Of course I’ll hardly be the first girl around to chop her hair short – the style has been gaining in popularity ever since the dancer Irene Castle cut hers in 1915.
In fact, since the F Scott Fitzgerald story “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” came out in the Saturday Evening Post last summer, it has become so ubiquitous that people no longer call it the ‘Castle bob,’ but just the ‘bob.’
Not only is the look up to the minute, but I am told it saves a working girl several minutes each morning to be able to simply comb her hair like a man and dash out the door – rather than fiddle with hot irons and pins!
Given that the apartment I’m currently renting with my friend Ida is a full two streetcars away from the studio (which is out in the sticks in Edendale), a few extra minutes in the morning will certainly be appreciated. And though the weather is pleasantly mild at the moment in March, I imagine that once the heat of the California summer hits I’ll be grateful to be relieved of the weight of long hair.
(That’s the same reason I gave for abandoning corsets when I came out to California a year ago – that it was just too hot – but in truth they were every bit as uncomfortable back in Minnesota, and it’s just impossible to Charleston in a corset!)
However, this is not a decision to be taken lightly.
Several magazines have warned of the “Shingle Headache” which comes from the sudden exposure of the sensitive nape of the neck to cold air. I’m at a loss to understand why it would have a different neurological effect than exposing one’s neck simply by pinning the hair up – and further, as there is little ‘cold air’ here in southern California in any case, I need not worry. There is of course much discussion over whether a bob is symptomatic of a girl’s moral decline – but if my morals were dictated by the length of my hair, why I think I would be in a bad position in any case!
Gloria Swanson and Colleen Moore have already bobbed their hair here in the movie colony, though my own boss Esme Holt has kept her hair long so far, as has Mary Pickford. Miss Holt explained that as she so often acts in historical dramas, a bob would only mean wearing tiresome wigs while shooting. She has instead taken to pinning her hair beneath a colorful scarf so as to give a modern impression without sacrificing her hair.
Two other secretaries here at the studio have already bobbed their hair, and they gave me the scoop on where to go.
Most ladies’ hairdressers refuse, explaining that their shears were designed for use on long tresses only, but many men’s barber shops are willing to lend a hand and one such shop exists – even if it is all the way out in the wilds of Beverly Hills. I’m hoping I might be able to cadge a lift from someone, otherwise it will take most of my afternoon off just to journey out there.
Nancy (she works for the publicity department and we often spend our lunch breaks together) said it was very strange sitting there amongst cowboys and smelling strange masculine scents of shaving cream and Brilliantine. The men were all rather flustered at her presence, and she received two marriage proposals before her hair was even dry. But if we ladies can drink and smoke alongside men these days, why not have our hair cut amongst them too?
Of course choosing to step out as a flapper and an independent woman is effectively handing my notice in on the marriage market. But at almost 24 and not a prospective husband in sight, I rather think that decision is out of my hands anyway, and if I am to remain a bachelor girl I might as well have some fun with it.