Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

Carey Mulligan. What. A. Goddess.

She can act. She can sing. She can marry a Mumford and still manage to get some lip-on-lip action with Leo Dicaprio. Carey Mulligan is living the dream, ladies and gentlemen. And she’s doing it all with  arguably the cutest haircut anyone has ever seen: the pixie.

I myself recently acquired such a haircut and, needless to say, Ms. Mulligan was a huge inspiration. The three months my long hair and I have spent apart have been three very strange months indeed, for one reason above all: they’ve involved a nonstop stream of questions about my pixie cut.

“Why on earth did you do it?”

Well, it all started when I watching the movie Amélie (continuing with my habit of making major life decisions based on films). Beyond being blown away by the movie’s location, cinematography, and overall loveliness, I couldn’t take my eyes off Audrey Tautou’s close crop of hair. It was so different, so fresh, so quirky- and I was in love with it.

I found myself thinking: I’ve wanted to chop off my hair since forever. Since before forever, in fact. Since the prehistoric era of eighth grade. Emma Watson had just hacked off Hermione’s locks and I was super jealous of her bravery. Who cares what the media thought; she looked fierce and chic around the clock. I, as a dorky middle schooler with fluffy hair and horrible bangs, wanted nothing more than to do the exact same thing; but at the time, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

 And then I thought of all the short-haired heroines I’d recently seen grace the screen:

  • Audrey Tautou in Amélie
  • Audrey Helburn in Roman Holiday
  • Anne Hathaway in Les Mis (okay, not in Les Mis – the starving prostitute look isn’t exactly something to strive for- but certainly on the Les Mis red carpet)
  • And of course, Carey Mulligan in The Great Gatsby

Beyond the cheesy, romantic idea I had of short hair, I also found myself thinking of its practical purposes. My shower time could easily be sliced in half. I would never need to buy hair ties again. More than anything, I was beyond sick of hair everywhere. As any long-haired ladies can attest, having long hair = shedding like a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Hair gets stuck on your clothes, your sheets- even your carpet. And don’t even bring up the shower drain, or I might gag. I just got to a point where I couldn’t take it anymore.

 And when Karen Gillan (possessor of the most gloriously glossy red mane humanity has ever seen) revealed her shaved head at this year’s Comic-Con, I knew that I was out of excuses ( “But I need long hair for prom!” “But I need long hair for senior pictures!” “But I need long hair for graduation!”). If Karen Gillan could hack off her hair, I could certainly hack off mine.

“Did your boyfriend break up with you or something?”

Erm… no. No he did not (like Ryan Gosling would ever do that to me).

“Wow- this must be such a time-saver for you!”

Wouldn’t you think so? Short hair is surprisingly high-maintenance, but I guess you have to make sacrifices sometime or another. I spend just as much time on my hair now as I did when it was a foot long, except now I don’t have the option to take a lazy day to put it in a ponytail or a topknot. I definitely can’t just roll out of bed and leave it as-is (unless I feel like rocking a fauxhawk).

(Heard in passing)

“Oh my God, is that a guy or a girl?”

A girl. A girl with excellent hearing.

“I’ve always wanted to do that… how exactly did you do it?”

First, I told myself that I had to take one month – a full thirty days – to decide whether I really wanted to do this, or it was just the Virginia summer heat messing with my head. During that time, I made a Pinterest board of haircuts that I really liked (and yes, I really did name it “Short Hair, Don’t Care”), and looked up loads of blogs of women who’d taken the plunge already. After a month was up, I still wanted the haircut more than anything.

I went to a salon I really liked and felt good about. Was it more expensive than going the usual Supercuts route? Definitely; but I felt like I was in safe hands, which made the whole experience a lot better. I also brought along a printout of the pictures from my Pinterest board to show the stylist, so that she knew exactly how I wanted everything to look.

Do you ever regret it?

Sometimes. I have to get it trimmed about every six weeks, which is a bit of a hassle and certainly isn’t cheap. When I’m in the final fifth-week stretch and my hair is shaggy and sloppy-looking, my confidence levels aren’t really at 100%. And no one is immune to the occasional bad hair day.

But whenever I find myself pining for my old Rapunzel-esque ‘do, I just try to remind myself of all the reasons I cut it in the first place, and all the fabulous perks of the pixie:

  1. My hair was always in a ponytail or topknot anyway. Always.
  2. Which isn’t even to mention that it was frizzy and poofy absolutely all the time.
  3. Let’s face it: I was never that good at braiding.
  4. My swanky earrings look that much more fabulous when you can actually see them.
  5. If I get the sudden urge to cosplay Captain America or Dean Winchester (which I admit, has yet to happen) I can do it with that much more authenticity.
  6. Hats look SO CUTE on me now.
  7. The money I’ve saved on shampoo is unbelievable.
  8. I never have to worry about scrambling for a hair tie before Chemistry labs.
  9. I donated my hair to Children With Hair Loss, so someone who needs it more than I did is currently rocking it.
  10. I’m not going to lie: being compared to Audrey Hepburn on a regular basis is pretty freaking cool.

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the author

Elizabeth Watson (just call her Beth) is a senior at an itty-bitty private Catholic high school in Virginia. In addition to writing for The Prospect, she writes and performs sketch comedy with her improv troupe, rehearses like mad for school theatre productions, suits up for forensics competitions, and writes poetry for her school’s literary magazine. A brief rundown of Beth’s favorite people and things ever to exist in no particular order: hole-in-the-wall bookshops, sweaters, Jane Eyre, peppermint tea (in a Troy and Abed mug, of course), Broadway musicals, British period dramas, Neil Patrick Harris, and Hugh Jackman. Beth’s long-term goal in life to is to become Julie Andrews, but for now she’s focusing on surviving the final stretch of high school and getting into college–hopefully as an English major

3 Readers Commented

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  1. Cat on November 7, 2013

    YES. You look adorably Audrey Hepburn-esque. (I totally make major life decisions based off of movies too). When I had short hair, I got the same “Are you a boy or a girl?” reactions but it was still worth the experience. I have long hair now, but I’ve been really tempted to go for the bob cut for ages and this article makes me want to just go and do it.

  2. Sophia on November 8, 2013

    I’ve been wanting to get a pixie soon, but since it’s winter, I’ll most likely wait until the summer. Yours is so gorgeous!

  3. Claire Hendrick on November 9, 2013

    I had a pixie in seventh grade, and I loved it. A boy that sat next to me in band, instead of commenting on how it was boyish, high fived me for have shorter hair than him. I kinda fell in love with him from that moment on.

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