I've never met a girl creature who isn't completely tortured by what to do next with her hair. It's a phenomenon that transcends sexuality, race, hair type, personality and personal style. We babes are born hair-crazed, and it's a lifelong fever with no known remedy.
Bangs are a particularly sensitive subject matter for us women.
You know how bloggers are always going on and on about how "eyebrows can LITERALLY change the entire shape of your face"? Ha. That's child's play compared to the world of bangs.
Cutting bangs is a far more dramatic change than any other change. Not only can bangs change the shape of your face, but they can transform your style, amplify your energy and turn your eyes from meek and tiny to fierce and mysterious. Bangs are powerful, and anything powerful can be dangerous. With bangs, you can become an exotic queen of the night or a spindly 14-year-old, socially awkward, adolescent nerd with braces and an oily T-Zone.
So it should come as NO surprise that when a woman contemplates cutting bangs, she's about to go on an epic emotional rollercoaster.
Holier-than-thou people might reduce the torturous, emotional process of cutting bangs to nothing but surface narcissism and vanity, but we all know that those self-important bitches secretly suffer just like the rest of us. I mean, come on! Bangs serve as a core part of your identity, and if you screw 'em up, your self esteem will be screwed for the next year!
Cutting bangs also brings everyone's repressed, deep-rooted issues to the surface: fear of commitment, fear of change and wondering what the hell is my identity?
So ladies everywhere, here are the 15 emotional stages all girls go through when cutting bangs.
Stage 1: The Celebrity/Model Bang Obsession Phase
The deep desire to cut bangs sneaks up on you when you least expect it. I will finally be freed from the tethers of bang fever, just past the awkward phase of growing out my bangs, when BANG -- one freshly coiffed celebrity or model sends me right back into relapse.
As a culture, we're fascinated by models and style icons, and it's always some "it girl" who causes us to spiral into the dark bang vortex. For me, it was supermodel Karlie Kloss.
Her petite little features just seemed to pop with her eyebrow-grazing, freshly-cut bangs. It was like she went from a sweet girl next door to an aloof, chic, French vixen -- overnight. And I long to be an aloof, chic, French vixen more than anything in the world.
The next thing I know, I'm not even sleeping. I'm thinking about nothing but Bridgette Bardot-style, eyelash-tickling, fashion-forward, gorgeous bangs. I'm up all night with cold sweats, feverishly Googling models and celebrities who mildly resemble me (Zooey Deschanel, Drew Barrymore, Penelope Cruz) and gazing at pictures of them with BANGS.
I'm obsessed. I can't sleep, I can't focus and I can't eat.
Stage 2: The Fantasy Phase
All I'm doing is fantasizing about how amazing my dismal life would be if only I HAD BANGS.
Every time I throw on that simple, basic shift dress, I'm staring at my reflection in the mirror imagining how much more sophisticated a woman I would be with some straight-across bangs.
When I wing my black liquid liner, I think of how how much more effective my eye makeup would be with the help of bangs to make my eyes more prominent. When I go on a date, I fantasize of how much more romantic and sultry my crush would find me if only she were staring at chic bangs, not my greasy forehead (five head).
When I storm out of a meeting after a heated creative debate, I think to myself, Zara, get it together. Then I think that if only I had gracefully waltzed out of the room with bangs, my little freakout would have made me seem complex and educated, like I was an opinionated European girl, not a bitchy, immature New York girl who can't control her temper.
I lose days secretly fantasizing about how much more amazing every stupid situation would be with bangs.
Stage 3: The Ask Everyone What The F*ck THEY Think Phase
This stage is probably the most annoying emotional stage of all the emotional stages. You incessantly ask, ask, ask everyone and their mother if they think you should CUT YOUR BANGS.
Owen, my celebrity hairstylist best friend, gets particularly irritated with this phase, as women probably ask him this question three million times per day. The moment the words "Owen, do you think I should cut bangs" come flying out of my perfectly glossed lips, he shuts down. He shoots me a don't-you-dare glance, and his eyes go dead. He ignores me and spends the rest of our lunch silently Tindering and wistfully smoking cigarettes.
The weirdest part of this phase is that no one is safe. You ask the untouchable style maven at work AND the frumpy, mean, old witch lady who serves you coffee with a nasty grimace at the local bodega for her opinion. You ask your friends, and you ask your enemies. You ask your mothers, and you ask twice-removed cousins you don't even like.
And the worst part is they all have a strong opinion about your bang debacle. Regardless of where they fall on the "good taste" spectrum, you dutifully listen to all of them. I've listened to the opinions of women with hacked hair and frosted highlights with the same focus and intensity I've listened to the opinions of New York City's top stylists.
You go temporarily insane and just need to hear whatever anyone has to say. You're ravenous for validation, and you don't care who it comes from.
Which leads me seamlessly into Stage 4.
Stage 4: The Extreme Emotional Rollercoaster Phase
You've spent sleepless and feverish nights contemplating bangs. You've asked so many people that you've completely lost all sense of self. Your life has become a never-ending rollercoaster with dramatic highs and epic lows.
