Seth's Bald Head

I let my hair grow from buzzed to in-my-way over the course of about a year. I'd been planning to let it grow for a few more years, to get the full experience, but I decided I'd had enough. Clearly it was time to shave it all off. This occurred to me mid-October, which is a dangerous time for thoughts like that. Halloween. Two weeks. Perfect.

I took most of these pictures myself, so please forgive their crappy quality. Self portraits in a tiny dorm room are difficult.

Sun, 31 Oct 1999

Before

Seth with hair Me, minutes before cutting it all off.

After

pile of hair My hair, no longer attached to my head.

I took pictures immediately after shaving, and after getting cleaned up from my Halloween costume, but they didn't come out. But I do have several photos of progressive hair growth.

+1 day: Mon, 1 Nov 1999

Seth with no hair Seth with no hair, top view (My head looks a bit pointier than it is, due to the shadow on the wall right behind me.)

My head was still pretty smooth on the next day. Feeling the hood of my jacket on my head was weird. Feeling tiny breezes was weird. Feeling my cold hands on my head was really weird, and I couldn't get enough of it.

Fred once told me that I should shave my head at least once to see what it was like. At the time, I thought, "Yeah, whatever, I guess I might as well.". But I didn't suspect the magnitude of the experience.

A completely smooth head is a qualitatively different sensory experience than even the closest buzz. If you haven't tried it, you have no idea. I highly recommend it. If you've ever had a full beard for a while and then shaved it off, you have had a glimpse into the world of the shaved head, but you should take the plunge someday and experience the real thing.

The only downside for me was that I'd treated my scalp rather poorly prior to displaying it, and it showed. I shaved it, I covered it with grease-based make-up, then I used dishwashing detergent to get the make-up off (because I stupidly hadn't acquired anything more appropriate). So my skin was red in patches, which was kind of nasty. It faded, but by then you couldn't really see my scalp anyway.

+1 week: Sun, 7 Nov 1999

Seth with a little hair A funny thing happened as my hair grew back. From about day 2 until day 7 or so, it was difficult to put my hat on. The stubble on my head kept the hat from sliding on, just when I needed it most. I didn't take my hat off so much as I peeled it off. Taking that as my cue, I stopped trying to slide it on and just unpeeled it back onto my head.

I transitioned nicely from playing with my smooth head all the time to playing with my extremely short hair all the time.

+2 weeks: Sun, 14 Nov 1999

Seth with a little more hair Once hair is long enough that a hat can slide over it, it's long enough to maintain a respectable inventory of fuzz. For a week or so, I was always finding bits of fuzz in my hair, picked up mostly from my hat and scarf.

Two weeks of hair is still lots of fun to play with.

+1 month

By now my hair is already much longer than I've had it cut before. I didn't realize it then, but those times I got a close buzz, I was only a couple weeks away from a totally smooth head.

Even after a month, I still get lots of comments about the growth of my hair. Many people were amazed at how fast it grew. I'm still often greeted by "Your hair is getting long!". The novelty of playing with it is gone (for me and for others), but I still have some residual rub-my-head-while-deep-in-thought reflexes.

With winter upon me (and the first snow falling as I write this), I don't think I'll shed completely again soon, but I'll probably return to smoothness eventually. It was too much fun to do only once.