It all began when I sashayed into the Fantastic Sams on McLean Blvd, completely unaware of the lifestyle change the near future held for me. I casually plopped myself in the chair and told the hairdresser that today I would like “just a trim…and maybe some nuanced side bangs.” Her eyes lit up. My eyes, in response, became afraid. I had mentioned the second part of this request entirely on a whim, a little tired of the boring shoulder-length lob I had been rocking consistently for the past 2 years. But as I soon learned, the word “nuanced” has absolutely no place in a Fantastic Sams.

For the next roughly 30 minutes, I sat, trapped in that infamous, oppressive, black leather chair, and watched, internally horror-stricken but externally too timid to speak up in objection to the rapid scissor snips encircling my head, and witnessed more and more of my precious, disgusting hair fall to the floor, destined to be merely swept up later in a fashion that has never seemed remotely sanitary to me.

Believe you me, these were full on bangs. Like, bangs. I was banged. I was banging. Here’s a picture from the day I got them below.

 

Does anything about this speak “nuanced side bangs” to you? I didn’t think so.

I may appear to be casually smiling about my brand new haircut without a care in the world, but nay – don’t be fooled – there were countless cares in the world, some of which were “Do I look as much like Zooey Deschanel as the most optimistic fiber in my body would like to believe? Of course not! Zooey is the exception, not the rule! How could I have been so foolish as to think this underpaid, overworked hairdresser wouldn’t jump at the sound of a request other than ‘just a trim, please’? Will I EVER be able to consider this a happy accident?”

As you may have inferred from the unnecessarily specific title of this article, the answer to this question, I’ve found, is a resounding “yes!” Despite the fact that I immediately started growing out my bangs the day that I got them, I’ve taken immense joy in discovering new ways to wear these few shorter strings of hair in the front of my head. Below are a few of the styles I’ve adapted over the past 6 months, which, in my eyes, serve as concrete evidence that the process of growing out your bangs isn’t nearly as bad as everyone wants you to think.

 

This was the everyday look for about 2 months. Very ‘female love interest in a Spider Man comic,’ if you ask me. But in reality, the bangs were straightened to cover the tears in my eyes, and the sweaters were baggy to shroud my disappointment and regret. In hindsight, it really didn’t look that bad, but it was the fact that this was a completely unsolicited new change for me that was so off-putting. But c’est la vie! You live, and you learn.

The main reason I suggested bangs in the first place was because I thought they would block my widow’s peak, which I absolutely hate by the way. (I know, I know, “love yourself infinitely!” But if I’d rather not look like Dracula, I’d rather not look like Dracula.) Roughly 2 months after the chop, my bangs started being long enough to sort of sweep to the side. It’s worth noting that I have considerably wavy hair, so even a lot of growth doesn’t really add up that much for me because it all just curls back up. (Pro-tip for folks with a similar hair type: straightening your bangs is a necessary evil, but only good in moderation.) All that being said, this era happened to coincide with a trip I took to D.C., and I had loads of fun strutting around the big city with my mom jeans and bangs, pretending that I was a well-to-do liberal arts major, who’s more woke than you and likes the idea of coffee shops more than actually being in a coffee shop.

 

Here’s a picture of me with my cool side-ish bangs with wax figure Samuel L. Jackson (it’s the best picture I have!)

While my bangs were still really bangin’, a frequent style was two pigtail braids with the bangs fully out and fluttering in the wind.

 

Here’s me with that look at the women’s march. Shoutout to feminism #ad.

But with occasional highs come frequent lows (or at least that’s how it seems to work for me). Admittedly, there were times when I really really, really hated my bangs, and it was during this era that I discovered the power of the bandeau. Do your bangs make you look like Velma from Scooby Doo but not in a cute way? Bandeau! Are you having too good of an eyebrow day to let your bangs cover them? Bandeau! Have you not washed your hair for longer than you’d care to put on the Internet, and do you want to mask this greasiness by distracting the eye with a fun headpiece? Bandeau!

 

Do you also want to have a built in emergency bra on your head if the day is going a little…bouncier than you anticipated? Bandeau!!!!

 I even started getting kinda frisky with my bandeau wearing, going so far as to even style my hair in a funky way and then add the bandeau on top of that!

 

COMPLETELY throwing caution to the wind, sometimes I’d even take my bangs OUT of the bandeau!!

 

In case you haven’t inferred, bandeaus have been the MVP of 2017 for me thus far.

Finally, my bangs got to the point where they were pin-able. I found this looked best on me with a loose and low updo in the back like a braid or a low bun.

 

And now here we are, in August, a whole 7 months after the initial chop, and I finally have the haircut I asked for in the first place – nuanced side bangs. But as the colloquial phrase goes, getting there is half the fun, and growing out my bangs has been much more fun than the (lackluster by comparison) satisfaction of getting exactly what I wanted exactly when I wanted it. Though the early onset trauma was – how do you say – traumatic, the later months of pinning and straightening and experimenting and bandeauing were actually really enjoyable, and I’m glad I had to learn how to deal with a haircut that isn’t what I asked for. It has ~prepared me for the “real world”~, which I hear is full of not getting what you want. Moral of the story: if you’re reading this, just cut your bangs, and hate them, it’s okay. You look great, and you’ll feel better if you try to make the most of the 7 months you have with your new look. If you’re reading this, want to cut your bangs, but are afraid of the dreaded “growing out process,” fear not! It’s more of an adventure than a laborious trek, you have my word!