Today's Great Debate: Should I Grow My Fringe Out?

Readers, I am at a crossroads in my life and I need your help. While it feels really un-British to make this post all about ME ME ME and my fringe dilemma (complete with photos, shudder), I’ve been told I need to share more, so here we go.

Jul 25, 2012 at 4:30pm | Leave a comment

I’ve had a fringe for a decade, during which time I’ve spent significant periods whinging about it, wondering if boys like girls with fringes (I was young -- now I couldn’t care less) and bleating about said fringe’s length and thickness. It became part of my "look" -- a bit retro, Bettie Paige-ish when newly trimmed, more Left Bank boho and Lou Doillon-esque when longer. I was "the girl with the fringe, red lipstick and surly attitu-" wah?

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Me and my fringe over the years... SOB.

But because I’ve been slack about going to the hairdresser recently, my fringe grew really long and then I read Hannah’s great piece about how she’s growing her "bangs" out for the summer and I decided to follow suit.

So here I am, fringe neatly twisted out of the way, blinking like Mole from "Wind in the Willows" in daylight. And I hate it. I don’t feel like me. It’s scary; my face feels exposed and vulnerable. It doesn’t help that the whole growing-eyebrows-out process is still ongoing and one is currently thicker than the other. Fit.

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Look don't I appear THRILLED to be a) fringe-free and b) taking a photo of myself to put on xoJane?

I thought sweeping my hair off my face would be the elegant, mature choice of a woman entering her thirties with grace and ease. So what if I have "strong" features? I should come to terms with them, embrace them even! Yeah, right.

I want to go back to glowering like a sullen teenager under my fringe. Waaah I miss my fringe! Etc. I tell you, I am THIS close to grabbing the kitchen scissors and hacking it back in. It’s so tempting, like a big spot that’s just waiting, imploring to be squeezed (oh come on don’t know me you don’t know what I’m talking about you liars!)

I can’t believe something so innocuous and superficial is having such an effect on my self-confidence, my very sense of self. How can I be thrown into an existential crisis by a change in haircut? I’m not particularly vain, but it’s quite sobering to realize how much my appearance is tied up with my identity -- how I feel I’m perceived by the world. Without a fringe I feel plain and boring and like my face doesn’t make sense -- but I know I should probably grow up and get over such insecurities.

A fringe is such a loaded signifier – it stands for "cool" and "indie" and "retro" and acts as a nice visual punctuation mark, adding structure and interest to long, brown hair that without it feels a bit "meh."

I asked Mr Phoebe and he just said "They both look nice," eyes barely flickering from the dry academic textbook he was engrossed in. Thanks for that! So make the decision for me: Should I cut my fringe back in or persevere and keep growing it? Ready, steady, vote! (and remember I am deeply uncomfortable about sharing so much, so please be gentle!)

Are you known for a particular trademark beauty look? And would you ever abandon it, just for kicks?