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… well, ok, not exactly. But for someone who has had waist-length honey-blonde fairytale princess hair her entire adult life, it certainly feels that drastic.

I’d always told myself that on the first day of the zombie apocalypse, I’d put my hair up into a ponytail and saw it off with a machete for ease and safety. Short of that, long hair was here to stay. I had been planning on getting it shortened a wee bit before I got to Kenya, but I couldn’t because I wanted it to be all purtiful for my college graduation (which ended up being the day before. So yeah.)

When I got here, I just never got around to it. I hemmed and hawed and made excuses. But you can only wake up with all of your hair stuck completely to your face with sweat so many times before going “This has got to change.” Washing that much hair in a bucket sucks. It’s super-hot already on the Kenyan Coast, and promises only to get hotter in the next month or two as summer kicks into high gear. After trying to do my laundry without a hairtie the other day because my last one broke (and thus ending up getting as much laundry soap and brown water in my hair as on my clothes) I realized: THIS MUST END NOW.

See? I had so much hair it WOULDN’T ALL FIT IN THE FRAME. It just keeps going. Forever.

So I marched myself down to the local kinyozi (barber/hairdresser/salon). I didn’t know anything about them except that my neighbor’s sister possibly works there, and they looked like they had scissors. A few other people were there getting braids done or their nails painted. I had my hair pulled up in a utilitarian get-this-off-the-back-of-my-neck-NOW bun, but when I arrived, I pulled out the pencil holding it up and did the slow-mo hair-waterfall head-shake for the last time. All other activity in the kinyozi stopped. As I flopped into the chair and tried to explain how short I wanted it, a small cluster of Kenyan women gathered discreetly in the back to watch me with expressions that ranged from intrigued to bewildered. Why is the mzungu chopping off all that nice hair?

The last moments of The Hair. Excuse the sweaty, red, make-up-less-ness. I look like that all the time here.

I had wanted it roughly collarbone length, but when the stylist started cutting, I could tell it was going to be way, way shorter. Too late now. I popped in my iPod earbuds and set it to shuffle. First song: “Point of No Return,” from the Phantom of the Opera Musical. Second song: “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)” by Shakira.

It’s almost like it knew.

The whole process took about half an hour – a sweaty, tense half-hour. The stylist pronounced “done” more than once before realizing one side was notably shorter than the other and rushing to make adjustments. After all that, the end result waaas …


I expected to be horrified until I got used to it. I expected to have to remind myself of its heat-dispersal function for a good long while until I grew to tolerate it. But really? It’s kind of cute.


When it’s wet, it’s almost shoulder-length. When it’s dry, it’s more like chin-length. I wish it were a bit longer – it’s currently too short to put in a ponytail, which is a pain – but I kind of dig it. And if I wake up one day hating it, I have roughly two years to grow it out before anyone in the States has to see it. It’s not like getting a tattoo on your face. It self-corrects.

My only REAL regret from the whole experience is not remembering until much, much too late to ask the folks to save the cuttings so I could mail it to Locks of Love or some equivalent. Although the nice folks at the post office already think I’m a little weird; wonder what they’d do if I showed up with a bag of hair?

Poor, poor Cousin It. He never even saw the lawnmower coming.

So here’s a question for any of you who’ve had short hair: wtf do I do with it now? Other than “down and brushed” or “down and not brushed,” what are my options for making it cuter with effort? Suggestions?

Hard to believe that a mere 8 days ago I was still gnawing my nails to nubbins waiting to hear where I was going to be sent. Let’s a take a ride in the Wayback Machine to that fateful moment when all was revealed, shall we?

(In case you’re wondering, yes, my posts will get WAY more exciting as we near staging. Right now I’m just treading water. I’m as ready to leave as you are to have me gone, lol.)



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Yours truly