"My husband doesn’t let me cut my hair…is it too regressive?"
I am scared and I don’t want to come home with short hair one day and find my husband angry with me.
It all started with when I saw Preity Zinta starrer Lakshya back in 2004. I almost instantly fell in love with her pixie haircut. There’s something about women with short hair that always fascinates me.
I feel it spells so much confidence as if the woman is saying she doesn’t need any external confirmations of femininity and is so sure in her skin that she looks great no matter her short bob.
Now, my story: I am a 35-year-old woman living in Aurangabad. While it is a fairly big city but certain prejudices towards gender exist.
And that’s why when I told my mum back in 2004 that I want her my hair cut just like Preity Zinta she told me first get married and then do whenever you want to. When I argued she guaranteed that no mother would approve me for her son with my ‘parkati’ look.
I gave in, secretly nursing a desire to sport short hair at least once in life. I have always had long, black hair. My hair is not necessarily Sunsilk advertisement material but they are reasonably shiny and get me compliments for its waist length. But every time I see a girl, in short, shoulder length hair my heart skips a beat.
After I got married for a couple of years I did not get my hair shortened as I was unsure how my in-laws and husband would react. Also, the initial first year was spent visiting so many relatives who would invite me to see the new bride that even I thought going with a short hairstyle and a silk sari would look mismatched.
So I waited and after a few years I showed my husband a picture of Preity Zinta in Lakshya and asked him if he likes this style. He said he does. But surprise, surprise… the moment I asked him if I could get the same haircut he began laughing.
He thinks I am out of my mind to even think of getting a bob cut. I relented and asked him if I could at least get a nice blunt of a decent length. But he thinks that this must not be done too.
He has given me all sorts of excuses such as he loves my long hair to what will the relatives think. But all his excuses sound so flimsy to me. Why should I choose a look depending upon the choice of his relatives and honestly why should I even consider his choice?
But I am scared and I don’t want to come home with short hair one day and find my husband angry with me. Since I have always seen myself in long hair even I have a slight apprehension on what if I look funny?
But I need my partner to be supportive even if the look doesn’t suit me and told me to say, hey even if it's not looking great… it will grow back! Instead, my partner has furiously been giving me ultimatums that if he sees me with short hair he will ask me to stay with my parents till my hair grows back.
On other occasions when I have challenged him that one day he will come home to find me with short hair he says that he will stop socializing with me as he will be too embarrassed to take me with him.
This sounds extremely suffocating for me that even in this day and age women like me are seeking approval on things like how they should wear their hair.
Sometimes I have tried to convince myself that he is doing this out of love and he actually likes me in long hair but I cannot deny this attitude also is a form of extreme patriarchy. And the cruel fact is that I am succumbing to this patriarchal behaviour as I do not want to wreck the peace in my home.
*Writer's name has been withheld on request. Story as told to Zofeen Maqsood