone says, "you're so brave," what I hear is "Your short hair causes me to feel inexplicably pissed off."

Just as some women feel compelled to express their pissed-offness by damning me with faint praise, others feel compelled to politely explain why they won't be cutting their hair any time soon. My favorite version of this is, "I could never cut my hair because I need to be able to wear a ponytail." It's just so poetic. And circular. But what I find particularly curious is why my hair inspires some women to say aloud that they would never make the same choice. It's not as if I've demanded that they join forces with me in my obvious man-hating and husband-baiting. And it's not as if I've demanded an explanation as to why they aren't getting a haircut.

I cut off my long hair because I wanted short hair. It's really that simple. I didn't do it to piss anyone off. If my pixie pisses you off, just remember: it's mine.