Friday, January 27, 2012

On Head Shaving

A lot of people have asked me a short, specific list of things about shaving my head. These are, by definition, FAQs.

Isn't it cold?
No. Well... not really. I'm far more susceptible to cold breezes, but fortunately hats exist.

What do you shave with, and how often do you need to?
I originally carved all my hair off with an electric trimmer and then used my Gillette Fusion to do the actual shaving. I've loved this razor for years for shaving my face, but I was a little concerned about it being awkward on my head. Fortunately, it was just as awesome for this purpose. I was able to get away with shaving every third day.

Using the Fusion takes me about 15 minutes, plus occasional 5-second trips back to get tiny spots I missed. A few people expressed concerns about cutting themselves with this method, but I was not even remotely careful for the last few weeks of doing it this way and never once cut myself.

A couple months ago, however, I bought an electric razor from ConAir designed specifically for head shaving. I think it's called the Clean Head. It takes about half the time and shaves just as closely. The downside is that I have to shave every day because the razor does not work well on anything but the wimpiest stubble. The upside is that it motivates me to shave every day, and I do like that baby smooth feeling.

There exists a little chassis that holds standard razor blades but is shaped to fit in your hand while you shave your head instead of with a handle like for facial shaving. I have absolutely no interest in this product, as I like the speed of the electric razor and the control of the handle, but from what I read on forums lots of people do like it.

Can I feel?
Go for it. Unless we're close, though, please ask first. I'll say yes, but it's just good manners, y'know?

Is there anything you didn't expect about it?
So many things. 24 hours after shaving, my head is like velcro. My knit hat peels off. 48 hours afterwards, my head sticks to the pillow - it's as uncomfortable as it sounds.

Showering feels incredibly weird. Water hitting scalp feels very different from water hitting hair. However, showering is much shorter. My shampoo bottle stares listlessly up at me from the side of the tub. Sorry, bro.

I have more moles on my head than I realized. This is going to make my dermatologist's job way easier, though.

I'd like to try it, but what if I have a funny-shaped head?
Yeah. You might. I was worried I might look like a serial killer. It seems worth trying though, if only to see your scalp. I thought it was pretty cool that I got to, literally speaking, see a part of me I had never seen before.

And, while not the most frequently asked question, but perhaps the most important, and the one I'm most excited to talk (rant?) about...

Why did you do it?
First of all, I hate this question. Not many hairstyles (is bald a hairstyle? is atheism a religious belief? is white a color?) provoke such a response. I guess it's not so much the semantics of the question as it is the tone. People ask it in the same way as if they had just discovered I consciously decided to set my garage on fire.

If you're thinking about shaving your head, let me give you a piece of advice: don't do it right after a breakup. People will assume that this is why and will worry about you. That is not why I did it, but where applicable, thank you for your concern and I'm sorry for scaring anyone. I will say that it was a fairly cathartic experience and I can now see why someone might react as such, though.

Alas, the reason I did it was far more mundane: I didn't like being balding.

For the past year or so I've been trying to take more control of my personal fashion. It's been frustrating that I am severely limited in hairstyle options because I'm halfway to being Jean-Luc Picard. It feels nice to still have an option that isn't marred by the fact that it's a bit thin on top.

But if anyone asks, I usually just say because genetics was too much of a pussy to finish the job.