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The year I was born, boyishly short hair had just come into style. Two years later, I was still practically bald. I don’t believe in coincidence; these are universal signs that I was never meant to wear long hair.

Except for periods of temporary insanity, my hair has always been styled one of three ways: short, shorter or shortest. Through every era, there has been a chic name for short. I had a pixie at five, a boy cut at 13, a wedge at 17 and a bob at 30.

Occasionally, I take it to an extreme and get it cropped so short I can’t even run a comb through it. When I cross that line, I notice a lot of people looking away with disgust or embarrassment. Alternately, I worry about the number of people who’ve torqued their necks or strained their eyeballs getting a second look. Oddly, (for a girl who has people-pleasing in my DNA) my concern about social ostracism ends there. No matter how severe it looks, I secretly love it.

I’m not trying to get attention, bend the gender line or make a statement. I don’t secretly want to be a man. (I did once use my short hair to unfair advantage when I auditioned for the role of Tom Sawyer in a middle school play. One day the faculty sponsor took me aside in rehearsal and suggested that we bind my chest with Ace bandages. That day may still go down as one of the happiest of my life.) I just want to be free from the burden of hair.

Short hair has been my passport to freedom. The conductors on my Underground Railway have been the sweetest of friends, bringing me back to my own true self every four weeks. How many friends do you get to see that often? Delores and Kerri Lynn. Paul and Gary. Tiffany and Melissa. Through every phase of life, my stylists have thrown me a lifeline when the only thing I could control was my hair.

In every era, short hair has its standard bearers who keep it in style. Judy Dench. Jamie Lee Curtis. Halle Barry. Emma Watson. Julie Andrews. Natalie Portman. Ginnifer Goodwin. Keira Knightley. Mia Farrow. Twiggy. Rihanna. Carey Mulligan. Audrey Hepburn. Elizabeth Taylor. Sharon Stone. Annette Bening. Meg Ryan. Princess Di. With an all-star cast of beauties like that, what’s keeping you from that short cut you’ve been thinking about?

Here are five myths about short hair.

You have to be skinny to wear short hair. A good stylist knows how to select a short cut that flatters your face in proportion to your body. Length isn’t always the best way to balance the body.

You need to have a beautiful face to wear short hair. The most ordinary people are flattered by short hair. There is beauty in simplicity, confidence and honesty. I don’t care who you are, when you wear your hair short, your spirit shines very brightly.

Men don’t like short hair. Men who don’t like short hair are probably about equal in number to men who love it. My guy loves it. I’m not sure how we would resolve that if he didn’t. It’s pretty much part of who I am.

Short hair is high maintenance. There’s a reason Jamie Lee Curtis looks so happy in all those Activia commercials—and it isn’t because of her intestinal health. Short hair is a breeze to maintain. Think of the things you can do with the time you spend styling your hair. You can toss short hair in the morning and never give it a second thought. If you think it’s more difficult than long hair, then you haven’t gone short enough or your stylist has selected a cut that doesn’t optimize your hair.

Short hair on a woman is a dishonor to God. In Biblical times, pagan women cut their hair as a form of rebellion against God. I’ve read Biblical scriptures about a woman’s hair being her glory. Here’s what I’ve concluded about that: God is more interested in the condition of our hearts than the way we wear our hair. He’s concerned about a lot of important things. Hair isn’t one of them.

Which hair style in history is your favorite? What looks best on you?

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.