One moment you're on Team Bangs, and the next you're sure it will be a huge mistake that will ruin your face, your beauty and your life.
Stage 5: The "Screw It, I'm Doing It" Phase
This stage usually comes while having a few cocktails with your enabling bestie.
"Ruba, really, honestly, tell me. Should I cut bangs?" I will dramatically ask my friend, as if I was asking whether I should get a divorce.
Ruba, playing right along, will take a dramatic sip of her blood red wine, look me dead in the eye and bestow me the pep talk that I've been secretly vying for all along.
"Zara, I don't care what anyone says. I think you will look super hot and super chic with bangs. Don't listen to anyone else, just do it. I support you."
Hot and chic. That's my ultimate goal.
I'll lovingly gaze at Ruba, squeeze her hand and whisper "thank you" with tears in my eyes. Suddenly, I don't need anyone's validation anymore. I'm an empowered woman who knows what she wants. If anyone dares to ask me whether I'm sure I want bangs, they are met with a wildly defensive response: "I'm cutting bangs, and I don't care what you think."
Stage 6: The Cold Feet In The Salon Chair Phase
The moment has come to cut bangs. You've already had your pretty little trim, and this is the final step of your haircut. You stare at yourself in the mirror and take in how gorgeous you look with your fresh blowout and snipped dead ends.
Sh*t, do I REALLY want bangs? you begin to wonder, fear and doubt snaking its way in your mind.
"Honestly, should I do it? My hair looks really good as it is," you ask your stylist as if she's God and carries the secrets to your happiness in the zipper of her hair-tool belt.
"I think you should do whatever you want," your stylist will answer, suddenly cold and removed. Oh, she's been down this path before, and just like Owen, she goes into shut down mode when you start to fret about bangs.
After weeks of certainty, you now find yourself with cold feet. You're once again bitter and agonized, going back and forth in that tortured little brain of yours of what you should do.
Stage 7: The Nervous But Doing It Anyway Phase
You only live once. You're full of fear, but you're going to do it. After all, hair grows back, right?
Usually, this is when I ask the salon for wine.
Stage 8: The Side Swept Bang Phase
"Um, do you mind if we just start out a little conservative? Like maybe some long, side swept bangs?" you say to the stylist, trying to make it sound exciting but actually sounding weak and half-assed.
Your stylist smirks into the mirror and nods. You feel like you're letting her down by not trusting her talent, but you're still too afraid to go all the way.
Stage 9: The "Holy Sh*t, I Look Amazing" Phase
You open your eyes that have been squeezed together, partly out of fear and partly so little snippets of hair don't fall into your lids and cut your eyeballs.
WOW. You've got gorgeous, shiny, stunning side swept bangs sweeping down the good side of your face. You love it. You realize, Woah, that wasn't so scary after all.
Stage 10: The "I Want More" Phase
Now that you've dipped your delicate toe into the big, bad bang pond, you're ready to dive deep. You've had a taste of the power of le bang, it was sweet. In fact, it was so sweet, you're craving just a little more.
Stage 11: The Ugly Greed Phase
You had perfect Bridgette Bardot bangs highlighting your eyes. You went from plain Jane to exotic Cleopatra with just a little slice of the scissors. You looked actually perfect. That was the place you should have stayed.
But you always screw things up by wanting more, don't you, sweet darling? The perfection and the beauty in front of you just wasn't enough. You had to go further.
Suddenly, you're asking for short, baby-doll bangs. The kind high fashion models who grace the elite runways of Chanel have. Your stylist knows it's a bad idea, but you're high on greed and force her into more. She reluctantly obliges.
Stage 12: The Skewed Sense Of Self Phase
You know what? You might not be a model, but screw it. You love your bangs! You can't wait to show off your tiny baby-doll, Euro model bangs to all of your unfashionable friends.
Stage 13: The Crash And Burn Phase
You go to a party later that night. After all, we must go out when we get our hair done, right, ladies?
But you're noticing weird, quizzical looks from friends.
"I like it. They're, like, very 'artsy'?" Tina will say, lovingly fingering her long, bang-less locks.
No girl ever wants to hear that her hair looks "artsy." That's a nice way of saying, "You look insane." So, you crash. You go into the bathroom and stare at your reflection in the dirty mirror of the house party. If only you had stopped at the straight across, brow touching bang.
Sh*t. This was a terrible idea.
Stage 14: The Painful, Ugly Grow Out Phase
You immediately start growing your botched bangs out, and it's a painful process. You feel like a pimply adolescent. No matter how expensive or gorgeous your outfit, you still look awkward and uncomfortable in your skin.
You feel ugly and invisible for about a year.
Until, finally, they grow out.
Stage 15: The Bang Fever Once Again Phase
Like I said, it's cyclical, kittens. You've finally grown out your horrible bangs, and you're just starting to feel good about life again. Until the fever returns. Gigi Hadid cut bangs and looks like a new woman.
Hmm, maybe that's what's missing, you ponder, touching your naked forehead.
And bam, you're back to Stage 1.