You’re In ItAwkward stage hair. You’ve had enough. You’re cutting it off.
You have awkward stage hair and you’re convinced it looks awful. You feel weird, sloppy, unprofessional, and you don’t know what the hell to do with it. You get comments from people, even your mom, telling you your hair looks bad and well-meaning advice that “you should just cut it honey.”
Yet, with every naysayer and glance in the mirror, doubt creeps in, as slowly as your awkward length hair seems to be growing. You question your resolve, and each day a fresh, clean haircut sounds ever-more enticing.
Well friend, we’re here for you. The inspiration and education you need to power through your awkward stage hair is right here.
“Your shoulders are throwing a party and they’re waiting for your hair to arrive.”Fact
Define Awkward Hair LengthThe awkward stage can take many shapes and forms, but the generally accepted definition for awkward length hair is from the point when it starts to look like you need a haircut until the the time you can tie it up.
It starts when you start to look shaggy, not so neat and tidy, a little unkempt. When the first person politely asks when you’re getting a haircut.
Where Longhair Dreams DieAt some point in life you become curious. You ask yourself, “what would I look like with long hair? What if I could do that thing in the water where you whip your hair back, or the slow jog beach exit? What if I could tie it up like that?”
Most guys give it a try somewhere between high school and college. It starts as a novelty, driven by curiosity. Which is all well and good until awkward stage hair arrives, when your last clean cut is a distant memory. It becomes noticeable. Conspicuous. Uncomfortable.
You effectively conceal it with hats and beanies, but sooner or later you’ll be exposed. It might be a business meeting, a wedding, or some formal affair where a hat doesn’t fly, and that despicable rag on your head is revealed for all the world to see. You have full-blown awkward stage hair, and you’re a shaggy, dogged-looking scoundrel.
“That’s it. I’m a dignified man. Enough is enough,” you tell yourself as you slink off to the barber shop. “Long time no see!” your barber greets you, all smiles. You make small talk to drown out the voice on your shoulders screaming don’t do it, until the scissors have done irreversible damage and your promising youthful strands lie shorn and mutilated, dead on the barber shop floor.
It stings for a fleeting moment, but you walk out feeling fresh and clean, looking sharp, and the voice is quieted. “I’ll let it grow out next time, when I don’t have a _____ to attend,” you console yourself, as your longhair dreams are swept into a dust pan and discarded unceremoniously.
But you’re only lying to yourself. And this is why curiosity alone won’t carry most men to the promised land.
Anyone Can Have Short HairMost men never make it through awkward stage hair. While short hair is relatively easy, with long hair you’ve gotta pay your dues. It takes time, there is no way around that. You can’t get it overnight. It’s not something you can run out and pick up at the store.
When you want a tattoo, sit through a few hours of pain and you’re done. To get in the beard club it’ll take a few months, but there’s no discernible awkward stage or compelling discomfort. From stubble to full flowing beard you can keep it groomed and looking sharp.
Long hair must be earned. It’s like physical fitness: money cannot buy it, you cannot steal, inherit, or borrow it. It can only be gained through dedication and commitment.
“You effectively conceal it with hats and beanies, but sooner or later you’ll be exposed.”
That’s why when you see another longhair, there are certain things you know about him. You know he’s been through awkward length hair, which demonstrates to some degree he doesn’t care what other people think. You know he was willing to bear the temporary discomfort, and complete the longhair journey.
How Long Must I Suffer With Awkward Length Hair?There’s a goal on the horizon: when you can tie it up, you’ve arrived. But how long will it take? It depends on where you start, how fast your hair grows, and how you take care of it.
Most people’s hair grows about ½ inch per month. If you figure your hair needs to be at least six inches to tie it up, that’s puts you at a minimum of one year. To be safe, figure it’s going to take at least 18 months to get completely free and clear of awkward stage hair.
A few things you can do to promote faster growth (detailed in Quick Tips): keep it healthy and strong, avoid breakage, and keep yourself in good health. But no matter what you do, it’s a waiting game.
“Money cannot buy it. You cannot steal, inherit, or borrow it. It can only be earned through dedication and commitment.”
Dealing With Awkward Hair LengthThe easiest and most obvious method for dealing with awkward hair length is wearing a hat or a beanie. Headbands can also help, especially for working out and playing sports. But as we know, these aren’t always acceptable and can’t be relied upon in more formal settings.
Styling Awkward Length HairThere’s a few things you can try. Parting it can be risky, but worth a shot. You can comb it forward and straight down, but you might look like Lloyd Christmas.
You can slick it straight back, which will require a powerful bonding agent, but using products is a slippery slope with awkward stage hair. It starts to look like you’re trying too hard, like this is actually your intended style, rather than a desperate means to an end.
The safest bet is simply going with a “messy look.” It shows you’re not trying too hard, that this is intentional. It says, “yes, I have awkward length hair, it’s messy as hell and I’m comfortable with that.” And that portrays confidence.
Certified longhair Raul Taylor does a nice job articulating the problem and giving advice for dealing with awkward stage hair.
Growing Facial HairNot every guy can grow facial hair, but this can help if you’re so endowed. Not only will it take some attention off your awkward stage hair, but it tends to balance the face—in fact we’ve found in our research that a clear majority of longhairs also wear facial hair. Turns out longhairs and beardsmen may be in different clubs, but they go to the same bars.
Timing ItAnother consideration is timing. You might time the worst of your awkward stage hair around a break, holiday, or vacation, where you won’t have business or formal nonsense with expectations for your appearance.
“Turns out longhairs and beardsmen may be in different clubs, but they go to the same bars.”
The NaysayersPart of a concrete longhair gameplan is responding to people who boo you. First of all it’s your hair. Also it can be helpful to have a prepared statement.
One such response is, “I’m growing it out to donate it to charity.” This will stop most naysayers in their tracks, but shouldn’t be used cheaply. If you use this to deflect negative comments, you must do so with intent and sincerity.
Beyond that, a confident statement of fact that you’re growing long hair and this is simply part of the journey will serve you well.
Finally, The Men’s Hair Forum has a few more tips you may find useful.
EMBRACE THE JOURNEYUltimately, however you mitigate the situation, the truth is you must overcome awkward stage hair. It’s part of the deal, and must be embraced.
It will require resolve, a test of personal character and confidence. You’ll have to say, to some degree, “I don’t care what people think. I don’t care that I look bad, for now. I can deal with it.” And that can be a good thing.
You’re growing it out, and you’re not turning back. You’ve made it this far. And if not now, when?
So be proud. Claim it and rock the shit out of it. Power through the awkward stage with courage and commitment. The Longhairs are waiting for you on the other side.