Friday, October 28, 2011

How To Cut Your Hair With Kindergarten Craft Scissors: A Beginner's Guide

When I began getting ready to come to Palestine, I made the decision to start growing out my hair. Many women here keep their hair longer than most Americans (of course, I can't speak for the more conservative Muslim women who cover their hair, but I assume it's kept long as well). Before I came here, I figured that keeping my hair dark and leaving it long would mean that I'd have at least one thing physically in common with most of the other women here. I mean, obviously I am not Palestinian, and I will never be mistaken for a Palestinian, but I figured, hey, every little bit that I can blend in helps, right?

So fast-forward to real life in Palestine: hair down to my hips, while beautiful, is totally impractical. First, there's the whole "water shortage" problem, which means that I can only (in good conscience) wash my hair once every two or three days. Then there's the fact that I can't go out with wet hair, and it takes forever to dry. There's also the slight issue of not having my hair straightener, curling iron, or any hair products with me. As I was packing for Palestine, the lack of luggage space paired with my desire to "live simply" meant that the only hair things I brought were a brush, hair ties, and bobby pins (although since coming here and learning the "no wet hair" rule, I've also gotten a travel-size blowdryer). I figured that bringing hair stuff would be wasteful and pretentious. At the time, it made perfect sense. In retrospect, TERRIBLE DECISION. The frustration of having really long hair coupled with an inability to tame it was growing.

This brings us to last week, when I decided that I needed to cut my hair. Pronto. The only problem with this plan was that I don't know any hair stylists in Palestine, and I really wasn't in the mood to go exploring. I have enough trouble trying to explain what I want when there's no language barrier, so add me trying to communicate how I want my hair cut in mangled Arabic, and you have a recipe for disaster. That, plus the fact that this hair-cutting-impulse came at 9pm on a Thursday, which here means that everyone is home in bed, only left me with few options.

So what did I do?
A. Went to bed, gave it a little time, and waited for the impulse to pass.
B. Waited patiently until the morning to ask my host mother to recommend a good stylist.
C. Started rummaging through the desk drawers in my living room, found kindergarten craft scissors, and cut my hair myself.

If you guessed either A or B, then it is obvious that you don't know me very well. Of course, I decided to cut my hair right away. How hard could cutting hair be, anyways? I didn't want a pixie cut, I didn't want a posh bob, I just wanted some of the length off and a few layers added. Also, I'm not at all emotionally attached to my hair, so if I messed it up completely... no big deal! Easy peasy!

So I started hacking away. The only problem with my scissors, is that they are specially designed to not slice open toddler fingers during use. Awesome for toddlers, not awesome for hair cutting enthusiasts. After about 20 minutes, I pronounced my hair "complete," and so I waited for it to air dry and then examined the results.

I don't think it turned out too badly, BUT I will allow you to be the judge, because I feel like you deserve a good laugh. So in total, I cut about 5-8 inches off of the longest layers, and 10-12 inches off of the shortest layers.

The most recent "before" picture that I have:

Time to start hacking away:

Post-hair cut: 


So what do you think?! Is beauty school in my future? Okay, maybe not, but this was definitely a fantastic stress reliever and an experience that I'll remember for a long time. I'm doing nothing if not learning self-reliance here in Palestine. I've been spoiled by the States, and now I'm learning how to do things for myself. Maybe "cutting your own hair with craft scissors" isn't necessarily on the To Do List of the independent and self-reliant, but it was a good lesson for me in not stressing over the little things. And honestly, why waste time stressing over what your hair looks like? There are way more important things to worry about, like what color socks you're wearing, or what flavor cereal you're going to have for breakfast.

Perhaps after I'm done learning self-reliance, I can start learning impulse control.
But that is a topic for another blog post.
So until then:
Stay safe, and enjoy your Halloween!
I will be busy craving candy corn from the opposite side of the planet.

1 comment:

  1. Haha! Awesome! I have a distinct memory of cutting my own hair over the air vent in my parents' bedroom when I was about 5. Definitely an experience worth having. And the horrified look on my mother's face when she saw/my Kindergarten school picture in which my bangs are crooked are such a small price to pay.
    And your hair looks really good too. ;)