A few months ago, I woke up in that Hmm, should I get bangs? state. Your friends always say no. The Internet mostly says no. But those who say yes are loud, passionate. Guys who don't know what a topknot is know how they feel about bangs. Everyone has an opinion, everyone is right. The anti-bangs camp claims victory over Kate Middleton's rumored regret about her bangs. They point to Michelle Obama's return to life without bangs as proof that she also thought fringe was a mistake. The pro-bangers offer pictures of the New Queen of Bangs, Zooey Deschanel. The anti-bangers counter, they brandish the very same photos, they scream at us: You are not Zooey Deschanel, and you will not look like her if you get bangs. And my favorite of late: the adorable three-year-old girl who steals the scissors to shorten her bangs and give herself a meme-worthy mullet.
Her defense of bangs is simple, playful, spirited. "I was just practicing!"
With any decision pertaining to your body, the advice leads you back to you, to what feels right in your skin. I was fixated on this sensation that my hair wanted to go forward. You know how it is. One day you're a productive member of society, the next day you start pulling the hair forward and trying to figure out how the bangs would look. Then you see a random picture of your young self with bangs, and my God, look how they framed your face. Look how they work! And then it's back to the Internet, where you are warned of this dangerous path that starts with your mistaking your childhood face for your adulthood face. The Internet says you can't get bangs because of a second-grade classroom photo. Oh well.
I was driving myself crazy, and it was a waste, because this isn't life or death. It's fucking bangs.
A sudden flash of my dad, back when he had just been recently diagnosed with bladder cancer, asking the oncologist if he would lose his hair during chemo. Probably not. My dad was excited about that, a true optimist. Stage IV cancer and he's nodding, raising his eyebrows, this was good news about the hair. And then he started chemo, and it was horrible. ER trips and vomit, decreasing health, weight loss, hell on earth. But he didn't lose his hair. And he would brush it in this way that was so specific and tender, like he was thanking it with his eyes, focusing on it, treasuring it, believing it, the way it whispered, What do these doctors know about anything? Look at me, look at you, you're gonna be fine. It let him crack jokes about losing his life and keeping his hair. Hair is comforting. It's warmth, shelter. This is why it's tragic for people when it goes away.
So now this was a philosophical debate. I could go through life like, It's just hair! It grows out. Be one of those YOLO people, stop scouring the Internet for pros and cons. Just be grateful that I have hair. Health. Why waste my precious time thinking about hair? Well … we all know why: It's. Your. Hair. You can be dying, but if your hair looks good, you feel good. Also, you deal with your hair every day. This isn't should-I-buy-that-dress or even should-I-get-that-tattoo, this is in the aching middle. And then the crescendo into meta-melodrama: BANGS WILL RUIN YOUR FUCKING LIFE AND YOU WILL WANT TO DIE BECAUSE YES. YOLO IS RIGHT. YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE AND IMAGINE WASTING YOUR LIFE PINNING YOUR BANGS BACK WITH BOBBY PINS THAT ARE TOO DARK FOR YOUR HAIR?
My brother was in town during my Pre-Holiday-Season Bangs Crisis of 2015. We went out to lunch, and he's talking about the Lamborghini parked by the restaurant, and I'm like, Do you think I should get bangs? And he's like, Sure! We finished lunch. I dragged him to a hair salon, promising it would be quick. And then I got bangs. Thick, true bangs. That first walk down the street past the Lamborghini was a mind fuck. I was shaking.